A Train ride to - love Ch 09, a short story by angie65. Date added: 2011-11-13. Times viewed: 2461.
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- Intro: Discussions and Decisions
(Discussions and Decisions)
The cramping in Sarah’s stomach the following morning reassured her that she was indeed NOT pregnant. But along with the sense of relief also came the irritability.
The quote she and Maggie had pulled together for Sam’s firm had been well received by the company; and Mr. Conrad himself had called Maggie, to confirm their meeting for the following day. Now they sat going over costings, and estimated time factors; preparing for that meeting.
“What IS up with you?” Maggie suddenly demanded in exasperation, as Sarah made another snippy comment about nothing
Sarah sighed. “Sorry... It’s just that time of the month and I’m feeling a bit grotty,” she apologised.
Maggie grunted sympathetically. “I know that feeling,” she said wrinkling her forehead.
“Is there anything you need? Pain killers? A nice warm drink?”
“No thanks... I took some Paracetamol about half an hour ago; and I think they’re only just starting to kick in.” She stood up and moved away from the desk she was working at.
“I’ll put the kettle on,” she offered. “My concentration is at about zero, so I’m not getting much achieved sitting here.”
They sat drinking coffee, and munching on dry biscuits to help Sarah’s stomach pains.
“So how are things going with the hot and sexy Mr. Reynolds?” Maggie asked suddenly.
Sarah blushed and smiled a little.
“Great,” she replied, “he came to Jenny and Keith’s party on Saturday... He met the family,” she grinned.
Maggie laughed. “And he’s still around?” she marvelled.
Sarah giggled. “He looked a bit shell shocked by the end of the evening but yes, he’s still around.” She didn’t mention Sam’s aborted effort at a marriage proposal. That bit still hurt too much, to talk about it.
By the time they finished their coffee break; Sarah was feeling a little more with it, and so they sat working on the project for the next couple of hours. They managed to get all their calculations down and she closed the files with a sigh of relief.
“Well I don’t think there is much more we can do there until tomorrow.” Maggie said with an air of satisfaction.
“Agreed,” Sarah responded with a little nod. “So what now?” and then answering her own question. “Lunch, and then we need to go and sort out Mrs. Asher’s accounts computer. She said the accounts package keeps crashing on her, and she’s getting fed up with it.”
“Lunch sounds good,” Maggie nodded her head. “But can you deal with Mrs. Asher on your own? There’s somewhere I need to be at two o’clock.”
“Sure,” Sarah agreed instantly. She frowned. “Is everything all right?” she asked.
Maggie waved her hand dismissively. “Fine, fine,” she reassured her. “It’s just something and nothing... but I’d really rather not talk about it at the moment.”
Sarah felt a twinge of alarm at this vague comment.
“Mags?” she asked softly.
Maggie looked away embarrassed. “Honestly Sarah its nothing. Nothing for either of us to worry about. NEITHER of us!” she emphasised.
“Well... if you say so,” Sarah said doubtfully. “But I really wish you would talk to me Maggie. I hate it that I think there’s something going on, but I don’t know what.”
“Hah!” Maggie laughed. “And of course you just can’t shut up about Sam Reynolds can you?” she accused.
Sarah’s eyes widened in surprise. “Pete?” she asked. “Is this about Pete?” she frowned in confusion. “But I thought you said he’d gone to America for six months?”
Maggie’s cheeks flushed hotly. “He’s coming back for a few days and I said I’d meet him at the airport,” she confessed.
“Have you been talking much to him then?” Sarah asked surprised.
“Err... Only every night” Maggie confessed again.
Sarah grinned. “Well well well!” she murmured.
Maggie’s eyes flew to Sarah’s face.
“Oh! Just shut up!” she snapped grumpily. “And let’s go and get some dinner.”
They opted to go to a café just round the corner, near the underground. Their lunch was a light meal, since neither of them had much of an appetite. They discussed potential causes for Mrs Asher’s problem; even though they both knew pretty much for sure, what the problem actually was.
“I don’t know what time I’ll be back so will you be alright on your own. Have you got anything planned for tonight?” Maggie asked as they finished their coffee.
“By the time I’ve finished with Mrs Asher there won’t be much point in going back to the workshop,” Sarah shrugged.
Maggie grinned. “Oh my yes! She does like to have a natter; doesn’t she?” she laughed.
“She’s harmless enough, and it’s all good customer relations. At the moment Mrs Asher wouldn’t dream of calling anyone else for her IT needs.”
“And tonight?” Maggie asked. “Any plans with the gorgeous Mr Reynolds?”
Sarah blushed. “Yes... we’re going back to his place; he wants to cook dinner for me.”
