Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 02 – Fortifying an Angel
By August, Jack had settled into the routine of working at the Club for three days a week and working in the house for four.
But he had also had to have some tasks performed by professionals i.e. a Plumber.
And while he was in the house installing a new boiler Jack decided to escape bedlam and step out in the warm summer sun and clear his head but he hadn’t gone more than two hundred yards when, despite the met office predictions, it started to rain so he was had a choice to make, return to bedlam or go to the pub.
So after at least 30 seconds of deliberation he headed into the village and the Hen and Chickens instead where he chanced upon Reverend Watson on route.
Despite the fact that his willowy ex-girlfriend was nearly forty
Jack thought that Katie was still an attractive woman by any measure, with the same warm open manner she had always possessed, intelligent green laughing eyes, shoulder length brunette hair and a broad toothy smile which gave her an altogether pleasant demeanour.
“Good afternoon Katie” he said
“Hello Jack” she replied “What’s brought you out into the rain”
“I’m avoiding the plumber,” he said and Katie gave an understanding nod
“The Miss Barlow’s” she replied “it’s their day to clean the church”
“They’re so bossy” she added and bowed her head with shame.
“I think we need to be fortified,” Jack said
“Hen and Chicks?” she suggested
“Yes, if you can spare the time” he said “We can do the catch up we talked about”
“I am actually completely up to date, Sundays sermon is written and I only have one meeting before then and that’s with a prospective bride and groom” she explained “so I’m all yours”
When they got into the pub they found it virtually empty, the lunch timers had obviously gone back to work and the unexpected rain had kept the afternooner’s in their homes.
So they got their drinks and sat at the table by the window where they could watch the world go by as they caught up.
The catch up began with him detailing his constant lack of peace and quiet in the house while he was having tradesmen in, while she talked about certain sections of the congregation who had still not really accepted her despite her being the Vicar of St Lucy of Syracuse for almost two years.
They then moved on to the sixteen years that had elapsed since they left University.
People they both knew, holidays and travel, marital status, professional and vocational history.
And the conclusion they reached was that they were both contentedly single and happy in their work.
The fact that Katie struggled to comprehend from their conversation was Jacks depth of faith and his leading a pastorate group at St John’s in Purplemere.
Because despite the fact he was raised as a Christian by practising Christian parents who were and indeed still were active in their church right up until their deaths, he had never been a particularly spiritual person when he first went to University.
He did however believe in a power greater than himself and he was not uncomfortable calling that power God
The church however had always been a different matter and he had always been dismissive about those interfering Christian do-gooders, doing good works and muttering on about their relationship with God.
He had never had a relationship with God other than the fact that he knew God existed and God knew that he existed and he had been content to leave it at that.
Jack had not been a regular visitor to his house since he was sixteen when he was given the option to follow his own path; his parents thought optimistically he would choose to continue on the path they had led him along all his life but they were disappointed.
So his interactions with the church were restricted to hatches matches and dispatches and the odd Christmas carol service, that was of course until he went to University and he met Katie.
It was his love of Katie which prompted him to attend St Hilda’s Church in Abbottsford during his first semester and that first visit reawakened something in him and every Sunday he would find himself standing next to Katie at St Hilda’s yodelling out “how great thou art” and even after they broke up he continued attending.
After the third drink Katie became a little indiscrete and revealed some unsavoury gossip about some of her parishioners and he was able to relate a few choice nuggets that she didn’t know, courtesy of his plumber.
Katie then proceeded to reveal more and more about herself and the community with every drink, but the more she drank the more she tended to ramble, she spoke a lot about time and the sand running through her fingers and choices and not knowing.
Jack couldn’t really follow her train of thought but the drink wasn’t helping either of them and as neither of them had eaten since breakfast the beer took its toll very quickly and after two hours of catching up they were fortified as newts and he had to steer her through the pouring rain to the vicarage, which thankfully was just across the road.
Once they reached her front door he had to wedge her up against the wall while he opened the door, unfortunately as the door swung open she fell through it into the hall.
Jack instinctively reached out and grabbed her in an effort to prevent her from hurting herself.
Unfortunately in trying to avoid grabbing anything intimate he only succeeded in falling to the floor a second before she did, Jack landed on his back and Katie landed on top of him.
“You know it’s been great seeing my old boyfriend again” she slurred before planting an almost Labrador like kiss on his mouth.
“But let’s remember something” he said after extricating himself from her embrace “You’re the Vicar, and you’re not my girlfriend anymore”
Then he struggled to his feet and helped Katie to do the same before steering her through the hall and into her sitting room.
“You always were a gentleman” she said as he plopped her into an armchair “That was when you loved me of course”
Then she grabbed him by the lapels and planted another kiss on his mouth, much more controlled and unhurried this time and when he began to reciprocate he broke away from her embrace again.
“I still love you” he admitted “but like a sister”
“Oh God I just snogged my brother” she said and put her head in her hands
“I love you Vicar” he said and kissed her on the forehead and left.
It wasn’t easy for him to walk away, the Reverend ticked a lot of boxes for him it had to be said, she always had done, but he knew that romantic love between them was never going to transpire, they knew that when they were still students, but he was very pleased to have found her again.
The next day when he was pottering about the house the phone rang so he stopped what he was doing and answered it
“Jack?” asked a woman’s voice
“Yes that’s me” he replied
“It’s Katie” she said “Katie Watson”
“Hello Vicar” he said, preferring to think of her as the Vicar rather than as a woman with whom he had a drunken snog
“I’m sorry” she said
“Me” she replied “getting drunk and kissing you”
“There’s nothing to forgive you for” he said
“Good, in that case I don’t feel guilty for asking a favour” she said with a chuckle
“What can I do for you?” he asked suspiciously
“I know that you’re still involved with St Johns, but you live here now, in my parish and so you’re one of ours so I know its short notice but...” she hesitated
“I can’t answer if you don’t ask”
“Would you mind taking your Uncle Daniels place on the church committee,” She asked, “we are fast approaching the harvest festival and well…”
“Of course, when do you need me?”
“Ten minutes” she said hopefully
“Oh ok” he said, “I’ll leave now”
So he grabbed his keys and headed out the door.