Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 11 – The Night Out
The following day they woke together in his bed on a grey cold morning and had a lazy start to the day and after a late breakfast she slipped out into the grey to get her hair done for the night out and an hour later Jack left and drove over to the Waterside Club.
On that day Gary Spiers had the day off and slept until lunchtime, as that night was his first patrol with the Roving Angels.
He had his reservations about doing it despite the encouragement from his friends and wondered if it was really for him.
He left the house in his newly acquired uniform, worn over several layers including, Long John’s, and the stout boots and socks he purchased specially for the occasion as there was still snow on the ground.
As it was forecast to be minus 6 that night so he was going to need every stitch to keep warm, so he donned a woollen hat and scarf and gloves.
The Roving Angels had been in existence for about three years and was similar to the Street Angels, Street Pastors and other groups that had sprung up all across the UK in the previous 10 or 12 years.
They had made a really positive impact on crime and antisocial behaviour in Purplemere town centre over their first three years particularly in the general vicinity of the bars and clubs.
They provided a calming presence on the streets late at night in situations where a police uniform might have had the opposite effect.
In the two years since they began Roving Angels had contributed to a 29% fall in public place violence on the weekends.
It all began when Christian Churches in the area came together with the Police and the Borough Council to establish the Angels in Purplemere.
But it took people of faith to make it work, as with so many things in life.
To be perfectly honest he was feeling a little apprehensive about his maiden patrol as he drove to Purplemere town centre.
He was after all doing something he had never done before and patrolling the streets in the small hours was not without its risks one of which being that drunks are such unpredictable creatures.
Not to mention the fact it was a bitterly cold night and he was a bit of a wimp and it was to be a long shift starting at 10pm and possibly finishing as late as 4am.
All the bars and clubs close for the night at 3 am but the clientele have been known to hang around.
He had butterflies in his stomach when he went into the council building where the Angel volunteers congregated.
In truth Gary was nervous of meeting a bunch of strangers but when he walked in he found that he knew almost half of the assembled group one of whom was Jacey Linton.
“Gary” he said offering his hand “good to see you”
“Hi Jace” he responded taking his hand “I didn’t know you were an Angel”
“Yes” he said “since the beginning”
“Really?” he asked
“Yes” he responded proudly “three years now”
Although he had been trained he didn’t really know what to expect so Gary was quite relieved to find he was going out on the first hour, the quiet hour, with Jacey, who was a veteran.
As expected it was an uneventful maiden patrol which saw Jacey taking the lead with Gary carrying the back pack full of Flip flops, lollipops, space blankets and the first aid kit.
It was useful for him, Jacey showed him the boundaries of the patrol area and he pointed out the potential hotspots for later, he showed him all the CCTV camera locations and identified areas not covered and crucially the radio dead zones.
Also the quiet stroll gave Jacey and Gary a chance to chat.
After spending much of the day at the Waterside Club Jack Morehouse persuaded the Entertainments Manager
James Lynch to go for a drink in Purplemere and when they were happy that everything was running smoothly they left the club and Jack drove him into the centre and after parking the car they walked towards the main pedestrianized thoroughfare where the majority of Bars, Clubs and Restaurants were located which was where they bumped into Gary and Jacey coming the other way.
After the initial surprise Jacey and James talked about the club and Gary and Jack talked about the work he was doing at St Lucy’s Church in the Village but the conversation soon turned to Gary’s second in command at Sound in Spiers, Martina Wingrove and the new associate Vicar, Paul Massey.
Gary and Jack had both noticed the closeness between Martina and the Reverend and Gary said
“I’ve never seen her so smitten before”
After about five minutes the Angels continued their patrol and Jack and James went on their way towards their destination, La Florenza, not that James was aware of that.
As they approached Jack looked in through the window and spotted his quarry immediately seated at a large to the right of the entrance.
“Look who it is” Jack said
“Who? What?” James retorted
“The girls from the Village” he replied “Let’s go and say hello”
“Do we have to?” James protested but Jack was already through the door.
“Hello ladies” he said “Fancy running into you lot here”
“Fancy” Kayleigh said and laughed
“Hello James, why don’t you join us” Elise Riley said sliding along the bench seat to make room for him
“Love to” James said and sat next to her and Jack did the same beside Kayleigh
They spent an amiable hour or so together with a lot of chatter as Elise and James made eyes at each other and Kayleigh and Jack held hands under the table and a lot of wine was consumed.
