Through The Eyes of a Lens
The Starting Chapter
Recently I decided to enter a competition held by Mills & Boon in search of new faces to write for them. I don't like the genre that most Mills & Boon books are based on, but one category was listed as Passion, were characters had to be made of flesh and bones; and portray a more testing relationship than the normal romantic dribble they usually require.
The closing day for entries was 13th October and 1079 entries were submitted to the judges. Needless to say I didn't make the top 20, who were invited to submit a second chapter. But encouraged by a score of 58-65% over the month before judging, I have decided to work the story further to see if I can turn it around.
Below is my re-edited 1st chapter. I would love to know what your thoughts are. Please be honest.
“Angela, you are Angela, yes...?” “I would really appreciate a cup of coffee please, would you mind?”
“No not at all Mr Jessop, will you take coffee in your studio, or shall I take it into the office for you?”
“The office will do fine thank you, hot with two sugars and no cream please”
Angela recalled those first words as if they had been spoken yesterday. As smooth as chocolate with a deep velvety overtone, simply delicious; from that minute onwards, no matter what, she knew her life would never be the same.
Alan Jessop was chief of photography at the Jessop Agency, a family owned photographic modelling business, with an excellent portfolio of clients; which included the extremely gorgeous and multi talented award winning model, Audra Griffiths.
The time had flown by since those first few words had been spoken.Angela was no beauty compared to some of the agencies clients. She had fiery red hair, which she regularly teased into tussles of curls, which were complimented with huge emerald green eyes.She was considered to be far too short for a model, standing at 5’ 4” and a curvy size 12. But Alan thought that she had a certain charm about her, not like the models that he photographed every day, but he found her curves alluring, sensual, and when she threw back her head to laugh, her eyes sparkled and she showed such inner beauty that she took his breath away.
The relationship was very slow at the beginning, to put it finely; it was shunt and stop, hardly a relationship at all.
“Good morning Mr Jessop, you have a heavy schedule today. I hope that you will find time to take a lunch break. Audra will be in shortly after 12pm, and we all know how demanding and tiresome she can be,” Angela followed Mr Jessop into his office with her note pad in hand.
“Huh, you can say that again Angela, be a dear sweet girl and run down to the bakery. I would love a vanilla slice. Oh to heck with it, buy the entire office a vanilla slice each, I am feeling generous this morning.”
“Certainly Sir, what about a sandwich too, you can nibble it between takes?”
Mr Jessop nodded in Angela’s direction, and he smiled at the sweetness of her nature. Her smile was infectious; she always brightened up his day. In fact he thought that it was fair to say that recently he was glad to see her in the office every morning.
He shocked himself with his initial outburst, “Angela, forget the sandwich, book a table for two at Genesis for four o’clock,”
“Will do, just the vanilla slices then?”
Angela glanced backwards in Mr Jessop’s direction as she headed down the flight of stairs and into the grey morning outside. Her heart skipped a beat as she recalled the sight of his firm little bum in those tight cream Chino trousers that he was wearing, the hairs on his chest just tantalising her senses over the buttons of his dark blue shirt.
“Oh how glorious the park looks today;” Angela spoke quietly to herself. The bluebell woods, a splendour of blue and lavender hue; those sweetly scented bell shaped flowers dancing on the fresh breeze. Angela paused just long enough to smell the richness of a fresh summer’s day, filling her lungs with such deep breaths of the magical aromas surrounding her as she walked alone in the park. She tried to recall the first time that she had ever spoken with Alan.She had adored him from afar, and hoped that eventually, one day he would pay attention to her; but he was surrounded by glorious woman in the modelling profession daily.
“Oh if only,” she blushed with embarrassment as she realised that she was standing in the queue in the bakery store. “Twelve vanilla slices please, ohhhh and can I have that lovely crusty bap filled with ham and cream cheese please and give me some pineapple too?”
“You little fat pig Angela,” she smiled after whispering to herself, “No wonder Alan does not fancy you.”
Just the very thought of his name made her grin from ear to ear, and even the fine mizzle soaking her hair could not dampen her spirits.
Angela was just approaching the office; when she observed the limousine carrying Audra pull up in front of the studio. Audra Griffiths marched swiftly into the building, her blond hair tied up in a bun showed off her tiny features to their best advantage. Angela considered Audra to be a stick insect who must live on lettuce leaves and little more. But she was truly beautiful, her pale skin was like porcelain, and her dark blue eyes shone like stars in the dark night. It was just a great pity that she had the personality of a hippopotamus. There was something very unattractive about Audra’s nature.
“Hang my coat up doll,” she threw her coat onto Angela’s desk, with little respect for the coffee streaming from the cup, as she knocked it over with her coat. Angela’s eyes flashed wild with fury.
“Stuck up cow, who does she think she is, talking to me like that? Hang my coat up doll, coffee please doll, go to the shop baby face, huh stupid bitch.” But Angela knew not to voice her opinion. Audra was the most demanded and highest paid model in the industry, commanding thousands of pounds per photo shoot. She was simply the hinge pin on which her continued employment depended upon.
Alan smiled at her as he passed her desk, “Calm down, it is only for a couple of hours.”There it was again, that velvety voice that caused her to feel weak at the knees, and her heart to race.
“Be sure to be ready to clear your desk by 4pm, I don’t like being kept waiting.”
“But I don’t leave until five ,” Angela was shocked, and followed him with her eyes to the cloakroom.
Had she heard him correctly, he had told her to be ready for 4pm hadn’t he?Angela thought again, he had told HER to be ready for 4pm. “Oh my god, I must be dreaming, surely not me?”
Angela stood dazed for a moment, not daring to move, not daring to breath. Her skin began to tingle all over in anticipation of being alone with Alan. Well as alone as two people could be in a crowded restaurant.
“Hey doll, coffee please.” It was Audra’s voice that shattered the moment. Angela, almost as if on auto pilot made her way into the small kitchen on the upper floor of the building. Closing the kitchen door behind her, her thoughts ventured ahead as she could see herself sipping from her glass of white wine in the candlelight, while sitting in the luxuriously appointed Genesis restaurant, gazing lustfully into Alan’s deep tantalising brown eyes. She could feel him take her hand and caress it between both of his as he talked of never ending love and passion. She could feel the warmth from his breath tickle her cheek as he leaned towards her to whisper in her ear. That yearning pulsed between her thighs, and she could feel the heat of her bodily flush wave over her.
“Angela, where is Audra’s coffee ?” her special moment was rudely interrupted by Eleanor the receptionist shouting up the stairs.
“Coming now, I won’t be a minute. The kettle has just boiled.” “Damn that, ouch,” the rolling steam from the kettle scolded her finger tips.
That blond haired bimbo had interrupted her chain of thought again. Angela wondered if she could get away with throwing the hot coffee in Audra’s lap. But instead, she shook her hair and applied a little more pale pink lipstick as she gazed into the mirror above the dining table, grimacing until she could force a smile on her face.
Audra, your coffee is ready; Mr Jessop has treated us all to a vanilla slice today, would you like one?”
“Certainly not,” Audra snapped “how do you think I keep my stunning figure, stupid girl. I am not the most beautiful and talented model in the industry because I eat vanilla slices .” Audra looked at Angela with deep contempt in her eyes.
“Oh, yes of course, I am so sorry.” Angela was hurt by the sharpness of Audra’s tone, and turned to walk away just as Audra draped herself all over Alan like delicious melting vanilla ice-cream.
“Alan darling .......”
Angela gazed on and felt sick with fear. She was convinced that Audra would take Alan away, and that he would never be hers.