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 Post subject: Are We There Yet? pt.1 of 2 (YTeen)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:32 am 
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An original short fiction piece written by Adrienne Mann 2008

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march 20, 2008


“Are We There Yet?” part 1 of 2



"Lovely mornin', sweetheart."

Dear old Bill from number twenty-five was making his way home from the paper shop, his Daily Mail newspaper rolled up and tucked under his arm and his English Bull terrier, Barney, shuffling along behind. "Don't you go workin' too hard today!" Bill chuckled as he opened his front gate. He really should get that squeak fixed, he decided.

It was indeed a pleasant morning. Late September, and the leaves were turning in colour beautifully and beginning their swift, elegant descent onto the pavements below. The sun was lurking somewhere up there amidst the grey-white, candy-floss clouds and would soon be breaking through, although there was still quite a chill in the air.

Checking her wrist watch and seeing it had just gone 7am, Annie could barely believe she was even awake at such an hour, let alone on her way into work. As she buttoned up her jacket she made a mental note to have herself tucked up in bed by 10 o'clock this evening – she needed to do something to counter being up so late last night. Having the girls round until 1am on a ‘school night’ wasn't one of her smarter moves and she couldn't quite decide whether her muzzy head was due to a lack of sleep or simply overdoing it with the Rioja.

Annie rounded the corner to the Greengate junction on Barking Road and joined the queue at the bus stop, offering a polite, but non-committal smile to the usual suspects in the line up.

She was in no mood for small talk, or even large talk for that matter, and her head was starting to thump from the inside. However, only mumbles and nods, plus the odd yawn, were returned in reply and Annie breathed an inward sigh of relief. Maybe they'd all been at the Rioja as well? she mused.

Soon the number 15 from Barking was at the bus stop and a steady stream of commuters joined those already seated on board, most of whom were making their way into the City.

The journey was much the same as every other day - long, slow, fairly uneventful, but not entirely unpleasant. Annie rather enjoyed the peace that came with being ignored by forty other people, especially at that time of the morning, and she was glad that it gave her the chance to lose herself in the book she was currently reading.

She'd fallen madly in love with the central character and was desperate to spend with him whatever time was available to her. She knew it would have to end eventually, as all the great love affairs do, and so she simply wanted to enjoy it now, for as long as it lasted, and she was dreading reaching the conclusion.

East London disappeared behind her. The dashing hero held her in his strong arms... Then, too soon --

"Aldgate!" shouted the bus driver from his cab, "Houndsditch and Minories!" The bus pulled into the terminus and Annie reluctantly put her book away, stood up and followed the steady flow of human livestock out onto the tarmac.

"All change!"

"Thank you," she offered to the driver.

"Mind 'ow you go, love," he smiled back.

Crossing over the road and making her way up and along into Fenchurch Street, Annie walked quickly towards her office block, pulling her jacket tight against the chill wind. It would be another few hours yet before the sun made its presence felt along this stretch of road, with its tall buildings and sheltered pavements. She shivered slightly and held her briefcase against her tummy as a sharp gust of wind caught the hem of her skirt. Marilyn Monroe would have handled this with a lot more style and grace.

"Good morning, Terry." Annie smiled at the middle-aged security guard sitting behind the reception desk as she made her way across the foyer toward the lifts. Terry was reading his newspaper, but quickly stashed it beneath the desk as Annie walked past.

"Don't put that away on my account," she laughed. "If I'd been here all night like you, I'd have a cup of tea and a biscuit in my hands and my feet up on the desk."

"If you'd got here ten minutes earlier you'd have caught me doing just that!" he replied, and then broke into a chesty cackle, followed by a rather nasty coughing fit. He really should cut down on those ciggies, he conceded; maybe tomorrow.

Riding in the lift, Annie caught sight of herself in the smoky-brown mirrors which lined the three other walls. Even in the subdued lighting she could clearly see that she looked less than presentable. She tidied a few stray wisps of hair away from her face, wiped a tiny smear of lipstick from the corner of her mouth, brushed off her black skirt with the back of her hand and then straightened her cream cotton shirt, which had become rather scrunched up under the strap of her shoulder bag.

She was fairly certain she hadn't looked this untidy when she had left the house, but wincing now under the dull, niggling pain of her slight hangover, she agreed with herself that she could be entirely wrong about that.

