And so, that was how Keith and Andrea’s dating regime would go. Every Monday they would try to meet up in the evenings (though Keith worked that day, so sometimes they went out on Wednesdays) and either go out for dinner or sit and chat at either of their places. Andrea quite liked Keith’s townhouse, it was quite small, but it was stylish and large enough for a proper family to live in. She would occasionally ring him on the weekend but, both having jobs that revolved around the lives of others, more often than not it was most inconvenient.
They had only kissed properly that one time, but they would kiss each other on the cheek or hand after a good time out. Andrea had the feeling that kissing was sometimes awkward for Keith (which she hoped was not her fault) and she didn’t mind ‘taking things slow’. They hadn’t talked about that sort of thing, though, they mostly talked about themselves. It was something that Andrea could really revel in.
She found out that Keith wasn’t at all religious and, in turn, told him about her parents’ divorce and father’s death which lead to a huge decline in her Church-going and life of prayer.
Andrea felt that the more she learnt about Keith, the more she relaxed and the more she wanted to learn about him. The circle went round, and some of Andrea’s doubts about Keith started to fade. Overall, she found herself really liking this odd tall man who had helped her one evening in the supermarket.
I really like him, she had realised one late afternoon.
“I really like him.” She even told Alexis at work the next morning, to which the woman giggled and clapped as though they were both back in High School.
“Alexis, this had nothing to do with you.”
“Oh, come on, you know that I helped.”
And Andrea couldn’t deny that she had. Alexis was the first one to put the thought of a relationship with Keith into Andrea’s head, she was the one who had persuaded Andrea to get out and about again.
And that kiss. Wow, it had been as though a thousand fireworks had been set off in her heart, which was pumping the fire round Andrea’s body and into her mouth. Keith was gentle, and yet, Andrea felt that, in this kiss, he could have a powerful, strong, leading lion inside of him, just waiting to be awoken by a kiss. A rather odd fairytale, indeed, but one that Andrea could feel herself falling into, in some distant future.
“Andrea?” Andrea was jerked out of her daydream by Alexis’ fingers snapping an inch from her nose.
“Andrea!” She laughed, “You don’t daydream often; he must be nice.”
“Alexis, I…” But Andrea couldn’t think of an excuse.
“Don’t… I understand. Anyway, there’s a lady out at reception asking for assistance. She’s not booked in, but she’s begging to be attended to. One of your type, maybe?”
“Okay, I’ll check her out. If necessary we can find her a room.”
When Andrea walked into the reception, the first thing she noticed was the lady sitting with one hand covering her face, and the other on the hand of a frail, old woman who sat next to her. At hearing footsteps, the lady looked up and Andrea was shocked at just how beautiful she looked, even with red rings under her eyes.
The dark waves that caressed her pale face, the brown eyes that glistened with tears, the round lips that pouted every so often, especially when she looked towards the white-haired woman who’s expression was vague and whose eyes kept flicking around the reception room.
The younger woman certainly had the air of upper-class lady. Andrea approached her cautiously, but there didn’t seem to be anything medically wrong. Of course, one can never spot a psychopath from just their looks.
“Excuse me? I’ve been told you asked to be given attention. You should understand we’ve very busy people here.”
“Look, I am really sorry if I am intruding on your schedule”, and she did indeed sound truly sorry, “But my mother is really important to me; I can’t bear to see her act so…out-of-character.”
Andrea smiled politely at the customer. “I understand, I was raised solely by my mother for most of my life. Unfortunately, we have policies, you know, and we cannot jump you and your mother straight to the front of the queue.”
The lady looked to her mother, then smartly looked back up, anger creasing into her expression. “I can make it worth the clinic’s while.”
And with that, she pulled out a wad of pound notes, in which Andrea was sure she saw at least two 50s.
“Please, I’m willing to pay more, if necessary,” she started to dig out a wallet. Her own everyday stash for shopping.
Andrea looked around.
“Okay, okay, miss… please don’t overdo yourself. I’ll see what I can do. Please come this way.”
Little did Andrea know, she was making a big mistake.