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Bless you, Miss Bloom (Secret Santa for PAWS)

Subtly Clashing Wishes

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Season's Greetings and Happy New Year @Paws ! I am your Secret Santa. :santa: I wrote an original piece for you. Set in the late 1930s it features a telephonist, a young woman (mid 20s)  by the name Miss Kitty Bloom, and a slightly older gentlemen (early 30s), Mr. Tom Wells, who works in the building for which Miss Bloom operates the telephone exchange. :phone:  I'm not going to say anymore because I'm hoping you'll read it and enjoy it. 

Thanks to @cally for giving it a quick once over for grammar, etc. :) 

Cheers! SCW



“God bless you, Kitty!” Margie exclaimed. “Are you going to make it?” The petite blonde looked over at her fellow telephonist.


Kitty blew her nose. “You mean until five? I think so,” she replied stuffily.


“I don’t think you’ll make through lunch. You sound terrible.”


“Tha-hah-nks…. Hee’schOO!” Kitty’s raven curls bounced as her head bobbed with the sneeze.


“You’re welcome.” Margie noted the flashing light on the switchboard. “Yes, Mr. Harvey? …Certainly, sir.” She deftly moved the wires connecting Mr. Harvey to the extension he’d asked for.


“I just have to make it until five and then I can go home to collapse. I’ll have the weekend to recover from this plague you gave me.” Kitty gave Margie a half-hearted glare over the tissue she held to her long, aquiline nose.


“Sorry about that.” Margie actually did sound sorry.


Kitty sniffled and rubbed her reddening nose as she connected to the light on her console. “Good morning, switchboard, how may I direct your call? …Of course.” Kitty switched the call to the desired extension. She could feel her throat getting sorer by the second. She knew she’d be hoarse by the end of the day from all the talking. Popping a lozenge she hoped to forestall the inevitable.


“We haven’t gotten a call from Mr. Wells yet.” Margie observed.


Kitty’s dark eyes went wide as she looked at Margie horrified. “Please take any that come from him.”


Margie smiled evilly, “Why ever would you want me to do that?”


Kitty saw Mr. Potter’s extension light up. She cleared her throat before picking up and putting him through to an outside line. “Margie, please!” Kitty begged.


“Oh, Kitty this could be the perfect opportunity.”


“For what? For him to hear me cough or sneeze on the line? No thank you.” Kitty sniffled and pulled another tissue from her pack.


“He always asks after your health.” Margie picked up the outside call and patched them through.


“He’s being polite.” Kitty offered as explanation.


“He’s not being polite to me.”


Kitty started to reply when she saw Mr. Well’s extension light up. She looked at Margie, who blithely turned away and studied her nails.


“Margie…” Kitty pleaded. Margie didn’t reply but instead began to rub an imaginary stain on her skirt. “Cow,” Kitty muttered as she picked up the line.


“Good morning, Mr. Wells.”


“Good morning Miss Bloom. How are you today?”


“Well, thank you.” Kitty answered, wincing at her nasal tone. Margie mouthed ‘liar’ at her before answering another call.


“Wonderful. Would you do me the favor of putting me through to estate planning?”


“Certainly, sir.” Kitty sniffed lightly and connected him. She heaved a sigh of relief and then heaved out a forceful sneeze. “Hee…SCHOO!"


“Well you got away with it this time, but I don’t think you’ll fool him all day.” Margie picked up another call.


“Why are you so intent on Mr. Wells finding out I have a cold?” Kitty asked miserably. She rubbed at her temple where a headache was forming.


“Oh, you know, men love to rescue a damsel in distress. It’s one of the best ways to catch a guy.”


“I’m not out to ‘catch a guy’. I’m here to work.” Kitty was irritated by Margie’s ridiculous matchmaking.


As the day wore on Kitty felt worse and worse. She popped a couple of aspirin which helped the headache, but little else. The other symptoms: the congestion, dry throat, coughing and sneezing went on unabated. Probably worst of all was she wasn’t able to hide it.


“You sound a little hoarse, Miss Bloom.” Mr. Wells commented when she next picked up.


“My throat is a bit dry,” she replied and quickly connected him to the outside line he requested.


Margie rolled her eyes, but said nothing.


With each call Mr. Wells asked after Kitty. She tried putting him off and giving excuses but it became clear he was having none of it.


“Miss Bloom you sound as if you have a bad cold.”


Kitty sniffed lightly, “I don’t think discussing my health is appropriate at present. How can I help you?”


Mr. Wells sighed, “Finance department, please.”