Maggie laughed delightedly. “Trust you to find a man who not only CAN but, IS more than happy to cook for you!”
Sarah shrugged. “It’s either that or starve,” she said with a straight face.
They left the café together and went down to the underground, where they hugged, and then went their separate ways.
Sarah made her way to the quaint little flower shop; which was owned and run by the nice Mrs Asher.
The bell over the door tinkled as she entered, and the smell of freshly cut flowers hung heavy in the air. Mrs Asher came bustling through from the back room, a short round little figure with long black hair and bright blue eyes... she could have been anything from forty to sixty.
“Can I help you?” she was asking as she hurried along. She stopped short as she recognised Sarah standing just inside the door. “Sarah!” she exclaimed in delight. “How good of you to come.”
Sarah stepped forward to take that lady’s hand. “Hello Mrs Asher. How’s business?”
Mrs Asher wrinkled her nose, and then sighed philosophically. “Oh things are a bit quiet at the moment but, things have been slow before, and I’m sure we’ll survive... we always have before”
Sarah murmured sympathetically, but was careful not to get drawn into any financial problems with her client. Her own business would not survive long if she did that. “Ok Mrs Asher,” she said instead. “Lead on; and I’ll see if I can at least tame your beast for you.”
Mrs Asher laughed delightedly and indicated to the door leading to the back.
“You remember the way don’t you dear?” she said to Sarah. “I’ll go and put the kettle on while you take a look.” She said something to someone just out of sight and a second later a tall middle aged woman came into view.
“Hi there Mrs Willis, how are you?” Sarah asked the woman cheerfully.
“Hello Sarah... I’m alright thank you dear. How are you and Maggie doing?” The woman gave a smile that lit up her face, so that the long beakyness became a delicate prettiness.
“Oh... we’re okay,” she said cautiously. “Just ticking by you – know?”
“Oh my yes!” Mrs Willis sighed. “There’s a lot of that going on at the moment, isn’t there.”
They walked past each other, Mrs Willis to keep an eye on the shop and Sarah to the back room where the two computers were set up.
She sat down at one of them and started to type.
By the time Mrs Asher came in with two cups of coffee Sarah had made her diagnosis.
“So dear...” Mrs Asher asked as she handed Sarah a steaming mug. “What’s the verdict?”
She took the coffee with thanks and took a sip.
“Well Mrs Asher...” Sarah began. “You know that I’ve been telling you for ages that these computers are past their use by date.”
Mrs Asher gave a grimace. “I know dear but I just don’t have the budget for replacements right now.”
Sarah raised her eyebrows in exasperation. She had been telling Mrs Asher that she needed new hardware for the better part of a year, but she always received the same response. Mrs Asher was determined to run her two old computers into the ground, and there was little that Sarah could do about it.
“You know Mrs Asher, that every time you have to call me out; it’s costing you money.” She said seriously. “And there’s really very little left that I can do. You know that you’re on borrowed time with these computers, and how are you going to run things without them?”
Mrs Asher sat up straight. “Wouldn’t you be able to replace them fairly quickly?” she asked.
“Well... I’d do my best of course, but it would be a few days at least, maybe a week. How would you place your orders and run things? How would you keep track of your stock? Invoice your customers? Make payments?”
Mrs Asher held her hands up in defeat as Sarah would have gone on. “Alright Sarah.” she sighed. “I know that you’re right but...” she hesitated, “well... things haven’t just been quiet for a little while,” she confided at last. “I’ve lost two contracts for two hotels, these past two months. They said that ‘flowers in the rooms just weren’t essential to the running of the hotels’.”
Sarah nodded sympathetically again. “How about, if I just do the accounts computer for the minute? It is after all the one that’s causing you the most problems.”
Mrs Asher brightened. “Yes that could be a way forward.”
“Maybe I could take the memory from the accounts computer, and add it to the admin computer,” Sarah mused to herself.
“Mrs Asher nodded vigorously. “Yes, yes that’s an excellent idea!” she enthused. “If you can take all the working bits from my computer and add it to Nora’s computer, maybe then I won’t have to replace that one at all!”
Sarah laughed. “I’m sorry Mrs Asher, but I’m afraid they don’t work like that. All I can do; is buy you a little time. It WILL need replacing eventually; and probably sooner rather than later.”
Mrs Asher sighed. “You know best dear. I know that you wouldn’t steer me wrong.”
Sarah played around with the two old computers, deleting unnecessary files, defragmenting the hard drives, and just trying to get the computers to run the best that they could. It was a hopeless task but it would keep them going, until she could get a replacement in for a least one of them.
