She was angry
Jenni was so tense, her shoulders were almost by her ears. Her lips were a tight, pale line and her eyes flashed as she looked back at Lewis.
He felt terribly guilty
Dylan slowly exhaled through his mouth and looked at the ground, running his hands through his hair. He couldn’t make eye contact with Lauren. He instead focused on his feet, drawing lines in the dirt.
She was confused
Becky's brow was furrowed as she looked at the map. She absentmindedly rubbed her chin with one hand while she tried to re-trace her steps on the map with the other.
Same thing - different perspective
The puppy bounded into the room with such joy and exuberance it was impossible not to smile and reach down to welcome him over. He had that new puppy smell that reminded Jenni of bringing her old dog, Fred, home for the first time. She giggled as his rough little tongue lapped at her face, burying her face in his comforting, soft fur.
The puppy ran into the room, whipped into a frenzy by all the people calling out to him. Becky backed away a bit, the last thing she wanted was for the animal to dribble all over her. She could see a slimy string of saliva hanging off his tongue as he ran from one person to the next. She caught a whiff of dog as he flashed by, wrinkling her nose in disgust.
Transformation plotting (Relaxed to stressed at the spa) NB I got on a roll so it's longer than the suggested 500-1000 words! If you could also advise on how to split my story and the conversation into appropriate paragraphs, that would be very helpful.
The Spa Day
The battered, blue VW Beetle skids to a halt outside the stately home, noisily peppering neighbouring cars with gravel. Best friends Jenni and Henry fling the car doors open and tumble out giggling, then pause to take a moment to admire their surroundings. Jenni stands up straight and gazes up at the impressive stone building, sucking in deep breaths of the fresh countryside air. Lakeside Manor! Affordable thanks to a last minute Groupon deal. However, the friends have no time to waste standing here gawping as thanks to Henry's usual poor time-keeping, the pair are late arriving for their spa day.
Striding briskly into the lobby, Jenni reaches up and smooths her bouncy, chestnut brown ponytail. She bounds up to the desk, inquiring breathlessly 'Party of two by the name of Woods?'
The receptionist smiles only with her lips and is almost robotic when she says 'Welcome to Lakeside Manor - I'll just locate your booking'. Jenni drums her fingernails on the desk as the receptionist taps away on the computer... drum, drum, drum. Tap, tap tap. What's taking so long? After what feels like an age but in reality is only five minutes, Robot Receptionist declares they're too late for breakfast 'But please do proceed to use the pool before your first treatment at 11am.'
'Too late for breakfast?!' Jenni's voice reaches an octave even higher than the one induced by Henry's erratic driving on the way here. 'Isn't it just a croissant buffet? Surely we can go in now and get something to eat?'
'I'm sorry' the receptionist lies. 'We don't permit late entries to the breakfast parlour as it disturbs the ambiance for the guests who arrived on time.' Henry's stomach audibly rumbles and Jenni shoots her a cutting glance that clearly says 'Henrietta it's all your fault that we're both going to go hungry.'
'Please proceed through the double doors to access the pool facilities which you are free to use until your allotted treatment time.'
'But we've paid for the breakfast! We haven't eaten anything yet. We thought...' Jenni's voice trails off as she can see the receptionist has zero compassion for the latecomers and her pleas are falling on deaf ears.
'Fine' Jenni flounces off, ponytail bouncing, and forcefully opens the swing doors indicated by the receptionist with a mighty push that causes them to bang against the walls. The resounding clang causes the receptionist to break her composure for a split second and visibly flinch.
The friends are finally robed up and are very ready to start enjoying their morning by the pool. 'At least it's nice and quiet in here' remarks Henry as she flops her long limbs down on a lounger by the edge of the pool. 'We're the only ones in here besides that couple over there' She nods in the direction of the hot tub.
Jenni follows Henry's gaze and as she watches the couple her eyes widen and her hand flies to her mouth 'Oh God Henry - look!' The couple are enthusiastically making out, full on hands in each other's hair, clambering onto laps style snogging. 'Ew, ew ew!' Jenni covers her eyes 'We can't get in there with them. Hell, I don't want to go in after them either. That's so inappropriate!'
