Falling Chapter Preview

March 3, 2020 6 Comments
Available 9th March

Chapter One

Amelia stared woefully at her reflection in the mirror, her eyes awash with tears. What’s wrong with me? Am I really that bad?

Chapter One

Amelia stared woefully at her reflection in the mirror, her eyes awash with tears. What’s wrong with me? Am I really that bad?

Despite having ‘I am Enough’ Post-it Notes plasteredall over her bathroom mirror, Amelia felt far from enough. In fact, her self-worth couldn’t have been any lower. She knew in her heart of hearts that she shouldn’t need another person’s desire to validate her, but it was so hard, especially when she’d been single for over a year. A year without love. Without sex. Was that a record? At her age, she should have been fighting women off, not sitting in her flat, waiting to see if yet another emotionally unavailable woman was going to dump her after their first date.

Amelia accepted it was a sign of the times – where men and women were a commodity. Dating apps had seen to this. She always likened the online dating process to searching for a job. You put all that effort into finding exactly the right fit for you and, after what you thought was an amazing interview, nothing. At least with a job application the company didn’t ghost you if you contacted them afterwards. Amelia gave a bitter laugh at the thought of how many times this had happened in her personal life. Twenty-five dates later and none had gone further than a snog.

It wasn’t as if Amelia hadn’t been warned by her friends that internet dating was not for her. It was a jungle out there, she’d been told right before putting her profile on Meet and Greet, but did she listen? No! She never did. Somehow, she had tried to convince herself that it would be different for her. That her potential soulmate would be able to see her true qualities, and together they would sail off into the sunset.

How quickly that dream dissolved into a pile of nothingness.

Why couldn’t women just be honest about how they felt? The mind games they played messed with her head. So much so, that after today’s latest let down, she had deleted her profile on the dating app and sworn herself to lifelong celibacy. What I don’t have, I won’t miss.

Hearing her mobile phone ring, Amelia pursed her lips and mentally prepared herself for the dialogue she had been practicing in her head all evening, on the off-chance Liz did actually call.

It was ten p.m. Their date was meant to have been at seven.

Dropping her voice an octave to give the impression she had just woken up, she said, ‘Hello.’

‘Hey! Sorry about the—’

‘No need to apologise, Liz.’ Pause. ‘You actually did me a favour by not turning up tonight.’

‘I did?’

Amelia could hear the slight hesitation in her voice.

‘Yes. I’ve got an important meeting tomorrow, the last thing I needed was to be exhausted.’

‘Eh? Why would you be exhausted?’ Liz said. ‘We were only going for a drink.’

‘Believe me, Liz, we were going to be doing more than that. Much, much more,’ Amelia said in her most sultry voice.

For the next five minutes, Amelia told Liz exactly what she had planned to do to her with the most graphic descriptions. She went into so much detail, she actually turned herself on. By the end of the fantasy scene Amelia had memorised from an erotica book earlier, she could almost hear Liz panting down the line.

‘Well, I’d better go now—’

‘No wait! Let me come over. I can be there in fifteen… no ten minutes.’

‘Too late I’m afraid….’

‘Come on—’

Amelia put her mouth to the phone and let out a soft, seductive sigh before disconnecting the call. Almost immediately the phone started to ring again. Without looking at the caller ID, she waited a few seconds. Liz was keen. Amelia was glad the technique had worked on her. Maybe she’d think twice about standing someone up in the future.

Swiping to accept the call, she frowned when a familiar voice that wasn’t Liz spoke into her ear.

‘Who’s the bestest friend in the world?’

‘Er… you,’ Amelia said, hazarding a guess.

‘Damn right I am.’

There were a few moments of silence before Cecile spoke again.

‘Remember that trainee position you applied for at Styles?’

‘Yeah, what about it?’

‘Well, looks like you’re in with a chance.’ Cecile worked as an admin assistant at Styles so would be one of the first to know.

Amelia held the phone with a trembling hand. ‘When I didn’t hear back from them, I assumed they didn’t want me.’

Cecile laughed. ‘Only you could assume the worst from a lack of response.’

