First chapter of my romance/crime novel.
|"Stay there," Someone called as Mira reached the edge of the large playing field, A flat green open space with a cricket pitch in the middle of it. The grass recently cut ready for the summer holidays where kids would be out enjoying recreational activities in the sun and parents waiting for the school term to start again. A cricket match was taking place on the pitch. Intrigued Mira looked for somewhere to sit.
“No one tells me what to do!” Her rebellious side kicking in, she ignored the warning and continued walking around the footpath. An Indian family were on the bench, forcing her to go elsewhere. Finding a shady spot under a tree and placing her bag on the grass, she settled down to watch the game. Panic rose within her and she worried if she should even be there and would be asked to leave. “Its a public place you have every right to be here. You are only sitting watching the game. Its not like you are causing any trouble.” She reminded herself, whilst focusing her attention on the match which was taking place.
The batsman nearest her, wearing full cricket attire with a red cap, had his back to her and held the cricket bat in his left hand, whilst the other batsman, positioned facing towards her, held his bat in his right hand. Other players dotted around the field were wearing shorts and t-shirts. The bowler ran towards his wicket and threw the ball across the pitch in an overarm throw. 'Crack' the ball hit the bat and flew diagonally across the field, past a guy who wasn't paying much attention to what was going on, and rolled to a stop a few feet behind him.
"Chris get the ball" One player called.
A guy wearing a white t-shirt and red shorts ran towards the ball, picked it up and threw it back using an overarm throw. The bowler caught the ball and repositioned himself ready to throw again. The batsmen who had hit the ball had run to the other wicket and swapped places with the other batsman who had now positioned himself ready to bat at the other wicket. She turned her attention to the fielders with great interest, examining their positions in the field and noting how far apart they were from each other and the batsmen. This helped her to understand the logistics of the game.
After being sat on the grass for some time Mira started to get uncomfortable. Looking around for a free bench and seeing all the benches were taken, remaining on the grass seemed her only option. Changing her position, she sat with her knees close to the chest and wrapped her arms around her legs for a few minutes, before resuming her original position.
"Kras," Someone called. A familiar name. Where had she heard this name before? She looked from player to player, but could not tell if she knew any of them from that distance. She sat trying to remember where she had heard that name before. That’s it! An old colleague had a boyfriend called Kras and it meant peace or something like that. Was that him playing out there? Looking around the field and not seeing anyone familiar, assumed it must be someone else.
One player, got bowled out and repositioned himself in the field opposite where Mira was sitting. From the distance between them, his facial expression was hard to read, so she could not tell how he felt about that. Did it bother him? Maybe he did it on purpose? Studying him in closer detail, he was tall, thin and could be of Indian nationality? He turned his head, looking over at her in a sidewards glance.
Shit. Panic rose within her again. Damn. He caught me. Mira focussed her attention away from him and back at the game, to calm herself. Another guy had taken up the batsman position and was standing ready to hit the ball. A minute later, with a strong urge, she glanced back at the guy in the field to see him staring straight at her.
He shifted his weight to the left hip and put his right leg forward, keeping one eye on the match and the other on Mira. Then turning full body towards her with legs apart, looked her up and down and puffed out his chest, making it obvious he was interested. This made her smile. It's not every day a cricketer takes an interest in her.
Mira could hear crying coming from behind her. Turning her attention away from the game, she saw two boys sitting on the football pitch facing each other. Walking over to the boy who was crying, she crouched and asked "What happened?"
"I fell and hurt my arm."
"Can I have a look? I'm first aid trained."
The boy looked at his friend, then held up his arm for Mira to check. It wasn't broken and after reassuring him he will be okay, she left them and turned her attention back to the game. The players had gone to meet, signalling a half time break. Mira put her hands on her stomach and remembering she hadn't eaten, started towards home.
As she reached the edge of the field, she looked back and saw someone walking towards her. This person did not seem familiar, was it the guy who had been eyeing her up earlier? She didn't wait to find out and turned her back on the field, walked down the path towards the gate and walked home.
Once back in her flat she slipped off her sandals at the door, dropped her bag in its usual place on the floor under the radiator and made her way to the kitchen. She prepared her evening meal, opting for a healthy pasta and salad dish, then settled on the sofa to eat. She flicked on the television using the remote and found something to watch whilst eating. Partly for company, but mainly to drown out the sound of silence in her flat.
After eating, Mira went outside for a smoke. Standing on the pavement and inhaling the menthol nicotine into her lungs, she felt a wave of relief and satisfaction, that only an after dinner cigarette could bring. Listening to the sounds of the evening, could hear cars on the road in the distance, music coming from a neighbour's flat, people laughing and the sound of dishes clattering. Turning towards the sound of dishes, she could see a man in the house opposite was washing up. The sight of a man helping do the chores made her smile. Having been single for 3 years she wanted a man like that and was ready to meet her Mr right. She had dated a few men from various dating sites and had one night stands which were fun, but longed for something more. Something deeper. A connection and a life long companion.
