This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 785 words.
I was woken up the next morning by Becky softly saying my name, and the smell of coffee. She was kneeling naked on the bed, and smiling. “It’s real coffee, but there’s no sugar. Nobody takes sugar, sorry”. I told her that was fine, and sipped the hot drink, wishing it had just a little milk in it. She didn’t mention anything about the previous night, and adopted a businesslike tone. “Sorry to sound like I’m rushing you off, but I am on nights tonight, and have to do loads of washing and stuff later. So when you finish your coffee, is it alright if you get ready and leave? There’s a new toothbrush in a packet on the sink, and don’t worry about Jackie and Fliss, they are already both at work”.
To be honest, I did feel as if I was being rushed off, but kept my cool and asked her about another date. “Of course I want another date. I’m not a one-night stand sort of girl. Well, except for that one time I told you about, but I’m not proud of that. Trouble is, I have to do five twelve-hour nights, so it won’t be for a while. Is that okay with you?”
Nodding through a sip of coffee, I removed the cup and told her it was fine with me. “Great. Then maybe next time I can stay at yours? Make a weekend of it, go out and do something. Text me your address, and I will make my way over next Friday night. What time do you get back from work?” I told her I would make sure to be home before eight, and she leaned over and kissed me. “Okay, next Friday at eight it is”. As soon as the coffee cooled down, I gulped the rest of it, and quickly used the bathroom. By the time I was dressed and ready to go, she was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, kneeling down piling clothes into a washing machine in the surprisingly small kitchen.
She didn’t get up to say goodbye, just turned and smiled. “See you Friday then”.
As I travelled home by train, I was thinking about how matter of fact she seemed. I definitely had a new girlfriend, but her job made it certain that I wouldn’t be seeing that much of her. I wondered if I should have said more. Told her how pretty she was, and how she looked as good in jeans and a sweatshirt as she did in a party dress. I could have told her she had captivating eyes, or wonderful hair. I decided against all that. She didn’t seem to be the sort of girl who needed it, or wanted it.
Becky had a self-confidence that I wasn’t really used to. But I liked that about her.
The week went by slowly. I tried not to keep looking at my phone, and resisited the urge to text her. Then on Thursday, I got a text early, and spotted it when I was just out of the shower. ‘Hi Frankie! Looking forward to seeing my boyfriend tomorrow. Excited! B. xx’ I felt my stomach lurch, and the grin spreading across my face. I suddenly remembered I hadn’t sent her the address, so quickly typed that to her, and added that I was equally excited, and really looking forward to seeing her. I thought about offering travel instructions, but decided that she was too independent for that, and would find my house easily enough.
And she did.
Any worries I might have had about how I should play it were dispelled by her giving me a huge hug and kiss after dropping a large holdall on the doormat. She kicked off her shoes, handed me her jacket, and strolled into the house as if she had been there many times before. Perching on the sofa, she called out as I hung up her coat. “If you’re offering, I will have a very large glass of wine. Don’t care what colour it is”. I went and poured two big measures of a decent Chianti, and as I walked over to the sofa, she carried on chatting animatedly. “Is that your car outside? Great. If it’s okay with you, could we go to a beach somewhere tomorrow? I haven’t been to a beach for ages. I know the weather isn’t up to much, but what the hell. It’s a beach!”
When I sat down next to her, she grabbed her wine, and swung her legs up across my lap in a very natural way. Looking around my tiny house, she beamed a big smile.
“I love it here. Feels like home”.