‘Come on, just tell me what’s happening?’

‘They’re starting the hiring process, and you’ve got an interview!’

‘What? Are you bloody kidding me?’

‘Nope, but you’re up against some serious competition.’

Amelia’s heart sank. That’s the story of my life. ‘Go on, who are they?’

‘People from Pascha and Converts—’

‘Pascha! Converts? Please tell me you’re joking.’

‘Do I sound like I’m joking? Anyway, thanks to your BFF shoving your portfolio under the nose of Damien in HR, you’ve got as good a chance as anyone. You’ll officially hear from them tomorrow, but your interview’s on Wednesday.’

Amelia struggled to take it all in. ‘Wednesday?But that’s only two days away. I haven’t got anywhere to stay or—’

‘You can stay with me. I thought you’d be happy. Do you know what having Styles on your CV can do for your career?’

Amelia steadied herself using the basin for support. She was right. Where was her gratitude? I’ve got an interview!! I’ve got an interview!! Oh my God! Oh my God!

Eyes closed, she pinched herself, quickly suppressing the urge to scream ‘Ouch’ having pinched a little too hard.

‘Are you still there?’

I think so. Amelia’s eyes darted around her small bathroom, unsure where to settle her gaze. With a jolt, Amelia realized she hadn’t responded.

‘Oh, um yes, sorry, it’s just um my… there was a spider on my head,’ Amelia blurted out the first thing that came to mind and instantly regretted it.

‘A spider on your head?’

‘Er yeah, it um lives here.’ Please stop talking nonsense. ‘Anyway, sorry, Cecile, I can’t thank you enough for helping me with this. And I’m grateful, I just can’t believe it.’

Amelia could hear the immediate reprimand in Cecile’s voice. ‘I told you, you’ve got to believe in yourself. If you won’t—’

‘I know, I know, no one else will.’

‘Right, you’re not in your PJs?’

Amelia turned towards the mirror and took in her casual outfit. Jeans and a tight-fitted striped grey waistcoat. She would be the first to admit it wasn’t over the top glam, but the look was stylish enough. For Bournemouth anyway. ‘No, why?’

Amelia could hear laughter in the background. ‘’Cause we’re coming to get you.’

‘You’re in Bournemouth?’

‘Yes, I’m with the girls, we had free tickets to a fashion show earlier. Now we’re ready to hit the town.’

‘Oh right. You know, Cecile, it’s kind of late and—’

‘Oh, don’t be such a bloody bore. You’re the oldest twenty-eight-year-old person I know.’

Amelia shook her head incredulously. ‘And you’re the youngest thirty-year-old I know.’

‘I’ll take that as a compliment.’ More laughter. ‘Put your face on, we’re five minutes away.’

And with that, the line went dead.

Amelia rolled her eyes. Great. Now she was going to be stuck in a straight club watching Cecile and her friends be ogled by pimple-faced teenagers. She’d had the misfortune of going out a few weeks back and was shocked that most of the ‘men’ looked no older than sixteen. She could think of nothing worse than spending another night in such a place.

Maybe I should call Liz back. Amelia’s new-found confidence at being given a shot at her dream job had boosted her self-worth.

She started to punch in Liz’s number then stopped. Amelia didn’t need her. She didn’t need anyone. That’s what she loved about life. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, it flipped and did the total opposite.

A fleeting grin appeared on Amelia’s face as she thought about all the attractive women she would meet in her new job. That’s if she managed to impress the interviewer.

Finally, the lady downstairs might be getting some action.

Chapter Two

The next day, Amelia was packed and ready to go. After one last glance around her studio flat to make sure she’d not left any electrical items on, she stepped out into the communal hallway and closed the door behind her. If all went well with her interview, it was likely she’d have to give up her tenancy. There was no way she could commute between London and Bournemouth every day. Did she feel the slightest bit of sadness and regret at the prospect? No. It was moments like this that reminded Amelia why she didn’t mind being single sometimes. Having no one to answer to meant she could take off at the drop of a hat without having to explain herself to anyone. She wasn’t held back by emotional blackmail, or guilt for working away from home to earn a living.

