Friday’s Child

Today we have Friday’s Child. Patrick’s story. Or Pi. Or Agent 3.14 as his brother and sister call him.

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Friday’s Child is a man obsessed…

MI-5 agent Patrick Page is on the trail of a drug smuggler. He doesn’t have time to revisit his past when he reconnects with the girl who got away–his girlfriend from college working at a library. He’s more than surprised to see sweet Elle singing on stage when he slips into a nightclub to gain intel on the club’s owner.  Why is she working two jobs? Why is she using an alias?  Is she somehow involved?  And is her involvement with his suspect merely a business relation or is there more to their partnership?

Elle has a secret she doesn’t want Patrick to know. His daughter.  She’d turned custody over to her parents, but now she wants to be a mother not just a sister. But her own mother can’t seem to let go neither has she forgiven Elle for her past.  So Elle works two jobs and supports them both. Her one light is her music. The career she abandoned, and her boss has promised to make her a star. But now with Patrick back in her life she’s questioning her choices. And is he interested in her, or does he have some hidden agenda? Does Patrick have a secret too?

 

Extract 1

He headed to the ‘in desk’ and stood in the queue. Glancing around, Patrick took in the huge windows, and walls lined with shelves of books. He hadn’t been in a library in years, but the smell never changed.

The queue moved forwards and he placed the books on the counter, giving the librarian his best smile. “Hi. I’m returning these for a friend.”

The librarian scanned them and nodded. “All done. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He paused, looking over the leaflets of things to do in the local area. He picked one up, taking his time over reading it, ignoring the queue behind him. Then he walked past the nondescript envelope on the edge of the desk and pocketed it in one swift action along with the leaflet, then stopped.

“Could you point me in the direction of the religious section, please?” While here, he might as well see if they had that book Liam recommended. Shay wouldn’t begrudge him a few minutes. After all, he’d done her a favor.

She nodded. “Around that way, then to the right.”

He smiled. “Thank you.” He headed off in the direction she pointed. Liam had raved about this book for the past month. Either he found a copy here or he borrowed Liam’s one. H….h…there… He ran his fingers along the books until he found the one he wanted. He pulled it off the shelf and turned around.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” He looked at the woman he’d walked into and stopped short. Elle?

If it wasn’t her, it was someone who looked just like her and was just as beautiful as she had been when he last saw her—even though the tweed suit she wore gave her a dowdy appearance with its long skirt and boxy style. With her brown hair pulled back into a severe bun and glasses perched on her nose, she was the epitome of a stereotypical librarian.

Warmth flooded him and a hard bolt traveled through his stomach leaving it in knots. He forced his voice to work past the huge lump in his throat, and held out a hand to her. “Elle? Eleanor Harrison?”

Her brown eyes widened with shock and recognition. “Patrick.” Her fingers whitened against the pile of books in her hand, and she made no attempt to take his hand in return. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m borrowing a book.” He dropped his hand and smiled, ignoring the shaft of disappointment. “What did you expect in a library?”

“No, I mean, here in Headley Cross.”

“I live and work here. Always have.” His phone beeped. “Excuse me. I should get this.” He pulled the handset out of his pocket and checked the screen. Bother. Just when I could do with a few minutes. “I have to go. Can we meet up for coffee or something? Catch up on the past few years?”

Elle shook her head, backing away. “It’s best to just leave the past alone. Bye.” She hurried off.

Patrick stood still, the book loose in his hand. He and Elle had been at university at the same time. Two years above her, he’d been post grad and assigned as her mentor, but they had been inseparable none the less.

Until she’d vanished into thin air partway through the spring semester. He hadn’t seen or heard from her since. Perhaps he had hurt her after all, though she had seemed pretty happy about their relationship, from what he remembered.

Shaking his head, he went to the desk and checked out the book. He glanced casually over his shoulder, always on alert, and saw her watching him.

Maybe he should go back over and speak to her. The more he thought about it, the more he was convinced he should. He might never have this chance again. He took a step towards her. A hand on his arm stopped him mid stride. He glanced around to see Shay. “What is it?”

“Sorry to bother you, sweetheart.” She leaned into him, her hand squeezing him in an intimate gesture. Her voice was husky and low in his ear, as she played her part to perfection as always. “We’ve got to go. Suspect is on the move and we need to tail him. Did you get the intel?”

He nodded, pushing all thoughts of Elle from his mind. “I’ll drive.”

 

Extract 2

Eleanor watched as Patrick and the woman left. He’d filled out a little in the past few years, his shoulders were broader, his dark hair flecked with grey over his temples. She couldn’t help but notice the snug fit of his shirt, how the cotton caressed his chest, and the way his long dark overcoat swirled around him. A shock of heat had flooded her traitorous body at their unexpected meeting.

He was the only person to have called her Elle. His Irish brogue was as strong as it had ever been and still thrilled her.

She clutched the books tighter in shaking arms, her breath fluttering and heart pounding.

This wouldn’t do. She walked past the window, and glanced through the rain, in time to see Patrick climb into a smart black car. He smiled and joked with the woman accompanying him and her heart sank. Just as well she was steering clear of men. Apparently, the only one she’d ever been interested in was taken.

“So, who’s the hunk?” Tina’s sudden voice made her jump. “He seemed quite taken with you.”

“Just an old friend,” Eleanor whispered.

