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Holiday romance
by Rebecca Adams

Sun, sand and cocktails by the sea.
Daphne Morris escapes the drudgery of her life as an accounts clerk  by taking an extended holiday in Barbados. Still recovering from a recent break-up with her boyfriend she is definitely in need of  the opportunity to relax and recuperate.

We next meet Daphne when she is back in her office. We don´t know at this point what happened on her holiday, except of course that the title of this plot  should give you a clue.

The plot also includes at least five characters.
´Appearances can be deceptive,´  Daphne smiled. But who was she referring to?

Title: Holiday Romance Chapter 1
Author: Liam

Daphne looked up from her desk and gazed out through the window of her austere office located on the tenth floor of a ten storey block in the city centre of Leeds. The powder blue sky flecked with white cirrus clouds reminded her of her recent holiday in Barbados. ´Oh to be there now´, she dreamed.  The holiday however was not without it´s angst.  Well it didn´t seem like too much angst at the time, but now she was back home the last thing she had expected, or wanted, was Thomas turning up at her door.

Title: Why?
Author: Dawn

Daphne froze. Her mind raced. Had she asked him to come over? NO - definitely not. Had she given him her address? She couldn't remember doing - not even when she was worse for drink, and anyway even if she had done he would have been worse for drink too and totally incapable of writing it down or remembering it. May be Frances had passed it on.  But why? He was trouble. BIG, BIG trouble.
So, why was he here!?
What was she going to do now? How was she going to get out of this one? Here he was - thousands of miles and at least two flights from home. She couldn't just close the door in his face - even if she wanted to.

Title: That smile
Author: Mike Wallace

"Hi" he said in his casual laid back manner. She felt her knees go weak as he smiled only the way he could smile. Those white teeth stood out against his well tanned and weatherbeaten face. As he smiled those big eyes sparkled. It took her back to those days out in his boat. The sun shining and reflecting off the clear blue ocean. Suddenly she was back there, with him, her thoughts a thousands of miles away from where she stood.

"Fancy some lunch?" he said. " I hear there is a new place open in town". His words brought her back. Back to the mundane office. She stood there still in disbelief. Her head was spinning.

"Er, yes. That would be lovely" was all she could say. " I can get away in 10 minutes. Meet you downstairs in the foyer "

"Great" he replied. " We have some unfinished business to discuss". With that he turned away and headed for the elevator. As she turned to go back to her desk. Daphne had an uneasy feeling. A foreboding feeling, right in the pit of her stomach. She stopped. She had thought she had heard a familiar voice. A female voice. The voice was too muffled for her to hear the exact words.  " Now that wasn't too difficult. You are a natural", the voice had said. As she turned her head towards the elevator, the doors were closing. For a fleeting second she noticed that there were two people in the elevator. Thomas and another. There was something familiar about the second figure. Her brain was working overtime, like a computer, looking for a match.

She was concentrating hard. A look of bewilderment then sheer suprise crossed her face. She knew who it was. The second figure. It was her friend, Frances................

Title: Chez moi
Author: Steve Wood

'Here we are at last my Darling Daf,' Thomas grinned.

'Don't call me that,' retorted Daphne, 'you know I hate it and what do you mean here we are? Where!?' They were standing outside the entrance to an appartment block in a converted red brick building. 'Very nice,' continued Daphne, 'but I've seen this before and I'm hungry!'

'Do I get the impression that Daphne is feeling a little impatient with me?' teased Thomas.

'Stop messing around Thomas. How would you feel if I turned up out of the blue to see you? It feels strange that's all and I want to know what you're doing here'.

'Well come on in Daphne, and all will be revealed.' Thomas keyed in a security code, walked through the entrance door, and beckoned Daphne to follow him. 'Welcome to Chez moi!' Thomas smiled. 'Please take a seat - and dinner will be served!'

Title: The Proposition
Author: Bella Fortuna

'Chez Moi' was not at all what she expected it to be. It turned out to be a hip and rather intimate club for those who needed somewhere discreet to do business. "Trust Thomas to find such a cool place to do lunch she thought" and she smiled sweetly at him. She looked around her. Neat little booths made of steel and beech housed several other couples. Intrigued, she tried to listen to those in the nearest booth. But the designer, with their skilfull use of materials, had ensured you couldn't hear a thing.