Exiting the lift and pushing open the swing doors into the open-plan office space, she could hear raucous laughter coming from the consultants' lounge area. Now standing at her desk she could see through into the lounge and saw four young men, each dressed in very expensive suits, shirts and shoes. Not that she begrudged them any of their frequent shopping trips to Saville Row - in their line of work it made good business sense to look that good for their clients. No, the suits were fine indeed; it was some of the people who wore them she wasn't overly keen on.

With perfect timing, she caught the conclusion of Dorian Heath's tale concerning his latest sexual conquest: "... So I had to give the poor girl her P45, which was an absolutely crashing shame because she was quite the filly between the old silk sheets!"

More cackling. Annie shivered with disgust and wondered what kind of woman would find that kind of man attractive. Okay, so he was rich and successful, was of a rather imposing physical stature and quite nice-looking in a slicked-back, suited 'n' booted kind of way.

Fair enough, Dorian’s family connections and social standing were certainly impressive. She remembered his frequent bragging about his making it into some random magazine's 'London's Top 100 Most Eligible Bachelors' list, but she still felt the almost overwhelming desire to stab him in the head with a Biro whenever she saw him. Then --

"Annabel, darling!" Dorian strode toward the desk, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

"Oh. Good morning, Casanova," she returned dryly, but with a half-smile for the sake of politeness.

"Good weekend, old girl?" Dorian asked as he leaned across her desk, his face uncomfortably close to hers. Annie, still standing whilst she rummaged in her briefcase, leaned back slightly to put some physical distance between her and this most unwelcome invader of her personal space. "Get up to anything you'd like to share?" he persisted.

"Yes to the first part and no to the second," she responded.

"Ah!" Dorian exclaimed with a leer. "Does that mean you did get up to something, but you simply don't want to tell me? Must've been something terribly naughty for you to be so coy about it, my sweet."

Annie sighed heavily, stopped what she was doing and looked him in the eye. "Dorian, even if I had been up to anything over the weekend, or at any other time for that matter, please believe me when I tell you that you are the last person on this planet I would ever share the details with."

A bellowing laugh, and then --

"Annabel, you are a frisky little filly! I feel it is my duty to break you in."

"Go away, Dorian."

He affected a pout, clutched his chest in a gesture of mock heartbreak, turned and marched back to the lounge area. In a moment, more laughter.

Annie shook her head and muttered under her breath, "Slimy git."


*****

Following a sandwich lunch and a bottle of Bud in The Green Man pub across the road, Annie and her friends Trish and Louisa went back to the office. Arriving at her desk she was a little surprised, although not entirely disappointed, to discover the lower half of someone - obviously male – sticking out from beneath her desk and he seemed to be fiddling with the electrical cables. Now this isn't something you see every day, she mused.

Annie considered just standing there, watching him do whatever it was he was doing and enjoying the view, but decided against it when she realised that a couple of the other people in the office were now watching her watching him, including Trish and Louisa, who were standing at the coat rack, grinning like a couple of escaped mental patients. Louisa pointed to the man's backside and affected a groping gesture.

Annie frowned and cleared her throat. "Um... hello?"

She heard the dull thud before she realised the man had moved and then heard him mutter something under his breath as he backed out from beneath her desk, rubbing the top of his head as he emerged. He got to his feet and, with his back still to her, he sighed heavily, checked his fingers for what Annie assumed must be signs of blood, and then continued rubbing his head.

"Sorry about that," Annie offered weakly. "Are you alright?"

The man turned around to face her.

He was dark-haired with large brown eyes. He was not especially tall, although certainly a good few inches taller than she, solidly-built as far as she could tell, and he gave Annie a shy, but warm, smile as he spoke.

"You'd think I'd have learnt by now, wouldn't you?" he laughed with a hint of embarrassment.

"That's the trouble with these desks," Annie nodded, "They don't tend to move out of the way when you try to stand up. They sort of expect you to move yourself."

The man laughed again. What a lovely smile, Annie thought to herself. After a few seconds they both realised they were doing nothing but standing there, smiling at each other. Annie blushed slightly and the man busied himself with the cable he was holding in his hands, twisting and folding it round into the shape of a ring donut.