Henry starts to giggle but Jenni can't bring herself to look up from her magazine. 'Just tell me when they've gone.' She says through gritted teeth. She turns the pages of her magazine over with a force that threatens to rip it to shreds. 'I just can't believe some people' she moans. 'Trust our luck. The place is deserted except for Mr and Mrs Horny.' Jenni sits upright and stiff as a board on the lounger. She puts the open magazine over her face and pins it down over her ears in a bid to drown out the enthusiastic smooching sounds from the couple. After failing to evaporate them with a death stare over the top of the magazine, Jenni flings it to the floor and declares 'That's it! I've had enough of this! I'm going to get ready for my facial. Lord knows I don't want to risk being a minute late for that and miss my slot'. She swings her legs round and slams her feet down off the lounger, stalking past the hot tub with as much disapproving dignity as she can for someone wearing pink sparkly flip flops and a bath robe. She shoots the couple a withering glance. Of course they're oblivious to it which causes Jenni to huff and slap her feet even more loudly as she leaves the pool area.
Jenni shakes out her arms and tilts her head from side to side as if she were limbering up for a fight, trying to ease the new crick in her neck as she prepares for her facial. 'In a few minutes' time I'm going to be listening to soothing music and having the years rolled back on my face.' She tries to be optimistic as she takes some long breaths in and out her nose.
'Hi there! I'm Susanne, your therapist for your treatment today' says the chipper young girl who comes to collect Jenni from the waiting room.
'Oh. Hello.' Jenni's tone is clipped as she narrows her eyes suspiciously at the girl in front of her. 'She looks about 12!' Jenni inwardly feels reluctant to let this girl conduct the rejuvenating but apparently non-invasive facial peel that she's booked in for.
'If you'd like to, um, follow me, into the treatment room, we can get started.' says the girl hesitantly as she registers the stony expression on Jenni's face.
Jenni sits on the edge of the treatment bed and nervously nibbles at her thumbnail. 'So, er, have you done this treatment a lot?' she asks.
'Oh yeah, I did it loads at beauty college - it's really popular' Susanne enthuses, happy to be invited to talk about the treatment.
'And it's relatively gentle, right?' Jenni fiddles with the hem of her skirt.
'Oh yeah, it's not like a chemical peel or anything. We just use exfoliation and massage to refresh your skin' Susanne gushes. 'You'll look ten years younger when I'm done!'
'Well it's not like I need a whole decade knocking off, I'm only 28!' thinks Jenni. She lies back on the bed as instructed by the newly enthusiastic Susanne and starts to pray to the beauty gods that this facial will deliver what it promises and that she will finally start to enjoy herself.
Susanne switches the music on but rather than the soothing tones of waves crashing on a beach and the hypnotic sound of a pod of whales, Jenni is treated to the shrill, warbling Ariana Grande as she over-sings her latest album. Clearly Susanne has claimed artistic license over the spa's music in this room. She starts to hum along and tap dance her way around the room as she lines up the lotions and potions for Jenni's treatment. 'Ooh this one smells proper lush, you're going to love it' she chirps as she takes the lid off the first pot.
Susanne covers Jenni's eyes with slices of cucumber and with no warning, liberally applies something cold and jelly-like to Jenni's face. She feels the potion start to dribble down into her left ear but is too polite to say anything. 'Great. I'm essentially getting treated to what Henry's little brother would call a 'wet willy' with the exception of him poking his finger in my ear.' She shudders involuntarily.
'Ooh yes it is a bit chilly this one.' says Susanne as Ariana scales new heights with her warbling.
Susanne gives the jelly a minute to do it's thing and then starts to take it off with some cotton wool. Unfortunately she also starts to take off a bit of Jenni's nose with her fantastically pointy acrylic nails. Jenni winces inwardly, again too polite to say anything, and just hopes Susanne doesn't accidentally remove any of her essential facial features with her claws.
She wonders how Henry's treatment is going and if she made a mistake by not selecting the relatively safe option of the full body massage.
'OK, now I'm going to apply the exfoliator - you'll love this bit' promises Susanne and she slaps on what feels like hot sand mixed with oil. She starts to violently rub the sand over Jenni's face, again with a generous helping of scratchy acrylic nails. Jenni grinds her teeth as Susanne grinds her face and tries to visualise all the dead skin being sloughed off to reveal 18 year old Jenni in all her pink-faced, youthful glory. The minutes drag by as Susanne gets stuck in and Ariana becomes more fever-pitched.
After what feels like an eternity, Ariana stops wailing and Susanne ceases to rub the sand around. 'Now I'm going to remove the exfoliator with our award-winning, revitalising skin tonic' she proclaims as if reading from a script. Jenni hears the slosh of the tonic being applied to cotton wool and gasps as it touches her face.
'Yes it's so lovely and refreshing, isn't it?'
Jenni can't answer without letting the oily sand concoction dribble into her mouth so she grunts 'mmm hmm' through tight lips and ever more gritted teeth. This is when the burning sensation starts to kick in. Jenni's body stiffens and she hears Susanne let out a quiet 'Oh my' as she now furiously wipes the remaining mixture from Jenni's face.
