Chance Encounters · NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Chance Encounters – Chapter 8

Diary of Kristina

14th February 2015

It is a few minutes after midnight. I’m awake and forever thankful with myself that I had the foresight to pack books and laptop for this weekend. My gut, as usual, got it bang on again.

In all honesty, I am only actually awake right now because I feel like I need to clear my head of the most horrible nightmare. I will write it down to hopefully just siphon it out of my brain.

I was stood in an airport full of people. It felt so real and I could feel the faceless strangers brushing past me, I could smell strong coffee from a nearby coffee shop. Then, suddenly, all I could focus on was Carl – at the point up on one of the upper levels of what I could only presume to be the Duty Free. Oddly, he was playing a guitar. I know for a fact his sense of timing and rhythm is absolutely awful – to a point I am pretty sure that playng a musical instrument would be rendered impossible.

So, anyway, he was playing this guitar and singing that song from Olly Murs – I think I wanna marry you. He was staring right at me and the entire airport had almost frozen around me. He kept singing and walking towards me and getting closer and closer. Then the crowds, who were all starting to stare intently between him and me, were closing in around me. I was looking around desperately and I could not escape this spine chilling situation.

I felt so trapped and scare and empty of any sort of positive feeling for this man in the middle of what seemed to be a well-planned and elaborate proposal. Eventually, he got within a few feet of me and was down on one knee (the music was strangely still playing even though the guitar had mysteriously disappeared by this point). That dreaded small red velvet box was open before me. The ring it held glinted in the electric lights of the airport – a small pearl nestled in a silver band.

“Will you marry me Kristina? Will you be mine forever?”

Even in this dream/nightmare I knew that this was all so wrong. I could not do this. Why had he thought that this was in any way a good idea? They were never going to work long term?

“Carl…. I can’t… we can’t…” I completely stammered to this dream Carl in front of the eager crowd, “You have to realise that we just would not work long term. We would kill each other.”

This dream man in front of me obviously had not come to the same conclusion. Although, logically, if he had then he would not have organised this ridiculous idea.

The other seriously creepy thing that started up was that the crowd around me actually started booing. I felt like a villain in a Christmas pantomime. The first fruit came flying from somewhere and hit me in the back of the head.

That was the thing mid-nightmare that finally allowed my release from the internal hell. Where the hell had that come from?

Partly Carl being an absolute let-down (again) and my mother. That mental woman is desperate from grandchildren. I am not desperate to be a mother. She seems convinced that – because I did not want to go to uni – my secret dream is to get married and have lots of babies. As Carl is the only man currently in my life she has become fixated on him.

Personally, I blame the fact she reads the Daily Mail. I am convinced that the total trash of a newspaper has caused her to ‘realise’ that she will be dead in a few years and will not get old enough to have grandchildren unless she tries to hurry the process along. As soon as I told her that Carl and I had booked a hotel for the weekend, I am pretty sure that was the moment she started planning our wedding in her head.

She is going to be very disappointed.

The absolutely beautiful local hotel was indeed booked for both of us. He was meant to meet me here – in the foyer. I received a text (the absolute good-for-nothing could not even be bothered to call) about 5 minutes after the agreed meet time.

Sorry Baby. Something has come up last minute. I am so, so sorry.

So I was stood in a hotel foyer waiting to check into a room that had been booked and paid for (in my name – but luckily with Carl’s credit card).  

Then another text came through.

I have just called the hotel and told them to charge all of your expenses to the card if you still want to make use of the room.

So that is how I ended up checking into a hotel room alone on Valentines weekend. I was pretty much spitting fire for the first few hours that he had cancelled last minute. To be honest, I am quite sure that he had thought I would have turned tail and left. No luck there – all the expenses to his credit card? There was no way I was going home!

The fire spitting did slightly subside when I wondered into the hotel bar – after a relaxing shower – and discovered that the guy behind the bar was an expert cocktail maker. As a result, I ended up spending most of the evening sat there learning new recipes. Heaven!!!

So, seeing as the idiot could not be bother to turn up, I can have a productive and relaxing weekend without him. Amazing food and fantastic cocktails always taste so much better when someone else is paying.

I wonder if I can hit his credit limit? This could be

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Chance Encounters · NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Chance Encounters – Chapter 7

Early August

Kristina was still curled up on the sofa. She had been there most of the day and was not currently feeling a single once of guilt for doing so. Even without managing to actually get changed, she had been able to have a super productive day – actually managing to complete what had initially been a very long ‘TO-DO’ list. Breathing a sigh of relief, she shut the laptop down, stretched and wondering over to the drinks cupboard.

It was only 4 in the afternoon – but she felt like she deserved a treat!

Pulling out her ‘cocktail recipe’ book – a well-thumbed print filled with multi-coloured page markers and covered in hundreds of scribbles – Kristina started flicking through the pages in search of something she fancied.

Wondering with the book through to the kitchen and through to the garden (a small courtyard space ideal for growing herbs and drinking cocktails in the sun), she smiled. The mint did indeed need harvesting. It was always a good day when the gardening jobs linked with her cocktail cravings.

Kristina reappeared into the kitchen about 5 minutes later with a small tub full of mint leaves. After giving them a quick wash, she set about collecting the lime, sugar, soda water, white rum and ice from their various homes in the kitchen. Within another few minutes, she had a cocktail jug of minty mojito sat happily on her coffee table.

