Trying

Can’t remember what happened last time? Read the first parts of the story here:

One: Parking in the Rain
Two: A Doorway
Three: The Party
Four: Here I Am, Here You Are

At the end of voting on Part 4, the winner was:
“The nice recluse scenario (63%)”

Part 5 – Trying

With his hands in his trouser pockets, Henry mooched down St Martins Lane. Well, so much for adventures he thought. Best to not even try.

But as he drew near to his car, he heard footsteps behind him.

“Hey!” he heard the girl call out.

He turned around and said, “Don’t they teach you manners? I have a name, you know.”

“So do I,” she said.

“Well, what do you want?”

“You didn’t donate anything. And, you stole my coat.”

Henry looked carefully at the girl again. She was standing in the drizzle with nothing on but her black dress, her skin glistening under the street lights. He realised that she was right; he was holding her coat and hat under his arm. He hadn’t even noticed.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, handing them to her and helping her on with her coat. “That was just… so stupid. I’m very sorry.”

“No sweat,” she said. “Literally.”

“Right, well.” They stood there awkwardly on the footpath. The moon glanced briefly from behind the clouds to look down at them and London felt awfully still.

“I’ve got to go,” Henry said, finally. “Hope the rest of your party goes well.”

Henry started to walk toward his car but stopped when he felt her hand on his sleeve. He turned back to look at her.

“You nearly did something crazy tonight,” she said. “Don’t let it be the last time.”

She buttoned up her coat and ran down the street, back toward the hotel, or the doorway, or a dry sandwich. Into the darkness and into nowhere.

As Henry approached his car, he wondered to himself, “who was she?” Perhaps he could find out by reading the society pages in the paper tomorrow. Did the paper still have society pages? He realised that he’d forgotten to ask her her name. He’d almost done something crazy, almost gone to a party with a strange girl, and instead he’d wound up holding her coat and not even finding out her name.

But his thoughts were disrupted by the sight of a soggy envelope on his windshield. After everything that had happened, he had forgotten to pay for parking.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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