Special Delivery !
Waiting in for an important parcel to arrive can be so frustrating when it's not delivered on time.
Oh, for goodness sake! An irritated Millie glanced up at the clock ticking softly, yet disturbing the silence of the room.
On her phone, the screenshot of the message her younger sister Shannon had forwarded to her earlier that day read; ‘We have your parcel, please expect your delivery between 17:00 and 20:00’. Well it was now nearly twenty past eight!
‘Track your parcel and get the latest updates on your expected delivery time using our app’ well she couldn’t do that, as her annoyance rose, she didn’t have the app and was disinclined to download it onto her phone just to find out when a parcel, which wasn’t hers, would be delivered.
Shannon had asked Millie to pop over to her house for a few hours and wait in for her parcel.
“It’s the golden wedding anniversary gift I bought for Auntie Pat and Uncle Tom.” Shannon began, “so a much more important parcel than usual.”
Anticipating it to have been delivered earlier in the day, Shannon had planned to work from home for several hours so she could be there when it arrived.
However, that idea fell through when Shannon received her latest estimated time slot for delivery.
Working as a sales executive for a thriving company, Shannon’s job role involved attending important business meetings, which she had later that afternoon and really couldn’t cancel.
“Millie, you’re the only person I can ask, no one else is available...”
Millie finished work earlier on Fridays, so Shannon prayed that her sister, hadn’t planned anything special and would be able to house sit until her parcel turned up.
“I know it’s short notice, but this meeting I have at four is so important. I really do need you to be there!” Shannon explained.
“You know what these delivery guys are like,” she continued, “they leave parcels outside, on show for the whole world to see. Anyone can go by and help themselves to it!”
She couldn’t possibly trust the delivery driver to place it somewhere ‘safe’ if no one was home.
“Please Millie!” in her ‘I am your sister’ pleading voice, “its not like you ever go anywhere of an evening...”
No of course not! Aggrieved by those words, Millie hadn’t made any official plans, but Shannon shouldn’t just assume.
Millie had several friends, many of whom, like herself, were approaching thirty but had young families of their own now, so they rarely met up as much as they did.
Her recent split with James after three years, when he calmly announced he had met someone else, also meant she wasn’t out as often as before, and no, she wasn’t going to start online dating either; a suggestion Shannon often made in an attempt to get her out of the house more.
Not all evenings were spent home alone, contrary to what Shannon believed, Millie didn’t shut herself away every evening; she did invite friends to dinner and there were the occasional nights out, not to mention the keep fit classes Millie attended a couple times a week.
However, Millie did admit that the most exciting social event she regularly did on a Friday evening was a trip to the supermarket for the weekly shop; and that evening was no exception. But that still didn’t give Shannon the right to make assumptions or imply she was virtually a hermit!
Put out by Shannon’s comment, Millie would normally have stood her ground and made her excuses if it hadn’t been an expensive family gift Shannon was expecting.
“Well, as its Auntie Pat and Uncle Tom’s present...” Millie felt she couldn’t really refuse, as Shannon did have a valid point.
“Thank you! You are a life saver!” A relieved Shannon replied. “I owe you dinner! We shall go out to dinner, at the restaurant of your choice!”
Of course..., thought Millie, remembering Shannon ‘owed her dinner’ from last time she did her a favour...
Arriving just before four forty-five, Millie let herself in. The small modern house was usually immaculate, but Shannon had left the kitchen in a mess, plates and dishes lined every surface; Shannon had notably been far too occupied with more important things, than to find the time to tackle the mundane domestic duties. So Millie spent the early part of the evening cleaning up the mess.
OK, she wasn’t obliged to clear up after her sister, but she couldn’t just sit around and read the book she brought with her for company, when she could wash a few dishes and tidy up the surfaces.
With a passion for reading, there was nothing she liked more than spending some evenings curled up with a glass of wine and a good book.
Her job as a librarian in the local library was the perfect job for Millie; she had access to thousands of books which she could borrow and read to her hearts content.
Thankfully she had recently exchanged books for new unread ones, which she took with her that afternoon.
As time crept by, pages had been turned and several chapters had been read, Millie glanced again towards the clock and realised how late it had become.
She stood up and moved across to the window and peered through the curtains, it had got dark and not a headlight to be seen in the quiet residential street her sister lived in.
Annoyance morphed to concern now, what had happened to that parcel? Surely the delivery driver didn’t leave it outside without ringing the doorbell or knocking?
Millie wandered into the hallway and opened the front door. No parcel and not a soul in sight.
Oh no! A sudden thought entered her head; maybe he had delivered it to the wrong address? Knowing Shannon had ordered an exquisite clock for their aunt and uncle, she wondered if she ought to download the delivery company app to find out exactly where it was.
She strolled back into the living room and picked up her phone, should she just message Shannon and ask her to look on her app to see where it was?