One of her bright pink jam jar glasses had just been filled with the cocktail mix. Feeling slightly frivolous, Kristina had also just added a matching bright pink umbrella, sparkler and glittery straw to the jar.

She tasted her creation before relaxing into the sofa with a relaxed smile and flicking the telly on. A cheesy Christmas film was playing on channel 5 and Kristina watched it with only the briefest thought as to why they were playing Christmas films in August.

About an hour and a half later, as the credits rolled down the screen –the elf, child and reindeer having saved the bookstore for yet another year of Christmas festivities – her phone started flashing. Someone had apparently sent her a text message.

After peering more closely at the screen she signed in annoyance. It was Carl. What the heck did he want this time? Kristina was still fuming at him for cancelling the other week. She was so bored of him messing her around all the time. Going for another glass, she was disappointed to find that only a few small drops exited the jug. Damn.

Flicking the screen, the message appeared before her on the screen.

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much.

Will pick you up at 8. Wear something nice.

C

X

Looking at the time at the top right of the screen she could see it was 7:15. There was just enough time for a shower before she got changed….

Kristina stared angrily at the cocktail jug. She was pretty sure that if it was not for her drinking the jug full of mojito (with a generous quantity of white rum added in) she would not even be considering this. It was so ridiculous.  Why did he always do this – the letting her down and then come crawling back?

Deciding that she may as well go – Kristina could not be bothered to cook and did not really fancy a takeaway – she got up off the sofa and headed upstairs for a shower.

It was about 7:55 from he did actually turn up. Kristina quickly moved the empty cocktail glass and jug into the kitchen sink. She was not going to make it so obvious that she was already past tipsy (she had sobered up a little from the shower). He was not going to get ‘an easy ride’. She was not going to let him get away with how he had been treated her.

Having psyched herself up, she pulled the door open to reveal the man known as Carl stood on her doorstep. He was clutching a small bunch of flowers and a bottle bag.

“I am so, so, so sorry about the other week baby. I tried so hard to get out it to be back on time. But I did not have any choice. I had to stay.”

Kristina listened as he was apologising in the same way he always did. It was never his fault. She sighed inwardly, but grinned at him as he handed over the apology gifts.

“Thanks Carl,” she responded, gesturing for him to follow her inside. Examining the bottle bag, she discovered it contained a blue glass bottle of Bombay Sapphire.

It was worth saying yes to the evening purely for this beautiful bottle – she had finished off her last bottle of gin last week trying a gin and honey cocktail recipe she had found on the internet. It was a classic according to the blog site and definitely worth repeating.

After adding the bottle to her drinks cabinet, Kristina found some water for her flowers (bright yellow daffodils this time). Then she headed towards the door, picking out a pair of sparkly flats to go with her black jeans and silvery glittery top. Carl then handed her a coat to match.

They left for town in Carl’s classic Porsche. Within 25 minutes they were both seating in a reasonably nice all-you-can-eat restaurant.

By time Kristina had returned with her plate full of spring rolls, onion bhajis and lamb curry, Carl had managed a plateful of his own and had also found time to buy a bottle of white wine from the bar. The two glasses on the table in front of him had already been poured.

“Thanks for the wine,” she took a seat and gave it a dry. It was light and fruity – very refreshing and a very good pick.

“Cheers.”

They clinked glasses and then descended into a semi awkward silence.

“So how’s work? You must be busy, you’re hardly ever around.”

Carl flashed her a smile across the table before finishing the mouthful of food.

“A few really interesting new clients. I keep getting people recommending me to people they know. So that word of mouth effect seems to be getting busier all the time. That Linked-In business page you got me to set up seems to be feeding me through a few contacts as well. So all good, and you?”

“Busy. I’m feeling so much better now that I don’t have to work part time as well. I am managing to get a lot of blogging done as well as all the work. Proposals and scheduling social media posts seems to be taking all of my work day at the moment. But I am enjoying the challenge.”

Amelia had been stood next to the oven for most of the last hour. At this point her right hand was starting to ache slightly from the cramp.

She sighed and flexed her hand again as she stared into the chopped tomatoes and beef stock mix.

At least this was not as bad as chopping the onions, she mused – a large red onion and a couple of cloves of garlic had been fried off as the base for the sauce. Suffice it to say that Amelia would have to re-apply her mascara before Mark arrived home.

Deciding that the sauce could be left for a while to reduce, she found the matching lid for the pot and turned it down to a simmer. Then Amelia retrieved the freshly ground mince from her local butches from the fridge. After mixing this up with a spicy herb mix – a mix of thinly sliced fresh chillies, fresh basil and fresh coriander – she left the mix in the bowl on the side for a while. Amelia would fry that up and mix it to the tomato bolognaise sauce later on. There was not really anything else that she could get on with for a while.

Amelia wondered over to the box of red-wine and filled a small crystal glass.

Then she proceeded to relax on her very comfy circular corner sofa with her glass and stared out into the garden.

It was still a beautifully sunny day outside and her garden was currently in bloom. The view out of the window was a complete patchwork of colours, textures and shapes. Pulling her phone from her pocket, she pinged Mark a quick text.

Hope work is going well.

Do not forget dinner tonight!

Hope you are having at least a pleasant birthday x

Love you x

Amelia had almost finished her first glass of wine when her phone started vibrating on the arm of the chair.

Birthday going well thanks.

This morning was an excellent start to the day 😉

I promise that I will see you for dinner this evening

XXXXX

She grinned and a sigh of relief that she had not realised that she had been holding escaped her. At least he was still keeping to birthday traditions!

