There was something utterly exhausting about Stella. It was difficult to put a finger on it, for there was no one specific thing. It was partly that she was just so loud – no, not her voice, but her way of dressing, with vastly too much make up and too much colour. Her clothes, from her exquisite little hats down to her fashionable flatties, were expensive and tasteful … yet too much of a good thing somehow. She bought her jewellry from a pricey little craft shop over in Limassol, or had it sent in from a source she discovered on-line in Sweden.
But it wasn’t just that either, the problem. It was also the way she leant forwards to you as she talked, a little too earnestly, somewhat in-your-face. It was her deep, husky voice, that apparently Quin, poor dead Quin, had found sexy. It was that she was tall – not excessively tall, at 5’9″ or so, but tall. Overbearing perhaps?
And yet … and yet … she was likeable enough. There was nothing specifically offensive about her. She clearly enjoyed a chat, was very chummy. Though that in itself was slightly odd, for she would sit and talk and giggle and then suddenly, with no reason, just leave. She would make a funny little twiddling motion with her fingers, not quite a wave, and go. Sometimes she would be gone for days on end, weeks even, yet appeared to have no other friends.
Extract from “The Man with Green Fingers”, by Catherine Broughton, a novel set in Cyprus:-
He was a tall man, not as tall as Quin. Tall men seemed to like tall girls. Whereas Quin was tall and gangly, a bit like a giraffe with out-of-kilter legs, Kirsty had once said – and that described him brilliantly – Greggo was tall and heavy. His stomach protruded noticeably over his trouser belt, and broad shoulders that had once been magnificent now sagged sweatily under his sporty short-sleeved shirt.
He hesitated, seeing Stella’s reticence. She saw him visibly flounder about for a different topic of conversation.
“Are you going to the Fisher’s party tonight?” he asked.
“No – I’ve got a busy week-end,” she replied shortly and tried to start moving away.
“My dear Stella! You always say something like that! And what is it you do on your busy week-ends?” he grinned sheepishly at her, as if inviting her to admit to having a secret lover.
“Oh – this and that …” she said airily.
“Kirsty tells me you don’t go away, for your car is still outside …” he began but, seeing that he was clearly irritating her he suddenly changed the grin on his face to an expression of serious thought. “Well, must be off,” he finished lamely.
“Cheerio …” he called out as he turned on his heel, raising his hand amiably, if awkwardly, in salute.
“Cheerio!” Stella replied.
She watched him till he reached the end of the street. His big body ambled casually enough along the street, side-stepping a child on a bike, and then disappeared in to the post office building. She realized he meant no harm, but he was stunningly thick-skinned. Why couldn’t he see that she did not fancy him – not a bit, not one iota ? Or was she misreading things ?
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. Her books are available on Amazon & Kindle, on turquoisemoon.co.uk as an e-book, or can be ordered from most leading book stores and libraries.
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