Snippets of Downshire Life – The Spring Equinox
Sharpington-by-Sea is a traditional seaside resort complete with a Victorian Pier, seafront hotels, crazy golf, the Palladium ballroom, well maintained gardens, promenade, theatre and illuminations, all the usual things to have a great time by the seaside, as well as amusement arcades and of course the Sharpington Fun Park.
The Fun Park was the first purpose-built amusement park to open in Britain, which had an assortment of rides, like the Rotor and the Wild Mouse, The Cyclone and the Morehouse Galloper, all very tame compared to 21st century roller coasters, but still fun.
It was also a popular resort for retirees and boasted a number of static caravan parks and one of them was the Whitecliffe Hill Caravan Park which overlooked the town.
And just beyond the Park was the Jubilee Heights Industrial Estate and one of the biggest companies on that estate was Martlesham Merchandise.
Martleshams had begun life as a mail order catalogue goods business in the 1960’s, but in the 21st century they were exclusively an online company.
The goods received warehouse supervisor was twenty five year old Simon Moore, six feet four inches tall with dark brown hair and was a popular guy among the staff, in particular with the goods despatch supervisor, Chantelle Cooper, who was the same age as him and had had him in her sights since they were at school together.
She flirted with him shamelessly at every opportunity and she would incline her head to one side and play with her hair and behaved exactly like she did when they were still at school.
In was the same tactics she’d been employing for ten years and it still wasn’t working, because he wasn’t interested he never had been and never would be.
Because he just wasn’t attracted to her, and he didn’t like her, he didnt like the way she spoke, the way she laughed, even the way she walked, in fact she didn’t walk she slinked, and if that wasn’t enough he had another reason to rebuff her advances, Clare Parker.
And Clare ticked all his boxes, he loved her voice, her laugh, and the way she walked was an absolute delight in fact there wasn’t anything about her that he didn’t like, brown hair, hazel eyes and Clare was everything that Chantelle wasn’t.
Clare Parker lived at the opposite end of Sharpington from Martlesham’s and had only started working there a few days before Christmas and Simon was instantly smitten.
And the attraction was mutual although they didn’t pick up on that, but Chantelle did, and she did not like it one bit.
Nor did she like that she was 4 inches taller than her and had longer shapelier legs, was 4 years younger and was prettier not that she would have admitted to the last part because Chantelle Cooper suffered from pretty girl syndrome.
Which is when an attractive girl thinks she is far more beautiful than all other women around her and for that reason she thinks that she deserves to get all the attention.
So, when Clare met Simon and Chantelle in the warehouse on her first day Chantelle was at first shocked, then upset and finally angry when she realised Simon was more interested in Clare than he had ever been in her.
Clare was still on her probation period and was used as a bit of a gofer and she had to work in several different departments and had to work under both Simon and Chantelle at different times of the day.
This was good for her because it meant she got to see Simon for a couple of hours every day guaranteed, but at the same time it was bad because she had to spend an equal amount of time working for Chantelle and it was obvious that she didn’t like her and she really wasn’t very nice to her, and she couldn’t understand why, but she saw it as a price worth paying if it meant working with Simon.
As she walked through Jubilee Park on her way to work on the first day of spring she had a spring in her step because it was the last day of her probation and when she had her meeting with Claudia Strohmeier in HR she was going to request a permanent position in Simon’s department so she would see him all day every day, even if he didn’t see her as she saw him she would at least be close to him.
Simon Moore glanced at the clock and pretended to be busy so as not to appear asif he was waiting for her arrival, he was trying to be cool.
She was always on time, in fact she was always ahead of time, and that day was no exception, the only difference being that she was even more bubbly and smiley than normal.
“Morning” she chirped
“Well if it isnt the soon to be “ex” probabationer” he said
“Todays the day” Clare retorted and crossed her fingers
“Not that you need it, but I got you something” he said and gave her a little gift box
“For me?” she asked and he nodded
Her hands were shaking when she opened the little box and then she gasped when she saw the little gold horse shoe charm.
He knew that she had been given a charm bracelet for Christmas by her parents and that she hadnt got many charms on it yet.
“Its gorgeous” she said, “Thank you”
She didn’t want to simply say thank you, she wanted to kiss him, not that that was unusual, but at that moment she wanted to kiss him more than she had ever wanted to before.
In the end it was taken out of her hands when the claxon went off to signify there was a delivery.
