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Stages | Episode Three

Stages | Episode Three

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Stages | Episode Three

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Jan 22, 2014


When Sophie leaves Michael and chooses to live on her own, she only has one goal in mind — to sort out how she feels about Michael and James. But instead of her life becoming quieter, it only gets more complicated.

Trying to soothe her growing sense of loneliness, Sophie throws herself into the world of online dating. Her encounters leave her wondering what kind of relationship she is really looking for and if there is any man out there who can measure up to James.

And how is it that Michael knows everything she’s been doing ... is he watching her?

Jan 22, 2014

Sobre el autor

Katie Paul has more than one guardian angel. The first additional divine being was sent her way during the first thirteen days of her life when she was left in the hospital waiting to be adopted. She qualified for a second additional supernatural helper forty-five years later, on the day her husband decided to take his own life. Because of the hard-work and long suffering patience of her three guardian angels (who she calls Bob, Fred and Hugo) she has pretty much shrugged off any lingering damage these two events might have caused. She also believes that they might have had a hand in her recovery from bulimia which she inadvertently developed when competing in two body-building competitions. She is now at peace with her natural curves and has discovered that sexy is an attitude and not a body shape. As she approaches middle-age, she has fallen in love for the first time. She found her handsome boyfriend online and is now shacking up with him in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She tried being married once and didn’t like it, so she’s not likely to go down that road again. Her boyfriend takes her to tropical beaches to compensate for working away too much, makes her go kayaking and cycling with him, and he leaves the room when she watches 'The Bachelor' and 'Millionaire Matchmaker'. He likes that she’s grown her hair long and gone gracefully grey, but he isn’t keen on her getting any more tattoos or piercings. She used to work in theatre, stage managing plays, musicals, orchestras and opera, but she gave it all up to write books. Her stories are about loss, love, lust and longing. Her characters get a bit raunchy at times because that’s the way life should be – full of big juicy moments. She is sure Bob, Fred and Hugo agree.

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Stages | Episode Three - Katie Paul


a Sophie Walker Novella

Episode Three

Copyright © 2014 by Katie Paul


All rights reserved

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, businesses, events or locales is purely coincidental.

Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

The author greatly appreciates you taking the time to read her work.

Please consider leaving a review wherever you bought the book, or telling your friends about it, to help us spread the word.

Published by GRETEL PARK PUBLISHING at Smashwords.



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Want more Sophie Walker?

About the Author


Michael measured coffee into a mug in the kitchen. The sink and bench tops were empty, the polished surfaces reflecting the morning sun.

‘I’ve made the bed,’ said Sophie, ‘so the people coming to buy your stuff won’t think we’re slobs.’

He looked up in surprise. ‘That’s not like you,’ he said.

‘What do you mean?’

‘You’re a useless housewife,’ he said. ‘I have to wash my own clothes, cook my own meals and clean up the house.’ The kettle whistled and clicked off. His hand shook slightly as he poured boiling water into the mug. ‘It doesn’t matter, I don’t care.’

‘I guess you’ll be happy I won’t be in your way after today,’ she said.

‘It’s not like you’re moving to another country, it’s only around the corner. You’ll probably change your mind and come back once you realise you don’t have anyone to nag.’

Sophie sighed. ‘Has it really been that bad?’

‘No, I’m used to it.’ He put his teaspoon in the sink and leaned against the bench. ‘You seem to think that on your own you’ll be fighting off men. But you’ll soon discover that no one is interested in a selfish middle-aged woman. I’m betting I’m one of the few guys willing to put up with your crap.’

Sophie felt tears flood her eyes. She was sick of crying, sick of letting him hurt her. ‘You know I’m not doing this to find another man…’ she said.

‘As I said before — I don’t care.’ He walked away with the coffee mug in his hand. He stopped for a moment without turning around. ‘I’ll probably be busy when you leave so don’t worry about saying goodbye. I’ll see you later.’

