Ender’s Love – Chapter 3

Click here to read Chapter 1 if you haven’t read it already

Note: May contain strong language!

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Chapter 3

“Alex!” said a loud voice next to me, making me jump. It was my work colleague, Stella, as she sidled next to me in her office chair. “Drinks after work?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” I replied, unable to control the frown that had involuntarily creeped on my face.

Stella and I weren’t really friends, she was just some girl I worked with. I hadn’t been working at the company for long, but I was conscious that I should make a bit of an effort to be a little friendlier with people. I didn’t have many friends in Scotland, it was always something I struggled with. Although, I wasn’t entirely sure about Stella. She seemed nice. Well, nice to me. But she had a habit of being a little bitchy about the other girls and I worried she was like that with me, behind my back.

It was only a day after the incident at Da Vinci’s, and I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t help but think constantly about that guy I had met. I realised I didn’t even catch his name nor did I even introduce myself properly. It was terribly rude of me. I was too flustered though. But I was proud of myself for actually approaching him, even though I’d never see him again. There were plenty of fish in the sea, as they say. Maybe I would find someone, one day, who was just as handsome, kind, caring and I could settle down and live happily ever after? A best friend who I loved, and he loved me. I had images of waking up in the morning to him cooking breakfast for me, cuddling up on the sofa while watching a scary film, going on little trips away at the weekends somewhere fun, getting a cat and maybe even one day having kids.

“Oh, please come! Not many people are coming now. It’s just going to be me and that girl with the big nose. What’s her name? Julie or something? We’re going to that cocktail bar. It’s two for one on Thursdays,” she said, fluttering her eyelashes like that was going to flatter ,e. It might work on every guy she met, but she seemed to have a habit of doing it the girls too. I groaned.

“Okay, but I can’t stay out for long, I have university work to do,” I said, trying desperately not to get annoyed with her lack of remorse over the kind girl that had started around the same time as me. I had noticed she had a bit of a big nose, but she was actually a lovely girl and her name was Judith. But I had no energy to correct Stella.

“University work?” she asked, frowning at me like I had just sprouted another head.

“Yes, I go to unveristy.” I sighed in annoyance. I had told her this before, I had told everyone at work. I had to constantly remind them. Especially when I would get my supervisor asking me to gin for extra shifts to help out with a backlog of work and I had to constantly remind her that I couldn’t because I had classes. She would always look at me like I was lying to her to avoid going into work, but the truth was, I actually needed the money. I studied part-time and worked part-time around my classes and although I was working in Administration, which was mostly just boring data entry in a small team, it wasn’t a well-paid job when you lived on your own in Glasgow.

“Which one?” she asked.

“Strathclyde.”

“You go to Strathclyde?”

“Yes,” I said, trying not to groan again. Although, I couldn’t be bothered to muster a fake smile. I was too tired.

“Oh, that’s cool! What do you do? You doing a degree or something?”

“A master’s degree,” I corrected. I could have told her what subject it was, but I doubted she would remember anyway.

“Oh, that’s right!” She nodded as if she had just remembered, but I doubted she did. “So, you coming?”

“Sure.” I shrugged, having a feeling that if I didn’t say yes, she wouldn’t leave me alone. Besides, maybe a drink was what I needed? I had already decided to have a night off doing any university work. I was going to work on my book, but I realised that maybe I needed a night off from that too?

***

Later that day, after my shift at work was done, I found myself sat in a loud pub. It was one of those chain pubs; with the same drink menu, served the same cheap food, and had the same two-for-one deals. Drinks were usually served in cheap, plastic pitches rather than nice fancy glasses. It was a pub popular with those who wanted a cheap night out to get drunk, or a cheap pub meal with the kids.

There was a large TV on a wall at the back, which was playing the highlights of some big game that was on earlier in the day. Huddled around it was a load of loud Scottish men either laughing at their mates in a drunken state or yelling at the TV screen. In the centre of the pub on the left, was a large bar with loads of people milling about trying to grab the attenion of the bar staff and get another round of drinks. The rest of the pub was littered with cheap wooden tables and chairs for those who were finishing up their late dinners of cheap steak and chips or a bland chicken tikka masala.

I wasn’t particularly happy with my predicament; it was too loud, the tables were sticky and I was constantly getting eyed up by guys who looked like they were fresh out of school and barely legal to drink. This also wasn’t the place Stella had promised.

