Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Warning: Strong language!

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Chapter 1

“Oh, for fuck sake!” I grumbled, as a passing car drove through a puddle and splashed me. I looked down at myself, just as a fellow walker on the path shot me a disgusted look. Probably at my language. I didn’t care. I was instantly hurdled into a bad mood. But I was glad to see I wasn’t that wet; the water had mostly got my boots and—

“Shit!” I exclaimed. The reason I was mostly spared from the dirty puddle water was because the majority had splashed on my laptop bag. I had been carrying it in my hand as it had moments ago been hurting my shoulder. But I didn’t hold much hope that the bag was waterproof.

I wiped it down as much as I could with my bare hands and hoped and prayed to a God that I wasn’t even sure I believed in that the laptop tucked safely inside hadn’t gotten wet itself.

I sighed and looked up to see a bar just a few feet away, right next to a rather lovely Mediterranean restaurant with a few bamboo plants outside. I made a mental note to check it out one day. The bar itself was just as elegant—just lacking the plant-life—with a lovely bold black and red sign which read; Da Vinci’s, which looked quite new. I huffed and decided to go get a well-deserved drink and check my laptop was still working.

The door was a little too heavy, but I tried not to show how heavy I found it. I didn’t want any men to think I was weak and could take advantage. I then trudged up to the bar confidently. Fake it ‘til you make it, I had heard once. It was my new motto in life.

“Excuse me,” I said to the barman. He was quite a good-looking guy, with dark brown hair, a small stubble of a beard, and wearing a white shirt, black trousers with a black waist-coat. Although a little too young for me, so I tried my hardest not to smile or stare too much and give him the wrong impression. I had a habit of attracting men who got the wrong impression.

But just as he moved to wander over to me, I saw a guy behind him that instantly caught my attention. He was handsome. Very handsome. Much more my type. Although, he was undoubtedly way out of my league. His black raven hair short and slightly standing up, a little ruffled as if he’d run his hands through it in frustration, a strong masculine hand resting on his handsome clean-shaven jaw, propping himself up as his elbow rested on the bar top. He appeared to be frowning at the laptop in front of him.

It suddenly felt a lot warmer in this bar than the first two seconds of walking in.

My attention went straight to his hand. It was a habit I had started doing lately. I was looking for a wedding ring. Nothing. That didn’t mean he was single though. Not that he’d ever be interested in me.

“Hi doll,” replied the barman, breaking my attention away from the devilish handsome man behind him. I was trying to will him to look up at me; I hoped if he looked up, I’d might be able to find out if he found me even slightly attractive or not. Maybe find that strange spark I hear about in films and romance books. I had a short-lived dream that our eyes would meet across the bar and an instant spark come between us, my world slowing down as he came over to introduce himself. But he was too engrossed in his laptop to even notice me.

“Hi,” I said, smiling at the barman suddenly, feeling my voice getting a little louder as if I subconsciously wanted to attract the attention of the other guy, but being as nice as possible to the barman, so if he did look up, he’d see I was friendly at least. Although, deep down, I hoped the barman hadn’t caught me goggling at his only other customer in his bar.

“I, err—” I’d suddenly forgotten what I was going to ask for. My mind drew a blank.

Wet laptop, that was right!

“Do you have any paper towels? Some inconsiderate buggar just drove through a large puddle and got me wet.” I felt myself flush at my own comment. I had too many male friends who would have heard that comment and found a hidden sexual innuendo in it. I just hoped neither men at the bar; the one behind the bar and the stupidly handsome one still staring intently at his laptop with his frown creating a rather curious line on his forehead, would have noticed.

I had also noticed with a slight twinge of embarrassment that my voice not only was a little too loud, but my stupidly southern English accent had accentuated the way I said buggar.

“Oh, damn,” said the barman, looking genuinely remorseful. “Sure, let me get you some!” He suddenly took two steps away and drew out some green paper towels before he brought them over to me. I just tried to keep my eyes on him and not the guy behind him who was now typing away at something with an indifferent look on his face.

“You know, you can always use the hand-dryers in the ladies,” the barman continued, after passing me the towels, “my girlfriend is always spilling drinks on herself, she says using the hand-dryers is better.”

I mentally found myself sighing in relief at the thought of this guy already having a girlfriend—although hoping it wasn’t too evident on my face. An ex-boyfriend had once told me my face was expressive. He didn’t mean it in a nice way either. At least there was less chance of the barman trying to hit on me; the one man in the bar I didn’t want to hit on me.

Although, a small part of me wanted to challenge myself to that unspoken agreement I had with myself only a few days ago. I had told myself that it shouldn’t be up to the men to make the first move. Women should make the first move. More importantly, I should make the first move.

“Oh, thanks, but it’s for my laptop, not me.” I smiled, but I suddenly felt myself blush, as the handsome man staring at his laptop suddenly looked up. Our eyes met only briefly as he took a sip of a drink that looked a lot like whiskey. His eyes were back down on the laptop in mere milliseconds. It was over so quickly that I could have just imagined it. I didn’t even manage to get what colour they were.

I suddenly felt deflated. He didn’t even smile at me. His eyes didn’t even linger enough to suggest he was attracted. There was no Hollywood spark. Nothing. Well, there goes the idea that he might even be in to me.

“Oh, sure!” the barman smiled. I looked back at him, trying to keep my eyes fixed on this man instead, as well as trying to keep my face straight and not frown in my disappointment. He didn’t seem to have noticed, and he certainly didn’t seem interested in hearing my story about how my laptop got wet. “Do you want a drink?”

“Yeah, might as well!” I nodded and sighed, feeling tired and sore now that I thought about it. Well, I had just trudged from university with my laptop over my shoulder, heading towards my bus stop before I got splashed. “Do you have Dalwhinnie?” I asked, feeling a little defiant and wanting to drink something that might impress. I didn’t want either of the men thinking I was just a silly woman who also was a bit accident prone. Although, I didn’t really want a glass of Dalwhinnie, I actually just fancied a glass of coke. I felt a little thirsty after trudging out of my class and carrying around my laptop everywhere. A glass of whisky wasn’t going to quench that thirst. But I had somehow convinced myself whisky was the better choice in my situation.

I noticed the barman lifted a curious eyebrow at me and I felt a small inward triumph. Although for a split second, doubt creeped through me that that eyebrow signalled something other than being impressed. “Of course. You want a glass of that?”

“Please.” I nodded and smiled sweetly as I started to unzip my leather jacket and loosen my small black scarf around my neck. It wasn’t that cold outside. It was spring. Nearly summer. But it was the Scottish weather; it was a little cold for me. I preferred warmer weather.

“Ice?” the barman asked as he wandered over to the glasses and picked up a glass very similar to what the handsome man had. I noticed then that the handsome man was looking up at me again and I felt my cheeks flush again. My hopes skyrocketed, but my self-doubts kept them from going too high.

I just gave him a raised eyebrow and smiled at him before deliberately cutting off the eye contact myself this time and looked back at the barman, who I playfully frowned at and said, “And risk diluting it with water? No, thanks.”

The barman looked up at me curiously again but smiled when he noticed I was smiling at him. He nodded. “Good point. That’s three-ninety, please.”

After the barman placed the whisky on the bar top, I shifted my laptop shoulder strap over my shoulder and reached into my pocket of my leather jacket, bringing out my bank card to pay for it. “Thanks,” I muttered politely and was about to hand him my card when he spoke, and I stopped in my tracks.

“We only accept payments over five-pound, love, sorry.”

