Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 39 – The Third Angel
Friday evening passed with the three of them enjoying simple pleasures and congenial company, but it proved to be the lull before the storm as later on Friday night Katie took a turn for the worse so the weekend was rather less tranquil than any of them would have hoped for and was spent in constant anxiety.
Her appetite had been slowly tailing off for some while but she had been in a lot more discomfort than she allowed them to know.
Carole was called and they had two days of uncertainty as the doctor tried to get her medication right.
On Monday it was decided to move her back downstairs and into the hospital bed in the lounge.
Carole was in regular attendance while still covering her commitments at the practice and late on Monday Carole met will Gemma to put the second phase of nursing care into effect.
This plan dispensed with the district nurse visits which were to be replaced by a night nurse arriving at 7.00 pm and leaving 12 hours later.
When they first started discussing nursing care back in February Jack remembered Carole saying the night nurse wouldn’t be required until near the end.
So on Tuesday morning when Doctor Anderson told him a night nurse would be there that night Jack went cold and he grabbed her arm and asked in hushed tones
“Is it that time already?”
All Carole said in reply was
“You’d better find the other sister soon”
After Carole had gone he phoned Sarah Peters at the surgery to see if there had been any word from Ethiopia.
“Yes” she replied “and no”
“Here we go again,” Jack thought
“I had a very garbled call from a woman, who I think was Anne, but she was very incoherent”
“What makes you think it was her?” he asked
“Well she sounded very far away,” she said realizing as the words left her mouth how stupid they sounded, and they sounded very stupid indeed and had it been anyone other than Sarah Peters saying it he would have dismissed them.
“Could you make anything out at all?” he asked
“She definitely said “two days” and I think she also said call again” she said “but the rest was all rather Norman Collier like”
“Ok thanks Sarah” he said “let me know if she calls again?”
“I will” she replied and hung up.
As Katie was up and down Kayleigh was constantly on hand to support him and it was a very uneasy time for them all and even Marion, normally very bright and bubbly was very subdued and off colour, and as they were all focused on Katie no one had noticed she wasn’t eating properly and after lunch she fainted.
Once she was revived Carole ordered her to bed and chastised her for her foolishness, putting herself and the baby at risk.
Later on Wednesday evening the phone rang and when Jack picked up the call, a much-exited Sarah was on the line.
“It was her, it was her,” she shouted.
“Ok calm down” he said, “What did she say?”
“She’s going to catch the first available flight” she continued “which should arrive at Heathrow on Good Friday”
“Brilliant” he said “well done you”
“I don’t have any other details yet, Anne will ring again when she has her flight confirmed”
On Thursday they had a visit from the Bishop no less, who on hearing of Katie’s condition thought it advisable to tend to her spiritual needs.
“How is she?” he asked
“She’s been better, but she’s not on the threshold yet” he replied
“Good” he said “and thank you for all you are dong”
“There is no need to thank me,” he said
“But it’s a very noble thing you are doing Mr Morehouse”
“Not really Bishop I just have a lot of sinning to atone for” Jack replied flippantly
“No one sins as much as that” he said “I hope”
And as the Bishop climbed the stairs Sarah called him with the flight details for Anne’s flight from Ethiopia.
Under normal circumstances, i.e. if Katie wasn’t in crisis and Marion wasn’t on the sick list, Jack and Kayleigh would have made the drive to Heathrow Airport to meet Anne’s flight, but that was not the case.
So as Jack sat in the kitchen he had a thought which if played with finesse might kill two birds with one stone.
Apart from being the Receptionist at the doctors surgery Sarah Peters was also Verger at St Lucy’s Jack knew she was completely smitten with his close friend and colleague Jacey Linton and he with her and he had been waiting for an opportunity to give them a little nudge because Sarah and her heart’s desire, had done nothing about their obvious mutual attraction.
For Sarah’s part she was embarrassed by her drunken behaviour when they all met up in Purplemere before Christmas and didn’t think he would be at all interested in her as she had been so embarrassing.