As she watched his retreating back, an unexpected feeling of loss overwhelmed her. The man she had loved as best she could, for so many years, had changed into someone she no longer knew. He was worse than a stranger, he was a person who actively disliked her. She looked down at the white line of untanned skin around her ring finger. How long would it take to fade? She wiped away her tears and unloaded the dishwasher.

While strangers in baggy t-shirts with vintage computer game slogans on them traipsed up the front path, Sophie sat in the spare room looking out the window. Michael had chosen the day she was moving out to sell most of his books, DVDs and games. In the room surrounding her were a small pile of boxes, a suitcase full of clothes and a couple of bookshelves. Michael had kept bringing things into the room to add to her pile of belongings but she had rejected his offerings.

Izzy wandered in and curled up on top of the suitcase, the way she did every time Sophie packed to leave for a tour away from home.

‘You can’t come with me,’ said Sophie. ‘I’m not allowed a cat in my apartment, you’ll have to stay here.’

A small removal van pulled up at the front of the house interrupting the threat of another round of tears. A young man, wearing board shorts and a tight t-shirt slid out of the driver’s seat. A handful of gamers, congregated at the front gate, moved out of the way to let him pass. Sophie helped him carry the boxes and furniture to the truck. She nudged Izzy off the suitcase and picked her up.

‘Bye,’ said Sophie, nuzzling her face into the cat’s fur. ‘I’ll miss you.’

It was only a short drive to the art deco building on Lavender Street which was to be Sophie’s new home. Sophie helped the removalist unload the van and carry her things inside the one bedroom flat on street level. The property looked like an ordinary house from outside, but inside the brick walls and pitched tiled roof were six flats in pairs stacked on top of each other, stepping down the hill towards Lavender Bay.

‘You have a great view,’ said the young man, as he paused to catch his breath.

The kitchen window framed a picture-perfect postcard view of Luna Park, the harbour, the Bridge and the Opera House. Sophie smiled and nodded.

Once he had gone, it didn’t take long to put everything in its place. She filled the bookshelf with books and set up her computer on a desk against the wall in the living room. When she had finished, the room felt spacious and airy, free of any clutter which would have detracted from the flat’s high ceilings, cream walls with picture rails and beige carpet. In the bedroom, her clothes fitted into the mirrored wardrobe with room to spare. She took the small ceramic frog James had given her out of the concealed zipped pocket in her handbag, and placed it on her bedside table. The new bed, fridge, microwave and couch she had bought on-line were scheduled to be delivered that afternoon.

Sophie’s mobile phone rang. ‘We can’t fit your furniture on the truck,’ said a man’s voice.

‘That’s okay,’ she said. ‘It’s not your fault.’

Sophie thought she heard a sigh of relief. Perhaps he was expecting her to be angry.

‘We’ll deliver it first thing tomorrow,’ said the truck driver.

‘On a Sunday?’

‘I’ll make sure yours is the first drop off.’

She walked back up the hill to what she now called Michael’s house. Most of the visitors had gone, except for a few stragglers leaning against an old blue station-wagon. They looked at Sophie with what appeared to be suspicion. What had Michael told them? How much had he embellished and exaggerated their lives to his friends in order to make himself sound important or interesting?

Sophie found Michael sitting at his desk in the study, the room almost empty. The missing books, games and DVD’s had left imprints in the film of dust on the bookshelves.

‘Why did you get rid of your stuff?’ she asked. ‘I thought you loved all that shit?’

He frowned. ‘It wasn’t shit, it was highly valuable collectors’ items.’ He leaned back in his chair and pulled a sheaf of fifty dollar notes from his pocket. ‘See?’

Sophie briefly wondered what he would do with the money. Perhaps he needed it to pay the bond on his own place?

‘I’m thinking about moving out,’ he said, as though he had read her mind. ‘If we ever get back together, we should start somewhere new. Too many memories in this house.’

If we ever get back together, the words congealed in

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