“Oh!” I felt panic rise in me. I felt instantly stupid. I should have asked that they take card first. As soon as my face fell into sheer shock, I noticed the handsome man was back to looking at me again, a small wicked smile on his face. I felt a little small compared to him as if he was mocking me. But I suddenly had a brilliant idea. “In that case, make it two Dalwhinnies.” I smiled triumphantly.

The barman raised his eyebrow at me again but held a strange frown on his face. This time I was sure he wasn’t impressed. Maybe he was worried I was going to get too drunk and needed to be escorted out of the bar. But I wasn’t going to explain and ruin the idea I had.

He seemed to reluctantly make me another Dalwhinnie and placed it on the bar top while watching my face curiously. It was as if he was waiting for the answer to appear on my forehead. But he finally passed me the card reader so I could pay for the drinks. I was grateful to pick up the two glasses, the paper towels shoved into my jacket pocket carelessly and walk passed the bar towards the back of the room.

I had deliberately aimed for the large booths at the back. There were three large booths with large built in seats. The deep red leather looked inviting and comfortable. Plus, more importantly, it meant having to walk passed that exceptionally handsome customer at the bar.

As I walked past him, smelling a wonderful masculine yet probably expensive fragrance, I stopped and placed one of the Dalwhinnies next to his hand. “That one’s for you,” I said, with the sweetest smile I could muster. He looked round at me in surprise, just as I caught a glimpse of an email account open on his laptop with what looked like a lot of unread business emails. But he frowned as if I had just invaded his personal space and I added quickly: “With that frown on your face earlier, you look like you need one just as much as me.”

I then wandered off while taking a sip of my own glass, without even waiting for him to say anything. I was sure I could feel his eyes staring at the back of my head in amazement. I didn’t want to give him chance to brush me off; I wanted him to know that I was just being polite and friendly, not coming onto him. I imagined a lot of women hitting on him, being as handsome as he was, and that was the last thing he wanted if he was busy with work stuff. But at the same time, I wanted him to take notice of me and not as the silly girl who didn’t carry change around with her.

It’s not like I was expecting him to be interested, I just wanted to feel a little in control. I knew a guy like that wouldn’t be interested in me. I was short, looked young for my age and always seemed to look like I was scowling at everyone. I didn’t even think I was that attractive. Not like most of the girls I’d seen in bars. Plus, guys seemed to like the girls with thick make-up and blonde hair. My hair was a dark shade of red—natural of course—one side would flick out while the other flicked in, and if it was too wet outside it would go frizzy. I had stopped dying or bleaching my hair a long time ago, realising that I should just love who I was, my unruly red hair, stupid button nose and all. I was a bit of a rocker-chick too, with my dark eye make-up and leather jacket, rather than a sweet girly-girl, and I was proud of that.

I had also made a promise to myself. After having terrible luck with men; having dated what seemed like only manipulative men or desperate men who just didn’t want to be alone. Then I had a deliberate two-year single spell. I realised that not only was I worth more than the low-life men I had dated in the past, but I wasn’t going to settle for a guy just for the hell of being in a relationship. I wanted a decent relationship. Hell, I wanted a best friend to spend my life with. If I couldn’t find that person, then I was happy enough just being single and making the most of life.

But in those two years, I had a lot of time to realise that I hadn’t really had chance to meet any decent men. I wasn’t sure why it was. Maybe it was because I was unattractive? Maybe it was because I looked too young? Maybe it was because I prefer to wear jeans and t-shirts instead of wearing a dress and getting uncomfortable and cold? I moved to Scotland, it was a little cooler than England. But I also thought that there was another possibility; after speaking to my male friends, a lot of them had admitted they don’t like to approach attractive women in fear of being rejected. So, somewhere in my head I decided that, why should it be men that approach women first? More importantly, why didn’t I approach men first? Rather than waiting for them to approach me? Not that I thought I was attractive! That was another problem; I was sure it was because I was unattractive that men didn’t approach me. But I was going to fake confidence and test it out.

That handsome guy at the bar; he was just a test to see if I could do it. Seems I could. Although, with a ridiculously fast beating heart, stupidly sweaty palms, the thoughts of doubt quickly creeped into my head as I settled into the seat.

Why did I just give a guy a glass of Dalwhinnie? What if he didn’t want it? What if he didn’t like Dalwhinnie? What if he thought I was stupid? Oh god!

Click here to read the next chapter!

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Don’t forget to check out my other works!

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

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

Catching out a Catfisher (Fake profile)!

Recently I was approached by a guy on Facebook, who turned out to be fake.

And why am I blogging about it? To raise awareness!

I tried to reach out to Twitter to find the real person behind the photos, and have since had at least one comment; “Why is it necessary to find the real guy?”

It’s not, really, but I wanted to the following:

  1. make sure the real guy knew what was going on, so he can report the profile and it have more chance of it being removed (he’s a real human being at the end of the day);
  2. have a real name so I can report the accounts – sometimes you need a real name otherwise you cannot report, I noticed this on Twitter!
  3. make a difference. I consider myself an influencer. I’m an author. I might not be popular, as I’m only starting my journey, but as such I want to use that rather small voice to make a difference. If even one person reads this, I feel like I’ve helped at least one person! Therefore, if I could get the real name of the lovely guy being the photo, it would make a bigger impact (although, because I haven’t got permission from the real guy, I have had to keep his identity private!)

First, let me explain what happened. I came across a Facebook page which shows tattooed men (I like tattoos and appreciate good ink!) and I came across a really cool back piece! I, with my silly sence of humour, said ‘Where can I get one?’ (and yes, I did mean the guy… although in real life, I am interested in more than just a guy’s good looks!)

A guy approached me and said ‘I’m here Penny. Hit me up!’ and had a profile picture of a guy next to a beautiful staffordshire terrier (a staff to us common people!), so I thought… hey, why not! So, I added him! (I’m a sucker for handsome tattooed men with dogs/cats!)

Basic RGB[image source: http://www.shibdenheadprimaryacademy.co.uk/e-safety/%5D

I knew instantly, when he accepted my request, he wasn’t real. At least not the person behind the photos. He kept repeating the words ‘sexy’ and then said he was US Intelligence. Yeah, pretty cool, but you don’t need to be too smart to realise that those who are in any form of Intelligence, whether that is the US, UK or otherwise, do NOT openly admit it to people they hardly know!

Not to mention, I absolutely HATE it when people judge me for my looks, I don’t think I’m exactly attractive; I’m not a model, but I respect people more if they are actualling interested in knowing about ME… not what’s on the outside! So, even if this guy turned out to be real, I instantly took a dislike to him.

The other scary thing is… he was emotionally manipulative. I unfortunately haven’t got access to the messages he sent anymore, as the profile has been removed since (unfortunately not my doing!), but he said things like ‘don’t scare me off you’, after I called him out whether he was real or not. I’ve been in an emotionally manipulative relationship before, I DONT take kindly to it, and do not tollerate it at all!

sydney-sims-521161-unsplash[Image Source: http://yourrelationshipspecialist.co.uk/gaslighting-and-emotional-abuse/%5D

So, I had one of two choices; block and ignore, or call him out.

I was really worried about vulnerable people, including young girls, coming across this guy. So, I put it upon myself to do some digging! Within a few hours, I found the real guy!

I have a few ‘acquaintances’ who are models, so I asked them if they recognised the guy in the photo, unfortunately no one did.