“When are you seeing Claudia?” he asked
“In an hour” she replied
“Well if I’m not done before you go” he said “good luck”
And the good luck was accompanied by a squeeze of her hand and at that moment she was convinced for the first time that his interest in her was more than just friendship or co-worker.
So, with his gift to her in her pocket she felt 10 feet tall as she left the warehouse for her appointment with HR.
When they had finished unloading a 40ft trailer he looked around the warehouse and expected to see her excited face, but she was nowhere to be seen so he returned to his office.
He had been sat at his desk for about ten minutes when the phone rang, which took him a few seconds to locate.
It was part of the company phone system but was portable, so he was tied to the office when he was on a call, which made it convenient to use, but sometimes difficult to find.
He found it on top of the filing cabinet with Clare’s fleece on top of it, which he thought was odd, she always complained about the cold in the warehouse, so she always wore her fleece and his as well sometimes.
With the fleece in one hand and the phone in the other he pressed the green button and said
“Is that Clare?”
“Yes” she replied, and her voice cracked
“Are you ok?”
“Why, what’s wrong?” He asked with concern
“They’re not keeping me on” she replied
“What?” he asked in utter disbelief
“That can’t be right, when?”
“Today?” he asked as he left the office
“Yes, I’m leaving now” she said weekly
“Now?” He repeated with alarm “I don’t understand”
“I’m not good enough” she sobbed
“Where are you?” He asked as he left the warehouse and emerged into the main reception, but when he saw Chantelle standing to one side of the entrance wearing a smirk he began to comprehend what had happened
“I’m waiting for a cab” she said just as he stepped out into the sunshine.
“Oh Simon” she exclaimed when she saw him
“Come here” he responded with his arms outstretched and she ran between them.
“What am I going to do?” she sobbed
“Hey its ok”
“It’s not though” she said “Because I won’t get to see you every morning”
“Well if it comes to that, you’ll have to see me every evening instead” he assured her
“Really?” she asked as she lifted her head from his chest and he answered by kissing her
The kiss only ended when the taxi pulled up, and he turned and looked into the smiling face of the taxi driver who was an old schoolfriend of his brother, Danny Tomkins.
He kissed Clare once more on the mouth and then opened the back door, so she could get in.
“I will see you later” he said and squeezed her hand before he closed the door on the Taxi’s precious cargo.
He knew she would get home safely, but he still said
“Look after her Dan”
“No sweat” he replied then Simon blew Clare a kiss and the cab drove away.
When he went back inside Chantelle was still there and after watching him kiss Clare she wasn’t smirking anymore, and she turned on her heels and stomped off.
Also assembled in reception were a group of half a dozen supervisors who had all had been part of Clare’s probationary training and they were as perplexed as Simon had been when he first heard that the firm was letting her go.
Having seen Chantelle’s delight at Clare’s sobbing figure he was pretty sure that she had reported something to HR to paint her in a bad light.
After sharing his suspicions with the assembled group, they decided that they should pay a visit to HR and set the record straight.
The delegation to HR met with Claudia Strohmeier who was at first bemused, then confused, followed by horrified and then finally deeply apologetic.
Frantic meetings between upper management and the whole HR department followed which resulted in the reinstatement of Clare, providing she would accept it, and to that end Simon was asked to deliver the news to her.
After the taxi dropped Clare at her parents house she had an up and down kind of day where she would be in tears one moment because of the loss of her job, because she loved working up at Martlesham’s, and then total elation because Simon Moore had hugged and kissed her, and in between the two extremes she dared to dream that she had imagined her dismissal but not the kiss.
She had a vague recollection that he had said that he would see her later, but she wasn’t sure if it was the traditional farewell “see you later” or that she would actually see him later.
It was during one of her periods of reflection that there was a knock at the door, she was going to ignore it, because she didn’t want to see anyone, and when she looked in the mirror she thought it more likely that no one would want to see her, but she took a deep breath and opened it and to her surprise it was Simon, and she instantly forgot how she looked and kissed him.
They were sitting on the sofa after he had given her the news about her reinstatement
“So, if I come back will I still be on probation?”
“No” he replied “And you will be working full time in Goods in”
“So, I’ll see you every day?”
“Yes, every day”
“Well you don’t have to” he said “you can choose whichever department you want”
“No, I want to but….”
“Well if I see you every day, does that mean I won’t get to see you in the evenings?”
“No” he said and smiled “it doesn’t mean that”
“Oh good” she said, and she kissed him again