Claire Fitsroy rolled her tense shoulders, letting her heavy handbag slip onto the floor. The handbag landed on the dark stained wooden floorboards in the middle of the hallway. Claire made no attempt to move it out of the way as she continued to tramp through an archway. The room opened into an open living area, a tidy kitchen spanned the left side of the room. Claire sat on the arm of leather two seater as she unceremoniously kicked off a pair of black high-heels. A sunflower was drooped over the edge of a clear glass vase, which stood on the kitchen’s island bench. Several petals had already fallen from the wilted flower, and Claire gently ran a finger over the rest of the soft petals.
“You look like I feel,” Claire whispered, leaning on the bench. “It’s been a long day, Sunny, how about I grab a bite to eat and then fix you up with some fresh water.”
Claire shambled over to where the shiny stainless steel fridge stood, several bills hanging from cute animal magnets. She opened the fridge door and leant of it for a minute before it started to beep at her. A bottle of milk, margarine and a can of lemonade was all that was left in the fridge.
“Seems like it’s takeaway tonight,” Claire said, closing the door. “I’ll even splurge on Chinese I think.”
Claire didn’t pick up the phone however, but instead made her way back into the hall. Opening a door directly opposite, she entered a spacious light bedroom. Several family photos hung in frames around the room and a double bed sat in the middle of the room. Claire continued through the room to an ensuite. A shower stall stood at the end of a deep white bath, wooden boards layered the walls. A basin and toilet was on the opposite wall and cool black tiles met Claire’s bare feet.
Claire twisted the taps on the bath and water began pouring into the deep tub. As the water splashed, she then turned to a wall mounted radio and flicked the switch at the power point.
The next five minutes consisted of Claire singing ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ at the top of her lungs and pouring half a bottle of bubble-bath liquid into the tub. A strawberry scent filled the room as Clair continued to sing into a hairbrush. She then let out her bun, raven hair sliding over her shoulders and falling to her waistline. Bubbles were almost overflowing from the tub when Claire finally turned off the tap. Claire dipped her toes into the warm water before stepping into the bubble haven. She let out a long sigh as she leant against the tub, the warmth soothing her aching muscles.
“Hi there, my name is Simon-” the radio’s broadcast of music was broken by a male voice.
“Hi Simon,” Claire replied.
“I’m here to inform you of a new product sweeping your local shopping centre shelves.”
“How kind of you, pray continue.”
“Are you feeling stressed?-”
“Work getting you down?-”
“Family, relationships and drama’s playing on your mind?-“
“You’re hitting the nail on the head.”
“Well you don’t deserve it! You work hard to provide for yourself and others! You can’t afford to wallow in the pain of stress and tiredness!”
“Preach it, Simon,” Claire declared, flinging a hand into the air, water splashed onto the floor.
“With Amanda Stynes brand new pharmacist approved StressAway, you’ll be back to your rejuvenated self within two weeks. Amanda said in an interview on the weekend “This product is a revolutionary capsule that is proven to reduce side effects of stress such as headaches…”-“
“Ah Simon, you’ve lost me,” Clair murmured. “No number of magic pills will help with my problems.”
Claire sighed and sunk deeper into the soapy bubbles. Another headache began forming as Claire’s mind swirled with thoughts of the events of the day.
“More like events for the last year,” Claire murmured, scooping up a handful of tiny bubbles.
Claire took in a deep breath and then blew a stream of air onto the white suds in her hands. The suds flew into the air, a couple of clumps falling back into the tub while more adventurous single bubbles continued a graceful trip through the air. Claire watched one such bubble as it floated towards the door on invisible airwaves, narrowly avoiding obstacles in its way. It was so beautiful and carefree, even though it was fragile.
“Gosh dammit, Claire Fitsroy, you’re feeling jealous of a bubble! You need to get your head into gear, you silly woman,” Claire rebuked herself out loud.
“Today we had the pleasure of interviewing self-published author, Mary Knight, about her upcoming book Ice Eyes,” the radio caught Claire’s attention once again. “It covers the journey of a young woman, who meets a friendly stranger with grey-blue eyes. Though completely charming the man has secrets, secrets that put her in danger. Mary is passionate about writing stories that woman can relate to but that can also distract from the everyday bustle of life. To listen to the full interview please visit our website-“
Claire needed no more motivation and reached for her phone. One book purchase later and Claire was flipping through the first chapter. She delved into the world of Marcy Stewart and her blue eyed stranger.
Claire’s toes were wrinkled by the time she managed to put the phone down for just enough time to step out of the bath and don a robe. With dinner all but forgotten, the novel was the only thing that could quench her appetite.
She cried, she laughed, and she cursed the very essence of men before praising the heavens that angels like Matthew Roland still existed on earth. The final chapter made her happy, but filled with a bit of longing as the characters had a happy ending, well a majority of them. Real life thoughts gripped her, her own romance turned out to be more on the horror side than a romance story.
With a shake of her head, she clicked on Mary Knight’s name and was delighted to find two other titles under her name. Claire looked at the clock on the wall and almost groaned at the time. Bed was definitely beckoning to her, but the lure of another story made her falter.
“Just one chapter,” Claire whispered, opening the first page.
Today I wrote this as I was thinking about readers and writers. As a reader, I find books to be a retreat, a thing I do when I need to get away. That is the joy of being a reader after all, you get all the adventure without the struggle of having to experience it personally. Books can keep us feeling alive, or I know a lot of readers who feel that way.
On the other hand, as writers we can write stories that can give readers this pleasure and it is the greatest gift that we can give. 😀
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!
You are all awesome!