Solace ~ h.s.

If he weren't there... I don't know what would have happened.

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19. ⪻ 19 ⪼

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“Smith and Carlton Publishing. This is Annabelle, how may I assist you?”

What can I say? It’s not the most glamorous job on the planet, but it does pay the bills.

“Hey, pretty girl.” I don’t have to receive a name to know exactly who the warm voice on the other line belongs to. Even when I’m bored out of my mind and incredibly stressed, he can still bring a smile to my lips.

“What do I owe this pleasure, Doctor Styles?” I ponder, trying to keep my voice as low as possible.

It’s hard enough talking with him when the other receptionist, Victoria, is sitting right at my side, but if my boss were to hear, I’d be in so much trouble. I’ve been here for only about two weeks and I think she already hates me.

“I suppose you can thank utter boredom for this call.” His voice is deep, mimicking how he usually sounds after just having woken up. Honestly, if his voice were any deeper in the mornings you wouldn’t be able to hear him at all.

“Thank you boredom. How was your nap?”

Victoria, whom I’ve actually come to relatively enjoy, gives me a sideways glance, before shooting her eyes in the direction our our boss’ office. Unfortunately for us, Ms. Michelle VanCarlton, has us stationed right outside her office so we can wait on her every beckoning order.

I guess when you marry the man who runs this company you’re entitled to being in charge, even without employment experience.

“Quite lovely actually. I would prefer hanging out with you though.” I giggle lightly, a small smile coming to my lips.

“You’re too kind.” I say into the receiver just as Victoria kicks me from underneath our shared desk space. My eyes run across the hall to the glass walls of Ms. VanCarlton’s to see her eyeing the both of us from her desk. “Crap, my boss is staring at me.”

“I should go, don’t want to get you into any trouble, love.” I clear my throat, slowly wiping the once happy look off my face.

“Yeah. I’ll ring you later.” I promise him, pretending to type something on the monitor in front of me so Ms. VanCarlton will quit her staring.

I still feel her gaze, even as I act as if I’m working hard, randomly typing a bunch of letters and numbers on my monitor to form something. I like to believe there is a reason she was placed in charge of a branch of people, but sadly I’ve still not found that reason.

“Goodbye, Belle.” His sweet voice bellows into the phone; just like that my heart beginning to race like I’m running a marathon.

“Bye, have a wonderful day.” I say, following the ending of our telephone call script.

Yes, the company does have a script to abide by when answering and speaking on the phone.

Gently, I put the telephone back into the holder, thanking the lord that Harry had gotten connected to me rather than Victoria. Too much commotion behind the desk would have caused Ms. VanCarlton to get up from her desk and investigate.

“Who was that?” I hear being whispered to me as I go back to the task I had been assigned this morning upon walking in the door.

Victoria, like myself, is a young woman just looking for some good money. She went to university for business, so unlike me she actually has some decent qualifications. Like I said, she’s nice and not as snobbish as a lot of people in this office.

“Um, just this guy.”

“Just a guy, huh? If I had a guy that made me swoon as much as you did whilst talking to him, I’d lock that down.” Victoria mutters, typing away on her keyboard to the task that our boss had assigned her.

“It’s complicated. I guess we’re seeing each other, or dating, but it’s like I said -”

“Complicated.” We both say at the same time.

From before Victoria, the line rings and she quickly picks it up, vocalizing the script she’s surely got memorizing from working here for over a year.

“Yes, actually she’s right here. One moment, please.” Victoria drops the phone from her face and extends the device towards me.

“For me?”

“Yes, said it was urgent and they had to speak with you.”

What now?

“Hello, this is Annabelle Chambers.”

“Hello Ms. Chambers, my name is Joyce and I’m calling from York Primary School. Edward has just been involved in a fight here on school grounds.” Upon her words, I’m nearly out of my chair in an instant.

“What?” I exclaim, my voice rising a tad bit too loudly that it echoes throughout the office. A couple employees look in my direction, but I pay them no mind; a hundred quid Ms. VanCarlton is looking as well.

“Yes, I assure you he is alright, but it occurred during lunch. He hit another student.”

“Oh my God.” I utter, running my hand through my hair as bend down to start throwing my things into my bag.

As a guardian, I’ve absolutely no idea how to react in a moment like this. I’m angry, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also concerned and worried.