As much as she would have loved a furry companion to go home to at night, they were too much responsibility. They needed feeding, vet visits and companionship, just to name a few, and she wasn’t in the right space to provide any of those. Though Amelia had made a promise to herself that once she was financially solvent, she would have two cats, a dog and a rabbit. And maybe a tortoise.

Amelia pulled onto the M3, following the signpost to London. According to her Sat Nav, Islington – her final destination, was two hours and thirty minutes away. As she crawled behind the mounting traffic in front, she reached over to the glove compartment to retrieve a CD. Distracted for no more than a few seconds, she hadn’t realised a car had stopped in front of her until it was too late.

The noise of the two cars making contact startled her more than the actual crash itself.

Thankfully, she’d only been crawling along at five mph.

Amelia edged her car onto the hard shoulder and the car in front did the same. The driver of the other car got out and walked around to the rear of her vehicle to inspect the damage.

Oh shit! By the scowl on the woman’s face, it didn’t look good. In her mind’s eye, Amelia could just see the insurance policy landing on her door mat with an extortionate increase in her premiums.

The woman turned her attention to Amelia who was still sat in her car, her fingers tightly wound around the steering wheel. Her number one pet hate was confrontation, and the woman standing there waiting for her looked like she liked nothing but getting straight to the point.

Reluctantly, Amelia released her seatbelt, made a show of rotating her neck and slowly climbed out of the car.

‘I’m—’

‘Were you on your phone?’ the woman asked accusingly.

Amelia frowned. ‘What? No, of course not.’

The look the woman gave her told her that she didn’t believe her. ‘I swear I wasn’t—’

‘Then you must have been asleep?’

‘Look, I’m sorry. I was looking for something—’

‘Looking for something on the motorway?’ the woman said with a shake of her head.

‘In my glove compartment.’

‘Let me guess, you’re from Bournemouth?’

‘I am actually,’ Amelia replied defensively. ‘You got a problem with that?’

‘No, what I’ve got a problem with is people who are so accustomed to driving in a town full of oldies, that they forget their senses when they come out into the real world.’

‘Now hold on a second—’

‘No, you hold on. You could’ve caused a lot of damage.’

‘Hardly! I was barely moving.’ Amelia fired back more out of frustration than anything else.

‘Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve got valuable stuff in my boot.’

At this, Amelia felt a prickling sensation behind her eyes. Blinking away the tears, Amelia looked down at the ground.

When she spoke, her voice was choked with emotion. She hated people raising their voice to her. ‘I’m sorry. I… if… if I’ve damaged anything….’

As hard as Amelia tried to keep her tears at bay, they wouldn’t obey her, and slowly rolled down her cheeks. Using the back of her hand to wipe them away as she scurried back to her car, she reached inside and retrieved her mobile phone from her bag.

When she shut the car door, the woman appeared beside her. Her features no longer hard.

‘I’m sorry if I was a bit harsh.’

A bit? Instead of making her feel better, the woman’s kindness only made Amelia feel worse.

‘There’s no need for you to apologise,’ Amelia said. ‘I was in the wrong.’

‘Yeah, but no damage was done this time. My stuff is okay, the car just has a small scratch. It’s no biggie, let’s just leave it.’ The woman smiled and it transformed her whole face. ‘Are you okay?’

Amelia nodded.

The woman’s eyes slowly roamed down Amelia’s body then back up again to her face.

‘You’re looking a bit pale. I’ve got some water in my car.’ The woman gestured for Amelia to follow her and she slowly trailed behind.

The woman leant into her car and backed out holding a bottle of water which she handed to Amelia. ‘When you get to where you’re going, maybe it would be best to have a shot of brandy to put some colour back in your face.’

Amelia acknowledged the drink with a nod of thanks and took a mouthful. She hadn’t realised how dry her throat was. She took another sip and attempted to give the water back to the woman.

‘Keep it.’

‘You sure?’

‘Yes.’ The woman looked at her watch and turned to go. ‘I’d better make a move. Please drive a bit more carefully.’

 ‘Point taken,’ Amelia said.‘And again, I really am sorry.’