“One mo…hehh…ment. Hehh…. Hehnngk’choo!” Kitty transferred the line as she stifled the sneeze hoping she had been in time.


Mr. Wells’ light went out. Kitty stared at it a brief moment afraid she’d disconnected him by mistake. She unplugged the connection and plugged in her wire. “I’m so sorry…” she started when he picked up.


“Bless you, Miss Bloom.” Mr. Wells interrupted gently.


“Thank you,” Kitty murmured surprised.


“Are you off at five pm?”




“May I offer you a ride home? You probably can’t tell from where you are, but it has started to snow. I don’t think you should be standing at a bus stop in this weather with a bad cold.” Caught off guard, Kitty found herself agreeing. “Good. I’ll meet you in the lobby at 5:15 pm.”


“You look gob smacked,” Margie commented as Kitty finished connecting Mr. Wells to finance.


“Mr. Wells just offered to drive me home this evening.” The disbelief was evident in her voice.


“And you said yes,” Margie crowed.


It wasn’t long before it was time to go. Kitty had faded quite a bit and was actually feeling very grateful for the promised ride. Margie had handled the last half hour herself. It was pretty light as people left early to start their holiday.


“Have you ever actually met Mr. Wells?” Margie asked as they put on their coats and headed to the lobby.


“Just a few times in the elevator.” Kitty admitted. “He’s held the door for me as well.” She thought she’d be more nervous about a relatively strange man taking her home, but she wasn’t. Perhaps it was because she was feeling so tired and ill.


“Call me when you get home?” Margie instructed. “If I don’t hear from you, I’ll send my brother out to look for you.” She gave Kitty a quick hug before hurrying off to find her fiancé.


Kitty stood awkwardly near the elevators. The lobby was busy with people leaving their offices. She admired the decor and checked her coat to make sure it was buttoned up. Taking a tissue from her pocket she carefully blew her nose.


“Miss Bloom?”


Kitty hurriedly wiped her tender nose. She looked up to see a tall man with kind blue eyes. He was younger then she remembered. His long overcoat was dusted with snow and flakes sparkled in his auburn hair.


“Mr. Wells?”


His smile reached his eyes and made his nose crinkle pleasantly. “Tom, please.”


“Kitty.” There was a pause. “Thank…” She stopped. Her breath hitched and nose wrinkled. Turning away, she pressed the tissue to her face. “Hehh…hee…SCHOO!


“Bless you.”




“Bless you, Miss, ah, Kitty.”


“Thank you,” she murmured stuffily as she rubbed her pink nose with her tissue. “And thank you for the ride.”


“My pleasure,” Tom smiled again. Kitty rather liked his smile. “The car is outside. I brought it around from the car park, so you wouldn’t have to walk in the snow.”


“That explains the snow on your coat.” Kitty observed.


“It didn’t make sense to have you walk in the snow to my car, if I was trying to prevent you from having to walk in the snow to the bus stop.” Tom acknowledged. “Besides”, he looked at her feet. “You didn’t wear galoshes today.”


Kitty looked down at her feet and the low pumps she was wearing. “No, I think I was more concerned with remembering to bring enough tissues to work.” She looked up at Tom and gave him a wry smile.


Tom briefly touched her elbow and gestured toward the lobby door. Once outside he tipped a young man standing near the running car and helped Kitty inside. In just the short distance from the door to the car Kitty found her red wool coat liberally dusted with fat snowflakes. She worried that the melting snow on her clothes would damage the upholstery of the car. She sniffled and found another tissue. The supply in her pocket was limited. Kitty hoped it would last the ride.


Tom climbed in the driver’s side and adjusted the heater. He gazed at his passenger. “So… where am I taking you?” He had to raise his voice to be heard over the fan.


“Oh, my apartment. It’s near the river on Queen Street.” She cringed inwardly. Her voice sounded so stuffy and hoarse. Tom nodded and moved carefully into traffic.


The snow kept the cars moving at a snail’s pace, but they made steady progress. The cabin was silent aside from the blowing from the heater’s fan and Kitty’s sniffles. After several minutes Tom cleared his throat.


“Do you live with your family?” He asked politely.


“No, I don’t. I live with a school chum.”


In the quiet that followed the wiper blades swished. Kitty felt an all to familiar tickle.  She rubbed her nose and pressed her upper lip. “Heh…heh…” She gasped softly. The tickle receded.


“Do you live with your family?” Kitty asked politely, to resume the conversation.


“No.  My parents live in Blue Ash.”


“I see.” Kitty thought a moment. “Are you not married?”