Thomas had obviously pre-ordered - or was it that the lunch time choice was take it or leave it? She didn't mind; she rather enjoyed thai crab and prawn cakes with a gorgeous green salad and a chili and lime dressing.She munched it joyfully.

Suddenly, Thomas leaned forward and whispered something in rushed, hushed undertones.  He made it very clear that there was no such thing as a free lunch after all. What on earth was a girl to do? And could she comply? 

Title: Ex factor
Author: Jeremy Silas

Well NO! Quite frankly she couldn't, and she rushed up, and made her way to the Exit. Then horror of horrors, who should see in her path but Danny.

Danny was Daphne's ex. He was the very reason she had been away on holiday.  He'd also had a fling with Frances but that had been years ago, a long time before Frances and Daphne had met through work and had become good friends. What Danny could possibly be doing at  a seedy place like Chez Moi was a complete mystery to Daphne. It wasn't the type of place that he would normally frequent. Danny was quite a snob really and certainly very careful about the places and circles he would 'be seen in'.

Daphne was still feeling very vulnerable about their break-up. She hadn't been the one to initiate it and she still wasn't sure what it had all been about. One minute Danny had been all over her, and the next he was telling her to back off and give him some breathing space.

Danny and Daphne stared at each other but neither spoke. Daphne wanted to cut and run. She couldn't think of anything to say, and was embarrassed about being there, but wouldn't Danny feel the same way too? Curiosity got the better of her. She carried on walking in the direction of the exit, and then dodged behind a group of people sat at the bar just inside the doorway. She could still see Danny from her vantage point but he couldn't see her. Shakily, she edged herself on to a bar stole and ordered a double gin.

Title: I know what you are thinking...
Author: Girls Talk

You´re thinking that Daphne is going to see Danny and Thomas meeting up together. Well, you´re absolutely right! But had you envisaged that Frances would be chatting to them too? Yes, there she was, bold as brass, engaging in conversation with Daphne´s ex and Daphne´s holiday beau.
All Daphne could do was remain where she was. Totally transfixed.

Title: Engaged in banter
Author: Elaine Potter

Danny, Thomas, and Frances, certainly seemed to be getting on fine. They had been chatting away, non-stop, for about ten minutes or so. They were laughing and joking - and appeared to have ordered some drinks from the scantily dressed, waitress who had stopped at their table, to entice them to do so.
Daphne was feeling very hot under the collar!

Title: Curiosity killed the cat
Author: Rebecca Adams

It was all too much for Daphne.  Her normal, albeit mundane, working day, had been completely ruined. When she left for work in the morning, she could usually ,and reasonably expect that she would return home, relatively unperturbed, and in a reasonable mood. But not today! How could she just carry on with her routine now, as if everything was normal? She had to go over to the merry trio and find out just what was going on. But what could she say? She felt very betrayed, but of course, she didn't know how she had been betrayed. Thomas, her holiday romance dalliance; Danny, her ex; Frances, her best friend; - just what were they up to? Daphne couldn't help but think, that as the common link, they must be discussing her in some way. But why?
Her heart pounding, she gingerly made her way over to their table.

'You deserve each other,' was all she could think of to say. Not very original, and not the best opening line for someone who was trying to find out what was going on.

Title: So What Now? So long!
Author: Bella Fortuna (R)

Although Daphne felt nervous, she also felt intrigued and somewhat angry. No wonder her heart was pounding! Her legs felt a little wobbly, too.

Despite that, as she approached the ex-lover, the dalliance and the so-called friend, she smiled one of her sweetest smiles. In fact she smiled it so much she had a slight concern it would be stuck on her face forever. She had remembered her mother's saying - better to be a live coward than a dead hero - and she decided that her best form of defence was subterfuge. After all, they appeared to need her more than she needed them! Well, that wasn't true but it made her feel a lot better.

"How fantastic!" She did a pretty good impression of cool, chic, slick and sleek. "All my favourite people in one go!" "Let me get us all a drink; this is an occasion to celebrate!" she declared. The smile was still glued to her face. 

Daphne ordered a huge bottle of champage, insisting to the barely-clothed lovelies that she would open it herself. And open it she did (after a surreptitious shake or two first), all over the three of them. Wow, were they drenched! Daphne had never appreciated, until that moment, how sweet revenge could be. 

She strode towards the exit, satisfaction radiating from her body like a Sheffield steel furnace.


