Charlotte’s Message

“Not everything is what it seems. Get answers before reacting!”

I wrote this story for the following prompts.
Sadje’s What Do You See – Image credit; Tylor Heery Unsplash
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Heart – Blood – System
Ragtag Daily prompt – Flake
Word of the Day Challenge – Intentional
Fandango’s One Word Challenge — Calm

Charlotte’s Message

Rick saw it on Charlotte’s sixties table. She never used the pink phone as it wouldn’t connect to the grid anymore. The old yellow tuille skirt and even the picture saying ‘Leave us a message’ were memories from her grandmother’s life as a hotelier decades ago. Rick loved how old Temperance had shaped Charlotte in the way she made the bed with perfect corners while keeping the apartment so beautifully, He adored how she dressed with a little sixties glamour too.

It was there in the light of the chintz lamp. ‘To, Rick.’

A breath caught in his throat as he took the note and opened it,


I saw you with Hilary. It’s clear you love her. I’ll be at my mum’s and will come and collect my stuff another time. Enjoy Hilary and your life.


Rick felt as if he’d been poisoned. His system ice cold and his stomach revolted. Noticing blotches on the paper, he knew charlotte had been crying as she wrote. Hot tears burned his eyes as he reread the note.

“No, damn it!” he yelled at the empty bedroom room. The reverberating echo stabbed at his brain. His heart pounded ice crystals through his blood with the horror of it all.  

‘Charlotte must have come to the café just as Hilary … Shit!’ Rick spun around holding his head stressfully and trudged out of the room.

Picking up his phone he found her number through shaking fingers and made to call her. ‘No point, she won’t answer,’ he sighed and pocketed the device.

What to do? How to reach Charlotte so he could explain?

There seemed to be no option. Then as he imagined a life without the lady he adored, he knew what to do.

Going back to the bedroom, he went to Charlotte’s nightstand and retrieved a green velvet jewellery box. The contents had caused her immense anguish when she’d broken it not too long ago. Now it would hopefully mend everything.

Rick owned a Skoda Octavia in grey. He drove to a reputable jeweller within a nearby strip mall. He was forced to wait an agonising hour as the lady wielded her repairing magic. Then with the precious cargo in his pocket, he aimed for Charlotte’s mother’s address.

The azaleas were a vibrant show of hot pink when he pulled up outside the small council house.

Even as he walked up the garden path, he felt heavy guilt crushing him. Reaching the white double-glazed front door, he saw her through the lounge window. He smiled as he took in her cute white rockabilly dress with its pinched waist and polished look.

Charlotte was in the conservatory beyond the open lounge and dining space. She was staring at nothing in the garden, a sandwich and orange juice forgotten on the table next to her.

“Okay, you screwed up everything without trying. Now fix it!” he urged himself as he rang the doorbell.

An older woman answered and glowered at him, “Rick, you have no business here anymore. Please go a—”

“Hello, Julie,” Rick fixed her with his watery eyes. “I’m sorry but I can’t go. The lady I love is in there and I need to speak with her.”

“She doesn’t want to see you.” Julie made to close the door.

“I don’t doubt that. But I —”

Just go!”

“It’s okay, Mum.” Charlotte appeared in the doorway. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying. She held a forlorn figure beneath her russet-blonde hair. “You’ve seen me. Now you can go,” she said as Julie stepped away.

Rick took a deep breath to calm himself and shook his head. “There are two of your favourite chocolate croissants waiting for you at home.”

“I don’t want them — please go.”

“Why did you come to the café this morning?” Rick questioned not knowing where to begin.

“So, this is my fault now!” Charlotte bristled.

“No, no. I —I just thought you were making coffee while I got breakfast is all.”

“Our milk was sour. I decided to run and get some as you hadn’t taken your phone with you. I was going to surprise you and I saw …” Charlotte stopped through brimming tears.

“I need a lanyard for that wayward phone of mine!” Rick smiled for a moment.

“You really do!” Charlotte agreed.

“You saw Hilary kiss me, didn’t you?”

She nodded while holding a shaking hand over her eyes.

“Sometimes a reward is a kick in the nuts!” Rick groaned.