“We ask that you come here and meet with Headmaster Clark as well as our in-house counselor for a brief meeting.” I’m at a lost for words.

Edward has never been involved in a fight before, let alone started one. He’s always been such a relaxed child, and even with this change from the accident I never in a million years really considered he’d start a fight. The worst thing I imagined was someone picking on him or hurting him.

“Alright,” I say once I’ve gathered my thoughts, “I’ll be right there.” With that, I slam the phone down and finish gathering all of my things in a haste.

“What’s happened?” Victoria asks, a bit of resistance in her voice as she asks.

I’m not really one to share all that much with her, or with anyone really. She knows the basics of me and my background, but nothing about the loss of our parents or the raising my five year old brother thing. I’ve told her the bare minimum about me, which is all anyone needs to know.

“My brother just got in a fight at school. Can you watch my post whilst I’m away?” I ask, my voice coming out panicky once the initial shock has settled in.

“Yes, of course. Good luck.” I nod at her, picking up my stuff and marching in the direction of perhaps the worst place to ever step foot in.

Ms. VanCarlton sees me as I approach the glass door of her office, but makes no movement to usher me in. She pretends as if she hadn’t witnessed my entire outburst from her leather chair. I knock immediately, waiting for her to flag me in with a blank expression on her face.

“Sorry to interrupt, Ms. VanCarlton. I have an emergency and I have to leave. My brother was just involved in a fight at school and I need to go.” I say, my voice coming out airy and rushed.

Ms. VanCarlton raises an eyebrow at me and I can only imagine what’s running through her head. She probably assumes that nothing good comes from a boy who gets into fights at school, or that whomever is raising my brother is absolute trash.

“And your parents?”

I didn’t exactly tell her much about me either, and I don’t plan on it right now.

“They’re otherwise indisposed.” I can hear the huff emitted from her parted lips, and I don’t miss the subtle eye roll she produces either.

“Fine.” Thank God. “But you’ll be staying late tomorrow night and I expect for this not to be a reoccurring ordeal.”

“Yes, of course. Thank you.” As I turn to leave and go out the door, my boss seems not to be finished with me.

“And Ms. Chambers.” I spin around on the heels of my shoes, startled at her sudden voice. “Don’t take anymore personal calls whilst in at work. This is a place of profession, not a place to chatter with your boyfriend..”

Crap, how in the world did she hear me with Harry?

With a swift nod, I exit her office and practically run out the doors of the building. People stare as I push past them, not caring if I’m bumping into someone here or there. In a matter of seconds I’m running down the pavement dialing a familiar number.

“Miss me already?” His suave voice now does little to calm my beating heart, and I can only imagine what I’d be feeling if he had said this to me whilst I was in a better mood.

“I need you to meet me at Edward’s school.”

“Why? What happened?” He’s gone from playful to serious in a matter of seconds, just like a switch had been flipped.

“He got in a bloody fight.”

I shove past people as I run through them, not bothering to apologize for bumping them aside. There are more pressing matters at the moment then throwing out cheeky apologizes to strangers.

“What?” Harry questions, disbelief present in his voice.

“Yes, a fight. So, I need you there with me, because I don’t know how to handle this situation and I’d rather not do it alone.” My words were coming out in short bursts from the exertion of running in heels. It’s clear to anyone that working out hasn’t been my main concern the past month, actually months.

“Why do you sound out of breath?”

“Because I’m running.”

“In the those shoes you left your flat in? Stop running before you break an ankle.” Harry warns as a bit of shuffling occurs on the other line. “I’ll come and get you, love.” I shake my head though I know the man can’t see my reddened face.

“No, that’ll take too long. I don’t want to make him wait too long.”

“Belle, Edward’s not going anywhere.”

“I know, but could you just meet me there?” I find myself slowing to a light jog now, the oxygen used for talking causing my lungs to burn like fire.

Did I mention it’s been a while since I’ve worked out?

“Only if you promise to take a taxi instead of running in those shoes.” With a groan as if I’m a stinkin’ teenager I fall to a walk and walk over towards the edge of the high street.

“Okay, I’m hailing a taxi. Just meet me there.” I beg as I watch a taxi start to pull off towards my awaiting person.

“I’m already out of the flat.”

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