FICTION: The Wrong Impression – Part One

By Drum Digital
10 February 2017

Mpho, the owner of Pick Fruit and Vegetables, watched Gladys fluttering her eyelashes at Nelson over the sacks of potatoes. It was obvious she really fancied him. But, Mpho wondered, why was she making it so obvious?

By Agnes Kimberley

MPHO, the owner of Pick Fruit and Vegetables, watched Gladys fluttering her eyelashes at Nelson over the sacks of potatoes. It was obvious she really fancied him. But, Mpho wondered, why was she making it so obvious? In Mpho’s mind, she should have let Nelson do the running.

Instead, Nelson was lapping up all the attention like a love-struck teenager.

Mpho had to admit that Gladys was a good-looking woman. She was the kind of women men lusted after. She was not too proactive, but she dressed well and looked good in her low-cut blouses and fancy shoes. She also had a great sense of humour and could tell a joke as well as any man.

Mpho could see that the rest of her female staff members were not happy with Gladys. She’d only been working in the shop a couple of weeks and she’d already got Nelson’s attention. A few of the women had tried and failed to get Nelson to go out with them.

He’d been a widower for a few years now, so there was nothing stopping him going out on a date. Mpho thought she needed to have a word with him. It didn’t look proper that two of her 60-plus employees were making cat’s eyes at each other over all the fruit and vegetables in the shop. What on earth would the customers think?

It was one more responsibility for Mpho, on top of the business, her older husband and three teenage children. She decided to seek Nelson out.

“I know you frown upon work relationships, Nelson,” Mpho said to him when she found him in the storeroom, sorting tomatoes. “I just don’t want anything going on between you and Gladys that will upset the staff and customers.”

“I’m just enjoying the foreplay,” Nelson said, and grinned. “She’s lonely as well and different from the other ladies working here. But I can assure you that nothing serious will come of it.”

“Well then, I don’t want you leading her on, Nelson. That is the worst thing I’ve ever heard. She’s new and I’d like to see her settle in nicely with all of us.”

Nelson sighed loudly and shook his head.

“I have an idea that Gladys can take good care of herself. It’s really only a bit of fun. It brightens up things around here. Doesn’t it?”

“Well, you seem to be the only one getting any fun out of it,” Mpho snapped.

“I think you have that one wrong,” and he looked intently at her.

“You just heed my words,” she said, feeling flustered for the first time. “Don’t play around with other people’s feelings.”

THERE was something about Nelson that made her skin crawl. She’d never been overly fond of him. But he was a good worker and that was all that had mattered to her.

“I won’t force myself on her. I think she’ll be the one doing that,” he said and laughed loudly.

Several heads turned to look at him.

Gladys had been watching Mpho’s little chat with Nelson. She was well aware that she had got all the women’s backs up because she’d captured Nelson’s attention. But her problem was that she was just plain shy. She didn’t mind giving him the odd wink and fluttering her eyelashes, but she had no idea what to say to Nelson.

The shop closed early because it was a Saturday.

“Hey, Gladys,” Nelson said, as they finished clearing everything away. “Would you like to come and have some lunch with me?”

Gladys giggled like a teenager. “Oh, I’d like that very much, Nelson. Where shall we go?”

He leaned in very close to her and said, “Where do you fancy going, darling?” His gaze was focused on her chest.

“Well now, let me see,” Gladys said, hand on her chin. “I fancy some fried chicken and chips.”

She knew from eavesdropping on conversations that this was Nelson’s favourite meal.

“Well, you’re a girl after my own heart. KFC it is, then.”

“Well, let me go and freshen up,” Gladys said. “I’ll meet you out front in a few minutes.”

Mpho gave her a warning look as she made her way to the bathroom. Gladys ignored her serious face. Once in the bathroom, she checked her hair in the mirror. She applied some lip gloss. Then she made sure she had her cellphone in her pocket.

To be continued . . .

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