I also tweeted, with no success! (Including a few models, although I don’t follow models – I appreciate the male body, but I’m not interested in goggling – so I know absolutely nothing about the modelling world, so I had to find some ‘male tattooed models’ in order to tweet, gave up pretty quickly with that idea! No one’s going to listen to a crazy English chick, anyway!)

Luckily, however, one of my friends managed to reverse search the images the catfisher was using and we found a few websites where the photos were being used!

Ironically, I came across yet ANOTHER fake profile on Twitter, thinking it was the real guy, but found the same ‘person’ on Facebook and I realised this was yet another fake profile! Luckily someone else knew the real guy in the photo and called him out on Facebook! (The Twitter profiles have been reported!)

I finally found the real guy behind the pictures!

I was hoping for a lovely dramatic ending to this little adventure, by messaging the guy on Facebook and hoping to reverse catfish the catfisher or something similar, but unfortuantely the catfisher has since been removed from Facebook, and the real model hasn’t responded.

anticlimax
[Image source: https://thesaurus.plus/related/anticlimax/climax%5D

So, why am I telling you this? To raise awareness! I’m not suggesting everyone does what I did, it can be quite dangerous to do! Especially if the catfisher knows a lot about you already! If you think you’re being catfished, or it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Follow your gut! Block and delete! If you’re worried, talk to someone!

And yes, some catfishers are after money. But NOT ALL OF THEM! Some of them are predators… and they can worm their way into your life over MONTHS… just because you have known them for weeks/months, doesn’t mean they are genuine! PLEASE be careful!

I have deliberately kept the names of my acquaintances and the real model behind the photos hidden! I don’t have permission to use the model’s photos, and this model is in the public eye, it would be unfair for him getting negativity because of someone else.

This goes for both women and men, men can be just as much a target! If you think you are being catfished or are worried about the identity of someone online, talk to someone!

Stay safe, everyone. x

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 5

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.


Chapter 5

Just before the guy was even able to even think about what to do in that moment, Xander lunged for him. I didn’t really see much, only really a flash and a loud gasp from someone, because I had fallen onto one of my knees and held onto my foot instinctively.

When I looked up, I just caught Xander punching the guy in the face who was knocked to the ground by the force of Xander’s punch. I saw Xander pick something up from the floor and then walk over to the guy, now in possession of the knife.

“Now let’s see what your intestines look like,” Xander sneered.

He was about to bend down when his mate rushed over to him in a panic. He looked white as a sheet. Unlike Xander who looked red from rage. “Leave him, mate, just let him go.”

“Like fuck will I, after trying to steal my watch?” Xander replied, not even looking back at his mate. “Do you even know who I am?” he sneered again at the guy on the ground. He pointed the knife at him like an extension to his own arm.

“Please don’t hurt me,” the guy started to whimper.

“Listen to yourself, you’re pathetic!” Xander huffed and shook his head in disgust.

At this point I had noticed that my foot was actually bleeding, and I cursed under my breath. The rock had caught two of my toes as they had broken its fall to the floor. One of them had started to bleed and I was worried the other one, my little toe, was broken because it was excruciatingly painful. So much so that tears were starting to appear in my eyes. It took a lot for me to cry.

Because I had muttered though, Xander looked over at me and must have only just noticed I was hurt. At this he stood up a little straighter and appeared to talk to the guy on the floor; “Leave.”

“W-what?” said a small voice from the floor.

“Leave,” Xander repeated, looking back round at him. “Just go before I change my mind and cut you open from your throat to your naval.”

The guy clearly got the message as he stood up and rushed away, without even taking his knife. At first he tried to scurry away on all fours and then managed to stand up properly and made a decent run for it, nearly tripping over as he was in a panic to get away.

“Are you hurt?” Xander asked, walking over to me suddenly, not even watching the man run away. He walked passed his friend who was standing stock still in fright and passed him the knife. He took it without hesitation and just stared down at it in his hands as if shocked he now had possession of the offensive weapon.

I laughed. I was laughing at myself. I felt stupid for what I had just tried to do. “That bloody rock fell onto my foot.”

“Why are you bare footed?” he asked, as he towered over me from where I knelt. I was starting to wish I had sat down on my backside rather than kneeling. My knee were hurting as the road was digging into it. Not to mention I was worried about flashing anyone who stood in front of me. Luckily Xander was standing by my side, otherwise it could have been a lot more embarrassing.

“I took my heels off so they wouldn’t draw attention to me.” I gasped in pain as my toe twitched. “Are you going to help me up or what?” I accidentally spat, half in frustration and half in pain.

I heard Xander laugh slightly and he held out a hand for me. Just as I placed mine into his, he turned to his friend; “Get some ice from Mario’s.”

“W-what?” the guy stuttered.

“Ice, Devon, from Mario’s,” Xander demanded, just as he helped me effortlessly into a standing position. “It’s not a hard request.”

“Oh, sure,” the guy called Devon said and then went to wander off down the street back to where Mario’s front door was waiting.

“Devon, don’t take the bloody knife with you!” Xander snapped at the guy.

“Oh!” Devon stopped, turned round, looked at Xander and then at the knife and just placed it on the floor carefully like he was handling something that might explode and just walked away.

He wobbled slightly as I watched him. I was worried he was going to faint and collapse on the hard floor, but he disappeared round the corner and out of sight, and was momentarily forgotten about. Xander was just shaking his head at his friend as he had just placed the knife in the middle of the street.

I gasped again as a pain shot up my foot and up my leg like an electric bolt. It reminded me of when I once been bitten by an ant in Australia. Although double that pain – no, probably triple it. I remember sitting drinking a small bottle of beer the Australians called a ‘stubby’ under a slight canopy in my rented house. I hadn’t noticed there was an infestation of ants right next to my bare feet – what is it with me and bare feet? They were these huge things with blue abdomens, horrible little buggars they were. One had bitten me on my big toe. The pain had shot right up my whole leg. My toe even throbbed for at least an hour afterwards.

Although the pain I felt after dropping a rock on it was worse, the idea was still the same; the pain travelling right up my leg. Although unlike the ant, I was suddenly feeling a little sick from the pain.

“It’s probably best you move out of the street, Jo,” Xander said, his voice seemed to have gotten softer in a matter of seconds. Although I was mostly concerned with the fact Xander had taken his hands out of mine and I was now standing on one leg.

“Yeah, before I fall over,” I snorted, and put my foot down. But as soon as I did, I wobbled dangerously because I didn’t want to put pressure on it and the pain had made me a little dizzy. Xander had to grab me to stop me from falling over.

He had quick reflexes, but he didn’t seem too bothered where his hands landed when he grabbed me. Although, luckily he didn’t grab anywhere inappropriate, but he did have one hand on my arm and the other on my waist.

“I’ll help you,” he said.

I muttered a thanks and allowed him to guide me over to the side of the street.

Just as we reached the side and I was able to lean against a wall – Xander taking his hands off me again – he asked me a strange question.

“Did you not care that guy had a knife?” he asked.

“What?” I asked, looking back at him in confusion, unsure I heard him right.

“The mugger,” he said, “he had a knife. Did you not care?”

“Err… I guess not,” I shrugged. “My main concern was stopping him, I was worried he was going to hurt you.”

“You didn’t have to step in like that, you could have been hurt yourself.”

“If I didn’t, he could have hurt you. Were you not scared?”

“I’m used to it.”

I laughed. “You’re used to people attacking you with knives?”

He looked at me, his deep green eyes seemed darker for some reason. “I’m sort of used to-,” he paused as if choosing his words carefully, “people trying to threaten me.”

