Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 31 – Overwhelmed

Saturday morning was a much quieter affair than the day before and he was up and dressed before the nurse knocked on the door, that days was called Molly, who he had seen before and they chatted briefly before going up to see the patient.

Mid-morning Katie was sat on her throne in the kitchen when they had two unexpected visitors, Elise Riley, who was an IT security analyst, and her friend Sarah Peters, Verger at St Lucy’s, receptionist at the Doctors surgery and organizer of the care rota.
They were very apologetic for not going through the proper channels, Sarah promised to chastise herself for usurping her own system but they were going out for a lunch date.
Elise was in a very serious relationship with Jacks friends and colleagues at the Club, James Lynch, while Sarah was hoping for a similar outcome with her heart’s desire, Jacey Linton, another of Jacks friends and colleagues who had as yet not done anything about their obvious mutual attraction, Emily and James were trying their hardest to rectify that situation.
“We were on our way out so we thought we’d just pop in and say hello,” Elise said.
They only stayed for half an hour then left them in peace to eat lunch.
In the afternoon he asked Katie what she would prefer TV or book and she answered
So Katie spent the next couple of hours wiping the floor with him until the new Vicar Paul Massey and his fiancé Martina Wingrove arrived.
They were staying that night as Jack was going to be at the Club late into the night as Jacey was on patrol with the Roving Angels.

They were all sitting around the kitchen table laughing and joking when there was a knock at the door, he checked the clock on the wall and thought to himself “that will be this evenings Nurse”.
But when he opened the door he found it was Gemma.
“Hi Gemma, I was right then” he said
“Right about what?” she asked
“I was just thinking that it’s time for the frumpy nurse to call and here you are,” he said
“You cheeky devil” she said punching his arm
After she had attended to Katie she joined the rest of them for an Indian takeaway.
Kayleigh wasn’t in attendance as she was feeling under the weather and she didn’t want Katie catching whatever it was that she had.

As they were demolishing their curry banquet Katie declared
“This is one thing I am definitely going to miss”
Now far from this putting a dampener on proceedings it prompted raucous laughter and a deep theological discussion on whether heaven could truly be heaven without Indian food.
In the end the consensus was that Indian and Chinese would be available but Pizzas would not.
After dinner Martina helped Katie get ready for bed and Paul and Gemma cleared away while Jack got into his work clothes.

As it turned out he had company on the drive over, or at least part of the way, as Gemma needed a lift into Purplemere as she had abandoned her car there when the snow started to fall, she didn’t like driving in snow so she left it and caught the bus.

On the journey they discussed a variety of things firstly her love life and how her relationship with her next door neighbour Tony Vassell was going, this was merely nosiness he was genuinely interested as it was important to him because they were both good friends of his, then he wanted to know how Hannah Peters was getting on up at Plaxton Park, this was also important to him as he had been instrumental in getting her the job, her answer in both cases was “Excellent”.
Finally they discussed Katie’s nurses and did he have any complaints about them.
“Not that I’m sending them for your benefit” she pointed out and laughed.
“I think they are all brilliant” he said “And so does Katie, nothing is too much trouble for them”
“They all love her that’s why” Gemma said
“You know Katie is completely overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness, she doesn’t understand how much she is loved or how special she is and how much they appreciate her being in their lives.
When they reached Purplemere she directed him to the appropriate car park and he pulled up next to her car.
“Thanks for the lift Jack and for everything else” she said and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

After a long incident packed night at the club he felt a mixture of exhilaration and guilt, the former because he had forgotten how vibrant Saturday nights could be on a good night and the latter because he had enjoyed being there and not being at home and looking after Katie.
Because it had been such a great night he was the last to leave and arrived home just before 5 am.
He dumped his jacket and coat on the back of a kitchen chair and went upstairs to look in on Katie before he crept into the spare room and crawled into bed and fell instantly asleep.

Jack didn’t see or hear the Nurse that morning so he had no way of knowing which one it was that day.
Paul Massey went off early to St Lucy’s for the morning service while
Martina stayed to attend to Katie until he resurfaced.
Katie had wanted to go to church herself but as she was still recovering from the fever she got the last time she went, it was decided in her best interests that she should stay home, and credit to Martina for standing her ground.

She had a lot of visitors that Sunday, 12 in all and she had already had 4 before Jack got up and another 2 before he appeared in the kitchen showered and dressed for the day.
Within ten minutes of his arrival Martina rushed off to join her beloved Paul and Katie and Jack settled back into their own familiar routine.
Had he known however that she had already spent much of the morning with visitors he wouldn’t have agreed so readily to the six she had in the afternoon, and as a result it completely wore her out and Katie had a very uncomfortable night as she had unfortunately done too much.

Because of her poor night’s sleep and her obvious discomfiture the nurse gave her a sedative and Katie slept a lot of the day.
This enabled Jack to spend Monday afternoon in the loving arms of Kayleigh in her house.
Thankfully Katie had a much better night’s sleep on Monday night.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 30 – Enthroned Angel

While he was downstairs Kayleigh replied to his text and said she was snowed in up at the hospital but she would be home as soon as she could.
When he returned to Katie with her fresh mug of tea he said
“I phoned Carole, she’ll be here when the weather permits, and Kayleigh just texted saying much the same thing”
And as he sat back in the armchair Katie said
“She loves you, you know?”
“Why would Carole love me?” he asked flippantly
“Kayleigh loves you” Katie said
“I know” he said honestly “But not the way she loves Carl”
“Yes” she mused “she still loves him very much”
“She’s still in love with him” he continued “And Kayleigh will never leave him”
“I know it’s a real “till death do us part” kind of thing for her” Katie said “which is how it should be”
He nodded in agreement and added
“That’s why we spent Valentines apart”
“You love her very much though don’t you?” Katie said
“Yes I do” he replied “more than I have ever loved another soul”
“So its true love for you then” she added
“Yes it’s definitely that” he conceded
“What a tangled web we weave” Katie said philosophically
“Yes life can be very complicated”
“It’s not life that’s complicated, life is just life, its people who add the complication” Katie corrected him
“You are very sage Katie” he said
“Don’t mention food” she said “I’m still hungry, when’s breakfast?” he looked at his watch and said
“Not for a couple of hours yet”
“Damn” she cursed and holding out her mug “can I have some more tea then?” and she gave him her trademark lopsided grin as he took the mug from her.

He went downstairs to the kitchen and made her another mug of tea and as he was about to ascend the stairs with it the front door opened and Nanook of the North stepped into the hallway.
The figure was dressed in a fur hat, long winter coat with a heavy woollen scarf wrapped around the neck and knee length boots, although the occupant couldn’t be seen clearly.
“Carole?” he said, “What are you doing here?”
“I didn’t have anything better to do” she replied
As she un-wrapped the scarf from around her neck and took off her fur hat he asked.
“Where’s your car? I didn’t hear you pull up,”
She sat on the stairs and unzipped her boots
“Do the honours?” she said holding out a leg so he put down the tea on the hall table and pulled her boot off.
“I parked at the surgery and walked up” she replied as she held out the other leg “how’s Katie?”
“Fine, she’s just waiting for this”
He replied and picked up the mug of tea.
“I’ll take that up,” she said taking it from his hand before heading up the stairs so he went back into the kitchen and made drinks for the two of them.
Half an hour later, long after he’d finished his drink and had poured Kayleigh’s down the sink she came back downstairs and was wearing her overcoat again.
Jack walked out into the hall to meet her and asked
“Do you want a cuppa?”
“No” she replied “I need to get going”
She sat on the stairs and put on her boots and added
“Katie is asleep again, so you can leave her until the nurse gets here and I’ll pop in again later”

Ten minutes later just as tiredness was beginning to set in he had another visitor when Kayleigh’s smiling face appeared at the kitchen door.
“Hi Hon, you made it then, do you want coffee?
“No thanks I want some Valentine’s loving” she replied
“It’s not Valentine’s Day anymore Hon” Jack said
“It’s close enough” she responded as she unbuttoned her coat and kicked off her shoes then Kayleigh stepped in close and they kissed and his hands settled on her waist which then pulled her closer to him.
Her kiss was warm and sensual and every fibre of him tingled.
She pulled her lips away but still close enough that he could feel her breath as she spoke
“I want you so badly but I know we can’t”
“Later honey” he said “But we can have a cuddle on the sofa”
“That will have to do to be going on with” she said resignedly

The sofa was now in the study since the move around so they made their way down the hall and Kayleigh sighed with contentment as they cuddled up underneath a tartan throw and promptly went to sleep.

