Love At First Bite
Would the man with the velvety voice be a hot dish?
His voice sounded like velvet; a rich tone, whispering over her skin. Like the softest of blankets, she luxuriated in his words, erudite sentences that enveloped her in their warmth, massaging the tension from between her shoulder blades and holding her captive.
She could hear the strength of feeling running like a thread through every impassioned word, the top note of pride, the back note of frustration and always, always the undertone of love.
Her heart fluttered and her soul sighed. How she longed for someone to talk about her with such feeling.
She shut out the chaos around her. She couldn’t identify an accent but that delighted rather than frustrated her. It was part of the mystery: a back story beneath the velvet to be mined and explored.
His words tumbled through her ear and into her heart. She was a cat basking in the sun, purring under the extravagance of his attention. What must it be like to hear that voice every day, to let that dark and mellifluous tone pull you in, hold you close and caress you. A tingle ran down her spine.
Suddenly he stopped talking. The silence was a needle of discomfort, pricking her conscience.
“You’re not my sister, are you?”
“No, I’m not.”
“I’ve gone and dialled the wrong number, haven’t I?”
“Yes, you have… but can I just say –” She paused, desperate to speak with him for a few moments more. “I think your sister is a lucky lady to have a brother who cares about her so much and that man she’s with sounds like a complete waste of space. And I agree with you about goatee beards. As you say, if you’re going to grow a beard, be a man about it and grow a proper one.”
“I’m glad you agree. What’s your name?” There was a smile in his voice. “Chloe.”
“Hello, Chloe. I’m Harry. I’m sorry about this. You see, I was talking to my sister on my mobile and the battery died. I grabbed the landline and hit redial, thinking that hers was the last number I called from it. But I’ve dialled the pizzeria on the High Street instead, haven’t I?”
“Yes you have. Are you hungry?” she asked. Pleasesayyes.
“Now you come to mention it, I could eat a quattro formaggi.”
Thirty-three choices of toppings and he’d chosen her favourite. It was kismet.
“Home delivery or will you pick up?” She crossed her fingers.
“I”ll pick up.”
She could have punched the air. “We’re doing heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day.”
With a voice like that, he had to be a romantic, surely? She waited for his reply with bated breath.
“Heart-shaped?” He chuckled. “Yeah. Go on. Why not?”
“I”ll see you soon,” she said, as she put down the phone.
“What are you grinning about?” her brother asked.
“Nothing,” she said quickly. If she gave any hint of her feelings she knew her brother wouldn’t give her a minute’s peace. “Heart-shaped stuffed crust quattro formaggi for pick up.”
All business on the outside, her heart beat furiously against her ribcage. She tried to lower her expectations. No way could anyone live up to that voice. When he walked through the door he was bound to be a crushing disappointment.
Ten minutes later, the bell above the door went. Chloe was on the phone but she knew, as she watched him walk in, that it was the man with the velvet voice. He moved with a self confidence that she found beguiling. No longer listening to the order droning into her ear, she had to apologise, flustered, and start again.
There were three people ahead of him in the queue. She grabbed sideways looks, trying not to be obvious. Tall with dark hair, he wore a suit. The two top buttons of his shirt were undone, his tie loosened. The end-of-a-long-day look. Not the usual tracksuit and trainers brigade.
Chloe cursed her bright green apron. It wasn’t what you wanted to be wearing when the potential man of your dreams rocked up.Her hair was up in a ponytail and, because of the heat pouring from the pizza ovens, she wore little make-up. As she put down the telephone, he walked over to her.
“You must be Chloe.”
“Harry. We spoke on the phone.” “I remember,” she said.
“How could you forget!” He grinned. “Quattro formaggi to go,” her brother’s voice called out.
Their gaze fixed on one another.
“Your pizza is ready,” Chloe said. “Valentine’s Day and I’ve no one to share my heart-shaped stuffed crust with. It’s all a bit tragic, really. Unless…” “Unless?”
“You’d like to share my heart with me?” His words, as well as his voice, were music to her ears.
“I couldn’t think of anything I’d like more,” Chloe replied.
“Valentine’sDay andI’venooneto share my heart shaped crust. Tragic really”
BY ELLIE HOLMES