This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The Internet Date
‘My name is Pete, yours?’
She was looking into a sunkissed face with laughter lines at the corner of his eyes. Yes he seemed alright, not a mass murderer anyway.
‘Hi, yes I am Karen, you have the right person.’
‘Let’s go somewhere in the next door bar and talk,’ Pete said.
They were meeting in a rather nice hotel on the edge of a provincial town. It had comfortable deep armchairs and settees and a log fire burning in an open grate. Pete ordered a bottle of wine.
‘Red or white, any preferences or favourites.’
‘I like a sauvignon if that is Ok’
‘Well we don’t look too much different from our photographs do we?’ Pete laughed a little.
‘Actually yours was pretty accurate.’
‘Well, Karen, why internet dating you don’t look as though you would have any trouble at all.’
‘Without you thinking I am a complete nutter I can tell you I have lost confidence in myself lately. But enough of that. Tell me about your job, it seems really interesting being fireman.’
‘Oh I don’t know, actually I am on leave, we had a bad fire and someone died.’
‘Gosh I am sorry. My job is pretty boring I work in a flower shop, we get lots of people come in for flowers when people die.’
‘Yes I expect so, but not the same when the person is someone you know.’
‘What, what is it? Have I touched a nerve?’
‘Well I don’t want to talk about it.’
‘Karen we are here to talk and I am pretty good at listening.’
Well a friend of mine committed suicide recently.’
He name was Bella and the first time I saw her was when she bought a hat. Ridiculously she bought a hat. People didn’t buy hats these days unless you went to a wedding or a fancy dress party. I suppose those two things are very similar.
I knew Bella first when were in sixth form together. She had just come to live in my area and was having a hard time making friends which was understandable. She was what we used to call kooky. She wore what she decided was cool which could be anything from a long dress to mini pants with leggings. Her clothes were always colourful with multi-coloured stripes or layers of different t shirts and jumpers.
Anyway she bought this hat. It was a trilby. I thought only men wore trilbies. She insisted on wearing it everywhere we want with sunglasses. She wanted to be an actress and I suppose she already was, dressing up gave her a personality.
The only thing was, she thought she was being avante garde, playing the part of a drama student or and art student, when in fact she was taking maths at A level. Consequently at interviews she didn’t really do very well, eliciting a kind of risky feelings in the accountant interviewers.
I suppose you could say she was a fish out of water, not knowing her true calling and trying to be something slightly out of her reach. In those days intellectual studies were the aspiration. A University degree or accountancy exams in this case guaranteed a job for life.
Somehow I managed to see Bella underneath all her protective layers and she was a sweet person. Perhaps one could say she was naive and was taken advantage of by many people. She became a laughing stock, the butt of jokes.
Boys set up a chorus of “Somewhere over the rainbow, ” when she walked into the classroom. She would smile haphazardly and take it as a compliment which it wasn’t. Then she met Freddie.
Freddie was her first boyfriend, first of many, until Malcolm and Malcolm hooked her onto heroine. I couldn’t be her friend any longer, I found it too intense, too scary for me and we parted company.
I always feel guilty when I remember my shock and retreat, I could have done more, I keep telling myself. She has been dead now for about two months, suicide they say, but she wasn’t the type, if there is a type, accidental overdose is probably nearer the mark.
Poor Bella, she was such a character, such a girl full of life who wanted so much to achieve.
Pete kept silent while Karen talked, sipping her wine and gazing into the distance.
’Well if it is any consolation Karen I can tell you I know how you feel. The man that died in a fire. I knew him you see. We couldn’t get to him in time. The smoke inhalation killed him. I also feel I could have done more. I know that I was just doing my job. But he was someone from my cricket club, not a close friend but a good guy.
He was constant a good sort. It leaves you wondering why?’
‘Yes I know,’ stuttered Karen. ‘Why her, or him, not me. I suppose we cared and now we feel grief which is so hard to deal with.’
Pete looked into her face, ’Yes exactly.’
‘Gosh it is eleven o’clock, really I must go, thanks for the conversation and the wine.’
‘I’ll run you home.’
‘No I have my car, thanks again.’
‘Can we meet again?’
‘Yes I’ll be in touch.’
But they never did meet again. It was too painful remembering, too traumatic talking about it. It was too much emotion, too soon. They were like two moths that had been drawn to a dangerous flame of deep emotions and neither wanted to revisit.
Start writing here…
ianwatson: The comedy is original and genuinely funny, I have laughed out loud many times reading this book. But the story and the plot are also really engaging. The opening two or three chapters seem quite character-dense but they all soon come to life and there is no padding, filling or wasted time readin...
Janaki Sundararaman: The frame of the story has a beautiful structure on which the narration is spun with twists and turns tolook forward with lots of expectations about the coming chapters.There are many characters in the story line,all woven into intricate style to speak the story in its own way.The protagonist is ...
M.L. Bull: Hello, Aalia!Your story compelled the emotional pain and struggle of a teenage girl very well.. The imagery was also convincing and well-written, showing the different personalities of your characters and their actions. However, I do think that many of your sentences are too lengthy and could use...
Tanya Daigle Rusheon: This book is a long and twisty tale full of sweet romance, adorable fluff, anxiousness, trust issues, mind games, things that don't make sense until suddenly they do, heartache and reconciliation just when you need it the most. If that all sounds a bit vague, it's because I really don't want to s...
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to Liz Aguilar, author of To Have And to Hold a fast-paced, gripping, adrenaline rush from start to finish, one of perhaps the finest pieces of writing I've ever read, in particular because of its' telenovela-like feel, May she continually find success as an author. Bravo my dear, bravo!
Ashley Stryker: So I'm writing this review, keeping in mind that this is a work in progress and it's part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so my "deeper" critiques will be saved until it's all finished up.+ Chapter One: A stewardess would not talk to anyone quite like that, particularly a clear minor...
Lea Sutherland-Doane: I love this story and it hurts me that it is on a cliff hanger. Please write the next story fast so I can enjoy more of your wonderful writing skills. Your writing skills are amazing and I cannot wait to read the sequel, I promise that this is the best book I have ever read and I love it will al...
Noelle Anselmo: Jesus H Christ! When I saw this was a genderbent I though it was just gonna be the two main characters, but I was so wrong and I LOVED IT! I had no clue where you were going with it, and I was waiting for the make up, was dreading the possibility of not making up, and just how you had the story u...
aeratheninja: Interestingly enough, this story touches on different psychological states and was very informing, on top of being a solid story. Although somewhat predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this; I could feel the fear and the frustration of the characters, and was happy when they were happy.Even ...
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."