49: That'll Pigging Do, Bob.
Garry is striding through the dark. He can hear Rosalyn keening somewhere over to his left, but something is telling him he must carry straight on. His hands outstretched, they finally come into contact with the wall.
But it isn't just the wall, and the noise isn't just Rosalyn.
Garry stops, and sniffs.
He can smell Brut. And he can hear panting and shuffling.
'Just a little bit more!' someone says. There's a groan, and the noise of something soft and large falling. A torrent of swearing, and then a laugh.
'I'm in!' Bob says, 'for the love of pig!' It worked!
Garry freezes. He can hear Bob picking himself up off the floor. Garry hurries, feeling the strange boxes and levers on the wall in front of him. He will not be robbed of his glory. Today, he thinks, is Garry Day. Garry holds his breath and pulls the levers down.
There is a crackle, a fizz, a pop, and then the electricity hums into life and the basement is flooded with light.
Garry is standing in front of the fuse-boxes. Bob is in front of the lift. There are a couple of borrowers lying on the floor as if they are asleep, scattered at his feet like fallen skittles.
Rosalyn is on her knees. She has her hands over her eyes. The lights haven't been on down here in years, perhaps decades.
'Garry!' Bob says, 'you beauty!'
Garry blinks, his hand still on the levers. He feels something. A strange feeling. It is swelling in his chest. His heart is expanding, getting bigger and bigger. It is making him spread his legs and stand up straighter. He lifts his chin, feeling like a Roman Emperor. He lets go of the levers and puts his hands on his hips.
'That'll do, Bob,' he says, with great dignity. 'I've got everything in hand now.'
Rosalyn stands up, shakes out her hair and walks shakily towards Garry. Garry doesn't notice her. He is too busy Making Eye Contact with Bob.
Bob seems to shrink and crumple. Katerina is shouting down the lift shaft.
'The lights! The lights are back on! The tills are working!' she says. She sounds delirious with happiness, but neither Bob or Garry answer.
Rosalyn leaps towards Garry. She curls her arms around his neck and kisses his cheekbone. She stands on tip-toe and lets her hair tickle his neck.
There are no words to describe Garry's heart now. He has never, ever been kissed before. He thinks about The Staff Manual. Wasn't there something in there about Relationships Between Staff? Some dire consequences?
Rosalyn smells like a grove of citrus trees and he turns and pushes her hair out of her eyes. Garry puts his hand around her waist. In the light, Rosalyn is a very beautiful woman. Rosalyn puts her head in the space between Garry's chin and his chest. She kind of burrows in, as if she doesn't want to look at Bob.
'Garry, you plumb. She's bad news! Leave it alone!' Bob says.
Garry places one arm around Rosalyn's shoulders and points at Bob with the other.
'Oi,' he says. The kiss has made his voice deeper, more manly somehow. Bob shrinks some more, and then nods.
'Lets get back upstairs,' Garry says, and presses the button on the lift, 'come on Bob. This lady,' he lifts Rosalyn and carries her into the lift, 'needs a hot drink, and something to eat.'
'Are you coming up now?' Katerina's voice bounces down the metal tube and booms around them, 'come quick! John's gone mad!'