As they were leaving Hannah Peters kissed Jacks cheek and said
“Thank you so much for getting me the trial at Plaxton Park”
“That’s ok” he said “But it’s up to you now”
“But it means so much because when she gets the job she can come and live with me” her sister Sarah said and kissed his other cheek
After their first uneventful hour on Patrol there was an hour of coffee and chat in the council building then Gary and Jacey went out again at midnight until 1 o’clock.
This also proved to be rather uneventful in fact Jacey said he had never known it so quiet, they concluded it must be the low temperature, so nobody was hanging around.
On their last lap around town they came upon a group of women who had just spilled out of one the restaurants and were laughing and joking with two men and were discussing if they should or shouldn’t go into one of the bars or onto a club and as they reached the periphery of the group Gary recognized the face of one of the men.
Jacey would have recognised that it was Jack as well if he hadn’t been looking intensely at the tall slim woman in the group.
He hesitated before speaking, because he didn’t want to embarrass the girl or himself but while he was wondering what best to do Jack spoke to him
“Hey Jacey” he said “Let me introduce you to everyone”
Sarah was the last one to be introduced
“Look another gorgeous man”
Sarah said a little tipsy “Oooh now we have one each”
“Yes Sarah” Hannah said dismissively already with her eye fixed firmly on Gary who said to Jack, who was the oldest member of the party
“What are you doing out this late Jack?” Gary asked “Shouldn’t you be at home drinking Horlicks?”
This was greeted with a great deal of mirth.
It was then that Jacey noticed a small group of lads lurking in the shadows watching a young girl very much the worse for drink.
“I’m sorry” he said addressing Gary while looking at Sarah “but we need to go”
They walked towards the girl and the others walked with them until they all filed into the pub, Sarah included, and Jacey watched her until the last possible moment.
“Are you on your own?” Jacey asked the drunk girl,
“I’m with Jenny” she slurred
“Where is Jenny?” Gary asked and she shrugged
“So are you going home?” Jacey asked and she nodded
“Come on then we’ll make sure you get a cab home,” he told her
“Ok” she answered
“Have you got enough money?” he asked
“Yes, I’ve got taxi fare,” she slurred
“Look” and she waved a ten-pound note at him.
“What’s it got to do with you?” a loud mouthed girl asked
“Are you a paedo?”
“That’s enough of that, move along” a bouncer said
“Come on let’s get you that cab” Gary said and he noticed the group of lads had evaporated away, probably looking for another vulnerable young woman.
“Thank you” she said and hugged them both
“You’re welcome, now you’d better get in” Gary said
But after the cab drove off with the girl Jacey radioed control and gave them the heads up to keep an eye on the bunch of lads.
As they were walking back to the council offices Gary said
“So you liked Sarah didn’t you?”
“Yes” he replied
“She isn’t normally that flirty” Gary added
“You know her then” Jacey said as they approached the office.
“Yes” he replied, “Sarah Peters, she lives in Turnoak village, she’s the verger at St Lucy’s church”
They were both mightily relieved to get back inside at one o’clock, they were frozen.
Gary didn’t know how the girls could walk around half naked in that weather.
It took almost all the next hour to thaw out and they were not looking forward to another shift and they were mightily relieved when the Supervisor announced that they would be finishing at 3am.
Because it was so cold no one was hanging around to cause trouble so their final patrol was deemed unnecessary.
With the news that they were no longer needed Jacey and Gary said their farewells and headed out towards the car park.
They were parked within a few cars of each other and after a brief chat Jacey got in his and would have driven out of the car park before Gary had even started the engine had he not got a phone call.
Once the engine had warmed up a bit and hot air started to blow through the vents he got out and took off his coat and fleece.
He knew from the journey over, that once the heater got running full throttle it would be too hot with them on.
But before he got back in he noticed the Jacey was still there so he walked over to make sure everything was ok.
“Ok we’ll see you up by the station” he said and put his phone on the seat and turned to Gary and said
“It looks like our services are required”
As he drove out of the car park the car was toasty warm and he followed Jacey who took the route that took them past the railway station and the taxi rank and as they reached the former he spotted some familiar figures staggering towards the latter.
They pulled up just ahead of them and wound down the window.
