Today it’s Linda Mitchelmore’s turn. What’s she got in store for Kate and Marcus?
‘Urghh, um, urgghh,’ Kate said, a mouth full of vol au vent. Trust Meg to turn up now just as she was on the cusp of something with Marcus. He’d been dropped into her life, just moments ago, a little gift from the gods, and she was going to make use of the gift.
Kate slid her tongue around a piece of prawn, bit, swallowed.
‘Well, you can text them right back and say these are delicious, and…’
‘I’ll do no such thing!’ Meg yelled at her. ‘And who the hell is he?’
The ‘he’ in question’s eyes widened in surprise and Kate rushed to his defence.
‘Marcus. You did say to find another bloke called Mark and this is as close as I could get in the short time available. Marcus, this is my bestie, Meg.’
‘Pleased to meet you and all, Meg,’ Marcus said. ‘And before you admonish me for drinking alcohol with my delivery van outside, this was my last drop of the day and I can walk home from here, pick up the van on Monday.’
He was making his instant dislike of Meg obvious, wasn’t he?
Marcus took another vol au vent off the plate and popped it, whole, into his mouth. He made exaggerated ‘this is practically orgasmic’ faces as he chewed. And then he began to splutter. Only the splutter was rapidly turning into a choke now.
Kate poured champagne into a tumbler – it must have been at least half a pint – and ordered him to swallow it. He did. But still he spluttered.
‘Pat him on the back for God’s sake!’ Meg yelled.
Marcus’s eyes started to roll in his head.
‘Heimlich,’ Kate said.
‘Oh my God, oh my God,’ Meg said. ‘I’m too late …’
Marcus coughed and then, mercifully, he swallowed.
‘I don’t know what the hell – a ball-bearing or something? – that was …’
‘You found it!’ Meg said, sounding triumphant now, like Marcus had won a prize or something.
‘Found what?’ Kate asked.
‘Diamond?’ Kate and Marcus said as one, instinctively moving closer to one another.
‘Yeah. That was what the text was about. Apparently, the woman who made all the pastry for your party stuff has just rung in to say the diamond from her engagement ring has gone missing. She was pretty sure it was there when she was doing the pastry, but when she washed her hands before going home it, like, wasn’t. It’s a stonker apparently. Zillions of carats and all that. Very valuable. And the catering company isn’t insured for that sort of loss. And …’
‘And now it seems to be in my personal waste disposal system,’ Marcus interrupted.
‘It does,’ Kate said. ‘And you know what that means? Well, apart from the obvious,’ she finished with a giggle.
‘I don’t know. Tell me,’ Marcus said. And then he winked at Kate.
Gosh, but that wink was doing very funny things to Kate’s insides.
‘It means,’ she said somewhat huskily, ‘that you aren’t going anywhere for the time being.’
‘And two’s company, three’s a crowd springs to mind,’ Meg said. ‘I’m out of here. I’ll text the catering company back and tell them the lady will have her diamond back in, um, due course.’
And then Meg fled.
‘So …?’ Marcus said.
Kate filled his glass up again.
There were mini pizzas, devils on horseback, chicken wings, and profiteroles for dessert to get through. They wouldn’t starve, would they?
‘So, we’ll have to find something to do while we wait for the diamond to, er um, see the light of day again, won’t we?’ Kate giggled. It was obvious from the way Marcus was looking at her now, that food was the last thing on his mind …
‘I couldn’t switch that thing on for a few moments, could I?’ Marcus asked, pointing at Kate’s state-of-the-art flat-screen TV. Only it’s the World Cup and England’s playing at the moment.’
‘Five minutes,’ Kate said.
She could wait five minutes.
But when the screen popped into life it was to see a news flash.
‘Reports are coming in that a British Airways flight to Turkey has been—’
Linda Mitchelmore has had over 200 short stories published worldwide. She has also won,
or been short-listed for, many short story writing competitions – Woman’s Own, Woman & Home and Writespace to name but three. In 2004, Linda was awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and has a story in their 50th Anniversary Anthology, ‘Loves Me, Loves Me Not’.
Linda also won the Short Story Radio Romance Prize 2010.
Linda’s books include To Turn Full Circle, Emma: There’s no Turning Back, Hope for Hannah, Grand Designs and Red is for Rubies.
“Linda Mitchelmore has a gift for making you feel right there, in the story, with her lovely warm characters.” Bestselling author Sophie King.
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