The continuation of the short story begun last week.
Where was he? How long was a few days? He’d only gone out to meet some friends, so why didn’t he phone? My call went straight to voicemail so it looked as if I was on my own, for now at least. I spent a relaxed afternoon writing before tackling my usual job, and being able to work in peace I completed it quickly. By nine o’clock I was able to press ‘send,’ several days before the deadline. It meant for the next few weeks my time was my own as far as work commitments, and with no demanding man around I had time to consider my position.
Within a month of moving in I’d realised it was a mistake, but by then had already given up my own flat and was scared of ending up homeless. Rather than cause an argument I had let myself be brow-beaten, until now I was almost afraid to speak. It was time to get the old me back.
As if I had conjured him up with my thoughts, an email popped up from an old friend.
‘Hi Mel. How are you? Sorry I haven’t kept in touch recently but there’s been a lot happening. Miranda and I are no longer an item. You never said in so many words but I know you never took to her. You were right. She was just a gold-digger, plain and simple. Hope you are having better luck with Greg, even if I still think he’s not good enough for you. Anyway. Exciting news. Dream come true. I’m now the proud owner of a Mediterranean hotel. If you fancy a bit of sunshine (or even a job) you’d be more than welcome as my guest. Would love to see you again. Keep in touch. Mike. X’
Now there was a decent guy. I’d always been fond of Mike, but he had been involved with someone else, and then Greg had appeared on the scene and taken over. Perhaps I was on the rebound, although at first it had been fun. Six months down the line and the expression “behind closed doors” made a lot more sense. Without a second thought I immediately replied to the email.
‘Hi Mike. Lovely to hear from you. Sorry, not sorry, to hear about your split but great news about the hotel. The holiday sounds wonderful. We’re knee deep in winter here. Were you serious about a job? A few things to sort out first but I’d love to see you again. More soon. Mel. X’
The reply was instantaneous.
‘Hey. Hope I didn’t disturb you but I’ve been hiring staff and you came into my mind. If you hadn’t encouraged me to follow my ambitions I wouldn’t be here now. 110% about the job. Come over anyway and we can thrash out the details. How soon can you get here? Can’t wait to see you again. Mike X’
How soon could I get there? All of a sudden it was sounding real, rather than wishful thinking to escape the bad weather. My passport was up to date, I’d already decided to finish with Greg, what was stopping me? I wanted to tell Greg face-to-face, but first I needed to find out about flights.
First thing the following morning I sent off a message to Mike asking for more details, and again received an immediate reply. Browsing online I discovered there were flights most days, but several had been delayed because of the bad weather. Passengers were being advised to contact their airlines before setting off. At first I was disappointed, then common sense set in. A quick check of the forecast showed anticipated higher temperatures, with a band of rain sweeping in which would clear any remaining snow.
A special offer for one day only, the 20th May caught my eye. To celebrate the airline’s anniversary, they were offering flights for £25 each way. That was only five days’ time, but even if I changed my mind it wasn’t much to lose. I could stay for a short holiday and book a return flight when I got there. Who was I kidding? Subconsciously I’d already decided to stay at least for the summer. Mike had told me he intended to fully open the hotel on the 1st June so there would be time to learn the job, and I could always come home if it didn’t work out. Except I wouldn’t have a home if I finished with Greg. A good reason to just up and go. I pressed authorise and bought the ticket.
A message to Mike confirming my arrival, a response with a big smiley face saying he would pick me up at the airport, and it was all settled. Time to start packing. Most of my personal possessions had been destroyed in a fire, which was one of the reasons I had moved in with Greg. A large suitcase easily took my belongings, leaving an empty flight bag to hold my laptop and any last-minute items. The insurance pay-out meant my bank account had a healthy balance, but that didn’t stop the butterflies having a field day in my stomach as I wondered if I was being foolish. The next few days passed in a whirl. I booked the cab to the airport, changed up some currency, and checked my passport for the ten millionth time.
There was only one text from Greg which I decided to ignore, and then it was the 19th, one day before I changed my life. I wrote a letter to Greg, propped it on the mantelpiece and prepared for an early night. True to form, at eleven o’clock he sent a text message;
‘Home tomorrow morning. Make sure the place isn’t a pigsty, and get some shopping in. Back around ten.’
The cab was due at ten. Should I phone him, or let the letter explain everything? Would he get back before I left? Would he make a scene or be pleased to see the back of me? The following morning I looked out into the garden, amazed at the transformation a few days had made. The snow had gone, a pleasant breeze had replaced the howling icy winds, and flowers were finally raising their heads to greet a watery sun. A knock at the door had me making one final check. The taxi driver put my luggage in the boot, I locked the door and put the keys through the letterbox, just as Greg appeared.
‘What’s all this? Surely you weren’t dumb enough to order a taxi to pick me up at the station?’
‘No. It’s my transport away from the storms, and into the sun. Bye.’
And with that I was off to start my new life.
Copyright April 2018
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