Six of Hearts(3)

By: L.H. Cosway

We really do live in a world full of perverts.

Also, I apologise to any woman whose parents were cruel enough to name her Dickina.

A quick glance at my watch tells me it’s eight forty-five. Only fifteen more minutes before the office officially opens, so I quickly log out of the pit of despair, otherwise known as my online dating site, and check to make sure I have all the day’s appointments prepared for.

Brandon Solicitors is my dad’s law practice, which can be found in a small three-room office space in Dublin city centre. Ever since I finished school, I’ve been working here full-time as his legal secretary. We mostly deal with small claims. You know, people who want to sue their local supermarket because they slipped and fell on a wet floor. Or people who want to sue their local supermarket because they “slipped and fell on a wet floor.”

Please don’t overlook my use of sarcasm on that last sentence.

Basically, we’re not exactly the high flyers of the law world around here, but we get by.

The entrance door to the office swings open, and my dad, Hugh, limps his way into the room. His limp is particularly noticeable today, and it makes me frown. He must not be getting as much rest as usual.

When I was just eight years old, our house was broken into by a group of thugs, and they beat my father so badly that he now walks with a permanent limp in his left leg. That’s not the worst of what they did, though. One of them shot my mother when she made an attempt to call the police. When I became hysterical at the sight of my dead parent, the shooter threw me into a mirror. The glass shattered and I got badly cut, leaving me with a permanent scar that runs from just below my ear, down the side of my neck, and under my jawline. Mum died that night, leaving me and Dad all alone. They never caught the burglars.

I was only a child when it happened, but my heart remembers my mother, and I miss her every day. Dad never mentions it, but I know he does, too. She was the love of his life, and he never quite found it in himself to move on to someone else.

“Morning, Matilda,” says Dad. “Could you get me a coffee from the place down the street? Our machine is broken again.”

“Will do,” I reply cheerily in an effort to block out the horrific memory that had just been flitting through my head. “How have you been sleeping?”

He grimaces and glances down. “I suppose you noticed the leg?”

“Yeah, you need to rest it more often,” I say, grabbing my handbag from under my desk.

“I was up half the night working on the O’Connell case,” he explains.

“Right, well, get an early night tonight, okay?” I urge, walking over to give him a quick peck on the cheek. He replies that he will, and I duck out of the office. I can be particularly protective of my dad’s health, because we’re really all the other has left in the world.

Making my way down the narrow staircase that leads out of the building and onto the street, I bump into a tall man with golden-brown hair. I wouldn’t normally notice a man’s hair so specifically, but this guy has some serious style going on. It’s cut tight at the sides and left long on the top, kind of like a sexy villain in a movie set in the 1920s. I stare up at him, wide-eyed. He’s wearing a very nice navy suit with a leather satchel bag slung over his shoulder. Even though it was the first thing I noticed, his hair pales in comparison to the wonder that is his face. I don’t think I’ve ever been up close to such a handsome example of the male species in my life.

Why can’t men like this write to me online? I ponder dejectedly.

Because men like this don’t even know the meaning of the term “socially awkward,” my brain answers.

My five-foot-something stares up at his six-foot-whatever, and I think to myself, what’s a prize like you doing in a dive like this? Actually, now that I’m looking at him, he does seem vaguely familiar, but I can’t put my finger on where I’ve seen him before.

Probably on the pages of a fashion magazine, if his looks are anything to go by.

If it hasn’t already been deduced from the fact that I can’t even find a date using the romantic connection slut that is the Internet, then I’ll spell it out. I’m useless with men, and I’m talking all men. Even the nice approachable fellows. And I’m not looking at a nice approachable fellow right now. I’m looking at a “chew you up and spit you out” tiger.


Since the entrance to the building is so narrow, we have to skirt around each other. I give him a hesitant smile and a shrug. His eyes sparkle with some kind of hidden knowledge as he lets me pass, like beautiful people know the meaning of the universe and are amused by us ordinary folks who have to bumble along in the dark.

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