What was starting to trouble her was that the restaurant meal last week had not been Mark’s only sudden cancellation. When they had first got together – then right up to the beginning of this year – he had been the most reliable thing in her life. He had kept every single date they had organised. All of the coffee meets, the lunches and the dinners.

Now she had reached the point where she should start being eternally thankful if he turned up for dinner on time. She was slowly becoming ‘that woman’. Sat at home all day, waiting for him to return from the office. The only reason that Amelia had not gone completely stir crazy with cabin fever was her knitting and the budding friendship with Kristina. Both were excellent distractions and she was eternally thankful for them.

The trouble was all these late night and cancelled meetings always get a woman thinking. There had to be a reason. She had tried just asking Mark outright – and he just blamed work. However, she was well aware that work had always been busy. When he had graduated from his masters, Mark had set up him own business within 12 months. Even in that manic chaos of starting your own business, he had always time for her. He was now a few years into running a very successful local pharmacy business – there was now 4 shops in his group – with a great team of managers and staff. Within the last 3 months his decreasing workload had increase to levels above what he was doing during setup and start-up.

So, logically, Amelia thought to herself, this could not just be work. There had to be something else going on. Mark was not even sharing it with her, so it was something he could not trust her with. She shivered inwardly and tried to push the trail of thought away from the front of her head.

A buzzer went off – signifying that it was time to get the mince fried off. With a small mental shove, she got herself out of her very comfy seat and finished building the lasagne. Once the dish was built in her glass container, she groaned inwardly. Now to have a go at the birthday cake…

About an hour later the dinner was in the oven and the double chocolate cake was cooling on the side. Amelia stared at it in despair and desperately wished that she had left herself enough time to ice it. Rather than a nice, risen, rounded top she had a shallow dip in the middle. The mixture had tasted alright though. So she could only hope that the final result would be just as good.

She had just rescued the rather lovely looking bottle of bubbly wine from the fridge when she heard Mark coming in through the front door.

“Hello!” he called as he wondered in the corridor, “How was your day?”

“It was good thanks. The cake was not a total disaster…”

“You managed not to burn it this time?” he questioned with a grin.

The other year Amelia had forgot to set the timer. By the time she had realised that she had forgotten about it the fire alarm was reminding her. It had taken her hours to clean the over afterwards. So she had asked Mark to rescue a ready-made one from the local Tesco Express (so they has ended up sitting with their champagne and slices of a chocolate caterpillar cake).

“Nope – set timers for everything today. A definite improvement. The dinner will be ready in about another 10 minutes. A glass of something bubbly while you are waiting?”

“If you could pour me one please. I’m going to go and put my phone away upstairs and get changed.”

Overall, Amelia felt that Mike’s birthday dinner actually went pretty well. The main course had involved eating most the lasagne – apparently Mike had not had time to include lunch in his schedule today. At this point, between them, they had made their way through the bottle of bubbly, a bottle of red wine from the cupboard and half of another very enjoyable bottle of red which Amelia had made also magically appear from the alcohol cupboard.

After clearing up the main course she decided that it was time for a bathroom break.

It was after she wobbled to the bathroom (she was pretty sure that her balance had gone after glass of wine number 3) and was safely sat on the toilet that the idea came to her. Initially – even in her drunken state – the idea seemed difficult to accept. This was not something that she had ever felt she had needed to do. But perhaps that would give her the answers she needed. If Mark was not going to give them to her – Amelia felt that had to know before she went totally loopy.

She needed to check his phone.

Amelia stumbled in the direction of the bedroom. It had to be in here somewhere, she was pretty sure that he would not have bothered hiding it. Mark had promised that he would leave it out of the kitchen so that they could actually have a night together.

Upon entering the bedroom, Amelia did a quick 360. As predicted, it had indeed been left in the bedroom. She could see the damn device’s little green LED flashing on the bedside table. He had a message from somebody. Clicking the home button did not help further her investigation – ‘message contents hidden’ was the only thing revealed to her.

Before she could start to process anything further she heard Mike shouting from the bottom of the stairs.

“Oi Amelia! You ok up there? I was wondering if you need rescuing out of the loo? Please hurry up! I want to try this cake!”

Deciding that she wanted to provide a good excuse for the amount of time she had been upstairs – something without the need for long explanations – she stripped down to her underwear and slipped on her silk dressing gown. At least that would distract him from the cake if it was as bad as she suspected it would be…

Chance Encounters · NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Chance Encounters – Chapter 6

Diary of Amelia

14th February 2015

The last 24 hours is some of the best time Mark and I have spent together in such a long time. It’s been so amazing to have the concept that he loves me reaffirmed – sometimes you do just start to get a little worried!!! But I really want to record this all in detail.

This weekend, Mark has really surprised me. He took yesterday (Friday) off work – shock horror as I had not seen him for more than 10 minutes this week – and told me to go out for the morning. I was handed a credit card (I’m usually not trusted not to go shopping) and told to go actual shopping for a few hours. “Don’t return until after lunch” he said.  One of the best bits was that I was told to go and treat myself to a beautiful new dress! Which was seriously awesome – I soon found myself in the Castlepoint TK Max.

Parking was a complete nightmare – but the dress (and matching shoes…) made the entire thing totally worth it. I also swung past my favourite salon (they had a walk-in deal sign outside so it would have been rude not too) on the way back – spilt ends needed some TLC.