The woman leant against her car and held Amelia’s gaze, as if she was actually seeing her for the first time. The intensity of her stare caused Amelia’s breath to catch in her throat. If the woman was waiting for her to say something, she was going to be in for a long wait. Amelia was suddenly speechless. She had been so caught up in her head contemplating what could have happened, that she hadn’t realised how attractive the woman standing in front of her was. Did she say attractive? She meant hot! Top of the scale hotness.

Now is not the time to be checking out the woman whose car you just hit!

By the time Amelia finally found her voice, the woman had climbed into her car. The engine started and seconds later the car re-joined the traffic, with the woman waving out of the window, leaving Amelia standing there dumbstruck.

This might not have been the best start to the day, but Amelia was sure things could only get better.

Chapter Three

Melissa periodically checked her rear-view mirror until the figure she’d left behind diminished in size, before finally disappearing altogether. Despite her initial irritation at the stranger’s clumsiness, she couldn’t help but smile. For some reason, the woman had left a lasting impression on her, despite only being in her company for five minutes. Five minutes? It normally took weeks for a woman to do that. If at all.

It was a shame they hadn’t met under more favourable circumstances. If she’d had more time on her hands, Melissa could have asked the stranger if she wanted to go for a coffee at a service station. Of course it would have been under the guise of calming her nerves, but the main objective would have been to get to know her better, much better. Melissa could still see her flushed cheeks. The slight tremble of her lips.

Melissa gave herself a quick reality check. And I wonder why lesbians get the reputation of falling in love at first sight. Next, I’ll be fantasising about us moving in together and raising babies.

Right, forget about her, I need to focus. Melissa had a million and one things to do today, and she was already behind. If, for some reason, she fucked up, Vogue would be even more pissed off with her than she already was. ‘Heads are gonna roll’ was one of Vogue’s favourite sayings, and Melissa knew she meant it, having been the recipient of that threat many times.

Changing lanes, Melissa ran through the mental check list in her mind. Shopping was done – two cases of Cristal champagne. Lobsters and caviar were still intact in iceboxes in the car boot. Nothing but the best for the boss.

Earlier that day, Melissa thought Vogue had been joking when she’d told Melissa to go and pick up the champagne and food from Dorset. But Melissa should have known better. Vogue’s sense of humour wasn’t that straightforward. She thought her own jokes were amusing but no one else’s. What a waste. Like there aren’t more important things that need to be taken care of.

But like the dutiful person she was, Melissa had done so without question. Like she always had throughout the time she had worked for Vogue.

Vogue was the leader and Melissa the follower.

Vogue always got the girl and Melissa always got the leftovers. The ones she didn’t want or the ones she discarded. The ones who cried on Melissa’s shoulder after Vogue had left them heartbroken.

Melissa hoped that once she removed herself from Vogue’s shadow, all that would change. As long as she stayed, it would always be the same. It wasn’t that Melissa wasn’t attractive or didn’t have charisma of her own. It was just when Vogue was around, Melissa became invisible. While Vogue played Ms. Charming, mesmerising her prey with her wit and captivating regal air, Melissa could only fade into the background and watch from afar. Yes, she was jealous, madly so, but she knew that one day the boot would be on the other foot. She would be the one lapping up the attention and everything else she deserved.

Problem was that Melissa just didn’t know when.

But she would have her day.

That, she was sure of.

Amelia stared woefully at her reflection in the mirror, her eyes awash with tears. What’s wrong with me? Am I really that bad?

Despite having ‘I am Enough’ Post-it Notes plastered all over her bathroom mirror, Amelia felt far from enough. In fact, her self-worth couldn’t have been any lower. She knew in her heart of hearts that she shouldn’t need another person’s desire to validate her, but it was so hard, especially when she’d been single for over a year. A year without love. Without sex. Was that a record? At her age she should have been fighting women off, not sitting in her flat, waiting to see if yet another emotionally unavailable woman was going to dump her after their first date.

