He opened the door …

Today’s writing prompt and my response.

First day of this week’s challenge!
He opened the door to find her standing there, crying.

He opened the door to find her standing there, crying.

A young woman, a girl really, slim, dressed in jeans and an old-fashioned winter coat, straight out of the 50s. Dark, untidy curls fell across her face. He had no idea who she was, or why she was at his door. And he didn’t want to know why she was crying.

‘What is it? Where have you come from?’ He peered around the plane tree in its deepening puddle of fallen gold and red leaves to the rural lane beyond. ‘Has there been an accident?’

She brought a sodden cotton handkerchief to her nose, shook her head.

cat in house door way

‘Then what?’

His cat appeared at his feet, wound herself around the girl, who bent to offer her hand to the animal. The cat sniffed and wandered back inside.

‘A lost dog?’ he said. So he did want to know. His soft heart would always take over his brain.

‘No, no.’ She gulped back another sob. ‘I’ve come so far, to find you and ….

‘Find me?’ It was freezing on the doorstep, and the warmth from the house was escaping into the chilly dusk. He should send her on her way, but she was alone, distressed, and night was coming. He sighed, a foreboding that he’d regret this settling in his gut. ‘You better come in, tell me what you’re talking about.’

He stood aside, and she stepped in after him. He closed the door and turned back to her, gesturing to the opening into the living room.

‘Come in here, sit down, and talk,’ he said. Another thought hit him, which must have been the foreboding. She wasn’t going to open her mouth and call him Daddy, was she? He squinted at her, trying to make out her age. It was hard. The crying had bloated her face, making her appear little more than a tear-stained child. But she wore some makeup, and when she took her coat off, the shape of her body told him she was at least a teenager.

She draped the coat over the arm of the settee and sat next to it. Her tears had dried, and now she stared at him with something like wonder.

He squirmed. What on earth?

‘What on earth,  or rather who on earth, are you? And why are you here, staring at me like that?’

She blushed, looked away. ‘It’s a long story and you might not believe me.’ She grinned, and again he was confused because that grin was so open, so child-like.

He sat opposite her in his own comfortable chair, after first lifting the now sleeping cat to his lap. ‘Then I guess you better start.’

The story carries on here.

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