Any hopes for a nice, quiet wedding quickly disappeared once Clara's mother was informed of Clara and Fleet's engagement. After some jubilations ("Oh Clara, I knew you you'd listen to reason one day! You've finally caught yourself a husband!") she took the reigns of the arrangements without listening to any protestations. "You need someone who knows what they're doing, dear," she said when Clara said that she would do it herself.
Only a few things remained to do for Fleet and Clara.
Their office had changed drastically over the past few weeks. Instead of one chair behind each desk, there were now two chairs behind one desk and a stack of growing paperwork on the other. And instead of cases and criminals; the matter being discussed was who to invite to the wedding.
Fleet was tapping his pencil on the desk, frowning in concentration. "Keller," he said after a while.
"Of course," Clara said, frowning just as much as Fleet. Suddenly her eyebrows shot up and she grinned. "You know, he's probably going to sing at the wedding."
"You're, right, he probably will." Fleet smiled. "I could try talking to him beforehand-"
"I really want to see my mother's face, though."
"I thought as much."
They smiled mischievously at each other.
"Where have you heard him sing before, though?" Fleet asked. "I don't remember-"
"At your funeral," Clara grimaced.
Fleet groaned. "Of course."
Clara placed her hand on Fleet's hand on the desk. He immediately turned his hand around and grasped hers.
They sat like that for a while, each lost in their own thoughts. Fleet was thinking about how strange it was going to be for the persons who were at his funeral to be at his wedding. Clara was thinking about how nice it was to hold Fleet's large, slightly gruff hand; especially when he was deep in thought and stroking her hand with his thumb.
This peaceful moment didn't last long, however.
"Are you two TOUCHING?" Mrs Pomligan bellowed from the door.
Mrs Pomligan, of course, had been outraged to learn that Clara and Fleet would still be working together, unchaperoned, in their office until the wedding took place. She had insisted on them keeping the door open at all times, and her daily schedule now included regular patrols upstairs.
Clara and Fleet reacted to her presence appropriately. Within less than a second, their chairs were more than a meter apart.
"Miss Entwhistle and I were only-"
"The Inspector and I were only-"
Mrs Pomligan didn't stay to listen to their redfaced excuses, but went away grumbling words like "inappropriate" and "disgrace".
Clara and Fleet looked at each other sheepishly and moved their chairs back until they were nearly shoulder to shoulder.
"Mrs Pomligan really has an intimidating voice," Clara said.
"Yes, I feel like having a heart attack every time she does that." Fleet rubbed his neck awkwardly.
"You've known her for long, Fleet; shouldn't you be used to her by now?" Clara teased.
"Mrs Pomligan is a unique creature," Fleet said, his mind already someplace else. "By the way, my dear, when are you going to start calling me by my given name? We are engaged, after all."
Clara smiled broadly at the 'my dear'.
"I guess some things will take some getting used to. Archie," she tested the name. "Archie, ARCHIE, Aaaaaarchie…"
Fleet's face flushed red. It was overwhelming hearing her say his name so many times consecutively when he was barely used to her saying it even once.
"… Archie," Clara finished. "Barely anyone calls you that, you know? I'm not used to it."
Fleet scrambled to think of someone. "Miss Waverley does," he said weakly, not able to think of another example.
Clara smiled. "You call yourself Archie too, when you talk to yourself."
Fleet blushed to the roots of his hair. "I don't!"
"I've heard you, you know," she laughed at him, before becoming thoughtful again. "'Fleet' just has such a nice ring to it, you know?"
"You can't very well keep calling me 'Fleet' when it becomes your own surname as well," Fleet said.
Clara's eyes widened. "I hadn't thought of that. It's a pity…" She trailed off, before seeing something like disappointment in Fleet's face. "Not that I have to take your name, you silly man, I like it! It's just, we have such a nice door board. 'Fleet and Fleet Private Investigations' doesn't sound nearly as nice."
Fleet smiled. "That's true."
Clara grinned at him. "Why don't you take my name? Then the board can stay the same."
A hearty laugh escaped Fleet. "You really like that board, don't you?"
"How could I not? It was a gift from one of my dearest friends."
Fleet gazed at her with a soft smile. "I love the way your mind works," was all he answered to that.
Clara blushed. It was silent for a bit after that.
Finally, she spoke up again. "Why don't we go and have lunch? We've clearly become distracted from our work on the guestlist."
They walked to the door together, and Fleet made a gallant bow and gestured for her to go first. "Mrs Fleet," he said with a smile.
She nodded with exaggerated primness. "Mr Entwhistle."
They went down the stairs laughing.