Womans Weekly Fiction Special|July 2020

Two could play at this game, but which of them would win?
Ginny Swart

On her first day at work, Annabelle spotted a man who instantly stood out from the rest of the suits at Clarendon Computers, with his black hair tied in a ponytail and wearing boots with bright red socks. He was sitting at a corner table in the canteen, studying the newspaper that was lying open in front of him at the crossword puzzle page.

A fellow puzzler! She walked over to his table with her tray.

‘Mind if I join you?’ she asked. ‘I’m a crossword puzzle fiend too.’

‘Really? That’s excellent.’ He held out his hand. ‘Mike Harrison, from marketing. Today’s puzzle is a killer.’

‘Annabelle Martin. This is my first day in accounts. May I have a look..?’ she peered at the puzzle. ‘One across, Comfort food advised by a queen? Four letters.’

‘Um… comfort food? Pasta? Chocolate?’ he suggested.

‘Cake,’ said Annabelle firmly. ‘That French queen who said “let them eat cake”.’

‘Oh, of course. I knew that.’ He grinned. ‘A crossword fiend, eh? I can see lunchtimes are going to be a whole lot more fun now you’re here!’

If I have lunch with you every day, they will be, she thought. He was gorgeous, with warm brown eyes and a crinkly smile.

She took out her own pencil. ‘And number three across: Alcohol brings audible sounds of disapproval. Five letters. Um… oh, could be booze, couldn’t it?’

‘You’re quick!’ he said. ‘I can see I will need to up my game, Miss Martin.’

Lunchtime was over by the time they had worked their way through the entire puzzle. Along the way, she learnt Mike spent his weekends climbing mountains (which explained his choice of footwear), was a big fan of Doctor Who and had recently become a vegetarian.


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July 2020