Stella had decided to go to a different place to the one she had first suggested, although I wasn’t sure why. But if I had to guess, it was the guys that were there as she kept looking around at them like a lioness stalking prey.

“So, what’s your bachelor’s degree in?” Stella shouted acorss the table at me, huffing at something that clearly upset her. Either that or I was too boring for her. Judith never showed up, so it was just me and her, and I was starting to feel a little awkward with it being just the two of us. I had even contemplated finding an excuse to leave.

“The one I’ve completed?”

“What?” she asked across the table, clearly not being able to hear me properly above the noise.

“The degree I’m doing at university?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied. “What’s it in? I did a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism,” she whittled on, and I realised she wasn’t really interested in knowing what I was doing or had done at all, she just wanted to find something to talk about herself. Plus, she had already forgotten I was doing a master’s degree, not a bachelor’s. “Passed it last year, but I found it so hard! I actually had to learn Spanish too, which was stupid! I didn’t want to learn another language! I just wanted to go into Tourism. I love going on holiday, figured I’d do it as a career, you know.”

I nodded politely as I drank my glass of white wine. Although, it tasted a little like oak and I wasn’t too keen on it. Regardless, I persevered; the alcohol would help me cope with the girl better.

“All that work too; eassays upon essays!” she continued to moan. “So, don’t feel bad if you have to quit, you know, it’s really hard work!”

“I’ve done a bachelor’s degree already,” I said before I realised what I was doing. Her comment annoyed me and I took it personally.

“What?” she called across the table. Clearly, I didn’t speak loud enough. Truth was, I hated shouting; the idea of shouting across a table just to be heard was frustrating.

I opened my mouth to repeat what I said when I caught sight of someone in the bar. I gasped. Luckily no one could hear me—not that I really cared what Stella thought. But, standing at the bar, I caught a glimpse of that handsome guy from Da Vinchi’s again. My stomach did a summersault when I saw him. He was even more handsome than I remembered. He wasn’t in a suit this time, he was in a black t-shirt, leather jacket and dark blue jeans. He looked dark and mysterious and I think I fell in love with him right there on the spot… I was a sucker for a handsome guy in black, especially leather. I noticed he looked a little annoyed or tired maybe, as a blonde girl was holding onto his arm and trying to speak something in his ear.

I smiled as he bought a glass up to his lips and took a sip. It looked like it was whisky again. I wondered if it was Dalwhinnie.

“He’s gorgeous,” said a voice next to me.

I jumped and looked round to notice Stella had moved to sit next to me, she had obviously noticed I hadn’t replied to her and had instead been watching the guy at the bar. She was staring holes into him as well, which made me feel a little annoyed. I had no idea who the guy was, he might have been as ass for all I knew, but I hated both men and women staring at the opposite sex like they were pieces of meat in a butcher’s shop. Stella might be a lot prettier than I was, with her long blonde hair and her long fluttering eyelashes, but she wasn’t pretty on the inside, as I recently found out.

“Way out of your league, honey,” she said in my ear.

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at her, mostly because she was right; he was.

“I wouldn’t drool either, that girl looks like she’s his date for the night, I bet she’d happily scratch your eyes out for him.”

I looked round at Stella, giving her an annoyed yet confused look. What a weird thing to say. But as soon as I did, Stella’s eyes went wide.

“What’s wrong?”

“He just looked round at me and gave me a horrible look,” Stella said, looking away from him and taking a large swig of her alco-pop she had bought.

I looked round at him again to see what she was referring to, although having already missed the look, I was still curious. He was now frowning heavily at the girl next to him and saying something to her which I wished I could hear. Her hand had fallen from his arm and they were instead crossed. I couldn’t see her face, she had her back to me, but I could his and he looked pissed about something.

Suddenly the girl snatched up her purse from the bar table and swung round, looking upset about something as she wandered out of the bar, a hand up to her face as she looked like she was wiping tears away from her eyes. I watched her curiously as she stormed right for the bar door and disappeared out into the street beyond. I felt like running after her and making sure she was okay, but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave.