Amelia accepted it was a sign of the times – where men and women were a commodity. Dating apps had seen to this. She always likened the online dating process to searching for a job. You put all that effort into finding exactly the right fit for you and, after what you thought was an amazing interview, nothing. At least with a job application the company didn’t ghost you if you contacted them afterwards. Amelia gave a bitter laugh at the thought of how many times this had happened in her personal life. Twenty-five dates later and none had gone further than a snog.

It wasn’t as if Amelia hadn’t been warned by her friends that internet dating was not for her. It was a jungle out there, she’d been told right before putting her profile on Meet and Greet, but did she listen? No! She never did. Somehow, she had tried to convince herself that it would be different for her. That her potential soulmate would be able to see her true qualities, and together they would sail off into the sunset.

How quickly that dream dissolved into a pile of nothingness.

Why couldn’t women just be honest about how they felt? The mind games they played messed with her head. So much so, that after today’s latest let down, she had deleted her profile on the dating app and sworn herself to lifelong celibacy. What I don’t have, I won’t miss.

Hearing her mobile phone ring, Amelia pursed her lips and mentally prepared herself for the dialogue she had been practicing in her head all evening, on the off-chance Liz did actually call.

It was 10 p.m. Their date was meant to have been at seven.

Dropping her voice an octave to give the impression she had just woken up, she said, ‘Hello.’

‘Hey! Sorry about the—’

‘No need to apologise, Liz.’ Pause. ‘You actually did me a favour by not turning up tonight.’

‘I did?’

Amelia could hear the slight hesitation in her voice.

‘Yes. I’ve got an important meeting tomorrow, the last thing I needed was to be exhausted.’

‘Eh? Why would you be exhausted?’ Liz said. ‘We were only going for a drink.’

‘Believe me, Liz, we were going to be doing more than that. Much, much more,’ Amelia said in her most sultry voice.

For the next five minutes, Amelia told Liz exactly what she had planned to do to her with the most graphic descriptions. She went into so much detail, she actually turned herself on. By the end of the fantasy scene Amelia had memorised from an erotica book earlier, she could almost hear Liz panting down the line.

‘Well, I’d better go now—’

‘No wait! Let me come over. I can be there in fifteen… no ten minutes.’

‘Too late I’m afraid….’

‘Come on—’

Amelia put her mouth to the phone and let out a soft, seductive sigh before disconnecting the call. Almost immediately the phone started to ring again. Without looking at the caller ID, she waited a few seconds. Liz was keen. Amelia was glad the technique had worked on her. Maybe she’d think twice about standing someone up in the future.

Swiping to accept the call, she frowned when a familiar voice that wasn’t Liz spoke into her ear.

‘Who’s the bestest friend in the world?’

‘Er… you,’ Amelia said, hazarding a guess.

‘Damn right I am.’

There were a few moments of silence before Cecile spoke again.

‘Remember you applied for that apprentice competition for Styles?’

‘Yeah, what about it?’

‘Well, looks like you’re in with a chance.’

Amelia covered her mouth with her hand so Cecile couldn’t hear her sharp intake of breath.

She held the phone with trembling hands. ‘When I didn’t hear back from them, I assumed they didn’t want me.’

Cecile laughed. ‘Only you could assume the worst from a lack of response.’

‘Come on, Mel, just tell me what’s happening?’

‘They’re starting the hiring process, and you’ve got an interview!’

‘What? Are you bloody kidding me?’

‘Nope, but there’s a catch.’

Amelia’s heart sank. Isn’t there always. ‘Go on.’

‘There’re only four spots and you’re up against women from Pascha and Converts—’

‘Pascha! Converts? Please tell me you’re joking.’

‘Do I sound like I’m joking? Anyway, thanks to your BFF shoving your portfolio under the nose of Damien in HR, you’ve got as good a chance as anyone. You’ll officially hear from them tomorrow, but your interview’s on Wednesday.’

Amelia struggled to take it all in. ‘Wednesday?But that’s only two days away. I haven’t got anywhere to stay or—’

‘You can stay with me. I thought you’d be happy. Do you know what having Styles on your CV can do for your career?’

Amelia steadied herself using the basin for support. She was right. Where was her gratitude? I’ve got an interview!! I’ve got an interview!! Oh my God! Oh my God!

