Christmas at the Foyle’s Bookshop – Elaine Roberts

Today’s post is a reminder that Christmas is on its way and how better the spend those cold wet nights snuggled up with a cuppa and this fantastic read…

Victoria’s black shoes clipped the red and black floor tiles as she stepped towards the
doorway of the shop. She stopped and looked over her shoulder at the table where she
had just been sitting with Mr Leadbetter. There was no evidence that they had been
there or of the conversation that had taken place. She hoped she wouldn’t let him
down. A tingle ran through her and a smile lit up her face; she was going to be a floor
manager. She had the urge to jump up and down, clapping her hands. She couldn’t
wait to tell Daisy later, or write to let Stephen know. It would be good to have some
real news in her nightly letters to her brother. Victoria wondered if her parents would have been proud of the three of them. She blinked quickly; of course they would. Her hand slid inside her black skirt pocket. Her slender fingers came into immediate
contact with the crumpled envelope. Taking a deep breath, Victoria pulled back her
shoulders, lifting her head slightly, ready to step through the doorway. Voices filtered
through to the staff area. She froze. Would she know what to do? Her eyes widened.
She folded her arms across her waist, gripping her sides tightly, crumpling the soft
cotton in her fists. Victoria shook her head. Alice or Molly had better experience to do
this job. She had only sat in the payment booth.
A man’s gravel voice reached her. ‘I see the newspapers are saying the Germans
are on the retreat.’ His words were quickly followed by several deep coughs.
‘Let’s hope so,’ a deep voice responded. ‘It’s been nearly three years now and the
longer it goes on, the less chance there is of my sons coming home—’
‘Are you all right?’ a woman’s frail voice interrupted. ‘Shall I get someone?’
The coughing and wheezing continued.
Without a thought, Victoria rushed into the shop, not noticing the gathering of
people watching the scene in front of her. She grabbed one of the many wooden
slatted chairs that were scattered around the edges of the shop, for the man to sit on.
‘Sit still and I’ll get you some water.’ Rushing back into the staff area, she quickly
turned on the cold tap. The water gushed noisily into the sink, drenching everything in
its path, including her white blouse. ‘Damn.’ Victoria jumped to the side and quickly
turned down the tap, before filling a clean cup. She stared down at her wet blouse,
hoped no one would notice it then she rushed back into the shop. The man’s hacking cough was causing some customers to stop and stare, while
others shook their heads and continued about their business.

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