Friday, 1 March 2013

Crystal Rose

This is just a short taster from the new book I'm working on.It's coming along muse is alive and well. Crystal Rose Chapter 1 It had been a perfect autumn day, but as evening approached there was a distinct nip in the air, heralding a frosty night. The setting sun cast long shadows as Irene and Sandra walked arm in arm through the village of Zeal towards The White Horse pub. The old building looked welcoming in the evening light. Smoke curled out of the tall chimney…soft lamplight filtered through the lattice windows. “I love this old pub,” Sandra said, pushing the door open. They were greeted by noisy chatter and the clink of glasses. “I’ll get the drinks, Irene, you find a table.” Frank the landlord greeted them. “Good evening ladies, what can I get you?” Irene smiled at him. “I’ll have a fruit juice please.” “Me too,” Sandra said. Frank waved them away from the bar. “Go, sit yourselves down; I’ll bring the drinks over.” They settled at their favourite table close to the inglenook fireplace. Irene draped her coat over the back of the chair and stretched her hands towards the roaring fire. Sandra watched her. “You’ve seemed a little pensive today, Irene. Are you alright?” Irene fiddled with a beer mat on the table. Concerned, Sandra reached across and touched her arm. “Come on, you can tell me.” Irene leaned back in her chair. “I’ll tell you in a minute.” She could see Frank approaching with their drinks. “Here we are ladies,” Frank said with a cheerful grin.” Sandra hoped he wouldn’t hang around and chat, as she wanted to hear what Irene had to say. Fortunately the pub was busy so Frank wandered back to the bar. Sandra rested her arms on the table and leaned closer to Irene. She could see the confusion in her eyes. “Okay, what’s on your mind?” Without hesitation Irene blurted out. “Last night, John asked me to marry him.” Sandra nearly fell off her chair. “Wow! That’s great.” Her delighted smile waned as she studied Irene’s face. Irene nervously picked at the edge of her beer mat. Sandra’s reaction was just what she’d expected. But she couldn’t share her friend’s joy. There would be no celebratory drinks…no happy announcement to the patrons in the pub. Sandra stared at Irene, troubled by the emotionless expression on her face. “You’ve refused his proposal, haven’t you?” It was a statement more than a question. Irene nodded and lowered her eyes. She felt awful and yet strangely relieved. Sandra slumped in her chair. “Why, Irene? John is mad about you, and I thought you really liked him. You’ve seemed really close this past year.” “I like him a lot, Sandra, but I’m not ready to get married—not yet anyway. There’s something I need to do first. I haven’t actually refused him.” She noticed the spark of hope in Sandra’s eyes, and couldn’t help smiling. “I‘ve asked him to wait…to give me a little more time and he has agreed.” Sandra studied her. “Ever since your first exhibition you’ve seemed a little melancholy. What is it, Irene. Can I help?” Irene cleared her throat and took a sip of her drink. “I’m not sure you can help.” She averted her eyes and stared at the fire. “Does all this have anything to do with that painting? What was it called? Sandra massaged her temple as if to jog her memory. “It was something like Through a—” Irene swung round to face her. “It was called Through a Glass.” “That’s it; you seemed to have a bit of a thing about it.” Irene frowned and fiddled with her necklace.How can I explain, there’s no way I can tell her about Stagman and Mira. She wouldn’t understand. But I need to find that painting, I won’t rest until I do.

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