May 11 2013
Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.
The pounding on the door startled Megan, but she leapt up from the armchair and rushed eagerly to answer it. “You came after all,” she cried.
Her anticipation turned to surprise. There was a stranger standing in the doorway, trying to shelter from the snow.
“I’m lost. I saw the smoke from your chimney and the light and thought you might be able to help.” The man pulled his jacket collar tighter around his neck and hunched into it. “It’s freezing out here.”
“Oh, come in, please. Yes, you must come into the warm.” She opened the door wide and let the stranger walk past her into the room. Indicating the one and only armchair, she said, “Have a seat by the fire. Can I get you a hot drink?”
“A cup of tea would be nice. Milk, one sugar.
“You’ll be lucky. It’s Earl Grey tea, no milk, no sugar.”
Megan busied herself in the tiny kitchen then made her way back into the living room carrying the tray with two mugs. “Here you are. I’m Megan. And you are?”
Shaking shattered crisps from a crumpled packet into a dish, she said, “Help yourself.” She took one and popped it in her mouth. “They’re past their sell by date, but they’re all right.” Megan took another one and ignored the odd look he gave her.
“It’s practically a blizzard out there. I seem to have turned off the main road too soon and now I’m completely lost. I’m hoping you can help. The snow has drifted in the wind and it’s blocking the road so I’ll have to turn round and go back the way I came.”
He looked at her cheerfully.
“I don’t know, I’m not a local. I’ve hardly been out since I arrived here.” She stood up and walked round her packed bags and suitcase to the window. After rubbing the condensation off the glass she peered out. “It’s awful out there. It really is a snowstorm.” She turned to look at her visitor. She wasn’t sure it was a good idea having a stranger in the cottage out in the wilds of Scotland although he looked harmless enough. In fact now that she’d had a closer look at him he was quite attractive. His woollen hat didn’t do much for him, but a hat like that wouldn’t do much for anybody. She realised she was staring and took a sip of tea. “Tuck in, please.”
“I don’t usually have prawn cocktail crisps with my tea.”
“Try them, they’re very good, they go well together.” No doubt he’d think she was crazy, but maybe that would encourage him to go sooner and leave her in peace. Although in some ways it was quite nice having someone just sitting there after her miserable days of solitude with only herself for company.
She watched as Jamie’s hand hovered between the mug of tea and the dish of crisps. Rather gallantly, she thought, he picked one up and bit into it, chewing well before washing it down with the weak tea. “I think I’d better make a move before it gets worse. Thanks for the tea and crisps. Delicious.” He grinned at her half-heartedly.
“Okay, good luck. Hope you can find your way back.” She stood up and headed towards the door, anxious now for him to be gone. But why? What else did she have to do? Megan stopped and turned to Jamie. “I think there may be a map or something. Let me see if I can find it.”