“Fuck,” Stella suddenly muttered next to me and I sensed her straighten up. I looked round at her as she was staring wide-eyed at the bar, at someone. Rather than asking her what was up, I followed her gaze just at the same time a tall figure came into focus beside me.

~~~

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My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper
Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue
No one likes you! – A short story.

Butterfly House – Chapter 3

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.


Chapter 3

A ringing sound woke Declan abruptly, he lifted his face from his pillow and blinked up at the clock on his bedside table. The time just changing from 09:23 to 09:24.

“Shit!” he swore as he rushed to get up out of bed, tripping on the bedsheets and fell to the floor, knocking his head on the cheap scratchy carpet.

He pulled himself up, groaned as he rubbed his head and picked up his ringing mobile.

“Harris,” he muttered into the phone, the best awake voice he could muster.

“Where are you?” said a hurried voice, his partner; Fiona Boyd.

“Pass, next question.”

“Declan!” Fiona’s voice hissed at him.

“I’m sorry! I…” He paused, and tried to think of an excuse. “I can’t come up with an excuse right now, can I get back to you on that one?”

“This is the last time I’m covering for you, you need to get your act together.”

“I know.” Declan groaned, and sat up, leaning against the bed frame. “I’ve already been told I need a holiday, maybe I should?”

“You’ll be seeing the inside of a morgue soon if you don’t.”

Declan laughed. “At least you’re friendly with the prison staff!”

He heard his partner sigh. “Seriously, what’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing, I… I just slept through my alarm again. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Fine, but you’re doing some of my paperwork!”

“I’ll buy donuts.”

“Very funny!” The phone suddenly went dead.

Declan stared at the floor of his bedroom for a few minutes, wondering about whether he should redecorate—or maybe moving was a better option?—until he sighed, pushed himself up from the floor and got dressed, putting his standard police trousers over the top of the same boxers he wore yesterday and pulled a plain black t-shirt up over his muscular frame, the rest of his police uniform would be in his locker at the station. He didn’t even bother to shower, he didn’t have time. He would drown himself in deodorant and aftershave instead.

***

When Declan walked into his tiny kitchen, his stomach rumbling angrily at him, he walked over to his fruit bowl and picked up an apple. He pressed a button on his answer machine to play the messages he missed to listen to last night and walked over to the blinds, pulling on the string to open them with one hand while biting into the apple with his other.

“One new message,” he heard the mechanical voice of his answer machine. It proceeded to tell him that a new message was received only last night, ironically only minutes before he had finally got home last night. Having left the station late, skipping dinner and collapsing straight into bed. Only just managing to strip before doing so.

“Declan, hi, it’s me,” he heard a familiar female voice. His blood ran cold, his heart stopped and he stood still, the apple to his mouth and the blinds half-way open. “I’m sorry to call, but…” The woman sighed. “This is awkward.” She laughed. “Well, I’ll just come out and say it; I think I left my passport in our… your… filing cabinet.” The line went dead for a long time, Declan wasn’t sure if the message was over, or the machine started to play up, he looked round at it, taking the apple from his mouth, but just as he did, she continued again; “Sorry.” She continued, sounding like she was sobbing. “I… I need it need it by next week. We… I… I’m going away. So, could we… I don’t know… meet up? Or… if you don’t want to… which I completely understand, could you somehow get my passport back to me?” Another long pause and Declan was sure the message had finished this time, when her voice came back. “I did love you, you know that right?” Declan snorted and shook his head at the answer machine. “Anyway, you have my number, call me when you get a chance… but… please don’t leave it too late. I need my passport… Bye.”

Declan closed his eyes as the answer machine told him his options, pressing buttons to save, delete, and so on. He rushed up to the machine and pressed the delete hurriedly. He wanted to pretend he never heard her voice. Pretend she never existed. Pretend she never came into his life, tore his heart out and stamped on it. He’d find the passport alright, but he wasn’t sending it to her, it’ll go straight to the station and he’d report it as lost. She had no chance leaving the country. It’s the least she deserved anyway.

He threw the rest of the apple in the bin, no longer felting hungry, grabbed his keys and left his flat, his already bad mood had worsened.

New Chapter coming soon!


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New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 3

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.
This work is my first draft and thus unedited, so may be subject to changes.

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Chapter 3