"Dodgy network cable," he confirmed, although Annie had no idea what he was talking about.

"Pardon me?" she asked, "A dodgy what?"

"Network cable. For your PC," he explained. "We had a report on Friday afternoon that your net service was winking out, so I came up to fix it for you. You needed a new network cable. This one's had it, I'm afraid."

"Ah!" Annie suddenly remembered she'd called the company's Tech team late on Friday afternoon to report a fault with her computer. "Of course. Sorry, I'd forgotten all about it. Haven't needed to use it much today, actually."

"Well, it should be okay now that I've replaced this." He waved the cable donut at her, “But give me a shout if you get any further problems and I'll soon come back."

The thought of that pleased her and she felt her face redden once more.

"Thanks very much," she smiled.

The man left the office and Annie glanced over at Trish, who had one eyebrow raised as she gave her a knowing look. Annie stifled a part-cheeky, part-embarrassed smile and bit her lip. Louisa was still gesturing wildly, motioning for Annie to follow the man. Annie mouthed No, but Louisa wasn’t giving up. Go! she mouthed back, shooing her on.

Annie shook her head and mouthed her response: Bugger off.


*****

It had been a good day. Her boss, Struan, had been away at a directors' conference for most of it so Annie had managed to blitz the pile of paperwork he'd left for her to process, chase up the consultants' expenses and collate their month-end sales figures, organise the caterers for the consultant teams' Christmas lunches, make the travel and hotel arrangements for Struan's wife's 50th birthday surprise in Milan and pick up his suits from the dry-cleaners.

She'd also finally gotten rid of that plant in his office, which Struan had been loathe to throw out, insisting that it would "probably perk up again" even though it had been in its current state, ie: dead, for the past three months.

Travelling on the number 15 bus home to Plaistow, Annie read another chapter of her book, occasionally looking away to gaze out of the window and daydream about the handsome hero. Suddenly, then, she found herself smiling as she recalled her encounter in the office earlier with the man from the Tech team and wondered what his name was.

Had he told her and she'd forgotten?

Annie frowned as she tried to remember the conversation and then decided that he hadn't really said anything other than vaguely mention some techy jargon, which she hadn't taken much notice of anyway.

I shall call him Tech Guy, she thought to herself.


**************************

“Are We There Yet?” is an original short fiction piece written by Adrienne Mann 2008

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Last edited by Toots on Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are We There Yet? pt.1 of 2 (YTeen)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:47 am 
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:welcome :welcome
hey there. I'm roselle and its so nice to have you here. *looks around sees she the first poster and does happy dance*
I just finished reading part one and I love it. I enjoyed how annie is more interested in the male in the book then those around her...although with that guy dorian I can totally understand. ick gross. he needs to be taken down a peg or two. oh but tech guy. we like tech guy. I iked their interaction I was cracking up when he hit his head and she made that crack about the desk.
I see though she has some other things to think about on the way home other than the character in the book.

I have visited london twice and even though none of the places you listed were familiar :lol but I loved reading it with the language and things distinct to over there.
great job and welcome again. as soon as lunch rolls around I will read part two.

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If we don't change we don't grow. If we don't grow we aren't really living. - Gail Sheey
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 Post subject: Re: Are We There Yet? pt.1 of 2 (YTeen)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:01 am 
I'm excited to see another great story and writer here with us! My name is Angie and I wanted to welcome you as well and tell you how much I enjoyed reading your first part to Are We There Yet. Your character Annie reminded me of myself sometimes reading romance novels and falling for the main male characters - how many times have I done that? LOL! I've seen guys who act like Dorian and so I read along with a smile of recognition! Guys who think they are all that! LOL! I'm glad to see that Annie basically brushes him off and doesn't let him affect her - yay Annie! :) I'm looking forward to what's coming with Annie and Tech Guy! Nice beginning and again, welcome aboard! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Are We There Yet? pt.1 of 2 (YTeen)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:09 pm 
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Psst! Why didn't anyone tell me I'd spelt "bachelor" incorrectly? :(

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 Post subject: Re: Are We There Yet? pt.1 of 2 (YTeen)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:14 pm 
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um...cause we didn't notice? :oops: :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Are We There Yet? pt.1 of 2 (YTeen)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:10 pm 
I hadn't noticed it either, but the story rocked! :)


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