But for all his talking he wasn't sure he was getting through to her. She seemed to think that being late was the prerogative of a personal assistant. With inexhaustible patience he explained that she should spread the message by example to junior staff that tardy timekeeping was not fair practice. She frowned when he reminded her that unpunctuality was tantamount to theft.
Anthea maintained she understood his reasoning though failed to see how getting in a quarter of an hour earlier would influence the juniors one way or the other. How would they know, she inquired, when they never arrived before nine-thirty. By then she had brewed the tea, sorted the mail, checked the appointments, typed the first memo, and soothed the boss's morning-after brow.
He hesitated, remembering those cool fingers. For the moment Martin Burrows decided he would let the matter rest.
Anthea flounced out of his office, the new flared skirt flapping on her thighs.
So be it, she fumed, ramming home the gear lever. If that's what he wants he'll have to put up with the consequences. It went against the grain but in future she would commence work even sooner than the job description decreed. She would open the post herself … probably in a fraction of the time the juniors took … brew his precious beverage, sort the appointments, and..... She paused her deliberations to sound the horn at a speeding sports car overtaking on the inside lane. A couple of lovebirds by the look of it. Little wonder he was driving recklessly; the woman should know that caressing his hair while he’s driving could cause an accident.
Anthea grinned for the incident had given her an idea for retribution, a penalty for Martin Burrows' unreasonableness. She would stop the ritual of soothing his fevered brow. He would probably grumble about being neglected but that was his hard luck. She was resolutely determined to abandon her portrayal of all-embracing assistant and discontinue her policy of skipping enthusiastically to his side to minister to his wishes and whims.
Starting tomorrow she would leave the family to make their own beds, prepare their own breakfast, and wash their own pots. And lifts to school would be out of the question, as would the morning romp with their Dad. He would be upset but she couldn't cater for all desires.
'But Mum,' whined Kathy. 'I'll be late if I have to boil my own eggs every day.'
Tough, thought Anthea as she applied colouring to her cheeks. She felt doubly touchy this morning. The boss's blinkered demand had already disrupted the organised and leisurely start to her working day. 'You'll just have to get up half an hour earlier.'
'But Mum …'
'Half an hour isn't so bad. When I was your age I'd done an hour's housework before seven.'
'But Mum …'
Anthea bellowed, 'Don't argue with me.'
The kitchen door opened and the pyjama-clad figure of her husband strode in. 'Hey, what's going on?'
'Oh, Daddy,' cried Kathy, throwing herself at her father.
Anthea rolled her eyes heavenwards. 'Look,' she said, appealing to Kathy's rear view and deliberately avoiding her husband's quizzical eye. 'If he says I've got to be in early, then I have no choice but to obey.'
Kathy pulled free of her father's protective arms. Grabbing the egg saucepan, she went to put it in soak then swivelled round and eyed her father with disdain. 'Do I take it that this upheaval is your brilliant idea?
Extending his hands, palms upwards, Martin Burrows turned to his wife. 'Sweetheart, I didn't mean....'
Anthea smiled at his bewilderment, content in the knowledge that her ploy for securing a positive stance had been a complete success.