Writing

NaNoWriMo – Chance Encounters – Chapter 1

June 2015

All of a sudden, her bum was smarting in addition to her tooth. Amelia’s line of sight was also suddenly a lot closer to the floor. Another woman, dressed in a cream, smart business coat was also sprawled out on the pavement.

That was probably the solution to the mystery of her current predicament. Where had that blinking woman suddenly appeared from?

She watched as the woman brushed herself off. A brown, coffee coloured stain now added what could only be assumed as unwanted decoration to the coat.

“Are you ok?” asked this mysterious stranger, holding out a hand.

Amelia nodded dumbly, taking the offered hand gratefully.

“Yes, thank you. I am so sorry, I wasn’t looking. I was rushing to the dentist…” she explained quickly, “I’m so sorry about your coat. Please let me pay for it to be cleaned.”

She watched in slight disbelief and the eyes of the stranger moved from her face to the coat.

“The coat will live. But if you’d like to know how it fair’s let me know If you’re free and we can meet for a coffee? Here’s my card,” she suggested, passing over a bright blue business card with her name and contact details, “Call me. I’ve got to run, got a meeting with a client who will not be happy if I’m late!”

The stranger, apparently called Kristine Bonneville if the business card was to be believed, then moved off at what was probably a similar speed which had caused the collision. Amelia shook her head in an attempt to remind herself about where she had been heading before the collision.

Then her tooth reminded her. The dentist only another 100m to go before some sort of chance of a solution to her current searing pain.

It was only 15 minutes later that Amelia found herself heading back out into the cold, misty morning. Her tooth did not feel one jolt better, but she did hold a piece of yellow prescription paper with the name of some sort of antibiotic. The dentist hoped that would sort it. Alternatively, she would need to make a repeat trip for a root canal. Not an activity currently on Amelia’s bucket list.

Scrawling at the paper, she headed past the pharmacy next door and wondered into the one at the other end of the high-street. A petite, mousy blonde young woman was sat at the dispensing desk – looking bored. She looked up at Amelia when she eventually registered the sound of footsteps.

“Mrs Sutcliffe,” she stated, looking partly vacant before remembering that she had to continue to the sentence, “Your husband is in his office, would you like me to fetch him?”

Trying not to roll her eyes, she replied, “yes please, I need a prescription processing.”

She disappeared for a few minutes and was soon followed by a slightly harassed looking Mark. Her husband stared are her for a few seconds before flashing her a quick smile. Then he shot an inquiring look over the dispensing desk.

“I managed to get an appointment at the dentist. They had a cancellation or something. The lady prescribed me some antibiotics. I’ve got to take them 2 a day for a week.”

“Is the tooth still painful?”

Amelia nodded, her face clenching again as another shot of pain passed through the tooth.

“Take these,” he advised, passing her over a packet labelled ‘co-codamol’, “you can only use them for 3 days. But, hopefully, by then the antibiotics should kick in.”

“Thank you Mark,” she replied with a quick smile, “do you have time for a quick coffee?”

He shook his head in a response that was too quick for Amelia to believe he had even bothered considering her inquiry.

“Swamped with work today. I need to sort out the delivery for the week. This morning has been hectic with phone calls – you know how it is Amelia. I will see you at home.”

Amelia nodded, feeling deflated. She could not remember the last time he had bothered to take a break with her for a drink or to see her… It was rather depressing.

She had considered going out and looking for a full time job last year, reviewing knitting patterns were not particularly time expensive and she never got to see anybody. But Mark had told her not to worry, told her to join the W.I. they did not particularly need the extra income. His business was doing really well at the moment. The only reason she had given up her original job at the bank was because they were struggling with conceiving and Mark had convinced her it was the stress of the job.

Walking away from the pharmacy, she headed into the coffee shop across the road and prayed that a hot vanilla mocha latte would put the earth’s axis back on the right angle. At least for today. She was not asking for a lot.

***

It was lunchtime already. Kristina wasn’t sure how she had made it to lunchtime already. Or how she had got to this particular place at this particular point in the day. There was a currently half of what had been a large glass of red wine sat in front of her. Thankfully she didn’t have any other meetings today. The mental strength was not there anymore today.

Tomorrow she would have to plan out an Instagram campaign which would probably utterly fail. The pictures would get some likes – but actual conversions? She snorted into her wine. Deciding that she would cheer herself up, she ordered a gin and tonic to wash down the wine.

Suddenly, the inert black smartphone on the table began to buzz. A picture of her and Carl (one of the few pictures where he had actually smiled) lit up the phones screen.

Kristina stared blankly at her phone for about 10 seconds before accepting the phone call.

“Hello Carl,” even though she had answered the phone, she still was not quite sure that she actually wanted to speak to the bloke.

“Baby, why have you been avoiding my calls?” came the demanding voice of the not unattractive bloke on the other end of the line, “I just want to talk to you.”

“Really? Do you plan to do that before or after learning when my birthday is?” came her hissing response. The seething anger was starting to gurgle away in her stomach. She was almost annoyed at herself for her own annoyance.

There was a long, almost elongated pause which Carl used to compose his carefully worded response.

“That’s why I called, I wanted to apologise for last week. I had desperately wanted to organise something with you. But work was just so busy and I could not get away without collapsing on the sofa in the evenings. So I thought that I would wait until things had calmed down. Are you around tonight?”

She wasn’t entirely sure if she wanted to see him tonight. But Kristina also knew that she no longer wanted to spend any great lengths of time in her house this evening…

“What did you have in mind?”

Standing at her living room window, she was already starting to wonder about the sense of her decision to go out tonight. What did she not just let this one go? He was a no-hoper. Going nowhere in his life or spending much time in hers. So what was the point really?

However, some of her doubts about the evening – although none about him – were quelled when he appeared at the door. For once in his life he was dressed in a reasonably well fitting black suite and tie. In his arms were a small, but beautifully dainty bunch of red roses (the petals elegantly lined with glitter) were a feature of the sight before her that seriously perked up her day.

Kristina smiled at him warmly and allowed him to kiss her on the mouth. He was obviously aware of his serious need to make this mistake up to her. She showed him through to the kitchen, where she half filled the sink and left the roses to sit until she could be bothered in the morning to sort them into a vase. It was probably covered in dust and buried in one of the cupboards. A small box had also appeared from his pocket.

Her heart froze for a second. This was not good….

The cheerful grin remained plastered on Kristina’s face. It was one that she usually reserved for clients who were really prodding her inner ‘annoy me by poking here’ button inside her brain. However, she relaxed a lot when she opened the lid to find – rather than the shining diamond ring she had dredded might be there – a small diamond broach in the shape of a quill. Studying it carefully, she could see that this was not a particularly expensive piece of jewellery. But at least it could be listed in the Top 5 list of thoughtful gifts Carl had bother to buy her.

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