A rare spot of time off for Archard introduces the stoic coroner to a new young friend.
There was a nice looking new neon green coloured X box in the window of the game store. Archard was deliberating over it as he enjoyed some time to himself on the Saturday morning. He was not on call and he had no set agenda and it felt wonderful. So he stood looking into the window with one hand in his pocket and the other flipping the car keys in his hand.
The new BMW series had now hit the open market and his prototype car was now being driven by proud new owners all over the world. He wondered if his father was likely to invest in one himself but he noted that it would probably not be to his fathers' taste.
The window-shopping was enticing him but he was trying to justify buying another game box. The PS2 was already gathering dust as he bothered with it very rarely but it was a decent enough deal and it was an excuse to head in and chat about the mundane with the shop manager Leigh.
"I would buy it. Treat yourself." Said the young woman from behind him.
Sara Madison had been watching the man deliberating over the shop window for a good few minutes. She had stopped to arrange her shopping bags and to catch her breath when she noticed that he was looking as though some sort of internal argument was occurring. She had smiled to herself and carried on watching him until she thought the cheeky comment would be quite good fun.
"I probably should." He said turning to face her. "Thanks for the advice."
Sara looked at the man as he turned and found his odd looks a little bit of a shock. The eyes seemed to penetrate quite accusingly at her. He was a good-looking man, not exceptional but she thought he had a curious dangerous air about him. He stood too confidently but it looked as though every move he made was carefully thought out. She also scolded herself because she was making a judgement on him and he was a complete stranger.
She dropped one of the bags as she went to walk off and it landed at his feet. He picked it up and smiled at her before making a mental shrug and holding out his hand.
"How about I take those and buy you a mocha? I'm gonna dive into the store and grab that toy. Do you mind waiting?" He wondered if she were someone married that just wanted to make her husband jealous by telling him the details later? Then he wondered if he really cared.
"Oh that would be wonderful thanks. I've been shopping for kids all day and it's driving me slightly nuts." She declined him carrying any more bags for the moment and followed him into the shop.
Sara Madison was a bright and promising career woman. She had put all of her money into going to university to study being a support worker for children in hospitals. To help the abuse cases and those that were going to suffer with terminal illnesses or being orphaned. At the grand age of 24 she found herself working in the hospital and studying around it. She was a happy woman and she wanted everyone else to have a taste of that.
Archard wandered into the shop and nonchalantly threw a card on the desk. Leigh, the owner picked it up and glanced over at the woman before waiting to see what he picked out next. Archard grabbed an X Box and several games before Leigh interceded.
"Hey you really want that? You have got to buy the racing games too. PG has your car in it, well a similar one. You gotta tell me if they drive anything alike." He told him and wandered over to pick up the box for the game. He took the rest of Archard and dumped them on the counter. "How's lady love anyway?"
"Oh she's brilliant and so much better, thank you Leigh." He smiled and his face lit up. The one thing in the world he cared about was...
Sara looked around and felt a little foolish. He was bound to be settled with someone because who wouldn't find him appealing dressed like that and looking so happy. She scolded herself for about the tenth time for making a judgement.
"Good so she's coming home and staying this time? Poor thing I bet she's been going mad without you to spoil her?" He bagged up the things and pushed over the receipt to sign.
"I sure hope so I mean she'll be a bit quiet for a while but that's a good thing. Being on my own late nights and early mornings for work mean I could do without screaming through the middle. Unless it's the type I really wanna hear." He winked at Leigh and grabbed his stuff on the way past he took an armful from Sara.
Sara looked a little mystified as she tried to piece the scenario together. Was he a single father? But then again with a comment like that he would be a bad one in her view. Or maybe he looked after the child at the weekends and slept around in the week? She numbly followed behind trying to chide herself. He hadn't got any reason to justify himself to a silly woman he'd met only minutes before.
"Are you sure you don't mind a coffee you sound very busy?" Sara said trying to make her excuses she felt a little foolish for getting involved using a passing comment.
"Look I said I would go for coffee. Let's go or would your husband be offended?" He didn't smile but there was a humour in his eyes that said it all.
"No I'm not married." She wondered if she had said it too fast? She shrugged and followed him to the coffee-house.
Starbucks, the place everybody went when they had time and money to spare. It was fairly busy but they picked their way through the crowds towards the back of the cafÃ©. He set down the bags and let her pick out a drink that took her fancy. He came back and sat down before throwing his phones and pager into the centre of the table and letting out a nice sigh of relief.
"So are you going to tell me your name?" She asked after a couple of minutes of silence. There was a strange feeling that he wasn't used to company but she kept it to herself. Maybe he was incredibly shy.
"Vortigern. Archard." He said finally. He looked into his coffee and then back at her. "Yours?"
"Sara Madison." She smiled, she noted he'd added the question as an after thought but didn't bring it up.
They discussed very little but he was polite and cordial. She eventually made her excuses and got up to leave. He didn't offer her a card in fact she left wondering why he had bothered. He left without another thought, he had done his kind duty for the day. What more did the world expect from him?