Jack had been in work every day since he got the text from Kayleigh and apart from the first day his mood had improved and he stopped taking it out on other people and when James told him that he had Elise laid up ill in his flat he insisted that he went home and looked after her and to take all day Friday off as well and he would cover for him.
It was about an hour after James had finally agreed to go home when he was interrupted by the telephone.
“Hello” he said
“Hello Jack” a quiet voice said
“Kayleigh?” he asked
“Yes it’s me,” she sobbed
“Are you ok?” he queried
“No” she snapped “No I’m not”
He hadn’t spoken to Kayleigh since before the New Year.
Since then he had only had the one communication which was on New Year’s Day he had convinced himself up until then that she had fallen in love with him but he thought that her going away for a few days was due to the fact that she felt guilty for betraying her husband, her severely disabled husband.
“What’s wrong?” he asked
“I so need to see you,” she said
“Ok” he replied suspiciously
“There is something I have to talk to you about, something that has been eating away at me”
“What is it?” he asked not sure if he wanted to know because he was sure it was guilt.
“I should have told you before, but…” she tailed off “now time is running out”
“So tell me already” he said impatiently
“I can’t on the phone” Kayleigh stated, “I need to do it face to face, it’s important”
“Ok” he agreed “when?”
“Can we meet Saturday?” she said
“Yes Saturday is fine” he replied
“Ok then I’ll meet you at the Coachman’s Arms Hotel in Sharping-St-Mary Saturday afternoon at 3.00pm” she said coldly
“I’ll book a room”
“Ok” he said “I’ll see you then”
“Promise me you won’t be angry” Kayleigh added randomly
“What?” he asked with surprise
“Promise me” she insisted
“Ok” he relented “I promise”
And she hung up leaving him completely confused and he was worried that his worst fears had been realised and she wanted to call a halt to their relationship.
But what was all that about promising to not get angry.
On Friday morning Elise was feeling much better and they actually got to spend the day downstairs together like a proper couple.
Elise was very lovey dovey all day, she thought he was some great prize because he had looked after her while his beloved was sweating out a fever in his bed and by 9 o’clock she could barely keep her eyes open so he walked her up to bed.
When Jack turned in that night he spent a very fitful night tossing and turning as he mulled over the conversation with Kayleigh and the usual tingle of anticipation he felt when they were planning to meet had been replaced by feelings of great trepidation.
When Jack got up on Saturday morning he was completely shattered and it took a long hot shower and several coffees to shift his lethargy but he still harboured feelings of dread regarding his rendezvous with Kayleigh.
James was up early on Saturday morning and left for work about nine o’clock and within half an hour of his arrival at the Waterside Club he had a surprise visit from Elise
“Hello hon” he said, “what are you doing here?”
“I just came to say I love you” she replied
“Really?” he asked
“Yes, and I also came to say thank you for looking after me” she replied as she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him.
It was only a brief visit she only stayed long enough for a prolonged kiss before she headed back to Turnoak to change before she went out again.
Ian Riley was thin and pale with sandy hair, he was sharp featured and keen eyed, not entirely unlike a bird in appearance, and was 45 year old.
He lived in Turnoak, in the same house he was born in, which he shared with his Niece Elise, although he didn’t see much of her since she met and fell in love with James Lynch, in fact he hadn’t seen her at all that year.
He was glad for her though and thought she deserved to find love she was far too nice not to have a significant other.
And since New Year’s Eve he had hopes in that department himself after he met Anne Wingrove at St Lucy of Syracuse church, where he was practicing a particularly troublesome piece by Wesley after Reverend Massey made a last minute change to the New Year program.
She was the sister of Martina Wingrove who was the love interest of the new Vicar and when Ian for saw Anne he thought she was unmistakable Martina’s sister, just a different build she was also tall, but was slight to Martina’s curvy and her eyes were a darker blue and her straw coloured hair was straight rather than curly and was less unruly and was a few years older which made her two years Ian’s junior.
There was an instant attraction which was not hampered by the fact that they both had a musical background she was the Deputy Head at Purplemere Park Music Academy while he worked in a much more humble capacity in the Music department at St Hilda’s Theological College in Grangemount.
But the clincher was that they were both Church organists, he at St Lucy’s and she at Mary of Bethany in Clarence.
So before they parted company on New Year’s Eve he said
“There is an organ recital at Abbottsford Cathedral next weekend, would you like to go?”
“Yes that would be lovely” she said “And perhaps we could have dinner while we’re there”
“That’s a great idea” Ian agreed
Following the New Year’s Day service’s at Mary of Bethany which kept her busy all day, Anne found the days passed very slowly and she had never known a week pass at such a sedate pace.
She knew the reason very well, it was because she was looking forward to the Organ recital in Abbottsford on Saturday or more precisely she was looking forward to attending it with Ian Riley and having dinner with him.
