Today’s writing prompt was an image prompt. What follows is, of course, fiction. Be kind, I’m out of practice.
We hit the doorway at the exact same time, he and I – shoulder to shoulder, rushing to dodge the falling raindrops on that gray day in London. Suddenly, the pewter sky opened up, issuing stinging bullets of rain and sending the pedestrians along Carnaby Street diving for cover like so many ants. As it turns out, it wasn’t such a great day to debut my new miniskirt and Union Jack knee boots.
Relenting with a gentlemanly bow, he let me pass through the door of the pub. I smiled politely and rushed ahead. Automatically, my hands went to my hair, now soaked, patting to assess the status of my new flip hair cut. I looked a disaster I was sure. This day was not at all turning out as I’d hoped. Fresh away from last night’s row – the final one, I hoped – with Patrick, I’d decided to treat myself to a little something to cheer me up. Nothing like a shopping day and freshly done hair to perk up my spirits.
Belatedly, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my rainshower escape plan. Crammed cheek by jowl into the small space were a number of dripping, unhappy looking people. They occupied every chair at every table. As I weighed my options, the boy from the door scuffle touched my elbow. I turned to face him. I hoped my small gasp was inaudible as I caught sight of a sharp jaw and strong profile.
“There’s one last table in the corner. Do you see it there? With the chess board atop? I’ll go hold it for us. I figure you owe me a pint for being so gallant back there.” As he said it in his broad American accent, he smiled, straight white teeth shining while rivulets of rain dripped from his parted hair and down his cheek.
“Aren’t you cheeky?” I teased, shooing him toward the table and heading to the bar to order two pints.
I’d never bothered to learn the rules of chess. It seemed like such a dull, stuffy game relegated to the confines of an old aristocrat’s study. Over the next two hours, he taught me. Over pawns and knights, rooks and bishops, we began. At one point, studying his next move, chin resting on the board, I asked him if I could take his photograph. He was a perfect contrast of black and white – the meager sunlight highlighting his face just so. I knew it would be a perfect addition to next week’s exhibition at Camden. He consented.