The next day was Christmas Eve and apart from the delivery of Christmas gifts and cards to friends and exchanging seasonal greetings with those important to him he spent the day alone as unfortunately he wouldn’t be seeing Kayleigh
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.
So Jack spent the majority of the day listening to Christmas music and watching schmaltzy movies on TV but his mind kept wandering to Kayleigh and how he really wanted to be spending every moment of Christmas with her, he just didn’t know when that might be the norm.
He concluded that Kayleigh was the woman for him but in the meantime he would just have to be satisfied with the stolen moments and that day’s stolen moment was at midnight mass where they held hands in the dark.
As usual St Lucy’s was well attended for Midnight Mass, despite the bitter cold and to the great delight of everyone in attendance Reverend Katie Watson led the service.
After the mass was over they all gathered at the rear of the church and shared the peace then Jack walked Kayleigh to her house and he went home alone.
Christmas morning began with a frosty glaze decorating the rooftops and lightly dusting the evergreens.
And as the bells rang out to celebrate the birth of the Lord the joyous faithful arrived under a clear blue sky.
It was a most glorious Christmas morning and Jacks spirits were high as he knocked for Kayleigh and she invited him in for a Christmas kiss, although her would have preferred to kiss her lovingly in the sunshine, before they walked down to St Lucy’s to join the rest of the congregation.
It was an excellent service with Katie Watson back to her very best while Paul Massey graciously took a back seat.
Afterwards it took some while for the Church to empty as everyone wanted to share their best wishes with Katie and she was clearly overcome with all the attention.
In the days preceding Christmas she had also been inundated with invitations to share Christmas dinner and was quite overwhelmed by people’s kindness.
In the end she accepted Gemma Frost’s invitation and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas lunch with her and her sons and their other guest Jack, which although they didn’t know it at the time was to be Katie Watson’s final Christmas as the vicar of St Lucy’s.
After he left the church and said his goodbyes, Kayleigh spent the rest of the day at Plaxton Park with Carl and Jack went to Gemma’s where he ate too much, drank too much and left just before he’d over stayed his welcome but still returned home quite late to find Kayleigh in his bed.
On Boxing Day all of Jacks closest friends were invited to all corners of the county, by either family or friends even Kayleigh had to spend the day and night in Roespring with her grandparents so he spent the day alone.
He couldn’t even go to the club to kill time as it was shut, so in contrast to the previous few weeks it was a very quiet and uneventful day but although he missed Kayleigh it gave him time to recover from the overindulgences of the preceding days and had a quieter day of television and slobbery.
From the moment he got up the next day he began looking forward to Kayleigh’s return unfortunately the weather had taken a turn for the worse according to the BBC Breakfast weather with heavy snow moving across from the east.
He had spoken to Kayleigh just before she set off from her grandparents and the snow hadn’t reached Roespring at that stage, they spoke several times before during the journey and she managed to avoid the snow in the main and reached Nettlefield in good time and she had got some way south before the weather caught up to her just after Millmoor, but she had stop outside the Oakham’s and take refuge from the worst of the storm at the Motorway services.
But Jack had no way of knowing that because he had lost touch with her about half an hour before she had to stop because her phone died, so he didn’t know where she was or even where she was coming from for that matter, the news bulletins talked a lot about road closures and diversions.
He was beside himself with worry all day and he kept ringing her phone but all he could do was leave voice mail after voice mail as she wasn’t picking up.
But just before seven o’clock he got a call from a land line number he didn’t recognize and it was Kayleigh.
“Thank God” he exclaimed “Are you ok?”
Kayleigh went on to explain about her phone dying and how she had to queue for more than two hours just to use the public phone.
But the good news was that they had just had word that the snow ploughs had the motorway open again and they would be on the move very soon and not to worry.
Kayleigh finally arrived back in Turnoak a little after eleven o’clock with the snow falling fast again and Jack was looking out the window, as he had been for the previous 90 minutes, when he saw her car pull up, and he was on his feet and sprinting for the front door in a Nano second and was standing on the doorstep before she had even opened the car door.
She slammed the door and ran towards him and he immediately wrapped his arms around her and said
“Thank God you’re here safe”
“Safe in your arms” she said and held him tightly.
“I don’t know what I would do if I lost you” he said “I was so scared”
Due to the lateness of the hour and the treacherous conditions and the fact that she had been on the road all day having left Roespring 16 hours earlier, he insisted he should unloaded her bags and take them next door.
“No that can wait until morning, I want to sleep in your arms tonight”
They had a blissfully undisturbed night’s sleep as a result they awoke the next morning rested and very, very contented.
“Morning” he said and kissed the top of her head “Sleep well?”
“Good morning darling” she replied as she rolled over and hugged him “Yes I slept very well”
“In fact only one thing could make it better”
“Oh yes?” he said
“Breakfast in bed”
“Is that right?” he retorted “Taking advantage of my hospitality eh”
“Absolutely” she giggled “but cuddles first”
And as they lay cosily embracing he thought how warm and loving Kayleigh was compared to the Ms. Frosty knickers that he met that first time shortly after he moved to Turnoak.
“It’s stopped snowing” he observed as he peered through the gap in curtains
“Never mind the weather report, where’s my breakfast” she demanded
“Yes ma’am” he said feigning a tug of his forelock
After he delivered her boiled eggs and soldiers he sat and drank his coffee while she ate.
“It’s snowing again” he said
“I suppose I’d better make a move shortly” she said between mouthfuls, “and get while the going is good”
So after breakfast while Jack was outside retrieving her bags from her snow covered car Kayleigh returned to her own house unseen via the kitchen door then he carried them to the house and knocked on the front door.
“Well thank you kind sir” she said then she added in a whisper
“I will see you later, and it’s my turn to make you breakfast in bed”
After breakfast in bed at Kayleigh’s the next morning they spent the rest of the day in each other’s company.
The village was still in the grip of winter and was very quiet because shortly after Kayleigh travelled along it, the road to the village was closed by a snow drift as a result none of their other friends made it back to Turnoak.
The day was a fairly mundane affair as Kayleigh needed to do her washing and ironing so while he kept her company he sat and watched TV.
However the mundanity of the day was more than compensated for by the cosy interludes, which were numerous, and as far from the mundane as it was possible to get.
They wanted to make the most of the time they had to themselves which would be up all too soon as when he left her house on the morning of the 30th of December she was spending the rest of that day at the Vicarage with Katie Watson and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with her husband.