“Hey Jo,” said a voice from beside me and made me jump. I span round in my comfortable office chair and looked up at a familiar face of my colleague. My insides twisted the moment I saw him. Well, to be honest, my insides twisted the moment I heard him. “How was your weekend?”

The guy looking down at me smiled his lovely welcoming smile which sent a familiar warm feeling through my body. He leaned on the desk next to mine with his arms crossed, waiting patiently for my answer. All I could think about was how close he was to me and hoping my pale cheeks hadn’t gone red.

The desk he was leaning on belonged to my work colleague and friend; Leah, who was currently away from her desk. The guy currently in her place was one of those guys that most of the girls swooned over. He wasn’t exceptionally handsome. At least not as handsome as the guy I met on Saturday evening in the bar. But he was cute enough to turn heads. It was his charm and sense of humour that mostly won the ladies over. He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable. He liked to joke about and even make fun of himself. Always had a witty comment to say.

“Oh, hi, yeah, was good,” I felt my cheeks flush. “How was yours?”

His smile widened and I couldn’t help but smile back at him. It was infectious. “Same old. What did you get up to?”

“Oh, not much,” I shrugged. “Went out to that bar you told me about on Saturday though.”

I remembered back to Saturday when I met that strange guy. Xander, his name was. After he told me his name, I felt a little uncomfortable and wanted to leave. He ended up convincing me to have a drink, which I just asked for a glass of water – I didn’t want anything alcoholic and risk getting tipsy, or worse, drunk. When he returned he said again he didn’t mean to insult me and said I could ask him any question I liked. I made a point by asking him the same question he asked me; “who are you?” And I saw that familiar small smile creep on his face and reach his eyes. It was as if he liked the fact I had asked him the same question he asked me. He seemed to like talking about himself a little too. Which was why he probably asked the question in the first place. He told me he was born and grew up in Chicago, finished college, never went to university, but climbed up the employment ladder quickly and always seen in that same bar we were in. The conversation went onto the bar for a bit, I mentioned I hadn’t been there before and he only replied; “I know, I would have recognised you.” I then went back to how he knew Bath. He apparently travels a lot with work. I was nearly tempted to ask him about work, but I stopped myself as I wasn’t sure if it would have been an offensive question or not.

It wasn’t until I noticed the bar was thinning out that I realised it was getting late and I had to excuse myself. Xander didn’t seem to push, he just made a comment about hoping to see me again and let me leave.

I had walked away slightly wishing I didn’t leave. I realised afterwards that whatever anger I had earlier in the evening had vanished, replaced with a deep curiosity and attraction. I replayed the conversation in my head and didn’t find anything of what he said odd anymore. He did say he thought he recognised me from somewhere and was trying to figure out where, which was why he was listing places he knew to see if I did. Then he clearly got bored asking – or maybe thought I was bored, I did seem a little curious to the questions, he could have read that wrong and thought I was bored – and the conversation turned into wanting to know who I was. Maybe by asking ‘who are you?’ he was avoiding those boring cliché questions of ‘What do you do? Where do you work?’ I remember reading somewhere that a person’s job shouldn’t define the person, what makes someone happy defines them. Or was it how they treat people? Could have been both. But either way, I figured that could be why he later asked about my work. He was trying to figure out if work was important to me or not. It was also the reason why I didn’t ask him about his work.

I realised when I got home why I was feeling low that night. Realisation hit me while I was scrubbing myself clean in the shower before bed that evening. I was lonely. Although, Xander filled that hole for just under two hours. Even if it was just a strange chat in a bar. But it returned when I got home.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of Xander again. I actually hadn’t stopped thinking about him. In fact, for a moment, he even made me forget about my crush at work. When Monday morning came around, I plopped down onto my office chair and felt slightly annoyed it was Monday already. Normally I’d look forward to going in, just to see my crush again and hoping that that day was the day he’d ask me out. But Xander was on my mind. It wasn’t until my crush was in front of me that Xander was momentarily forgotten about.

“You went to Mario’s?” The guy in front of me looked shocked. Maybe even a little disappointed.

“Yeah, it is nice in there,” I smiled politely. “You were right.”

“Who did you go with?”

“Oh, I didn’t go with anyone.”

He laughed. “You went to Mario’s on your own?”

My smile faltered.

“Oh, wait, did you go to score?”

“What?

“Find a guy to hook up with?”

My face flushed. I did speak to a guy; that was true. I had some images of me going home with him or even inviting him back to mine. But I also had previous thoughts of him being a serial killer so I couldn’t really rely on what my intentions were on Saturday night. But I never intended to go there to hook up with anyone.