It was two hours later on that Friday morning after Valentine’s Day when Jack was rudely awakened from his slumber by a persistent banging sound.
Which was particularly annoying as he was snuggled up comfortably behind Kayleigh on the sofa beneath a tartan blanket and was in no mood to relinquish his privileged position.
But the banging continued and he suddenly remembered.
“Nurse” he shouted
“No, me singer, you Club owner” Kayleigh said and chuckled and then she added.
“I can dress up as a nurse if you like, blue cotton dress, puffy sleeves, starched white apron, black stockings and underwear optional”
She chuckled again
Bang, bang, bang,
“No” he said, “That’s the nurse”
“Oh shit,” Kayleigh exclaimed
Jack jumped up from the sofa and rushed to the door but before he went out he looked back and said
“I like the sound of the nurse’s uniform by the way Hon, so hold that thought”
Then he rushed down the hall to the front door where he took a breath and then opened it and the tall ruddy-faced figure of George Dallas was standing there.
“I’m so sorry George” he said “it was a bit of a long night, do come in”
“No problem Jack and how is the patient now?” he asked as he stepped inside.
So he briefly told him that after a restless night Katie’s fever had finally broken in the early hours.
He paused briefly at the foot of the stairs to ask if she had eaten anything and what fluids she had, had and then he went upstairs.
Jack went back to the study and found Kayleigh laying on the sofa with the tartan throw wrapped around her.

“It’s George Dallas” he said “he’ll be done shortly”
“Are you coming back for a cuddle when he’s gone?” she asked coyly
“Absolutely” he replied “I’m keen to learn more about the optional underwear”
“I meant optional articles of undies, not yes or no” she corrected him and laughed
“You stay here while George is upstairs and I will come and get you when he’s gone”
Then he kissed her and left her alone.

He was in the kitchen washing up when the George came back down.
“Ok Jack she’s still sleeping soundly, her temperature is fine, and I didn’t wake her so I have left her meds in a cup on the bedside table” he said
“You can leave her sleeping for another hour or so but no more than two”
“Thanks George” he said and showed him to the door.
“Were you serious about letting me ride your horse?”
“Absolutely” Jack replied “Any time you want to just liaise with Lily, she might even ride out with you”
“That would be nice” he said wistfully “Thanks Jack”

When the front door closed behind him he went back down the hall and enjoyed another hour long cuddle after which he left Kayleigh laying under the throw and went upstairs and looked in on Katie who was just getting out of bed.
“Morning Katie” he said
“Morning Jack” she responded “Is it time for breakfast yet?”
“Yes it is” he replied with a chuckle “do you want it in bed?”
“I think I’d like to come downstairs for it if that’s ok” she said
“Of course it is, bath first?” he asked
“Mm, please” she answered
He left her sitting on the bed and went in the bathroom and ran the bath.
“Can I come in” Kayleigh called as he was on his way back to get Katie
“Yes” they chorused and after five minutes of chatter
Kayleigh took over the bath routine and Jack went down to cook breakfast.

As Kayleigh had been up at the hospital all night she hadn’t eaten so she joined them for breakfast, obviously her overnight vigil had left a hole in her reserves, which needed to be filled, because she cleared her plate and had some off Jacks as well.
She nearly choked as she stole the second chipolata off my plate and I said
“Haven’t you had enough yet?”
“Not nearly enough” she replied

It was almost 10.30am as they sat at the kitchen table having consumed their full English breakfasts and were just finishing their tea when Katie yawned and Jack said
“Tired already, all you’ve done is eat and sleep since your fever broke”
“Well you know me and fried food, and that bed is so comfortable”
She replied
“There’s no reason why you can’t carry on sleeping up there” Jack suggested
“No I couldn’t,” she said definitely
“Of course you can” Jack insisted
“Where will you sleep?” Katie asked
“Well, in one of the other four bedrooms or my study” he replied
“You don’t need all the paraphernalia down here yet and you can see visitors up there just as well as in the lounge”
“You’ll be much more comfortable up there” Kayleigh added
“I’ll change the bedding of course,” he said “you were a bit of a sweaty Betty”
Then it was Kayleigh’s turn to yawn
“I need to get to my bed” she said and got up and kissed them both on the cheeks.
Jack followed her out of the kitchen and helped her on with her coat before kissing her goodbye properly.

After Kayleigh had gone he made Katie another drink.
“Are you ok sitting in here while I go and make the bed?”
“Of course” she replied “I rather like it in here”
Jack went upstairs and changed the bedding and after depositing the dirty set in the wash bin he carried the laundry basket downstairs.
“Your bed chamber is ready for you madam,” he announced
“Could I stay down here a bit longer?” she asked
“I don’t see why not” he replied.
So he set up an armchair in the corner of the kitchen for her with plenty of cushions, and she was very pleased with her throne.
“Great” she said, “now I can enjoy the view”
It was a nice view down the garden to the woods he had to agree though he rather took it for granted.
“More importantly” she continued, “from now on I’ll be closer to the food”
They both laughed but it was a pleasure she wouldn’t be able enjoy towards the end so to quote the Reverend word for word she said
“I intend to make the most of it while I can”

Later that morning, having discussed it with Katie first, he phoned Sarah at the surgery about resuming visiting.
Katie felt guilty for letting people down by not being able to see them, now that she was feeling better she was keen to try and reduce the backlog.
They didn’t see Kayleigh anymore that day or Doctor Anderson for that matter as an hour after speaking to Sarah they heard the news that a customer had collapsed in Stephenson’s Corner shop.
It happened as Carole was actually passing by the shop on the way to the surgery.
She attended to him and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived, which was some time as there were delays due to the previous night’s snow.
This made her exceptionally late for her rounds, which kept her, occupied for the rest of the day and as she was away for a family occasion that night and they wouldn’t see her again until Tuesday.

After lunch Katie went upstairs for a rest, and she slept all afternoon which gave Jack a chance to catch up on the laundry.
In the evening Katie had a couple of visitors, who she received in the lounge, and then a very apologetic out of breath district nurse called Gwen arrived.
When she had gone Katie and he had a very passable lasagne courtesy of the European home cooked Meal Mountain in the chest freezer.
After that Katie watched him clear away before he carried her upstairs where she got herself ready for bed.
Jack stayed on hand just by the bathroom door in case he was needed but he wasn’t and she emerged and made herself comfortable in bed.
“There’s nothing quite like fresh bed linen is there?” she said
“No indeed there isn’t,” he agreed
One she was settled they finished watching “The Philadelphia Story” and then he read a few chapters of Harry Potter before the long blinks set in and she was ready for sleep.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 29 – The Angels Wobble

Kayleigh sat with Katie for another ten minutes after they had settled her into his bed while Jack went downstairs to make a coffee.
While he was in the kitchen finishing his drink he heard the front door open and as he listened he realised it was Mrs Cohen.
Jack got up and went into the hall to head her off.
“Ah Mrs C” he said “a change of plan for today, the Reverend has come down with a fever”
She didn’t speak, but listened intently
“She is sleeping upstairs and will do so until the fever dissipates” he continued
“I know I haven’t done as good a job as you would but I’ve already done upstairs so can you just do downstairs this week”
“Of course dear” she replied and patted his hand.
He was taken aback, she had never called him dear before and there was even a hint of a smile about her lips.
Mrs C went about her chores and he returned to the kitchen and when he looked out the kitchen window he noticed it had started snowing.
He hoped it wasn’t going to be too disruptive as he was due at the club that evening, as he couldn’t spend Valentines with Kayleigh, as she would be with Carl.

