A Brighter Star Will Shine

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Chapter 3

It was with a heavy heart that Charlotte did her daily routines before work. She really wanted a duvet day, not only because it was Monday but also she did not want to bear the shame of her recent events. Everyone knew of Jamie, and said how perfect they were. How wrong could people could be, they did not see the full extent of a relationship? Nobody apart from her friends knew about Paul and what that had led to and she wanted it kept that way.

The day like a typical Monday was dragging for Charlotte. There was nothing that made her happy or could cheer her up.

Charlotte worked in for one of the solicitors’ practices in Brighton as a legal secretary so was very busy typing, filing, photocopying and generally keeping the admin side of the business functioning. There was a little team of three people, who Charlotte worked with and got on well with most of the time.

Charlotte was aware that a new male solicitor was starting today and of course there was the usual speculation of who he was, how old he would be and how fit he would be so imagine the girls surprise when a very handsome, tall, light haired male entered the building all suited and booted ready for his first day.

The girls had an open plan office and so had seen the new recruit walking around the office quite a lot. The girls were offering their opinions of the new face between them. The other two girls were married but there was no harm in looking but Charlotte was another matter.

It was soon lunchtime and Charlotte was sat at one of the tables in the break room engrossed her book when she was interrupted “excuse me do you mind if I take this seat?”

Charlotte had only partly been listening to the greeting but took her attention from her book and if she had not been sitting down she would have fainted, the man speaking to her was only the new recruit and the girls had already figured that Charlotte was already beginning to be attracted to him.

“Be my guest”, replied Charlotte, before starting a conversation with him “so you are the new solicitor?”

“Yes I am” said the mystery man in answer.

“I am Charlotte and I work in the legal secretary department so anything you need, just ask”.

The mystery man smiled and said “thank you. I hate starting somewhere new and not knowing where I am or what I am doing. I guess I should introduce myself I am Alex”.

“Pleased to meet you” replied Charlotte before continuing with her book. She hoped she was not blushing but she had suddenly started to feel hot talking to Alex. She was definitely attracted to him but for the moment she was going to keep her emotions in check.

It was a few days later that Charlotte was standing daydreaming at the photocopier waiting for her work to print out when she was snapped out of her thoughts by a voice.

“So we meet again”.

Charlotte recognised that voice, it was Alex. She had barely seen him since they first met. She did not know if that was good or bad for her feelings but here he was again not far from her so how did she feel? She had to be truthful to herself and admit that her heart had skipped a beat.

Charlotte was conscious that her line manager would be noting the time she was taking at her task so said to Alex “I am at lunch at one if you want to meet me downstairs in reception”.

Alex liked the sound of that and confirmed that it was a date. Needless to say lunchtime could not come soon enough for the pair. There was definitely a spark that was igniting between them and despite Charlotte’s previous doubts she had to be honest to herself and admit that she was willing to fall in love again. She had to live her life and move on from its hurdles and as she was always been told in situations like her break ups a brighter star will shine one day and who knew? Alex might be that brighter star but she would never know if she did not try.

Charlotte had returned to her desk with a big smile on her face, which naturally got her office colleagues asking her why she was happy and she had confessed that the new solicitor had definitely caught her eye and that she was meeting him at lunch.

‘Go for it girl’, commented the other girls in the office, which was closely followed by ‘he sure is hot and you have a date with him’, of course Charlotte had denied this and commented back that it was only lunch together. It was only one hour to lunch but Charlotte felt that this hour would drag but she would be looking forward to seeing Alex outside of the office environment.

Alex was waiting very promptly at one outside the office building and Charlotte’s heart skipped a beat again as she definitely liked what she saw.

“Hi Charlotte” beamed Alex.

Why Charlotte was so nervous she would not know? But she was and could only manage to squeak a hello.

Alex noticed this and said, “you do not have to be shy of me. I am not going to hurt you, if I can I want to be able to hold you, love you and spend the rest of my life with you”

‘Gosh’ thought Charlotte thinking that Alex might be a little bit too forward and confident with himself but decided not to say anything for the moment.

“I thought we could just nip to the local and have some lunch and a drink, whilst getting to know each other”.

The couple eventually had entered the pub, ordered food and drinks and were sitting a little uncomfortably for a while, neither speaking until Alex broke the ice.

“Thank you so much, Charlotte for taking me under your wing. I hate first days in a new job. It is hard enough not really knowing what is in store for you work wise but it is even harder to know how you will get on with the people you are going to work for and around”.

What Alex had said, had definitely broken the ice for Charlotte and he smiled when she said, “you have certainly made quite an impression, there are many female colleagues, who would be willing to fall at your feet and who would like to be in this situation but you chose little me”.

“Yes I have felt and seen eyes examining me and I guess when a new fit man joins any company he is the new blood in the office and everyone wants to have a flirt with him”.

“I guess you are right but God you come across quite cocky”, suddenly Charlotte realised how that must have sounded and apologised immediately, “I am so sorry how insensitive of me”.

Instead of being insulted Alex was just slightly unsure why he had come across as cocky, he was not that over self confident or assertive, it must have been the effect that Charlotte was having on him.