I stared at him for a few seconds wondering what that meant. He was used to people threatening him? Why?

Check out the next chapter here!

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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:

Psychopath-2 (2)

Character names – there are certain names I won’t use…

Any fellow authors/writers here have to sit and ponder over names for a while just to get that perfect name for their character?

I did a blog post a while ago about how I come up with names. I have a few names that I love and I have used already (Jason and Alex are two examples that I like – well, I’m not having children, so might as well have fictional characters! I also use names from friends, inspirational people, or use names from authors I like).

Anyway, this last story idea I came up with (I fell in Love with a Psychopath), I started to sit there thinking about what name to use next. I found myself coming up with names off the top of my head that I really shouldn’t use, for one reason…

Someone I don’t like in real life, or doesn’t like me, has that name. Having a name like Sarah in a book might seem like a brilliant name to use, simple and easy to remember, but what happens if you know a Sarah and you two hate each other (I don’t, by the way, I was using it as an example. I won’t spell out real names as examples). It can be awkward sometimes.

It doesn’t mean that I think of that person (whether friend or not) and use them in my stories – name and all. I try to avoid people like that in my stories. I don’t want it getting back to me and getting bad press from them. I might use a situation or a quirk, but I’d never write them in completely.

Friends, I might do, to an extent. Maybe just borrowing their name, and maybe a quirk they have somewhere else. But then I’m worried about using a friend’s name who has a common name, and they share the same name with someone else I know that doesn’t like me from my past. I used to know four people with the same common name, three of which are friends, one no longer is. Because one of those friends is a very good friend of mine (he’d always come straight round to my house when we were teenagers and I was having a bad day and go to tescos to get junk food and swap ghost stories in our local park), I have used his name in one of my stories, but with crossed fingers!

It’s the same with last names too. I have big trouble with last names. Again, I have used last names from inspirational people, or otherwise. But not really friends though as last names are a bit more obvious, so again I try to avoid last names from people I know.

I guess this is where a name generator comes in handy!

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 2

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 2

It must have been over an hour before I started to relax slightly around this guy. Or it could have been the alcohol. We sat chatting for almost two hours in total, while he tried to figure out where he knew me from. Well, he chatted, I mostly uttered one word answers or the occasional small sentence.

He at first asked if I came to the bar often. I didn’t, it was the first time I’d been there. Then he asked if I had heard of some restaurant. I hadn’t. He mentioned some place with a strange name. I didn’t even know what it was let alone heard of it. He mentioned a company. The name sounded vaguely familiar but I wasn’t sure from where, so I said no. The questions continued one after the other, all the while he sat there watching me curiously.

That was the first hour anyway. The second hour, or what was left of the second hour, was a little different. It wasn’t until I noticed he had gotten a little bored with the conversation and something changed. I remembered thinking at the time; he must have a short attention span.

The conversation had suddenly become weird too. He had given up asking questions that required closed single answers and seemed to start asking a different type of question. Questions that was a little odd in nature, ones I couldn’t possibly answer.

“So, who are you, Jo?” he started after taking a small sign and catching me unaware.

“Sorry?”

“Who are you?”

“You know who I am,” I said. One of those rare sentences I had managed to string together.

“No I don’t,” he replied and took a long pause. It was the pauses that made me nervous. Like I was waiting for him to do something spontaneous in that time frame. I don’t know what, but I had a feeling he was the spontaneous type. My thoughts ranged from him dragging me out of the bar and having his wicked way with me up against a wall, or dragging me out of the bar and murdering me in a dark alleyway. “All I know is your name’s Jo and you interest me, that is it,” he said again. His deep penetrating eyes surveying me.

I literally gulped. I wasn’t yet relaxed at that point. I was still nervous. It was the ‘you interest me’ that set me on edge slightly.

“What do you want to know?” I asked, trying to remind myself that it was just a conversation. A slight sense of confidence suddenly appeared. There was no harm in a conversation. I’ve done it loads of times. It’s not like I’ve never spoken to a guy before.

“I don’t know.”

My confidence vanished. What did this guy want me to say? Was he interested in knowing where I was from? Where I worked? Who my friends were? What?

“Err, well…” I started, “I’m from England–”

“I know that, I can tell by your accent,” he interrupted and then paused again, waiting for me to continue. Waiting for something interesting.

“Okay, well… I moved here a few years ago. After travelling and working a little. I have a Master’s degree in History, I’m mostly interested in ancient history though, not the world wars or anything. I…” I paused, I ran out of things to say. My mind drew a blank. “I don’t know what else to say really.”

“You were on a roll,” he said and smiled again. A smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

I didn’t know what to make of that. I had never met a guy like this. Not one that actually cared enough to know anything about me. I’d met the odd guy who asked certain questions, but more of a formality than anything; “Where are you from? Where do you work? How old are you?” those sorts of questions. But this guy didn’t ask those questions. He asked who I was. A vague question. A question that was difficult to answer. A question that seemed to require an interesting answer otherwise he wouldn’t be interested.

“Well, tell me about yourself?” I asked. Trying to take control of the situation, but not sure I really wanted to know. I was worried about what I might find. Although at the same time, I did want to know. He was mysterious and judging by the watch on his wrist, rich too. I know, thinking back to it, it was an extremely weird interaction. He just wandered over and started talking to me uninvited. He was demanding to the point of arrogant.

“No, we’re not talking about me yet, we’re talking about you,” he said. And I could have sworn I saw him looking disinterested suddenly.

“I… I don’t know what to say.”

“Okay, where in England are you from?”

Easy question, I can answer that one. “From a little city called Bath in South West of England. You might not have heard of it, it’s–”

“In Somerset. South-east of Bristol. Known for its Roman baths. Became a World Heritage Site in nineteen eighty seven,” he said, interrupting me.

“You know Bath?” I asked in shock, feeling my nervousness slowly ebb away.

“I do. I’ve travelled to England a few times.” He nodded. But he didn’t linger on the subject for long, to my disappointment. “Next question; what University did you study at?”

“I got my undergrad at Oxford and my master’s at Edinburgh.”

He gave a small nod. If he was impressed by my qualifications, he didn’t say. Most people did when I mentioned Oxford at least, and those that knew Edinburgh were equally impressed.

“And why move to Chicago?” he took a sip of his beer.

“Err, a number of reasons; I like travelling and I wanted to further my career.”

He didn’t seem too interested in that answer. Like he was expecting me to say something remarkable about how I had got my big break and it was only here in Chicago.

“Where do you work?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t currently work in anything to relate to history. I just got a pretty boring job working in an office.”

His eyes narrowed. Wrong answer. “So, you got your master’s degree in ancient history but you’re working in an office that doesn’t relate to it?” he quizzed suspiciously.

“Err, yes?” I said. I made my reply sound like a question, not an answer. I felt suddenly concerned that this guy was disappointed in my life choices. I had said something wrong. I needed to fix it.

“Why?”

“I…” I paused and thought for a few seconds, what was wrong with the truth? “I moved here temporarily, I just got a job anywhere just to get my feet on the ground, get settled, before I could apply properly for history vacancies-”

“Why not just wait until there was available and then apply?” he interrupted.

It was my turn to frown. I suddenly realised that I didn’t need to justify myself to some guy. Regardless if he was attractive and possibly rich. I didn’t care who he was, I wasn’t going to bend over for him. It was my choice to move first without my big break, so what if he didn’t approve? How dare he question me? “I don’t know you’ve noticed, but there aren’t many vacancies in ancient history,” I snapped.

