The flat pack guy announced himself with a scripted greeting. ‘You recently purchased shelf units and requested installation. My name is—’

‘Sven?’

‘…Craig, and I’m here to assist. May I come in?’

‘Not much good out there.’ She’d hoped for a hunky Scandinavian.  Craig was an acceptable alternative, but a touch robotic.

As he unpacked pieces into regimented piles they talked.

‘Interesting work?’

‘Sure. Did you know flat-packed furniture accounts for…’

Monica studied his strong back as he inserted patented hardware into pre-drilled holes. ‘Can I get you a tea?’

‘We’re not allowed.’

‘You really play it by the book, don’t you? I’ll take a punt on white and none.’

‘Black,’ he said, ‘and one.’

By the time she got back the shelves were almost up.

‘Blimey, you’re quick.’

They started to talk. Craig even played the flirting game like it had rules. ‘Just to let you know,’ he said ‘I’m not seeing anyone right now.’

‘Good. You must love your job.’

‘I was made to do it.’

‘You get to meet lots of people?’

‘Just idiots who can’t follow instr——.’ Craig swallowed. ‘I…well…it’s just that…I didn’t…’

Monica let him squirm for a full minute. ‘Nothing in the manual’s gonna get you out of that one.’ She laughed and put her hand on his slumping shoulder.

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