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“I might be a little late,” Beckett says as he buttons up his white shirt, his eyes are swollen from staying up late last night doing research on the company where he has an interview today. Though even with his eyes red and his beard not groomed he is looking incredibly handsome this morning.

“Maybe you could make up for it?” I slowly climb out of bed and make my way across the room to where Beck is trying to knot his tie, we look at each other longing for one another’s embrace.

“When we get back from Dr. Whitmann,” he kisses me quickly and I lean in for another, “I promise.” Beck pulls me in for a tight hug then grabs his coat. I don’t want him to leave, I want him to stay a little longer.

 Ever since we’ve been trying to start a family Beck has been working overtime and the only time we are together is on planned days when I’m ovulating. It’s been little over a year and we haven’t gotten anywhere, Beck suggested going for a check-up. We’re both afraid that one of us is the problem, especially Beck he always wanted kids. I just want him to be happy.

“Everything will be fine.” he says as he combs back his hair. “I probably just need to cut down on the beef.” He laughs as he says it and gives me a peck on the cheek before he leaves.

*

The subway is awfully quiet today usually the 08:00 train I take is packed but seems like most who took the train are either late or early. There’s only four other people on the train with me, a lady with her daughter, a young man in the corner with a purple beanie and an older man reading the newspaper. They all seem a bit confused as to why it is only us on the train, did we not get the memo that something was to happen today, maybe I am just being paranoid

I arrive at the office as Katerina my boss enters, she glares at me and nods her head. I greet her her and hand her, her coffee. She manages a smile and gestures for me to follow her into her office.

“Have you faxed the first draft of Kito’s cover page to head office?’

“Yes Katerina, they sent confirmation yesterday and they will review it by next week.” She nods as I continue to speak then holds up her hand for me to stop speaking.

“I am being promoted it will be announced tomorrow and in two weeks time I will be to L.A. I would like you to come with me, there will be a higher pay and housing allowance this would benefit both you and Beckett as I’ve heard that you two are welcoming a child.” not yet I wanted to say but I’m still baffled at her proposition. She tells me to think about it and tells me to fetch a package from a client.

As I keep walking in the most uncomfortable pair of yellow sneakers given to me by Katerina herself, I bump into a man with a khaki jean and a purple beanie. He apologizes and rushes to a bakery across the street. Beck used to bake whether it was cookies or coconut doughnuts he loved it. I loved it. Though as an accountant his work became more and more demanding but he still tries to bake on special occasion.

*

“I’m sorry Esmé I know you just left but Riley would like a physical copy of the book and she would like to consult the cover artist.” Katerina says as she works on as sketch.

“What time is she coming in?”

“She would like to meet at her café at eleven. I know we don’t normally do that but this cover seems to be really important to her.” I nod and she sees me off while handing me the grey and orange novel.

I look at it and admire the grey ridges on the side spelling out ‘Pink and White Notes by Riley Bane’. This was one of the few books I read with ease, finished it in two days and felt pain when it ended. I always read the manuscripts; we all do. How can you design the cover of a book, of someone’s work, their mind if you don’t know what it’s about? Most people judge what they are going to read based on the cover of a book, the cover attracts you to read the synopsis that may intrigue them further but the cover… it proves the saying, that goes around in the office, is that in the end we all judge a book by its cover.

*

The café had no special touch to it, it looked exactly like the rest of the coffee shops here in New York. I sit in one of the brown leather booths by the brick wall. A petite redheaded waitress comes around from behind the counter in a rather revealing black crop top. I used to wear crop tops but Beck’s parents kept looking at me like the tops made me undeserving of their son.

“Hi, can I get you anything?” she says surly.

“I’m here to meet with Riley Bane.” I say and she forces a smile.

“Esme’?” I nod “Miss Bane apologizes she quickly had to run out but will be back in a few minutes. Would you like anything while you wait?” Of course, she’ll be late, I need to be at the doctor in an hour and she is late. I sigh and take out my phone.

“Toffee latte and a red velvet cupcake.” I order and the aggravated waitress leaves. Beck is probably making his way to the interview or is already there. I’ll text him when I am sure that I’ll be late.

I page up and own Pinterest then put my phone away when my drink and cupcake arrive. As I eat the frosting, the man with the purple beanie who bumped into me this morning sits at a table across from me. Placing a white box probably containing a cake from the bakery he entered this morning. He looks up at me and I wave. He wavers but returns the greeting.

“Someone’s birthday?” I ask.

“A colleague’s” he manages a smile.

“What flavor is it?”

“Chocolate, I’m more of a carrot person though” I smile back at the mysterious man across from me.