“There are lots of a teaching positions around the country,” he replied, not even noticing that I snapped at him.

“Yes, but I don’t want to teach!” I huffed.

“Why?”

“Because I can’t stand people!” I said, raising my voice angrily.

At this the guy raised his eyebrow and smiled at me again. This time his smile reached his eyes a little. “Something we have in common.”

“Then why come over here? Or are you just here to mock me?”

His smile disappeared. “I’m not mocking you.”

“Sounds like you’re questioning my life choices!”

“No, I’m just asking questions.”

“You just asked why I don’t just wait in England and apply for a position when one was available. You sounded as if you were mocking my choice to come to Chicago first without the job.”

“I was curious, I wasn’t mocking you.”

“Right.” I frowned at him. No longer sure what to say.

There was few moments silence between us before the guy in front of me finally filled it. I was mostly aware that he was just watching me. I was starting to get a little nervous again. Plus, I was starting to realise how strange this interaction was; he came straight over and started to ask questions. He didn’t even introduce himself. I started to realise I should probably leave.

“Do you want another drink?” he asked.

I looked at him, looked deep into those green eyes for a moment, trying to figure him out. When I couldn’t see anything there, I groaned slightly before answering, “No, I don’t want another drink!”

“Okay,” he said, apparently unbothered that I was raising my voice and clearly annoyed with him. Instead he just stood up.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting another drink,” he said, and paused as he stood. I was able to appreciate the bulk of his body and his lovely and clearly expensive suit he wore. It looked black in this light.

“What the hell?” I huffed.

He just frowned at me, as if he was confused by the question.

“You think I want to speak to you again after you insulted me? You didn’t even apologise!”

“I didn’t mean to insult you.”

All I heard was; ‘I’m not apologising’. I laughed, which the guy just gave me a funny look, like he couldn’t tell why I was laughing at him. “You come over here, demanding to know why I am familiar, you probe me with questions, then insult me, and I don’t even know anything about you, not even your name, you didn’t bother to introduce yourself.”

“You didn’t either.”

“I did, I told you my name is Jo.”

“I asked you for your name. You didn’t ask me.”

“What?” I laughed again. And he looked at me strange again.

There was a few moments silence between us. He just stood there staring at me while I was just scowling at him. I didn’t want him to leave, I still found him mysterious. But at the same time, I was annoyed with him for being rude.

“Xander,” he finally said, breaking the silence.

“What?”

“My name; it’s Xander.”

Check out 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:

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 2

Note: If you’re new to the story please read the Prologue here!

Chapter 2

Taylor

Taylor gasped and woke bolt upright in a panic, sweat dripping down her face and back. She stared wide-eyed out into the darkness of her room trying to gather her bearings and calm her erratic heartbeat.

“What…?” she muttered to herself in the middle of the darkness. Of course, she was alone. She was always alone. No one was there to hear her.

She rubbed her clammy face nervously and peeled her reddish-brown hair off her forehead. She then span round to pick up her phone, which was sat untouched on her dark brown and cheap bedside table, resting next to the half-empty bottle of whisky. She pressed the button on the front of it and the room lit up from the screen. 22:11 flashed at her from the dark. With a groan of frustration, she threw herself back onto the bed. It was still Thursday night, it wasn’t even the morning yet.

She draped her thin arm over her forehead for a few minutes, going over the strange dream that had evidently woken her up; a strange red creature was laughing at her. It had large horns protruding angrily from his head, sharp yellowing teeth behind an evil grin, black leathery wings spread intimidatingly wide and a sharp tail wiping back and forth as if mocking her.

Along with a strange burning smell that she could almost still feel lingering in her nostrils, she heard voices; shouting, yelling, crying and screaming. The sounds pierced through her as if they weren’t coming through her ears but through her soul—

Suddenly her head came alive with voices and she gasped, bolting upright again. They got louder and louder the more she thought of them, until she closed her eyes instinctively and they suddenly vanished.

She opened her eyes again, carefully looking out into the darkness in fear. She was very much alone. Pushing the crazy thoughts back, she grabbed the bottle of whisky from the bedside table with a slight grumble and took a large swig. Clearly she was imagining things, she hadn’t slept properly in days, and it was obviously starting to take its toll. She had work in the morning too and she already wasn’t looking forward to it. At least the whisky would make it easier to bear for now.

She took another large swig of the liquor, replaced it on the bedside table and collapsed back on her bed. She closed her eyes while trying desperately not to think about the strange dream but instead focus on trying to sleep.

***

The next morning, Taylor stood in her compact kitchen trying desperately to ignore a raging headache. She managed to drink the remainder of her whisky last night, just to get to sleep. She regretted it of course… she had no alcohol left.

She grabbed a cereal box from the cupboard above her sink and poured the contents into a bowl that was already sat on top of the kitchen counter top. The news was playing in the background on her small cheap TV, which was sat lonely in the living-room. She watched it while shoving large spoonfuls of cereal into her mouth and lent against the divide between the kitchen and her living-room.

She had luckily managed to find some clothes after having a shower, changing out of yesterday’s shirt that she fell asleep in, and was now dressed in yesterday’s simple black work trousers and a plain white—yet thankfully clean—t-shirt. It wasn’t a work t-shirt, it was actually an unused gym t-shirt, although it was plain enough. But just in case, she wore a black jacket over the top of it anyway. The jacket was well-worn, the colour was fading on the outside, the reminisce of the old dark black was seen around the breast pocket and the sleeves were starting to fray where they were slightly too long—which she liked, as it kept her wrists warm. She always seemed to get cold, especially at work when the air-conditioning was always on, even during the winter.

She watched the news play while a frown steadily creeped onto her face. Something had caught her attention.

“A young man by the name of Samuel Chaudhary has been reported missing, his mother last saw him at six o’clock yesterday. He is reported to have gone out with friends after having dinner with his parents but has not returned home since. Samuel is twelve years old and may have been out with friends of the same age…” explained a news reporter with a tight blonde bun. The woman wore a sympathetic face that appeared to be just the right level of professionalism without looking upset at the report or too happy. Taylor hated that, seeing a news reporter that looked too happy when reporting bad news.

Taylor wondered what it would be like for that poor mother, knowing that her son didn’t come home that evening. She wished she had a mother who would be worried about her own whereabouts if she went missing. What if she were to just pack a bag of essentials and disappear? Not show up at work. Not tell anyone she was leaving. Would anyone care? Her own mother had died a long time ago, a particular time of her life that she wasn’t too keen on remembering. She had no other family. No father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, not even grandparents. It was always just her and her mother. It wasn’t until recently that she started to wonder why there was no other family, it never occurred to her before that it was a little odd. Her hand automatically went up to the small scar on her cheekbone, a habit that she had only recently gotten into.

The news reporter moved on to the next piece of news; explaining a strange sighting of a flying animal seen in the early hours of the morning. But Taylor snorted at the media hype of what was probably just an escaped parrot or something and turned off the TV. She remembered there was something like that that happened before, and it turned out to be a large African Grey parrot, someone’s pet that had accidentally escaped and caused a bit of a stir.

After eating the last spoonful of cereal, she placed the bowl lazily in the sink unwashed with the rest of the unwashed plates, bowls, cutlery and even a discarded pizza box from two nights ago and grabbed her work ID from the side. She had to leave early anyway, she needed something from the shop. Something which she was supposed to have left of last night if she didn’t drink the whole bottle. It was Friday today, she would need it after she got home… it was going to be a busy day.

