Welcome to my first Mid Week Tease!
My teaser comes from FOLLOW THE STARS (adult thriller with some romantic elements) which is one of my manuscripts. It’s still going through some last touches editing before I query it.
Anouk’s phone rang, and ‘Unknown’ flashed. She frowned; rarely were numbers untraceable to the government. Still, duty called, and she answered, “Good morning, Anouk speaking. How may I help you?”
“Hello,” a husky voice spoke from the other end. “You’re much nicer than the last person I spoke to yesterday.”
She glanced over her shoulder at her coworkers. “I apologise for that, sir. Did you get the name of the person you spoke with?”
“No, but it’s not a problem since I’ve reached someone who’s quite pleasant.”
Anouk smiled, flipping her notepad to a blank page. “Did we call and leave a message?”
“Yes, but tell me something. How are you still so polite while working in one of these call centres? I didn’t even think that was possible.”
His voice put her at ease, and she let go her usual caution. “It’s a job; have to start somewhere to get to where we want to go.”
“And where is it you want to go?” Curiosity rang in his voice. “I imagine this isn’t your ideal choice for a career?”
She scoffed. “No, definitely not. University costs money, though.”
“Let me guess. Something art related? Or maybe a law degree of sorts? Or is it both? You’re someone whose soul flows with creativity, and you have a strong sense of right and wrong. Working where you are must smother all of that.”
She grinned at the compliment, but her stomach did a summersault. His guesswork was a little too precise for her liking. “Good guess for both.” Adjusting her position on the cheap chair; her back snapped. “This place has its ups and downs… nothing too horrible.” Moving her cursor on the search bar at the top of her screen, she prepared to type. “May I have your reference number, please?”
“I’m afraid I didn’t catch the number on the message. Is there another way to find me in that system of yours?”
“A few ways, yes.” She scrolled for other options. “Which phone number did we leave the message on?”
There was a lengthy pause, and she thought the call had disconnected until he cleared his throat and answered, “I’ve got many numbers, and all linked to one where I can listen to my messages, so I’m not sure which one it was left on. Any other ways?”
Different phone numbers and he didn’t know which one we called? No reference number. Last interviewer was rude. Anouk’s good mood seeped out of her.
This guy was fucking with her. Wasting her time like so many others.
She drummed her fingers against the desk. “First and last name?”
“Oh? Have you dropped pleasantries already?” he asked, his tone causing her hand to tremble as it hovered over the mouse clicker. “That was quick.”
She forced a pleasant tone. “I can find you in our system if you can provide your first and last name, a telephone number or a reference number. Would you prefer we call back later once you’ve had the chance to listen to the message again to see if you can hear the reference number this time?”
“So both art and law? Tell me, what do you cherish most about art, Miss Lemay?”
Well, as long as she got a complete with a customer, what did she care about chatting? “I admire the way any emotion is brought to life. Things we’re not allowed to feel or say. It’s all shown without ever having to be said.”
There was another pause, then, “That’s beautiful. Undisclosed emotions for the world to see, not hear. And what about law? What fascinates you about the subject?”
“Maybe you can give me one of your phone numbers, and if we’re lucky, it’s the one we have registered here?” She crossed her fingers he’d give her something, and this wouldn’t all be a waste of time. The last thing she wanted was another fun conversation with her supervisor.
“Try 204-775-1770.” It was dismissive; as though he’d said it to placate her.
She wrote it on a piece of paper, and typed it in, waiting for her system to search. “What about you? Do you enjoy your work?”
“Very much.” Something in his voice shifted, like something sinister hid beneath a veneer of niceties.
Why did her computer have to be slower than usual? “Anything you like best about it?”
He chuckled, sending a shiver down her spine. “My favourite part is wrapping wire around my clients’ necks to cut through their flesh and muscle. There’s always so much blood and screaming. It mixes together perfectly. A work of art. Seeing as you have a high sense of justice, though, I’m not sure you’d appreciate.”
Her vision blurred, tunnelling to decade-old, dark memories; same panic, similar fear… but no blood, this time. Shaking her head to get back in the present, she pressed the red button, ending the call. Her phone rang again, the ‘Unknown’ flashing.
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