Saturday, August 16, 2014

Spellbound excerpt Four

As promised, the fourth installment of Spellbound chapter one:

You can buy a copy of Spellbound here. 

I walk toward my chair and sit heavily into it as if I’ve been struck. I’m still in a daze, staring right ahead. I’m not sure what to make of that. My beauty inspired him? My beauty? One of the very early lessons I learnt in my love of film was beautiful girls act and intelligent girls… well they direct.
Feeling flustered and shell shocked I open my book in the hope I can hide behind it. Part of me wants to accept the compliment, but I have way too level a head for that sort of nonsense. Pretty doesn’t cut it. Beauty doesn’t cut it. I don’t want to be thought of as beautiful. My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world and my roguish father dumped her at fifty for a twenty-something-year-old. My mother is still beautiful, but she pines for my father and lives in loneliness. All because she traded too much off her looks.
I swore I’d never go down the same path.
But where is the harm in a compliment? The man wants to buy you a five dollar glass of wine because he won fifty dollars on some online gambling game or something. Who cares? You haven’t sold your soul.
This thought gives me a little confidence and I realize I’ve let my imagination get the better of me. Save it for work Connie. Don’t get all carried away cause a guy in a bar tells you you’re beautiful.
I toss him a swift glance. He’s sitting at the same table, legs elegantly crossed, folded newspaper in his right hand and his whiskey neat poised in the left. Part of me sighs as I succumb to my reality and let the fantasy of flattery go.
I turn my attention to reading. Alfred Hitchcock would understand. After all, he is the great love of my life.
It’s not till I get to settle in and let the book take me, that it occurs to me Joe hasn’t brought me my wine. I assume there’s been some sort of screw up and Joe’s forgotten or something.
I’m a bit miffed now. I look over at Mr. Briefcase and he is deep in conversation on the phone, running his fingers rapidly over that electronic device. He’s so gorgeous and for a moment I’m thinking about my beauty again and then I have to re-warn myself off that stupidity. I’m hardly going to approach him and remind him about my glass of wine - that moment, as cute as it was, is definitely past.
I look toward the bar just in time to see a very flustered Joe come through the doors at the back with his jacket on. He’s camping it up, fussing and flicking his hair in a way I know he does when he feels he’s all important. Now is not the time to bug him either. I look at the clock. It’s almost five. Soon Greta will be starting and I can just sidle over and ask her for a glass and all this awkwardness will be forgotten.
I go back to my book.
A few minutes later, Joe appears. He bends toward the small table in front of me as I look up. The first thing I notice is he’s used the fancy tray, the one we joke never comes out of the cabinet for the locals. Then I notice a simple bottle of red wine, the cork sitting by its side, and a stunning long stemmed piece of glassware I’ve never seen in this bar nor the likes of anywhere, in my life before.
“What’s this?” I say to Joe.
“Your wine babe. WOW - did you make an impression.”
I look over at Mr. Briefcase and he’s watching me. He lifts his whiskey as if to say cheers or thank you or something I should know, and can’t work out.
“A whole bottle? Geez. And the fancy tray? And a nice glass. He must have impressed you too,” I joke.
“Connie. Do you know what you have here?”
Joe looks all serious and I know I am missing something crucial again. It seems a day for it.
“Er. A bottle of wine?”
Joe sits in the chair next to me.
“No. You have THE bottle of wine. I had to go out for this Connie, after it was arranged. It’s a bottle of Grange. One of the nineteen-fifty-eight bottles made in secret by Shubert behind the Penfolds’ back. Normally you would pay about fifteen thousand dollars for this bottle, but your admirer seems to have an incredible private cellar.” He pauses and looks at the bottle as if in a trance. “I’ve never even tasted the older Granges. And you have one of the most prized right here.”
I stare at him. “Are you sure? Isn’t there some mistake?”
Joe shuffles and pulls a second immaculate glass out of his jacket pocket. “Would it be ok if I had a taste? I mean please?”

I stare at Joe. My mind is a confused whirl of thoughts. I can’t accept a fifteen thousand dollar bottle of wine. Can I? Is this man mad? How much did he win on that horse?

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