I promised I would post a draft scene from my current WIP, so here it is:
11:00am on the 6th day of April 1925, on the concourse of Croydon Aerodrome, three young women in their mid-twenties stood gazing up in awe at the massive modern building, marvelling at the perfect symmetry of its facade, and admiring the simple beauty of its shape and the linear no nonsense masculine lines of the building. This was it, the start of their adventure, and where better to start than right there at the cutting edge of travel in this modern age. It was incredibly exciting and new and, listening to the conversations taking place around them, the women realised they weren’t the only passengers for whom this would be their first experience of flying.
Their fellow travellers numbered 17, of which 14 were male and, of those, three were roughly the same age as themselves. Indeed two of them appeared to be mustering the group towards the door, whilst the third held said door open, completely oblivious to the existence of the neatly attired doorman whose role he had usurped.
Lettice, used to taking the lead in all things, strode in first, leading the group into the reception area where they would go through the formalities of passport control. Laurie and Clarice let a couple of chattering family groups go ahead before walking into the vast open reception area themselves, Laurie thanking the elegantly attired gentleman whose demeanour suggested for all the world that he owned the building (he did not).
Waiters carrying trays of champagne glasses mingled amongst the group. Laurie and Lettice were each handed a glass by one of the young men who immediately introduced himself as Captain Bryce Topping, and his companion as Byron Amies. The third man, the pseudo doorman, had wandered away and was looking through the large rear windows which overlooked the bi-planes lined up outside.
He was watching their luggage being trundled across to the aircraft in a handcart, when he spied some equipment being loaded into the body of the plane they were to fly on. From what he could see it looked suspiciously like a film projector. He was intrigued, wondering what it meant. He would have carried on watching the scene playing out before him, but his eyes were suddenly captured by the reflection of an elegantly dressed woman in her mid-twenties who appeared to be trying her best not to be noticed. He wondered why, and decided there and then he would like to know more about her. Turning round to get a better look he took in the smooth lines of her face, her dark bobbed wavy hair – or as much as he could see of it under her close fitting hat – the way she held herself, the way she purposefully avoided eye contact whilst still taking in everything around her.
Clarice had held back deliberately. She was absorbing all the sights, sounds and smells of this new experience, and committing to memory every detail of her fellow passengers. She was so focussed on this task she was completely unaware she was being watched. It came as an unwelcome shock to her when she looked up and her eyes met those of the man who had held the door open for everyone. He was quite clearly staring at her. .
His heart leaped and he was surprised to find himself unconsciously moving towards her. She broke eye contact and looked down at the ground blushing rather becomingly, he thought. He noticed her looking round rather frantically for her companions, but they were flirting quite happily with his friends.
‘I’ll ask her if she’d like some champagne’, he thought to himself as he walked towards her. ‘She’ll have to speak to me then. I wonder if her voice matches her beauty,’
Clarice, aware of the man’s approaching presence, was rather annoyed that she was about to have her personal space intruded upon, but she hadn’t been brought up to be rude so she turned towards him and smiled as he asked her if she would like some champagne.
‘Champagne, yes that would be lovely.’ Clarice noticed the relief which crossed his face and smiled to herself as she broke eye contact and, again, dropped her eyes to the ground. ‘Mustn’t encourage him, poor love’, she thought to herself.
He, oblivious to her thoughts, merely believed her to be extremely shy. Hailing one of the waiters, he helped himself to two glasses of champagne and handed one to Clarice.
She raised her eyes again, smiled, said ‘thank you’, in the most charming voice she could muster, turned round and walked away.
Feeling as though he’d been metaphorically slapped on the face, he couldn’t help experiencing mild annoyance at the woman’s seeming rejection. He looked over to where his friends were still engaged in flirtatious talk with her companions, and walked over to join them.
Meanwhile Clarice was privately fuming that she had been interrupted in her research. All she wanted to do was people watch and she was desperate to get back to her notebook to write down and sketch what she had seen: the colours, the people, the planes, the aerodrome – it was all so new to her and now she’d lost her train of thought. Damnation. What’s more, she’d noticed that he’d gravitated towards his friends who were, at that moment, paying an awful lot of attention to Lettice and Laurie – which would mean they would, more than likely, meet again whilst they were in Paris.
She really wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Clarice had her own agenda for agreeing to this Parisian voyage. She wanted to sketch some of the buildings she’d heard had been built for the Paris Exposition, immerse herself in all the new sites, smells and people she would see. She wanted to wander round the Louvre for hours on end, making sketches whenever something caught her eye. She most certainly was not interested in flirting with handsome young men. A dalliance was not on her agenda.