Chapter Thirty-Four

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I take the bus to the café that Mr. Corp has picked out for our lunch. Melanie has decided not to be present but have me tell her everything during Friday's lunch break that she now surprisingly wants to spend with me. I arrive and tell the girl at the door who I'm meeting so she leads me to a table by the window.

Mr. Corp is surprisingly young, surprisingly handsome and surprisingly not married by the look of his hand that I shake as I reach his table. He gets up and pulls the chair back for me which immediately makes him even more interesting. "Miss Nicholls, it's really nice to meet you, I'm afraid I didn't get the chance to talk to you at the event. But my daughter already met a few people she had been talking to that day and she's so excited about it all that I just had to try and help." "It's great to meet you too" I smile and sit down. "What do you do, if I may ask?" "I run an insurance company." I nod slowly. "Impressive." He grins. "I understand you're a teacher." "Yeah, I started teaching just a few months ago and it's great." "There should be more people like you who take such an interest in how our kids are really feeling, you know?" I smile. "Yeah, I understand. I really just never want to forget what it was like so I can relate and continue helping kids that need it." "You don't have children yourself?" I shake my head. "No but I'm not opposed to the idea in the future." "So, should we order some food before we get down to business?" "Sounds good."

I leave the café with a surprisingly detailed plan of how the meetings could be organized and take place and also, with a check. I don't know why everyone suddenly puts so much trust in me but it's flattering. Also Richard's (yes, we're on first name basis now) presence and compliments and smiles were very flattering. My faith in wealthy men is restored for the day and I make a stop by the bank around the corner before walking into town to get some food for me and Daley to celebrate for when he comes back from the publisher's.

Out of nowhere, it starts pouring so I stand under the glass of the next bus stop until the bus arrives instead of walking. I sit down in the back and call Oli. "Yes?" "It's me, hey." "Oh, hey, Bev. How was the meeting?" "I just brought a check to the bank and we've already made a little bit of a plan about how we could set up meetings. I'm so excited." "That is awesome, I'm really happy for you, baby girl." I smile. "Thank you. I was thinking that if he gets so involved and also doesn't only invest and pay but also thinks about what we're doing and works and helps out, maybe I should include him like I did with Mason but ironically, because of Mason, I am pretty hesitant about that now." "Yeah, obviously. Maybe you should just wait it out, see how he does and give it time, then you can still consider it and think about including him a little bit more. It seems promising though if he gets so involved straight away though, right?" I lean my head against the window. "You're right. So, what are you up to?" "I've got an appointment for a band shoot in half an hour." "Exciting, someone I know?" "I doubt it but I told you about them, they're setting up all their social media stuff so they want proper photos and they have some detailed ideas about what they want and where they want the photos to be taken. Should promise me an adventurous afternoon." I laugh. "That sounds fun though." "I'm looking forward to it, their frontman seemed pretty cool when I e-mailed with him. And hopefully they'll tell some other people in their scene I'm good so I get some more work." "Hey, it's a good start." "Yeah, I know but I'm afraid that I suddenly won't have any appointments booked at all anymore and then what am I gonna do?" "Don't think like that." He takes a deep breath. "Alright, alright, you're right, baby girl. So, what are you up to?" "I'm on the bus on the way into town to get some food for myself and Daley since we're both having our big days today." He laughs. "My time will come too, one day" he sighs, fake-sobbing. "It will" I insist. "I know, thank you. So, should I come over after the shoot?" "Yeah, sure. I haven't seen you in a few days. Have fun!" "Alright, thanks, see you later." "Later."

I get off at my bus stop, pull my hood over my head and walk around the corner, finally reaching Febe's. There's a quite a queue at the counter so I get in line and get my phone out. There are no messages but just before I want to lock it again, a call pops up on my screen. It's an unknown number. I swipe the green phone to the side and hold the phone up to my ear. "Nicholls?" "Bev, it's Helen! Where are you?" "I'm in town, why?" I ask in confusion because I wouldn't know what Helen would want from me. She sounds pretty alarmed though. "Daley was in an accident and he's at the hospital! They're operating him now but they looked so doubtful, I don't think he's gonna make it!" She's crying now. "Accident? How?!" I ask and it feels like something squeezes my heart. "He was hit by a car on his way back home and I was on the phone with him when it happened!" "That is awful, so you're at the hospital?" "Yeah, I wasn't sure who to call and you and him are so close I figured you need to know." I turn on my heel and I'm out the door again. The bus drives past me and I just start jogging through the rain.

And there we were, thinking that this Thursday was our lucky day.

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