***

Taylor sat slouched on her usual bus in a daze, the number 277, which she caught from her usual bus stop at 07:15. She stared out of the window, her face resting lazily in her right hand, while her arm was resting on the side of the bus’s window frame uncomfortably, watching the pitiful world go by while the sun made an appearance for another day, creating deep oranges and yellows against the dark gloomy clouds.

She watched a young woman attempting to walk down the road in the opposite direction the bus was travelling, a red-faced screaming toddler squirming in his pushchair as the young mother apparently still half-asleep spoke into her mobile phone. Taylor wondered who she was talking to. A boyfriend? A friend? A work-colleague to explain she was going to be late for work yet again because her son didn’t want to put on his shoes again?

This led Taylor to wonder what everyone else in the world was up to. She wondered if maybe there were others out there that had lives more interesting than hers. Or at least lives they liked. Or did everyone else in the world get up every weekday, to go to a boring job, only to come home to eat and sleep, drowning their sorrows into a bottle of whisky at the weekends? Although those days were starting to seep into the weekdays now. She wondered what her life would be like if things changed? What if she didn’t have to drink? What if… her life had more meaning?

Before she had chance to daydream about what her life would be like if she didn’t have to work, didn’t rely on alcohol anymore and that she had a bigger greater purpose in the world, she felt a strange feeling resurface in her chest. She re-focused her eyes out of the window and glimpsed someone walking unsteadily from a road. There was something unusual about him that caught her attention.

Luckily the bus slowed down for a set of works traffic lights which had moved from amber to a rather definitive and resounding red and thus giving Taylor a direct view of the road on her right. The road was more like a side street that followed up the side of the bridge that the bus had just emerged from. There was a black BMW sat on the pavement facing up the road on guard, a large blue gate which was open to allow people to explore, but the street only seemed to hold some sort of shops or buildings that were utilizing the space under the bridge, their graffiti-riddled shutters down and looking unused for years. On the other side, tucked in a corner, was an overflowing dumpster with litter of soggy paper and carboard left abandoned around it.

The man she saw walking out from the street was now holding himself up against the blue gate, slightly silhouetted against the rising sun behind him. He was wrapped up in some sort of fabric to keep himself warm, his slightly dark yet young face looked sunken and in pain, dark circles framed his strange eyes. She would have just thought the poor guy was just a homeless person out on his luck looking like he had just resurfaced from a safe place to squat for the night. But those eyes didn’t sit well with her. She wasn’t sure if it was a trick of the light or something, because of the sunrise behind him and the typically British cloudy day.

The bus jerked forward again to continue past the now green traffic lights, knocking Taylor’s elbow off the window edge and breaking her eye contact. But not before the man managed to look right at Taylor. His face furrowed into a curious frown as if he somehow knew she had been there watching him.

But those dark eyes weren’t just dark… they were completely pitch black.

When she looked back out of the window to the exact spot the man was, he had somehow vanished. She attempted to press her face to the window in order to look down the road behind the bus and even looked across to the opposite side of the road where another street ran up the other side of the bridge, but there was no sign of the strange man.

What also made her blood run cold was not only those pitch-black eyes, reminding her of the creature in her dream, but she realised she experienced the same feeling she had in her dream too. A feeling she couldn’t quite explain, it was just there in the depths of her being. It was like trying to explain that she heard voices, but they didn’t come to her ears, but from within… so was that strange feeling.

Suddenly a mixture of voices came into her head again, just like they did last night. She gasped and closed her eyes tightly and pointlessly shut as the inside of her head came alive with a mumbling and muffling mess of sounds. She knew it was talking, but she couldn’t make out words let alone sentences. She held her hands to her temples and groaned, the more she thought of them, the louder they got.

“SHUT UP!” she yelled suddenly, her voice reverberating in her ears. The voices stopped. Only the hum of the bus’s engine and the surrounding traffic was heard. No talking.

She blinked and looked up, seeing a few faces nervously staring at her from their seats around her. Of course, the voices were in her head, no one else could hear them.

Am I going mad? she thought to herself, as she deliberately diverted her attention to the outside world once again. Even the bus driver was looking in his rear-view mirror to see what the fuss was about.            

She sighed and took the bottle of alcohol that she had bought from the shop that morning from her backpack, she had told herself she wasn’t going to take even a sip until she was home and could finally relax. But it didn’t take her a lot to convince herself she needed a sip. Ignoring the strange look she was getting from a young girl in the seat on the opposite side of the bus, Taylor unscrewed the cap and took a large swig of the calming liquid.

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

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

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

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Standing up to Bullying – don’t stop the dreamers!

I found out this morning that people in the village have been talking about me (I’m not surprised, it’s what they do best; gossip). But what made me laugh was that someone mentioned I’m writing a book. I am. But I am doing so much more than that. And I don’t mean my university studies either. I mean my scheming. I have ideas. Ideas that I want to turn into plans. I am using my time to not only write (and finish my studies) but to come up with a plan for the future. The future isn’t exactly set in stone. But I have an outline of what I want it to look like.

In the past I have spoken out about my ideas, my dreams, some haven’t worked out (most of them actually), either because I changed my mind or because other things have got in the way (like my studies getting in the way of my plan to travel the world for charity), and I’ve had people ridicule me (including family) and try to push me down, but I haven’t let it deter me. It just makes me stronger. I don’t care what people think of me, think of me what you like, but I know who I am and I’m going to keep pushing to be the best version of me as possible.

Do you think Marie Curie would be in history books if she gave up when she was refused entry to Krakow University because she was a woman? She was later given two nobel prizes. She was the first woman to recieve one. The first person and only woman to win twice. The only person to win in two different science fields.

Do you think Galileo Galilei would be in history books if gave up when the church tried to thwart his ideas that Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe and revolves around a sun?

Do you think Thomas Edison would be in history books now if he gave up when he tried thousands of failed attempts to create the first lightbulb?

I’m not saying I will be in history books, or find the cure to cancer or even do anything worthy at all, that’s a bit pompus, but I am saying that people doubt people who may one day be brilliant all the time. That’s what keeps me going, when it feels like everyone is against me. I’m not interested in getting into a history book, I’m not even interested in being formally recognised for my efforts or possible future accomplishments. But I am interested in proving a point. Proving that people shouldn’t look down upon others, don’t push them down because you think it’s funny, to fit into a crowd, or because you think they’re just ‘talk and no action’, those people, with the dreams and the ones we should be supporting.

I am also interested in pushing people to follow their dreams, no matter how silly they feel they are (unless they’re morally wrong, then I have a problem!) and being the best version of themselves.

Yes, I am writing a book. I would love nothing more for it to inspire people. But I’m not building my hopes up that it will. I’ll push really hard for it, but I’m not setting myself up for a fall just in case. I am also studying psychology, and want to push hard to get a PhD one day, contribute in some way in the world of knowledge.

I also still want to do things for charity, it might not be that round the world trip, I did a charity abseil (found my weakness is in lack of support though thus not much fundraising happened, so am finding other avenues to help instead) but I also have the idea to set up a business, a social enterprise to bring people, companies, charities and the community together to make the world a better place.

Feel free to think “She’s all talk and no action”. I might not accomplish everything, but I’m going to still damn well try to do my best! But I don’t care what you say or think about me. I care about helping others. DONT push other people down to make yourself feel better, THEY might be the next Marie Curie or Thomas Edison!

Using constructive critism… and not throwing in the towel!

I’m feeling 100% well lately, but I’m still going to attempt this blog post!