“No, not even engaged.” Tom looked over at Kitty and flashed a small smile.


She smiled back, almost immediately regretting the action, as it seemed to make her nose itch again. She turned away, eyelids fluttering and held the tissue to her face. “Heh…heh… Heesh…CHOO!” Kitty rocked forward nearly banging her head on the dashboard. She felt a strong hand grip her shoulder. “Heesh…CHOO!


“Goodness. God bless you.” Tom kept his hand on her shoulder as Kitty dazedly lifted her head.


“I’m sorry,” came Kitty’s embarrassed reply. She still held the tissue to her nose, blushing intensely. She could see he’d come to a stop and heard a horn honk behind them.


Tom squeezed her shoulder lightly. “Don’t be.”


Kitty nodded and turned away to tend to her nose.


 Tom returned his attention to the slick road and thick traffic.  After a few moments he spoke. “What school did you go to?”


“I attended Katherine Gibbs.” She replied with a touch of pride.


Tom let out a low whistle. “That is a good school.” He gave Kitty an appreciative glance. “You must be very smart. No wonder you’re such a good telephonist.”


This time Kitty blushed with pleasure.


They were quiet for the rest of the ride. Tom peered intently through the windshield, watching the street signs. Kitty pointed out the intersection at which he should turn and her apartment building. Tom pulled up to the curb and hopped out to open Kitty’s door.


Kitty got out the car. The walk had been shoveled, but her leather-soled shoes slipped on an icy patch. Tom swiftly steadied her with a warm embrace. Kitty let out a nervous giggle.


“Careful. It is very slippery.” Tom warned cheerfully, still holding her close.


“So I’ve found.” Kitty let herself be held a moment before pulling away to climb the steps. Tom released her, but escorted her to the front door.


“Thank you for the ride. I really appreciate it.” Kitty got out her front door key.


“It was my pleasure, truly.” Tom’s reply was sincere. They stood on the porch feeling awkward and shy, but neither made a move.


“I … “ They both spoke at once, then laughed. Kitty coughed lightly as their laughter died.


“I should go in.” Kitty finished when Tom indicated she should speak first.


Tom nodded. “I should get going. The snow doesn’t seem to be stopping.”


“Thank you again.”


“You’re welcome. I hope you feel better soon.”


“I’m sure I will. A few doses of 666 and two days to rest will do the trick.”


Tom nodded and made to leave the shelter of the porch. Kitty turned away and put her key in the lock. Her hands busy she tried to stifle the sneezes that snuck up on her. “Hhhnnngk’choo… Hhnnngk’choo.”


“Bless you.” Tom called up from the walk. The snow was still falling and sticking in his hair.


The door finally open, Kitty turned and called back, ”Thank you.” She cupped a hand over her nose and mouth. “Heh…Hee…SCHOO!


Tom chuckled and walked back towards the edge of the steps. “Bless you again.” He looked up at Kitty smiling broadly. “Miss Bloom, would you like to have dinner with me once you are feeling well again.”


Kitty sniffed and cleared her throat. “Yes, Mr. Wells. I would.” Her answering smile was warm and her eyes sparkled.


Tom grinned. “Wonderful. Now go inside and get better.” With that he returned to his car. Kitty smiled and waved before disappearing inside, feeling much better already.



Edited by Subtly Clashing Wishes
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Oh my goshhhh, oh my gosh! I -- I just -- oh man, you're spoiling me here. :wub: 

I've reread this at least two or three times now and everything about it is just precious! The banter between Kitty and Margie is sweet and sincere -- I love the push and pull in their friendship. And everything with Tom and Kitty... GAHHH this is so cute!! I'm truly grinning from ear to ear just going through and taking in all the detail.

Thank you so so much for this little treasure, SCW!! I hope your holidays were wonderful. ^_^ :heart:

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This was such a delight to read! The 30s belong to my favourite time periods and you've captured the mood of the time so beautifully :cryhappy:

I lalso oved the chemistry between Kitty and Tom everyhting that was said without actually being said during their car ride.


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@Selene Thank you! I'm pleased you enjoyed it. I must admit to knowing little about the time period, so I had to do some research. :) 

I appreciate your compliment about the chemistry between Kitty and Tom. I thought it turned out rather well myself. They are clearly interested but needed to feel each other out. 

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What a cute story :wub: Tom is such a gentleman, it made me swooooon. I also love that it takes places in the 30s; we don't get much of that time period on the forum! It's a nice change and you did an excellent job recreating the era.

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  • 4 years later...

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