“What! I bet you’ve been snogging her every morning you’ve gone for breakfast. I bet if Hilary didn’t serve at the café you’d never go!”

“No, Charlotte. I don’t love Hilary. I love you and I’m about to lose you. If that happens I lose my life!”

Charlotte shrugged, “You kissed her!”

“I walked into the cafe as a man grabbed Hilary, He forced her to open her till. I sent him packing and she kissed me to say thanks. There was nothing intentional on my part, she was just rewarding me. Hell, she’s a terrible kisser too!”

“You still kissed her, Rick!”

“She’s just a friend, I swear.”

“A friend with benefits?” Charlotte said pointedly.


“How can I trust that you don’t love her?”

“Because if I did, would I have come to see you? Would I have this if I didn’t love you?” Rick took out the green jewellery box and held it before him.

“Why do you have that? You don’t even like it.” Charlotte’s eyes betrayed the guilt she had at breaking the contents.

“Take it,” Rick offered it to her and felt a pang of hope as she accepted it, “This bracelet was your grandmother’s and it’s precious to you. That makes it special to me too. As precious as you are to me.”

Charlotte opened the box revealing a silver bracelet adorned with large onyx teardrops set with single tiny diamonds. A sixties throwback but still stylish. She took it from the green cushion and revealed the three silver rings that made the clasp were intact. “Oh, I don’t believe it! It’s not broken anymore.”

“I promised to have it fixed and so I did.”

“Must have cost you a lot of money.”

“Every penny and pound was well worth it.” Rick connected his eyes with hers, “Even if it’s the last thing I can do for you, I’m glad I had the bracelet repaired. It’s a part of what makes you special and it needed to be whole again.”

“Thank you, Rick.”

“You’re eternally welcome. Now the only thing that’s broken is me-ahh—!” he yelped as something smashed across the street. Looking he grimaced at a lady dripping with white liquid at her front door. “—and several pints of milk!”

“No kidding!” Charlotte gave him a saddened look masked with a tiny grin.

“Well, goodbye, Charlotte. I’ll miss you.” Rick turned and walked back through the azaleas.

“Rick.” Charlotte dropped down the front step and approached him. Now wearing the bracelet.

“Yes,” he answered without turning. He crossed the footpath and opened his car door.

“Where are you going?”

“Why does it matter?” Rick slipped behind the wheel and tried to close the door.

“Tell me?” she said blocking the door with a hip.

“I might just drive about and see if I can find a way forward without you. I’ll probably go sit on the beach for a few hours.”

“Sounds nice,” Charlotte smoothed his hair with a gentle hand. “Is that really all that happened this morning?”

“I swear. You can go and ask Hilary yourself.”

“Okay,” Charlotte stepped back and sighed, “I saw a man in a blue hoody run down the road from the Café. I think I believe you.”

“You do?”

She nodded half-smiling.

“So, what? What happens now?” Rick asked, his mouth going desert dry as his heart hammered a hole in his chest.

“Well, I’d like to go to the beach with you.”

“I’d like that too. We can have ice cream.”

“With a flake?” Charlotte looked hopeful.

“We’ll get a box of flakes if you’d like. We can sit and talk about trust and me being an idiot too!”

“Ha! You didn’t stalk out – I did!” Charlotte looked guilty again. “I should have talked with you first.”

“No, not your fault. You, saw me in a lip-lock what else were you to think?” Rick said full of forgiveness.

“I’m still sorry.”

“Let’s promise to always be honest and to chat about everything going forward hey?”

“Deal.” Charlotte reached into the car and pecked him on the cheek.

Rick patted his passenger’s seat. “Come on, let me spoil you rotten at the beach.”

Charlotte grinned. “Don’t let me stop you from doing that,” she remarked before dashing inside to get her bag. The future may be uncertain in these situations but if you give things a chance. There’s always hope of a happy ending.

The End

Don’t forget Holly Ward investigates, Stolen Treasures is out on Amazon now!

A recent bank robbery. A saddened man. A coded message. Can they all be connected?
Young Sleuth Holly Ward is determined to help the man. It’s not long before she too comes under assault from a group of dangerous individuals. In the face of intimidation, abduction and even murder can Holly solve the clues and catch the criminals before she becomes the next Stolen Treasure?

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

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