The best bit, when I got home Mark had 2 suitcases packed and informed me that I wouldn’t need to worry about cooking for the next few days. Putting 2 & 2 together I started jumping up and down in excitement.

I asked him where we were going and was informed that it was very nice, but not very far. He needed to be relatively close to work – just encase. Thinking about it, I am pretty sure that the last time we went abroad was out honeymoon…

A few minutes later – I’d needed to rescue his valentines present from my yarn cupboard (because why would he ever think to look there?!??)  – we were on the road with suitcases packed in the boot.

It took us about 15 minutes before we arrived at the local Marriott hotel. This made my stomach start to flutter, it was the first place we had stayed away together (although that had been mid-week to accommodate our frugal student budget). So, even though it was so close to home, it was still ridiculously romantic.

When we arrived, Mark took the door keys and led the way upstairs. The room was beautiful and although the original plan was to head straight down stairs we were delayed a little 😉 I had to thank him properly!

Anyway…. Once we had got changed again… we headed downstairs to the hotel bar to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon. Mark and I settled ourselves with a couple of mugs of coffee on a small, secluded table by the window. We had a fantastic view out onto the English Channel. The view good enough that I was convinced that I could see France – but Mark was totally unconvinced by my assertions.

The best bit was that he left his phone in the bedroom that entire afternoon, so we spent a few hours having proper conversations – exactly like we used to before work got so busy for him.

As the afternoon continued I may well have progressed from coffee to Irish coffee to a G&T. I also do not officially admit to being on G&T number 3 when Mark suggested (with a very obvious amount of subtext) that we head upstairs to start getting ready for dinner.

It took us over 2 hours to ‘get ready for dinner’.

But I regret nothing 😉

So after a very relaxing joint shower we both got changed into our ‘posh people’ outfits and made our way down to dinner.

The food was absolutely amazing and Mark treated us to an amazing bottle of champagne. A very rare treat for me. We decided we were both too full for pudding, but we did head back to the bar to order a glass of wine for me and a whiskey for Mark.

Sat in the bar, we sat in a relaxed silence before starting out in an old game of gesturing at other people in the bar and trying to imagine where they had come from. It was an old game from uni where the cinema was too expensive and we had needed to make our own entertainment.

We shifted our chairs closer together and Mark poured champagne from our second bottle of the evening.

The room was filled – shockingly – we couples. So the only person I really remember from the game is a woman sat on her own in the corner. She was dressed up really nicely – so we could only presume that potentially her date had not actually shower. Mark laughed like a small child, but I did feel a little sorry for her. Being surrounded by all of these other couples on Valentine’s Day must have been a really horrible experience.

** Word Count 8818. **

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NaNoWriMo 2015 – Chance Encounters – Chapter 5

Late July 2015

Kristina was enjoying a solitary drink. This was not her usually haunt by any means. She was currently sat on a slightly firm, but comfy armchair in the corner of a weatherspoons about 5 minutes from her house. It was pleasant enough in here but not her usually preference.

It was warm enough for her have sat outside. However, the (not particularly huge) beer garden had already been filled by what looked like a stag party – most of the all-male group were wearing different fluorescent coloured onesies accessorised by feather boas. She checked her watch, 7:30pm. They were obviously pre-drinking before heading into town. It was a cheap place to do it… and it was still way too early for any self-respecting person in their late teens or early 20’s to head into town.

So, she was stuck indoors. But that did make ordering drinks a lot easier. Usually, she would have made the trip over to town in search of a half decent cocktail. Even considering the pre-mixed ones just made a shiver pulse down Kristina’s spine. They were just nasty when you knew how the drinks were supposed to taste.

With that in mind, she played it safe and ordered a Gin and Tonic.

“Hi Kristina!”

She turned to her left, it was her neighbour. Caroline – an elderly lady who spent most of her time in the garden and catching passers-by in conversation – was wondering in her direction with two glasses of something bubbly.

“Hi Caroline, are you celebrating something?” asked Kristina, gesturing to the glasses.

The lady, her eyes twinkling madly nodded with a grin,

“My very good friend Brian is turning 80 today – so we thought we would come out and celebrate,” Caroline replied – nodding to another table further into the room with a balding gentlemen dressed in a shirt and jeans.

“Tell him happy birthday from me. I hope you both have a lovely evening.”

“Thank you dear. I’ll see you soon!”

The rather short woman disappeared off with her two glasses and left the corner feeling quieter than it had before.

Even her elderly neighbour seemed to have a better social life than she did, mused Kristina as she stared at the lime slice that was currently doing laps around the edge of her glass. ‘Getting out more’  needed to be added to her ‘To-do’ list. Although, she was now starting to pray that none of the clients she didn’t like were planning on coming in here tonight. After a few G&T’s her filter may well be defunct.

Resisting the urge to rescue her mobile phone from her pocket, Kristina started staring around the room. It was an odd mix in here. Predominately, probably because it was a little local pub by a small high street, there was a strange mix of locals of all ages. So not a usual mix,   but it made for an unusual atmosphere.

The younger families were starting to make a relaxed exit from the building as she wondered up to the bar to order a burger and chips. It was from there that she spotted her. Clutching her bag, she scurried over to the familiar face who was currently sat on her own on a chair by the door.

“Amelia! Hi!”

The other woman looked up to see an excitable looking Kristina making a beeline towards her. Finally, whichever god was up there was starting to smile on her. The original plan was for her to meet Mark up here for dinner. But he had decided last minute (i.e. she had walked up to meet him and was waiting outside the pub) that work was far too busy for him to have an evening off. So, not wanting to waste the walk, she wondered into the pub to find food.

