Marie flicked back her hair; it did nothing in the blistering wind but the action itself was more of a habit than a movement with any purpose. She shrugged in the dark trench coat slung over her shoulders and clutched it protectively against herself.
"Curse you, Alex." She muttered to herself. "Why don't you walk to the café? That'll be good exercise."
She jumped, slamming her hand to the front of her jeans as they vibrated with the shocking frequency of a mobile phone ring. Cursing until she'd successfully negotiated it out of her tight pocket, Marie attempted to swing the hair from her eyes once more and flipped up the top of the phone with a business-like attitude.
"Yes," she snapped, knowing the caller from his personal ringtone.
"Where are you?" The light, male voice asked.
Their choices of phrase were relaxed, they knew each other well but Marie still frowned darkly in annoyance.
"Oh, I don't know," she muttered. "Getting the 'healthy exercise the doctor ordered.'"
Alex laughed, the humour catching as his smile spread itself slowly across to Marie's lips.
"I'm just around the corner," she informed, in a far more pleasant tone. "Two seconds." Marie promised, flicking the phone back on itself and returning it to her pocket.
Her feet tapped, clicking on the pavement as Marie finally gave up on the wind-hair combination and drew out a band. Absentmindedly, she tugged on its tight elastic and drew her hair back into a quick ponytail, easily as stylish as her loose tresses would have been without the weather.
Still concentrating on this one action, Marie subconsciously adjusted her striding pace slightly to turn her around and force her elbow into the swinging door of a trendy café. With the complete shelter of four walls, the wind dropped along with Marie's arms and she turned, smiling, to face her work colleague and friend.
"Evening." She muttered sarcastically but with the small smile that gave away her good humour at his presence.
Alex returned with a grin and pushed out a plastic chair dramatically with one foot. He slouched further into his relaxed pose and smiled again.
"Sit." He commanded playfully.
Placing one hand delicately on the back of the chair frame, Marie leant forward slowly and shook her head, a twinkle in her eye.
"Some gentlemen," she said, "especially those not even polite enough to pull out a chair for a lady, can't think to offer a woman her drink. She shall have buy it herself." Pushing herself up properly, Marie turned towards the counter. "I'll be just a minute." She muttered lightly, sickly sweet.
Sitting up straighter in his chair, Alex laughed. Almost gloatingly he picked up his coffee and took a sip.
"Take your time." He called, "I won't be missing you."
Turning to the student behind the counter, Marie slipped a fiver across its polished surface and pointed to a foreign coffee on the board behind him.
When he'd turned back from his noisy coffee machine, Marie cupped the warm polystyrene in both hands and returned to sit in the chair, still carelessly pushed out, opposite Alex.
"Well…" She said. "Let's celebrate the Sunday."
With a groan and a dramatic eye roll, Alex threw his head back until his blonde hair brushed the back of his chair.
"There's just something about the way you say that," he said, still staring at the ceiling, "that just happens to remind me that it's Monday tomorrow. I swear you do it deliberately."
"Perhaps I do."
"I know you do."
Groggily, Alex pushed himself back up and groped for the remainder of his coffee. "Buzzkill." He muttered.
They both sipped simultaneously, avoiding eye contact in the silence.
"So…" Marie ventured, "What do you think of the Caredon case?"
"No! no, no." Alex shook his head. "Not now, you are not roping me into talking about work. We come here every Sunday and we always end up discussing work. I won't do it, I just won't."
Marie threw her head back in yet more bright laughter as the tinny sound of Alex's cheap ringtone filled the confined space.
"Got no choice now." She said.
"I won't answer it." He pouted. "Mustn't work on the Sabbath day."
"Yes you will."
"No I'm not."
The mobile continued to tinkle as Alex drew it out of his pocket.
"I'll pick it up and then hang up straight away."
"No you won't."
"Yes I will."
"I'll answer it then."
"No you won't."
"Yes I will."
Marie dived across the table, just managing to wrap her fingers around the small, still ringing, phone. Coffee went flying as Alex wrenched his arm, and most of Marie, into the air.
"No you don't." She mumbled, teeth gritted as she firmly teased it from his grip and, still sat mostly on Alex's lap, she pressed the little green button.
"You know this isn't fair, don't you?" Alex grumbled from beneath her but Marie shushed him quickly with a rapid wave of one hand.
"Marie?" The voice on the end of the line queried. "Aaah, you're both together at least, well that's a good thing. Are you the reason it took so long to get an answer?"
Marie nodded enthusiastically until she realised he could not see her.
"No, I'd say that was Alex himself."
"Oh, ok, ok that's good." The speaker sounded distracted.
"Are you alright?" Marie queried of their boss's assistant, Matthews.
"Ummm…" Matthews paused, "Umm, no, no not really. Could you guys just come into the office straight away?"
"Oh, ok." Marie answered hesitantly, sliding off Alex's lap, her expression serious. "We're not doing much. I guess we can come in…"
"No, no we can't. We're busy!" Alex exclaimed from behind her. "My mum just died, your boyfriend left you, the world's about to end! Anything. We are not going in!"
"Ok." Marie ignored him. "We'll see you in twenty minutes."
She removed the phone from her ear, pressed the red button and threw it across the table. Still seated, Alex caught it one-handed, a scowl on his face.
"I hate you." He grumbled, "You should listen to me."
Marie shrugged apologetically.
"I'm sorry." She mumbled softly. "He just sounded so worried. I couldn't say no."
"Yes you can, it's easy."
"Alex, have a heart."
"Can't. You made me walk."
Digging in his back pocket, Alex drew out a set of car keys.
"Take yourself. I'll stay here."
"Now, Alex." Marie set her jaw firmly as she stood.
He slumped further, eyes gazing skyward as he admitted defeat.
Still self-absorbed in his pretend sulk Alex pushed himself up, snatched the keys from Marie, and strode to the door.
"Fiver says it's the Caredon case." He grumbled.
"Deal." Marie agreed. "I reckon it's something new."
"Great." Alex sniffed huffily as he held the door open for Marie to exit. "Even more work."