Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 25 – Gardeners and Farmers
By the time Jack got back to White Rose Cottage it was after seven o’clock and he was surprised to see there was still a light burning in the window and there was a strange car parked on the drive, he assumed the light was left on to deter burglars but he couldn’t explain the car.
He parked his car behind it on the drive, retrieved his and Kayleigh’s bags from the boot and went inside not knowing who or what was awaiting him there.
But as he went in all was quiet, in the hall he immediately noticed there was a bookcase standing against the wall that had preciously stood in the lounge and that was when he remembered that the Hospital bed was due to be delivered the day before so he guessed that as the bookcase had been moved the bed had indeed arrived.
He dropped Kayleigh’s bag in the hall and took his own upstairs and unpacked and wasn’t at all surprised to find no one in the guest rooms.
But as he walked back downstairs he again wondered why there was a strange car on the drive especially if he didn’t have a houseguest.
He went into the kitchen and put the kettle on to boil and then returned to the hall and picked up Kay’s bag and went out his back door, through the side gate and opened the door to her back porch and placed the bag inside then closed and locked the door.
She had said that she would see him later that night but it was quite conceivable that she could change her mind, in which case she might have wanted her bag before the morning.
He returned to the house and noticed that the light was flashing on the answerphone so he pressed to button to listen to the message.
“Hi Jack its Emily, you have doubtless already noticed that I left my car on the drive, I hope you don’t mind, I’ll pick it up in the morning, bye”
“Well that solves that mystery” he said and went in the kitchen and made himself a coffee and then sat down to begin opening the pile of birthday cards that had accumulated in his absence.
Most of the cards contained the normal felicitations but a significant number of them had extra little messages that referred to his hospitality towards the vicar which meant a lot to him.
There were inevitably a number of unsigned cards which bore messages that were less charitable and aimed at his despicable relationship with Kayleigh and intimated at a more ungodly union with his whore of a Vicar.
But there were so many positive cards and so many sympathetic messages the he was kind of overwhelmed so to get a handful of hate mail was neither here nor there.
But he felt a certain pride for the positive ones so he finished his drink and decided to take a look in the lounge.
He opened the door and the light from the hall flooded into the room and in the centre of the room was the hospital bed starkly illuminated in all its cold clinical functionality and then Jack started to cry.
It was almost midnight when he gave up hope that he would see Kayleigh so he went upstairs and got into bed.
He drifted in and out of sleep for the next hour and just after one o’clock the bedroom door opened and he heard soft footfalls on the carpeted floor and he felt the duvet lift and Kayleigh’s warm body cuddled up against him
“I didn’t think you were coming” he said as she lay her head on his chest.
“I wasn’t going to” she replied “I felt guilty about leaving Carl and coming to you”
“So what happened?” he asked
“I wanted to be with you too much, because I love you so much” she said and that was music to his ears
“I love you too” he replied and they drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms and awoke in the same position the next morning.
Jack greeted Sunday morning with mixed feelings, waking up in Kayleigh’s arms was a delight but it was to be a busy day so after they made it downstairs for the day Jack cooked them a full English breakfast to steel them for the day ahead.
After breakfast she slipped out the back door to go home via the side gate and emerged forty minutes later through the front in answer to Jacks knock and then they walked down to St Lucy’s together.
After the service he had to forgo the usual Sunday Lunch Club at the Hen and Chicks as he only had an hour to grab a sandwich before the village helpers arrived with Katie Watson’s goods and chattels.
Katie herself wouldn’t be arriving until Monday when Matron Gemma Frost and Doctor Anderson would be there to help settle her in.
Also Emily arrived amidst all the other visitors to pick up her car and explained why she had to leave it there.
When Davina and Jimmy were driving back from Beaumont’s Garden Centre, two days earlier, the van had a puncture, so Dave Rooney drove her to Purplemere in the Spade Oak Farm Landrover, firstly to pick up Jimmy and the materials and second to drop her at home to pick up her car.
Davina had already phoned Donaldson Automotive so she had to stay with the van until they arrived.
When the tyre had been changed she then drove the van to Turnoak and arrived just in time to see the Landrover, and more importantly the Rooney’s, drive away.
All the work was finished so Emily and Davina just had to load the tools onto the van and they were done, but because they both had tales to tell about their respective Rooney’s, Emily decided to leave her car at Jacks and ride in the van with Davina.
“Crikey” he said “And I thought my life was complicated”
They both had a laugh and then they discussed the work.
“You’ve done a cracking job” he said
“And finished in double quick time”
“We couldn’t have done it without the burley Farmers” she said
“It looks great anyway” he said “How much do I owe you?”
“It’s ok I’ll pop the invoice in the post” she said “And let me know if there’s anything else you need doing”
“Well I have to fly” she said “I have to get ready for dinner”
“Where’s he taking you?”
“The Worsted Viper” she replied
“Nice” Jack said “he must really like you”
Emily was scarlet red as she got in the car and Jack smiled as he watched her drive away.
Davina Carley was a skinny waif like creature in her early twenties, with short straw blonde hair, in a kind of pixie cut, although it was probably achieved more by accident than design, and she was from the village of Clarence and when the muscular well-toned red headed Jimmy Rooney picked her up on Sunday afternoon she was dressed for an adventurous afternoon, but she was made up to look like a girlie girl dressed for an adventurous afternoon.
It was a bright Sunday afternoon in February, just one week after they had first met.
It was probably a little unconventional for the first date but she didn’t really care she was just pleased that they had a date.