Charlotte tried to make the situation smoother by saying “you probably are a bit cocky but that is okay as you are smoking hot and a real catch. I can see why you are a popular guy because I can imagine you do not take fools lightly and I certainly do not think you are stuck up”.

Charlotte was having a great time and was pleased that her conversation with Alex was so relaxed. She felt like she had known him for years she was so comfortable then she realised what the time was.

“We are going to be late and we cannot have you late on your first week”, on this they both rose and left the pub.

Alex did not want this time with Charlotte to end and hoped he was not being too forward when he leaned across and kissed her. Charlotte was literally swept off her feet and responded lovingly to the kiss before they parted and returned to work.

When Charlotte got back to her desk slightly late, her line manager did not say a word than “someone had a good time”, followed by the usual pumping for information on Alex. Their meetings at the photocopier would become more interesting and Charlotte knew that they would have to keep their emotions in check in working hours but there was something good to look at and it was even more a bigger thrill knowing that he was hers. She knew there was going to be competition to win Alex’s affections but that was the price she was willing to pay and would fight for Alex if she had to.

Needless to say Charlotte found it very hard to concentrate on her work during the afternoon. Her mind was too preoccupied on the lunch date she had just had. She soon headed to the coffee room to get a drink but they say perfect minds think a like who was already in there? Yes, Alex. Charlotte smiled but felt a bit uncomfortable, as she did not want to display too much at work of her potential relationship with Alex.

Soon it was home time and Charlotte was happy but tired so looking forward to arriving home, putting the kettle on and curling up in front of the TV before putting the dinner on but tonight was going to be different. She did not know this of course but something would happen which would change the course of her life.

Charlotte drove into her driveway and was walking up the pathway when she had the feeling that she was being watched. She was not paranoid but she had the feeling that something was not right.

Charlotte naturally turned to look around her and could see nothing so turned back ready to open her front door. She was tired but not too tired to not be alert so naturally she was feeling a little concerned. What happened next definitely was not what she was expecting.

Charlotte was suddenly pounced on from behind. It did not knock her off her feet but it had winded and scared her before a voice said menacingly “you will not get away from me now”.

Charlotte knew the voice. It was Jamie and he had hold of her and was scaring her and so said so “leave me alone Jamie. You are hurting me”.

“Oh, dear, I am hurting you am I? Nothing like you hurt me. You will be sorry for what happened between us”.

Charlotte though scared was insulted by what Jamie had just said. Yes he was hurting her but what did he mean by ‘nothing like you hurt me’? She had never hurt him and he had also told her that she would be sorry for what happened between them. What a cheek. The situation they parted on with was nothing that she had created. It was not her that had been carrying on with someone else behind his back so she was unsure what was going through Jamie’s mind.

“I do not understand what you are accusing me of or why you are even here. What we had was over and that was the last I wanted to see you, so why are you here?”

Jamie did not answer what Charlotte asked him, instead he starting to get violent and began to throw punches at her. Charlotte had never seen Jamie like this before but he was enraged even though he was the one who had created the split by cheating on her.

Eventually the pain was too much for her and Charlotte slumped to the floor before Jamie being the real coward he was left the house leaving her a bloodied mess. Her mind was a bit fuzzy but she prayed that someone would miss her and discover what had happened to her. That could only be one of three people, her mum, dad or Holly, who were the only people who had a spare key to Charlotte’s.

Charlotte was not sure how she had got into her house or how long she had been lying on the floor, things were getting hazy but she did hear the text alert on her phone and managed to be able to reach it. It was Holly, just for one of her usual friendly chats. It took some time but Charlotte managed to text back saying ‘please come and see me and bring help’, of course Holly did not know what this meant so planned to pay a visit with her friend. When she had explained the situation to her dad he had agreed to accompany her to Charlotte’s.

Holly rang the door quite a few times and it remained unanswered so naturally she had a bad feeling about the call to get her here and said so to her dad.

“I really do not like this. It is not like Charlotte to call me and then not answer the door”.

There was not much for Holly’s dad to say so Holly said, “luckily I have a key”, before letting themselves in. They never had time to call ‘Charlotte…Charlotte…Charlotte’, as they discovered Charlotte lying near the front door. Holly gasped in horror “oh my God, dad”, neither of the pair could believe their eyes at what they were seeing.

Holly bent over her friend and listened for any breathing and heaved a little sigh of relief her friend was breathing. It was shallow but she was alive. Then her dad took over from her. He had some training in first aid and was familiar with performing CPR but knowing that Charlotte was breathing he skipped a few steps and put his daughter’s friend in the recovery position, whilst Holly called for an ambulance.

Holly returned to Charlotte and her dad and said, “I have called for an ambulance but I hate to think what has happened to my dear friend”.

Holly’s dad felt like he was stating the obvious but he replied with “she has sure had a good beating”.

Holly hated to think of her best friend being left in this state but knew in the back of her mind who could have done this to Charlotte and had only just come up with the conclusion when her dad asked “do you know who might have done something like this?”

“Oh I have a good idea”, Holly said no more before the ambulance arrived and eventually took Charlotte to the Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Someone was going to be feeling sorry for themselves when Holly caught up with the perpetrator of this situation and she was definitely going to make him answer for himself but in the meantime she had her friend to think about. She would be fine though, she just had to be but who knew what lay ahead for Charlotte now?

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