Wednesday, 6 April 2016

#A-Z Challenge [2016]

Eleven o’clock on the dot, the tall stranger entered the coffee shop. Casually dressed again in dark jeans and a navy crew neck sweater with a white t-shirt circling a strong neck, his leather courier bag slung over his shoulder. She noticed again how broad he was and seemed a lot taller than two days ago. She put his age somewhere between forty-five and early fifties, but well preserved and fit. Marianne didn’t fall into the trap of having a casual morning this time. Like the morning of her interview, she’d had an outfit lined up and she’d missed her jog so she’d have time to blow dry her hair.
He smiled as he approached and waved her phone in front of her before sitting in the seat opposite and smothering her in a wave of delicious aftershave.
“Marianne, I’m really sorry about yesterday, it was unavoidable.”
“That’s okay. I don’t suppose my phone rang much. Jess is the only one who calls me these days.” She looked at her phone and discovered one text from her sister, Jess. “Oh and here’s your phone.” She pulled his out of her bag.
“Thank you so much. What can I get you?”
“A latte for me, um …?”
“I’m sorry. It’s Richard. Howell. Nice to meet you Marianne – properly that is.” He extended a hand. It was warm, gentle. She wondered what he did for a living. She wondered what the girl half his age did. Was she the unavoidable situation that kept him in Reading for an extra night? She checked out his ring finger. Not married. Or at least he didn’t wear a ring.
“I’ll get our coffees. Can you stay a while?” he asked and held a wide smile.
“Yes. I’m a lady of leisure today.” She felt herself grinning and immediately blushed.
Richard was at the counter and that feeling of recognition came over her again. For a second she thought she’d remembered who he was but then it was gone. Perhaps it was the George Clooney thing, maybe that’s why she thought she knew him. His phone rang and he stepped away from the counter to take it. He looked over at Marianne as he spoke and then turned away. She thought she saw his cheek redden and caught a few words: Don’t say that. I can’t keep doing this. Of course I love you.
Richard hung up and suddenly turned in her direction, walking back to her with a strange look on his face.
“You’re going to hate me,” he said, sitting down. “I was hoping to make a good impression. I thought I sensed a connection the day …” his voice trailed off.
“You mean I’m not getting that coffee and you have to go again?” Marianne said.
“I’m sorry.” He dropped his head.
“Just go. We got our phones back.”
“Marianne will you have coffee with me on Friday morning?” He put a hand up. “Don’t answer now. I’ll be here, come hell or high water. I need to sort something out and I promise I won’t let you down. Maybe you think I’m a complete loser but I think there’s something going on here and I don’t want to ignore it. If you feel the same, I’ll see you Friday.”
He walked away and Marianne was left with her mouth open. Yes, she’d felt the connection. It was true. But how could she turn up in two days time in the hope of meeting such a flake? Was this some kind of joke? Was he about to break up with the half his age girlfriend in favour of Marianne? She very much doubted it. All she knew was that Richard looked really sincere about wanting to see her. What should she do?


  1. Certainly more than a tempest in the coffee cup! Thanks for a great read, really enjoyed the excerpt.
    Best wishes for the challenge

  2. This is quite interesting. A novella in 26!

  3. Oh dear, run, run in the opposite direction and don't look back. Still, I say it's his daughter giving him a hard time, but to let her overhear those few words and not explain. Flake is a good word. She better not show up! LOL Okay, not I'm really invested = good job!

  4. Hmmm, what should she do? She felt the connection, yet there are hints of danger, as it's always the case with love ... attracting ... instant connection. Nicely done.
    Silvia @

  5. This is an interesting story, and perhaps this guy is nice, but talk about baggage. I would just walk away because you can find other people you have a connection with who do not need to leave a date two times in a row.

  6. Yes, I agree. Run. Although, for the story to be interesting, she, of course, will have to return...

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

  7. Well, I know she's going to show. Otherwise, this romance wouldn't last for 26 days. Unless a new hunk shows up and sweeps her off her feet. =O

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  8. I'll bet she'll show up. The coffee shop is close at any rate, and she'll be too curious not to!


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