Jack Morehouse woke up annoyingly early on New Year’s Day and was facing a long day of wishing he was with Kayleigh.
But his long day got longer as he sat in the kitchen during the afternoon drinking coffee and thinking about when he would see her again when he received a text.
In fact it was a long rambling narrative in a series of texts, but the gist of which was that she needed to get away for a few days, and she would be in touch at the end of the week.
He instantly replied and asked her if something had happened but he got no response so he tried ringing her but his calls went straight to voice mail, he then resorted to banging on her front door but she had clearly left already to wherever she had gone and he was distraught because he was very much in love with her, more even than he had previously imagined.
So he did the only thing he could do under the circumstances and that was to kill time at the Waterside Club.
In contrast to Jack’s black mood, for Ian Riley everything in the garden was lovely because he had met and fallen for Anne Wingrove and she had fallen likewise and they were meeting again on Saturday as he was taking her to the organ recital at Abbottsford Cathedral.
But as they emailed back and forth during the week the plans grew more elaborate.
Ian was on his own for the New Year celebrations because his niece Elise was staying with her new boyfriend James Lynch for a few days.
James had risen early as was his habit irrespective of the lateness of the hour they went to bed, he still woke up at the same time he did everyday so he sat in the kitchen, drank coffee and read the paper.
The couple were due to eat New Year’s Day lunch at his sisters in Shallowfield so at nine o’clock he stopped what he was doing and made Elise a cup of tea.
Tea mug in hand he was on his way upstairs to wake her when the phone rang so he stopped and did a U-turn and picked up the phone.
“James?” the voice said “it’s Molly”
“Hi Mol, Happy New Year” he said
“Yes Happy New Year” she responded vaguely
“Is everything ok?” he asked
“No” she replied, “it’s the twins, they’ve been throwing up all night so we thought it best to cancel lunch as a precaution” she continued “I’m sorry to let you down at such short notice”
“Nonsense” James said, “These things happen”
“I suspect it’s been brought on by two much chocolate but just in case it is a bug” she elaborated “Perhaps we could do it another time”
“Of course” he said “No problem”
After he had put down the phone he decided not to continue his journey up the stairs to wake Elise.
As they were now not going out he decided to let her sleep in, mainly so he could finish reading the paper in peace.
But as he sat down at the table he was hit by the sudden realization that as they were no longer dining out he needed to prepare something for lunch.
And then after having looked out the window at the thick freezing fog he settled on a warming hot pot so he started to prepare it.
Once lunch was ready to go in the oven he had a quick peak in on Elise who was still sleeping soundly and then proceeded to read the paper again.
At twelve o’clock he looked in on Elise again and she was beginning to stir so James made her a fresh cup of tea.
He opened the bedroom door and she opened her eyes as he walked in.
“Hi honey,” he said brightly
“I don’t feel well James” she replied
“What’s wrong?” he asked with concern
“I think I have the flu,” Elise croaked so he tested her forehead with the back of his hand and she was burning hot.
So he went into the bathroom and got some max strength cold capsules.
“Take these,” he said as he gave her two with a glass of water and Elise did as instructed
“Now go back to sleep” he said
“What about lunch?” she queried
“It’s been cancelled” he told her and she looked puzzled.
“The twins are hurling,” he said
“Oh” she responded and closed her eyes.
“I’ll go out later and pick up some more tablets” he said
“Ok” she answered and he left the room.
As Elise was laid up in bed and the hot pot lunch had suddenly become dinner he decided he might as well go and kill an hour or two at the Club, that way he could pick up a sandwich for him and the cold relief medicine for Elise on the way.
He rather liked having someone he could look after and he was returning the favour because she looked after him when he was laid up with his knee.
It was such a horrible day and he shivered as he got in the car
“This freezing fog gets right into your bones” he thought
He stopped at a Stephenson’s convenience store on route and got his lunch and the tablets he was after and then carried onto the Club and was surprised to see Jack Morehouse’s car parked by the staff entrance.
There were about a dozen cars parked in all, even though the club wasn’t actually open until Friday night but the clean-up crew was in clearing up after New Year’s Eve.
When he got inside he found Jack in a foul mood so he didn’t stay for long and told Jack he had just popped in on his way to his sisters.
Also out and about on a foggy New Year’s Day was Gary Spiers who was the owner of Sounds In Spiers, who Jack had employed to sort out the Audio Visual system at St Lucy’s, and that was the pretext under which he arrived in Turnoak that day.
But in truth he was there in the hope of running into Hannah Peters, who was the Vergers sister, and the reason for that was that he had fallen for her in a big way.
