The Contest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: All Star Story Writers

Chapter 10 (v.1) - OPENING CEREMONY

Submitted: October 13, 2016

Reads: 206

Comments: 3

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Submitted: October 13, 2016

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As patron of the Cyber Society for Sick Children, I had been asked to officially open a new ward at Tahoma Hospital, and Scott was due to accompany me.

As it was our first 'date', I made a real effort with my appearance. Courtesy of 'Bouncy Curls' hair serum, I managed to transform my unruly frizz into glossy curls. For the occasion I chose a smart knee length red jersey dress, purchased on line from cheapfrocks4u.cyb, which looked equally as stylish as a Vanessa Vandetta creation, but at a fraction of the price.

I met Scott outside in the court yard where a taxi waited to take us to the hospital.

He was wearing a smart light grey suit with a white shirt and red tie, which, coincidentally matched the colour of my dress! His gorgeous blue eyes shone with enthusiasm. “Wow,” I thought.

“You look lovely Eemay,” he said, eyeing me with admiration. He hesitated for a moment, a deep frown creasing his brow. “What do you want me to do this morning? After the lecture your father gave us both last night, I’m worried I might say or do something I will regret.”

“Look Scott, I know Pop said what he did for all the right reasons, but I really want you to support me during our visit this morning, and to be involved with the children we will meet. You won’t be able to do that if you’re worried about saying or doing the right thing, so just relax, and be yourself.”

Relief instantly washed the worried frown from his face. “Thanks Eemay, I feel better already. Let’s get going.”

I hate being late and had booked a taxi in plenty of time to travel the short distance to the hospital, forgetting all about the road-works causing long delays. Consequently, the journey took much longer than anticipated and we eventually arrived half an hour late.

A crowd had already assembled in the reception area to witness the opening ceremony and the press were waiting with their cameras poised. A commemorative plaque hung on the wall, concealed by curtains, ready to be revealed.

I hurriedly took my place beside the plaque and took hold of the cord, ready to pull back the curtains.

“On behalf of the Cyber Society for Sick Children, I have pleasure in declaring the Apple Ward open,” I announced, tugging on the cord to reveal the hidden plaque, but there must have been something wrong with the curtain track, as they refused to budge. I tugged again, this time more forcefully, but still they refused to open. In desperation, I tried to force them open with my hands, but to no avail. I looked around in embarrassment, my face now as scarlet as my dress, but everyone just stood staring in silent expectation. I was so embarrassed, I just wanted the ground to swallow me up, and to make matters worse the paparazzi were loving it, their cameras capturing my embarrassment with brazen enthusiasm.

Realising my predicament, Scott bounded over to my rescue, took hold of the cord and gently pulled. As if by magic, the curtains parted and everyone cheered and clapped. I heaved a massive sigh of relief and even managed to force my face into a wide smile for the flashing cameras.

Scott did his best to reassure me. “Don't worry Emm, you were on edge because we were late, and must have tugged too hard, but worse things happen, so just forget it.”

As I met his gaze he winked impishly and I felt my heart flutter.

When the formalities were over, we were escorted on a tour of the new ward.

Scott was an instant hit with the children, going out of his way to make every single one of them feel special.

He spotted a little boy crying, and went straight over to comfort him.

“I can't finish my jigsaw because there's a piece missing,” he wailed.

“Let's have a look,” Scott said, proceeding to search the area.

After pretending to find it from behind the boy's right ear, he handed it to him. “There you are, you can finish it now.”

Triumphantly, the child slotted the missing piece into place, then slapped Scott's raised hand in a 'high five'.

He then went over to a little girl, busily painting at a desk. “That looks interesting, is it a self-portrait?”

“Don’t be silly, it’s a clown can’t you tell?”

“Oh yes, I can see it now. Well, would you like me to try to paint your portrait?”

She handed him the brush and a blank sheet of paper. “You can try.”

“Do you think you can sit still long enough for me do it?”

“Of course I can,” she said, settling herself into a comfortable ‘pose’.

He began to paint, glancing back and forth at every stroke of the brush, and a short while later handed it over. He had perfectly captured her dark soulful eyes, thick dark shiny plaits tied with bright red bows, and her brightly coloured apron.

“That's amazing,” she said, parading the painting around the ward for everyone to see.

Finally, he went over to a young girl sitting on the side of her bed.

“Pick a card,” he said, holding out a pack of cards he had carefully arranged, face down, in the shape of a fan. She slowly ran her fingers over the edges, before plucking one out.

A crowd of curious onlookers had gathered. “Right, I need you to remember your card, and then put it back anywhere in the pack, face down, so I can't see it. But before you do, while I close my eyes, I want you to show it to all the girls and boys here.

After a few seconds, and with mounting excitement, she said, “It’s OK you can open your eyes now.”

“Right, now choose one of the other children to shuffle the cards for you.”

A line of hands suddenly shot up in the air, accompanied by a chorus of “me, me, me.”

She gave the pack to an eager little boy, who began to shuffle them awkwardly dropping some on the floor, before gathering them up and handing them back.