“You did didn’t you,” he said after I didn’t reply and sat himself down in Leah’s chair. He sounded impressed but his face told a different story. In fact, he looked a little upset at the idea.

“No, I didn’t!”

“Oh,” he frowned. “Then why did you go there on your own?”

I shrugged. “I’m used to going to places on my own, I travelled the world on my own.”

“I guess.” His eyes seemed to go off somewhere to the right, as if he was deep in thought about something. I was curious to know what he was thinking. “If you wanted company though, you only had to ask,” he said, apparently coming back to earth.

I felt my cheeks flush. Did he really just say that? “I actually had company for most it.” I tried to shrug. But feeling a little guilty that I was only moments ago swooning over another guy, I felt I was betraying someone. But that someone wasn’t even a someone. Not to me anyway. Just a crush.

His eyebrows rose slightly, clearly not even trying to feign his surprise. “But you just said you didn’t hook up and you went alone.”

“I met a guy, but I didn’t hook up with him,” I replied.

“Oh,” he said. He was suddenly lost for words. The first time I had ever seen him lost for words.

“Why are you so concerned about what I did there anyway?” I asked, swinging my body round on my office chair to face him.

“Babe, I mentioned that place for a reason, not so you could just go there on your own!” he said. His eyes wandering over my body slightly as he took in my green dress I was wearing. It made me feel even warmer as his eyes skimmed over my body. I hoped to hell I didn’t have horrible red marks on my knees where I had been crossing my legs or he wasn’t put off by my white bits. “I was sussing out if you wanted to go there one day.”

“What?” I blurted out accidentally.

“I wasn’t sure if you liked going to those places, bars and shit – it was something Leah said – so I was trying to figure out if you were interested and then I was going to ask you out. But I got interrupted on Friday and didn’t have a chance.”

“You were going to ask me out?” I asked in shock.

“Sure.” He nodded. “What do you say? Want to go back again? This time with me?” He smiled wildly again.

“Oh,” I gasped. But before I was able to answer, someone interrupted us.

“Liam, get out of my bloody chair!” Leah was back.

The guy in front of me; Liam, shot out of Leah’s chair in a flash, like he had just been stung by a wasp. He suddenly wore a strange expression on his face. One I couldn’t quite place. Either he was surprised to see Leah standing there – which was absurd as it was Leah’s desk and Liam knew that. Or Liam was just scared of Leah for some reason.

When I thought about it, I hadn’t seen Liam and Leah together in the same room for a while. I wondered if they were avoiding each other. Maybe one of them had upset the other. I wouldn’t be surprised, Liam had a habit of saying the wrong thing sometimes. Along with his witty funny side, he sometimes said things that he thought was funny but was actually rude.

I thought it was odd that Leah was upset with him though, she used to swoon over him just as much as I did. I had never told Leah that I was into Liam, as I was worried our friendship would be affected. I never twigged that Leah hadn’t mentioned Liam for a while, not until then.

Leah sat back down in her chair tentatively after Liam shot out of it and gave Liam a rather disgusted look back. “What do you want anyway?” Her New Zealand accent stronger than usual.

“I’m here to talk to, Jo,” he replied, looking away from Leah and then back at me. “Let me know what you say,” he said, before wandering off again without hearing a reply.

When Liam was out of earshot, Leah swung round to me and narrowed her eyes at me. “What did Liam want?”

Leah was a brilliant beautiful woman. Originally from New Zealand and came to Chicago with her father when she was in her late teens. She had curves in all the right places, a lovely brown face that made you think she was constantly going on exotic holidays, and had full luscious dark brown hair. Her eyebrows even looked perfectly shaped. I envied her.

“Err, well, apparently he was asking me out.”

Her face fell. “What?”

I frowned back at her and leaned over slightly. “Has something happened between you two? Did you have an argument or something?”

“Something like that,” Leah sighed and span her chair round to face her computer again. “Just be careful of Liam.”

“What? Why?”

“I can’t say, just be careful, Jo.”

“Sure,” I replied but watched Leah for a few seconds trying to figure out what she meant by that. Be careful of Liam? But he was just a bit of a joker that was all.

I span back round to my computer and sighed deeply. My thoughts went to Liam suddenly. I was thinking about what he had said. Had he just asked me out? I had been wondering about this for months, wishing Liam would finally ask me out. I was up and down trying to figure out if he liked me or not. He seemed to be friendly with most girls.

But as soon as I thought back to going to that bar with Liam, my thoughts went to Xander. It was his local, I couldn’t go there with Liam now, I might bump into Xander!

And then there was what Leah said.

Click here for the next chapter!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links: