First, the important bits. I have to say a huge thank you to the best editor in the world. Thanks Randi, not only for the editing skills, but also the advice and encouragement.
“Mum, I’ve had enough, okay?”
“But honey, this seems so much like an overreaction. I know things haven’t been going well for you and Naomi, but sweetheart, to pack up and walk away from your job, everything you’ve been working for. It just seems so reckless.”
“I have been thinking about it for a while. This isn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing, Mum. I have been struggling along, trying to make things work. I’m surviving, not living. Naomi and me breaking up, it just made everything clearer in my head.”
“But you won’t know anybody there, you’ll be so far away, and all on your own.”
“That might be just what I need. A fresh start, new friends, a new perspective.”
“How are you going to survive? The dole won’t cover much.”
“I’ll find some work, plus I’ll have what I make from the sale of my apartment.”
“That won’t be much by the time you pay the real estate, and your solicitor.”
“It’ll be enough, Mum. I’ll get by.”
I saw her eyes glistening as the tears built up. “I’m going to miss you so much, and so is your father.”
“I’ll miss you, as well, Mum; you know I love you both.”
The sale of the apartment went pretty well. My month’s notice flew by; it got real very fast. I found a caravan in a camping ground, close to the beach, and close to the amenities block.
It was all a pack of lies. Naomi leaving threw me into a tail spin. It blind sided me. Like all relationships, we had our moments, but we had lived together for three years, and I thought things were going well.
The sex sort of dried up recently, but that happens. Work was busy for both of us, more so for her. We couldn’t seem to get things organised. Maybe that was because she was already seeing Cheryl. The mere sound of her name echoing around my head stung. Sneaky fucking trampy bitch. She was my friend, or supposed to be.
Naomi swore that there was nobody else, it was just that she wasn’t happy. Yeah right.
The moment I saw them together, my heart flipped. Walking hand in hand, leaning together and kissing as only lovers can.
When Cheryl’s eyes met mine, I saw the shame, the embarrassment. Naomi looked like she had been shot, her mouth moving, but no words. Like a guppy laying on the lounge room floor, she spluttered and coughed. “Virginia…”
“Fuck you, Naomi. I hope you suffocate in her fanny.”
That’s when I just knew I couldn’t just hang around. Seeing them together was going to kill me. The plan to move came from out of the blue: a little piece on TV about a guy who moved to the country to get away from it all. His health had been bad, he was stressed and suffering from depression.
The move to a rural setting gave him a new start. I watched, my brain spinning. “How crazy was that guy, just walling away from everything. Just calling quits on life and moving. How the hell could you do that?”
Seeing Naomi and Cheryl together a couple of times drove the nail home. It didn’t take me long to find a place; it was advertised on book a batch.
A quick phone call, and it was all organised. I could move in six weeks.
Tirohanga Beach Holiday Park: it sounded pretty nice, but I had seen the photos. At least it was close to the ocean. My head already full of images of curling up in a ball and crying for six months. Walking by myself along the beach. Yeah, all I wanted was to get away from people. If I actually wrote something, then all good and well. I just wanted space.
The last thing I wanted was to hear one single person say, “I’m sorry to hear about you and Naomi, I thought you were perfect for each other.” If I heard that one more time, I swear. I was going to kill somebody.
Living in Hamilton, it was nice to be heading for the coast. Some sun, sand and peace and quiet. Was it to much to ask for.
Opotiki was the closest town, and it seemed nice, had most things I would need. I stopped at the bakery in the middle of the main street and did a little people watching as I ate my croissant and sipped at my piping hot coffee.
People watching was a favourite pastime. It gave me great pleasure to watch the people scurrying around, rushing, or perhaps wandering listlessly around.
As I watched them, I took delight inventing stories around their rushed trip onto the hardware store, or why they stood glancing lovingly in the window of the boutiques.
It was what drove me to try my hand at writing. As a little girl, I used to watch people and make up stories in my head, then at night in bed, I would write down the adventures they were on.
Sometimes they were robbers, or getting ready to get married. Each story grew and grew. I was lucky enough to have an English teacher who saw my scribbled stories as something much deeper, and she encouraged me to take it more seriously.
