This is how it began. My sister Anna, a brilliant and witty writer, suggested that we should try to write a romance novel according to the guidelines published by Mills & Boon. Not as easy as it sounds, apparently. She created a finely judged opening paragraph and sent it to me. And, intoxicated by the stylistic possibilities that are simply not offered by my usual literary output of press releases on Bedfordshire’s latest social housing project, I have taken up the gauntlet. The idea is that we will take it in turns to develop the story, in full view of you, dear reader.

We are taking this project seriously, but I am already acutely aware that writing about simmering desire with one’s own sister might be possible only with tongue tentatively in cheek. We have agreed not to discuss our plot ideas, so the novel will unfold as unpredictably to us as to our readers. This could lead to trouble later on, but for now it seems a very liberating way to start.

Who knows where this project will take us? To the dizzying heights of publication by the world’s leading romance brand? Probably not. But wherever we end up, it should be fun getting there…

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Part 29 – Pilot Episode

Fancy Cleft being able to fly a plane! Although I am not sure that Anna has researched the finer points of piloting very deeply; surely it takes more than thrusting a lever to get an aircraft off the ground? Never mind. Let’s press on.

Part 29 (by Anna)

There were no available flights to Spain that day. Taut with urgency, Cleft strode from desk to desk. The response was always the same regretful negative.

‘I have to be in Spain. By this afternoon. Period.’ He leaned over the counter towards the badly permed woman manning British Airways and watched her sallow skin pink up as he had known it would.

‘Look here,’ he said huskily. ‘I've got what it takes. Sort something for me.’

The woman's stubby fingers massaged her computer keyboard for a moment, then she shook her head sorrowfully. ‘Sorry ducks,’ she said, looking hungrily at the bronze valley that cleaved his squared chin. ‘Unless you can sprout your own wings you’re grounded until Wednesday. We’re full.’

Sprout his own wings. Of course! Why hadn’t he thought of it before? His lips curving into an enigmatic smile, Cleft thrust his way through the crowds towards the car park. It was there in his wallet along with the sliver of Topaz’s toe nail that he had pocketed secretly that day she had wrenched her ankle.

Once he had disentangled himself from Heathrow’s congested orbit, it was a quick run to the private airfield near the M4. At the security gates he flashed his passport to the skies and was waved in to a parking area near the small office buildings. Behind him, out of sight, the Ford Escort had also pulled up at the barrier, its driver engaged in heated negotiations with the official on duty.

Less than an hour later Cleft was studying the controls of a single turbine engined Piaggio Avanti. Thank the Lord he had perservered with that pilot training three years back and thank the Lord he had thought to bring the licence with him when he had left the States.

He thrust the lever and the aircraft began taxiing slowly towards the empty runway. Then, his muscled fingers dancing almost balletically across the controls, he lifted the huge machine into the air and reclaimed the skies that separated him from his destiny.

Far below, the Ford Escort glinted in a corner of the car park and its occupant was sprinting lankily towards the complex, but Cleft was unaware of this as he flung back his tousled head and laughed, his rippling body at one with the sinous tube of metal that bore him smoothly towards Spain.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be pedantic! When you're a wonder of brawn and magnetism like Cleft anything and everything will open up to you with the thrust of a lever.