“I’m a little tired of it myself. My husband used to bake these magnificent chocolate fudge cakes but unfortunately he made it at every event and later we both grew tired of chocolate.”

“You seem so young I haven’t even begun to think of beginning a family”

“I met him at university and two years after I proposed, I just couldn’t imagine waking up and not having him next to me.”

“That’s sweet” he shifts a little uncomfortably in the booth and takes a sip of his black coffee, “I wish you didn’t…” the clicking of heels walking towards us interrupts him.

“Esmé!” Riley exclaims as she gives me hug then sits across the booth from me.

“Of course not. How have you been?” I say a little anxiously and mouthing sorry to him as Riley calls for the waitress.

“Good! Tommy asked me to marry him and my book looks amazing!” she takes the cover from the table and smooths it over then puts it in her bag. “Your also married, right?”

“Yes, yes I am. I was under the impression that you disliked the design.”

“No dear, I just wanted to thank you in person and maybe ask what inspired you to do this design.”

“It’s when Deaton asks for Carlton, they… they were both confused about the feelings they had for Max. That confusion you wrote about, I wanted to portray it on the cover.” She smiles and I feel proud because that’s what she was looking for, confirmation that this embodies what her book is about.

“Everything’s on the house and I'm sorry for keeping you waiting.” Riley also stands up and gives me a peck on the cheek thanking me and I realize the young man has left.

*

“Your early!” I burst out as Beck walks toward me.

“The interview went well, I also stopped and picked up some of your favorites.” He hugs me and hands me a box of cream and coconut doughnuts.

“Have I ever told you how much I love you Mr Rutherford.” I hug him again as I take the box and kiss him.

“I love you more Mrs Rutherford.”

We enter the doctor’s offices and Beck goes to sit down while I go to confirm our appointment.

“Hi… you?” I say stunned at seeing the guy with the purple beanie. “Your Dr. Whitmann’s secretary, Jed?”

“Esmé I’m sorry, I have stalled as long as I could but you need to go and say goodbye to your husband. I have waited too long, director Grim will come himself in the next five minutes if I don’t do this now.” he says in such haste and worry

“What are… who’s...”

“You and the rest of the three people on this train are supposed to die today, I already visited the others. I left you for last it was supposed to happen at the café but… I could see how much you loved m… you loved Mr Rutherford.”

“Are you playing with me? Why am I supposed to believe this, what’s stopping me from calling security and having you removed?” I declare and realize my voice is low and I’m incredibly calm despite the confusion overtaking me.

“Esmé, I wish you weren’t taken so early from him, but it’s time and I’m giving you a chance to say goodbye.

“How am I going to die?” even if it’s not true what will I lose in playing this game with him.

“You won’t feel anything but please we don’t have time.” he says so sincerely, but I can't be dying. How would this even work.

"Tell Dr Whitmann we'll be seeking help from someone else and that you need to be tested.

"Beckett let's go, now!" I say practically running out of the building."

"Esmé, look at me. Esme! Esmé! Help, someone! I think she's having a seizure! Esm..."


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9 comments

Ndekwoh Ojen
21:17 Apr 18, 2020

Great story! Kept me glued to the 'sudden end'. Please there must be a continuation because the suspense is killing. I really want to know what happens to Esme. Please, just edit it and add the appropriate conclusion, please.🙏

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Jeanne Marceau
17:56 Apr 20, 2020

Thank you, I'm really going to try and conclude it properly. Came up with the concept late and didn't have time to write it as well as I'd like to but thank you!!!

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Ndekwoh Ojen
06:13 Apr 22, 2020

You're welcome. I'll appreciate if u can give a feedback to my story, The Unfriendly Friend. 😊

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Kira Kloehn
22:52 Apr 22, 2020

Great story! I really enjoyed it a lot. Well done!

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Jeanne Marceau
12:43 Apr 23, 2020

Thank you!!!

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Luke Stinnett
14:05 Apr 23, 2020

Great story. I think it was greatly detailed, and I was reading till the end, where I read it again in case I had missed something. There has to be a sequel, because I MUST know what happens next. Kept me reading and on the edge of my seat. Keep writing more stories. You could be a great writer!👍🏻😁😄😃🙂

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Jeanne Marceau
15:54 Apr 23, 2020

Wow thank you! I'll really try to continue the story.

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Kathleen March
16:29 May 29, 2020

Challenging read - sadness vs. future.. Do remember your vs you're. You're is the right form for "You are".

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Jeanne Marceau
07:44 May 31, 2020

Thank you, I've been working on it, really appreciate your feedback.

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