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Cover Artist: Reese Dante, Photo credit: DWS Photography Editor: Devin Govaere
Taxes and TARDIS © 2012 N.R. Walker
ISBN # 9781614955894
This book uses US English.
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TARDIS, Dr. Who, Torchwood, Dalek
: The British Broadcasting Corporation
: Lucasfilm Ltd.
: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Traffic on a Friday afternoon in the central business district was hell. After two laps around the block, I finally found a parking space. I pulled my truck into the too-damned-small spot, grabbed the old shoebox off the front seat, and walked quickly back to my intended destination.
It's not very often I ventured into the business
district. And as I walked into the building fronted by glass, I remembered why. My reflection was a stark reminder of just how underdressed I was. Compared to the expensive suits walking around filled with their own importance, my work boots and plaid overshirt were somewhat out-classed.
Following the signs, I walked down the expensive
hall to the expensive office with the expensive desk. "Brent Kelly," I said, introducing myself to the receptionist. "I have a three o'clock appointment." I looked at my watch.
"Which I'm a little late for."
I smiled apologetically at her, hoping my scruffy
blond hair, dark blue eyes, and three-day growth would come off as rugged charm. I knew my looks could work in my favor with most women. Not my usual intended target, but hey, whatever worked.
She looked at me, my clothes, and the box in my
hand, and she smiled. "Take a seat, Mr Kelly," she offered kindly. "Logan will be with you shortly."
Logan. My new accountant.
I couldn't believe it when I'd phoned my old
accountant to make my annual tax appointment and was told she'd taken ill. All her clients were being referred to new accountants downtown. Well, they're not new; they're just new to me. They're quite old and reputable, and I could just picture this Logan as a bean-counting dinosaur.
My accounts were a shambles. I knew that, and so
did my old accountant. I'd gone to her for years. I'd hand over my shoebox of receipts and tax invoices with a warm smile, and she'd just do it all for me. Now I'll have to start from scratch, explaining everything to this new guy.
I was going to be there for hours.
"Mr Kelly?" I looked up to see the receptionist now standing in front of me. "Logan will see you now," she said with a professional smile. She walked toward the open door at the other end of the room, and I presumed I was to follow.
She led me down the hall, and about halfway down
the corridor, she showed me into an office where a guy sat behind the desk, scribbling in a file. With another professional smile, and not another word, the receptionist turned and left, and there I was standing in front of a desk
and a guy who still hadn't even looked up.
I cleared my throat nervously. "Um…"
Only then did he look at me. "Yes, Mr Kelly, please take a seat."
I noticed his English accent first. And then the fact that he wasn't old like I'd presumed he would be. In fact, he didn't look any older than me, maybe twenty-four, twenty-five. He had short dark brown hair, pink lips, and blue-gray eyes behind dark-rimmed glasses.
He looked at me for half a second, blinked, and
looked back down at his paperwork.
Typical pen-pusher. Typical bean-counter.
I rolled my eyes in frustration, took a seat across from him, and put my shoebox on the seat next to me.
"Sorry I was late. I got held up at work then traffic into the city was bad. Took forever to find a parking space."
He looked up from his desk at me. "That's okay."
Then he cleared his throat and shook his head. "I've been going through your files sent over from your previous accountant," he said casually, pushing his glasses up his nose. "I thought the shoe box might have been an exaggeration." He smiled, as though he found me amusing.
I sighed. "Uh… no. It's been my filing system for
"Yes, that's what it says here," he said, tapping the file in front of him.
"Oh." I couldn't help being a bit embarrassed.
"Yeah, um… accounts are not my forte."
He pulled out a clean piece of paper, pushed his
glasses back up on his nose, and looked at me. "So, Mr Kelly," he started.
"Please, call me Brent."
"Okay, Brent, I'll need some background
So I started at the beginning. I told him I'm an
electrician by trade, self-employed and sub-contracted to one of the biggest construction companies in San Antonio.
