Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 07 – Saving Santa’s Grotto
When Jack finally got the Cottage to himself again and he got to spend some quality time with Kayleigh for the first time in days he was a little surprised to find her somewhat standoffish and not her normal warm flirty self.
It was the first time they had been alone for over a week so he was hoping for a little more of the lovely Kayleigh.
He tried conversation but she was completely unresponsive and when she spoke it was flat and emotionless and when she smiled it was clearly forced, he assumed she must have been worried about Carl, so he settled for a hug.
And he took the opportunity to finally tell her about the letter he had received from the Solicitors and the obscene size of the inheritance, but she didn’t really engage, her mind was clearly elsewhere, so he decided to leave till another time.
So as they were sitting on the sofa and Kayleigh leant forward to pick up her cup he said
“I need to see the Vicar in the morning”
This statement alarmed her rather to the point that she almost dropped her cup.
“Are you ok” he asked with concern
“Yes” she replied flatly “I’m just tired”
But Jack was unconvinced
“Are you sure you’re ok?”
“Yes, yes” she said impatiently and forced another smile.
The next morning after a restless night he awoke with a thumping headache and he knew he wouldn’t get rid of it if he stayed at home so he decided to go out for a walk to clear his head and after an extended walk he remembered he had to go to the church hall and see the vicar.
It was a hive of activity as the preparations for St Lucy’s School Christmas Bazaar and the Nativity were in full swing, the Vicar and a small team of ladies were on hand affecting alterations to costumes, well the team of ladies obviously did the work and Katie looked on with a worried frown as the worked.
“Wow this is a hive of industry” he said as he looked on as they worked
“So who is the Elf suit for?”
“Kayleigh Robinson” Karen Clarke replied
“Really? Kayleigh didn’t mention it when I saw her last night” Jack said and his comment was accompanied by a crash behind him and when he looked around he saw Katie Watson had dropped the box of toys she was sorting through for the bazaar, he thought no more about it at the time as his mind had wondered to imagining Kayleigh dressed as an elf.
His train of thought was only broken when Katie’s phone rang, and she took it into the other room to answer it and he remained where he was and smiled to himself as he watched the ladies taking measurements and muttering to one another with their mouths full of pins, then all of a sudden the door flew open and the Vicar emerged.
“It’s a disaster” she blurted out
“Why? What?” Jack asked
“Carl Collins just called” she replied “Santa’s Grotto is ruined”
“Oh no” he said “How?”
“The roof leaked on the lock up where it’s stored” The vicar replied
“Everything is water damaged, the throne, the sleigh, the reindeer, and everything else to boot”
“Oh” Jack said
“We’ll have to cancel” she said despondently
“Well let’s not be hasty” Jack said
“It’s hopeless, we can’t possibly get them repaired on time and even less chance of replacing them, we have no option but to cancel”
Katie said indignantly
“Oh ye of little faith” Jack said and took out his mobile phone and got up his contacts list, scrolled down and hit dial
“Billy? How are you at miracles?” he asked as the Vicar paced up and down like an expectant father while he spoke.
Billy O’Neil was a prop supplier, and had his own company, SceneSetters, which was close to the Purplemere Film Studios, and his company supplied the Studio’s, Theatre’s and TV sets with props and sets.
He wandered outside and the conversation lasted about ten minutes and when he had finished and put the phone in his pocket and Katie just stood and stared at him.
“Well?” She asked, eventually losing her patience
“Sorted” he replied
“Thank you God” she said looking to the heavens and crossing herself “And thank you Jack” she added and Katie kissed his cheek
The week that followed saw him split his time equally between the club, Santa’s Grotto, and Kayleigh.
On Saturday morning he rose early and treated himself to an extra close shave, and as a result when he applied the aftershave it stung like hell.
So he arrived at St Lucy’s school sweet smelling and red-faced at about 11.00am to find the Vicar fussing around like a mother hen, uncharacteristically wanting things just so and he wasn’t sure why, it was after all just a village school bazaar and when Jack told her to slow down Katie snapped
“We’re making Christmas memories and it’s my last chance…”
Just then Kayleigh came through the door behind him
“Hi Jack” she said brightly and kissed his cheek and then blushed after the show of affection
“Come on Kayleigh, the costume is through here” said Katie and she lead her away to one of the classrooms.
Jacks task was to apply the finishing touches to the Grotto which was in another one of the classrooms, the walls were hidden behind red velvet drapes, decorated with tinsel and coloured lights.
There was a huge throne in one corner surrounded by Christmas parcels and leading to the throne was a snow covered path and on one side of it was a festive tableau of snowmen and reindeer and on the other side Santa’s sleigh was parked, which was also loaded with parcels.
Jack was just admiring everyone’s handiwork when Kayleigh appeared, and she was dressed rather fetchingly as an Elf in a green fitted tunic with large buttons and a broad belt, thick green tights and pixie boots with turned up toes.
Kayleigh’s hair was tied up and hidden under a matching hat and when he looked her up and down he had very unchristian thoughts so he steered her discretely into an empty classroom and kissed her.
It could only be a quick kiss because the Grotto opened at 1 pm and she would be kept pretty busy right through until 4 o’clock while Jack was busy on the tombola.
When Kayleigh was finished at the Grotto and the last of the excited children had sat on Santa’s lap she put on her long winter coat over the top of her costume and went in search of Jack.
She would have liked to have helped Jack on the Tombola but she had already been volunteered to help out in Santa’s Grotto and she couldn’t wriggle out of it without giving the game away that they were more than just companionable friends and neighbours.
When she reached the hall almost everything had been packed away and it only took about ten minutes before they were ready to walk the short distance up the road to his cottage where they were having supper and as they walked along the corridor he said
“I have to say I’m a little disappointed you got changed out of your costume”
“Shhh someone will hear” she said as she looked around making sure they were alone and then she undid her coat to reveal her costume beneath,
“Well I do believe that you’re on the naughty list” he said.
“No I’m on the nice and naughty list” Kayleigh said and giggled, suffice is to say that they had a late supper.