My parents thought it was bahis şirketleri a joke, although they were quite pleased when I flew through my University entrance exams, I had a decision to make. Go further afield, or go to Hamilton University, and continue to live at home, reducing my costs, and I could keep my part-time job.
University life was fun, new friends, and of course that extended to relationships. I had a few, but nothing serious. I wasn’t really the party animal, I was introverted. Social atmospheres did nothing for me.
I guess I never really fitted in; my friends were all into boys, parties, drinking, dancing and everything that went with it.
Boys: I never really got that, I didn’t seem to feel what they felt. I was happy reading, inventing my little fantasies and writing. I didn’t know whether I had what it took to become a serious writer, all I knew was, I loved it. I was absorbed by seeing other worlds and characters emerge from the paper as I wrote.
It lost some of the magic when I started using computers. Not seeing the words on paper, or feeling the page in my hand as I flipped to the next one. Yeah, computers did take some of that, but the flip side was, it was so easy, and I could store all of my magical little worlds.
It was my last year of study when I met Naomi, and she was breathtaking. We bumped into each other in the library. We bounced of each other, books went flying, I ended up on my arse and she leant down to offer a hand and apologies.
I was lost; her eyes sparkled, her smile, god that infectious dimpled smile.
I was speechless as I listened to her saying sorry. How we ended up having coffee I cannot explain. She spoke, and I followed.
Our first kiss was just like that. I knew it was happening, I watched in terrified horror as her face lowered over mine, her mouth, oh god those beautiful succulent slippery lips.
I could have pushed her away, but my mouth opened, and her sneaky playful tongue slipped into my mouth and the feelings….
My knees went weak, my heart, I thought it would jump out, it beat so fast. My whole body blushed, and I felt so hot.
Everything changed in that instant. I knew then why I was uncomfortable around boys. I was in love, deep passionate wonderful love.
We dated for about six months before I was ready to tell my parents. I knew they would be shocked, but they took it in their stride. They knew Naomi, already. I don’t think it was as big a surprise as I thought it would be.
They were supportive.
Leaving University, my BA in hand, I struggled to find a good job. I didn’t know what I wanted, I flitted from job to job. I ended up getting a job at the local newspaper, as an editor slash part-time reporter. I wrote some human interest stories and I picked up some editing work through a local publisher. It didn’t make me wealthy, but it did allow me to buy an apartment in the middle of town and buy a new car.
Naomi moved in with me, and we played house for a year or so. She took up a trainee managers position at a local supermarket.
Yes, I thought life couldn’t get any better, we had this wonderful apartment, great friends, jobs. It was fabulous. Then, boom. It wasn’t.
That melancholy was hard to shift, and because we shared the same friends, it was impossible not to keep bumping into her. That’s when I made this life altering decision.
As I looked up the street, I thought, it could be worse. I finished my coffee, climbed back in my car, and drove out to the camping ground, which was going to be my new home.
In many ways, my self-imposed isolation was wonderful. I did curl up in a ball and cry; sometimes I couldn’t shift that sorrow, and I spent the whole day laying in my bed, blankets pulled over my head.
Some days I just walked up and down the beach. As summer approached, the numbers at the campground increased, and it was impossible not to meet people, talk to them. Slowly, the closeted veils of isolation lifted, and I slowly integrated back into life.
The best thing was my desire to write, which had remained dormant during my relationship with Naomi. I wanted to tell her, to show her, but somehow, never quite felt comfortable exposing myself to her. Maybe inside I knew. Sounds silly, but that’s me, silly.
Meeting and talking with people got me back on track. I brought a bicycle and rode into town every day for my coffee and salad roll. Yes, I’m a creature of habit.
My great plans of staying out of the system evaporated along with my diminishing bank balance. A job, I needed a job. My favourite place threw me the lifeline I so desperately needed. I became the town library assistant. It was only four hours a day, but it paid the bills.
Working in the library, it was good fun, and I did meet lots of interesting people. It’s impossible not to make friends in an environment like that. The people who did work there were all book lovers like me.
It was also a great place to people watch. They came bahis firmaları and went, and I started to build up dossiers on the more regular attendees. Most were retired people, older folk, who used the library as a social gathering place. The fact we had a community computer hub, where people could come in and use the computers free of charge, was also an attraction.