At last, Jenni can open her mouth without getting a mouthful of sand. 'My face!' she shrieks. 'It feels like it's burning! Is this normal?' She sits bolt upright, and throwing the cucumber from her eyes, whips her head from left to right, frantically scanning the room to locate a mirror. Some of the oil has found its way into her eyes so she can only see a blurry outline of Susanne and the objects in the room. She leaps from the couch, knocking bottles to the floor as she lunges towards the end of the room to where she remembers seeing a mirror when she first came in.
In her mind, Jenni looks like a hideous burns victim. 'Oh God, please please don't let my face be like Freddie Kruger's.' she prays in the second it takes her to fly across the room. Blinking the oil from her eyes, she peers through the candle-lit gloom into the mirror. 'Well it's definitely not 18 year old me looking back' she thinks wryly. Clearly she's had some kind of reaction to Susanne's efforts as her face is bright pink and decidedly puffy.
'That will calm right down in a moment' says Susanne in Jenni's ear, making her jump.
'Do you know what Susanne? When I came in here looking to be rejuvenated, I didn't expect to have my wrinkles puffed out by a face treatment that clearly should be reserved for the thick skin of elephants.' She pulls herself up to her full 5ft 6 and with hands on hips states 'I want my money back'. She makes eye contact with Susanne as best she can through the film of oil.
'Let me apply the finishing cream and your skin will calm right down' suggests Susanne.
'No way. No thank you. That's it - I'm done. I'm done with this treatment and I'm done with this spa day.'
Susanne's eyes actually start to well up at this point which makes Jenni feel bad. 'Look, I do think it's calming down a bit now but you should perhaps go a bit more gently with the sandy stuff.' Jenni finds herself trying to placate Susanne who has gone from welling up to looking decidedly pale and twitchy. 'Probably because she's worried that Robot Receptionist is going to find out about this and try to get her terminated' she thinks.
Inspired by the welcome they received from the receptionist and the experience so far, Jenni decides it's high time that this spa gets the customer feedback it deserves. She bids a curt goodbye to Susanne, turns somewhat unelegantly on her flip flop and holding her tomato-red chin high, strides out of the treatment room to find Henry.
Henry is just coming out of her massage, rounding the corner as Jenni steps into view. 'What happened to you?' she gapes at Jenni, eyes widening with concern.
'I've had some kind of hideous reaction to my facial!' squeaks Jenni. 'Does it look bad?'
'Ooh, well, er, I'm not going to lie, it doesn't look great.' Henry admits, unable to tear her eyes away from Jenni's frazzled complexion. 'Bloody hell she looks like she's been stung by a load of wasps on top of sunburn.' she muses to herself.
At that moment, the pair hear a giggle and the muffled sounds of a man and a woman in the room opposite. The sign above the door says "Steam room" followed by a long list of rules. The sounds of the couple inside become increasingly like those of a one who are really enjoying each another's company. Henry looks at Jenni and with a grin says 'Mr and Mrs Horny!'
Before Jenni has time to say anything, Henry ducks into the room. 'Henry!' she hisses, her mouth starting to curve into a smile. It was just like Henry to go and cause mischief in a situation like this. True to form, she emerges in a cloud of steam triumphantly holding aloft a bikini, a pair of men's swimming trunks and two white robes. 'Revenge for ruining the hot tub for us!' she cheers.
The pair march back to reception with Henry stuffing the offending items into a cleaner's trolley on the way. Robot Receptionist looks with faint horror at Jenni's face. 'Just so you know' begins Jenni 'I didn't come here to have my face exfoliated down to the bone by an apprentice.' Annoyance crosses the receptionist's face. She was obviously already seriously considering Susanne's termination. Jenni changes her demeanor and adds sweetly 'We've actually come to tell you that we've just heard someone shouting in the steam room like there's some kind of problem.' Henry's eyes twinkle at Jenni's cleverness. The receptionist is going to get a right shock!
Blinking quickly as if to reset to calm spa-worker mode, the receptionist flashes her best fake smile and says 'If you will please wait here for just a moment' before hurrying as fast as her high heels could carry her in the direction of the steam room.
'Our work here is done' says Henry, taking Jenni's arm. 'Come on, let's get out of here and go get some lunch while we write a strongly worded email to the spa manager and dream up the best worst Tripadvisor review possible.'
As they head out the front doors and into the sunshine, the sound of the receptionist shouting shocked expletives reverberates down the corridor from the direction of the steam room. Jenni beams from ear to ear, red puffy face and all.