He asked questions about superannuation, taxes,
and insurance. He pulled my shoebox over and started leafing through the mess inside while he talked about income, expenditures, write-offs, and whatever else, stopping every now and then only to push his glasses up on his nose.
His accent made everything he said sound musical
and soft, which was a weird thing for me to notice. As was the color of his shirt. It was a normal long-sleeve business shirt, but it was the bluest blue I think I'd ever seen. He wore a darker blue tie and had a black vest on over top.
I watched his fingers, his long, slender fingers, as he tapped them lightly on the page in front of him and how he held the pen, and I watched his lips as he spoke. He had pink, even lips, and his pale British skin was like cream. He really wasn't my type at all. I'd never been one for the studious kind. I preferred the athletic, adventurous type, but I found myself staring at him.
I don't know why I couldn't stop staring as he spoke, the way his lips moved, his accent… God, his accent…
how the too-blue shirt looked against his slender, pale neck, how the shirt highlighted the flecks of blue in his eyes, how his glasses didn't make him look geeky, just smarter, cuter.
I stared at him as he talked numbers… wondering…
daydreaming… fantasizing about what he smelled like, what he tasted like…
"Brent?" My name snapped my attention back to what he was saying, rather than where my mind had just gone.
I shook my head. "Yeah?"
"I asked if you'd categorized your tax holdings?"
"Oh, sorry." I shrugged. "You lost me at superannuation."
He smiled and put down his pen. He really did have a pretty smile. "It's obvious you're not interested—"
"Yes, I am," I said too quickly, interrupting him.
Interested? In him? Oh, hell…
He blinked, seemingly surprised by my quick
response. "Interested in your accounts?"
Oh. "Oh, um, I try to be," I said with a shrug, looking around the room. "It's just that I'm not very good at it."
"Hmm," he hummed with a thoughtful nod. "This will take some time…" he murmured, though I think it was more to himself than to me. His long, delicate fingers rubbed over the smooth skin of his jaw. "I guess I could work on it over the weekend."
"Oh, I don't want to be a bother," I told him honestly. One eyebrow lifted behind the dark rim of his glasses, as though he didn't believe me. "If there's anything I can do…" I stopped talking when I realized how stupid I sounded. "Well…" I cleared my throat. "If there's anything I can do besides being better at my accounts."
He looked at me and grinned. I think he almost
I nodded with a chuckle. "Yeah, I'm really not very good at anything with numbers."
He chuckled that time and looked pointedly at the
shoebox of receipts. "I can see that."
I smiled at him and nodded, and in that moment of
silence when I should have not said anything, I opened my
mouth. "Your shirt is really blue."
He blinked, taken aback by my not-related-to-
accounts comment. "Oh," he mumbled, a little embarrassed. "It was a birthday gift from my sister."
"It's very blue. Is it like a peacock blue?" God, why couldn't I just shut up?
"Um, no," he shifted in his seat. "It's TARDIS
… what the hell was a
He swallowed loudly. "Time and Relative
Dimension in Space," he said quietly. "The telephone box from
"Really?" I snorted. Was he kidding? Oh, my God, no, he really wasn't.
He stared at me, unmoving, and mumbled, "Yes. I happen to like
Oh, fuck. "Oh, sure," I amended quickly. "I'm sure it's great. It's just that I'm not that familiar with it, that's all." I groaned inwardly. Talk about awkward. I changed the subject. "So about these accounts…"
He pushed his glasses back up on his nose. "I'll have a look over them this weekend," he told me.
"Oh, I don't want to interrupt your plans." Then because my brain-to-mouth filter was on vacation, I said,
"If your girlfriend doesn't mind…" His eyes widened as the stupidity poured out of my mouth, so I tried to fix it. "Or your boyfriend. I mean I don't want you to think you have to do it this weekend. I'm sure I can take my box of stuff and sort them, at least…"