SURPRIZE! by Joy Lennick

September Afternoon


A first-time visitor to London, UK, Esther Delaney, a young, stunning American photographer from Alabama, USA, optimistically set out in sunshine in a snappy dress and sandals, heading for Kings Cross station. It being a pleasant, autumn afternoon, she decided to walk as there was time. Esther joyfully absorbed the varied architecture, including several Georgian properties she intended photographing, and was excitedly looking forward to fiancé Scott’s later arrival, but had forgotten her grandmother’s warning:

Heed my words, honey, Great Britain can show you four seasons in one day!

Big mistake! Within an eye-blink, Esther found herself the victim of a rain squall. Cursing, she dived into the nearest hotel bar, shaking her dark, lustrous hair, only too aware that her blue woollen dress clung to her ample figure, as were the three occupants’ eyes in the dimly lit interior. She dabbed, pathetically, at her rain-streaked arms with a miniscule hankie….

While no demure virgin, but having met one or three men with the morals of an alley cat, Esther lived by stricter moral values, while possessing a daring streak in her nature which sometimes led her to the edge… Taking stock of the male trios’ interest and deeming them a lecherous lot,she approached the bar-man: A glass of dry white wine, please, she requested. Serving her with an over-friendly inclination of his head, she was thankful for the bar between them.

She headed for a table, quickly summing up the other two men before seating herself, appreciating they were in her eye-line, but opposite each other. 

The younger man: swarthy, dark-haired – a handsome, muscular Adonis – in his eyes – she thought, wore a gold neck-chain; reminding her of a Mafiosa. The third man’s face was a life-map: a misshapen nose suggesting a career as a boxer. Around fifty she imagined. Both men appraised her, but she kept her eyes down, ‘playing to the field’ by crossing her shapely legs and sipping her wine.

After checking the weather – still raining – the wall clock reassured her. Scott’s train wasn’t due in until 6.0’clock and the station was nearby. She returned to her seat, still aware of those lustful orbs firmly set on her person.

Time ticked on…Then the younger man slowly arose from his chair, and approaching her, quietly slid his room key onto the table, while softly saying: I’ll get the spare at reception! She met his intense, suggestive gaze, smiling coquettishly.  He then left.  Meanwhile, the older man sipped his beer and continued to gaze her way at intervals. Checking the clock again, she arose, paused at his table, and put the Adonis’s key gently down, meeting his eager, pregnant look with a meaningful smile, and left.

Then, holding her handbag over her head, she made a dash for it, giggling as she leapt over puddles and headed towards the station to meet her fiancé, visualising the expressions on the two men’s faces as they met.