“Hi Kristina, how are you?”

“Well thanks! Are you on your own? I’ve got a table over the other side of the room. I’ve ordered food, want to join me?”

Amelia nodded with a grin, “Yes I am, last minute plan change. That would be great, I’ll just order some food. What table number are you?”

“27. Just over in the corner, I’ll see you there in a sec.”

Within a few minutes Amelia was comfortably sat in the corner with Kristina sipping a large glass of red wine. To a passer-by, the pair both looked a lot happier that they had previously. A sense of calm had been ignited into the corner of the room.

Dinner arrived about 10 minutes later – leading to a loud ‘woop’ from Kristina and Amelia snorting into her wine glass. Thankfully, no wine crime was committed on this evening out.

“So what brought you out this evening?” asked Amelia, dipping her narn bread into her curry.

“Got bored with sitting at home, but couldn’t be bothered to dress up or go anywhere. I also have no friends and Carl is away on business, again. So hence why I am here and on originally on my own,” explained Kristina, her 2nd – or was it 3rd? – G&T starting to loosen her tongue a little. The filter was definitely starting to head out of the door in a skip.

The other woman grinned, “I completely know that feeling. It took me ages to get Mark to agree to meet me for dinner and he cancelled about 15 minutes ago. I mean, for God’s sake, I was already stood outside!”

“But, look at it this way – it brought you to a place where there is wine!!!” Now Kristina’s gestures were starting to become very over exaggerated.

It was at the point Amelia was about to get up to order them another round that a tray with 4 sparkling glasses of wine arrived with the remainder of a bottle to their table. Caroline and her gentleman friend suddenly also appeared with chairs.

“We figured that you lovely ladies both needed new wine in new glasses and we wanted the pleasure of your company,” explained Brian – in a voice that was slightly louder than required, handing out the glasses with a huge beaming smile plastered across his face.

Kristina flashed a look at Caroline (she was aiming for slightly quizzical, but she was not entirely sure her face had managed it fully). The other woman just gave her a bright, wide smile in return that informed Kristina that this had not been her idea. However, that woman had not considered it a bad one and had completely gone along with the scheme.

Amelia raised an eyebrow at Kristina – as if to say ‘does this happen often to you?’ To which she received a small shrug in reply as Kristina reached for her glass.

“I would love to thank Brian for the wine…. Very lovely of you! I would also like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

The unconventional group then all clinked glasses and necked down half a glass. They then all had a small coughing fit. Bubbles are not great for swallowing. Then they all laughed loudly and Caroline decided that shots were in order. Apparently, when not gardening, she was a great Tequila drinker. Who knew?

“So what brought you lovely ladies out?” queried Brian, having got rid of his lemon rind on the tray.

“A lack of anything else better to do,” responded Amelia, following suit, “My husband is a total arse and decided to cancel plans while I waited for him outside.”

Brian stared at her, wide eyed, “I’m not being funny, but if I was married to someone like you I would never leave your side – or your bed!”

Kristina nearly wet herself laughing at Amelia’s shocked face.

Caroline promptly smacked the man’s arm and jokingly hissed, “stop giving the lady ideas. You’re taken!” She finished the telling off with a very over exaggerated wink in his direction.

He laughed loudly and the group all quickly joined in.

** Total word count so far = 7,929. 23 days left to hit 50,000**

Chance Encounters · NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo – Chance Encounters – Chapter 4

The diary of Kristina

17th January 2015

So this is the first time I’ve managed to write anything in here since New Year. Unexpectedly, Carl randomly turned up on New Year’s eve (around lunch) with 2 tickets to a New Years party in the O2 (the one in Bournemouth unfortunately). He then dragged me out dress shopping – such a hardship! – then he treated me to a sparkly new dress. TK Maxx is awesome. Did not get much sleep that night, but it was so totally worth it.

This year has got to be a good one. Finally have enough established clients that I’m not having to work 24 hours a day to pay the rent. So that is a complete win and I am already starting to feel better for it.

Things I want to get done for this year to be awesomely successful:

  1. Get a few larger clients – ideally medium to large sized business. That would be really interesting to have a go at.
  2. Start saving for a deposit – or at least earn enough so that I have cash spare to save for a deposit.
  3. Grow my blog to a size where I can actually earn a little bit of money off it. That would be awesome if it could start paying for itself.

Managed to get another blog post up today. So feeling rather pleased with myself. Although, not the most thought-provoking videos had popped up today – the best one was pretty cute. Someone, somehow, has managed to get a video of a cat hugging a baby pigeon. In all honestly, I have no idea how on earth this was done with no blood! But the two animals on my screen have successfully survived the 5 minutes of video – the pigeon thoroughly washed with cat spit. Nice…

I’m pretty sure that I only actually bothered to write the pigeon blog to avoid my blinking email box. It looks really full (about 22 unopened emails) and I just did not really want to face it initially.

When I did, I did wonder why I had actually bothered putting them off. 6 were from various Social Media blogs I read/ scan through. There was one interesting article about Facebook algorithm changes for pages. But the rest were not much use to me. So a nice and quick start to inbox clear operation.

