"Bugger!" Sunday is the only day I bother with breakfast, it's my treat for the weekend, bacon, fried eggs, toast and marmalade if there's any bread left. My exclamation was uttered in concern that the previsions set aside for this weekly treat would be thoughtlessly denuded by my temporary companion. Hastily, I made a grab for the pile of cloths as I got up but halted myself in favour of fresh ones from the wardrobe, though doing so it would take an extra minute or so to get the kitchen and ease my mounting concerns. I arrived there with a feigned nonchalant air even though I was still tucking my shirt as I did so. "Morning!"
"Oh hi" she smiled broadly as she spoke, briefly I recalled the labours of the previous
night, I'd had a good time too -- then, the light of day brought more prosaic considerations to the fore though. She was sitting at the table sipping black coffee from my mug and helping herself to the last of the bread that she'd toasted, rather too lightly for my taste, and lightly smeared with marmalade. I noted Saturday's mail and a second mug of coffee on the breakfast table as I sat opposite her, she had been a busy girl. That's when she posed her question, just as I was about to take my first sip.
"Cassandra Weatfield?" In all honesty, the name was lost on me within this incongruous context, so my puzzlement as I reiterated her question was genuine.
She handed me an envelope, "Looks official," she said, "has it been delivered by mistake, you think? By the way, there's bacon in the Fridge, I can fry some breakfast if you like?"
Oh dear, that's how it starts, I noted how she's said, some breakfast, not you breakfast, I resented the notion that she could share my hard earned bounty that this implied. I thought on me feet, "Er, yeah, I should throw that out I suppose, found the cat nibbling at it when I'd left it out the other day," I spoke as I examined the brown envelope. For a few moments I was confronted with a genuine mystery, then the light dawned, "Casandra Weatfiedl!" my exclamation was too loud and exited to go without comment by my guest even while she was apparently still reeling in disgust at my remark about the bacon.
"Someone who used to live here then?"
"Er -- no, it's nothing like that" I wiped the knife that lay on the table clean and made to open it.
"Should you do that?" she said with a note of reproach that had a ring familiarity about it that me want to shudder. Now I was really annoyed with her, she beginning to pester me, why the heck should I have to explain to her about Cassandra Wheatfield
"It's for me" I spoke as succinctly as I could and with the minimum explanation, given the constraints of the circumstance. I wanted to tell her to, get lost and mind her own business but I was wary of the peril of spawning post-coital regret.
"Do you have a cat then?" Oh dear, the cogs in my guest's mind where turning laboriously slowly as she now considered my lie about the bacon.
"It belongs to a neighbour," I said as I opened the envelope
"We used to have a cat..." my attention was fixed on the contents of the envelope but my guest's apparent unconcern for the possibility that I might want to read it undisturbed gave her licence to compete for my attention with her aimless recollections, "...Lucky, we called him, he was..."
"Dear Muzz Weatfield..." my inner monologue balked at the salutation, I couldn't recall the detail of Cassandra’s biography but I knew she'd addressed herself as a Miss.
"...he got sick after eating a bir..." she continued while my still sleep sodden eyes flickered over the wording of the letter.
"...Muzz Weatfield... your submission.. .rare insight... pointed commentary... successful... suitable for publication... arrange... at your soonest convenience..."
"...the vet said that she..."
"Yes!!" I shouted, my joyous exclamation prompted by my hasty scan of the contents of the letter was enough to halt my guest's compelling anecdote. Grateful for this cessation and anxious to expedite her departure, I decided it was time to exercise some discretion and ease some charm out of the tap. I used up a good smile on her while I placed the letter back in it's envelope and secured that within the relatively safe confines of my shirt breast pocket. "Oh right --- do you miss her?" I gleaned from the mention of the vet that her precious kitty was no longer with us.
"He!" she said "...it was a he" but my multitasking hadn't been up to the task of providing me with the unfortunate kitty's gender apparently. She greeted my smile with a knowing look, not the fatal look, the one say's you've been found out in your efforts to sneak under the radar. No, this one was the one tinged with suspicion but used to let you know you still have a chance at redeeming your efforts if you try hard enough. I wasn't in the mood for games though, neither did I have the time.
"I know, that's what I said: do you miss him" I lied starkly and batted her look back at her. The incident was trivial enough for her to accept my casual deceit so I took advantage of the opportunity and changed the subject hastily. "By the way, I've got a chance of some tickets to see John Cooper Clark, do you fancy coming?" I smiled as I equivocated glibly, I do have the opportunity of tickets to see Clark this evening but I've no intention of going or a taking her with me. [note: changed tense -- in this sentence] The look she giving me in reply to my query told me she had no Idea who I was talking about, "He's a poet, big a few a years ago, making a bit of a comeback," I prompted, still no light dawning so I tried a different tack, "if you don't like poets though..." that was enough.
"Oh I think I know who you mean, when..."
"Tonight" I Interrupted, "I'll have to pop out soon, pick up the threads from the cleaners."
"Are you dressing up for this?" she asked, "Will it be that kind of thing?"
"Dunno" I replied, "but I'm not turning up without a tie." I reached for my mobile, "Here, take my number and give us as a buzz about three ish, I'll let you let know what the situation with the tickets is." I said, making sure that she was fully aware of the provisional nature of our date. She took the phone in hand and didn't notice that it wasn't the one I was using last night. It was while she was manipulating the phone, something she accomplished quite deftly, I made my move regarding the issue of of her exit from my abode, "Call a cab while you're at it. Don't worry about the price of the tickets, it's my treat, we'll have time to get a meal before too, if you like." I said, speculating that the prospect of future generosity would waylay any quibbling over the taxi fair. She obliged without protest and after some prompting from me on where to find the cab service number on the mobile she'd booked the cab.
Luckily the cab driver arrived promptly and within fifteen minutes she was out the house. I walked her to the cab and and put on a faux show of affection for the diver, planting a kiss on her cheek as we parted, a perfectly executed exit I thought to myself, I couldn't help but let out a laugh as i made my way back indoors.
I should have known it couldn't last, things never go that smoothly without the terrier of bad fortune biting you back on the ankle, I'm just not that lucky.