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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crossroads by Lynne King

Lucy perched on the edge of the seat, her painted nails digging into clenched palms.

“Can’t you go any faster?”

“There is a thirty mile limit along this stretch of road, you know,” the driver replied.

“I do have a train to catch. At this rate, I’m not going to make it.”

“Look, darling, blame the office, not me. I was stuck across town; they should have told you that.” Irritation had built up in his voice.

“What and lose a fare,” Lucy mumbled under her breath, her dislike of him heightened by his blatant use of the word darling. She caught the resentful glare he threw into the rear mirror. It was the first time she had actually glimpsed his face rather than tousled fair hair. He had striking sky blue eyes, the look within them far from friendly. Sighing, Lucy leant back in the seat and tried to relax. It wasn’t his fault her alarm had failed to go off, the catch on her weekend case had snapped resulting in her having to secure it with a piece of string and that the first cab firm she tried had no-one available.

Finally the taxi pulled up outside the train station as a train pulled out. A word with the ticket office confirmed that it had gone from bad to worse when the news was given that the next train wasn’t due for an hour. Picking up her case, Lucy rushed outside. The taxi was still there, the driver speaking into his radio.

“Please, can you take me to Heathrow airport?”

His blue gaze rested on her, a hint of amusement displayed there. “You’ve got to be joking.”

“Do I look like it?”

The desperation in her voice must have softened his attitude slightly as he hesitantly replied, “It will cost a fair amount and if the traffic’s bad, I can’t guarantee you’ll make your flight. What time does it depart?”

“Eleven-fifteen and I have to check in at least an hour before departure.”

There was a brief silence as he seemed to consider her request. It gave her enough time to notice how the eyes matched the rest of his face for attractiveness, not that he was her type. The boyish self-assured grin he was now displaying probably worked on a few of her counterparts but not her.

“You better get in then. Throw your case in the back and you can sit up front. That’s if you don’t mind the company. It’s a long drive and I don’t fancy having you talking to my back. I’m Danny by the way and you are?"

“Lucy,” she replied curtly.

The car pulled out of the station forecourt, his attention now on driving much to Lucy’s relief. It was short lived. After about ten minutes of journeying time, his questions started up, the first being where was she flying to.

“Paris,” Lucy replied, not bothering to elaborate further.

“Going for long?” The sideways glance showed he was not about to give up easily.

She sighed. “Just the weekend.”

“You picked a nice day to fly, still weather isn’t that important when you’re heading for a city like Paris. I mean you hardly go there to get a sun tan.”

“What I plan to do in Paris is my affair,” her voice wavered on that last word. “You married?” The directness of her question caught her by surprise as much as him. She lowered her eyes hoping to avoid the questioning look in his.

“Do I give off that impression?” he replied.

At her extended silence, he added, “I’m divorced; my ex wife preferred the guy she worked with. Can’t say I blame her, he certainly has a lot more money than I do.”

“I’m sure money wasn’t the only contributing factor to the break-up.”

“Maybe not, perhaps he made her happy.”

Lucy wished she could say the same; somehow uncertainty and loneliness had replaced the happiness she once felt. How many times had she questioned why she had ever allowed it to begin, let alone carry it on for so long? Maybe because deep down, she knew the answer already. He spoke words of love, needing her, wanting her, but that was all they were, words, no real commitment and for her it was far safer that way. Only where was that independence she treasured so highly when night after night she sat alone in the flat waiting for him to ring?

“Blasted road works! I’m sorry, but if this doesn’t start moving soon, we’re not going to make that flight of yours.”

She let out a small sigh. “It can’t be helped. Perhaps I’ll get another flight.”

Danny glanced across at her, his look revealing surprise at the indifference in her voice. “Will he wait for you?” His eyebrows rose gently as if expecting a sharp retort.

None came. Instead Lucy revealed a sad self-pitying smile as she replied softly, “I don’t know.”

The traffic did finally begin to move and within fifteen minutes Danny was pulling into the visitors’ car park at Heathrow, in time for her flight.

Paying the fare, she turned to walk away when his voice stopped her.

“I’ll be sticking around for half an hour, getting a bite to eat. Just in case you change your mind about going, that is.”

Lucy spun round. “You don’t know me.”

“No, but I can sense the doubt clouding those beautiful eyes of yours,” he smiled.

The intimacy within his gaze stunned her. Slowly she turned away and walked off into the airport terminal.

She saw Greg from a distance standing by the checking-in counter. The tailored slate grey suit would have been worn for his wife’s benefit; how else would he explain his weekend away? An impatient look was marring his handsome features as he kept checking his watch. Doesn’t like to be kept waiting, never mind the hours I have spent in some restaurant dining alone because some crisis had arisen on the home front, their daughter had a temperature, his wife had arranged a surprise dinner party. She had woken up to the fact of how bitter she had become at twenty-four years of age.

Picking up her case Lucy turned and walked away from him and out of the airport terminal. She wondered why no tears were falling; why she felt so calm, almost relieved?

“You want a taxi?”

She looked up in recognition of the voice.

“I don’t think I can afford the fare.”

“This ones on me seeing I’m going your way anyhow.”

Lucy found herself smiling, her eyes meeting his and thinking once again how one could lose themselves in such eyes if one was willing to take that risk. Placing her case on the back seat, she opened the passenger door and sat herself next to him.

About the Author: Lynne King - Based in the UK. My short stories have been published in quite a few popular UK magazines and I have a romantic suspense novel out at the moment, entitled, To Deceive Is To Love, published by The Wild Rose Press and given a great review by The Long and the Short of it. Find out more at

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