“I’ll get the computer ordered first thing in the morning and fax you over the prices first thing in the afternoon. I’ve an appointment mid morning so I can’t do it any sooner than that I’m afraid,” she told Mrs Asher. She glanced at her watch and gave a little gasp. It was nearly five thirty. “Heavens!” she cried, “I’m running late.” She grabbed her bag and her jacket. “I’ll let you know when it can be delivered to you, as soon as I know,” she promised making her way to the door.
“Bye, bye dear.” Mrs Asher called. “I’ll see you soon.”
Sarah left the little flower shop and headed for the underground.
She arrived back at her flat just after six o’clock. She stripped and ran through to the bathroom. Five minute later a towel round her head her body swathed by another towel, she studied her wardrobe. The clothing she selected for tonight was almost entirely about comfort, and for once she elected to wear flat comfortable shoes. She dressed in a rush in casual trousers and a pretty sweater and then she brushed and blow dried her hair. Six twenty five, and she was ready... six twenty six and there was the sound of a car pulling up outside.
She grabbed her bag and jacket and left the flat skipping lightly down the stairs. Sam was waiting for her, his eyes dark with desire. She walked up to him and kissed him lightly on the cheek.
“Hello there how are you?” she asked dreamily.
He kissed her mouth hard before replying. “Impatient for you,” he declared huskily.
She gave a little grunt of regret but said nothing.
Sam frowned down at her, but decided to wait until they reached his flat before he asked her what was wrong.
He parked his car in the underground car park and led her up to his flat.
He closed the door and held her close for a moment before moving away a little.
“What’s wrong Sarah?” he asked quietly.
She gave a wry smile and a shrug. “Well let’s just say that I am most definitely not pregnant – as my body informed me this morning,” she said trying to sound nonchalant, but knowing that she’d failed miserably, as her bottom lip wobbled treacherously – damned hormones!
He felt disappointment in the pit of his stomach, which he shied away from... to be faced later.
Sam forced a grin. “Isn’t that good news,” he asked, “Aren’t you happy – or at least relieved?”
“Well, yes... apart from the cramping, and the general feeling of grottiness that comes with it of course,” she said ruefully placing her hand over her belly.
Sam leaned over and kissed her forehead. “Poor baby,” he murmured.
She looked at him hesitantly for a moment. “You do realise that we won’t be able to do anything tonight?” she asked a little uncertainly.
He pulled her close. “Of course. But I can hold you and I can kiss you. I don’t expect anything more from you Sarah.”
She sighed and leaned into him. “Good,” she said lightly, “now what are you going to feed me tonight?”
Sam tipped back his head and laughed. She was wonderful and he loved her.
“Well come on through and I’ll show you,” he told her taking her by the hand and leading her to the kitchen.
She sat on a stool at the bar and watched him throwing together a salad. He was very confident in the kitchen and seemed to know exactly what he wanted from the ingredients he put together. Sarah watched mesmerised by his sure hands. Her mind however was not on food but on the other night.
Sam looked up and caught her dreamy look, and his hands shook slightly.
“Sarah!” he growled at her.
She looked up at him with a vague expression. ”Hmmm?” she asked biting her bottom lip.
“Sarah Chester, you just behave yourself right this minute!”
Her eyes came back into focus and she looked at him with a puzzled frown. “What’s the matter?” She asked.
“Keep your mind on the food, if you please young misses, and stop looking at me the way you just were. Otherwise I can’t be held responsible for what might happen.” He gave her a dark look, and she blushed.
“Sorry.” she apologised, feeling embarrassed.
“Don’t be sorry,” he told her sternly, “don’t do it.”
She laughed and blushed again. “Okay... I’ll behave.”
Their dinner was delicious. The lamb chops with a sprig of mint melted in her mouth. The tiny new potatoes were done to perfection, and the whole meal was washed down with a half bottle of sweet white wine.
After dinner they washed and dried the dishes while the coffee brewed; and then carried their steaming mugs through to the living room.
Sam had drawn the curtains and switched on a couple of lamps. The room looked cosy and welcoming as they curled up together on the sofa; sipping coffee and listening to soft music. They didn’t talk much, were just content to sit close together.
The evening wound to an end, and she rose from the sofa with regret.
“Time to go,” she sighed, as he took her by the hand.
“You could always stay the night,” Sam suggested, pulling her close.
“I don’t think that that would be a good idea. I need to get a good night’s sleep, so that I’m fresh for an important meeting in the morning.”
Sam walked with her to the door and they went down in the lift to the car park.
He drove her home in silence, but when he pulled up outside their flat he reached over and pulled her hard against him. He looked deep into her eyes for a moment, before lowering his head to claim her lips. His kiss was soft, gentle, and searching for her response. She kissed him back with all the love she had in her.
“I’ll see you tomorrow night,” he whispered resting his forehead against hers.
