Angels, Lovers and Songbirds – Chapter 43 – Farewell Angel
On Tuesday, Sarah arrived at the house for the reading of the will and the planning of the funeral, not that Katie left much to plan.
And as part of the plans Katie had wisely made Sarah the executor of the will and because of her obvious organizational skills had asked her to implement the funeral arrangements.
Apart from Jack and Anne, Kayleigh, Doctor Anderson, The Vicar Paul Massey, Paul’s fiancé Martina and Matron Gemma Frost were all in attendance.
There wasn’t much to speak of in her will she hardly had a vast estate to bequeath.
To Carole she left her gold crucifix, for Paul her collection of books, to Martina she left her a Celtic bracelet (Martina often admired it), to Gemma her gold wrist watch, and to Kayleigh her gold swallow broach (To remind her that she was a songbird).
All her clothes and the other meagre possession she left to the church to be disposed of as they saw fit and the residue of her estate was to be divided equally between her sisters.
And to Jack she left her, her bible, inscribed:
“A good book for a good man”
With love Katie.
After reading it Jack had to excuse himself.
When he returned to the room they discussed the funeral which was to be a simple one with Kayleigh and Elise Riley doing the readings, Katie’s choice of hymns were Amazing Grace, Abide With Me and The Lord’s My Shepard and the eulogy was to be read by Jack, when he had written it.
The date for the funeral was set for Tuesday the 7th of May.
During the course of the week Anne, Jack and Kayleigh worked closely with Sarah on the arrangements.
Which they didn’t need to be involved in but Sarah involved them with all the minutiae because it kept their minds occupied.
On the Friday the medical supply company picked up the bed and such, which made the house, feel even emptier.
It was akin to that feeling after the Christmas decorations come down in January, only a thousand times worse.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend Kayleigh was at the hospital everyday so he only got to see her in the evenings, so during the day he and Anne spent quite a lot of time sorting through Katie’s things.
Not a pleasant task by any means so when the day of the funeral came it was greeted by them all with some relief.
Sarah Peters had been a rock and her hand on the tiller had steered proceedings to perfection.
Warm weather was evidence on the day of the funeral and such was Katie’s popularity that everyone wanted to pay their respects, however seating in the church was quite inadequate for the numbers wanting to attend.
Gary Spiers and Martina Wingrove, being in the sound business, had their company rig a sound system outside the church for the many people unable to get inside.
St Lucy’s was packed to the gunwales and it seemed like the whole village had turned out to say goodbye,
The village green and every available inch of verge and lane held the throng of mourners.
The service was a very moving one presided over jointly by the new Vicar Paul Massey and the Bishop.
When it came to the moment for the eulogy Jack rose from his pew where Kayleigh had been holding his hand and walked slowly to the lectern.
He stood and looked out at the sea of faces watching him and suddenly he was afraid, but then he felt a calming presence with him.
“Katie Watson was a good person,” he began “but then that was the very least you expected her to be, but she was so much more than that”
Jack paused and took a breath
“She possessed a demeanour that instantly put you at your ease, and as a result she was a person it was not easy to say no to, in fact she was a person you didn’t want to say no to, because you didn’t want to disappoint her”
He looked up from his notes briefly to see the heads nodding in agreement and then he continued.
“Not only that but Katie had the uncanny knack of asking you to do something and when she had you firmly committed to the task, left you with the feeling it was your own idea”
A ripple of laughter traversed the church and he paused until it subsided,
“Katie saw through the sinner and into the person within and when she saw YOU, the real YOU inside, the person behind the façade, you felt instantly connected to the world”
He paused again and looked out across the pews.
“And as I look around her Church I know that everyone here has felt her light upon them and for me the world is a darker place with her light extinguished”
He climbed down and returned to her seat and Kayleigh squeezed his hand and said.
“Well done darling”
As the Bishop finished the service, the congregation slowly stood as the six pallbearers moved forward and proceeded to carry the coffin down the aisle.
The pews then slowly emptied as everyone began to decant into the churchyard.
The burial itself, as per Katie’s wishes, was to be a more private affair.
So the bulk of the onlooker’s leisurely dispersed and made their way to the church hall for the wake.
Jack and Kayleigh were among the last to leave the church and walked slowly through the churchyard and joined the group of mourners at the graveside that consisted of those closest to her at the end.
