Helen stared at the phone in her hand. James only had half an idea what it was about, but the way she stood stock still was downright unnerving.
"Is anything the matter?" he asked finally, sitting in a vacant armchair.
She blinked a few times. "I'm in a bit of a quandary, to be honest," she replied.
She nodded. "I've been offered a… a job… Of sorts." Her head tilted, hand and phone still aloft. "I have a week to decide."
The seconds merged into minutes, but James said nothing, knowing how his friend did not appreciate idle chatter. She needed the quiet.
"I can't tell the children yet either," she added, putting her phone down on the mantelpiece.
"In case they tell John?"
Helen snorted. "In case they tell the press."
"The…?" James leant forward on his chair. "Why on Earth would you worry about those soulless oiks?"
"If I sign the contract the information is embargoed until August."
James nodded, caught up with what her 'job offer' actually was. "Embargoes aside, you still appear worried."
Turning to him, smiling, she said, "I've never been one for extreme glamour."
"You went to the SU President's Ball, back in Oxford. Glamour hasn't stopped you before… Unless…" James narrowed his eyes. "Unless you're afraid that your new job will supercede how you appear in your old job and you'll no longer be seen as a competent doctor but a foolhardy try hard gambolling around in satin high heels and sequins."
"Nu-- Not quite how I would have phrased it, Jim," she muttered, sitting opposite him. The phone was in her hand again. James knew her answer, even if she didn't quite yet. "It's only twelve weeks… Less if I'm…" Her sentence dwindled to nothing. Silence enrobed the room.
"Whatever you decide, Helen," he said, his quiet voice breaking the silence, "I'll be in the wings supporting you."
This made her smile, and spurred her on into action. "James darling, I'd expect you in the audience, waving to camera with my children and clapping to the music." Slapping her hands on her knees, Helen got to her feet. "I best call Kate, have her call them back."
"You made that decision quickly."
"Being scared has never stopped me before, why should it now?" She grinned. "And now I'm going to my interview and I will see you later." As she left, he heard her say, "Hello, Kate? Tell them I'm going for the Glitterball."