Eyes closed, she pinched herself, quickly suppressing the urge to scream ‘Ouch’ having pinched a little too hard.

‘Are you still there?’

I think so. Amelia darted her eyes around her small bathroom, unsure where to settle her gaze. With a jolt, Amelia realized she hadn’t responded.

‘Oh, um yes, sorry, it’s just um my… there was a spider on my head,’ Amelia blurted out the first thing that came to mind and instantly regretted it.

‘A spider on your head?’

‘Er yeah, it um lives here.’ Please stop talking nonsense. ‘Anyway, sorry, Cecile, I can’t thank you enough for helping me with this. And I’m grateful, I just can’t believe it.’

Amelia could hear the immediate reprimand in Cecile’s voice. ‘I told you, you’ve got to believe in yourself. If you won’t—’

‘I know, I know, no one else will.’

‘Right, you’re not in your PJs?’

Amelia turned towards the mirror and took in her casual outfit. Jeans and a tight-fitted striped grey waistcoat. She would be the first to admit it wasn’t over the top glam, but the look was stylish enough. For Bournemouth anyway. ‘No, why?’

Amelia could hear laughter in the background. ‘’Cause we’re coming to get you.’

‘You’re in Bournemouth?’

‘Yes, I’m with the girls, we had a fashion shoot earlier. Now we’re ready to hit the town.’

‘Oh right. You know, Mel, it’s kind of late and—’

‘Oh, don’t be such a bloody prude. You’re the oldest twenty-eight-year-old person I know.’

Amelia shook her head incredulously. ‘And you’re the youngest thirty-year-old I know.’

‘I’ll take that as a compliment.’ More laughter. ‘Put your face on, we’re five minutes away.’

And with that, the line went dead.

Amelia rolled her eyes. Great. Now she was going to be stuck in a straight club watching Cecile and her friends be ogled by pimple-faced teenagers. She’d had the misfortune of going out a few weeks back and was shocked that most of the ‘men’ looked no older than sixteen. She could think of nothing worse than spending another night in such a place.

Maybe I should call Liz back. Amelia’s new-found confidence at being given a shot at her dream job had boosted her self-worth.

She started to punch in Liz’s number then stopped. Amelia didn’t need her. She didn’t need anyone.

That’s what she loved about life. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, it flipped and did the total opposite. This time next week Amelia could be working in one of the biggest fashion houses in London.

A fleeting grin appeared on Amelia’s face as she thought about all the attractive women she would meet in her new job. That’s if she managed to impress the interviewer.

Finally, the lady downstairs might be getting some action.

Chapter Two

The next day, Amelia was packed and ready to go. After one last glance around her studio flat, to make sure she’d not left any electrical items on, she stepped out into the communal hallway and closed the door behind her. If all went well with her interview, it was likely she’d have to give up her tenancy. There was no way she could commute between London and Bournemouth every day. Did she feel the slightest bit of sadness and regret at the prospect? No. It was moments like this that reminded Amelia why she didn’t mind being single sometimes. Having no one to answer to meant she could take off at the drop of a hat without having to explain herself to anyone. She wasn’t held back by emotional blackmail, or guilt for working away from home to earn a living. As much as she would have loved a furry companion to go home to at night, they were too much responsibility. They needed feeding, vet visits and companionship, just to name a few, and she wasn’t in the right space to provide any of those. Though Amelia had made a promise to herself that once she was financially solvent, she would have two cats, a dog and a rabbit. And maybe a tortoise.

Amelia pulled onto the M3, following the signpost to London. According to her Sat Nav, Islington – her final destination, was two hours and thirty minutes away. As she crawled behind the mounting traffic in front, she reached over to the glove compartment to retrieve a CD. Distracted for no more than a few seconds, she hadn’t realised a car had stopped in front of her until it was too late.

The noise of the two cars making contact startled her more than the actual crash itself.

Thankfully she’d only been crawling along at 5 mph.

Amelia edged her car onto the hard shoulder and the car in front did the same. The driver of the other car got out and walked around to the rear of her vehicle to inspect the damage.

