The next day, being a Thursday, he had to get to work early to collate the various intelligence reports into a comprehensive one. Then at 10 sharp into the head of station’s office for a discussion on it, before it was sent off to the relevant offices back home.
All he really wanted to do was scour the city until he could find her. If only she had left a glass slipper, how much easier it would have been. He sighed over his teacup. In a city of a few million inhabitants, that could take a lifetime, fitting a glass slipper on every possible woman’s foot. No – there had to be a better way.
The weekend was a torment. He wandered the city looking for an idea, a glimpse, something.
The number of bars he visited left him somewhat bewildered and definitely befuddled. When at last his common sense finally gained the upper hand again, he realised he was sufficiently inebriated to not even recognise his own mother, let alone a woman he’d only seen for a few hours.
A field trip to two of the larger industrial cities loomed. Out of the capital, he was missing valuable time in seeking her. On the day of departure he saw her. In the Enmbassy vehicle, speeding to the train station, he hardly paid attention to Mr Mannering’s explanation of the one factory they desperately wanted to visit as he (Mannering) believed they had a better processing method for something, than they had back home. And he (Mannering) really wanted to know which trade delegation or business concern to alert to this, so that an advantageous contract could be made to beat out competition from other countries.
Then he saw her. As they were pulling into the station, there she was, getting into another vehicle. A plain black one with a driver. Not a taxi, so she was probably from some important family. His heart sank. He really did not need any more difficulties. Unfortunately her vehicle pulled away almost as soon as she had climbed in.
His heart soared – she was back in the capital, maybe that was why he’d been unable to find her, then sank, he wouldn’t be back for almost two weeks.
The trip was almost unbearable. He who normally enjoyed new places and sights, now only wanted one sight. Her.
Having realised she must be from one of the wealthier families in the city, suddenly became an avid socialiser. Every party invitation, every dinner no matter how potentially boring, he accepted on behalf of the embassy and went. Hoping all the while to see her again.
The other staff began to notice this behaviour change and teased him about it. One went as far as to tell him he was getting fat from all the eating and drinking. So he took up running in the mornings, afraid she would hate a fatter version of him.
Escorting the trade delegation, led by the minister for the economy, on a formal visit, he had reason once again to go to the palace. Seated to one side in the formal conference room he happened to glance out of the window. And immediately became riveted. There was the King, talking a walk, and his companion was HER!