A couple of days ago I decided to reach out on a Facebook Group called ‘We love reading books.’ What better way to get advice on your writing but from book fans!?

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So I wrote a post asking if there would be anyone who’d be interested in reading a few chapters of my ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ so that I could get feedback. I was actually surprised that a LOT of people commented back jumping at the opportunity! So after sending out a load of personal emails with a PDF of the first few chapters, I’m starting to get a little bit of feedback.

Of course, my skin isn’t that thick to deal with negative feedback, not because I was shocked to hear my work isn’t perfect! But because I have low self-esteem in general.

3t224i


But after getting the feedback, I realised that- okay, so THAT person didn’t like it – Well, not the story, but the writing style, he did say he’d like to read more! I have had some ideas on how to improve it!

I also got a lovely reply back from another reader and she was very nice. She was a lot more supportive in the sense that she told me she loved the story and did give me some feedback on how to improve it a little too.

And what is interesting, is that, I actually feel all the more happier now that I have used that feedback and done a few alterations. It’s that little bit better than it was before I sent it out. 🙂

I did also, get some lovely comments on Twitter from some other authors, so if you are reading this and you were one who encouraged me, thank you for your kind words!

And no, I’m not giving up. I’ve spent ten months so far writing this damn book (well a series), I for sure am NOT giving up on it! And I do want it to be the best it can be. I’m proud of the story line and I love the characters (well, most of them).

determination

Moral of the story, take negative feedback with a pinch of salt. Not everyone is going to love it, but use the critism to your advantage, use it to make it better!

Plus, even famous authors have negative feedback! Just look at Dan Brown! Now his works are getting put into films! (I love his books!)

34f78602a1d051ae837d1bf853a112c0

Rebecca – Chapter 1

Bit of a back story to this one before you read on. I started this one a while ago, before ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ and way before ‘It’s My Mistake’ but I never finished it. Reason for that was because I came up with the idea of Rose Garden Sanatorium before finishing it and got distracted to write that one instead!

Now, a few months on and I have decided to finish ‘Rebecca’ first and publish it along with ‘It’s My Mistake’, just to get a few books out there before I finished ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’. I have decided to publish Rose Garden professionally and as my studies start up soon I might not have a lot of time to finish it before then (nor the funds, as it’s going to cost up to £1500, which I don’t have as I’m not employed!)

Anyway, I figured I’d post a few chapters of Rebecca for you anyway, so you can see what to expect when I finally finish and publish this one.
If you’re interested in the other two and haven’t come across them before, see below for the links to my other posts.

P.S. Please bare in mind this currently in first draft stage, but if you do see any mistakes in grammar, spelling or even if you’d like to comment on plotline/wording/description (or lack of as that hasn’t been added perfectly yet either) feel free to let me know. 🙂

Warning: May contact strong language and mature content


Chapter 1

I looked outside at the weather. It was horrendous, I wished I never decided to travel to Canada now or at least wished I’d looked at the best time of year to go. It wasn’t winter yet, it was mid-autumn but I was too busy in the eastern side of Canada in the summer. So here I was, travelling in this torrential weather to Vancouver, on a bus.

I should have known it was the wrong time of year to go, considering I was the only person on this bus. But the need to travel was too strong that it overruled my common sense. Never mind, I’m here now and the only time I could get work in this area was this time of year, so I had no choice really. Unless I stayed in England.

I sat on the uncomfortable bench of a seat on the bus as the rain washed passed on the windows, it was early evening by now. After a bit of a long trip from my post on Vancouver Island. The sun had settled two hours earlier and I could tell the temperature was dropping slightly too. I was just lucky that it wasn’t winter and it was freezing cold. The chances of getting stuck in the snow were greater. Although, the weather might have been drier.

After what seemed like hours on the bus, it slowed to a stop. This alerted me out of my day-dreaming. I noticed it had stopped at a petrol station-, well gas station they were called here in Canada. I wondered if he needed to refuel.

“Just stopping for the bathroom ma’am,” the driver explained when he saw my confused look peering up from the window to him as he got up out of the driver’s seat. “Would you like to grab any snacks or visit the ladies yourself?” he asked. His accent was thick Canadian, an accent I had gotten used to for a while now after spending nearly four months in Canada. Although I had noticed a slightly change after moving away from the east coast.

“Not a bad idea,” I nodded, getting up from my seat and stretching my stiff joints. “How long now until Vancouver?” I asked, as I grabbed my bag and headed to the front of the bus.

“Another few hours, so long as the weather doesn’t get any worse,” the driver explained, hopping off the bus and waiting outside for me to get off too.

“Great,” I said, not really feeling great about it at all. I had to spend another few hours on a cold damp bus before I could go anywhere to get a decent meal and a decent night sleep. I was exhausted.

The gas station didn’t have much in terms of decent food either. I wandered down the aisles looking at the American or Canadian style chocolate bars and ‘chips’ and subsequently sighed. There were no decent sandwiches, so my choices were limited to chips and chocolates. And seeing as I wasn’t sure when my next decent meal was going to be, I decided to pick up a few things anyway, even if they were high in sugar and fat, they were better than nothing. I picked up a few packets of chips and a few bars of chocolates before heading over to the counter where the driver was talking to the guy behind the cashier already.

“I’m afraid not,” the cashier said while talking to the driver, who had come back from the bathroom. He was shaking his head and looking concerned about something. This sparked my curiosity.

“That’s just my luck,” said the driver and rubbed his face with a hand.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, dumping the snacks on the counter top.

“Road’s blocked half a mile up, no way through to the city.”

“What?” I said, feeling the blood drain from my face.

“Apparently the wind blew down an old tree, right into the road, no way of getting through.”

“Buggar!” I swore and rubbed my own face, feeling tired already, “Now what?”

“There is a Motel in the next village, hopefully they’ll have the road cleared by tomorrow?” suggested the guy behind the cash register.

“I suppose that’s all I can do!” I shrugged, “Where is the motel? Is it far?”

“A mile or so,” the bus driver explained.

I nodded and picked up the snacks, thinking that if I wasn’t heading back in Vancouver today, I might as well find somewhere to eat in the village.

“I can take you to the motel,” the driver said, “But I’ll be heading back to my town, which is a few miles away.”

I nodded, “That’ll be fine.”

The bus stopped for a second time that night, right outside a motel. I was starting to feel a little hungry, so at this point I was just glad to find somewhere to get off so I could get something to eat and rest for the rest of the night. Although I was starting to wish I had bought those snacks at the service station.

“Here’s the motel,” the bus driver said, giving me a weak smile.

“Thank you,” I said, getting up and moving to the front of the bus again.

“Keep your ticket, it’ll get you to Vancouver tomorrow.”

I nodded and thanked him again before getting off the bus. Taking my backpack and trudging up to the front reception of the motel now a little soaked from the rain.

It was only a small motel, clearly this town didn’t get many visitors.

I pushed through the reception door and up to the lady on the reception who looked up from her newspaper crossword puzzle and smiled at me. “Evening.”

“Hi, can I have room for the night?”

“Oh, sorry love, we’re fully booked for tonight!”

“Oh, shit!” I accidentally said, feeling my luck going from bad to worse.

The receptionist smiled weakly, “There is another motel in the next town up,” she said.

“Oh right, where is that?”

“If you go in that direction,” she pointed out the window, “past the post office and continue until you hit the next town, it’s right opposite a diner. They usually have a few vacancies.”

“Oh, okay, thanks!” I smiled. I just heard diner and felt my stomach urge me to leave and find food.