Hannah Peters was going to come over and stay overnight to look after Katie, which given the good Reverends fever was fortuitous.
But if the snow amounted to as much as was predicted all the plans could easily go awry.
He wasn’t at all convinced that it would as the weather forecast tended to give the worst case scenario so as not to be embarrassed like they were after the great autumn storm of 88 so Jack expected the snow to be an inconvenience and nothing more.
Mrs Cohen left about 12.30 and as soon as the door closed Kayleigh appeared
“Has she gone?”
“Yes you can stop hiding now” he said and laughed
“It’s not funny she’s a very scary woman”
“Nonsense, she called me “dear”” he said
“See, I told you she was scary” Kyleigh explained
Jack left her in the kitchen and went up to check on Katie who was just stirring, he suggested soup for lunch, which he served to her in bed, though she didn’t eat much.
At one thirty Dr Anderson came through the front door
“Hello!” she called
“We’re in the kitchen Carole” Jack called back
“Where’s the patient?” she asked
“She’s in my room” he replied
“Why?” she asked suspiciously
He then told her of the events that lead to her sleeping beneath his duvet.
“Oh God” she said and rushed upstairs so he made some lunch for the three of them in time for her return.
He looked out of the window and was alarmed to notice the snow was not abating in the slightest.
He was beginning to get that sinking feeling, he had actually been looking forward to seeing everyone at the club, but with the snow falling thick and fast he suspected he was going to be disappointed.

Carole came downstairs a little happier than when she went up even though Katie’s temperature hadn’t yet broken.
She was satisfied she wasn’t getting any worse for the time being anyway, but the antibiotics she had just given her, she hoped would break the fever over the next 48 hours.
In the meantime she would spend a couple of hours sitting with her before going home, when she would have to leave for home while she could still get there.

As Carole sat with the sleeping Katie, Kaylie was making coffee and Jack was on the phone, first with Hannah who called to say she was unable to get out of Purplemere and was staying overnight with friends and then to James at the club to say he wouldn’t be paying them a visit after all and explained why and during the conversation James said that it was even worse in Purplemere.
“I’m sorry James” he said “I’ll get over and see you when the weather clears”

He was sitting in the kitchen with Kayleigh looking at the worsening weather and she said
“I really should get going”
“Do you think it’s safe?” he asked
“I don’t know but I have to try”
She always spent the important dates, Birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, New Year’s Eve, Halloween and Valentines with Carl up at Plaxton Park even if she didn’t know if he knew she was there or not because Carl was involved in a devastating car accident that left him severely, physically and mentally disabled and in need of perpetual care and had not responded to any external stimuli.
“You could get stranded,” he said not wanting her to go
“I know” she replied “but I should be there even if he doesn’t know I am, it will be the first one I’ve ever missed”
“You don’t have to miss it,” he told her
“What?” she asked
“Go, I can manage here” he assured her
“What about Katie?” she asked, “She still has a fever”
“Carole has already told me what to do” he replied “and you can phone me for an update”
“And what if she deteriorates? What then?” she asked
“I would do exactly the same thing you would if you were here,” he answered but she still looked unsure so he continued
“Carl may not know you’re there but you do, go to him, I’ll be fine”
She walked around the table and sat on his lap then she kissed him.
“You’re a good man Jack” she said “and I love you”
“And I love you too, now go” he said urgently “before I change my mind”

While Kayleigh was getting her coat on in the hall Jack took another phone call in the kitchen, this time it was from another one of the rota of district nurses who was also unable to get through to the village.
Jack decided not to share the news with either Carole or Kayleigh because they would both have stayed.

“She’s awake,” Carole said as she came down the stairs
“And would love a cup of tea”
“Ok I’ll take one up” he responded then he told her and Kayleigh to call him as soon as they got to their destinations to let him know they got there safely.
Carole left first after promising she would do as instructed and then Kayleigh did the same and then they kissed, but not a goodbye kiss, but more of an “I wish I wasn’t going” kiss, then he opened the door and she stepped out into the snow.

After he watched Kayleigh drive off into the snowy late afternoon he went inside and drew all the curtains, turned on the lights and cranked the heating up before he went into the kitchen and boiled the kettle.
He made Katie and himself a drink, but before he carried them upstairs he went into what used to be the lounge and picked up a couple of DVD’s and the Harry Potter book he had been reading to her.
With the entertainment tucked under his arm and two steaming mugs in his hand he knocked on the door with his free hand.
“Are you decent?” he asked as he slowly pushed open the door.
“You don’t have to knock” she said weakly
“It’s the polite thing to do before entering a ladies boudoir” he said gallantly
“There you are Milady” he said as he put her tea on the nightstand
“Thanks” she said “I’m really gasping”
“I bought up a couple of films” he said with a frown as he drew the curtains and noticed the snow was falling faster.
“Or we could carry on with the book” he added as he put on the bedside lamp
“Could we just have some music?” Katie said “I don’t think I can concentrate on anything else”
“Of course, do you have a preference?” Jack asked
“Something classical would be nice” she replied “no Wagner or Mahler though, something light”
“I have just the thing” Jack said as he got up and left the room.
He came back about five minutes later with his tablet and connected it to the music player.
After a moment or two a selection of John Barry tunes began to play.

While Katie drank her tea Jack settled himself into the armchair in the corner, which was probably the most uncomfortable chair he had ever sat in, though in truth he only got it for decoration.
Ten minutes later he got a text from Kayleigh to say she had made it to Plaxton safely.
“I like this” Katie said after about half an hour, though in truth she kept drifting off to sleep while he passed the time away doing Sudoku’s, then the phone rang, and he picked it up and could see it was Carole Anderson
“Hey you” he said “I was beginning to get a bit worried”
“I’m quite safe” she responded “how’s the patient?”
“Sleeping” he replied
“No I’m not” interrupted Katie
“How’s her temperature?” Carole asked
“I’m not due to take it again for another half an hour” he replied
“Well take it now while I’m on the phone” she insisted
So he did as she asked and it hadn’t changed since lunchtime.
“Should I give her, her tablets now?” Jack asked
“No the nurse can do that when she gets there” she replied
“Ah” he exclaimed
“Ah what?” she asked suspiciously, so Jack told her about the phone call he took while she was in with Katie.
“I wish you’d told me Jack” she said crossly, “I would have stayed”
“That’s precisely why I didn’t tell you” he replied
“Were you that desperate to get rid of me?” she asked sadly
“Never that” he replied
Carole eventually conceded his motives were well meaning and gave him his instructions for the evening, and promised to ring again later.

It was about 7 o’clock when he woke up in the armchair after a short doze just in time to see Katie coming out of the bathroom.
As she stood in the doorway with the bright bathroom light behind her.
“What are you up to?” he asked
“I needed the loo” she replied
“I should have been helping you” he said
“I didn’t want to wake you” she said “and I don’t need help to pee”
So he helped her back into bed.
“If you promise to behave while I’m gone, I’ll make you some supper” he said “what would you like?”
“I’m not hungry” she said
“You should try and eat something” he insisted “how about some soup?”
“No not the soup again, it gave me wind” she answered
“I noticed” Jack said
“Oh, you didn’t?” she exclaimed and blushed
“I think my fever is getting worse” she continued fanning herself at the same time.
“Could I just have another cup of tea” she asked and sank back into the pillows.
“Of course you can?” he said but he didn’t think she heard the answer.

While he was in the kitchen he made himself a sandwich and ate it at the table before he went back upstairs.
After her cup of tea Katie said she felt up to watching something so he held up the two DVDs he brought upstairs earlier and let her pick.
So they watched “The Philadelphia Story”, well in truth he watched it while Katie drifted back off into a fitful sleep.
He touched her forehead and it was still burning hot but although the room didn’t feel cold she was shivering so he pulled the throw up over the top of the duvet.

