Chapter 3

Written by: Donna McTavish

Lucy wrapped her perfectly manicured hands around a glass of golden wine and moved it in a long slow circle, watching the liquid curl around the bowl. The afternoon light had disappeared and the streets were busy with people going home. Toby was the most perfect companion she thought. When the Prosecco had disappeared he had ordered a bottle of chardonnay and a plate of salt and pepper squid, not her favourite but she had a reputation to uphold even if he was just her uncle, so she had nibbled delicately and swallowed quickly. She marvelled at the wine in her glass and imagined dancing in a delicate swirling chiffon dress in the same rich colour. 


“…. and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Lucy brought her attention back to Toby.


“You’re kidding, right? You’re talking about LA. The city of beautiful people. Rich people.” She lowered her eyes and smiled the way she knew Trent liked. God, was she flirting? Must be the wine she thought. Get a grip.


“Rich yes,” Toby was saying, “beautiful, maybe on the outside, sometimes, but not inside. It’s a snake pit”. He took a mouthful  of wine and looked at her, his gaze catching hers and holding it longer than he politely should. She didn’t flinch, just raised her eyebrows a fraction and sipped her wine.


“I met some interesting people, that’s for sure. One time I was in the line waiting for coffee and one of the Kardashians came in. Don’t know which one but she had kids with her, and a big guy, a bodyguard I guess. In LA it happens all the time, no one pays attention except the photographers.”

Lucy bit her bottom lip and opened her eyes wider, willing him to continue.


“And there was that time when I was walking the hill trails and who should come past but Taylor Swift, at least I think it was her. Sure looked like her under her hoodie and glasses.”


Toby was showing off, reeling off stories to impress her, and she was easily impressed. She thought about how dull her life was and looked at him with undisguised longing.  


She imagined the sparkling ocean and smart shopping boulevards lined with palm trees that scraped the sky, glamorous people drinking champagne in rooftop bars, and days of poolside sunshine and she didn’t see him refill her glass, or slide his hand across the table until he let his fingers rest heavily on top of hers. His nails were short and clean, and his hands were square and ringless.  


“Are you going back there, to LA?”  She tried to keep her voice steady but to her ears she sounded desperate. “I could come.” Now she sounded pathetic.


He cupped her hand in his broad palms and lifted it to his lips. 


“Maybe,” he said,  “but first we have something to talk about”.


He placed her hand gently on the table.


 “I’m not your real uncle.”


This chapter subtly shows up Lucy's naivete. In the first paragraph we see the things that impress and how easily she has fallen under Toby's spell. She is lured to the dream of LA and its superficiality. This gives us insight into the character. And when he explains he is not her real uncle we can see her not reading the true intent of this man...Excellent insight into the layers of a character. We might even be tempted to laugh at where her misguided dreams might take her but for the possible consequences of her silliness. Beautifully done Donna
A lovely piece of work that had me leave my office chair for the setting neatly described here. What attracted me was the ease with which we switch from one character to another and then draw back and look at the situation through Lucy's world. And just to finish we snap back into reality and join the real world and guess at what Toby is up to. Nice one, Donna.