He drew in a deep breath. ‘You were in the lift with me last night, weren’t you? You’re wearing more clothes now. What the hell are you doing here? Did you follow me here? What…?’
Margaret seldom got angry. She normally found it a useless exercise. No one took her seriously anyway and she always ended up with a terrible headache. But she was angry now. And the beginnings of a whopping headache stretched its tight tentacles across the back of her head.
‘I was unfortunate enough to have to share the lift with you last night, yes. But this is my shop. I did not follow you here.’
He seemed to be at a complete loss for words. For a little while at least. Then he gestured irritably to the books on the shelves.
‘This is a ridiculous bookshop. You don’t have any science fiction books, no —’
Margaret lifted her chin. ‘You are most welcome to leave, sir. No one is forcing you to stay. And we do have science fiction books. There is a whole section behind you. You will also find the latest vampire stories there. The only difference between this book store and any other is that —’
‘You only have books with happy endings. I’ve never heard of anything so completely bizarre. It is, you know.’
‘Well, now you have. Goodbye, sir, I don’t believe we have anything of interest for you.’
‘You can’t kick me out, I’m a paying customer!’ He looked around. ‘And from what I can see, you need some of those,’ he sneered.
Margaret walked towards the door. ‘Please leave. As the proprietor, I have the right to kick out anyone I want to.’
From the corner of her eye she could see Jen vehemently shaking her head and trying to catch her attention. But she now wanted the man out of her shop, out of Kommetjie, out of her life.
He stared at her for a long moment and then walked passed her, muttering.
‘Margaret, do you have any idea who that man is?’ Jen asked breathlessly.
‘Yes. He’s the one I told you about this morning. He was the one who thought I was stalking him, as if I…’
Jen laughed and covered her face with her hands.
Jen dropped her hands and rolled her eyes dramatically.
‘That man, my dear Margaret…’ She giggled again. ‘That man, the one you have just kicked out of your shop, is Graham Connelly. The Graham Connelly. The world renowned Graham Connelly. Science fiction author. You even have one or two of his books here. Only those with happy endings, of course, but at least we do have a few of his books.’
Margaret groaned and sat down in the nearest chair. She swore.
Jen inhaled sharply.
‘Did you use a bad word?’ Jen giggled.
Margaret swore again. ‘Yes, and I know I never do, but that man…’ She got up and paced restlessly through the shop. ‘I was rude, but I had a reason to be. He is…he is…impossible.’
‘Impossible? Is that the best you can do?’ Jen laughed. ‘But I can see that you are really angry and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you angry. Your eyes are stormy, you are breathing heavily, your cheeks are red and you have been swearing. And all because of a man. Does any of this sound familiar to you?’
‘What do you mean?’
Jen only smiled. ‘You should read your own books. Any first chapter of any of your books. What we have here, Margaret dear, is a first chapter in one of your romances.’
And still smiling, she turned to a customer who had entered the shop.