A picture may be worth a thousand words… but will Carrie understand the meaning?
“Look,” said Carrie. “This one’s of me in the pub, this one’s of me on the sun lounger at home, and this one’s of me at that Chinese restaurant in town on Saturday night.”
She flicked through the photos on her phone, showing them off to her friend Beth as they both stood behind the counter of the shop where they worked.
“Who’s that?” Beth said, pointing to one of the photos.
“Oh that’s my brother’s mate, Jim,” she said. ‘He just happened to be there.’
“Hmmm,” said Beth. “He seems to just happen to be in the background of quite a lot of your photos. Look – here, and here again.”
“Well, he’s Steve’s best friend. I suppose they do spend a lot of time together.”
Carrie hadn’t really thought about it before, but Beth was right.
Jim was spending a lot of time at the house she shared with her brother and coming out with them both more than usual at the moment.
“Have you seen the way he looks at you?” Beth asked, scrolling through the photos again.
“What do you mean?” Carrie asked.
“Well, if I’m not very much mistaken, that’s the face of a man in love.”
“Nah. Don’t be silly,”’ Carrie said, blushing despite herself.
“You mark my words,” Beth responded. “Honestly, you’re hopeless. You’re too obsessed with selfies to notice what’s going on under your nose.”
Carrie was quiet for the rest of the morning, thinking about her friend’s words. She’d known Jim since school and they got on really well, but not in that way.
True, they’d had a few heart-to-hearts recently, and Jim had been really supportive when she’d talked about getting some more qualifications and a better job. But that was all. Beth must be mistaken.
Eventually, her thoughts were disturbed by her phone ringing.
“Hey, Sis,” said Steve.
“Hi Steve, how are you doing?”
“I’m fine,” he said. “But like an idiot I’ve forgotten to bring my house keys with me today. I need to go home at lunchtime, so can I borrow yours?”
“Course you can. Do you want to come here and pick them up?” Carrie asked.
“I can’t get over there, Sis, so Jim’s going to come and pick them up instead, OK?”
Carrie felt a little flip in her stomach.
How ridiculous. She saw Jim virtually every day, why should she feel excited about seeing him now just because Beth thought he might fancy her?
When Jim finally arrived, Carrie found herself looking at him with new eyes.
Why hadn’t she spotted before that his eyes were the same blue as the sky, or that they crinkled at the corners when he smiled?
Had she really missed how broad his chest was and how strong his arms looked?
“Hi, Carrie,” he said. “It’s lovely to see you.”
She hadn’t noticed how sexy his voice was either, and now she could feel herself blushing as she chatted to him.
What was the matter with her? He was just Jim. Just Steve’s old friend from school.
But as they talked she got more and more flustered until she could barely get her keys out of her bag, her hands were shaking so much. This was ridiculous.
Finally he left.
“See you tonight then, Carrie,” he said, and with a cheeky smile he was gone.
“So, that was the lovely Jim,” Beth teased. “He’s even better looking in real life than he is in your many photos of him.”
“Stop it,” Carrie said. She needed time to sort out her feelings before she discussed them with anyone else.
Could she really have started to fancy Jim, someone she’d known since she was about twelve and hadn’t given a second thought to before now?
Before Carrie knew what was happening, Beth grabbed her phone from her hands and quickly took a selfie of both of them.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Carrie protested.
“Look,” said Beth, holding out the phone as it displayed a photo of the two of them. “What do you see there?’
“Um, a photo of us.”
“There!” Beth insisted, pointing at Carrie’s face in the photo.
“What?” Carrie asked.
“That,” said Beth, “is the face of a woman in love!”
We’ll share another lovely, light-hearted story from our archives, every Monday and Thursday throughout May. Look out for the next one!