On seeing Jim today, Charles’s face scrunched as if he had encountered something rather unpleasant. “Bloody hell, Jim, are you alright? You look bloody terrible, old chap.” Charles used the word bloody in almost every sentence. At first it amused Jim, then it irritated him, and now, years on, he was completely immune to it.
“Not great, if I’m honest, Charles, no. Err… Flick left me on Friday.” His lip began to quiver again as it had on so many occasions over the weekend, and so he bit down on it, slumping into the wingback chair and fighting for composure.
Charles gasped. “Oh, bloody hell, my dear chap, are you sure you should be here? I can manage today if you’d rather be at home.”
“No, no, it’s fine. I’m better off being busy I think. No point wallowing in self-pity all alone, eh?” Jim tried to snap himself out of the drop in mood.
Charles fidgeted as if wanting to make some kind of physical gesture but struggling to know quite what to do. “No…quite…quite. Well if you need anything…” He paused as he seemed to be calculating his next words. “And in my opinion, old chap, it’s her bloody loss.”
“Thanks, Charles, I appreciate it.” Jim forced a smile. “I’d love a coffee if you’re making one, eh? I’ll go splash my face with some cold water and dump my bag in the back.” He stood and headed for the rear of the shop.
“Certainly. Bloody good idea. I’ll get onto it.”
The day passed without real incidence and James was happy to be thumbing through the latest batch of antique finds that Charles had procured during his recent trip to a Parisian book fair. Amongst the finds had been a rare first edition of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. He had enquired as to how much the book had cost, but Charles had winced and shook his head. Obviously quite a lot then! The book was one of a select few which were locked in a cabinet not to be touched by just anyone. One had to prove the funds were available to purchase such a rare and delicate piece prior to being granted permission to handle it, and even then white cotton gloves were insisted upon.
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-17
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