She smelled like cupcakes and lip balm. And a little like coconuts, too, which, all of those combined, made her smell a little like the beach. Not the beach itself, but the stuff you thought of when you thought of the beach.
He really wanted some pineapple. For some reason, getting on to the subject of coconuts always came back to pineapple. They just seemed to go so well together – maybe it had to do with their pairings in Hawaiian-themed stuff.
Shawn Spencer was interviewing secretaries. And, to amuse himself during a particularly long speech by his latest interviewee, he was trying to identify different smells in the office.
“-so I don’t think I’ll ever work at a daycare again,” the brunette finished, giving him a slightly nervous, albeit genuine, smile.
Shawn smiled and nodded, as if he had been listening to her story about some daycare in the boondocks of Florida the whole time. She was cute, he’d give her that – in a Zooey Deschanel-meets-Rachel Bilson kind of way – but certainly not what he would call drop-dead gorgeous in any capacity. Then again, having a secretary who looked like a supermodel might not end well for anyone.
So he had decided he was going to hire her.
“And that was your first job, Miss…” He pretended not to remember her name so that he could lean forward and smell her a little better. It was Eleanor Chelsea Harold (a little bit of a stuffy, white collar, WASP name, but who cared?). He had used his connections at the police station to check up on her before she had even arrived.
“Ellie Harold,” she replied eagerly. “That was actually my second job. I worked at an ice cream shop before that.”
“Really? How long did you work there?”
Her cheeks colored slightly. “Two weeks.” He resisted a smile. “I had finals that week, and it was a very stressful time.”
Shawn nodded knowingly (though he didn’t really sympathize, but he knew how Gus was about those kinds of things) and glanced back down at her resume. Starting in her senior year in high school, she hadn’t held down a job for more than a handful of months at a time, if that. Only recently, since her graduation from college in the last three or four years, had she started holding jobs for eight or ten months – or, on the rare occasion, a year. But she had still had a few jobs since graduation. On paper, she didn’t seem a very ideal applicant.
Then again, he was really one to talk.
“How are your cleaning skills, Miss Harold?”
She looked taken aback. “Well… pretty good. Is that part of the job?”
“It could be…” he muttered, not making eye contact. Whenever he made eye contact with her, she would look right back at him, and wouldn’t break the connection until he turned his eyes away. It was a little intense and overwhelming, and made him feel like he wasn’t in charge. “How soon can you start?”
“I…” She slowly interpreted what this question implied. Was she hired? “I can start next week.”
“Excellent. You’ll start next Monday. That’ll give me time to arrange things with my partner.” Shawn smiled widely. “Do you prefer direct deposit or a paycheck?”
“Direct deposit, if you can do it,” she replied slowly. “So… that’s just it? I’m hired on the spot?”
He pretended to think for a moment. “Yeah, pretty much.”
“You don’t need to interview other people first?”
“Nope. I want you.” He swooped both his hands in and pointed to her. “Doesn’t that make you feel special?”
“Yeah.” She smiled across the desk at him. She had a pretty smile with nice teeth, and she had dimples. “It does.”
“Good.” He rose to his feet, and she followed suit. It was so nice to have someone who agreed with everything he said and did. Even if they had to be paid to do it. “I’ll see you on Monday at nine o’clock.”
“You hired a secretary?” Gus asked heatedly. “We weren’t even looking for a secretary. How did you get anyone to come in for an interview?”
“Uh, Gus, it’s called Monster.com,” Shawn informed his best friend matter-of-factly. “I know those of you who have held steady jobs for the past five years might not know about it, but it’s a pretty indispensable resource for people like me.”
“You mean people who can’t hold down a job for five weeks?” Gus shot back.
Shawn nodded. “Exactly. Anyway, she found my ad on Monster and sent in her resume.” He handed a piece of paper covered with several coffee rings and a piece of gum. “It thought it seemed decent.”
Gus glanced it over quickly; even though she was twenty-four, she hadn’t had a job for over a year. Not a good sign. He immediately imagined a watered-down, female version of Shawn. “What’s this in the corner?”
Shawn leaned over his shoulder. “Oh. I attempted to capture her likeness for your benefit. So you could see what she looked like. In case, you know, you were curious, or something.”
“This is a stick person, Shawn.”
“Yeah, but look at the shading on the upper lip.”
"It looks like she has a mustache.”
“Maybe she did. How do you know?” Shawn asked defensively, falling into his chair.
His best friend grinned back knowingly. “Because you wouldn’t have hired a twenty-four-year-old girl with a mustache. You would have made sure that she was nice to look at, because that’s the only reason why you would have hired a secretary without talking to me about it first.”
“Gus, I am hurt!” Shawn announced, bouncing back to his feet. “Maybe I was a little concerned that you were doing too much of the work. Maybe I wanted to give your hands a rest from all that typing so that you didn’t get carpal tunnel syndrome. Maybe I was just trying to help you!” Gus knew he wasn’t sincere; he never was.
Still… what he had said made a lot of sense. And from the grin spreading across Shawn’s face, Gus was guessing he knew it.
“She’s kinda cute, too,” Shawn added nonchalantly, shoving his hands into his pockets and coming to lean against the desk beside Gus. “How do you do direct deposit?”
Gus glared at his friend, arms crossed. “A secretary is not a toy,” he warned.
Shawn frowned. “You got that from the sixties musical about the window washer.”