About 9 o’clock the phone rang, so he got up from the armchair and hurried downstairs.
“Hello?” he said
“Oh Jack, thank God” Carole exclaimed
“Carole? Why are you ringing on the landline?” he asked
“The network is down because of the blizzards” she explained
“And it’s taken me an absolute age to get this number, I had to phone the Club first and spoke to someone called Kylie, then she phoned Jacey, who phoned James, who phoned Elise, she then phoned Gemma who spoke to her mum then her mum phoned me”
“I’m guessing the call from her mum wasn’t a quick one”
“No, she’s a chatty woman isn’t she?” Carole said with a laugh
“Well you got me in the end” he said
“Anyway how’s the patient doing?” she said back to business
“She’s still very hot and she’s sleeping a lot” Jack explained
“But she’s not sleeping soundly and she’s not resting comfortably”
There was silence from the phone so he continued
“I think that’s a good sign isn’t it? That means she’s fighting it off” he said hopefully
“How’s her appetite been?” Carole asked avoiding his question
“Not good” he answered “she hasn’t eaten much at all, but I’m keeping her hydrated”
“Hmmm” she responded
“Is hmmm good or bad” he asked
“Neither” she said “Keep watching her closely and hopefully the fever will break by morning”
“And if it doesn’t?” he asked
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, call me if there is a change” She said, her voice cracking “I’ll get to you as early as I can in the morning”
And then she was gone.

Jack slept in the uncomfortable armchair in his room beside the bed and woke up just after 2 am with pins and needles in his arm.
He gingerly picked up his dead arm with his unaffected hand while life flooded painfully back into it.
Having successfully restored blood flow to his stricken limb he walked downstairs to the kitchen.
While he waited for the kettle to boil he looked out the window and it appeared to have stopped snowing.
He opened the back door and looked out, it had stopped and the wind had died away and when he looked up he could breaks in the cloud.
He closed the door again and made a mug of Milo and went back upstairs and Katie was still restlessly murmuring in her sleep so he settled back into the armchair from hell, drank his Milo and dosed off again.

When he came to, an hour and a half later he forgot where he was, he couldn’t see much in the darkness and there were no familiar sounds to aid him, and then it dawned on him, there were no sounds at all, and the room was full of silence.
He quickly fumbled with the light switch on the lamp and eventually switched it on to reveal there before him, peacefully sleeping in his bed was Katie.
He stood up and walked to the bedside and sat down on the edge of the bed, she was breathing un-laboured and when he touched her forehead it was cool and clammy, her fever had broken.
Jack sat there for about 20 minutes just watching her sleep then quite suddenly she licked her lips and opened her eyes and after a moment she looked at him and smiled.
“Could I have an omelette?” she said “I’m starving”
And Jack burst out laughing.

While Katie sat in bed devouring a four egg omelette he went downstairs and phoned the Doctor
“Hello” A tired voice croaked
“Carole?” he asked not sure if he had just woken some poor unsuspecting stranger
“Jack?” she replied “is everything ok?”
“The fever has broken” he said
“Thank God” Carole responded “is she still sleeping?”
“No” he replied “she’s eating an omelette”
And they both laughed

He hung up the phone and picked up his mobile and he could see he had a signal so he assumed the network was back up so he sent Kayleigh a text with the good news then he went straight back upstairs to find Katie mopping up the last remnants of her omelette with her third slice of bread.
“Was that to madam’s satisfaction?” he asked her in his pompous butler’s voice
“Lovely” she replied wiping her mouth with her serviette.
“Have you had enough?” he enquired
“Oh yes” she replied “if I have any more I won’t enjoy my breakfast”
“What about another tea?” he suggested
“Oh yes please” she replied with a grin

Friday, 18 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 28 – The Grateful Angel

On Friday the pattern that they had quickly fallen into was to be broken when Paul and Katie would be picked up in a taxi and taken to the Bishops residence for high tea, a singular honour by all accounts.
Selfishly, on hearing this news the day before Jack thought that, that would be his chance to spend some private time with Kayleigh.
So as he watched the taxi drive away on Friday lunchtime he felt a tingle of excitement tinged with guilt, but predominantly excitement.
It was partly the secrecy and the planning as well as the anticipation but mainly it was his love of her that stirred him.
He dropped the latch on the front door and then went out through the back door via the kitchen, locking the door behind him.
Once outside Jack hurried through the side gate into Kayleigh’s garden and found the kitchen door open so he stepped in and called
And a grinning face appeared from behind the door.

Jack felt rather guilty after his sinful afternoon in his lover’s bed while Katie was being entertained by the Bishop, but not guilty enough to prevent him from enjoying Kayleigh’s company again when the chance next arose.

There were no visitors on Friday Evening as was to be expected as the Vicar was too exhausted after tea with the Bishop.
She slept for much of Saturday as well but on Sunday she was feeling much better, so much so that she felt in need of spiritual refreshment so after he helped her with her bath Jack wheeled Katie down to the church.
It was a cold damp foggy morning and he wasn’t sure it was altogether a good idea but he had her well wrapped up and Paul Massey, the new Vicar, had saved her a seat nearest the heater.
She was in sparkling form, almost up to her former best and she chatted enthusiastically with all those in earshot and she enjoyed the service very much and was much moved by Paul’s choice of hymns.
However by the end, she was flagging and although her spiritual self was indeed refreshed, her body was left exhausted again, which kept her confined to bed for the rest of Sunday and a large part of Monday.

Every morning Sarah Peters, Verger at St Lucy’s and receptionist at the doctors surgery, phoned him to see if Katie was up to visitors and Jack would say yes or no, having already consulted Katie to see if she wanted to or not, but the ultimate decision was his.
Katie would never turn anyone away no matter how drained she was, but on Monday he provisionally said yes.

Just after he’d hung up the phone there was a knock at the door and when he opened it, it was the nurse, a different one this time, a district nurse it turned out.
After she’d gone Jack had to carry Katie all the way upstairs for her bath and all the way back down as well.
Dr Anderson came around midday and was persuaded to accept Jack’s hospitality to lunch with them, not that it took too much persuasion, and he had noticed her visits had been particularly well timed of late.
In the evening it was a different nurse again, a pleasant enough woman though but somewhat sour faced.

After the Doctor had gone Jack and Katie ended up watching a lot of old movies together and in the evening after she had seen her visitors they were joined by Kayleigh and after they had eaten a sublime Lamb Curry donated by the Khan’s, Katie asked if Jack would read to her.
“Which book?” he asked and after about thirty seconds of deliberation she said
“Harry Potter”
“Which one?”
“Let’s start at the beginning “The Philosophers Stone” she said, “Hopefully we’ll get through all of them before the end”
Jack glanced at Kayleigh and he could see that she didn’t like to think about the end either, and like Jack she hoped it wouldn’t come for a good while yet.
Jack shook off the morbid thoughts and read to her for the next couple of hours.

Virtually the same routine was repeated the next day, only the faces and shapes of the nurses varied, but then on Wednesday evening Katie went down with a fever.
He called Dr Anderson immediately, she played it down of course, but he could tell she was concerned.
She told him what tablets to give her and in a reassuring voice said she would pop in the next day as usual.
The next day Kayleigh called in at 7.30am and tried to pass it off as coincidence but she was clearly worried.

Carole administered the usual meds and something else for the fever.
“That will suffice for now” she said and instructed him to check her temperature regularly and promised to return later in the day.
As Carole had done everything already she called the surgery and asked Sarah to cancel the nurse for that morning but to leave the evening one in place for the time being.

Despite her fever Katie insisted on having her bath as usual, claiming it couldn’t do any harm and would probably even help, and then she gave him one of her lopsided grins so he gave in providing she ate her breakfast first.
She duly complied and he carried her upstairs and sat her on his bed while he ran her a bath.
He helped her into the tub in the usual manner and as he didn’t want to leave her alone upstairs as he normally did, he pottered around upstairs, changing the bedding, putting towels away, that kind of thing.

Once Jack had done everything he called into her
“Are you ready to get out yet your ladyship?”
“In a minute peasant” she replied
He was still laughing when he noticed Katie hadn’t sorted anything out clothes wise, so he went down and chose some for her, underwear as well, and when he was halfway up the stairs he went back and got a clean nightie just in case.
Before he got back upstairs he was surprised to see Kayleigh walk in.
“Hi Hon” he said “I wasn’t expecting to see you until later”
“I’m not coming later, remember” she said
“Of course” he said “Well now you’re here you can help me with Katie”
They went upstairs and he put the pile of clothes on the bed and Kayleigh helped her out of the bath.
Jack withdrew while she dried herself, but after a few moments she went a bit wobbly so they sat her on the bed and Kayleigh finished drying her herself.