That was not however how Jacey thought at all, he didn’t find her embarrassing in the least bit, he thought she was lovely, what was holding him back was the fact that because she was so lovely she couldn’t possibly be interested in someone ordinary like him.
Jacey had very low self-esteem because he had worked for a man who treated him like dirt, a skivvy, over an eight year period which had eroded all his self-confidence, he was belittled at every turn and wiped away every ounce of his self-worth.
He felt so worthless that when Jack offered him a job he turned it down immediately stating it was beyond his capabilities it took him and James to finally convince him that he was capable enough for the job and wholly suitable to be manager of the Waterside Club.
He now just had to help one of his oldest friends to experience a love like he had with Kayleigh.
He picked up the phone and dialled Jacey’s number from his study
“Hey Jace, I need a favour”
“What do you need Jack?”
“Can you pick someone up from Heathrow tomorrow?” he asked
“Sure no problem” Jacey replied
“Great, can you meet me at St Lucy’s at 8 o’clock?” Jack asked
“Ok I’ll see you in the morning” Jacey said
After hanging up with Jacey he phoned Sarah at the surgery
“Sarah, its Jack”
“Hi Jack, is everything ok?”
“No that’s why I’m ringing” he said and proceeded to explain why with Katie and Marion under the weather he wasn’t able to pick Anne up from the Airport.
“I can do it” she offered
“I was hoping you would say that” he said “but I don’t want you to go alone so I’ve got you a driver and a bag carrier, so meet me at St Lucy’s at 8 o’clock”
“Ok bye” he said and hung up before she had a chance to ask who the driver was.
Jack left the house before 8 o’clock on Good Friday Morning and walked down St Lucy’s Church and waited inside until Sarah arrived five minutes later.
“Hello Jack” she said
“Sarah thanks for doing this” he said and kissed her cheek “Oh here’s your ride now”
Sarah turned around and saw a car pull up at the bottom of the steps and a man got out and when he turned towards the church she could see it was Jacey.
“You remember Jacey don’t you?” Jack said
“Oh yes” she said and she got butterflies in her stomach as Jack guided her down the steps.
“Jacey! Thanks for coming, Sarah here will be riding shotgun”
“Oh yes… erm hello… nice to see you again” he stammered and Sarah managed a smile but couldn’t speak.
“Sarah has all the info, so she’s the boss” Jack said before Jacey closed his door.
The journey to Heathrow was made largely in silence as they both tried desperately to think of something to say, and what little converse there was tended towards the monosyllabic.
When they arrived they parked in the short stay and walked to the terminal arriving just before 10 am and it was absolutely heaving and the arrivals board was liberally peppered with delays and cancellations.
With cancellations you know the score and you can turn round and go home, but with a delay you don’t know what to do, go or stay.
All they knew from the boards was that it wasn’t on time, they had no idea of just how long it would be, had they known they would still have been at the airport four hours later, they would have turned around and gone home again.
It was at 1.30pm as they had just finished their lunch when the board started to sort itself out and they finally had a definitive arrival time, 20.45pm.
Sarah and Jacey looked at each other in despair.
“This is not how I envisaged spending the day with you” Sarah said and blushed because she said it out loud
“Me neither” he said and smiled
“Well it appears we’ve got seven hours to kill” she said
“I know” he replied “but I have an idea, come on”
They left the terminal and joined the queue at the Taxi rank after picking up a pamphlet from tourist information, entitled “The Top Ten Things To Do In The Borough Of Hounslow”
Top of the list was the Kew Bridge Steam Museum which housed the Hawthorn Davey Pumping Engine and they looked at each other and shook their heads.
Number two was The Great Conservatory in Syon Park and again the looked at each other but this time they both nodded.
After about ten minutes they were in the back of a black cab and Jacey said to the driver “Syon Park please”
It was a cold day but beautifully sunny and the park and gardens were lovely but Jacey only had eyes for Sarah and she for him.
30 year old Sarah Peters had blue eyes and a friendly open face, she was a tall girl, almost six feet, stick thin, apart from her bust line, she also had very narrow hips and from behind she looked like a boy but her legs were absolutely stunning.
