Chapter One: Nerissa

“Miss Reed, here are the documents you requested.”

“Thanks Kathryn.” I acknowledged as she put the stack down onto my desk.

“Oh and Austin wanted me to pass on that he’s nearly done with today’s letters, so he’ll bring them in to sign in about in about an hour.”

I let my eyes drift up to the clock. Sure I had a digital one flashing in the corner of the computer screen, but I barely looked at it. I much preferred the old fashioned ticking. It held a certain charm for me.

“Tell him that’s fine.” It was four o’clock now, but I didn’t mind staying a bit extra to sign off the letters. That way they could be posted first thing in the morning. Kathryn nodded and darted out of the room, leaving me and my delightful paperwork.

    Plucking them from the desk, I briefly flicked through the pages. Oh yes, these would make for quite the damning evidence in court. With this, I’d be guaranteed to win the case. A little thrill shot through me as I began to sort through the stack, sticking notes onto what needed photocopying. The court date was still a week or two away, so there was no major rush. Kathryn or Austin could copy the pages tomorrow. How I’d ended up with two assistants was a mystery to me, but the partners of the firm had insisted on it, citing that there would always be cover in case of holidays or sickness. Pretty much every solicitor in the firm had since grown to have at least two, though some of the company partners had three or four. I wouldn’t even know what work to give four of them, tow is definitely plenty. I shook my head. When I first started out, you were lucky to even have one assistant.

   Continuing to write notes and colour code the stack, I barely realised Austin had been knocking at my door. “Er Miss Reed? Sorry to interrupt but I have the letters here for you”

“Oh sorry Austin, is it that time already?” I glanced back up at the clock. I’d been so absorbed in my task that the hour had flown by. I reached out to take the neatly typed up letters when Kathryn suddenly appeared, sticking her head through the door.

“See you tomorrow Miss Reed.” She waved.

“Ah yes, see you tomorrow.” I called back as she disappeared. “Same to you Austin, these can go tomorrow. No need for you to hang about.”

He grinned. “Thanks Miss Reed, see you tomorrow.” He turned and darted out of my office, no doubt attempting to catch up with Kathryn.

   A sigh left my lips as I grasped a pen, signing each letter with a flourish. Being a criminal solicitor wasn’t as exciting as they made out in the movies and TV dramas. It was a lot of paperwork, organising, phone calls, meetings and occasionally sitting at the Crown Court waiting to see if months or even years of work had paid off. It may not be glamourous, but it was mine. I’d worked hard for this position and for good reason. Inadvertently, my fingers gently brushed over the right side of my face, before I realised and sharply pulled them away.

   I will not think about that. Hurriedly, I scribbled my signature across the last few letters and arranged them on the corner of the desk, ready to distribute in the morning. Quickly shutting the computer down, I walked over to the hook by the filing cabinet, unlatching my jacket and pulling it on. I picked up my bag and finally said goodbye, locking the door behind me. Some of the others were still working, so at least I didn’t have to lock up the whole building tonight.

   It was still light outside and the unmistakable warmth in the air, coupled with a delicate breeze cold only mean summer was well and truly on its way. Shrugging off my jacket due to the unexpectedly pleasant weather, I walked down the street. It was nice only living about twenty minutes away, the walk to and from work gave me time to gear up for the day or wind down for the evening.

    I wandered merrily down my usual route, glad to be out of the stuffy office for the day. It seemed the council were replacing the plants in the stone flower bed. It had been installed a few years back to try and brighten up the town but usually housed withered greenery and weeds during the winter. Admiring the vibrant colour of the new flowers they were planting, my mind drifted back to the pavilion and the overhanging petals swaying softly. That time always blossomed in my memory on days like this.

    Pulling myself away from the flower bed, my thoughts dragged Killian to the forefront of my musings and a heaviness settled in my heart. It had been years since I’d last spoken to him, different schools, different lives and distance had eventually taken their toll and we’d eventually lost touch. Though I still thought about him from time to time. I hope he’s doing ok. I’d heard bits and pieces down the grapevine over the years, mainly that he graduated East Glendale and had started up his own company. But it wasn’t the same as actually having the chance to catch up. And that was unlikely to happen.  

   Trying to move my focus to something less bittersweet and more productive, (like what I was going to eat tonight) I answered the call of the co-op on the corner. Grabbing a basket from the pile, I paced around the shop, picking up milk, bread, chocolate and a microwave meal. It was a sorry looking basket, but it would do for today. Standing in the queue, my eyes latched on to the various newspapers and magazines on the stand while I waited. A glossy blue cover stood out amongst the rest, with a bold in your face headline. Curious, I read what was so important. Entrepreneur Killian Li sets up new office in hometown.

    Before I knew what had happened, my fingers reached out grasping the magazine and throwing it in the basket. I paid for the items in a daze and rushed the last few blocks home, heels clacking loudly against the pavement in my eagerness to devour this sudden news. I unlocked the door in a hurry, dashing in and chucking the bag on the counter, hands digging through and heading straight for the magazine. Once in my clutches, I flicked rapidly through, trying to locate the article. There.

   I paused at a double page spread. There were photos of a fancy tall building that screamed expensive, along with a few shots of the main reception area and some of the offices. My heart rattled as another image greeted my sight. It was of a familiar man in a finely tailored suit, if the cut was anything to go by. He still had the same wavy brunette hair and barely there beard as seven years ago. His eyes were somehow more worldly, experienced. Gone were the innocent, bright ones of that day in the pavilion. Without a doubt, the gentleman in the picture was Killian Li and he looked good.

   Scanning over the article, it detailed Killian’s new building here in Osegate and that Killian himself would be moving to the new building, as “he yearned for the nostalgia and appeal of his home town and wanted to be closer to family.”

    The magazine made a slapping noise as I closed it. Killian was coming home, if he wasn’t back in town already. I’d resigned myself to never getting the chance to catch up, but if he was coming back, would he want to see me after all this time? My fingers brushed over the right side of my face again. Even if he did, what reasons could I give him for where I’d ended up? Certainly not the truth. Never that. I pondered for a while. Would it be weird to send a letter to his new office? I didn’t know any current mobile number or email for him and ringing his office didn’t sit well with me either. It was like I wasn’t giving him a choice but to talk to me. A letter was open, if he didn’t want to reply then he didn’t have to. It would be nice to see if he wants to talk.

    After a few more moments internally debating contacting Killian versus not contacting Killian and wondering whether he was somewhere thinking the same thing, I took the plunge and picked up a pen.

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