Book Beginnings – 14th October 2021

Book beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader and it is a chance to share the first sentence or so of a book you’ve reading, about to read or recently read.

The book I’d like to share this week is ‘The Last House on The Street’ by Diane Chamberlain. One of my current reads…

I’m in the middle of a call with a contractor when Natalie, our new administrative assistant, pokes her head into my office. I put the call on hold.

“This woman is in the foyer and she says she has an eleven o’clock appointment with you, but I don’t have her on your calendar.” She looks worried, as though afraid she’s already screwed up. “Ann Smith?”

The name is unfamiliar. “I don’t have any appointments today,” I say, glancing at the time on my phone. Eleven-oh-five. I should see the woman in case the screwup is on my end. I’ve only been back to work a couple of weeks and don’t completely trust myself to think straight yet. “You can send her in.”

A woman appears at my open office door as I wrap up my call and get to my feet. She’s not at all my usual client—those thirty- or fortysomethings who’ve amassed enough money to build the home of their dreams. No, Ann Smith looks closer to sixty-five or seventy, though she appears to be fighting her age with vivid red shoulder-length hair. She wears mirrored sunglasses that mask her eyes, but nothing can camouflage the way her red lipstick bleeds into the lines around her mouth.

“Ann Smith?” I ask, smiling and curious as I reach out to shake her hand. “I’m Kayla Carter. Please come in and have a seat. I didn’t have you on my schedule today—something must have fallen through the cracks—but I have about half an hour. What can I do for you?”

She doesn’t return my smile as she sits down in the red Barcelona chair I offer her. I wish she’d remove her sunglasses. I see only my warped reflection instead of her eyes. It’s disconcerting.

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