Friday, 20 December 2013

I think I'd like to be Elaine this year

And here's the next section. It's the 24th and Elaine has arrived at the B&B. Remember, it's a first draft and will most likely be slightly amended and additional details added, but so far, you get the picture of where and how she is. I think there's a good opportunity for me to fill some pages; ideas are already firing, but nothing too concrete. I know, though, that there will be a person who doesn't pussyfoot around her and sets her straight. Someone she didn't see--or expect--coming. This will be fun to write, albeit a challenge. You'll have to wait until it happens as I don't want to take all the excitement away.

Evening in London

Seventy three days, and I dragged a suitcase on rolls through the doors of the Inn. The first thing that greeted me was a slate in fake snow, next to the stairs. The presents on it were piled up so high, it looked as if a draft could make them tumble.
'Good afternoon and welcome to Witchurch.' I jumped at the sound of the voice coming from the small reception desk to the left. 'You like our little display?'
Little isn't the word I'd use. 'Err, yes,' I lied, wondering if perhaps it had been a bad idea to come.
'Just wait until you see the dining room,' the woman said, her accent giving her away.
'Susan, right? I almost didn't recognise you with your short hair. Suits you.' Last time she wore her blonde hair in braid that went past her hips.
She beamed, running her finger through it. 'Thank you! Much easier and I got tired of it.'
'No regrets?'
'None.' She shook her head, sending her chin-long bob flying around her head like her saucer.
I let go of my suitcase and fumbled for the letter she'd sent to John in my pockets. 'I'm Elaine Smith, we—'
'Spoke,' she completed my sentence. 'Yes, I remember. Did you have a nice journey?'
Grateful for her keeping a straight face I replied, 'Train was a bit delayed, but what's new?'
'Good to hear; we have someone who came from up north, and they had to spent a night somewhere else as the trains were all cancelled due to the weather conditions.'
'It's always a hit and miss at this time of year, isn't it?'
'Indeed. Well, at least you're now here, safe and sound. Let's get you to your room. I'm pretty sure you'll like it.' She handed me the key with a number eight on it. Since I'd been here before, I didn't need further explaining, so I politely refused her offer to lead the way. With a bit of effort I hoisted my suitcase up the red-patterned carpet to the first floor and to the right. I kept walking to the end where I found my room. Upon opening the door, I noticed a faint smell of aged wood and flowers. Looking around, relief washed through me as I realised this room was not the one John and I'd stayed in, it could have been a room found in any other Bed & Breakfast. On the table, next to the large French door, was a large bowl with a dried flower mix, together with a small bottle of sparkling wine. Around it, fixed with a glitter rubber band, was a twig with a yellow and red Christmas ball, and a card that read For a special person at a special time.
I raised one eyebrow at this, then hurled my suitcase onto the bed in order to unpack it. How could two jeans, some long-sleeve t-shirts and a few jumpers and cardigans be so heavy? I hadn't brought any fancy clothes as I didn't plan on going out. All I wanted was to enjoy the peace and quiet, go for long walks, and sleep and read. The wardrobe was far too large for the few items I'd packed, so I decided to put them in the chest of drawers next to it. With a sigh, I swapped my boots with slippers and stepped in front of the French doors. Like last time, the view was magnificent: the sun hung low over green fields with cows and sheep to the left, horses with their heads up, alerted, to the right. Idyllic. Yes, it had been the right decision to come here. At that moment, I heard a door in the hallway—it sounded like across my room—being slammed shut, reminding me that there's always someone who will disturb the calmness.
'Idiot,' I muttered, hoping it wouldn't be someone who'd come home in the middle of the night, waking everyone. It was just past 1pm and I decided to try and relax with my book. I filled the kettle which was provided with enough water to fill the tea-pot and dragged one of the comfortable looking seats to the window.
Bliss. My mobile on silence, feet in thick socks up, the sun shining through the glass on my neck, and finally, being able to take in what I was reading, I dived into the world of drug trials.
I had no idea how long I'd sat there, gobbling up the words, but suddenly, I was pulled out of the book when the door was slammed again. I squinted in the direction of the disturbance in disbelief. Everything was shaking in my room. Didn't the person ever consider others? There was a general hustle and bustle in the hallway. Were those new arrivals? I glanced at my mobile to realise it was 4pm. That explained my having to adjust the light of my Kindle. And my grumbling stomach. I stood and stretched. Apart from a few nuts and an apple, I didn't have anything to eat after the early breakfast. If I remembered correctly, there was a Tesco's ten minutes down the road; a sandwich for now and something to just shove into the microwave later would do for tonight. Tomorrow and the day after, the Inn would serve a Christmas dinner—a special occasion for this event—all included in the price. New Year's Eve was optional. John had thought of everything, as usual. John! 'I wish you were here.' Like a tsunami, sadness rolled over me, suffocated me, took me with it. Unable to fight it, I sank onto the bed and sobbed uncontrollably.

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