google-site-verification: googlec7224cac6d883d54.html Nora by Charles J Harwood: Nora by Charles J Harwood Chapter 12.2

Nora by Charles J Harwood Chapter 12.2

Before Nancy could respond, the woman disappeared from the doorway. Nancy drew her thumb nervously over the strap of her handbag and entered the converted chapel.
The porchway opened out into a huge foyer. The décor belied the stately façade. A mahogany staircase snaked up to a spindled landing lined with oak-panelled doors. Tinted windows cast flints of wine-gum hues on sage walls, retaining that chapel feel, but modern art and nightclub shoots brought an uneasy conflict. Nancy’s overall impression was churchy, period, glitzy and decadent.
Unapologetic, black and square, a wheelchair blotted the view. It had been parked on the landing, next to the second door on the left. The thing kept drawing her attention. Never had Nancy seen anything so displaced.
Angry Spice jabbed her stilettos across the lemon-scented tiles towards what appeared to be a reception room behind a desk. Male voices and coattails cavorting at the doorframe deterred her. Movement drew her eye. From an adjoining door, an Aaron-sweatered man in jeans jaunted towards the desk. Nancy decided to remain by the porchway entrance. She watched him hunker down and pull a drawer open with a clatter. He had china blue eyes framed by an angelic face where black-framed glasses rested. She could imagine him drinking black coffee over a poetry book like one of those beatniks in a film noir scene.
The man straightened his longs legs, screwdriver in hand and ambled her way. On passing, his eyes met hers. His moist lips turned up in a faraway smile that troubled her. Nancy lowered her gaze as his slapping sneakers retreated behind her. Did he turn his head?
Angry Spice’s blustering syllables cut through the general chatter in the next room. An overdone chirp followed, the sort reserved for hobnobbing and flirting. Nancy’s calves twitched and her palms grew hot fondling her bag. The wheelchair at the head of the stairwell kept prodding her awareness; the thing was calling to the errant side of her, goading her. Another chirrup and Nancy’s calves spurted into action. Protocols and expectation made her want to go the other way. Yes, she had nicked stuff, lied and said sod-off at inapt times just to remind herself that she could.
Her palm landed upon the griffin-shaped Newell post.  Two steps at a time, Nancy leapt upwards. Post modern quadrangles of violet and orange drifted past. Her heels tapped the mahogany steps in allegretto. The tip of her tongue tracked each molar and her breastbone pulsed. Her reckless action felt good, despite the ensuing humiliation and possibly a court injunction.
Nancy levelled up with the wheelchair – a functional looking thing, probably a loan from the hospital. She stepped towards the door adjacent. Footfalls echoed across the lower landing. Nancy stood at the top of Eastcote Bridge overlooking the crash site, about to leap.
She brought her head closer, lining her sights with the gap.
Footfalls gathered momentum behind her. The fullness in her breastbone pushed throat-wards, bringing waves of vertigo. She glimpsed a wine carpet, a fridge, a drinks trolley, a large HD screen muted on News 24. A large hospital-style bed, pillows plumped, satin sheets, tenting over the body – his body. Jasmine oil or something like it pricked the air. Vince gazed at a spot ahead of him, or rather just above, in profile view. A silk pyjama top covered his chest and a heavy dressing concealed his throat. A chair had been pulled up beside him, where a besuited man roosted, knees crossed and going through a ledger. At the foot of Vince’s bed, an all-in-white physio manipulated Vince’s right knee with infinitesimal pivots. White towels swathed the bed beneath Vince’s feet. Such a bland face and flicked hair could only have seen fashioned by a wet shave and a narrow comb. On lowering Vince’s leg he adopted a remote yet enraptured look.