“So, now it’s time reveal your card.” She handed him the pack, and Scott began to deal them out, one by one on her bedside table, with the eyes of all the onlookers glued to him. “Is this your card?” he asked, after revealing the ten of hearts. His question was answered by gasps, followed by cheering and clapping.

“How did you do that?” the girl asked.

“Ah, it's a secret, and if I tell you it won't be a secret any longer.”

The girl looked up at him with disappointed eyes. “Please tell me how you did it.”

He bent down beside her, whispered intently into her ear, and handed her the pack of cards. “So now it's a secret between the two of us, right?”

Her amber eyes shone. “Right,” she said.

The visit had been a huge success. Scott had, without doubt, been the star attraction, effortlessly delighting the children, who were so upset when we finally had to leave.

“Please don’t go, just stay a bit longer, please,” they begged.

Blowing kisses and waving madly, we finally left.

“You were just brilliant with those kids.”

“Perhaps it's because I'm still a big kid myself,” he laughed.

When we arrived back at the palace, Nettie came running over, wagging happily.

“Ah Scott, let me introduce you,” I said scooping her into my arms.

“Hello Nettie,” he said, stroking her domed head and fondling her soft ears. Nettie responded by attempting to lick his face enthusiastically. “She’s so cute, why don’t we take her for a walk.”

“I’m sorry Scott, but I have to go over to the mini zoo to feed the animals.”

“Why don’t I help you?”

“OK, but only if you really want to.”

We quickly got changed, stuffed our pockets with treats for the animals and made our way over to the compound. Predictably, as I approached, all the animals grew more and more excited at the prospect of feed time.  Pixel and Digit came trotting over to see what delights were on offer. They soon crunched their way lustily through handfuls of chopped carrots, before calmly and contentedly munching on the hay we put down for them.

Next to come waddling over were Nettle, Clover, Dandelion and Burdock, the cutest little pygmy goats. They pushed up their eager little noses to some branches covered in luscious leaves that Scott held out towards them, tearing at them hungrily with their sharp little teeth, stripping the branches bare in seconds.

Then it was over to the rabbit hutch to meet Primrose and Daisy, two overweight lop-eared rabbits. Daisy is notorious for her displays of affection, so I suggested he ask her for a kiss.

“You are joking?”

“Look, watch me. Daisy, kiss, kiss, kiss,” I whispered. She immediately lifted up her furry, twitchy little nose and very gently touched my cheek. “There, she loves it,” I said, setting her food down and watching her dive into it.

“Well, I’ve never seen that before. As lovely as she is, I think I’ll leave the kissing to you.”

Greedy guinea pigs, Saffron, Sage, Basil and Pepper were campaigning noisily for their food. Scott stood staring into the pen, intrigued. “They look as if they’re on wheels, like remote control toys.”

“Now you mention it, they do seem to glide around. It’s because their tiny legs are hidden under their big fat tummies.”

The noise ceased the instant I placed the food in the pen, and, as if someone had pressed the fast forward button, they scurried towards it as fast as their little legs would take them.

I then handed Scott a bag of stale crusts knowing exactly the effect it would have, before retreating to a safe distance to watch the scene.

Squawking ducks, Jasmine and Florence together with hissing geese, Monty, Merlin and Major, charged straight for him, a mad mob of flapping feathers and snapping beaks all determined to get their fair share of the bread. As they advanced, I could tell he was doing his best to appear bold and fearless, but he was no match for the ferocious feathery fiends, and suddenly hurled the contents of the bag high into the air, and ran for cover.

“You horror, you set me up well and truly for that.”

“I couldn’t resist it, they do it every time. You should have seen the look on your face.”

Tame hens Tulip and Hyacinth, continued to wander calmly around the compound, contentedly pecking at some seeds on the ground, no doubt wondering what all the fuss was about.

When all the pets had been fed and watered we took Nettie for her walk, strolling through the fields under the hot summer sun towards the lake, where we lay on the soft grass under the welcome shade of a big old mashlok tree.

Scott picked up a nearby stick. “Fetch,” he ordered, skimming it expertly across the lake with Nettie bounding after it. Dripping wet she returned and dropped it at his feet, barking madly for him repeat the process. When she had had enough, she proceeded to shake herself vigorously from head to tail, drenching Scott, who was lying on the grass nearby.

“Thanks for that Nettie, I could use a cold shower but not one that smells of wet dog.”

He was grinning boyishly, water dripping down his face.

“You know Scott, it’s been an incredible day. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.”

“Oh Emm, I wish I had, but in truth it's been one of the worst days of my entire life.”

I looked up at him shocked and stunned. “But I thought we were…”

“Only joking, I couldn’t resist it, you should have seen the look on your face!  I think that makes it one all,” he said, with a wicked wink.

Hand in hand we made our way back to the palace with Nettie trailing behind, carrying a huge stick in her mouth.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Hugh placed his cyPad on a table, stood up, stretched and ambled over to the leaded window overlooking the courtyard .A knot tightened in his stomach at the sight that greeted him.

He stood transfixed as he watched Scott and Eemay walking hand in hand, laughing together and looking lovingly into each other's eyes.

Oh Scott you fool. Do you really think the princess will fall for you? Well you have me to contend with and I never lose at anything!

 


© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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