Della Street, confidential secretary to L.A.'s most famous lawyer, Perry Mason, sat at her desk, drumming her nails on the top. She was unconsciously tapping her foot under the desk. She knew if a doctor took her blood pressure right now she was sure she'd send the needle off the charts.
And the reason for her current state of mind was at this moment ensconced in her bosses' office, probably in his lap, planting kisses all over his face.
"Oooohhhhhh!" She actually slapped her hand on the desk, not even feeling the sharp sting. How on earth a man as brilliant as Perry Mason could be taken in by that snake in furs was beyond her.
Just then the sound of high pitched laughter filtered through the closed door. Della stood so suddenly her chair banged against the wall.
"That's it! Enough is enough."
She covered her typewriter, grabbed her purse and gloves from the bottom desk drawer and headed for the door between her office and Gertie's, their receptionist. Slamming the door, she looked at a very startled Gertie.
"My goodness, Miss Street. You scared me nearly to death. Is there…"
"Gertie, please tell MR. Mason I'm taking some vacation time."
"Okay…but…what if…how long?"
Della softened her tone. "Don't tell him anything else. I have several weeks of vacation coming to me so there shouldn't be a problem."
With that she left Gertie staring after her, mouth hanging open. Gertie couldn't imagine what was happening. Della Street never took time away. Unless, Gertie thought, it's because of Mr. Mason's current guest. Gertie really disliked that woman.
Sitting on the front porch of her Aunt Mae's Bolero Beach bungalow, sipping her aunt's jasmine iced tea, Della finally felt herself relax. The screen door opened and Mae Kirby stepped out with a full pitcher of the tea, topping off Della's glass.
Setting the pitcher on a small table, she settled into another chair. She stared at her favorite niece with concern. She knew Della wouldn't talk until she was ready, but considering she had already fielded three phone calls from Perry Mason, Mae was sure whatever was wrong, it had to do with the handsome lawyer.
Della sighed deeply, very aware that Mae was anxious to ask questions. She supposed that she might as well get it over with. Taking a long drink of the delicious tea, she set her glass down on the table and turned to her aunt.
"Okay, Aunt Mae. Let's get this out of the way. I needed some time away from the office and yes, it is because of MR. Mason. Now that's all I want to say about it. Just please keep telling him I'm not here if he calls. Oh and that goes for Paul Drake, because I know Perry will eventually put him on my tail."
With that, Della stood, walked down the few steps and headed for the beach. When she reached the sand, she slipped off her sandals, walking into the water to stand staring at the slowly setting sun.
Now Mae was truly worried about her. To take off from her job with no warning, to refuse phones calls and more to the point, Della never referred to him as 'Mr. Mason', especially with such anger. Whatever Perry had done may not be able to be repaired. And this saddened her because she had always had hopes of Della and Perry becoming more than boss and secretary.
The ringing phone brought her to her feet. Entering the house, she grabbed the receiver. "Hello?"
"Mrs. Kirby, this is Paul Drake."
Mae chuckled at Della's premonition. "Hello, Mr. Drake. How can I help you?"
"Mae, is Della there?"
Mae hated lying but she would also do anything to protect her niece. "No, Mr. Drake, she's not. Is there something wrong?"
Paul let out an exasperated sigh. "Yes, no, sorta. It's just that she decided to take an unscheduled vacation and we're…I'm kinda worried."
Mae hesitated before she answered. "Mr. Drake, I'm sure she's fine wherever she is. But if I might ask, why do you think she did this?"
Paul let out another sigh. He lit a cigarette and blew out a stream of smoke. "I'm not entirely sure, but I think it might have something to do with a bi…witch that Perry was involved with a long time ago. She showed up today unannounced. And there has always been an instant dislike between the two women."
Now Mae understood. "Well then, I'd say Mr. Mason needs to figure this one out himself."
Paul laughed. "That's exactly what I told him. But until he can find Della, it's going to be rather difficult."
Mae hesitated again, torn between her love for Della and her worry that if the two people she cared most about couldn't figure this out it would be disastrous, she finally made up her mind.
"Mr. Drake, I know for a fact Della is okay. She just needs time to figure out what to do. I'm sure if Mr. Mason were to explain things to her, it could be worked out between them."
Paul listened to what Mae said, and it suddenly made sense to him. Della was there, but Mae didn't want to betray her obvious instructions not to let anyone, especially Perry, know where she was.
"Very well, Mrs. Kirby. I'll keep trying to find her. And I'll pass the information onto Perry. Thank you."
Mae hung up, rubbing her forehead, hoping she had done the right thing.