By the time she arrived …

Today’s writing prompt and my response.

Day one for this week. Use the prompt however you like, one at a time, or pen a short story over as many as you like.
By the time she arrived …

By the time she arrived, the pub heaved with well wishers. Loud chat, clink of glasses, mingled scents of martinis, beer and wine. Louise stretched up on her toes and lifted her chin to search the crowd. The extra inch helped. Kate’s red curls were visible at a corner table, hemmed in by men in smart open-necked shirts and women with tousled hair and sharply cut jackets. She breathed in, counted to five, and wriggled her shoulders.

Pump at a bar

‘Excuse me, excuse me.’ Louise squeezed her five feet frame between oblivious, sweating bodies to the bar. It was an age before a bartender got to her, during which she tapped her phone on the shiny wood and kept a steely gaze fixed on the closest of them. A technique learned from Kate.

‘It generally works,’ Kate had told her on an early outing. ‘It’s like hypnosis, like your silent message is getting through to them, eventually.’ She laughed and Louise’s heart laughed with her.

Drinks in hand, balancing this way and that to minimise spillage, she squirmed her way towards the corner. The crowd around Kate was three deep, people sitting on laps at the table, others standing or, by this time and volume of drinks, leaning against each other.

‘Lou! You made it!’

Kate’s warm smile was just for her. Louise soaked it in, sunshine after rain. Silently, she returned it with a fixed gaze, her own hypnotic message.

Kate reached out her arm, her smile contracting briefly before blossoming more widely. ‘Is that for me?’

Louise lifted the glass, and the man between them passed it to its new owner with a grin which stretched his sculpted cheeks in a manner made for melting female hearts.

‘None for me?’ he asked, a glint in his brilliant green eyes. ‘None for the happy fiance?’

Louise’s gaze turned on him, sending a new message. He blinked, turned away, shaking his head. Louise smiled, smug. That one had got through.

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