“Met this chap last night, he’ll be phoning. Would like to see him in next couple of days”. Louise smiled and took the business card from her boss, wondering where another meeting could possibly be fitted in.
She seemed to spend most of her day diary-juggling. Take the weekly trips to the Scottish offices for example: chauffeur; flight; transport to the offices at the other end; hotel if an overnight stay and then a return journey. All needing to be meticulously planned to make the best use of his time.
Sometimes it would all be planned and then he’d decided he wanted to go on a Wednesday, not a Tuesday. Two very busy days would all need immediately rearranging, together with all the travel arrangements, such was the life of a PA.
Louise turned the business card over and her heart skipped a beat. It couldn’t be the same man, could it? The man who’d suddenly broken her heart a few years previously. The man who promised to be there and comfort her during some very uncertain times when she was a single mother. The man who was inevitably with “someone who didn’t understand him”, the man who Louise placed no demands on – she wasn’t that naive – but who unexpectedly disappeared from her life.
There was no time for too much dwelling in the past as the office telephone rang and Louise was caught up in liaising with various departments over a customer’s query.
The phone rang again and it was the owner of the business card. It was definitely the same man, it felt strange talking to him again but the call was kept professional even though she’d answered the phone with her name. The call was ended with a meeting arranged for that evening and both added it was good to speak to each other again.
“Who was that on the phone?” asked Louise’s assistant, sometimes Louise felt she was constantly snapping at her heels, she’d get her time soon enough.
“Just someone I used to work with, small world” Louise replied and turned back to her in-tray.
Later on that afternoon, Louise sat on the train departing from Paddington. She’d left slightly earlier than normal so unusually managed to get a seat. The days of men automatically giving up their seats for a woman were long gone so this was a (marginally comfortable) rarity.
The train pulled into the station and Louise walked to 317 Oxford Road, Reading. She opened the door and there was her husband, her soulmate, smiling broadly and waiting to take her hand, to find out about her day and her journey. Her uncomplicated, honest husband who called a spade a spade, she couldn’t imagine him ever telling another woman that Louise “didn’t understand him”.
Suddenly Louise’s name was called and the pair made their way upstairs and opened a door. There sat a midwife, welcoming the couple. Louise’s husband rubbed her swollen belly before she made herself comfortable, preparing to hear their unborn child’s heartbeat again.
Exciting times for them both, bringing new life into the world in the coming months and Louise’s earlier conversation with the business card owner faded into the past, together with any brief thoughts as to what might have been. The man holding her hand and smiling even wider as they listened to their baby’s heartbeat was the future. She felt blessed.
This was prompted by a competition I saw organised by Solopress. The competition date has passed but I enjoyed the challenge of writing a short story, including a business card and an address.
There was a brilliant prize too!