Oh shit! By the scowl on the woman’s face, it didn’t look good. In her mind’s eye, Amelia could just see the insurance policy landing on her door mat with an extortionate increase in her premiums.

The woman turned her attention to Amelia who was still sat in her car, her fingers tightly wound around the steering wheel. Her number one pet hate was confrontation, and the woman standing there waiting for her looked like she liked nothing but getting straight to the point.

Reluctantly, Amelia released her seatbelt, made a show of rotating her neck and slowly climbed out of the car.

‘I’m—’

‘Were you on your phone?’ the woman asked accusingly.

Amelia frowned. ‘What? No, of course not.’

The look the woman gave her told her that she didn’t believe her. ‘I swear I wasn’t—’

‘Then you must have been asleep?’

‘Look, I’m sorry. I was looking for something—’

‘Looking for something on the motorway?’ the woman said with a shake of her head.

‘In my glove compartment.’

‘Let me guess, you’re from Bournemouth?’

‘I am actually,’ Amelia replied defensively. ‘You got a problem with that?’

‘No, what I’ve got a problem with is people who are so accustomed to driving in a town full of oldies, that they forget their senses when they come out into the real world.’

‘Now hold on a second—’

‘No, you hold on. You could’ve caused a lot of damage.’

‘Hardly! I was barely moving.’ Amelia fired back more out of frustration than anything else.

‘Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve got valuable stuff in my boot.’

At this, Amelia felt a prickling sensation behind her eyes. Blinking away the tears, Amelia looked down at the ground.

When she spoke, her voice was choked with emotion. She hated people rising their voice to her. ‘I’m sorry. I… if… if I’ve damaged anything….’

As hard as Amelia tried to keep her tears at bay, they wouldn’t obey her, and slowly rolled down her cheeks. Using the back of her hand to wipe them away as she scurried back to her car, she reached inside and retrieved her mobile from her bag.

When she shut the car door, the woman appeared beside her. Her features no longer hard.

‘I’m sorry if I was a bit harsh.’

A bit? Instead of making her feel better the woman’s kindness only made Amelia feel worse.

‘There’s no need for you to apologise,’ Amelia said. ‘I was in the wrong.’

‘Yeah, but no damage was done this time. My stuff is okay, the car just has a small scratch. It’s no biggie, let’s just leave it.’ The woman smiled and it transformed her whole face. ‘Are you okay?’

Amelia nodded.

The woman’s eyes slowly roamed down Amelia’s body then back up again to her face.

‘You’re looking a bit pale. I’ve got some water in my car.’ The woman gestured for Amelia to follow her and she slowly trailed behind.

The woman leant into her car and backed out holding a bottle of water which she handed to Amelia. ‘When you get to where you’re going, maybe it would be best to have a shot of brandy to put some colour back in your face.’

Amelia acknowledged the drink with a nod of thanks and took a mouthful. She hadn’t realised how dry her throat was. She took another sip and attempted to give the water back to the woman.

‘Keep it.’

‘You sure?’

‘Yes.’ The woman looked at her watch and turned to go. ‘I’d better make a move. Please drive a bit more carefully.’

 ‘Point taken,’ Amelia said.‘And again, I really am sorry.’

The woman leant against her car and held Amelia’s gaze, as if she was actually seeing her for the first time. The intensity of her stare caused Amelia’s breath to catch in her throat. If the woman was waiting for her to say something, she was going to be in for a long wait. Amelia was suddenly speechless. She had been so caught up in her head contemplating what could have happened, that she hadn’t realised how attractive the woman standing in front of her was. Did she say attractive? She meant hot! Top of the scale hotness.

Now is not the time to be checking out the woman whose car you just hit!

By the time Amelia finally found her voice, the woman had climbed into her car. The engine started and seconds later the car rejoined the traffic, with the woman waving out of the window, leaving Amelia standing there dumbstruck.

This might not have been the best start to the day, but Amelia was sure things could only get better.

