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.

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