"Mr Linton, I have called your name about five times now and you have been just standing there with your eyes closed. If you are not fully awake yet, I had rather you return home and waste your own time sleeping there than here. There is work to do."

I raised my chin and met his gaze unflinchingly.

"I am completely awake, Sir."

"Indeed? Then go and fetch a small leather-bound volume out of the left part of the lowest drawer of your desk. And keep your eyes open while you are walking, will you? I would hate for you to walk against a wall by accident."

I managed a smile, though I doubt it was very polite.

"Thank you for the concern for my welfare, Sir."

He still had put his papers aside now, but still he hadn't looked up. Instead, he was methodically arranging them into several small piles.

"Who said anything about your welfare, Mr Litnon? Stone walls are quite expensive, and I would not like to have to spend money on repairing any cracks."

I got out of there before I committed a justifiable murder, and marched through my office towards the desk. Of course he had been right, blast him. There was indeed a small, leather-bound book in the lowest drawer of the desk, right in the back left corner. I took it out and opened it out of curiosity.

"Bring it directly to me," his voice sounded from the other room. "There's nothing in there that would interest you particularly, I can promise you."

I did not blush as easily as Ella, but my face might have just been a tiny bit red when I returned into Mr Ambrose office, the book in hand. Stopping in front of the large, dark wood desk, I held it out to Mr Ambrose. He waved me away.

"Keep it. It is your responsibility now."

"But... you didn't want me to look inside?"

"I didn't want you to waste time on idle curiosity. Remember:  Knowledge is power is time is money."

"I would have gained knowledge if you had let me read it," I pointed out, my rebellious spirit flaring.

He considered this, the coldness in his eyes for a moment replaced by thoughtfulness. Then something sparked there. Surely I was mistaken, but for just a fraction of a second, it looked almost like... humour?

"True. You may take it home with you and study it in your leisure hours. I shall expect that you have fully familiarized yourself with it by tomorrow morning."

My mouth popped open in astonishment.

"What?!" I demanded.

He looked at me, not a trace of humour in his face anymore. "First you stand around with your eyes closed, now your ears don't seem to be working? I must say, I am quite disappointed in you, Mr Linton."

I straightened.

"There is no call for that, I assure you, Sir. I shall have the book memorized by tomorrow, Sir." I don't think that anybody ever managed to make the word 'Sir' sound so much like 'slug'. Mr Ambrose, though, didn't seem to notice.

"Then we can proceed now. Go to the current week."


"I am becoming tired of hearing that word, Mr Linton. Go to the current week, in the book you are holding. It is an appointment book. It holds my appointments over the year, which is divided into months, which again are divided into weeks. You do know what a week is, Mr Linton?"

"Yes, Sir. I do, Sir."

"How fortunate. Go to the current week."

Quickly, I flitted through the volume until I had found the appropriate page.

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