Shannon was probably too busy to notice her messages anyway; she hadn’t even bothered to message Millie to find out if the clock had arrived safely, or give any indication of when she expected to get back.
Suddenly the bell shrilled, making her jump.
Thank god for that! As she leapt up from the sofa and charged to the door, opening it up to a tall man possibly in his thirties with a shock of brown hair.
“Five o’clock to eight you were supposed to deliver!” she chided, “it is now eight-thirty!...”
“Woah!” the man interrupted, a startled look swept across his face as he raised his hands to calm her. “I’m not the delivery guy.”
“Oh! Oh I’m so sorry!” she placed her hand to her mouth, embarrassed at her sudden outburst. “er - Shannon’s not here, she shouldn’t be too late.” Millie guessed he was one of Shannon’s army of friends who she regularly met up with. Her sister, still the carefree, high spirited girl she had always been, was frequently catching up with one or several of her many friends.
“I’m not here to see Shannon” the man began, “but I do have a parcel for her.
“I’ve only just noticed your lights are on. I assumed no one was in until now.” Handing her the large brown box he held in his arms he continued, “it arrived a couple hours ago. I saw the delivery guy walking up the drive, her car wasn’t there so I asked him if I could take it in for her, as I know she works long hours”. He explained. “I’m really sorry for not checking you were in sooner, or taking it from the driver in the first place. It was wrong of me...” he genuinely looked upset by his actions; he was only ensuring her parcel was safe.
A pang of guilt surged through Millie from her outburst, her face softened and smiled at him.
“Please don’t apologise, I should be the one to say sorry. Thank you so much for taking it in for us, I was just a bit concerned, it’s an expensive anniversary present...”
“Let me introduce myself” he interrupted, “I’m Ben, Shannon’s neighbour.”
“Millie, I’m her sister.”
As she studied him, he seemed strangely familiar somehow, until Millie suddenly realised he was the guy from across the road, when on a number of occasions she had dropped by, she had seen him opposite. They had both exchanged a smile, nod or a wave.
Millie couldn’t deny she hadn’t given those lingering glances a second thought, even though they had spoken barely more than a hello.
She would have been the first to admit she had found him quite attractive and had always hoped to see him when she had been visiting her sister.
“Yes I know who you are, I’ve seen you here many times, Shannon mentions you - often…” he spoke softly, accentuating the word ‘often’, as he studied her.
A warm glow flushed within her, aware of his eyes on her, his words captured her attention; had he enquired about her to Shannon or had she just mentioned Millie to him in passing?
It must have been the latter, as Shannon did like to chat about everything and anything to everyone she knew.
If Ben had been asking after her, Shannon would have certainly mentioned it!
As for Ben noticing her visits; well it was a small quiet street, he must notice all his neighbours visitors, she firmly decided, in an attempt to steady her rapidly increasing heart beat.
She swallowed and cleared her throat to enable her to find her voice...
“Well, now that our aunt and uncle’s anniversary gift is safely here, I guess I’m free to go!” Millie spoke brightly, relieved that the possible mislaid parcel was now no longer a worry, but also hoping he wouldn’t notice the sudden affect he was having on her.
“So, what are your plans now?” Ben enquired.
“Oh, nothing special...” aware it was far too late to go food shopping now. “I only had a date with a shopping trolley!” she laughed, as she noticed how lovely his eyes were close up.
“Well”, he spoke softly, “the supermarket may be closing soon, but there are plenty of places which aren’t. I’m sure the shopping trolley will assume you are now no longer spending the evening with it”, he joked, “so how about letting me buy you a drink instead? To apologise for ruining your evening?
“If I had actually checked earlier that someone was here?”
Finding it hard to resist, a flame suddenly ignited within her, as the evening suddenly felt promising at the thought of spending the rest of it getting to know her sister’s neighbour - Ben, properly.
“OK if you insist, as you allowed me to stand up my ‘date’!” smiled Millie, “I’m sure trolley wouldn’t mind if it was postponed until tomorrow.”
“Great!” his face lit up. “There’s a really nice place just ten minute walk away which I often pop into, have you eaten? They do food too, if you’re hungry that is”. As his eyes met hers once more.
Aware it had been hours since she had last eaten and with not much food in her cupboards at home, that sounded like a good option.
“I am actually, I’ll just grab my things!”
She packed her bag, pulled on her coat and stepped out into the quiet residential street; the street where she first saw Ben, who was now smiling down at her as they chatted.
Like, Shannon’s parcel, now safely placed on the kitchen table; the wedding anniversary gift to celebrate two people who were lucky to have found each other all those years ago. Millie wondered if today would be lucky for her too, maybe like her aunt and uncle, this too would be the beginning of something just as special...?
About the Creator
..Suddenly I crash back down to earth with a big almighty bump!
...when not in a dolly daydream, creative me is at home in the UK doing the normal everyday mundane jobs, that seem to go on forever...until the daydreaming kicks in again...
Nice story. Well done.