Another 7 were from potentially new clients inquiring about meeting for a consultation – which means the ‘free consultation’ leaflets I’ve spent time posting actually worked! Then another 2 were whining emails from clients wanting me to repeat information I had already sent over to them – I resent the old emails with a ‘see below’. I refuse to waste time repeating myself. 4 were from clients asking very sensible ideas and asking if stuff they had seen other people do could be incorporated into something for them. Thankfully, they had all sent URL’s or at least a screen shot and I spent a good couple of hours going through those and investigating the suggestions. After figuring out if they were any good, I replied back with emails confirming whether I would add the idea to the plan or suggested a date to discuss it. Those are the kind of clients I really like – engaging with the process and helping with industry knowledge I just don’t always have.

The other one, the very last unopened mail in my inbox, appeared to have come from an email address I hadn’t seen before.

thetruthbehindthelies@gmail.com

I’m going to be honest, I sat there for about 5 minutes starting at it before I clicked on it. Carl was always telling me to be careful when opening emails encase of viruses etc. My virus scanner was still happily buzzing away as a little item in the corner of my desktop. So I would be pretty safe from anything that might come through.

When I opened it, rather than 3 millions links taking me to strange, foreign sites, along with hundreds of strange attachments, there was only a body of text. I’ve copied and pasted it into here for posterity. It is truly a classic piece of work. Possibly someone feeling just a tad paranoid?

Every Responsible Upstanding Member of the Community is Actually a Criminal in Disguise.

 That heading literally cracked me up. I nearly sent my coffee crashing to the ground. Seriously, who were these people?

Bloggers around the world, I urge you to join my cause for it is a noble one.

To be honest, I should have stopped reading it there, but I continued.

What I have to tell you will change how you visualise the very much fabricated strains of our reality. Those figures in who we put all our out trust to keep us safe, employee our brothers, sisters, uncles, mothers do not have their best interests at heart. There is a huge conspiracy afoot. I believe that I am the very first to have been brave enough to pass on this message.

At this point my eyes did flick back to the email address, then the lack of signature at the bottom. No points for bravery from me if you are not even going to bother giving me your name. No evidence either! Lols for not even being able to do any back fact checking.

I feel that it is my solemn duty to break it to you that all of those within your communities that you trust and rely on are in embroiled in this grand conspiracy. I beg you to believe what I have to say. These honourable pillars of the community all have links with criminal gangs which have helped fund their high rise to power. How else have they managed to so successfully climb to the top of the tower? Answer me this.

The answer – you cannot find it within you with a ‘logical answer’ can you? That is because there is truth in what I have to say. International criminal organisations are slowly taking over our society by creating the people in power. They are their faces, their puppets. The puppet masters pull the strings as quickly as they pour the cash into their puppet’s pockets.

Our whole world is being controlled by faceless individual who control of ‘elected officials’. Those who believe that we live in a fair and free society are imagining a bygone era.

Life as we now experience it is not free, or fair or safe. You must free yourself from these chains and revolt with me today.

Revolt with me today by signing this petition: https://www.change.org/p/stop-our-government-being-controlled-by-faceless-criminal-masterminds

The link really set me off. It was about another 5 minutes before my laughter had calmed down enough to click through on it. The description was basically just a copy and paste of the email content.

It had 5 signatures after 24 hours. Funnily enough, I don’t hold much faith of this being debated in parliament any time soon… although that will be probably blamed on it being part of the conspiracy attempting to down trod the ‘real people’… There is no talking sense to some people!

Alternatively, reply to this email directly if you want to ask any further questions. If you would like to take a more active involvement I would also encourage you to message. We are currently actively recruiting for new members.

Shockingly, I was not every planning on replying to this email and I quickly deleted it. It was just so hilarious what some people think. I mean, everyone is – of course – entitled to an opinion. But please do not make me listen to it if it is quiet that stupid.

Seriously, who actually genuinely still believes things like this????

**Would love to know what you guys think 🙂 Please feel free to post honest feedback below 🙂 It would be much appreciated**

NaNoWriMo · Updates

NaNoWriMo – Chance Encounters – Writer’s Update

So I’ve made it to day 6. I am already behind on my word count. I’ve started a new job this week – so I’m totally exhausted today as my new shift is 3 – 10:30pm. But that has hampered my hopes from writing this week while my body adjusts to the new pattern. But hopefully, in the long run the morning time will be awesome for creative productivity 🙂

Thankfully the weekend starts tomorrow – have plans for a Indian themed snack dinner (with wine) for dinner as my husband and I have hardly seen each other this week. So I am hoping this minimal cooking strategy will be a productive strategy for catching up on word count during the day while he is at work.

Apparently the par for day 6 (according the NaNo site) is 10000. I’m currently on 5877. I’m posting the chapters as I complete the first draft of them on the tab above in the menu bar – so apologies for appalling grammar, there is no time to go back and check at the moment. However, I would love to know what you think of it so far. When it’s all done and edited, I would love to get it posted up on Amazon and get myself a printed copy 🙂 Seeing my work in print is definitely a bucket list/life goal.

Knitting projects: 

Currently about 1/2 way through the red ribbed scarf. Totally behind on this project. It’s a gift that is needed for 2 weeks time. Arggghhhh!!!!

Dan’s Christmas Scarf. On standstill at the moment. Need December for this one I think.

Decorating: 

Made a start on painting the craft room. This will be a slowly by surely painting job. But it will be worth it when I finish.

Kitchen floor tiles have arrived. Being put down this month.

New chest freezer arrived for the garage – so I can actually bulk buy normal sized pizzas (by current freezer is tiny!).

I’ve brought some rectangular plastic colourful pots for the bulbs – Tulips and daffodils. The plan is to get hold of some pansies to go on top over the winter and then these will go in the front garden along the border between us and next door.

