A 996 word story written for the Writer's Cramp prompt, 10/10/19.
| Furniture Heaven?
"Oh, wow, Dad. Look at the size of this place!" Mandi looked from right to left, not sure which way to head first.
"Don't wander too far, Mand. And remember, just one item."
Greg Fraser was also over-awed. He'd heard the place was big; the largest furniture store in the county, but the reality still took his breath away. There was furniture for every room, for every conceivable taste. Where to start? That was the problem.
When he had inherited the house from his mother, it was fully, but sparsely, furnished. Half the rooms had been used for nothing other than storage, and a lot of the remaining pieces were very well-worn. He'd made a deal with twelve year old Mandi and her younger brother Simon; they could pick one item for their own rooms - provided that they behaved themselves.
"Okay, Dad, but I do need to have a good look around." Mandi had seen a black and silver section that had caught her eye, while Simon had let go of his Dad's hand and was headed the other way.
Greg turned to answer Mandi, and, in that moment, lost sight of his son. He looked around, spotted his son disappearing behind a bright blue wardrobe. He sped off after him, only to find that he'd had been chasing a reflection. His son must have been going the opposite way.
They'd be okay. This was a big store; there had to be plenty of staff on hand. Still scanning for his son, Greg tried to run through his mental shopping list. In hindsight, it would have been better to write it all out, or even to order it all on-line. It was going to be delivered anyway. He'd done that before though, had felt the disappointment when things turned out to be rather shoddy. Better to go and see them first.
Now, though, his mind was full of Simon. And Mandi, too; in spite of her promise, he had no idea where she had gone, either. He'd find the kids, order them to stay with him, and then he'd be able to concentrate.
Simon had found the bed section, and there was a fantastic selection just for kids. Two had really grabbed his attention. One was shaped and painted to look like a pirate ship, while the other was futuristic, a space-craft of some sort. Would he be able to talk his Dad in to buying the two of them? Danny would be sure to come for sleep-overs; he'd need somewhere to sleep. The rest of the time, Simon could spend one night in space, the next at sea.
Where was his Dad anyway? Simon looked to his left, looked to his right; he saw plenty of people but not his father or his sister. With no one to tell him not to, he climbed on to the pirate bed and let his mind drift off to sea.
Mandi was walking around the black and silver pieces. From a distance they had looked stunning but up close they seemed kind of tacky. She looked at a couple of discretely placed price tickets. Not cheap at all, then. But no, not what she wanted.
She started to head off back the way she had come and then she saw it... something that took her breath away. It was a chest of drawers, four large ones leading to two at the top that were half their size. The wood had been dyed a deep black; and painted across the length of each drawer was a trailing red rose.
It was going to be expensive. She could see the price tag but did not dare look. Her Dad had promised her one thing; he'd not said how much it could cost. There was, Mandi thought, no point in her looking any more. She would not find anything better.
Where was her Dad, though? Supposing someone else came along and bought the chest of drawers before she found him? There didn't seem to be more than one, so that decided it. She would sit next to it, wait for him to find her.
Greg was getting crosser and more worried by the second. He'd been imagining a whole crowd of sales staff descending on them when they had walked through the door. Now that he was in need of assistance, he could not find even one. He seemed to be going in circles because the same pieces of furniture kept popping up in front of him. The kids weren't there, he needed to head off a bit and break the circle.
Black and silver... Had Mandi said something about that? It would be the kind of thing that would appeal to her, he thought, so he walked that way, all the while looking and for any sign of Simon. He'd almost given up on finding both when he tripped on something.
"Dad!" said Mandi. "This is it! This is what I..."
"Why didn't you stay nearby?" Greg did not bother to hide his anger, although his relief made him embrace his daughter in a hug. "Okay, if this is what you want... We need to find Simon!"
Mandi could hardly believe her luck. Her Dad had agreed and he'd not even glanced at the price.
A voice came over the loud-speaker. "Would the parents of the boy asleep on the pirate bed please wake him up and remove him."
"That's Simon, Dad. It's bound to be."
"You could be right, Mand, but where is the pirate bed?"
They both looked around. There was an ever-increasing group gathering way over to their left. "I don't know, Dad, but I'd take a wild guess and say that if we head towards that lot there, I bet we'll find him."
With a sigh, he said, "I think you're right."
He'd buy what they'd chosen, then head off home and do what he should have done in the first place - buy on line!