Friday 4 November 2022

The Admirer by Gill James, wine and cheesecake


She knew something odd was going to happen that day and it did.

She'd left her desk in the library for a few moments. There was another book she needed to consult. When she came back the rose was there. A red rose. A slightly faded red rose but a red rose nevertheless.

"That’s the flower of true love," said a passing librarian. "You have an admirer."

She picked up the flower. Most of its petals fell away. But as she held it to her nose there was a faint perfume.

"He adores, you, I'm sure," said the librarian.   

One week later she was back at the library. Again she had to leave her desk to find a book. An Easter bunny waited for her when she returned. It had a tiny nest full of chocolate eggs. The bunny and the nest were also made of chocolate. Swiss chocolate. Her weakness. Whoever was doing this must know her well.

"Did you see who left this?" she asked the same librarian from last week.

He shook his head. "Whoever he is, he's very careful."

"How can you be sure it's a he?"

"It's the sort of thing that men do," he said, "when they're in love."   

The next evening she leaned out of her window. She needed air. It was hot and felt as if a storm might come.

A car drove slowly along the street. It stopped just outside her house. Did the driver lean over slightly and look up?

Was it him?

They were chatting loudly in the canteen the next day. Engineering students, most likely. They were always noisy. One of them looked up and caught her eye. He had the most penetrating blue eyes. He held her gaze for several seconds. They all stopped talking and looked towards her.

She realised she had forgotten her fork.

When she came back to her table there was a piece of cheese cake next to her plate. "Enjoy!" said a note. She liked the writing. The letters were rounded and honest. 

Later that day she waited for the lift to take her down to the ground floor. It came at last. She gasped as the doors opened. Her cheeks burned.

He grinned. She loved the clear blueness of his eyes and the way his hair curled over his collar.

"Sorry the rose was so faded," he said. "I'd had it in the car quite a while. Did you enjoy the chocolate and the cheesecake?"

"Thank you," she managed to mumble.

He chuckled. "That was my brother. You know the librarian. He was in on it."

She nodded.

"Can I give you a lift to the bus stop?"

"That will be nice," she said.

She knew with absolute certainty that he wouldn't take her straight to her bus stop. That they would go for a drink. That he would then drive her home. They would kiss. Before the end of the week they would sleep together.

The lift arrived at the ground floor.

"Would you like to go for a drink before you set off home?" he asked. His blue eyes crinkled. 

About the author 

 Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown. She edits CafeLit. She writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and has an MA in Writing for Children and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing

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