Unrequited Love

You can find the story from the beginning here – Back at the White Hart

“A little bit to the right,” Noah said as Callum posed with a tray of coffee cups. “That’s perfect, thank you.” He quickly took the pictures then relaxed. “We’re done.”

Callum’s shoulders sagged. “That was harder work than I thought it would be,” he said, putting down the tray and jogging towards the back room. “I’ve got to go – the delivery will be here any minute.” He disappeared through the back room on the way to the warehouse.

“So now you know that the warehouse man is a werewolf,” Martin said.

Noah jumped. “I didn’t hear you,” he said, not quite meeting Martin’s eyes. “I felt a bit bad making him stand for the shot. It’s hard holding a position, but Callum was very patient.”

“Possibly more patient than your ex-girlfriend,” Martin said. “And you also know that I’m a vampire.”

“Yep,” Noah said. He slipped his camera into its case and pulled up the tripod. “Mrs Tuesday explained everything.” He forced a smile. “It’s okay.”

“I promise you that I won’t feed on you,” Martin said. “I’m not some ravening beast.”

Noah shrugged. “I’m adjusting,” he said. “But it’s…” He looked Martin in the eye. “You know something, it’s fun. It’s crazy. I have no idea what’s going to happen, and if it’ll be dangerous or even make sense. But it’s an adventure.”

Martin grinned. “You’ll be alright. And it’s not likely to be dangerous, apart from to your mental health. After all, you work with Mrs Tuesday.” He glanced over at the old boggart who was busy switching on the grills. “We’re almost ready to open up.”

“And I’ve got all I need to push the coffee evening that’s set up for tonight,” Noah said. “There’s been a lot of hits on the posts so it should be good.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Martin said. There was a banging on the door. “I’m sorry, we’re not yet open,” he called.

There was a pop and the door flew open. “Martin!” Miss Marianne cried as she ran into the shop. “How could you do this?” She brandished a rather tired bunch of pink roses.

“What?” Martin said.

Noah took a step back and looked across at Mrs Tuesday. She urgently beckoned him over and he took it as a sign to pick up his equipment and get out of the blast zone.

“I remember when you were Aelfhelm,” she said. “You always smiled at me, you always knew my name.”

Noah caught Martin’s helpless glance. “Miss Marianne was surprised to hear about your marriage,” he said, carefully stressing the name.

“You are a charming lady,” Martin said carefully. “But I never meant to mislead. My sincere apologies, but I am a married man.”

“He’s mine!” Lady Freydis snapped as she followed Miss Marianne through the door. “Go and find yourself a werewolf.”

Miss Marianne whirled around, flinging the hapless roses to one side. “Tramp! You’re whoring around on my love just as you did with poor, poor Ragnar. You’ve enchanted him!”

“Lady Freydis glared at Miss Marianne. “I’ve been faithful to Martin since Ragnar died, how dare you suggest otherwise! And at least I’ve never pined over someone who couldn’t remember my name. If I’ve stayed faithful, at least it’s with someone who shared my bed – and not just for sleeping if you know what I mean!”

“Martin, you can’t love this!” Miss Marianne called.

Martin backed away and bumped into the display of herbs. “I took an oath to be loyal to Lady Freydis of my own free will,” he said. “I didn’t think you’d notice.”

Mrs Tuesday leaned against the counter and narrowed her eyes. “We’ve got fifteen minutes before we’re due to open to the public and a coach tour with sixty passengers due in an hour,” she said to Noah. She looked around the crowded shop with all the breakable ornaments and overstuffed shelves. “We may have a problem.”

“How could I not notice my beloved?” Miss Marianne bellowed. “My twin flame!”

“Of course you believe that stuff,” Lady Freydis spat. “You didn’t even notice when he awoke. Get out of my shop.”

Noah slid his camera onto the safety of a shelf and, with all his courage, walked towards the two women. “Ladies,” he said. “I know that feelings are running high, but no well mannered and gentle lady would want to have this sort of discussion in a shop of all places. Especially as customers could be in here at any minute and they could be anybody.”

Lady Freydis looked at him sceptically but Miss Marianne bought into it. “I will not be a spectacle for tradesmen,” she said. “Martin, follow me!” She stalked out of the White Hart.

“Martin is not following you anywhere,” Lady Freydis snarled, following her out.

“I’d better switch on the coffee machine myself,” Mrs Tuesday said. “It looks like Lady Freydis is going to be a bit occupied.”

“I don’t remember even seeing that woman before,” Martin said, looking shocked.

“It’s elfen,” Mrs Tuesday said. “You know what they’re like. Which is the one that’s in love with the scrapyard again?” She grinned at the man who had just walked in. “That’s Jack,” she told Noah. “Don’t trust him an inch but enjoy the ride.”

“Why is Lady Freydis brawling in the car park?” Jack asked as he wandered towards the café area.

“Hell’s Teeth!” Martin said and sprinted out of the door.

“May I trouble you for a ginger tea?” Jack asked. “And perhaps one of your incomparable muffins? And please, if you love me, what the hell is going on?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.