“Sorry again,” the receptionist smiled as I turned back around.

“That’s okay,” I muttered as I opened the door and finally trudged back out into the darkness. At least I knew there was another motel, so it wasn’t all that bad. One that had a diner right opposite. Winner.


If you like this, please check out my other work:

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

My Normal – Short Story

 

Cover designed by me, only a draft copy for illustration purposes. I do not currently own the rights to the picture displayed.
Imgur

If you’re interested in how I created my covers to any of my books, please check out this following post:
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It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Copyright ©2020 Penny Hooper
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the author.
Penny Hooper has asserted her right under Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This story may contain sensitive themes that some readers may find difficult to read.
These themes include, but are not limited to:
Scenes of a sexual nature
Strong language
Rape / sexual abuse
Alcohol abuse

Chapter 1

“Mrs Mark?” I heard someone call. My head shot up from my mobile phone.

Miss! For the last time, it’s Miss! I thought from within my panic.

I groaned and stood up from the uncomfortable plastic chair that I was sitting on and walked extremely nervously towards the two beady and judging eyes that were staring at me.

The woman who owned the eyes held open the looming door for me to walk through. It was the same door that people before me had walked through and had eventually reappeared looking scared shitless but with a mix of relief that the torture was over. I trudged through it self-consciously and into the room that laid in wait.

I woke up feeling fine this morning. Better than fine, I was excited. I knew I had this meeting, it had been circled on my calendar for weeks. I counted down the days. I deliberated for hours, if not days, over what to wear. I had my hair cut the weekend before. I’d even had my nails painted, not something I was too keen on doing. It was a waste of money in my opinion. But I wanted to look the part. Have every chance of acing the day. I told myself over and over that I would ace the interview and I would finally get a job in a hotel. A job I have wanted for years!

But after watching those worried and upset looking faces pile out of the room I was about to enter, my confidence slowly disappeared. These people looked way smarter and even more confident than I am before they entered. I was way in over my head.

Especially when I had this obnoxious woman finally give me the usual up-and-down look like she had given all the others. Maybe the casual yet slightly formal look wasn’t the best look to go for?

After the hours I had spent in front of the mirror, risking running late for my interview, I had finally decided on this look. I had gone through a number of dresses; from really smart dresses to dresses with those girly plaits in them. I tried a dress with a cardigan, a dress with a blazer. Until I realised it was a little cold and wet today in London, and tights didn’t seem to be working for me. So, I settled on trousers instead. But smart trousers looked too smart, jeans looked too casual. My expensive black shirt I got from a Debenhams sale that was now two years old, also looked too formal—I looked like I was about to go to a funeral. My pink blouse seemed too girly and gave the wrong impression. Even plain t-shirts looked too casual. It took me three hours to finally decide.

I walked in, nearly tripping up as my heel caught the edge of a carpet tile and I stumbled into the room. I felt the palms of my hands go instantly sweaty.

I was being stared at by three faces. Silently judging no doubt. One of the faces was of a woman with pursed lips and glasses with a thick rim hanging onto her thin nose, her hair was short and wiry, as if attempting to look young and hip but failing miserable. Next to her was a slightly younger person, a man this time, but still much older than myself judging by the greying hair on the sides of his head and his thinning hair on top. I would have said he was in his late forties. But the other man had caught my attention; he was handsome. A thick square jaw, cleanly shaven, piercing blue-grey eyes under a small mat of dirt-blonde hair. He also wore a curiously wicked smile on his face as if he was amused by my appearance.

You and me both fella.

I stole a glance at myself in the reflection of the large mirror wall behind them. I looked stupidly under-dressed suddenly. I should have gone for a dress. Or maybe my trouser suit that I had left discarded on my bed. I was wearing black jeans, purple court heels and a plain black t-shirt with a deep purple blazer over the top. My long brown hair looking a mess because I had been sat running my sweaty hands through it nervously.

“H–hi,” I stuttered, when I realised no one was saying anything. Maybe it was up to me to start this interview? Maybe this was part one of the test? Had I failed already?

“Mrs Mark, it says here that—” started the older man with the greying and thinning hair. He looked down at some paperwork in his hands as he spoke.

“Miss,” I corrected confidently, interrupting him speak.

The man looked up from the paperwork and glared at me. I felt my palms getting sweatier. “Excuse me?” he frowned at me.

“I–I’m not Mrs Mark, I—” I started, but got interrupted.

“You’re not Mrs Mark?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at me. “Then, who are you?”

“No, I mean, I am, but I’m not—” I got interrupted again.

“Deborah called for Mrs Mark, why have you come into this room if you are not Mrs Mark?”

“No, wait, you misunderstood!” I panicked. This was going terribly wrong already. “I’m single, I’m not—”

“That’s good to know,” the young handsome man suddenly said. I glanced at him and saw he now had a large grin on his face. I gulped. Was he grinning at me?

Yeah, probably because I am an idiot for even thinking I could get this job.

“Look, whoever you are I suggest you—” the woman started, but she got interrupted. Not by me though.

“What’s your name?” asked the handsome man, sitting forwards on his desk and curiously staring at me as if he was talking to me and ignoring the others in the room. I felt suddenly warmer than usual. His bright grey-blue eyes were gazing right into mine.

“It’s Miss Mark, not Mrs.”

The woman and the older man both sighed in union as the young man gave out a hearty laugh.

“Why didn’t you say that then!” snapped the woman.

“I tried…” I sighed.

“You just assumed she was someone else, Mirren,” said the handsome man, sitting back in his seat, looking casual yet confidently business-like. But his searching eyes had not left my face. “You just assumed that she came in here after someone else’s name was called and didn’t give her enough time to actually explain. In fact it is our mistake for wrongly assuming she was married, it can actually be highly offensive.”

The older woman sat up straight suddenly and looked visibly upset that she had been caught out being rude to someone, even the other man looked a little taken aback, his face even went a little pale.

“But she did just stand there and stutter!” the woman named Mirren started to defend herself. “All she had to do was say that her name was Miss Mark and not try and hit on the men in this room by telling them she’s single!”

“I don’t think—” the older man started, but got interrupted. This time by me.

“Excuse me!” I snapped. I knew this interview was pretty much ruined now anyway, so it was pointless trying to be nice to these people, and I certainly wasn’t going to let them get away with insulting me! “I walked into this room feeling a little self-conscious. I’ve been looking forward to this bloody interview for weeks. I really want this job, so I was a little nervous!”

“Dressed like that?” the woman whispered and snorted a little, after composing herself from being spoken back to like that. I don’t think she intended me to hear her.

“I’ll admit; looking at how overly dressed you lot are, and the other unsuspecting idiots out there, who have dressed in suits, I do feel just a tad underdressed and out of place. But I didn’t want to be one of those in-your-face suit dressed women in high heels trying to show off my tits to get the job”—I realised too late that my voice was getting louder—“but after meeting you, I feel that actually I’m not right for this job, and my full and undivided commitment would be wasted here in this company and I’d rather find another hotel that accept me for my experience and drive and not because I wore a suit that I’d be stupidly uncomfortable in anyway!”

I span round and went to leave the room without another word, but something else got my attention; the carpet tile I nearly tripped on, it was clearly poking up looking frayed and menacing waiting for its next unsuspecting victim to trip on it. I wondered how many people had already nearly tripped over this obvious health and safety risk. “And for fuck sake, sort these damn carpet tiles before someone trips and hurts themselves!” I finally stormed out of the room without another word.

~~~
Updated: 13/09/2020

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

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