Unfortunately he was later than he planned and there was no sign of her but he did see her sister the Verger.
“Hi Gary” she responded “are you here to check on the system or were you looking for my sister”
“The latter” he confessed
“You just missed her” Sarah said “She has her last trial shift up at Plaxton Place today”
“Go after her, she won’t have got far, she’s walking to work, it’s a bit of a yomp but she’s a bit nervous so she could use some moral support, and a cuddle I suspect” Sarah said
“Oh ok then” Gary said and gave Sarah a wave as he drove off.
He really liked Hannah but although they made a definite connection after the night Jack put everyone up at White Rose Cottage following the impromptu meeting in Purplemere, they hadn’t followed up on it, not for the want of trying however, but he ran his own business and she was a nurse who worked shifts so things hadn’t gone to plan which was why he took a gamble and drove over to Turnoak.
Just after he passed the sign for Hawthorne he spotted Hannah walking across the road so he sounded the horn and stopped alongside her before lowering the window.
“Do you want a lift gorgeous?”
“Yes please” she said smiling broadly and quickly got in the car.
“Why are you walking?” he asked “on such a horrible day”
“Nervous” she replied, “It’s my final trial shift today”
“I know I saw Sarah at the Church and she told me” Gary said
“I’ll drive you up to the Hospital and keep you company until you need to go in”
“That would be lovely” she said
So Gary drove her up to Hawthorne in silence and once they had come to a halt they undid their seat belts but she just sat there and shivered.
“Would you like a hug?” he asked
“Oh yes please” she replied and launched herself at him an
“Are you really nervous?” he asked
“Yes” she replied “I really want this job”
“When will you know?”
“Today” she replied
“Well how about I pick you up at the end of your shift” he suggested
“Would you?” she asked with delight “That would be wonderful”
“Good, then that is what I’ll do, and I will be here to offer a consoling hug or a celebratory dinner or both” he said
“Thank you” she said and proceeded to kiss him, at first it was just a thank you peck but it quickly changed to passion but then she stopped as quickly as she started
“Not here” she said alarmed “Not in the day time someone will see”
It was unlikely that anyone would see given how foggy the day was and after he pointed that out she was content and they kissed again.
After he dropped Hannah at Plaxton Park he watched her all the way safely to the door then he returned to the Village and was going to go and kill some time at Jacks place but not seeing Jacks car outside the cottage he drove past and went home.
James ate his sandwich in a layby about half a mile from the club because he was so hungry, he would have eaten it at the club but Jack was in such a bad mood it would have given him indigestion, so he ate it in the car and then headed home.
When he arrived he went straight upstairs to check on the patient and as he opened the door he could see her stirring
“Hi Elise” he said “How are you feeling”?
“I feel awful” she replied so he felt her forehead again and it was still very hot.
“Time for more medicine” he instructed as he went to the medicine cabinet and dosed her up again.
“Are you hungry?” he asked
“A bit” she croaked
“How about some soup?”
“Oh yes” she replied “cock-a-leekie”
James went down stairs and opened a tin of chicken and leek soup and warmed the contents in the microwave then he took her lunch up on a tray and while she ate it he ran her a bath.
When she finished all of the soup he helped her into the bathroom.
The bed sheets were quite damp from her sweats so he changed the linen while she bathed.
James helped her out of the bath and dried her thoroughly and helped her into her nightdress, which he took from her overnight bag and just as he was getting her back into bed she crossed the room and rummaged in the bag and fished out her cuddly dog.
“I need this” she said and blushed then she got under the crisp clean bedclothes and snuggled down with her dog and he kissed her forehead.
“I love you James” she said
“I love you too” he replied
“You are so good to me” she continued, “I am so lucky”
He was smiling broadly all the way down the stairs after he left his girlfriend on her sick bed.
“She loves me” he said to himself as he put the hotpot in the oven.
Dinner had now become supper for one.
Gary was at home in the shower when Hannah sent him a text, and he got out to read it and he smiled as it read.
“I need a lovely man to take me to dinner, to celebrate”
“I already booked a table” he replied
Because Elise was ill James slept in the spare bedroom and the next day she still wasn’t very well and slept for most of the day and had all her meals in bed.
On the day after Elise was feeling a lot better, her fever was gone and she looked much more herself but James still made her stay in bed for the day, but she had the TV to watch and he supplied her with a stack of DVD’s as well because he had to go into work.
She thought he was being wonderfully kind but the truth was he just thought that was what you did for someone you loved.