Chapter One

Alfie had a bad reputation. You met him first when he was twenty seven. You were only just twenty and pretty much scared shitless even though he was young like you. He was known for being scary and violent and you didn’t want to get on his bad side. But you needed work and he was looking for a secretary.

London was tight for female employment and you could never find any work for a nearly twenty year old who didn’t look like a whore or a stripper. You were pretty much an average, brown eyed, brown haired, brown skinned, dress wearing dropout teenager with nothing to offer. So you knew you were lucky to get the job in the first place.

“Alright darling, you’ll wait outside every morning at 9 a.m and wait for one of my men, or me, to let you in. Don’t fuck around alright, this is fucking school anymore alright.” He was very monotone and you nodded after he had finished.

“So what am I actually supposed to do here?” You asked, holding your hands behind your back.

“You’re going to look pretty and not ask to many questions. I haven’t actually got that much secretarial work at the moment. At the most you’ll file some things, I need you to come to things with me and be walking around the bakery. You might catch the eyes of someone or something like that, and that makes me memorable for my beautiful little secretary.” He sniffed and signalled for you to come closer. “Your not a whore are you girl?”

“No. I don’t think I’m attractive enough to be one.” You smirked.

“Humour. I like it, acting cute like that could get the firm recognition. Try and be memorable. Now, take this and go buy some better clothes, I need you looking as good as you can. Buy a dress that you can work in but is still… flattering.” He nodded at you and put £5 on the desk. Your eyes opened wide. “Never seen that much money before?”

“No, it’s almost unheard of where I live, unless you’re doing opium.” You picked up the £5 and stepped backwards.

“You don’t do opium do you?” Alfie’s eyes narrowed.

“No Mr. Solomon’s, I don’t.” You bit the inside of your cheek and gripped tightly to the money.

“No more of this Mr. Solomon’s. If your going to work here as my ‘secretary’.“He said with inverted commas. “You need to call me Alfie, what’s your name love?”

“Sarai.” You half smiled.

“Lovely name, Hebrew right?” He asked rubbing his beard.

“Yes. My father was Jewish.” You nodded and crossed one leg over the other one.

“Interesting. But you don’t…”

“I’m not really if I’m honest. My father wasn’t very heavily religious and I don’t go to Synagogue or anything. I don’t like the restrictions it suggests. Or the way the Rabi looks at me when I said who my father was.” You laughed slightly and looked down.

“How so?” He twiddled a pen in his hands.

“Well, he was apparently the first man the Rabi knew to not circumcise his son. My brother was increasingly grateful for that.” You smirked. “But, now that my family’s not around really, I have to face the brunt of it alone and I don’t quite fancy it.”

“That’s horrible. The Rabi shouldn’t treat you like that.” He said in a deep voice. “You were a pretty Jewish girl coming to pray.” Standing up, he walked closer to you and you suddenly stiffened up. “Don’t tell me you’re scared of me?”

“Only slightly.” You looked at the floor.

“C'mon love, look up.” He said and you looked at him. “I’m not much of a synagogue man myself.” His voice was close to your ear and you felt a shiver course down your spine. “Prayers at home are easier, people would always read the scriptures wrong whenever I went there.”

You couldn’t say anything, you just looked forward as Alfie walked around you slowly. He didn’t touch you, but you could feel his eyes all over you. But you were undecided on whether you liked it.

“Anyway. I need to go to a meeting now so, you can start by putting the stuff in that draw into alphabetical order and so on.” Alfie gestured to the cabinet behind you.

“Thank you.” You smiled.

“Don’t mention it love. I’ll see you later then.” Alfie walked toward the door. “Shalom my dear!” He said walking out.

“Shalom.” You looked as he left.

You rubbed the back of your neck and turned to the cabinet.

“His eyes were a pale blue, his hair a golden blond that was a little too long and curled by his ears.” 

“And his smile. Well, his smile would probably haunt me for the rest of my life. It was easy, and his dimples only made it worse.” 

“And then there was his smell. A mixture of some sort of cinnamon and something else I couldn’t really put my finger on.”

“It irritated me how easy it seemed for him to smile, as if nothing was wrong in the world when everything felt like it inside.

“Samuel, when the spells of anger come, I want you to play this recording and remember that I am the proudest woman in Columbia to have been your wife. They said your soul was choked by the fumes in that metal box, but this I do not believe. And we shall meet again, on that eternal shore – both of us whole and smiling. I love you. I love you. I love you.”
―Hattie Gerst


Handyman and his wife.

Samuel and Hattie Gerst

I never believed in love at first sight but for some reason, I felt something different when we first met. The more I got to know you, the more my feelings intensified. And when you smiled, I knew that I was in trouble.
—  I just hope that you’ll let me fall in your arms

During her concerts, Adele showers fans with confetti that’s been personalized with handwritten song lyrics. On her 5th anniversary with her son’s father, he secretly added in pink confetti with handwritten notes like ‘I love you’ and 'you are an angel’ to surprise her on stage. Source

It was never just because she was pretty, it was so much more than that. It’s the way her heart beat for everyone, even the people who hurt her. It’s the way she had her secrets and you just wanted to know them all. It’s the way her mind is an adventure I can’t get enough of. It’s the way she makes me want to be a better person. It’s the way her smile could light up a room. And her eyes, oh, her eyes.
—  IG: @rachelmburgess

‘You’re not the sun. You’re my stars.’

'Why?’ she pouts, half laughing. 'What if I want to be the sun?’

He smiles, that slow glowing half smile she loves, and takes her hand.

'The sun…it’s too inconsistent. Too obvious. Sure, some days are beautiful, but others are cloudy, tired, dull. But the stars- they’re always there. They’re always bright, glowing, peaceful…constant, even behind the clouds. Guiding you, I guess. And that’s what you do. You’re my North Star.’

'Alright then. You can be my moon,’ she grins.

'Perfect. And together, we’re all of the night sky. ’

—  j.f // all of the night sky • excerpts of stories I will never write
his hand found my cheek, brushing away a stray tear or three before tucking my hair behind my ear.
“but what if there’s someone else-” I began, trying to spit out the words weighing down on me.
he pulled me as close as humanly possible and looked me directly in my eyes. He said not to worry but I kept brushing off his words until his hands, sturdy and steady, held my chin up and had my gaze locked in with his.
“because no one could ever love me like you do.”
—  excerpt | a.w