Chapter Two: Killian

I liked Greta Gulack for two reasons. The first, she did her work quickly and effectively. The second, she didn’t fawn over me, flirt with me or make any advances like assistants I’d had in the past. So when she came into my office with a puzzled look, clutching something in her perfectly manicured grip, I was definitely intrigued. Greta Gulack was never puzzled. Cool, calm and efficient. They were the three words that sprang to mind when thinking of my assistant.

“Can I help Ms Gulack?” I paused in arranging the financial spreadsheets the accounting department had just sent up.

“I’m not sure Sir.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, brow furrowed.

“Well,” she began hesitantly, “this arrived in the mail today. Usually it wouldn’t make it up this far but…”

“But?” I prompted, certainly concerned by Greta’s unusual demeanour. What was so important about a letter? We got fifty million of the damn things every day for all the various departments. Why should this one be any different?

“It’s hand written Sir. The post room staff have opened it up as per protocol, but stopped reading after the first few lines and replaced it in the envelope.”

“Why? It doesn’t contain poison or anything does it?” It was a very real concern of mine; other companies weren’t beyond a little business sabotage to make sure they stayed ahead of the game. My fairly new and radically rising company was no doubt already perceived to be a threat.

“No Sir. It appears to be er…highly personal.”

      Greta didn’t elaborate any further and placed the envelope on my desk by the spreadsheets.

“The staff placed it back out of respect for whoever penned it. And for you of course Sir.” My eyes wandered over the neat script written elegantly on the envelope. The postage mark stated it had come from here in Osegate. Local then. Who here would be writing me a letter? Correction, who here would be writing me an apparently highly personal letter? I cleared my throat. “Well thank you Ms Gulack. I’ll take a look at it in a moment.”

She nodded her intricately styled blonde head and stepped out of the office.

    I picked up a spreadsheet again, resigning myself to going back through the accounts for our current project. My gaze stayed on the numbers for all of three seconds before wandering over to the letter. It was a plain white envelope, nothing special. A heavy sigh left me. I wasn’t going to get any work done until I glanced at the letter was I? Dropping the papers I was holding, my fingers reached out to curl around the envelope.

     There was a line cut through the top where the post room staff had sliced the envelope with a letter opener. I gently pried it open and pulled out a folded sheet of notepaper. I could see the indentation and dark shadow from the ink and words immediately, which already had me fascinated. Sure, Greta had said it was hand written, but I’d only half believed her, thinking it had to have been typed up and signed. No one wrote good old fashioned ink smeared letters anymore and certainly not to me at my new building.  

    Carefully, I flipped open the notepaper and curiously scanned the contents.

Dear Killian,

It was a surprise to learn that you were returning to Osegate, but most assuredly, not an unwelcome one.

I understand you are probably very busy, though if this letter does reach you, I hope you would consider getting in touch with an old friend. I still think of you fondly and dare hope that maybe the memories you hold of me are just as fond.

If you would like to get in touch, I have listed my mobile and email address as no doubt this would be much easier than sending a responding letter.

I hope we can catch up, but understand if there is no place for me in the life you’ve built.

Yours

Nissa

   I traced the name over and over with my gaze. Nis. Over the years it had become hard to stay in contact with each other, eventually resulting in losing touch altogether. Did this mean she was still here? That was something I hadn’t considered and my heart gave a little jump at the thought. I’d thought she would have moved to somewhere more scenic where she could pain landscapes or something. The Nerissa Reed I had known would have suited a place where she could be surrounded by nature. Before I left for East Glendale, she had looked radiant in the pavilion that summer afternoon.

    Her letter was very considerate, no expectation of a reply. She was always selfless, never letting her desires obstruct another’s happiness. Just like that day in the pavilion. I read the letter again. And again. What would Nissa be like now and why on earth would she think I wouldn’t want to see her?

   I placed the letter back in the envelope and put it in my pocket. A walk around the block would help clear my head. Springing to my feet, I called to Ms Gulack I was stepping out for a few minutes. She nodded. The impassive face was back. That’s more like her. I took the elevator down to the reception and strolled out into the late afternoon sun.

    Nissa was still here and she wanted to see me. I couldn’t deny that I wanted to see her too, but niggling fears crept into the back of my mind. Would it be awkward? I hoped not. For far too long had she crossed my thoughts. Mainly wondering how she was and what she was up to. Here was the opportunity to get the answers to those questions and actually see for myself. My fingers brushed over the pocket enclosing the letter. She had been right of course, I still thought of her fondly. It was nice to hear I’d crossed her mind quite a bit over the years too.

    Maybe if this meeting went well, I could find out why she never did come to that farewell party my parents threw when I left. I’d asked her before when we still kept in sporadic contact, but she’d always given vague answers, citing an emergency and leaving it at that. In the end, I’d respected the reason and stopped pushing, but those responses never did sit well with me, even now. It had been the first and only time Nissa had been evasive with me and dare I say it, scared. We used to tell each other everything. I knew it was stupid to be this hung up on someone’s absence from a party that took place seven years ago, but the mention of it and her strange behaviour surrounding that night was so out of character for her. Perhaps our reconciliation would finally mean putting that ghost to rest, but I needed to take it one step at a time.

    I found a bench during my walk and took the chance to perch there for a few moments, pulling out the letter again. My hand grasped around the smooth plastic and metal of my mobile, dragging it out of my other pocket. I checked the number she’d written and made sure I typed it exactly into my phone.

   Hi Nissa, I would like nothing more than to catch up with you. How about Friday evening? You pick the place and time. Killian.

    Reading it through to make sure the text was satisfactory and wasn’t going to scare her off, (the irony of her doing the same thing writing the letter to me caused a smile to emerge on my lips), my thumb hesitated over the send icon for a second, before slamming down on it.

   I could hardly wait until Friday.

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