“Do you want a lift?” Gary called and Hannah was the first to respond and got in the passenger seat, and when she got in the car he noticed she was shivering so he reached over to the back seat and grabbed his fleece
“Put that around you” he suggested
Ok” she said, “Oooh it’s still warm”
Then he gave her his coat and put it over her legs and lap and tucked it around her just as Kayleigh and Jack got in the back.
In Jacey’s car the uncharacteristically flirty Verger Sarah called shotgun on the passenger seat although James and Elise were more than happy with the backseat.
On the journey back to the village Gary gave Hannah his almost undivided attention apart from the occasional glance in the rear view mirror at Jack and Kayleigh who were sitting very close together on the back seat although he couldn’t see that they were holding hands underneath her folded coat.
When they reached the Village Jacey pulled up outside White Rose Cottage and Gary parked behind and as soon as he pulled on the hand brake Sarah leapt into his arms.
“Oh Jacey you are my hero” she slurred, “You should get a reward”
“No need for tha...” he began but she had passed out
“Oh dear” Jacey said and sat her up before getting out where
Jack and Kayleigh were already out and on the doorstep.
“Is Sarah not getting out?” Jack asked
“She’s already out” he replied
“What?” Kayleigh asked looking around “Where?”
“She’s still in the car but she’s out alright, like a light” he said and laughed
When the occupants of Gary’s car emerged, they all got out safely though Elise was feeling no pain at all.
“Oh dear” Jack said “We certainly can’t take her home in that state”
“Definitely not” Kayleigh agreed
“Well everyone can stay here, I’ve got 5 bedrooms after all” Jack said
“Come on let’s get the wounded inside, and nightcaps for everyone else”
“Not for me I need to get going” Jacey said “it’s getting late”
“Nonsense you and Gary can stay over too” he insisted
“Oh alright” he said resignedly and set about carrying the drunken Sarah into the house.
Not an easy task even though she was barely eight stones, in the end he chose the fireman’s lift technique, which was the easiest once he got her out of the car and then he took her straight up the stairs and deposited her on the bed in one of the spare rooms.
After nightcaps Hannah shared the second bedroom with the snoring Sarah as it was an en suite, Elise was in the small room, Gary and Jacey had a room each and James slept on the sofa in the lounge.
Jack having a houseful of guests kept his own room but he slept at Kayleigh’s.
It was just after eight the next morning when Jack awakened and sneaked back into White Rose Cottage.
He would have loved to have stayed cuddled up under the duvet with Kayleigh but he knew James and Jacey would be up and about early because they had to touch base at the Club and make sure everything was on track for the Saturday night show.
But they didn’t make an appearance until after 9 o’clock, Jacey was first and just looked tired because he only had the one drink and James emerged from the lounge 10 minutes later looking a little green around the gills, but having arrived in the kitchen late, neither of them seemed eager to get going, obviously because they wanted to see their respective girls before they left.
They were all sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee when Gary joined them looking very pleased with himself then Hannah appeared looking as fresh as a daisy which was amazing considering what she’d put down her neck.
But then came the serious drinkers just before 11 o’clock firstly Elise walked in sheepishly and sat down next to James and put her head on his shoulder
“I’m sorry James” Elise whispered
“What for?” he asked
“For being a drunken bum.” she said “and embarrassing myself”
“Don’t be silly” he said
“Am I forgiven then?” she asked
“Of course” he replied “but the next time we go out perhaps just the two of us”
“The next time?” she asked
“I like the sound of that” she said and kissed him
A few minutes later Kayleigh arrived through one door and Sarah through another and the latter looked like death warmed over.
“Good God” Kayleigh said
“Heavens” exclaimed Jacey
“Right, I figured someone would be in need of a remedy” said Kayleigh taking charge.
“I have just the thing for what ails you Sarah”
And she rummaged in her bag and fished out a medicine bottle with a dirty brown substance in it.
“I’ll try anything” Sarah said pitifully about to sit on a kitchen chair
“No don’t sit” Kayleigh commanded, “You need to be ready to move”
She handed the glass bottle to Sarah and said
“Take a good slug of that”
“And then what?” asked Sarah
“You’ll know what” Kayleigh said
Sarah took a good long pull on the bottle and then licked her lips before saying
“That’s not as bad as it lo….”
She never finished the sentence as she turned a funny shade of puce and headed for the toilet.
The noises that came from behind the toilet door are best not described but left to the imagination.
When she emerged some ten minutes later she looked more like her old self.
Another twenty minutes after that she was fit to be seen in church.