Read Someone Else's Dream Online

Authors: Colin Griffiths

Someone Else's Dream

BOOK: Someone Else's Dream
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1. Carla Reid; Porthcawl, South Wales.

 

Carla sat in the office at Alton House in Pontybury, a popular town just outside the seaside resort of Porthcawl, in South Wales. She always enjoyed the journey when she came out this way, travelling through some of the picturesque Welsh villages was a treat; she never got fed up with the journey.
Pontbury
; being a popular shopping treat for her, with its unusual, quirky, shops and outdoor market along with plenty of places to dine. Unless of course, as on this particular occasion, it was a trip to Alton House, then her journey was usually full of nerves, where the surrounding would not be taken in. it would be just her and her jitters. Today was no exception; she couldn’t remember ever being this nervous, other than when she recalled her first visit to Alton House.

 

It was hot and stuffy in the office she sat in at Alton House. It was an office block she had been in before but it wasn’t always the same office she was shown to. She wondered if they were graded in some way; as in ‘success and failures’ or, ‘yes and no’. She soon took that ridiculous thought out of her mind. This particular office block had three floors; what they were all used for she didn’t know. Why they needed so much office space was beyond her. She first imagined it being just a small office, but this place appeared huge.

 

She wanted to open some windows to let some air in, but it wasn’t her office; she was just a visitor today and so, she was sat alone, waiting. It reminded her of the last time she had been here, full of anticipation and nerves; but this was worse, they were giving her time to dwell on it. She wondered, for a moment, whether she would ever get rid of these insecurities of hers. She knew it all stemmed from her childhood and she needed to learn to be less sensitive, but for Carla, that was easier said, than done. It could never completely go away.

 

The floor to ceiling windows looked out onto the popular High Street of Pontbury. It was full of quaint shops as well as the more well-known High Street shops. It was one of the few places that hadn’t been destroyed by the mega shopping chains that were usually based out of town. The town had kept its popularity with its quirkiness and fine brasseries. Carla sat in an office on the first floor, wishing she was actually sat in one of the cafes having a latte instead. She had, however, always thought this was a great place to just sit and people-watch, even though it got very hot when the sun was out. The windows replicated a greenhouse effect, when the sun was shining strongly. Every time she had visited the office, it had felt inviting and friendly; most of the people she had met were as well. She undid the top button of her blouse to try to let her body breathe; she was getting hotter and felling more and more uncomfortable. She pulled the black skirt she wore, up over her knees and shook her hem up and down to try and create some air, showing more of the black tights she wore underneath. Not very lady-like, she knew but there was no one to see her. She knew she could never do anything remotely like that in public and then a ridiculous thought came to her head.
What if they’ve got two way mirrors?
She checked the room, in a bit of a panic. She could feel her face redden through her own embarrassment. There were no mirrors, she was nervous, that’s all she was. She had matched her outfit with black shoes and a slightly lighter shade for the jacket. She had taken the jacket off and hung it on the stand in the office. She didn’t really know why she dressed business-like whenever she came here since her usual attire was jeans and blouse, as she didn’t like showing off any flesh. She would usually wear some type of flat shoe or sandal; after all it wasn’t as if she was attending a job interview, yet every time she came into this building, she felt like she was. She had waited over fifteen minutes and decided she had waited long enough, so she went over and opened the top window. She immediately felt the breeze hit her face and stood for a moment taking it in; the butterflies still in her stomach. The wait wasn’t good, it felt like they were trying to tell her something.

 

As she stood, she was watching the people walking past. It had turned into a drizzly day but it remained humid, and she noticed very few umbrellas. She was always looking for umbrellas, she hated umbrellas. She hated using them and other people using them. She regarded them as lethal weapons. The way people just flung them about in public annoyed her; the way they would walk past, almost taking her eye out, infuriated her. She was surprised there were not more accidents, with umbrellas, reported. She convinced herself there would be a department in the local hospital and clinics just for umbrella injuries. If it was up to Carla Reid she would have them banned. She knew why she really hated them; she just couldn’t bring herself to accept it.

 

As she was thinking about it and as if to prove her point, she watched a young girl almost get stabbed by one, from an old lady, as they passed in the street. She wondered how it had actually missed her and shivered, as a chill passed through her body, as if she had been momentarily possessed. She could tell the girl had shouted something but she could not hear the words. The old woman didn’t notice and just walked on with her weapon above her head, twirling it as if to make sure she didn’t miss the next person. It brought back memories Carla didn’t want to recall.

 

Ban them all, they should,
she told herself,
I think I’ll title my next novel;
‘The Killer Umbrella’
and she let out a giggle.

 

She watched a young mother telling off a little boy, whom she presumed to be her young son. He must have been about four and he was having none of it. She was pulling at his hand, but he just shouted and kicked at his mum. She wondered how parents could let their children behave like that; then she chastised herself for judging. She had no idea how parenthood went down.
The joys of motherhood,
Carla thought. Seeing other young mothers with children always made her think about her own childless life and at 32 she thought it might be getting too late. Her current partner Darren certainly wasn’t father material; she made a mental note of that.

 

Darren is not father material,

How many times have I said that?
She thought,

He’s all right in the sack though, sometimes?

Well, anyway, he’s certainly got a body to die for.

 

She turned from the window and wondered why she always had these conversations with herself. Her mind drifted to Charlotte, as it usually did; the girl that could get any man and anything that she wanted. Charlotte was the back-street girl, come good. She’d had five number one singles and three top ten albums; only to be knocked down again, but, somehow, Charlotte always seemed to manage to get right back up. She always had great sex, well almost always. She thought of Charlotte’s sex life and wished she could have a bit of it.