Title: Holiday romance
Author: Paul Broomfield

Danny and Thomas were absolutely stunned. Frances shot to her feet, red faced, and furious. All three of them were absolutely soaked!

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" cried Frances.

"I could ask you the same, " Daphne blurted.

"You know what we are doing. Thomas invited you to join us."

"What! You mean his hair-brained scheme about setting up a company called Holiday Romance? He didn't mention that you two were involved as well!"

"We were all going to surprise you."

"Well, you certainly did that! And how did Danny get involved?" Daphne gave Danny a contemptuous glance. "Don't tell me - you all think that you have enough 'experience in the field' to pull something like this off?" Daphne sneered.

"Yes, we do Danny," interjected. " And we're just about to meet a professional business advisor to go through our plans with him."

"Well 'Bully for you', " Daphne retorted.

"Calm down Daffy," Thomas soothed. "Why not stick around and hear what he has to say?  It's not like you to be so negative."

"How do you know what I'm like?" Daphne replied.  And, it was just at that point that  Jeremy Stacey arrived and introduced himself.

Title: It gets worse
Author: Trevor Stafford

"Hi, I'm Jeremy. As you know, Frances has asked me to come along today so that we can chat about your new venture, and begin to put a business plan together. Just a draft at this stage, but at least I will have a rough idea of how much initial cash you are hoping to raise, in order to get up and running. Before we make a start, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourselves and what roles are anticipated for each of you? Nothing concrete, at this stage, obviously, but it will just help me get an overview."

Daphne couldn't resist. "Hi, I'm Daphne and the role anticipated for me, by me, is Sanity Checker, and I say this as the only sane person seated at this table!"

"Come on Daff,' Frances interruped, "Give the guy a chance. Give us all a chance." 

"Why should I?" Daphne retorted.

Title: Small world
Author: Carol Swales

Daphne burst out laughing. Then she threw her arms around Jeremy, and they both embraced amorously.

'Are you going to tell them or shall I? ' she asked Jeremy.

'They're all yours', Jeremy replied, somewhat sheepishly.

With an enormous grin on her face, Daphne began to explain. 'We know all about your plan, but I couldn't resist it. There you were plotting and scheming behind my back, and thinking that you could use 'surprise tactics' to persuade me to join you in your crazy idea. The problem is you fell unlucky. Very unlucky! What you obviously didn't realise is that I am seeing Jeremy! We met up, at a business function, almost straight after I got back home.  When you contacted Jeremy, and chatted briefly through your plans, he thought that some of the names mentioned sounded familiar. Anyway, it's obvious that none of you really know me at all. 
You've been deceptive - so we've been deceptive. Touché.'

Title: Romance Blossoms
Author: Rebecca Adams

So, that was it. Thomas's and Frances's idea, which they had conjured behind Daphne's back when they were on holiday in Barbados, hadn't worked. The "We know what makes Daphne tick" bet just hadn't paid off. And as for getting Danny's input too - well that had made things far worse.

Intuition? Forget it. Anyone could have told them that Daphne was no push over, added to which, she trusted her Ex's like a hole in the head.

But if Holiday Romance was such a good idea anyway, why did they need Daphne to get involved too? Well Daphne was the one with the cash. She had recently inherited a tidy sum from her Great Aunt. She had used some of it to treat Frances to their holiday, and the rest was safely tucked away in a high interest account, until she decided the best way to invest it. She wasn't at that stage yet - though no doubt with Jeremy's influence she would be making some decisions soon.

Holiday Romance? I ask you.

What about Frances? Wouldn't you have thought, as Daphne's best friend, she would have been more loyal? Well, unfortunately it was another one of those 'listening to the heart rather than the head" stories. Frances had really fallen for Thomas, and she felt the only way she could guarantee she would see him again was to come up with an idea that would tempt him to come over to England. She hadn't really wanted to deceive Daphne, and as far as she knew Daphne hadn't fallen head over heels in love with Thomas or anything, whilst she was away, so she felt she really wasn't doing anyone any harm.  The other part of her plan had been to get Daphne and Danny back together too.  Oh dear.

So, what of Holiday Romance anyway? What was the idea? Well, you've probably guessed it?  It was to entice singletons to sign up for holidays, at paradise locations, with the objective that romance would blossom. As far as possible guests would be matched by their age group and interests.

Not a bad idea actually, which is why, three months later , Daphne and Jeremy launched their new business Romance Blossoms.

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