2 – Chris

Licking the last bits of the cream from her fingers, Chris savoured the guilty pleasure. It was her one downfall, it was all the bakery next doors fault … if she didn’t have to go there to get coffee she wouldn’t have seen the irresistable cream, strawberry jam and sponge cake, all neatly wrapped up and just begging to be eaten. She smiled to herself and leaned back slightly in her chair. Dark hazel eyes looked out the plate glass window that overlooked the busy street. The late afternoon sunshine streaming in, warming her back was just heaven. She closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair, twisting in the swivel seat so that the motion rocked her. Holidays were coming up, she couldn’t wait. A two week cruise around the Fijian Islands. Nothing to bother her but sun and long white sandy beaches – and the duty free shopping of course.

Licking the cream from her fingers, Chris sighed in bliss and rubbed a hand almost protectively over her stomach. She felt so full, but it had been worth it. One wouldn’t mean she couldn’t fit into that bikini – would it? For a moment her face frowned and she glared at the paper bag poking over the side of the bin under her desk. “Oooh.” She said surprised as her phone began buzzing, Katelyn on the front desk knew she was supposed to hold all calls, at least for another ten minutes, so she stared at the flashing red light for a second before picking up the receiver. “Good afternoon, this is Christine.” She said in a fake happy voice.

“Christine Wright?” The female voiced asked, sounding a bit flustered. “This is Moreton Bay Hospital here, I’m calling on behalf of your sister Samantha Collins, we have you listed on her file as the point of call.”

Chris’s feet hit the floor, her eyes wide as she leaned forwards in her seat, elbows resting on the table. “Yes?” She replied anxiously. Sam? A vision of the last time she had seen her sister, as she tried vainly to remember when it had been? The break-up? Christmas? Their parents funeral the year before?

“Ms Wright, I’m afraid your sister has been in an accident, could you come down here please, the … Doctor would like to speak with you.”

“Yes, I … Of course.” Chris replaced the reciever after getting the address of the hospital and rose, feeling shaky as she grabbed her coat of the back of her chair. She checked her pockets automatically, purse, mobile phone, car keys. Approaching the door to the main office, Katelyn gave her an apologetic look. “My sister.” Chris found herself speaking mechanically. “She’s been in an accident, could you um … cancel the rest of the afternoon?”

“Of course.” Katelyn smiled at her.

“Everything alright?” Keith Durran approached from the doorway of his main office.

“My sister’s been taken to Moreton Bay, a um, accident. The doctor would like to speak to me, apparently.” Chris forced a smile, fumbling the car keys in her hand.

“I’ll drive you.” Keith handed Katelyn the report he held and swept the keys from Christine’s hand in one smooth motion.

“You don’t have to.” Christine tried to protest but, she didnt know why she felt so shaken, she had a bad feeling. A horrible feeling of coldness washed over her. Sam. When WAS the last time she had seen or spoken to her sister? She had hardly seen her since the breakup with Brad. Oh boy, that had been six months ago? No, more. It had to be longer than that, it was just after Sam had found out she was expecting. They had argued, Chris had said Sam was throwing her life away. Two kids, so close together? She couldn’t imagine having one, let alone two. She shuddered as she slipped into the car. It felt odd being in the passenger seat of her own vehicle, and she gave Keith a brave smile.

“Seriously, you don’t have to.”

“I know.” Keith said firmly, glancing over his shoulder as he pulled out of the tiny parking space in the shopping centre car park and out on to the main road. Chris leaned forwards in her seat, listening to the radio, it was playing one of her favourite songs from the 90’s and she hummed along, tapping her painted fingernails on her knees. “How much did they cost?” He asked, glancing at them.

Chris shrugged, looking at her nails as if seeing them for the first time. She hadn’t really thought about it. They were a gorgeous hot pink base coat with black diagonal stripes and tiny diamante. “I … Don’t know.” She said at last. “$160 I think, why?”

Keith laughed and shook his head. “Dang, and how long will they last?”

“Not long, they’ll need topping in next week.” Chris smiled at him, wondering if perhaps he knew she found him attractive. And he wasn’t bad for a boss – or an “older” guy. Approaching 40 now, his dark hair had tinges of silver around his temples and there were a few lines around his eyes. But if anything that only added to his charm. And he was charming. Pity he was married.  Her mind flashed back to the Christmas party the year before, and she wondered – not for the first time if he had deliberately placed himself under the mistletoe near the entrance. Even if it had just been a peck on the cheek.

She watched the traffic flow, it didn’t really seem to take long to travel to the hospital, the new Citylink seemed to have sped things up. Keith dropped her off at the front entrance and went to park the car, he would catch up with her inside. The hospital was huge, she felt strange, childlike and felt glad that she wasn’t alone. She made her way to the coffee shop and bought two takeaway coffees, remembering that Keith liked his sweet, she grabbed a few extra packets of sugar on the way out.

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