When they had finished their joint venture Jack said
“I sorted out some clothes for you”
She had a quick look and replied
“Have you been rummaging through my knicker drawer?”
“Yes I have indeed rummaged in your drawer full of drawers” he responded proudly
“Pervert” she said and laughed.
After a moment or two of inactivity he was getting concerned she would get cold so Jack decided it was time to get her moving.
“Right let’s get you dressed,” he suggested “or would you rather just wear your nightie?”
“Nightie and Knicks” she said weakly
He picked up a pair of pale yellow knickers from the pile of clothes, and handed them to Kayleigh who knelt down in front of her and got her pants on over her feet and then pulled them up to her knees.
Jack then encouraged Katie to stand up and hold onto him for support while Kayleigh pulled her knickers the rest of the way up.
“Oops” she exclaimed with a giggle “they’ve gone up my bum”
“Well putting knickers on isn’t my sphere of expertise” Jack said “but I don’t mind helping out”
“I don’t think you should be poking around up there,” Katie said
“I’ll get them roughly in situ and you can adjust them later” Kayleigh replied.
Once she had finished Katie sat back down on the bed and Kayleigh stood up in front of her and picked up her nightie and put in on over her head, she then put her arms through in turn and she prepared to pull it down as Katie released the towel.
“No peeking,” she said
“I can’t promise that” Jack said honestly “I am a pervert after all”
But as she let the towel drop Jack did avert his gaze until Kayleigh had pulled her up to her feet and the garment had covered her modesty.
They both held onto her while she adjusted her pants and when the final adjustments were made and the snap of elastic sounded no more she leant against Jack and hugged him tightly.
“Thank you Jack,” she said softly
“For what?” he asked
“For everything” she replied “for this”
“It’s no trouble” he said
“It’s a lot of trouble” Katie corrected him
“And it means a lot to me”
“My pleasure” he said “well you know what I mean”
She suddenly broke away and exclaimed
“I forgot to squirt”
“Not to worry” he said “that’s soon remedied”
So he went into the bathroom and grabbed her deodorant and returned to the bedroom where Kayleigh still had her standing by the bed.
She lifted her arms up one at a time while he squirted.
“Anywhere else?” he asked
“No that will suffice” she replied
“Sure?” he asked again
She nodded.
“Ok” he said and pulled the neck of her nightie out and gave a quick squirt down her front.
“Behave yourself” Kayleigh said and slapped his arm “you’re incorrigible”
They were all laughing when she went all wobbly again and fell against Jack limply.
“Oops a daisy” he said as he took hold of her.
Holding her firmly with one arm he used his spare hand to gesticulate to Kayleigh to turn back the duvet before he lowered her onto the bed.
“Let’s get you lying down,” he said gently
“No” she replied, “this is your room”
“Well for the next few days it’s your room” he insisted “I put clean bedding on this morning”
She didn’t have the strength to argue anymore so she lay down and as he and Kayleigh sat beside her on the bed she drifted off to sleep within a few minutes.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 27 – Angel in Residence

The next morning the door went at nine o’clock and a nurse, by the name of George Dallas was standing the other side of it when he opened it, and he had come to check on the patient.
He was a tall thin man, with pale skin and strawberry blonde hair, in his early thirties.
Jack was expecting him as there was a rota on the kitchen wall, of who was doing what and when.
So he had been up since 7 am, and he took a cup of tea in to Katie at seven thirty and she too had been awake for a while.
By the time the nurse arrived he’d already helped her to the bathroom for her morning pee and made her breakfast and she was sitting comfortably in his arm chair watching TV.
So he left them to it and went and made drinks, then George, the nurse, having checked Katie was ok and given Katie her medication, George left and he had been there for the best part of an hour.

Despite the early visit it was a much quieter day than the previous one so after skyping the boys at the club, Jack pottered about for the morning, he did a bit of laundry, emptied the bins, that kind of thing.
He told Katie to just shout if she wanted anything, but he had to tell her off at one point when he caught her on the way to the kitchen.
“Where are you going?” he said crossly “I told you to shout if you wanted anything”
“I didn’t want to bother you” she said
“It isn’t a bother” he reassured her “now take my arm”
She did as she was told and he walked her to the kitchen
“Oh you have a lovely outlook” she said looking out of the kitchen window.
The lounge was at the front of the house so she hadn’t seen out the back before.
She sat down at the kitchen table and he made them a drink.

They had been sitting there for about ten minutes when…
“Jack?” she said “I was wondering if...”
“If what?” he asked
“Say no if you think it’s a bit cheeky” she replied “but would it be alright if I have a bath”
“For goodness sake Katie you don’t need to ask my permission” he said “this is your home now”
“Are you sure?” she asked
“Of course” he reassured her “I’ll go and run the bath, while you finish your drink”
So he went upstairs to his bedroom which had an en suite and ran the bath and put out fresh towels before returning downstairs to the kitchen.
“It’s all ready for you madam” he said pompously and held out his hand, which she took.
He let her lead the way slowly up the stairs and he followed closely behind in case she slipped but half way up he stopped her and scooped her up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way.
She was able to undress herself ok but needed help to get in and out of the tub.
So Katie called him in to the bathroom and she was standing with her back to him wrapped in a bath sheet.
Jack held her loosely at the waist and let her step in, once both feet were safely in the water he un-wrapped the towel from her and held it out like a windbreak.
Katie was then able to lower herself gently into the water.
“Oh wow” she exclaimed “this is fab”
Jack smiled to himself and then lowered the towel as her modesty was by then covered by the bubbles.
“Is that to madam’s satisfaction” he said grandly
“Oh yes my good man” she replied in her best Lady Muck voice “this will do very nicely, you may go”
“I’ll leave you to it then ma’am” he said tugging his forelock “and don’t even think about trying to get out on your own”
“Ok” she replied meekly
But just as he was leaving the bathroom she exclaimed
“Oh bugger”
“Reverend Watson!” he said with affront
“Sorry” she said with a giggle “I forgot my clothes”
“I’ll bring them up, anything in particular?” I said
“They’re in a pile at the end of the bed” she told him
“Ok” he replied “I’ll bring them up”
“And no ogling my undies” she added and he smiled as he thought “That’s the Katie Watson we all know and love”
“I can’t promise that” he called as he went down stairs and picked up her clothes which he put on the bottom stair and went back to the kitchen and put the kettle on.
He made another drink and he was just about to go up and check on Katie when the front door opened and Carole Anderson walked in with her medical bag.
“Hello” she called
“In the kitchen” he called back
When she walked in he noticed instantly she was dressed in her more familiar professional garb.
“Nice to see you properly dressed today doctor” he said
“Less of your lip” she retorted “Where’s the patient?”
“She’s upstairs”
“Why what have you done?” she asked suspiciously
“I haven’t done anything” he replied indignantly “she’s having a bath”
“Well that’s ok then” she said with a smile “I’ll go up and see her”
“She’s in the en suite in my room” he said “can you take Katie’s clothes up with you”

He continued with his chores while the Doc was upstairs with Katie, he had a plateful of broken biscuits that he had emptied from the cookie tin so he took them up the garden to put on the bird table.

He loved the garden it was such a tranquil place, from the house he could look out across the expanse of lawn to a stand of ancient woodland that separates the garden from the bridal way, there was no fence to separate garden and wood the two just merged.

He had just brushed the last of the crumbs off the plate and had turned to go back to the house when his attention was drawn to a sound in the trees at the end of the garden.
It sounded like a horse snorting and that meant only one thing, so he walked towards the trees and his suspicions were correct, walking among the trees was a familiar beast and its rider, Trojan and Lily Soames.
“What are you doing here?” he said
“I’m just exercising the old boy” she replied “Which you should be doing, but I know you’re busy”
“Do you want to come in for a coffee?” he asked “I’ve got the Vicar in residence and the Doctor’s here at the moment but you’re still welcome”
“No I’d better not” she replied “I’m a mess, but the next time I’m passing I will”
“Ok” he said but he couldn’t discuss it any longer as he was frozen, he had only intended being outside for a couple of minutes, Lily on the other hand was dressed for the weather.
“I’ve got to go in,” he said “but I’ll see you soon”
Jack went back to the house at a jog and back in the house he closed the door and shivered as he switched the kettle on and five minutes later Carole came down the stairs with Katie following her less gingerly that he might have expected, obviously the bath had had some benefit.
“How was it then?” he asked
“Very nice” Katie replied, “That bath is fab”

Carole had to return to her rounds so Katie and Jack had lunch together and then they watched “It happened one night” with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert before Katie settled down for a nap.
By the time she had woken from her nap Gemma had arrived, in uniform, to dispense the evening medication.
This was followed by an hour of visitors and one of the donated dinners from the freezer, a shepherd’s pie, for tea.
Then they watched TV together until she fell asleep.
Wednesday and Thursday followed in similar vein apart from the fact that Kayleigh was also there for long periods of the time.