There was one lady in particular, who came in, and she was a very discerning reader. Impossible to decode. She didn’t just read crime stories, or romance. She liked to read the classics, but she also liked to read the newest editions.
She was in her late thirties, a very attractive, if somewhat aloof person. She dressed impeccably, always in classic styles. She never wore trendy modern clothes. She went for a timeless style. Her hair and makeup was always perfect.
It was her aloofness, bordering on arrogance that made it impossible to break down her defences. She just selected her books, after spending an hour or so searching for the elusive gem.
I tried in numerous occasions to break into her world, but she shut me out as quickly as I prised open the door.
Oh well, sometimes, its better to leave well enough alone.
I went on about my business. Opotiki was a small town, probably less than 4,000 people, and like all small towns, the people within were very traditional, especially seeing as the average age must have been close to sixty.
It limited my opportunities of developing a love life; perhaps I was destined to go to my grave having just the one lover…
Love life aside, I was enjoying life, I had some new friends, who kept me entertained. I could Have used a little more money, some luxuries would be nice. Getting a call out of the blue from my old boss, Delia, was a shock. “Virginia, my dear. How are you?”
“My dear, oh oh. This doesn’t sound good Delia.”
She giggled warmly. “Don’t be so cynical. I was hoping you would be more pleasant.”
“I was joking, Delia. To what do I owe the honour?”
“Well, my dear. I was hoping to offer you a little work.”
“Really, like what?”
“Just because you have moved off to rot in some godawful spot, doesn’t mean you couldn’t do some editing work for us.”
“Good god, Opotiki is a lovely spot. If you opened your mind, you might find you like it.”
I could hear her shivering in disgust as she digested my comment.
“Botheration, darling. If I want sunshine and sand, I’ll go to Rarotonga, or the Gold Coast.”
“Suit yourself, you bloody snob.”
She giggled smugly. “No need to be rude, I’ll rescind my offer if you can’t be nice.”
“Rescind it, I haven’t even heard it yet.”
“Yes, sorry dearest. We have had an influx of new works and we have picked up a rather wonderful author, Annabelle Roundtree. We pinched her from Bluegum. She has sent us a couple of manuscripts that need editing, and we are snowed under, my love. Would you like some work?”
“I wouldn’t mind a little work. Is there a time frame, is it a rush job?”
“Darling, there’s always a rush on. We would love to release the book for the Christmas rush. We have already started advertising it.”
“Yes, all right, send it through. I do have a real job though.”
“Really, good heavens, don’t tell me you’re a waitress or something horrid like that.”
She really was a snob, and she didn’t even try to hide it. “Actually Delia, you are talking to Opotiki’s Librarian.”
She sniggered condescendingly, “Oh heavens, you poor dear. Well, I’m glad we have been able to save you from that.”
“Oh stop it Delia. Its a wonderful job, and I enjoy it. Send me the damn manuscript, and I’ll get onto it.”
“Good girl, I just hit send. Should be in your inbox already. “I do hope you have internet.”
“Shut up, I’ll get on it.”
I wasn’t really set up for editing, the caravan was nice, but it was crammed. There was no real sitting space, I normally left the table collapsed with the cushions over it.
As Delia promised, the file turned up. Annabelle was a well know author, she had a couple of best sellers, although I didn’t know much about her. She wasn’t one of those celebrity types.
I opened the file. Shit, two hundred thousand words. This was going to be a monster…
I started reading, and instantly fell into the story. Ooohhh, this was good, but holy crap, she was a terrible writer. I guess I need to explain; the story was great. She was a brilliant story teller, but her grammar was atrocious. The way she put words together sucked, like English wasn’t her first language. I edited as I went, and there were bloody hundreds of edits, plus some suggestions. It was great, but oh dear, this needed major editorial work.
Before I really knew, it was nearly ten and my tummy rumbled away like an angry train engine.”
As I made a snack, I kept going back to the story. Annabelle was good, I was already imagining myself in her story, the female lead was delightful, so beautiful, and the way she described kaçak bahis siteleri her. The imagery was clear, I could feel her.
After eating, I was going to leave it, give my eyes a rest, but it was so good. I couldn’t stop… When my eyes got so heavy I couldn’t stay awake, I took one final look at the clock and it was three AM.