Jacey was eight years older than Sarah but was also tall and slim, with dark hair and eyes to match and she didn’t care that he was older than her and she loved the fact that he was actually taller than she was because it made her feel really feminine.
They walked around for more than an hour but despite the fact that it was sunny it was still cold and they couldn’t get inside the house because it was closed during the winter when the Percy family were in residence.
So noticing Sarah shiver Jacey took the pamphlet from his pocket and read down the list
“Let’s go and get a coffee” he suggested and they left the park to find a taxi.
He hailed a cab and Jacey said to the driver “London Apprentice, Isleworth please”
The London Apprentice was number 6 on the list and claimed to be the Best Riverside Pub in the borough with the best view of the river.
The pub was nice enough although they had both been in better pubs in Downshire and the view was also good but not a patch on The Finchbottom Vale.
But one thing they couldn’t deny was the quality of the coffee, which was very welcome as was the warmth of the fire.
They stayed for two coffees and a Danish pastry and then left the warmth of the pub and took a walk beside the river.
They had been walking for about 10 minutes and were completely absorbed in what the other was saying that they didn’t notice the mad cyclist approaching them from behind, in fact they only knew he was there when he shouted get out of the way, so they jumped sideway just in the nick of time and Sarah stumbled, so Jacey reached out and grabbed her hand and prevented her from falling, and once she had hold of his hand there was no way on earth she was letting it go.
In fact the only time she did was when they got in another cab, although as soon as they were seated she claimed it again.
Their destination this time was St Michael & All Angels Church in Bedford Park.
It was a relatively modern church, built in the early 1880s and designed by acclaimed architect Richard Norman Shaw, and looked rather unremarkable from the outside and nowhere near as impressive as St Lucy’s but they both thought its beautiful Arts & Crafts interior was well worth seeing.
After they left the church they crossed the road and had a nice meal at the Tabbard pub directly opposite the church.
After desert and coffee Jacey looked at his watch and it was 8 o’clock and the flight was expected at 20.45pm
“We have to go” he said “it’s due in 45 minutes”
“Really? But there are still places on the list we haven’t seen yet” she exclaimed
“We’ll have to do them another day” he said
“Promise?” she asked
They jumped in another cab and got to the arrivals hall dead on 8.45 and quickly checked the boards and the flight had just landed.
So they went to find themselves a place to sit and had to go some way before they found two seats together and as soon as they were seated Sarah took hold of his hand again.
They stayed seated until the Addis Ababa flight flashed “baggage in hall” and then they made their way back to the gate where they waited patiently at the gate and studied the passengers as they filed towards them.
They had her name boldly written on a piece of card, which Sarah held up so she wouldn’t miss them, but as it turned out they didn’t need it, as they both instantly recognized her, Anne was just a well-tanned slightly taller version of Katie.
They left the terminal at 9.20pm and arrived back in the village 80 minutes later.
Sarah texted Jack to say they were on the way and he responded telling her to text again when they were outside.
Sarah did as instructed and the porch light went on so they walked quietly to the house and Jack opened the door and they stepped equally quietly inside.
Marion was in the hall and silently came to meet them and hugged and kissed Anne, then Anne slipped off her coat and tiptoed along the hall.
Once she had reached the door to the lounge she took a breath and walked in.
“Hello baby girl” she said
Katie turned towards the voice and took a double take before she responded
“Annie? Is that really you?” and then she cried.
Jack thanked both Sarah and Jacey and apologized for the fact they had ended up spending all of Good Friday waiting in the Heathrow arrivals hall for hours.
“Don’t apologize” Jacey said “We had a great day”
“Yes we did” she agreed and held his hand
“Good I’m really pleased” Jack said
“Now get yourselves home you’ve had a long day”
Sarah didn’t want the day to end, for her the day hadn’t been long enough, but she wasn’t confident enough to know if he felt the same way or not.
But she needn’t have worried, he did feel the same way, in fact Jacey thought she was gorgeous, tall and slender with nice long legs.
“I don’t know about you but I’m not tired yet” he said
“No nor me” she said
“Then you are both more than welcome to stay and have a drink or two” Jack said