Tuesday lunchtime, and Eleanor decided to visit one of her usual haunts for comfort food. As she arrived, she noticed Chrissie there, with a man in tow.
“Hey, Hun. Fancy meeting you here!”
Chrissie beamed, giving Eleanor an unwelcome hug.
“Fancy,” Eleanor replied; Chrissie knew this was one of her favourite spots.
“This is Steve,” Chrissie said, as her companion stepped forward; a tall, blonde muscular man. “He’s in insurance.”
He thrust his hand forward.
“Pleased to meet you,” he said, brightly.
Eleanor politely shook it.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” he added.
“Really,” she said, deadpan.
“Sure. Chrissie doesn’t seem to shut up about you.”
Eleanor wondered what titbits Chrissie had chosen to pass on.
“Hey, why don’t we all go out together?” Chrissie suggested.
Eleanor began to protest, but Chrissie persisted.
“Steve, why don’t you ask your friend, and we could double date?”
“Well, I could ask him, but-“
“Oh, please do!” Chrissie interjected. “It could be fun.”
Chrissie looked up into Steve’s eyes; Eleanor knew the look.
“Well, I’ll ask, but I can’t promise anything. Which night?”
“You’re not doing anything Thursday night, are you, Hun?” Chrissie said, holding Eleanor’s arm.
Thursday. That was their night. But she wouldn’t be going back there.
“Aw, come on!” Chrissie encouraged. “It’ll be fun!”
Reluctantly, Eleanor agreed.
Wednesday was the first time she heard from him since their previous encounter. The text simply asked if she would be attending the following evening. Eleanor replied with a simple ‘No’, and left it at that. She thought about Chrissie’s date for the following evening; she didn’t really want to go, but then again, it would stop her mind dwelling on him. She also took some satisfaction in the fact that Chrissie wouldn’t be with him either.
Chrissie met Eleanor straight from work Thursday, and they made their way to the pub where they were meeting ‘the boys.’ Downstairs was quite busy and noisy, so they went upstairs, where it was quieter, and sat in one of the alcoves around a table after purchasing their drinks from the bar.
It wasn’t long before Steve arrived. Chrissie stood to greet him, giving him a peck on each cheek.
“Arthur’s a bit delayed on a valuation, but he should be here soon enough,” he said.
“That’s okay. You can keep us both entertained.” Chrissie fawned over him.
Steve got a round in, and sat next to Chrissie, facing the door.
“So, how’s your day been? Oh, Steve’s an insurance lawyer.”
“That’s nice,” Eleanor answered, disinterested.
“It’s an alright job,” Steve said. “Mainly specialist work around unusual artefacts.”
Steve was too caught up in Chrissie’s adoring gaze to notice Eleanor.
Eleanor heard the door open, and then a man’s voice.
“I’m so sorry I’m late, Steve.”
Eleanor stiffened and looked at Chrissie; Chrissie beamed back. She knew the voice, though he spoke a little differently to what she was used to.
“Girls, this is Arthur. He’s one of our valuation specialists. Knows everything there is to know about Victoriana. Arthur, this is Chrissie and Ellie.”
Chrissie stood to greet him. She heard him pause before speaking.
“Chrissie. Pleased to meet you,” he said.
“And you,” she replied.
Eleanor looked up at him. He looked a little different, though the styling was similar, a modernised version of what she normally saw him in. He was even wearing modern spectacles.
“And Ellie, I presume. Pleased to meet you,” he said, offering his hand.
Eleanor shook it weakly.
“It’s Eleanor,” she said, coldly.
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