Hatred hidden, p.1
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       Hatred. Hidden., p.1
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           Dan. C Thompson
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Hatred. Hidden.
Hatred. Hidden.

  Smoke & Dust Books

  Hatred. Hidden. © Dan Thompson 2016

  Author photographs © Alan Ball

  All rights reserved

  First published 2016 by Smoke & Dust Books

  First compiled and told within The Caseworker’s Memoirs first published 2013

  All characters, names and events featured in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to any person, organisation, place or thing, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form other than that in which it was purchased and without the written permission of the author.

  danthompsonauthor.com

  For Malcolm, I enjoyed our time together. I may revisit you, one day. For now, have a rest. You’ve deserved it.

  Also by Dan Thompson

  The Caseworker’s Memoirs

  Here Lies Love

  The Black Petal

  Ana’s Trial

  Life is all but a Vast Array of Colours

  Hatred. Hidden.

  Homosexuality exists in 450 species … Homophobia is found in only one.

  Unknown

  If people cared more about men holding guns than men holding hands the world would be a better place.

  Unknown

  The bronze bell jangled as the man opened the shop door and he ventured inside. It had been stiff to open; one of those old wooden doors, plaster flaking slightly, where you had to give it a shoulder shove. A sweet perfumed scent gently filled his nostrils, reminding him of his wife’s love of joss sticks. He smiled. At least this was a more natural aroma and didn’t cling to the back of this throat like acid reflux. Not that he could have admitted that to her. A clout round the ear would have been his reward for that smart comment, or perhaps a jab in the side.

  Mark tucked his hands into his smart black trousers, crease always ironed in, and surveyed the florist’s displays and shop floor. Cream lilies stood proud amongst a backdrop of delicate-looking freesia and violet chrysanthemums. Perhaps a little too understated. Not what he was after. He needed to make more of an announcement. She deserved it, he knew. Tall sunflowers caught his attention, goldenrod yellow, a particular favourite of hers. She would love them. They reminded him of their son’s school painting blu-tacked to the fridge.

  He wandered in, venturing past the terracotta-potted ferns and stopped at some scarlet poinsettias. The petals felt like mini velvet scarves. He envisioned a bunch, smiling from their elegant vase as the whole family tucked into a delicious Sunday meal. His stomach growled just thinking about the meal. Of course, there had to be homemade yorkshire puddings. It was Christmas after all.

  ‘Can I help you?’ A blonde assistant sprang up from behind the counter.

  Mark approached her, all smile and teeth. ‘Hi, erm … yes.’ He glanced for her name badge. ‘Shirley, store owner. That’s an original name. I’ve got to say, I would never have guessed Shirley.’ He leaned against the counter.

  Shirley beamed at him for a few moments as if not knowing how to respond. She blushed. ‘It was a nightmare when I was a teenager. I used to tell everyone I was Shelly. Now, it’s kinda retro, you know? My mum loved Are You Being Served? apparently.’

  ‘Right,’ Mark chuckled. He couldn’t help but eye her rotund face and unusually auburn eyes that seemed to illuminate the more she blushed. He couldn’t stifle the grin in knowing that, even though he used Just For Men occasionally, he still had it. And he was sure it had nothing to do with the liberal amounts of eau de toilette he drowned himself in the gym’s changing room half an hour earlier.

  ‘So,’ Shirley broke the silence, ‘anything I can help you with?’

  ‘I was hoping to buy my wife some flowers.’

  ‘Sure. Are they for a special occasion?’

  He shook his head. ‘I just fancied buying her a little something to make her smile.’

  ‘How nice of you! Did you have anything in mind?’

  It was only now, after he had taken his focus from her looks and tempting décolletage, that Mark realised she had a thick Australian accent. ‘Well actually,’ he said, walking back across the well-lit shop, ‘she does love sunflowers.’

  ‘Good choice, although nothing says I love you more than a dozen red roses. Perhaps you’d like a smell?’

  He leant towards the vase of roses she had slipped from one of the windowsills.

  ‘They smell wonderful,’ he lied. He couldn’t smell a single note. Perhaps the congregation of flora around the room stole their subtleness, but he did run a finger over the petals. ‘Are they not a tad bit too predictable though?’

  ‘Maybe a little,’ she admitted. ‘But you know, no woman can resist a tall, handsome man bearing roses.’

  ‘OK.’ He succumbed to the woman’s flirty charm and pulled out his wallet. ‘I’ll take them.’

 
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