While Katie had her afternoon nap Jack occupied his time tidying the garage.
It had always been a bit of a mess ever since he moved in, but since he made the decision to invite Katie to stay it had become very cluttered indeed.
He made a start amidst the chaos on Tuesday afternoon and had completed his labours on Thursday.

On Thursday evening Katie had expressed a desire for bolognaise for tea, with garlic bread.
They had bolognaise in the freezer and he had plenty of pasta but he knew he was out of garlic bread so after the first visitor arrived he popped out to Stephenson’s.
As he emerged from his front door he rushed headlong down the drive and almost bowled over a pedestrian and after apologies were exchanged he saw that his victim was George Dallas, George was one of Gemma Frost’s posse of drop in nurses, who she had co-opted onto Katie’s care rota from Plaxton.
“Hello Mr. Morehouse” George said “I was just coming to see the Katie”
“Call me Jack” he said “So it’s your turn again already?”
“Yes I will be doing a lot of the visits as I live in Turnoak so I can see her before or after my shifts”
“Well the door is on the latch so let yourself in, I’m just off to the shop”
So George went up to the cottage and Jack walked down the road to Stephenson’s.

Anita Compson was at the counter as he walked in talking, to her husband Len
“Hi Jack” they chorused and he walked towards them and they chatted for a few minutes before he went to the freezer cabinet and picked up a couple of garlic breads.

Outside the shop he started back up the road and was lost in his thoughts but he was snapped back to reality by the sound of a car horn and when he looked up it was Lily Soames, who pulled her car to the curb side just ahead of him.
“Where are you off to?” he asked
“I’m going to see Katie” she answered

George was just coming down the stairs as they were crossing the hall and the former collided with Lily and she ended up on her backside on the floor.
“Oh my goodness” he exclaimed “I’m so sorry”
“That’s ok, no harm done” she said as he pulled her to her feet
“Ah I see you’ve met George” Jack said having turned to look what had happened in his wake
“Indeed” she said
“George this is…” Jack began
“The girl with the horse” George said “I often see you around the village on a chestnut mare”
“Yes I’m Lily and the mare is Hazel”
“Do you ride?” Jack asked
“I do” he replied “but not very often”
“Oh?” she queried and Jack detected that Lily’s interest in the good nurse was beyond that of a horsewoman and a horseman
“George is a nurse up at Plaxton Park” Jack informed her “I imagine the shifts are unhelpful”
“Indeed, and the fact I don’t have my own horse anymore”
“Jack stables his horse at Pine Hill” Lily said
“You have your own horse?” he asked
“Yes it was my uncles” Jack replied
“And he needs to be ridden” Lily added and gave Jack a look which confirmed his suspicion
“I have an idea” he said “As I have a horse and don’t ride and you do but don’t have a mount you could ride Trojan”
“Really?” he said
“Absolutely, you’d be doing me a favour George, work out the details with Lily” Jack said and returned to the kitchen with the garlic bread and finished cooking dinner in time to rescue Katie from a particularly long-winded visitor.

Kayleigh arrived just in time to eat and they persuaded Lily to stay for dinner as well as she had after all intended to see Katie anyway, however much to Lily’s obvious displeasure George was unable to join them as he had to get up to the hospital.

After dinner Lily had to get back to the farm and Katie was suddenly overwhelmed by fatigue so Kayleigh settled her down while he washed up and then they indulged themselves with a glass of wine and a Romantic comedy.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 26 – Marvellous in a Crisis

On Monday morning the door knocker was rarely quiet and it began at 8 o’clock with the dreaded Mrs. Cohen coming to get the house spick and span before the patient arrived.
She was a surly old biddy but she was a marvellous cleaner but she had the knack of making him feel like he was in the way and he found her to be incredibly intimidating so he made himself a coffee and made his way to his study to the echoes of “I ain’t done in there yet”
But Jack closed the door and switched on the computer and an email gave him the excuse to escape so while Mrs. C did her stuff he took the opportunity to drive over to Purplemere and meet Jacey and James at the club, he could have phoned them and had a skype meeting but Jack found from bitter experience that when Mrs. Cohen was in the house it was best if he wasn’t.

So having killed an hour at the Waterside Club he found he still had time, if he rushed around, to do a bit of shopping, but rushing around was certainly a necessity due to the cold weather.
Where it had been sunny and mild for his trip to Sharpington with Kayleigh the winter cold had come back with a vengeance after the weekend, carried on a biting wind.

As he was making his way back to the car a timid voice called out from behind him.
He turned around but couldn’t identify the source of the voice so he turned back and carried on walking
The voice called again, a little louder this time, so he turned around again and this time he was faced by a short smiling young woman who he didn’t recognize.
She was wearing one of those furry hats with ear flaps, a heavy thigh length coat, skinny jeans and Ugg boots.
Jack didn’t know what fashion statement she was trying to make in such an ensemble, he suspected it was more likely a determination keep warm.
“It’s me” she said from beneath the fur hat.
But he still didn’t know who “me” was.
It was clearly some young woman that he had met at some time and the encounter was so unmemorable he had instantly forgotten her, possibly someone who had worked at the club or maybe even a regular customer.
So he tried to picture her dressed in a different outfit, staff uniform, or evening dress, but nothing registered.
So she lifted the hat off her head so he could get a clearer look but this only allowed the wind to blow her fine blonde hair across her face, obscuring it completely.
It took a moment for her to take control of her wayward locks but when control had been achieved she announced
“It’s me” and gave him a beaming smile.
“Lily?” he said “I didn’t recognize you without your horse”
She was a local girl who owned and ran the Pine Hill Farm Riding School and was often seen on horseback around the village.
“You’re silly” she giggled as she put her hat back on “you mean you didn’t recognize me with my clothes on”
Jack smiled at her and she suddenly realized what she had said and blushed
“I meant with my winter clothes on” she corrected herself and they both laughed.
She was a wealthy girl and didn’t really need to work, her parents died when she was at college and left her a luxury 8 bedroom house in Hawthorne and a sizable fortune, but she was not the sort to idle away her life in hedonism she needed a purpose so she sold the house and bought a rundown farm which she converted into the riding school, and she had run it successfully for seven years.
He first met her when his uncle Daniel was still alive as he stabled his own horse, Trojan, with her, in fact it was still stabled there.
He hadn’t been able to bring himself to sell it so Lily agreed to keep it in her care, although she had an ulterior motive because she was still hoping to get him into the saddle.
Lily was a petite and attractive girl with hair the colour of pure honey but despite everything she was socially awkward and she shuffled her feet awkwardly wanting to lean in and kiss him in greeting but she wasn’t sure if she should or not so Jack put her out of her misery and kissed her instead
“Thank you for the birthday card” he said
“Did you like it?” Lily asked “it wasn’t too cheeky?”
The reason for the question was the message she wrote in his card alluding to him being akin to an old nag as he had reached the age of 40.
He was quite amused when he opened his cards, and he was pleased that she thought him enough of a friend to be cheeky.
“Yes I did” he replied and she shivered and then checked her watch.
“Oh damn I’m going to miss my bus if I don’t run”
Then she awkwardly leant in and kissed him.
“Bye Jack”
“Why are you catching a bus?” he asked
“I’m not allowed to drive at the moment” she replied
“I fell off my horse a few days ago and I hurt my shoulder and I’m on strong pain killers”
“I can give you lift” he said
“Are you going home now then?” she asked
“Yes I’ve done what I needed to do” he replied
“Ok” Lily said “that will be great”