Sarah smiled shakily; Sam had never kissed her so tenderly before, it had almost moved her to tears. “You’ll see me in the morning,” she whispered back.
“What?” He furrowed his brow.
“Tomorrow; we’re meeting with yourself and Mr Conrad to discuss our quote.”
“What! That’s tomorrow?” He frowned as he looked down at her. “Why didn’t you mention it earlier?” he questioned.
She shrugged. “I didn’t think it would be appropriate, I didn’t want you to think I was trying to put some sort of pressure on you.”
“I would never think that about you Sarah, but I suppose I am glad that you chose not to discuss it with me.” He kissed her again on the lips and then opened his car door to walk round and help her out.
Sarah always felt a thrill when he did things like that. He made her feel special and cosseted by him.
When she entered the flat it was to find it in total darkness. She walked over to her friend’s bedroom and opened the door slightly.
“Mags,” she whispered. “Are you there?”
There was no answer so Sarah opened the door a little wider; the room was empty. She gave a wry grin followed by a yawn, and glancing at her watch she saw that it was nearly eleven thirty. Her friend certainly did have late nights when she was out with Pete.
She went to her bedroom, undressed, and slipped into bed. She was on the edge of sleep when she heard the door open; and a moment later her friend appeared in her doorway.
“Sarah? Are you still awake?” Maggie whispered from the door.
Sarah sat up and switched on her light.
“What’s up?” she asked glancing at her watch it said five to twelve so she had not been in bed for very long.
“Sorry,” Maggie said. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“That’s okay, I’ve not been back long myself; and I wasn’t asleep yet.”
“You fancy a drink?” Maggie asked.
“Yes, if you’re making one.” Sarah slipped out of bed and pulled her dressing gown on.
They went through to the kitchen, and Maggie put a saucepan on the stove and added milk to it.
“You want some brandy in this?” Maggie asked a few minute later as she poured the warmed milk into two mugs.
“No thanks Mags; I don’t think I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight,” Sarah laughed as she stifled a yawn.
“I’m keeping you up!” Maggie declared unhappily.
“I told you; I’ve not been back long myself.” Sarah argued stubbornly, “another half an hour isn’t going to make much difference.”
“How’d your date go?”
Sarah smiled and a little glow came to her face. “It was wonderful!” She sighed dreamily.
She looked across at Maggie. “How was your evening with Pete? I assume that it IS Pete you’ve been out with all night?”
Maggie looked down at her mug. “Yes,” she replied slowly. She glanced up at Sarah and sighed. “I still can’t believe how much he’s changed. I’m just not sure how to deal with him!”
“Why? What’s to deal with? After all he’s been away for a week or more and he’ll be gone again within days.”
“He’s invited me to go back to America with him.” She looked at Sarah’s surprised face, and then down at her mug again. “Of course I told him it would be impossible,” she finished.
Maggie looked surprised. “Why? I can’t just go off and leave you in the lurch! I have responsibilities here... besides what would I do with myself in America for crying out loud?”
“Mags... we’re closing down next week, for a week any way. After tomorrow’s meeting there’s not going to be much happening. If we win that contract then it’ll take a few weeks before they’ll want to proceed. And if we don’t then there’ll be even less work on.” Sarah argued.
“When would he want you to go?”
“He’s flying out on Friday,” Maggie hesitated clearly tempted. “Do you think I should go?” she asked Sarah suddenly.
“Well if it were anyone other than Pete, I don’t think it would be a good idea. But, since this is Pete we’re talking about; then yes... I think that you should absolutely jump at the chance. Pete is a good man; he’ll look after you out there.”
“And you’d be all right? Running things for the week before we close down?” Maggie still felt unsure.
“Absolutely!” she grinned at Maggie. “Believe it or not Mags... we’re actually quite good at our jobs... all our clients are running well at the moment. There’s only Mrs Asher having problems, and I’m ordering her a new computer in the morning.”
“Sarah!” Maggie laughed. “You actually managed to persuade her to buy a new one. Way to go girl, I’ll make a sales woman of you yet!”
They laughed together for a moment then gradually drifted into silence.
“When do you think you’ll be back?” Sarah asked quietly.
Maggie shrugged, frowned, and then said; “since I refused him out of hand, we didn’t actually talk about time frames... but I’ll make sure that I’m back by the time we open up shop again!” she promised.
They finished their drinks and then turned in for the night. Sarah curled up in her bed and sighed. She would miss Maggie and her down to earth attitude.
Her final thoughts were of course of Sam, and she gave a dreamy little smile as relaxed herself ready for sleep.
She still had her trip away with Sam to look forward to, just him and her and lots of isolation... to just...
Her lips curved up as she drifted off to dream hot and steamy dreams of Sam.
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