After some discussion it was decided that he would pick her in the Landrover for the drive to their destination in the Dancingdean Forest.
Despite her apprehension about the “Tree Top Trail” she was still very much looking forward to her first date with Jimmy and was praying it would go well.
Davina’s trepidation was far removed from the normal first date nerves, which were bad enough, her main fears stemmed from the fact she had to contend with the death defying heights of the Tree Top Trail, with all its incumbent hazards such as Tarzan swings, rope bridges and Zip Wires, all at a height of 30ft.
She wasn’t good with heights at the best of times, she never had been, not because she suffered from vertigo or had an irrational fear of being up high.
In fact she liked high places, Airplanes, the London Eye, Canary Wharf or the Empire States Building, as long as there was something between her and oblivion.
What scared her to death was gravity and the belief that it would at any moment pull her screaming to the ground.
But she couldn’t show it, not to Jimmy, she had to put on a brave face for his benefit as she didn’t want him to think she was a wimp.
It was about an hour’s drive to the Dancingdean Forest, but the time seemed to pass by very quickly as they chatted about something and nothing, always a good sign when there are no embarrassed silences.
Once they arrived in the Dancingdean Forest her trepidation deepened as she looked up and realized exactly how high 30 feet was.
As if sensing her reservations Jimmy took hold of her arm.
“Come on then” he said steering her in the direction of a large timber shack.
There were 12 of them in their group, 11 first timers and one jovial leader called Dirk who was determined that they all had a “great experience”
And on the whole they all did, although there were moments when Davina was almost scared to death.
Though they were never in any real danger, they all had harnesses and protective gear but she was still scared up in the tree tops.
But at the end of it, thanks to Dirk, the whole group had a great experience, but it was still nice to get back to terra firma.
After divesting themselves of their safety gear they all made their way to the café for a well-earned coffee.
As she and James sat either side of a table discussing how much they had enjoyed the experience he announced
“I wouldn’t want to do it again”
“What?” she said with alarm
“The tree top stuff” he assured her, but he continued with more than a little smugness, knowing that he had her hook line and sinker
“I’m up for another date though” he continued
Then after a minute or two he suddenly said
“But I have a confession to make”
“Oh” she responded fearing the worst, he was married or engaged or something.
“I would have enjoyed it much more if I wasn’t scared of heights” he confessed
“I only finished the course because I didn’t want you to think I was whet”
After hearing his confession Davina laughed
“It’s not funny” he said crossly
“I’m laughing because I was scared to death myself” she said “I just gritted my teeth and got on with it because I didn’t want you to think I was a wimp”
On hearing her confession he laughed as well.
When the laughter had subsided they both concurred that it had been a good first date.
After they had finished their coffee they decided that there was enough daylight left for a walk in the woods, as neither of them were in a hurry for the date to end.
As they walked along the trail in a comfortable silence they wanted to take it to the next level but were both unsure how to proceed when Davina stumbled into him and he reacted quickly and reached out his arms to stop her falling and when he safely had hold of her and they were stood nose to nose she kissed him.
As first kisses went it wasn’t breath taking or earth shattering, nor was it the best kiss either of them had ever had but it was a beginning and was nonetheless momentous.
But before Jimmy could improve on their first kiss she surprised him by pushing him onto the floor.
“You’ll have to catch me if you want more” she called over her shoulder as she turned on her heels and ran up a side track giggling like a schoolgirl.
Jimmy gathered himself and got to his feet and sprinted after her and he caught her halfway up an incline and she screamed as he grabbed her by the waist.
“Got yer,” he said but she wriggled free and once again he ended up on his backside on the damp earth.
“Come on then, farm boy” she said taunting him as she stood leaning against a tree at the summit of the hill
“I am going to get my kiss” he said and began slowly ascending the hill.
“You’re all talk farm boy” she said but as he got closer she made a run for it giggling and squealing as she did so, but after a few minutes of taunting him she lost her footing and Jimmy pounced and wrestled her to the ground and then he kissed her and this time the kiss was of a very different hue and was breath taking and earth shattering and was a kiss against which every future kiss would be judged.
David picked Emily up from her house on the outskirts of Purplemere in his father’s car, as Jimmy was using the Landrover, for the short drive to the Worsted Viper Hotel.
It was a wonderful restaurant and she thought it was a far superior venue for a first date than a Tree Top Trail.
Of course she would have quite liked to do something physical with him but it didn’t involve rope bridges and zip wires, but as it turned out she was to be disappointed.
Not that the date didn’t go well in every other respect there were no embarrassed silences and he listened with interest when she spoke and when it was his turn to speak he wasn’t dull or boring and was witty and fascinating.
David was also gentlemanly and attentive so when they were seated in the large vaulted conservatory section of the restaurant, and he noticed Emily had goose bumps on her arms because it was a little cool in their corner so he immediately asked the waiter to close the window and the waiter duly obliged.
“Is that better?” he asked with concern
“Much” she replied and smile
Throughout the meal the conversation flowed effortlessly from course to course and on to the coffee and liqueurs but all too soon the evening was over and he drove her home.
Emily had enjoyed the evening very much and her like for him surpassed that and she believed that by the way he was looking at her during the evening that her feelings were reciprocated.
But when they got to her house, much to her disappointment he just kissed her cheek and thanked her for a lovely evening.
Back in Turnoak after all the comings and goings were done with at White Rose Cottage Jack Morehouse took himself off to St Lucy’s for the Sunday evening service and having recharged his spiritual batteries he returned home for an early night.