The beautiful photograph above serves as a photo prompt for Flash Fiction Chain #6 hosted by Jithin of Photrablogger. In this chain, many authors from around the world and from different time zones participate, writing consecutive parts in a beautifully orchestrated story telling.
The present chain chronicles a love tale.
I am writing the first part of the story.
The Wedding Bells
Characters in the story
Anna-a 32 year old publisher
Alex- a well established author
Jenny- Anna’s personal secretary
Anna walked briskly among the cubicles nodding her greetings to her coworkers. She could hear her desk phone ringing even as she swung open the door to her office and flicked the light on.
“Anna Brighton”, she said in a clipped accent.
She listened on, frowning and then relaxing a bit. “Fine, in that case I will get in touch with Alex and sign him on”. Next, Anna dialed a number from memory and tapped anxiously on the table, waiting for her call to be answered. The phone went unanswered and she slammed down the phone receiver.
“Bastard”, she muttered.
There was a tap on her door and her personal secretary, Jenny walked in. “Here is today’s mail and this bunch needs immediate attention.” Jenny placed two piles of mail on Anna’s table. She also slid that day’s newspapers across the huge mahogany desk.
Anna liked to peruse many newspapers and magazines to keep herself updated. As the founder-CEO of the publishing house, she had to be sharp and in tune with the market trends. This business was her baby and her passion. She had nurtured it and fought a competitive battle to bring it to this enviable position.
The day wore on; and it was a typical day for Anna. Strategy meetings, operational decisions and the day to day running of the company. Anna lunched alone, at her desk, one hand holding a sandwich and the other some business papers.
” Come in”, she intoned as there was a knock on the door but no one entered. Then the door opened noiselessly, and in strode a tall man with chiseled features.
“Alex”, she gasped, almost springing out of her chair. “Anna”, drawled the man. They stared at each other for a few moments before Anna broke the silence. “I called you this morning”.
“And that is the reason I am here”.
” Ah, I thought you did not want to talk”, said Anna with a suddenly dry throat.
“I could not take your call but I understood it had to do something with the contract I am going to sign with your company. So, I dropped in.”
“Yes, please take a seat”, said Anna recovering her composure. She asked Jenny to come in with the contract that had been made ready. Anna’s heart beat fast. Alex was one of the most sought after authors and his association with her publishing house would catapult her into the big names of the business. But that was not the only reason Anna was excited.
Anna’s association with Alex went back to her school days. They were together at school and even lived in the same neighbourhood. They had a common friend circle. Although they played together as children and went to the same church with their parents, they were not particularly close. But that changed when Anna entered her teens. Suddenly aware of her popularity amongst the opposite sex, she became attentive towards her more ardent admirers. And Alex was one of them.
The attraction was mutual and they were a couple when she graduated from school. Life soon took them their separate ways as they pursued further education. They had gotten over each other, she thought and maybe he felt the same, Anna rued but the attraction wasn’t completely dulled whenever she went visiting her parents and met him in their hometown. And now their paths had crossed once again with the future indicating more interaction and collaboration.
Alex finished signing the papers and walked out after shaking hands with Anna. That little touch alone made her nerves tingle. The unexpected encounter had left her emotionally unsure and on edge when the musical tones of her cell phone sounded.
“Dad”, Anna nearly shouted into the phone. “How are you?”, she asked joyfully. After a long and animated conversation with her father, Anna called in Jenny and announced, “I would be out for 3 days.”
“Three?”, Jenny was surprised.
” Yes, best friend’s wedding”, said Anna twirling her short black hair that framed her youthful face. “I am going to be away from my work after a long time”.
“No, this is the first time you are going to be away”, said Jenny firmly with a smile in her voice.
“Anyway, I am rather looking forward to it. Melissa is such a dear and she deserves all the happiness of this world. She is marrying her childhood sweetheart. The wedding is to be held in their private estate and I am sure to run into more of my friends”, said Anna dreamily.
“Ah, just a hitch! My mother goes crazy at the sound of wedding bells. She starts talking of when I am going to get married-as if I have the time!”, said Anna rolling her eyes.
“Well, have a great time”, said Jenny as Anna turned to go out of her office. “You might meet someone interesting”.
“Let’s see”, laughed Anna which was a rare sound.
Would Anna meet someone special? Would love blossom for her here at the office?
Read on. The next part is by Yinglan.