Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 41 – Birthday Songbird
The next day Kayleigh returned from Roespring with the good news that her grandfather was on the mend, having been left with a few bruises, no broken bones and wounded pride.
So Thursday morning, he packed his bag for Kayleigh’s birthday treat.
Jack was uneasy about going away for the best part of three days but however any suggestion that he might postpone the trip till a later date was immediately snuffed out
“Life goes on,” Katie said firmly so he said his goodbyes, making sure they knew where to reach him and walked out to where Gemma Frost was waiting by her car with the boot open.
After putting his case in the car he walked to Kayleigh’s and got to the front door just as she was coming out with two bags.
“Have you got enough luggage?” he asked, “We’re coming back on Saturday”
“Yes but back from where?” she asked, “All you said was pack an assortment of clothes”
“Well let’s get going then,” Jack said and loaded her bags in the car
“But where are we going?” she pleaded
“London” he replied curtly
“Where in London?” Kayleigh asked impatiently and he replied
“London is all you need to know for now”
“You’re very annoying,” she said sulkily
Gemma drove them to Purplemere station where they caught the London train and when they got to Waterloo he led her to the taxi rank.
Taking their turn he opened the door for Kayleigh and quietly instructed the cabbie.
“The Waldorf please” he whispered
“No problem guv” he replied
“What was that? Where are we going?” she asked cursing herself for missing what was said.
When the taxi pulled up outside the Waldorf Hotel the concierge opened the door and Kayleigh got out, open-mouthed.
He followed her and turned to settle the fare with the cabbie and then taking her arm they headed in to the lobby.
“Are we really staying here?” she whispered in disbelief.
Her eyes were like saucers as she took in her surroundings.
Once in their suite they christened the rather lavish accommodations in the style befitting the location before celebrating her birthday in grand style in the equally lavish restaurant.
The next morning they had a sumptuous unhurried breakfast before he drained his coffee cup and said
“What?” she gasped
“Come on we need to pack” he instructed
“Why?” aren’t we staying here?” she asked crestfallen
“We have a train to catch,” Jack said heading towards the door
“But…” she stuttered and trotted after him, quizzing him all the way
“I thought this was my treat”
“This was just part one” Jack informed her and kissed her
An hour later they were sitting in the back of another taxi, this time he didn’t whisper
“Kings Cross Station please”
“Where are we going?” she said petulantly and then stamped her feet.
So Jack laughed
“I hate you,” she said
Once at Kings Cross they made their way towards the International terminal.
Half way along the concourse Kayleigh stopped in her tracks.
“I refuse to take another step until you tell me where we are going” she said
“Paris” he answered “on the Eurostar”
“Paris?” she responded quietly “I’ve never been to Paris”
“I know,” he said, he knew she was well travelled in her singing days but he also knew she had never been to Paris “so let’s go”
After another twenty yards she stopped again
“Oh my God I haven’t got my passport,” she cried, “you didn’t say I needed my passport”
Kayleigh sat down on her case and put her head in her hands
“I can’t go without a passport,” she said sadly
Jack walked over to her and fumbling in his pocket he fished out her passport.
Which he had acquired from her house while she was visiting her grandparents in Roespring.
“You’ve got it?” she said in amazement and took it from his hand.
“You had it all the time”
She stood up and added
“I hate you” but undermined her statement by kissing him.
This wasn’t the first time he had taken a girlfriend to Paris on the Eurostar but he was mindful to make sure this trip would not mirror the one he took on the previous occasion in a former life.
He needn’t have worried as Kayleigh chattered away for the whole journey so full of excitement was she.
Once they had disembarked at Gare du Nord they made their way quickly to the taxi rank and joined the queue.
It’s a strange feeling getting into a taxi in a foreign country, not knowing your way around and not knowing the language.
In Paris it’s even stranger because the cabby doesn’t know his way around the city and he can’t speak the language either.
There is nothing quite as disconcerting as getting into a taxi and the drivers first act after you’ve given him the address is to immediately reach for an A to Z like they did the first time he crossed the channel at least in the 21st century they had satnavs.
That said the driver seemed to quickly plan his route and get them on their way and they arrived promptly at the Hilton Hotel and again Kayleigh disembarked open mouthed.
That evening they indulged themselves in the lavish restaurant to such an extent that they were completely stuffed and when they waddled out they decided they should take a stroll to try and walk off their excesses.
It was a warm evening and the city was beautiful in the moonlight and they eventually found themselves sitting on the edge of a fountain in a little park looking up at the moonlit sky.
“I love you Kayleigh” he said, he wanted to say I love you so much and I want you to marry me, but he knew it wasn’t the right time
“I love you too” she replied “and the time I spend with you is the only time I feel alive”
“Me too” he said and walked her back to the hotel and they made love.
The journey home the next day was a much quieter one, as we were both a little hung-over so on the Eurostar they slept the whole way from the Gare du Nord to Kings Cross.
When they got back to Purplemere Elise Riley was there to meet them at the station as Gemma was working.
Back in Turnoak they went their separate ways as Kayleigh had been called up to Plaxton Park so Jack had a sandwich and sat with Katie for about an hour, as she was anxious to hear all the details about the trip.
She was absolutely delighted to hear about the good time they had.
“You will marry her when the time comes won’t you?” she said “it would never have worked between us but you two are perfect together”
“I wanted to ask her in Paris” he replied and she nodded and closed her eyes.
As Katie drifted off to sleep he left her and went to have a catch up with Anne, principally on how Katie was doing, because it was glaringly obvious even after just two days that she was visibly different.
From then on they settled down into an uncomfortable routine, as all week long Katie seemed to be fading away before their eyes.
Anne and Jack tried to keep their own spirits up as much as Katie’s as they tried to keep to the established routine.
Carole and Kayleigh popped in whenever they could and the nurse was there every night but they didn’t get many visitors.
Emily and Davina still came and did the gardening and Mrs Cohen still came and cleaned and bless her she took the cookware, from the donated meals, away with her every time she came and returned them to their rightful owners, but apart from that it was just Jack, Anne and Katie.
The week passed slowly and he was grateful for that as the time he spent with Katie was precious and he knew that the time she had left was dwindling away.
One afternoon they had a familiar conversation, one that they had, had a number of times.
“You’re a good man Jack Morehouse” Katie said
“Nonsense” he replied “let’s change the subject”
“Don’t be modest,” she continued, “you are a good man”
She wasn’t going to let it go so he tried to steer her away instead
“I was in church once and the Vicar said, “It’s not enough to be a good person and do good things””
“What an extraordinary thing to say” Katie said, “I suppose it was a charismatic church”
“It was” he confirmed
“What did you do?”
“I walked out and never went back” he replied “in fact I didn’t go to a church of any kind for over a year”
Jack had successfully managed to steer her away from him and onto theology, which kept her going until she began to tire and she closed her eyes and he got up to leave and walked over and kissed her forehead.
“I still think you’re a good man,” she said quietly
“Hush” he said and looked down on the older version of the girl he had dated briefly during their first year at University,
But he knew in his heart of heart that they were not destined to be a couple their destiny was as very good friends and no more, but there was still a deep love there, though not a romantic one.