'No, no, no. Not in a million years and over my dead body. I am not doing that Vicky.'
'Come on Al, it's not so strange, people use dating websites all the time.'
'I'm not looking for a date, I'm looking for someone to share my flat with.' I juggled my mobile as I fought my way out of the supermarket and towards my car, holding bags of shopping in my left hand.
'Yes but if you find a boyfriend then you won't need to find a flatmate.'
'I don't see your logic there Vicks. If I get a boyfriend then it will take longer for him to move in with me than if I find a roommate.'
'But I hate to see you on your own. You don't look right without Alf-' She stopped short just a little too late.
'You don't have to be shy about saying his name Vicks. I don't look right without Alfie with me, is that what you were going to say?'
'Yes but I didn't mean-'
'It's fine Vicks. I have to move on, Alfie wasn't the good man I thought he was, he tried to blow me and the rest of my team up for God's sakes.' I reached the car and as I reached into my pockets for my car keys one of my plastic bags split, sending my food for the week all over the floor. 'Oh well that's just great! I'm going to have to call you back Vicks.'
I scrambled around on the floor trying to pick up the stray oranges that were now rolling around the floor of the car park.
'This is why Alfie always did the shopping,' I muttered to myself as I collected food, scrabbling around on my hands and knees. 'He might have been a criminal but at least he was an organised one.' My hand closed around something made of material and when I tried to pick it up it wouldn't move.
'Are you alright down there?'
Desperately trying not to die of embarrassment I looked up at the person whose foot I was holding.
'Oh my God you're gorgeous!' I clamped my hand over my mouth, too late to stop the words coming out. 'I'm so sorry, I only meant to say that in my head.'
'That's alright,' the guy chuckled. 'I don't usually get that reaction when someone tries to steal a shoe right off my foot.'
'People try to steal your shoes?'
'I was just joking,' he said, unsure if I was being serious or not.
'Of course you were,' I said, giggling nervously.
'Can I give you a hand up?' He held out his hand, which was covered in a well worn looking fingerless glove. I gladly took it, and he pulled me to my feet.
'Thanks,' I said feeling like a total idiot. He looked even better now I was standing up, his dark hair flopping gently into his eyes, his chin shaded slightly with stubble and his dark blue eyes staring intently at me.
'What were you doing down there anyway?'
'My bag broke,' I explained hurriedly. 'Food went everywhere, had to pick it up.'
Why aren't you talking in proper sentences? My brain shouted at me. You shouldn't even be looking at him. You are going to be an independent woman for a while. You don't need a man to make you happy.
'Can I help you?' He looked around for any stray fruit that I might have missed.
'It's alright, I think I've got it all.' I fumbled around in my jeans pocket for my car key, hastily unlocking the car and putting what remained of my shopping in the boot. The man kindly helped me, picking up the unbroken bags and putting them next to the loose food that would be rolling around my car all the way home. 'Thanks,' I said shyly.
'That's alright. I'm pleased I could help. I'm George by the way.'
'Nice meet you Alannah.'
There was an awkward silence where neither of us knew what to say. My brain was fighting with itself, one half wanting to give him my number, the other telling me I shouldn't have got over Alfie this quickly. Before I could decide which half of my brain to agree with, my mobile rang. I pulled it out of my jeans, smiling apologetically at George. The caller ID flashed Mendrick's name.
'Oh no! The case!' I'd completely forgotten about the call I'd received when I'd started shopping, telling me a body had been found. I knew it had been a bad idea to think I could get the shopping done before the team noticed I hadn't shown up.
'I'll let you get that,' he said, backing off. It was lovely to have met you. I'll see you around sometime?'
'Yes, see you around.' I said, smiling my best smile as he walked away. I hissed various profanities as I got into my car, dreading answering Mendrick's call. 'Hello?' I said nervously.
'Alannah. Where the hell are you?'