Tina’s brows furrowed in thought. “Are you all right? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Eleanor sucked in a deep breath. For all intents and purposes she had. Patrick Page was from the past, her dark past, and that was where he had to stay. What occurred between them should never have happened and she was still living with the choices, consequences, and responsibilities of her actions.

She looked up from the books in her arms. “I’m fine. He’s just the last person I expected to see here.”

“When you say old friend, do you mean friend or boyfriend?”

The sixty-four thousand dollar question. “Yes, I dated him—for a while. Then I left university and never saw him again.” And tried not to think about him. Not that it worked. She managed a smile. “But that was almost fourteen years ago.”

Tina tilted her head and looked long and hard at her. “Is he the reason you swore off dating?”

Eleanor’s cheeks burned as Tina hit the nail on the head. “One of the reasons, yeah. Granted there have been very few men in my life since, and those I was interested in wouldn’t look at me twice. Sometimes I think I should be living in a convent.”

Tina laughed softly. “First you’d have to become Catholic.”

But they wouldn’t want me either. What I did was unforgivable. Nothing will give me atonement for my sins. No matter how much I wish something could. The Ten Commandments weren’t made to be broken, and even though her mother told her many times, “Break one and you break them all,” she’d probably broken half. But two things haunted her day and night, things so terrible she’d rather forget them, but knew she never could.

 

Extract 3

Cool fingers touched his as she took the glass. Her eyes sparkled in the lighting, but there was something else there that he didn’t remember and recognized only too well. Sadness, something almost haunted. What had happened to cause the joy to go out of her? And how could she sing so well without it?

Patrick cradled his drink and sipped it, looking at Elle. Up close that dress was well—too revealing. Lord, please, a little assistance here. I need to focus on my job right now, not on my past.

“So what’s a beautiful girl like you doing in a place like this, Elle?” He cringed as the cliché was out before he’d realized.

Elle took a long drink. “It’s Eleanor, not Elle—”

“You’ll always only be Elle to me,” he said. “Although I should probably call you Lisa tonight if you’re working.”

She nodded slightly. “Lisa would be better here. And I’m not that beautiful, although you always did know how to flatter a woman.” She managed a faint smile. “The lighting and the amount of make-up I’m wearing make me look years younger. What are you doing here?” The words tumbled from her and she glanced nervously over her shoulder. “Are you following me?”

“No, I’m just checking the place out. My brother’s been raving about this soul singer I should hear. I never dreamed it would be you.” He automatically followed her gaze. A tall, blue suited man stood just off stage, his eyes firmly fixed on the two of them. Patrick’s senses went on full alert. “I thought you worked in the library. I assume you’re not moonlighting?”

She shook her head. “No. I hold down two jobs. Neither seems to interfere with the other right now.”

Patrick tilted his head a little. It wasn’t his place to interrogate her, not here and not now, but he couldn’t stop himself. “Two jobs?”

Elle nodded. “Times are hard and singing isn’t what my mother calls a “proper job”. She keeps on at me to quit, but with Dad gone, I need to bring in as much money as I can.”

His hand closed over hers. “I’m sorry. When did he die?”

“He was shot in a hunting accident three years ago. He died instantly. So it’s just me, Abbie and Mum now.”

“Abbie?”

She stiffened, catching her breath. A light flickered in her eyes for a brief moment before it was extinguished. “What is it with all the questions? Are you some kind of cop?”

“Sorry. I ask a lot of questions at work so it’s a force of habit.”

“Are you a cop?” she repeated. Again the nervous glance over her shoulder.

Mr. Blue Suit had moved closer. He looked familiar, but Patrick couldn’t place him. He looked back at Elle. “It’s not just cops that ask a lot of questions at work,” he hedged. “Psychiatrists do. Private investigators do. The bouncer on the door did as well. Besides, it’s been almost fourteen years since I’ve seen you. That’s a lot of catching up to do.”

“Yeah.”

He smiled and winked, going back to his previous question. “So who’s Abbie? Hamster, goldfish, tortoise, that dog you always said you wanted…” He hoped his teasing would put her at ease, but she stiffened even further.

“Abbie is my sister. She’s thirteen and very precocious with it.”

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Author’s note:

This one needed a hymn so I wrote one.

I take my refuge in the shadow of my God
Based on Psalm 91
Tune: Londonderry Air 12.10.12.10

1
I take my refuge in the shadow of my God
Under His wings, I have no need to fear.
Though terrors of the night surround me in the dark
And arrows fly, and men around me fall.
He sends an angel to protect the ones He loves
The darkness flees, it has nowhere to hide
The Lord Himself is standing right beside me
And with all of those who call upon His name.

2
The Lord will save you from infection and the snare
His faithfulness will be your shield and tower
And when you make the Lord Your God your dwelling place
The wicked fall, but you alone will stand
He sends an angel to protect the ones He loves
The darkness flees, it has nowhere to hide
The Lord Himself is standing right beside me
And with all of those who call upon His name.

3
“Because he loves me, therefore I will save him
He calls on me and I will answer him.
I will be one with him in all his troubles
Deliver him, and show him salvation.”
He sends an angel to protect the ones He loves
The darkness flees, it has nowhere to hide
The Lord Himself is standing right beside me
And with all of those who call upon His name.
(c) Clare Revell 2012

 

 

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