I am very impressed with how good and honest you all are:
Let’s see how she takes it!
Also for today’s poll, I thought we’d try out the “fill in your own” option. Much fun!
“Come with me,” Mitch said, taking her by the arm and leading her through the crowd. They slipped out into the corridor and Melissa followed Mitch as he rounded the corner and walked ahead. He slowed outside a door, knocked lightly, peeked inside, and gestured for Melissa to follow him in. As she passed through the door, she saw they were entering an empty Conference Room B.
“Wow,” she said. “Our second date in such exciting surroundings.”
Mitch laughed. “This doesn’t count,” he said. “Although, I’m glad to hear there will be a second date.”
“It depends on what you’re about to tell me,” Melissa replied, and pulled out a chair.
“It wasn’t me,” Mitch said, finding his own seat by perching on the conference table itself.
“I love a story that starts like that,” Melissa smiled, wryly.
“Let me tell it, then,” he said, irritably. “You know Bruno likes you. He’s crazy for you. I mean, literally crazy. He suggested that we race from Silverstone to Heathrow to decide who gets to go out with you.”
Melissa stared at him.
Mitch faltered a little under her gaze. He knew that telling her wasn’t going to make her happy, but he’d expected her to shout or swear, rant at least a little, maybe even cry. The silence was unnerving.
“I said no,” he clarified.
“Good,” she said, then promptly stood up and left the room. Mitch paused for only a moment, and then ran out the door after her, catching up to her halfway down the hotel corridor.
“Aren’t you mad?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m mad,” she stopped walking, her voice low.
“I said no,” Mitch repeated, hoping it would help. “A racing driver is always up for competition but I wouldn’t have said yes in a million years. I know you can’t be won.”
“Bruno doesn’t though.”
“No,” Mitch agreed. “I think maybe Bruno spent all his money on karting instead of socialising. He doesn’t really know how to talk to girls.”
“I am the World Champion,” she mimicked Bruno, and smiled, despite herself. She looked up at Mitch. “I have to go,” she said. “Good luck for the race.”
“I’ll see you before then, won’t I?” he asked.
Melissa simply shrugged and continued on down the corridor.
Back at her hotel, she checked her emails and returned some calls.
“Hi Steve,” she said, cradling the phone under one ear while she tried to work the remote control.
“How’s our roving reporter? In a cheap hotel?”
“Something like that.”
“I’ll cut to the chase Mel,” Steve said, “I’m calling about the promotion again. Are you really, honestly, truly sure you don’t want to take it? It’s seems insane not to grab this opportunity. I know you’d get less chance to travel, but you’d pick up better stories, your name would be out there more, it’s a higher salary, there are loads of benefits. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to. It’ll open a lot of doors in your career.”
“I explained why, Steve,” she said. “I like travelling.”
“You also like being a writer, though, don’t you? Imagine having time to actually concentrate on the words, rather than churning out story after story, catching plane after plane. Imagine having a decent expense account, an office to yourself, more disposable income,” Steve sighed. “I know what you’ve said, Melissa, and I will respect your decision, but I just want what’s best for you. If you don’t take the job, we’re going to offer it to Pippa.”
Melissa balked at this a little. She knew Pippa wasn’t up to the job. “Can I think about it?” she asked.
“Not for long.”
In the morning, Melissa was readying to leave her room when someone knocked at the door. She checked the peephole, and opened it to find a porter holding out a piece of paper.
“Message for you,” he said, in a strong accent.
She thanked him, took the paper and read it.
Meet me at 10am. Exit hotel, turn right and right again. Third palm tree on the left.
Melissa frowned at the piece of paper. She assumed it was from Mitch, but if so, why was he being so mysterious? Perhaps it was someone who thought she wouldn’t come if they signed it. Maybe it was Bruno. Maybe it was someone with a story for her.
Although wary, Melissa felt excitement building as she left her hotel and took the first right. She found the correct street and counted the palm trees as she walked.
Who is waiting for Melissa?