Contemporary Fiction

Hazel's Home Ch 1

High Flyer


Hazel Munro closed her eyes and tried to control her nerves by controlling her breathing. She was a nervous flyer at the best of times, and after watching the in-flight movie, ‘Airplane’, she felt worse than ever. It was, to her mind, like watching Titanic whilst on a cruise. She was travelling alone, on a short trip to New York City on company business. She worked for Hennessey Promotions, a worldwide advertising company.

The aircraft was now making its decent to LaGuardia Airport, but there were strong crosswinds and the turbulence was unnerving her. Why are we getting March winds in April, Hazel wondered. Every time the plane dipped, her stomach dipped with it. She was usually quite calm during the landing process, which she infinitely preferred to take-off, but the plane was being fairly buffeted by strong winds, and she didn’t like that at all. She was chewing a Rowntree’s Fruit Pastel, in the hope that all the swallowing would stop her ears from becoming painful, but it wasn’t really helping much.

Hazel was sitting in the aisle seat, and sitting next to her was a little boy and his mother. The little boy was sitting in the seat beside the window. He was obviously very excited and kept pointing to the tall buildings rising up from the ground and asking his mother what they were called

As she gazed wistfully at the back of the little boy’s neck, Hazel pondered on the fact that little boys always seemed to have a vulnerability about them that little girls didn’t have.

The woman was looking eagerly out of the cabin window. It was a clear April day and Hazel was glad that the woman’s head was almost blocking the view outside the window, as she didn’t want to be reminded of how high in the air they still were. The plane banked sharply as it headed towards the runway, and Hazel gripped the arm of her seat and began to say prayers to a God she didn’t even believe in

“Are you all right?” asked the young woman beside her, having turned away from the view for a moment and become aware of Hazel’s pale face and tense bod

Hazel nodded and smiled grimly but didn’t reply. She felt that she might be sick if she actually spoke at that moment. She swallowed hard and closed her eyes, willing the journey to come to a swift – but not too swift – end.

Finally, they touched down and the plane screeched to a halt. Hazel inhaled deeply and allowed herself to relax a little. She had been told that someone from Hennessey’s would meet her at the airport, and she hoped that would indeed be the case because she didn’t have enough strength left to find her own way to her apartment building. The stress of the flight had temporarily exhausted her. Her home was in Inverurie, near Aberdeen in Scotland. She had occasionally been asked to travel to other company offices but had never before been required to go any further afield than Glasgow.

After collecting her luggage she headed for the main exit, where she felt greatly relieved when she spotted a man in a smart grey chauffeur uniform holding up a sign that had her name printed on it in large letters. She smiled at him and introduced herself. He looked to be somewhere in his forties and had a kind, friendly face. He shook her hand firmly and said “Welcome to New York, Miss Munro.” Then he took swift charge of her luggage, and she followed him out of the exit doors. He told her to call him Stan and steered her towards a large, sleek, cream-coloured limousine. He opened the boot and proceeded to stow her luggage away.

Hazel was impressed and not a little taken aback. She considered herself to be quite a junior member of the company and had not been expecting to be met by a chauffeur and a limo. She wasn’t entirely sure if all this attention was helping her or if it was actually making her feel even more apprehensive.

She fell silent as she pondered on what lay in front of her in the US. She had never been particularly ambitious and would have been quite happy to simply stay at home and carry on working hard in the Aberdeen office. She was sure she was going to feel very out-of-place in her new environment. Luckily, Stan was the chatty type, and happily pointed out various landmarks on their journey. Remembering several films she had seen over the years, Hazel wondered idly if perhaps he had previously been a driver of a Yellow Cab! She decided not to ask him that question, though, in case it might offend him.

After twenty minutes or so, Stan proudly announced that they had arrived as he drew up directly in front of the entrance to a large apartment building. He helped Hazel indoors with her luggage and then bid her goodbye, informing her that he would be back to pick her up in a couple of hours, to take her to the Hennessey office.

Hazel thanked him and smiled at the concierge, and once she had identified herself, he asked the bellboy to take charge of her luggage and show her up to her apartment.

It was a tall building, and once inside the lift the boy informed her that her apartment was on the top floor. When they arrived at her apartment door, he opened it with a key card and took her bags inside for her. He then handed her the key card and left. She was so struck by the appearance of her apartment that she forgot to give the boy a tip. She made a mental note to do so the next time she saw him.

The apartment seemed vast to her and was very luxurious. She was aware of that after an initial survey, even before she did any further exploring. She was beginning to wonder if the company’s HR staff had got things wrong and had confused her with someone else!

Hazel took a slow tour of every room in the apartment. There was a bedroom, a lounge and an enormous bathroom. All were beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. There was even a small kitchenette in an alcove off the lounge. She opened the fridge door to find it stocked with milk, water, juice, salad vegetables and a variety of cold meats. When she opened the bread bin, she saw a small, fresh loaf and a packet of bagels. She shook her head, smiling to herself, and strolled back into the lounge. There was a small, square glass table in the centre of the room, on top of which sat a well-stocked fruit bowl. She lifted a shiny green apple and began to eat it. She then rustled up a quick lunch of ham and tomato sandwiches and washed it all down with a large glass of chilled orange and mango juice.