So that’s a quick update from me – I’m going to just back to writing in a min…or possibly housework….

How are you all doing this Friday?

Happy knitting

x

Chance Encounters · NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Chance Encounters – Chapter 3

July 2015

The tooth pain had started to recede late the previous week. Now that she had started to catch up on sleep Amelia felt more like herself again. Her eyes moved back to the window again. There was still a thick layer of mist outside, although the weather was predicting bright sunshine for the rest of day. So she expected that to burn off pretty quickly.

Leaving the comfort and safety of the bedroom that morning seemed to be a bit of an effort. The rest of the house was a total mess. About the closest Amelia had actually got to cleaning was glaring at the hoover over the lip of her wine glass – almost willing it to miraculously start hoovering on its own. Totally impossible, but the rather despondent woman could still dream.

She eventually made it downstairs about half an hour later – after a quick pit stop into the bathroom – wrapped in a Japanese style silk dressing gown. Her first port of call was the kitchen and she soon had a warming mug of camomile tea nestled in her hands. Drifting out of the kitchen, Amelia moved into the lounge.

In there she found the reason Mark’s side of the bed had not been touched the previous night. There was the guest quilt and pillow (usually stored in the airing cupboard) neatly folded on the sofa. Amelia felt the confusion from the last few days start to well up again and she stared hard at the wall to try and push the tears away. If he had not bothered putting them away…. Was he not planning on coming to bed tonight earlier? As far as she was aware there had certainly not been any sort of argument.

So what the heck had she done for Mark to reject their marital bed in favour of a sofa that was not the most comfortable in existence?

Sighing, she switched on the TV and curled herself up on the sofa. Flicking on the TV, she quickly worked out that weekday TV was not going to improve her mood. Amelia had to get herself out of the house – but where? What would she even do when she was out? Knitting was going to involve far too much focus this morning.

Resting her mug on the coffee table, she rose from her seat and headed to the coat cupboard. Reaching into the pockets of her coat, she dug through the receipts before her hand eventually came in contact with what she was looking for.

The now slightly crumpled business card handed to her by Kristina seemed like a bit of a beacon through the gloom of her morning. It was time to take her up on the idea of a coffee meeting.

Kristina was currently curled up on the sofa with her laptop. For some reason the modern, plush red sofa in her lounge seemed infinitely more inviting than her small second bedroom (otherwise known as The Study). Currently, the morning sun was streaming through the window, draped with bright yellow curtains, and was steadily warming her feet.

She had originally been planning on getting on with a proposal for a strategy that was due for the end of the week. However, Kristina had got as far as putting together a strategy plan outline that she was pretty pleased with when her focus had drifted off to her twitter feed. After filtering through the list of notifications since her last visit, she started browsing through her home feed.

It was just as she was considering getting up to rescue herself a cup of coffee – or possibly a tea, she would decide when she made it to the kitchen – when her phone started to buzz on the kitchen table. The screen was currently face down, a trick she had devised to prevent herself getting distracted every 5 minutes, so it was not until she flipped it over that she had any clue who was on the other end of the phone.

It was an unknown number. This always made her pause. Once again, she weighed up the risks in her head. There was a 50% chance she could pick up the phone and it would be one of those annoying cold callers informing her that she had apparently had an accident or that she had PPI to claim. On the other had it might be a potentially new customer…

The convinced her, and she flicked over the little green circle before hitting the loudspeaker button.

“Hello, this is Kristina, can I ask what this call is regarding please?”

“Hi Kristina, this is going to sound a bit strange. This is Amelia, the complete klutz from the other week who knocked us to the floor. I was hoping that you might be free at some point today for that coffee?”

Kristina grinned to herself, “great timing, I was in the mood for something of the hot and liquid variety now if you fancy it? Meet you on the Starbucks on the high street? I’m presuming you’re local to it?”

“Yes, yes and yes! That would be great. See you in 20 minutes?”

“Works for me. See you then.”

Still grinning, but not entirely sure why this chance meeting/now coffee meet up was making her feel so optimistic, she shut down her laptop and returned it to the study. Then she ran into her bedroom and put on outside clothes (Harry Potter themed adult P.J’s might not give Amelia a great first impression). Running back down the stairs, she grabbed a coat to throw on over her jeans and casual shirt and shoved her phone / wallet combo into the pockets.

She should leave now. Otherwise she was going to risk being late.

It was not until she peered out through the glass panes on her porch. In the last few minutes the weather had changed dramatically. Rather than the glorious sunshine that had been outside minutes earlier, the rain was now pouring down in torrents. Where the heck had that even come from?

Deciding that walking would still be preferable than trying to park, Kristina dug out her bright red wellies and matching rain coat.

When Amelia arrived at the coffee shop, about 9 minutes after putting the phone down as the car had decided to actually start this morning, she could not see Kristina yet.

The car had definitely been a good idea this morning, she mused to herself, staring through the pane of glass at the front of the café that was currently covered by a sheet of water.

Amelia had only had to cope with a short run from the pharmacy car park to the café.  As a result, apart from slightly frizzy hair, she had remained relatively dry from the unexpected shower. Unsure how long she would have to wait from the other woman, she settled down with her current impromptu unplanned knitting project to wait.

Armed with a set of 20mm needles and some super chunky light blue glittery wool, she set about casting on enough stiches for a treat for herself. This cowl scarf would look amazing and would not take a huge amount of time to knit up either.