As they were driving back to the village Lily said
“You haven’t been to the stable for a while”
“No” he replied “but life has kind of got in the way”
“Yes I heard about the Vicar” she said quietly
“It’s a good thing you’re doing”
“It’s the least I could do” Jack said

“So where do you want dropping?” he asked as they entered the village
“You’re place will do” she replied “I have to go to the surgery to get a repeat prescription”
“No problem” Jack said and then as he pulled on to his drive she exclaimed
“Oh my”
And the reason for that exclamation was the sight of a number of villagers exiting or entering his front door like worker ants from a nest.
“So the vicar takes up residence today” she said
“Oh yes” he replied
“Did you want to come in for a while?”
“Well today obviously isn’t a good day” she said “and I need to get my prescription, but we’ll do it another day”
She held his hand and kissed his cheek
“Thanks for the lift Jack”

When Jack managed to get inside the house he found a crowd scene in the hall and kitchen.
Directing traffic in the hall was Martina Wingrove, the new Vicars wife to be, and in the kitchen surrounded by chaos were Doctor Carole Anderson, in dress down mode and Matron Gemma Frost in civvies, he had never seen the good Doctor wearing casuals before, Gemma on the other hand he had seen in scruffy joes before.
“Hello girls” he said
“Jack?” Carole shouted “Thank God”
“Is everything going to plan?” he asked
“No” she cried “no it’s bloody not, half the village has turned up with meals”
“Oh” was all he could muster as he looked around at a huge selection of Pyrex and Tupperware dishes.
“There’s a lot” Gemma added “and nowhere to put it all, your freezer is full”
“There are hot pots and curries, casseroles and spag bols” Carole exclaimed as she threw her arms up in the air.
“Honestly” he said putting an arm around each of them, “I hope you wouldn’t be this flustered if one of the biddies had had a stroke”
“We’re trained for old ladies with strokes” Carole said tartly
“We are not trained for this”
Just at that moment they were joined in the kitchen by Kayleigh who was smiling broadly and had obviously been listening from the hall
“Ah, Kayleigh, there are labels in that drawer” he said pointing and then said to all of them
“Write what’s in the dish and who brought it so I can return the container to the correct person afterwards” he instructed
“I will go and switch on the chest freezer in the garage”
“You’re marvellous in a crisis” Carole said
“He’s not bad in a clinch either” Kayleigh whispered to him as he passed
He left them to it and went out the back door and into the garage.
Jack thought it was nice that the Doctor thought he was marvellous in a crisis but he wasn’t even sure if the chest freezer still worked, he hadn’t used it for a year.
It was in use when he inherited the house but it had very little in it so he switched it off and cleaned it out and it had stood empty ever since.
The other problem was that since then he had used the top of it as a dumping ground for boxes and such like, so firstly he had to clear it off.
He was not particular in his task and he rather just relocated the clutter from the top of the freezer onto the top of any other available surface.
One he had cleared the top he lifted the lid and briefly checked inside.
Satisfied nothing was living in it he closed the lid and switched it on and the light came on instantly and it started to make the appropriate noises of a chest freezer so Jack was content all was well.
He returned to the kitchen to find that calmness prevailed as Gemma, Carole and Kayleigh were working methodically through the task he had set them.
They had been joined by Martina as the flow of visitors had been stemmed so while the others finished labelling she and Jack began carrying out the already labelled meals to the freezer.

It had been rather a strange morning which fizzled out somewhat after that extraordinary deluge of well-meaning women, who had succeeded in filling his freezer.
Despite all the food on hand Jack took the four ladies out for some pub grub and a pint at then Hen and Chickens.
As they were walking down the road Martina wanted to pop in and see Katie on the way and Carole went in with her.
Thirty minutes later they re-emerged with Katie walking between them.
“Katie” they cheered
“Did someone mention the pub?” She said
She was walking under her own steam but she had to hold on to Martina and Carole’s arms.
“Hey” she said to Jack “if we’re going to live together I think I should be seen on your arm”
So Jack made an elaborate bow and she took his arm.
They were all in the pub until 4 o’clock and the Hen and Chicks was absolutely rocking.
When they eventually left the pub Katie turned to them and said
“Thanks for that” then after a pause she continued “it was like being at my own wake”
And as a result they were all laughing so much they had to sit down again.

They wheeled Katie to White Rose Cottage house in her wheelchair, not because she was drunk or anything, she had nursed the same pint of Guinness all afternoon, but she had summoned every ounce of strength she had in her to get her through her “wake” and she was absolutely drained with fatigue, plus the emotion of the day had taken its toll.
Carole and Gemma settled her into what was now to be her room for the duration.
Martina had returned to the Vicarage and along with her fiancé Paul they brought the remainder of Katie’s possessions.
While the four of them fussed and faffed around her Jack and Kayleigh went to the kitchen and made them some food, from scratch.

After which they all ate together in Katie’s room and afterwards they sat chatting until Katie was too tired to continue.
So they all kissed her goodnight and Carole and Gemma settled her down for the night.

Martina and Paul then returned to the Vicarage while the rest of them sat in the kitchen for the next hour or so until they left as well, though not before drilling into Jack what to do if something happened.
Katie didn’t need constant nursing at that point so there was to be no night nurse, just regular visits.
But he had a list of contact numbers should the need arise.
So once the Doctor and the Matron were satisfied he knew what to do, they and Kayleigh left him to it.
Jack never admitted to them that he didn’t sleep well that night and that every time he woke up he went and checked on her.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Angels, Lovers and Songbirds Chapter 24 – While the Cats Still Away

They lay in the soapy water until it started to get cold and then he watched with lustful eyes as her body emerged from the water and then Jack stepped out to leave her to wash her hair under the shower.

After Kayleigh had washed her hair she left the bathroom swathed in towels and Jack went back in to shave.
He turned the hot water on and filled the basin and lathered up but halfway through shaving he became curious to know what she was doing when the hairdryer stopped so he craned his neck to look through the gap in the door and he could see her stunning reflection in the mirror and he sighed before finishing his shave, then he cleaned his teeth and applied his aftershave.

Jack emerged from the bathroom just in time to see Kayleigh, wearing a little black dress, walking through a freshly atomized cloud of perfume.
Then with the final touches applied she sat on the bed and watched Jack as he dressed.

As they walked through reception Jack felt exceeding proud to have such a beautiful woman on his arm and as they approached the restaurant he turned to her and said
“I love you Mrs Robinson”
In response Kayleigh smiled and kissed him.
“I love you too” she responded “old man”
“Old man?” he exclaimed as he watched her walk through the door ahead of him.
“Come on, keep up granddad” she called.

They were seated in a quiet section of the restaurant and the meal was wonderful and it was such a special evening and then just before the starters arrived she took a little package out of her handbag and put it on the table in front of him.
“Happy birthday darling”
“You didn’t need to get me a present, you’ve done so much already, you’ve already given me the best present I could hope for just by being here with me” he said and squeezed her hand.
“Well you’ve got a present too, so open it” she said and Jack smiled and did as she said
He tore off the paper and opened the gold embossed box inside and it contained a gold angel wing pendant inscribed on the back
“To the angel in my life. K”
“It’s lovely” he said and took hold of her hand “But I’m not an Angel”
“You are to me” she said “you came into my life like an Angel and made me feel alive again, in fact you made me live again, so you are definitely an Angel to me, and I’m really proud of you,”
“For what?” he asked
“What you’re doing for Katie Watson,” she explained
“It was the right thing to do,” he said simply
“It was the kind of thing an Angel would do” she said
The thought never crossed his mind that he was doing anything extraordinary he really was doing it because he could and because it was the right thing to do.