Hazelas still rather weary after her early start that day and the stress of the flight but decided to unpack her clothes before she lay down for a rest. She didn’t want her things to get all creased by lying too long in her cases, as she was quite sure that everyone in the New York office would be very smartly dressed. She laid her large suitcase on top of the high, double divan bed and started unpacking. She had put her best suits on top of everything else, and they weren’t crushed at all; so she decided she would wear one that afternoon. First impressions are important, she reminded herself, and she would feel good in it once she’d had a lie-down and a quick shower. She thought it was very considerate of her bosses to give her that period of time to get her breath back after her journey.


As soon as she lay down on the bed to rest, her eyes closed immediately, but she wasn’t worried about oversleeping, as she had brought her little travel alarm with her. It had a much louder ring than her mobile phone alarm, so she set it for one hour later and was happy to close her eyes again and drift off. She began to think about the afternoon that loomed in front of her. She didn’t know anyone at all in the Manhattan office and she was beginning to wish that the boss had requested the entire Copywriting team to come over to Manhattan, instead of just her alone. She had been asked to present some work that she was to prepare for a new, very large client, although she hadn’t been told the client’s name yet. The boss of the entire company had said that he would want to review her work before it was presented to the new client. But she couldn’t think about that yet; she needed to get acclimatised first. She started thinking about her friends and her family back home, and realised with some dismay that she was actually feeling a little homesick already.


Hazel awoke with a start an hour later, and was disconcerted to find that her alarm clock was ringing really loudly, which made her aware that it had been ringing for some time. She didn’t usually drop off during the day, no matter how tired she was, but she had fallen deeply asleep quite quickly. It had refreshed her and helped to calm her nerves a little, which was reassuring, so she jumped eagerly off the bed and ran into the bathroom to freshen up. She was to present herself at the office at three o’clock, and the last thing she wanted to do was to be late arriving there. And she would obviously need to redo her make-up and restyle her hair after showering.

She worked quickly and efficiently, and the powerful shower was wonderfully invigorating. She almost felt like a new woman by the time she was completely ready, and Stan hadn’t yet arrived, so she was able to sit for a few moments to try to collect her thoughts.

Her suit was chocolate brown in colour and she wore a pale cream, lightweight top beneath the jacket. This colour combination suited her brown hair and hazel eyes, and she completed the look with a cream-and-tan leather shoulder bag. She lifted her bottle of Coco de Chanel from the dressing table and doused herself liberally with it. She was all set. She jumped when the telephone extension rang and picked it up immediately. The Concierge informed her in a friendly tone that her driver had arrived and was waiting for her outside the front door of the building.

Hazel was pleased that the lift was made of solid mahogany so that she couldn’t see anything beyond its walls. As soon as the doors opened, she leapt out of it and exhaled in relief. She skipped lightly down the outside steps and smiled broadly at the chauffeur as he left the limousine and came across the pavement to show her into the limo once again.

“Well, somebody’s made the most of the last couple of hours!” he commented, looking suitably impressed.

“Oh, I really needed that rest, Stan – not to mention that lovely shower. I’m fit for anything now,” she assured him.

He smiled encouragingly at her as she took her seat, and she asked him for advice on the best way for her to travel to her work the following morning. He gave her a quizzical look and replied that he would come to pick her up each day of her stay. Her jaw dropped open at that news and he laughed when he saw her surprised face in the mirror.

“Hennessey’s don’t do anything by halves,” he informed her, squaring his shoulders proudly.

“So I see,” she replied quietly, wondering what further surprises lay in store for her at the office.

The office was located in a skyscraper building on 7th Avenue. They arrived there within ten minutes, as the traffic was fairly light at that time of day. Stan showed her into the lobby of the skyscraper building and told her he’d be back to collect her at five o’clock. She smiled and thanked him. She went over to the enormous Reception desk and said she had been told to report there. She gave the Receptionist her name and the young woman nodded and smiled at her.

“Please take a seat, Miss Munro. Pamela won’t be a moment,” she said pleasantly.

Pamela did indeed arrive within a moment. She was a stunning redhead with an hourglass figure and a lovely face. She greeted Hazel warmly and introduced herself as Blake Hennessey’s PA. She chatted in a friendly manner as they made their way up to the top floor in the glass-walled lift. After a moment, Pamela noticed that Hazel wasn’t replying to any of her remarks and that the girl’s face was sheet white.

“Are you all right, Hazel?” she asked anxiously.

“Not keen on heights,” Hazel replied in a whisper, keeping her head turned away studiously from the many floors whizzing past them at speed.

“Sorry – I didn’t think to ask,” Pamela said apologetically. “I’m so used to the elevator, and we’re located on the top two floors, so it’s not really an option to come up all those stairs!”

Hazel smiled weakly and was relieved when they arrived at the top floor and Pamela guided her towards a large, solid oak door. When the secretary rapped briskly on the door, a man’s voice answered and she stepped inside the doorway.

“Miss Munro for you, Mr Hennessey,” she announced, stepping back to let Hazel enter the room. Hazel then registered the fact that she was about to be introduced to the boss of the company himself. She had assumed he would be far too busy to be bothered with the likes of her, but here she was – about to enter his room! She took a deep breath and stepped gingerly inside the very well-appointed and spacious room. Then she stood stock still as the heavy door closed behind her. She felt even dizzier and more breathless than she had felt in the lift. She was struck dumb for the second time that day, because Blake Hennessey was easily the most handsome, drop-dead gorgeous man she had ever seen.

Hazel's Home eBook : Rae, Rosanna: Kindle Store


Please subscribe to my monthly newsletter if you would like to hear about discounts and offers:

Or Follow me on Bookbub


Search site

© 2010 All rights reserved.