It’s been ages but I’m slowly getting back into writing which I’ve missed so much! I will be meeting my writing group again next week, the first of the new year. The theme for this month is, of course, Valentine’s Day.
Over a bridge and across a stream. Past a cave and under a tree. Up high in the sky among the clouds, a girl sat alone in her room on the bed with a glowing light which illuminated her face. The floor next to the bed was covered in broken china pieces. She held tightly on to her cat to stop him from hurting himself, as she balanced a laptop on her lap.
The piece of paper lay on the keyboard as she Googled the meaning of it. Izzie had found the paper moments ago when her cat, Felicis, had knocked an old ornament which her gran had given her off the chest of drawers. She had been furious when it split in two, until she realised that there was a piece of paper inside it.
After a quick search, Izzie discovered that the address on the paper belonged to an old bookshop in town. There was a long number under the address that she didn’t understand.
Izzie put her laptop aside and grabbed her handbag. She headed downstairs in the lift and out onto the street.
As she hit the high street a shock of pink hit her. All the shop windows were adorned with hearts and flowers and all that was cute and fuzzy.
Damn! Izzie cursed silently. It was Valentine’s Day today, she had forgotten all about it. Of course it wasn’t a big deal to her, being single.
Cringing slightly at the sight of all the happy couples, she carried on towards her destination. She had to take a tube to get to the address on the paper. Izzie had put the address into her phone so she could keep track of her whereabouts on the map.
When Izzie finally surfaced twenty minutes later, she had to check her phone again to get her bearings. She set off in the direction her phone told her and kept an eye on all the shop names. There were plenty of old bookshops in this area.
Finally she found the one she wanted. Izzie was relieved to see that the window was not decked out in a Valentine’s theme. She paused and took a deep breath, wondering why on earth her gran had sent her here, and went in.
Inside, the bookshop looked like any other bookshop: the walls were lined with shelves crammed with books, and there were sofas and chairs scattered around with a coffee area in one corner.
Izzie was so distracted by all the books that she didn’t notice the man behind the counter until he cleared his throat.
“Can I help?”
“Um…” she dragged her gaze away from the books. “I found this piece of paper, does it mean anything to you?”
She handed the man the paper and looked at him properly. He was very good looking, with blond hair arranged messily, and clear blue eyes like a summer day. He looked to be near her age, so late-twenties, she guessed.
“Yes, actually I do know what it is.” Izzie blinked and stopped staring at him and focused on what he was saying. “It’s an order for a book. Hang on, I’ll find it.”
He turned away and Izzie took the chance to carry on eyeing him. She started as he turned back to face her.
“Here’s the book. I remember it actually, a little old lady who looked like she could take on the world came in here on a mission. When I got the book in she said I must keep it and hopefully one day soon someone would collect it. That was a year ago…”
“Uh yeah sorry about that. She died about a year ago. She was my grandmother.”
“Thanks. So what’s the book?” He handed it to her. It was a book of paintings and their locations. There was a card tucked into one of the pages. Opening to that page, she saw her gran’s handwriting. She looked up puzzled.
“She came in when we got it in and asked if she could leave that in there until the person came to collect it. She paid for it so I didn’t mind.”
Izzie nodded and looked at the card. Follow the clues. That was all it said. She looked up and the guy shrugged. Izzie looked at the page and saw a painting she knew well. It was a landscape that hung in the local museum that she knew well.
“I guess I’m going to the museum?” she asked uncertainly.
Izzie hesitated for a moment then followed her instincts, “Do you want to help me?”
“Sure, I’ll close up and then we can go.”
“Can you do that?”
“Of course, it’s my shop.” Izzie’s jaw actually dropped in surprise.
He chuckled. “I’m Ryan by the way,” he said holding out his hand.
“Izzie,” she responded and got butterflies as she took his hand.
“Let’s follow the clues.”