My mind wasn’t really working. A typical day at the Library. People came and went, I had to help an older couple with computer logins and helping them open up email. I reckon I spent more time helping old people with the computers than anything else.
The day was shit; I couldn’t stop thinking about that damn story. The writer had created a plot hole that she just seemed to ignore, I couldn’t, and trying to use her style and speech, inserted a new section, which fixed the problem, but I wondered if I had overstepped my limitations…
There were no clear instructions attached to the file. I didn’t actually know what was expected. As I was leaning on my elbows, contemplating, my stylish reader was back. She dropped off her books and walked off up one of the aisles.
I watched, captivated by the sexy sway of her hips. The gorgeous maroon dress hugged her hips and she looked as sexy as fuck. I’m not sure if she was aware of the effect she had on me.
Call me naive, unaware. God, I had only experienced the one relationship. I was less than accomplished in the arts of love, let alone lust.
I grabbed the returned books and carried them out into the aisles to slide them back into their rightful places. The books, I didn’t really care. I could have replaced them at any time. What did interest me was the woman. Lesley, her name rolled across my mind. Such a sexy name.
I giggled to myself, what if she was a lesbian, her name would be so apt.
She looked up at me, my giggle clearly irritated her. She turned back to the shelf of books, and my eyes returned to her. I could smell her musky scent. It stimulated my senses, my nostrils flaring as the sweet musky aroma seeped into my consciousness.
Her hair was so glossy, shifting light as she turned her head. I always admired her makeup; she didn’t wear a lit, but it was always so perfect for her flawless complexion.
Every time I saw her, she aroused my hunger just a little more. Was it infatuation, lust? I had to walk away to hide my smile. Oh yes, it was definitely lust.
Later, I tried to hide my eyes as they watched intently, while she approached the counter. She slid a couple of books across towards me. I glanced quickly at a cover. “Fingersmith,” by Sarah Waters.
“Wonderful book.” I offered, hoping to instigate conversation. She gave me a quizzical glance. “You’ve read it?”
“Yes, I enjoyed it actually.” Seeing her confusion, I added. “I think it was made into a Korean movie, “The Hand Maiden”.”
She nodded in agreement. “Yes, I believe so.”
As I pulled out the card, I saw her second book was Jeanette Winterson’s novel, ‘Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,’
“Oh, now that is a fabulous book. You will love it,” I mumbled.
“I hope so. I have read some of her others and enjoyed them immensely.”
“Do you live locally, Mrs. Daley?”
She smiled wickedly. “Its Ms, actually, and yes. I do live locally. You, on the other hand, are new.”
“I’ve been here for three months.” I threw back presumptuously.
She smirked, “As I said. New to town.” She stared intently at my name badge. “Virginia, what a lovely name, anyway Virginia, you will have to live here for a lot longer than three months to be accepted as a local.”
“How long have you lived here then?” I sneered.
“All my life, apart from a couple of years roaming the world.”
She picked up her books with a haughty nod of her head, and was gone. Damn, my heart was pounding, she held such a powerful attraction. I was in serious lust. Gee, even my sex tingled.
On my bike, cycling along the road back to the caravan, I started to think about the book and the changes I made. I decided I should call Delia, and speak to her. See if I could establish some boundaries on what her expectations were. Some authors didn’t take kindly to their works of art being altered.
I pulled up beside the cemetery, which was on the outskirts of town. “Hello, Delia,” I said happily.
“You cannot be finished yet, surely?” she gasped.
“No, Delia, I’m actually ringing to try and get an understanding of what you require.”
“I see. What is the problem?”
“She’s a terrible writer.”
“Good lord, how can you say that? She is one of the country’s most popular writers.” After she gathered her senses, she added. “For heaven’s sake dear. She’s on the best sellers list.”
“I don’t mean the story isn’t good, it’s the technical stuff. She’s atrocious.”
Delia laughed conspiratorially. “Yes, I should have warned you. She is one of those writers who throws herself into the writing, and says to hell with the rules.”
“It’s not just that, Delia, she sort of made some rather glaring errors, left a horrid plot hole. Which I fixed, by the way. I want to send what I have completed back to you. Then you can get her opinion about my suggestions.”
“I see, yes. I suppose that will be all right.”