She was just finished up knitting the second row when she spotted a brightly coloured Kristina wondering into the café.  The other woman appeared to be in no particular rush, but her face was decorated with a slightly absurd grin. Her hair was sticking to her face and water was dripping off the bottom of her coat.

A member of staff had already appeared armed with a mop and bucket to clear up the ever increasing puddle.

“Kristina, over here!” she almost shouted over to the other woman.

Post crazy sounding shout, she flushed red. She had not actually planned it to be that loud…. However, the shout did appear to work and Kristina spun around to face her, gave her a quick wave and then headed in her direction.

“Hi Amelia, how’s your arse since the fall?”

Amelia snorted loudly, “my arse is perfectly well. Many thanks. Yours?”

A similar sentiment was returned from the other woman, both were grinning now.

“What did you want for your coffee?” Amelia asked, carefully returning the project to her bag.

After taking the order, she wondered up the counter and ordered a vanilla latte (with whipped cream) and a cinnamon mocha – both large. Apparently they shared a similar addiction to caffeine. Always a good since when meeting someone new.

When she returned, Amelia noticed that Kristina had found a spare chair to drape her still dripping raincoat over. The other woman was now curled up comfortably in the opposite armchair and looking relaxed – despite her sodden state.

Kristina thanked Amelia as she received the cinnamon mocha into her outstretched hands, the look on her face could have made Amelia mistake the drink for a holy item.

Settling herself down, Amelia thought she would break the silence with a question.

“So what do you usually get up to during the day?”

The other woman paused from drinking her coffee for a few moments in thought,

“Are you on Facebook or Twitter?” Amelia nodded, so Kristina continued with her explanation, “basically, I plan the social media campaigns for businesses. My client base is usually small businesses at the moment, but I’m hoping that will grow. If I’m not doing that, I’m usually blogging.”

“You blog too?”

Kristina looked surprised for a minute, apparently she did not often meet anyone else who had decided blogging was a worthwhile hobby, “Yes, I spend so much time on social media, I end up blogging about all the really odd viral content I find. It is all a bit strange, but I’m starting to build up a bit of a following. What about you?”

“Knitting,” Amelia replied, gesturing to the needles that seemed intent on trying to escape from her bag, “I taught myself a couple of years ago used the blog as a sort of progress diary. Other people seemed to find that interesting. So I swing between content – youtube tutorial videos I make or share and updates on projects. In the last year I’ve also been asked to test knit patterns for some of the independent writers. That has been really fun.”

“That’s really cool! I had a nan that used to knit. She tried to teach me, but I got bored and used it as a weapon to torment my brother instead. It was decided that I was not to be trusted with sharp, pointy objects.”

Amelia laughed, “It’s not for everyone. But my addiction to knitting does rival my coffee habit.”

“Coffee is the drink of the gods,” Kristina agreed, “I noticed you had somehow managed to remain relatively dry – a difficulty with the current weather. Did you drive up today? I find parking up here such a nightmare.”

“My husband owns the pharmacy across the road. So I have the perk of being able to use one of the spare employee spaces. Otherwise, I agree, parking up here is just not worth the fuss.”

“You’re married?”

Amelia nodded, “3 years now. Mark and I met at university and got married after Mark had finished his Masters.”

“I’m guessing your degree wasn’t in knitting?”

Amelia grinned, “Not particularly. Forensic Science actually – no yarn in sight! Mark was studying Chemistry and was in the same Toxicology lecture group as me. To be honest, I spent more time in the Writing Society than in the Science Society anyway, so I was never going to make much of the degree. I worked in various temping jobs after I graduated and now make a little bit of income off my youtube videos. Not much, but it covers my yarn costs. All the degree does for me now is allow me to knit pick CSI episodes and police dramas – my husband now refuses to watch them with me as I spend most of the episode shouting at the TV!”

Kristina giggled, “I bet that is seriously annoying to see them making all the mistakes. But you sound like you are enjoying what you’re doing now. Which I’m guessing is the main thing. I didn’t do uni, the couple of friends I had that went are mostly working in fast food restaurants now. So I’m glad I didn’t bother – I found some distance learning professional certificates instead. Those were great, I set up my business about 2 years ago and went full time about a year and a half ago.”

“So do you have any significant other?” Amelia enquired rescuing the last mouthful of latte from her mug and starting to debate if she required another.

“I do. His name is Carl and we’ve been together about a year now. He is some sort of web designer – self-employed so he travels a lot. But he’s starting to get some really interesting clients now. Not sure if it’s going to get any more serious yet, but we’re both happy with the current arrangement. I have never had to share my living space, and I do not plan on changing my ways any time soon.”

Amelia put her now empty mug down on the table, “I’m going to get a refill – do you want another?”

“Yes please,” Kristina suddenly broke out into a large, loud yawn, “I didn’t sleep particularly well last night.”

While Amelia disappeared to go and rescue more caffeinated beverages from the coffee machine, Kristina rescued her mobile from her coat pocket.

‘1 message received’ flashed up at her on the screen.

She opened it and spotted it was from Carl. He had been over last night and had not actually left until the early hours of the morning…. Kristina grinned to herself in satisfaction. She regretted nothing.

‘Hay Babe. You enjoy last night? ;-)’

She blushed a little as the memories started floating onto the screen behind her eyes.

‘What would be your professional opinion? ;-P’ she replied quickly, noticing Amelia was starting to head back in her direction with another steaming mug of heaven.