The delicious meal certainly lived up to his expectations and even surpassed them but to spend a romantic evening in a public place with the woman he loved so desperately was the pinnacle of the evening.
In fact the two of them were enjoying the experience so much that they didn’t want it to end and they were the last customer to leave and they had both drunk more than they were accustomed to.
“Come on then Mrs Turnoak let’s get you back to the bridal suite” he said
“Don’t assume you’re getting lucky in that four poster just because it’s your birthday” she said aloofly
“Sorry I must have misread the situation, I thought you had been looking at me with a lustful leer for the last hour” he said
“That was indigestion” she replied
“Oh fair enough I’m quite tired anyway” Jack said casually
“What do you mean “Fair enough”” Kayleigh called after him
“What I meant is, it’s alright I’m a bit full, maybe tomorrow” he said and carried on walking
“You’ll soon change your tune once I get this dress off and you see what else I got you for your birthday” she shouted
“Come on then gorgeous and I’ll let you show me your black silk teddie” he called and she tottered towards him
“How did you know?” she asked
“I peeked while you were washing your hair” Jack said
“You perve” Kayleigh said and blushed crimson red “what do you think?”
“It’s nice but I’ll let you know more when you get the dress off”
He said and then she kissed him.
A few minutes later they crossed the foyer of the hotel
“Happy birthday to me” Jack said and they stepped in the lift

On the morning after Jacks birthday treat they woke up too late to avail themselves of the full English breakfast so instead they got themselves ready and checked out and planned to stop for lunch on the way home although they hadn’t settled on where.

It was the 2nd of February, Candlemas day, the festival of the purification of the Virgin Mary, which marked the last day of Christmas.
Falling midway between the winter and spring equinox it was a time for looking ahead at the bounty ahead.
Jack thought it was quite apt because he felt their time away was like the end of one chapter and beginning of another.

Because they had to cross the Finchbottom Vale to get home to Turnoak from Sharpington there were numerous possibilities ahead of them because the Finchbottom Vale nestles comfortably between the Ancient Dancingdean Forest to the south and the rolling Pepperstock Hills in the north, those who are lucky enough to live there think of it as the rose between two thorns.
The Vale was once a great wetland that centuries earlier stretched from Mornington in the East to Childean in the west and from Shallowfield in the south to Purplemere in the north.
But over the many centuries the vast majority had been drained for agriculture, a feat achieved largely by the efforts of famous Mornington Mills, of which only three had survived to the present day and even those were no longer functional and were in various states of repair.
There were only three small bodies of water left in the Vale now one in Mornington, one in Childean and third of course was Purplemere which was where Jacks Waterside Club was situated.
But in the end it was a different waterside that they had decided on as their destination, The Waterside Inn which was located in the Dulcets
which were a collection of villages and hamlets comprising of Dulcet Meadow, Dulcet-on-Willow, Dulcet St Mary and Dulcet Green, to name but a few, and of course Dulcet-on-Brooke which was where they decided to head.
The Waterside Inn wasn’t the best eatery in Dulcet-on-Brooke that particular honour fell to the Cloche Hat but they were in the mood for pub grub.

When they first reached the Dulcets they parked on the outskirts of Kings River Woods which was a large forest between Sharpington and Dulcet on Brooke, they figured that if they parked up by the forest it would encourage them to take a walk after lunch.
As they walked towards the village they got a fantastic view of the magnificent spire of St Timothy’s Church, although to be fair, as they were to find out later, there weren’t many places in the village that you couldn’t see the spire from.

The food at the Waterside was quite delicious, not as good as the Diamond in the Rough the night before but delicious nonetheless, and they were well and truly stuffed and they both felt too fat for a walk really but that really underlined how much they needed the exercise so they roused themselves and set off, but they had only gone about fifty yards when Kayleigh stopped dead in her tracks.
“Oh shit”
“What’s the matter?” Jack asked
“Yvonne Wells” she replied
“Who’s Yvonne Wells?”
“Her son Gavin is in the room next to Carl, he crashed his motorbike two years ago and he’s…”
“Like Carl” Jack said and she nodded.
“I suppose we’d better give her a wide birth then”
Unfortunately Mrs Wells was engaged in conversation with a couple of villagers in the middle of the lane between them and their car so they had to take an alternative route and go the long way round.
There was a long winding path that led away from the village which crossed over the river and passed the water mill.
They paused briefly by the babbling water and then crossed over the bridge across the mill stream before the path dissected the water meadow on its way to the Meadowside farm and at every turn they were blessed with a fresh view of the St Timothy’s Spire bathed in the winter sunshine, and when they reached the farm they took the lane which skirted the meadow and gave them a good view of Kings River Woods and when they reached the car park they looked back towards the picturesque village.

Back in Turnoak Emily thought that having the Rooney’s working with them on Saturday they might have been able to progress from flirting to talking and the talking might then lead on to a date.
But things didn’t work out that way as they were so busy from the moment the top soil arrived at 9 o’clock.
They were so busy they didn’t even have time to stop for lunch so she had convinced herself that the day was a wash out.
And it was until Davina pointed out they didn’t have enough edging stones.
“I’ll drive over to Beaumont’s” Jimmy suggested “I can be there and back in half an hour”
“I’ll go with him” Dave said
“No it’s alright let Davina go with him” Emily said and smiled

While the other two were at the Gardens Centre Emily tried to contrive a way to take advantage of the situation but her mind went blank every time she looked at David she had never been any good at talking to men.
The fact that he was muscular and well-toned, with red hair and a lovely freckled faced, and she thought he was gorgeous didn’t help the situation.
She might have felt better had she realized that he too felt the same way about her and was equally frustrated by his failure to ask her a simple question.
He loved her pretty weathered elfin features, and short brunette hair, her slender, lean and wiry physique, muscular yet feminine, and he loved every inch of her five foot eight.

After they had been toiling together for about half an hour Emily was conscious of the fact that the others could return any moment so she said
“I can’t thank you enough for helping us today”
“No thanks required” he said “it was in a very worthy cause, Reverend Watson is a special person”
“She is” Emily agreed “But nonetheless Davina and I would never have got this far so quickly without you and Jimmy”
David was also acutely aware that his brother might return soon so he took a deep breath and seized the moment
“Well if you insist on thanks, then perhaps you might go to dinner with me tonight” he suggested “There are plenty of good restaurants in the area, your choice”
“That would be really nice” replied Emily genuinely “But I don’t think I’m up to it tonight”
“Oh ok” Dave said believing he had blown it
“But I’m sure tomorrow night would be ok” Emily added and a grin spread across her grubby face

While Emily and Dave struggled with their awkwardness with the opposite sex his younger brother Jimmy and her young assistant Davina had driven to Beaumont’s Garden Centre and loaded the required materials onto a trolley and had reached the checkout by the time Emily and David’s dinner date had been arranged.
When Davina paid the bill the girl at the checkout gave her the receipt with a voucher attached and said
“Your purchase today entitles you to a 20% off voucher for the “Tree Top Trail” in Shallowfield
“What’s that?” they asked in unison, genuinely oblivious
“It’s a trail through the tree tops with Tarzan swings, rope bridges and Zip Wires” she said excitedly “It sounds like great fun and I’ve always fancied having a go”
“It sounds great” Davina said
“Absolutely” Jimmy agreed “perhaps we should go”
“What together?”
“Yes, do you fancy it?” he asked and despite the fact that the thought of walking through the tree tops 30 feet above the ground scared her to death she said.
“I’d love to” because she would be doing it with him.
It wasn’t really her kind of thing at all she was one of life’s spectators while Jimmy on the other hand seemed to her to be the type of person who was up there on centre stage.
Davina had always been content to look on from the side lines whereas she suspected Jimmy was in there participating with all his might, he was a “joiner in” while Davina was an applauder of other people’s efforts, a holder of coats, a cheerer from the bleaches.
But a date was a date and that would do for starters.

As a result of their late start to the day, their leisurely lunch and the necessity of the diversion route back to the car dusk was falling by the time Jack and Kayleigh reached Turnoak.
It was always the plan for him to drop Kayleigh up at Plaxton Park, partly to maintain the illusion that they had not been away together for his birthday treat but also so she could spend the evening with her husband to assuage her guild for cheating on him and barely giving him a second thought while she was away with Jack.

Kayleigh had really enjoyed being with Jack and she wished they could have spent the rest of the weekend together, or the rest of their lives for that matter, but sadly she had a husband who she loved very much and although she had come to terms with her infidelity she had to stay his wife right up until the wire.

When they got up to Plaxton Park Jack drove in to the car park and stopped in a secluded corner where he could kiss her goodbye
“I really do love you,” he said
“I know” she replied, “I love you too”
“I’ll see you later if you like” she said
“I can’t wait” Jack said and she walked briskly towards the building as the tears arrived.