In fact she was so eager to see him again that she didn’t want to wait until Saturday evening so she racked her brain to think of a reason for them to meet earlier and the answer came to her when she picked up the Abbottsford Clarion of the door mat because the front page headline was “Wurlitzer Returns”.
On Friday Anne sat down with a mug of coffee and picked up her phone and keyed in Ian’s number.
“Ian, its Anne”
“Hi Anne” he replied hoping that she wasn’t calling to cancel “All set for tomorrow?”
“Well that’s what I’m calling about” she said and his heart sank
“Yes I read in the Abbottsford Clarion this morning that there’s a Clarke Gable retrospective at the Tivoli this weekend”
“That’s interesting” he retorted as enthusiastically as he could considering he wasn’t a Gable fan
“No that’s not the interesting part” she continued “They are unveiling the Wurlitzer”
“Oh yes I forgot about that” Ian said brightly
“Well do you fancy it?” she asked
“Definitely” he replied “But I’m going to be in Abbottsford tomorrow morning so I won’t have time to get back to pick you up so would it be alright if I meet you there?”
“Yes that’s fine I’m staying at my mums tonight anyway” she explained
“So I’ll meet you in the café opposite the theatre at 12.30”
“Perfect” he concurred “See you tomorrow”
“Ok bye Ian” She said and hung up
As she sat and finished her coffee she complimented herself on her deft handling of the situation whilst chastising herself for telling him a little white lie regarding her movements Friday night as she was not in fact staying with her mum that night but her hastily arranged plans would now necessitate her speaking to her mum and inviting herself to stay the night.
She didn’t think that lying was a really appropriate way a starting a relationship but she said out loud
“Needs must when the devil drives”
After all she was rather attracted to him and she hadn’t felt that way about anyone for a few years so it was worth the tiniest of white lies to ensure she didn’t let him slip through her fingers.
The Tivoli theatre was an old cinema originally built in the nineteen twenties.
At that time it was the only cinema for twenty miles in any direction so Abbottsford was the envy of the district, by the late seventies however films had gone out of fashion and the theatre was closed.
It was in disuse for more than ten years, it was however spared the indignity of becoming a bingo hall as many a fine picture house had. When the cinema revival happened, Chris Bourne, a local man made good, who like many, had fond memories of the Tivoli, mainly associated with courting, restored the theatre to its former glory with the help and support of the Mornington Estate.
Ironically it was the advent of satellite television and video rental, supposed to give us all so much choice of home viewing, which seemed to spark the revival.
It was feared for a while that the renovations would be in vain as a new multiplex cinema was opened in the new Phoenix shopping center development.
But Chris Bourne was unperturbed and decided that the Tivoli should specialize in classic movies and retrospectives.
As a result people traveled from miles around, from all over Downshire and beyond, as they did in the twenties and thirties.
The theatre was located in the older part of town in what used to be the high street.
There were no longer any shops of note in the high street, they had long since moved into the Phoenix center and when the Abbottsford ring road was opened the High street was pedestrianized and this action inadvertently created a sort of leisure haven.
Where once the road had run were now benches, planters, ornamental lights and even a fountain.
The vacant shops had for some time been occupied by a collection of restaurants, fast food outlet's, bars, café’s and wine bars.
The only premises not connected to food or drink were charity shops, craft shops, second hand book shops, two art galleries and of course the Tivoli Theatre.
Anne was early, which wasn’t unlike her, but it was worse that day as she was twenty minutes early but as she walked past the fountain she spotted Ian, who was also early.
“He’s keen” she thought to herself and smiled
But after discovering her date was also early she was in a dilemma, should she take advantage of the fact that they were both early or hide behind the fountain for twenty minutes.
It was difficult because she liked the fact that he was keen to see her but she didn’t want to give him the impression that she was equally so, even if she was.
In the end she compromised and hid for five minutes and from the safety of her hiding place she watched him sit at one of the tables in the window of Luigi’s Café just opposite the Tivoli.
Ian sat down at the table and ordered a drink and took out a newspaper but after a couple of minutes a young woman walked up to him, an attractive curvy blonde and they hugged, and it was a long hug then Ian gestured to an empty chair and the woman sat and then they chatted for a few minutes which was when Anne decided she didn’t care what kind of impression she gave him she was going over now to rescue him from the blonde trollop.
So she walked across to the café and in through the door and approached him on his blind side and stopped in his peripheral vision almost immediately he turned around and seemed surprised to see her.
“Hi” She said smiling broadly and he stood up “You’re early.”
“Anne” Ian said and smiled “This is Elise, my nice”
Ian ordered drinks for Anne and Elise and they laughed and joked for the next ten minutes until Ian suggested that he went to buy the tickets while they finished their drinks
“That’s a good idea” She said and while he was gone she quizzed Elise about her uncle
When Ian returned Elise said her goodbyes and as they watched her walk away Anne slipped her arm through his and they turned their gaze upon each other, smiled and made their way across to the theatre.