Filled with excitement she had settled up close to Ricky on the sofa, putting on her most alluring voice and tilting her head to a persuasive angle, she had stolen his attention from the TV by holding the torn out job advert in front of him at arms length and cooing his name.
‘Where?! That’s miles away babe.’ He said
‘Yeah, but maybe it’s time for something new, the cost of living is really cheap there, we could get a lovely little place with a garden.’
‘Oh you’ve really thought this through haven’t you? How long have you been plotting this little escapade?’ He sneered, knowing that the good mood this morning had been too good to be true.
‘Give me a break, it was is this morning’s paper, I haven’t been plotting anything.’ His reaction had invoked an overwhelming feeling of dejection and without this her future seemed suddenly hopeless, like she would be stuck in this rut forever.
‘I’m going to the pub.’ He got off the sofa, shoving her away in the movement.
The door slammed behind him and from where she was sitting she could see him through the window haunching his shoulders against the rain that was starting to fall as he made his way down the street.
Ricky nursed his pint and glanced around the dingy room from beneath a lowered brow. It wasn’t warm enough to take off his coat, but it was damp and clung to him adding to his glumness. What was this all about? They were doing alright as they were. Why did she want to up sticks and move miles away to the middle of nowhere?
An old man with a pocked, red nose from too much alcohol sat in his line of site. Old John, never married, spent all his day on his allotment, and all his night right here in this pub. Lonely.
Then there was another guy, Shane, Ricky’s mother knew his mother. Arms folded over his enormous belly. He’d put on weight since his wife left him, ate at the takeaway every night. He thought about Christina’s cooking compared to greasy kebabs and felt queasy looking at Shane. Lonely.
On the other hand, this was his home. His mother was here, his sisters and his little nieces and nephews. He’d always thought this is where his own kids would grow up one day. Despite how trying she had been lately, the idea of this job had seemed to make her genuinely happy. Maybe she was right, maybe this could be the new start they needed.
He swallowed what was left of his pint in two gulps and ordered another, he’d decided to head home after that, take Christina to the pictures, and make it up to her by suggesting she should apply for the job. There was no guarantee that she would get it anyway.
The weekend hadn’t been a complete write off, there was still a bitter taste in her mouth from her argument with Ricky, the way he had reacted was so unreasonable but nonetheless he had come around and returned from the pub with his tail between his legs willing to at least support her applying for the job. Trainee Archive Manager. It had a ring to it, she smiled.
They had watched some mind numbing action adventure at the cinema Saturday evening, and got merry on cans of lager in the flat on Sunday. She didn’t want to complete the online application form without ringing ahead first, she always thought it was so much better to speak to someone on the phone. It gave you a voice, and a voice equals a person with a personality, instead of being reduced to pure information, stored in a virtual file somewhere on a hard drive. She made a note to take the advert with her and ring them on Monday morning.
Monday came and she sat in the office writing up a report in reply to a request for information. She had promised that she would be done by the close of that day and didn’t like to disappoint.
‘The occurance of the crime in …’
Damn ‘The occurance of the crime in…’ she scanned her notepad but she couldn’t find the date she needed anywhere. Grabbing the key to the archive out of her draw she rushed down to pull out the file, keen to get this done so she could ring the number on the job advert before Sandy arrived.
The job advert! Standing in front of the filing cabinate draw with an open folder, her hand subconsciously moved to her shirt pocket where the folded up piece of newspaper waited. Pulling it out and carefully opening it, she read the words again.
‘…you will work to open this exceptional resourse…’
She was startled by the turning of the door knob and hastily lay the job advert between the pages of the folder she had open. There he was, walking to the photocopier with a single piece of paper in his hand. He looked straight into her eyes and she felt instantly as if her world had turned upside down.
‘Good weekend? He asked with flippant casualness.
‘Yes, very chilled out thank you’ she didn’t ask the question back, she didn’t want confused thoughts of this man making her doubt her plans, she would keep conversation to a civil minimum.
Looking at his eyes though, she felt her mind slipping away, and without warning it was filled with images of the dark haired stranger pushing her up against the drawers, tearing at her shirt buttons, biting at her throat. She felt nerves all over her body tingle as she imagined his hot breath on her neck and collar bone, he was growling in a low rumble. It was so real her breath was short.
‘Sep’ he said, snapping her out of this intense fantasy and offering his hand ‘Short for Septimus, but please call me Sep!’
Hardly able to steady herself, she reached out and shook his hand curtly. ‘Ok Sep’ she said feeling somehow exposed beneath his gaze. She clapped the folder shut and hoping she hadn’t looked too dazed, Christina made a hurried retreat from the room.
From between the covers of the folder a piece of paper slipped out and swirled the floor as if in a whirlwind caused by Christina's swift exit. Sep let it fall to the floor and slowly striding over he bent to pick it up. He scanned the job advert and then tucked it away in his pocket with a satisfied smirk on his lips.