Mira watched him for a while as he stacked the plates in the drying up stand with bubble covered hands, then made her way to the local shop. A short walk down the road and back was often enough to keep her from insanity. Stopping outside the shop to stub the cigarette out on the bin, she felt a presence behind her. As she turned around, her path was blocked by someone standing on the pavement.
"Hello" He smiled. "I saw you in the park an hour ago?"
An attractive man in his thirties, about 5ft 10in, with brown eyes and no hair, wearing a black t-shirt, light blue jeans and black trainers. Was standing with an inquisitive expression on his face.
"Hi" Mira smiled back. "Erm yes, How was the game?"
"It was okay. We lost overall to the other team. I think I got distracted." Looking away from Mira then back at her again.
“Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to distract you.”
“No, it wasn’t you. I lost my focus for a second. Nothing major. I will concentrate next time.”
"Do you play here often?"
"I joined the cricket team a few weeks back. I’ve got friends round here who introduced me to their club. You into cricket?"
"No. I went to the park to read, but when I saw the game was on, I thought I’d watch for a while."
"Fair enough. I’m Kras." He held out his hand and Mira shook it.
"Mira" She smiled back.
“Thanks.” Mira’s cheeks went bright red. She twirled her hair in her left hand and gazed at him for a short while. Neither of them spoke for what seemed like an eternity. He spoke first.
"Are you going in the shop?"
"Erm…. Yes, that was the plan."
"Sorry I didn’t mean to stop you from going in the shop," He looked down at his feet then back up at Mira.
“It’s okay. Here take my number." She said handing him a small rectangular business card from her jeans pocket. "Maybe, we could get to know each other over dinner sometime?"
"Sure. That would be great." He took the card and put it in his back pocket. He spoke with an air of confidence which fascinated her in ways none had before, like a magnet being attracted towards its partner. They smiled at each other on the pavement for a few seconds, then Mira walked around him. "Call me!" She called, pushing the door open and stepping inside the small corner shop.
Kras smiled to himself, climbed in his car, started the engine and drove away.
Back at her flat, Mira put the can of lemonade in the fridge (deciding to drink it later), filled the bath with hot water, dropped a lemongrass bath bomb into it and lit the candles around the edge of the bath. Switching off the light, she undressed and climbed into the bath, lying back letting the warmth of the water surround her. Closing her eyes, she inhaled and exhaled concentrating on her breathing. The smell of lemongrass entering her nostrils and winding its way to her lungs.
Reflecting on the day that had gone. She wondered what Kras was doing tonight. Whether he had gone somewhere after the game or just gone home? What he did in his spare time apart from play cricket? Who were his friends? What did he do for work? What music he liked? What films he liked? Did they have anything in common? Did he think she was attractive? Wondered if he would call her and when?
Mira opened her eyes and watched the candles flickering in the darkness, their shadows forming dark jumping lines on the wall behind them. She sat up and massaged shampoo into her hair before plunging under the water to wash it out. She repeated this for the condition, then took the pink bath scrunchy from the shelf and used it to wash her body with lemon shower gel. She used the pumice stone on the soles of her feet and the scissors to cut her toenails. Having a beauty routine was important to Mira and she took great pride in her physical appearance.
When finished, she pulled the plug out of the bath and watched the bubbled water swirl down the plughole. She blew out the candles, plunging her into darkness. "Shit.”
After fumbling around for the door handle, she eventually opened the door letting light from the corridor enter the room. Cold air seeped in through the opening, enveloping her nakedness and making her shiver. Grabbing the large bath towel off the heated rail and wrapping it around herself, the shivering receded. She placed another towel on her head and looked at her reflection in the mirror, but could not see as it had fogged up due to the steam. Wiping her hand across the surface of the mirror to clear it, she could see her reflection staring back at her. Looking good she complimented herself with a smile and left the bathroom closing the door behind her.
After dressing in her Belles Fleurs pyjamas and using the hair drier, she sat on the bed and checked her mobile. There was a text message from her life coach.
Hi Mira. Hope you had an awesome day? Are we still doing lunch tomorrow? I’m looking forward to hearing how you are getting on. Message me back when you get this. Alekz
She text him back...
Hi Alekz. Yes, I had a great day. I met someone. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow at lunch. Riverside Club at 12:30 ok with you? Miss you. Mira
Ping he text back straight away.
Oh, WOW! That’s great news. I look forward to hearing about it. Yes 12:30 at Riverside is great. See you then. Miss you too. Alekz
Setting the alarm on her mobile for 7:30am and placing it on the bedside cabinet, she climbed into bed alongside her cuddly donkey, to read her book. Life is for learning was the next chapter which made her smile at the pun. She had definitely been learning lots of life lessons over the past few months and was sure to learn a lot more. The more she learnt, the more she realised she didn’t know that much and had so much more to learn and discover.
Mira read until her eyes were heavy and sleep was inevitable. She had an important meeting the following day and had to be awake and alert for it, everything depended on her being on top form. She placed the book on the bedside table next to her mobile and turned off the lamp. Snuggling under the warm duvet, she drifted off to sleep.