Chapter Three

Melissa periodically checked her rear-view mirror until the figure she’d left behind diminished in size, before finally disappearing altogether. Despite her initial irritation at the stranger’s clumsiness, she couldn’t help but smile. For some reason, the woman had left a lasting impression on her, despite only being in her company for five minutes. Five minutes? It normally took weeks for a woman to do that. It was a shame they hadn’t met under more favourable circumstances. If she’d had more time on her hands, Melissa could have asked the stranger if she wanted to go for a coffee at a service station. Of course it would have been under the guise of calming her nerves, but the main objective would have been to get to know her better, much better. Melissa could still see her flushed cheeks. The slight tremble of her lips.

Melissa gave herself a quick reality check. And I wonder why lesbians get the reputation of falling in love at first sight. Next, I’ll be fantasising about us moving in together and raising babies.

It was funny how someone as pragmatic as Melissa could be prone to letting her imagination run away with itself. Not that it was surprising, after all, it was her creativity that had led her onto the path she had embarked on for the past six years.

And what a path it was. It was one that she had been so naïve to fall into and found it so hard to extract herself from. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at her predicament.

One day she’d be free. But up until now, that day had never come. All Melissa could do was hope that she’d find the courage to move on at some stage. The sooner the better.

Right, enough with the ‘woe is me’ attitude, I need to focus. Melissa had a million and one things to do before the party that evening, and she was already behind. If, for some reason, she fucked up, Vogue would be even more pissed off with her than she already was. ‘Heads are gonna roll’ was one of Vogue’s favourite sayings, and Melissa knew she meant it, having been the recipient of that threat many times.

Changing lanes, Melissa ran through the mental check list in her mind. Shopping was done – two cases of Cristal champagne. Lobsters and Caviar were still intact in iceboxes in the car boot. Nothing but the best for the boss.

Earlier that day, Melissa thought Vogue had been joking when she’d told Melissa to go and pick up the champagne and food from Dorset. But Melissa should have known better. Vogue’s sense of humour wasn’t that straightforward. She thought her own jokes were amusing but no one else’s. What a waste. Like there aren’t more important things that need to be taken care of.

But like the dutiful person she was, Melissa had done so without question. Like she always had throughout their ten-year friendship. Vogue was the leader and Melissa the follower.

Vogue always got the girl and Melissa always got the leftovers. The ones she didn’t want or the ones she discarded. The ones who cried on Melissa’s shoulder after Vogue had left them heartbroken.

Melissa hoped that once she removed herself from Vogue’s shadow, all that would change. As long as she stayed, it would always be the same. It wasn’t that Melissa wasn’t attractive or didn’t have charisma of her own. It was just when Vogue was around, Melissa became invisible. While Vogue played Ms. Charming, mesmerising her prey with her wit and captivating regal air, Melissa could only fade into the background and watch from afar. Yes, she was jealous, madly so, but she knew that one day the boot would be on the other foot. She would be the one lapping up the attention and everything else she deserved.

Problem was, Melissa just didn’t know when or how this would come about.

But she would have her day.

That she was sure of.

Copyright 2020 by Jade Winters

All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author. All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Comments

  1. Katrina I'm very interested in seeing where this goes. Off to Amazon to add it to my list.
    3rd March 2020 at 7:54 pm · Reply
  2. Marilyn Silver Can't wait to read the rest of the story. Sounds delicious and exciting.
    3rd March 2020 at 10:02 pm · Reply
  3. Dolly As usual we are transported into the story to watch it unfold right before our eyes. Can barely wait to see where they are headed from here. Bravo!
    4th March 2020 at 2:42 am · Reply
  4. Marina Can't wait for the release! Thanks a lot!!!
    4th March 2020 at 11:57 am · Reply
  5. Leslie D Like Hansel and Gretel in the forest, the trail of breadcrumbs leads us onward Captivating read as always, you have a way of keeping the reader engaged and on the edge of their seat, looking forward to the next page. Can't wait tor get my hands on the full story to see how it all unfolds. Good job.
    5th March 2020 at 2:50 am · Reply
  6. Sonjie' I can't wait for you to finish so I can get this book. My mind yearning for what's next.
    6th March 2020 at 4:15 pm · Reply