Afternoon Tea (Chapter One)

Written in response to: Write about a character who’s stuck in a shopping mall.... view prompt


Fiction Drama

Chapter One

Uncomfortable Conversations

Goldie reeled over amid the stacks of Christmas letters. She pressed a hand to her stomach, and used the other to steady herself against one of the shelves. The whole world swirled and the perspiration ran down her face.

Then she felt a kick.

It was very feeble, it really couldn’t have hurt but… there it was again. The unformed foot of her child speaking out its presence. She ran her hand up and down her flat stomach, searching for some kind of bump. She had noticed some differences. Loss of appetite, weak knees, sometimes throwing up in the morning.

The reality quickly crept up the back of her skull and into her mind. No, it couldn’t be, it just couldn’t. But she knew it was true. The Christmas decorations all came together to form nothing more than a colorful blur. Her ankles collapsed beneath her and she fell into a pile of letters, scattering them everywhere. 

Caspian, a fellow postman, probably having heard the thud, poked his head around the corner. He liked Goldie right from the moment he had awkwardly introduced himself months ago. Her liked her long blonde hair, always kept in a slick, high ponytail. He liked her warm smile, her gracefully movements and the way she dressed. But most of all, he loved the way she spoke to him. Not like a postman, but like a person. He had always been the annoying one at people’s doors, asking for signatures and surveys. He found Goldie wonderfully refreshing. She was that costumer who let him keep the change and tried to keep the conversation going.

 He darted forward like a lightning bolt when he saw her lying there, unconscious. He knelt down and scooped her into his arms. Feeling for a pulse in her wrist, he began to panic. It was so difficult to find, and started to press down all over her wrist rapidly. He put his head to her chest. Sure enough, there was a clear, steady beating. Caspian let out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding. And Goldie let out a groan.

She put her palm to her forehead weakly and looked around. The swirling dots all came together and she could just make out Caspian’s face looking down on her, full of anxiety. Then she remembered. She groaned again.

“What happened? Are you alright? Should I call a doctor?”

She only looked up at him dumbly. Then slowly murmured, like in a dream.

 “Thanks for catching me.” And she smiled blissfully.

  Caspian lived in a small damp room above the post office. He paid $50 rent for it every month, which was really more than it was worth. For one thing, the walls were so thin, they might as well have been made of a few layers of cardboard. The floor was wet and moldy from the last time it rained, and every corner had an alarmingly large spiders web. Here is where he led poor Goldie. She was fortunate enough to have visited on a dry evening. But, being early December, the air was so cold it was almost painful. He half carried her in she was so weak.

Inside, he could barely squeeze in a bed, a table, two stools and stacks of boxes.

“You’re like a little Christmas elf up here” Goldie commented as she looked around in wonder. “Taking in the kids Christmas letters and sending them off to goodness knows where.”

“Ah sure, a humble little elf I am” he smiled, offering her a wooden stool, and making his way over to a shelf, where he kept his kettle. As he flipped it on, Goldie quietly observed how it didn’t have a plug. She wanted to ask how he came to live here, did he have a family, does he ever get lonely. She found herself wanting to ask if he had a girlfriend, and she blushed furiously at that thought. Thankfully, Caspian began the conversation.

“You live far away?” he asked.

“Two doors down actually” she replied.

“That’s handy enough”

Secretly, Caspian wished he had the courage to ask her if she had a boyfriend living with her. Equally secretly, Goldie was wishing she had the courage to get up and politely make her way home. But she felt bad for leaving him here.

Caspian began awkwardly to rummage through his cardboard boxes, searching for something. Goldie glanced at the wall and saw a portrait of a man identical to Caspian, wearing an army uniform. His face was stern, and had no twinkle like the Caspian she knew. Beside it was another portrait, except there were two people. It was the same man standing beside a beautiful woman. Goldies heart beat a little faster. Perhaps the man really was Caspian, and he had a wife who lived here. Perhaps she would come home and find her husband alone with another woman! It seemed unlikely, besides, it was all completely innocent. But it made her feel very uneasy.

Caspian had found two cups from deep inside one box, to his relief. He had also found a tin of Hot Chocolate powder! What a bonus! He thought to himself, as he spooned in more than he should, into each cup. Chocolate is the key to a woman’s affection, isn’t it?

He spun around, a cup in each hand and a wide grin on his face.

“Hot chocolate?” he offered, extending a hand.

“Oh yes please!” Goldie exclaimed, taking the warm cup in her frozen hands.

She sipped on the thick, foamy liquid for a few moments before sighing audibly.

"I want to thank you for helping me out back there.” She blushed uncomfortably.

“No worries. I hope you’re feeling better. I-“ He paused. “I was worried.” He tried not to cringe.

Goldie considered for a brief moment to confess that she might be pregnant. But then she would have to explain her virginity to him, and that would just make things weird. But she felt so comfortable in his presence, it couldn't hurt to say something, could it?

 She was just opening her mouth to speak when the flimsy door swung open. The silhouette of an angry woman barred the way. Her stance said she meant business. Goldie's heart leapt in her throat. Her suspicions were correct! They must be! She had to get out of there.

 “Oh. Marceline! What a… pleasant surprise.” Caspian smiled nervously and spoke with a tremor.

Goldie noticed how he glanced anxiously from woman to woman.

“Mhm. Indeed. And we need to talk. Alone”

Goldie jumped up from her seat suddenly. She had enough drama for one day, she couldn’t deal with guilt.

 “Thank you very much, Caspian, for giving me a hand earlier, but I really must leave. Wont take advantage of your hospitality.”

 She gave Caspian an I’m so sorry, but thank you look, before walking briskly out into the hall. Caspian watched after her longingly, before the door was slammed, locking him into an uncomfortable conversation.

November 28, 2021 22:43

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Palak Shah
21:39 Dec 13, 2021

This was an amazing story and I loved reading it. Your writing style is great and I would love to read more stories from you. Well done :)) Could you please read my latest story if possible? :)) Thanks :))


11:50 Dec 14, 2021

Absolutely, I would love to! Thank you very much :)


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Matt P
18:08 Dec 03, 2021

This was very well done! Keep writing!


18:22 Dec 03, 2021

Thank you very much! I will be sure to


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Alice H
16:57 Nov 29, 2021

that is fantastic!! Absolutely amazing :D


17:21 Nov 29, 2021

Thank you! :)


Alice H
19:51 Dec 01, 2021



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