 

Just one night would be good. Do I really want a life like hers? She
thought for a moment.
Do I hell as like!

 

She thought of that night, in the hotel room, when Charlotte was being made love to, over and over again.

 

Wouldn’t mind a bit of that!
She tried to imagine her and Darren doing exactly the same things; but it just wasn’t happening. She knew it could never happen and her faced saddened when she thought about her inhibitions.

 

Charlotte wasn’t actually real, you know. She was Carla’s make-believe; a figment of her imagination. Charlotte, ‘the dream’, had made her quite a bit of money; not a best seller mind. It hadn’t put her up with the likes of ‘Stephen King’, but at one time her novel stood right next to his on the stand in Waterstones. She wasn’t in the top echelon, with the legacy authors, but the book
had
sold and charted well in the Romance/Erotica categories; (which actually annoyed Carla, as she didn’t write it as a Romance and it certainly wasn’t meant to be Erotica).

 

She wanted it to be classified as a thriller or at the very least a contemporary drama. There was no gratuitous sex in it, only what was necessary to the story-line she had created. She thought it was sensitively and intimately written. She knew, as she was writing it, that it was never a life she could lead, or perhaps even want to, but she knew, in some of the more intimate scenes, she had imagined herself playing those parts. The book was called ‘Charlotte’s Dream’, but she knew some of those dreams were her own. Some of the scenes she had written, in her mind’s eye, it was her playing the role. They were the scenes she thought were the most intimate and beautifully written. In some ways it was two books; ‘Charlotte’s Dream’ and Carla’s dreams.

 

The publishing company portrayed it as an erotic romance. She had no choice, if she wanted it to be ‘out there’ in the market. In their promotion they seemed to concentrate on the intimacy rather than the thrilling story she believed she had actually written.

 

She had hated the cover at the time, and insisted they harden it up a bit and not have it so explicit. Charlotte was a tough street girl, not some glamorous sex symbol.  They met her half way on that one, but that’s what they had turned her into; some sex-symbol. Still, she had made some money, gotten a small advance and still had a nice trickle of residual income coming in. She had ended the book leaving the readers’ yearning for a sequel; well she hoped she had. ‘Charlotte Fights Back’, she had called it; less sex, more drama.

 

She looked at the book shelves around the office, crammed with books and wondered if hers was in there, somewhere.

Probably not! Probably hasn’t made them enough money yet!

She wanted to search the shelves for her book and she would have, if Emily Bright had not walked in. Carla tried not to show the disappointment on her face when she opened the door. She was hoping it would have been Stephen Woodhouse; he was one of the senior partners and had shown a lot more empathy, in the past, than Emily. Emily had attitude and Carla did not care much for attitude, although she had plenty of it herself. Emily came into the office busily, wearing a similar blouse and a black over the knee skirt, as Carla; only there were no black tights covering her legs. Carla looked for varicose veins and was disappointed when she couldn’t see any; thankful that she, herself, had worn tights. Then she wondered idly, why on earth, Emily Bright would be looking at her legs for varicose veins.
It’s only me who does things like that!
All the same, Carla wished she had worn her jeans. Emily’s wide rimmed glasses gave her that business-type look. She smiled broadly as she shook Carla’s hand; Carla hoping she didn’t feel the perspiration on her hand, as she appeared to be perspiring all over.  Emily was carrying a black folder under her arm.

 

“Sit down Carla, please sit down,” she repeated; in a business-like manner. Emily sat down behind the desk and Carla sat in the chair meant for people just like her; wondering why there was a need to tell her twice. Budding authors were always at the peril, of people like Emily.

“I see you opened a window, jolly good; it gets awfully warm in here, catches the sun most of the day and sometimes it’s just too hot to work,” ranted Emily. Carla just gave a faint grin, thinking;
Get on with it!

 

“I see ‘Charlotte’s Dream’ has picked up a little in sales, despite most of the larger stores having it on order only now. EBook sales are going well and some of the reviews are simply fantastic.” Carla could see through Emily; she knew this was just a spiel. Yes she did have some fantastic reviews, but they only just outweighed the bad ones.

 

Emily’s voice showed no enthusiasm, just a low monotone of dreariness, a drone that made you want to leave the room. Carla wondered how many years it took to master that drone. For a moment it made her want to do just that! Leave the room! She wasn’t going to give her that satisfaction, though; leaving was definitely not on her agenda.

 

“That augurs well for ‘Fight Back’ then, doesn’t it?” Carla asked her; the anticipation showing on her face and the nervousness in her voice. She’d tried to sound confident, but it hadn’t worked, as her voice quavered. The palms of her hands were starting to sweat a lot more now; a sign she was as nervous as hell. Emily took her glasses off and held them in one hand then immediately put them on again. It annoyed Carla, but then, everything seemed to be annoying her today.

 

Why do people do that? It drives me crazy.

 

Emily noticed she looked vulnerable. She hadn’t been overly keen in publishing Carla’s first novel and had spoken against it at first; but it hadn’t worked out too bad, with its moderate success and certainly it wasn’t a loss-leader.

 

Carla sat crossed legged with her hands folded in her lap, her dark wavy hair hanging down the sides of her face. She not only looked vulnerable, at that time, she felt it.

 

“Not really,” answered Emily after some time, sitting back in her chair. Carla had been kind of expecting something like this. When she went to discuss her first book she had been immediately met by Stephen Woodhouse and his secretary at the entrance of the building. It was only after a deal had been struck did she have any dealings with Emily.

BOOK: Someone Else's Dream
10.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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