Afterwards they all made their way sombrely to the church hall.
The wake was held in the main room, but because of the numbers a marquee was erected and due to the clement weather the party had spilled out into the gardens and the carpark.
Jack found himself at the rear of the group as they approached the entrance to the hall, and after the others had all gone inside he paused and turned around and walked home.
When he got inside he slipped his jacket off and went to the kitchen and poured himself a drink.
After sitting alone quietly for about half an hour he was disturbed by a knock at the door so he ignored it and poured himself another drink.
There was another more persistent knock so he ignored it again and drained his glass.
Then there was another even more persistent knock.
So he put his glass down and got up and walked down the hall and reluctantly opened the door and Kayleigh was standing there.
“I was told to come and get you,” She said
“You’ve been missed”
“I don’t think I can” he replied
“Nonsense” she said, “you’re expected”
Jack turned around and walked back to the kitchen and sat down.
“You must” she insisted crouching down in front of him.
“I can’t” he retorted
“You have no choice” Kayleigh shouted
“I can’t go, how many times must I say it?” he snapped “it’s too hard”
“It’s not about you,” she shouted in his face “it’s about Katie”
And then she completely broke down and Jack had to comfort her and then cried himself.
After they had cried their tears they walked down to the church hall together.
When Jack got inside Carole Anderson made a beeline for him and asked
“Are you ok hon?”
“Yes of course” he lied “I just needed an hour to myself to get my head straight”
Carole seemed content with that.
The wake became quite lively and by the time Jack got round to see everyone and got back to Kayleigh it was getting late.
“Sorry darling” he said to her
“Don’t worry I’ll have you to myself the rest of the evening” she replied “but I think you need to get Anne home”
Jack looked around and Anne was completely wasted.
“I see what you mean,” he said
“Do you want a hand getting her home?” she asked
“Yes please” he said laughing, “I rather think I do”
When they got back home after the wake he carried Anne, who was completely slaughtered, upstairs to bed while Kayleigh waited downstairs.
When he got back to the kitchen she was standing in the middle of the room in her funereal underwear, a lacy black bra and matching panties and black stockings.
“So are you going to put me to bed now?” she asked and in answer he scooped her up in his arms and carried her upstairs.
In the early hours of the morning after the funeral, just before the dawn broke, Kayleigh slipped out of his bed pausing only to kiss his forehead before returning home.
Later that same morning Jack awoke refreshed and at peace but when he walked into the kitchen the sight that he beheld was not a pretty one.
Anne was sitting at the kitchen table nursing a black coffee and judging by the fact she looked like there was to be another death in the family, a pretty savage hangover.
“Oh my goodness” he said
“Shhh” she gestured “have some respect for the dead”
The day after the funeral Anne was planning to go away for a few days to visit friends in various parts of the country before her return to Ethiopia.
But after her grief driven over indulgence the day before, she was in no fit state to go anywhere except back to her bed.
She was adamant that she should not let people down but he persuaded her to phone her friends and delay her departure until the next morning, she could even delay her flight home as she had an open ticket, that way she could still get to see everyone.
Eventually she saw the sense in what he was saying and after a handful of phone calls she went back to bed.
So it was on Thursday morning with Anne restored to her pre binge best, full of vim and vigour and ready to take on the world, that he set her off on her journey by driving her to Purplemere for the first leg of her sojourn.
Once he returned home he found the house eerily quiet and he didn’t much like it all but he was spared his own company for a little while at least by a visit from his next door neighbour and lover Kayleigh but he was still a little down.
“We should get away for a couple of days” Kayleigh suggested.
“A weekend break” he said
“I was thinking more of a dirty weekend” she said
“Kayleigh Robinson you brazen hussy” he said and laughed
As much as he liked the sound of her suggestion he didn’t think he was in the right frame of mind for it so he said
“No I don’t think so”
Kayleigh gave him a questioning look so he added
“I have to put the house back together”
“Can’t you get those Rooney boys to do it? They moved everything in the first place after all” she said
“Well we’ll see,” he said,
“That means no then,” she said crossly
“That’s not what it means at all” he said “They’re probably busy”
“Hmmm” she said as she was leaving with obvious disbelieve but she kissed him anyway and added.
“Please you’ll enjoy it”
“We’ll see,” he reiterated
“I would have really enjoyed it” she said grumpily
Her parting shot made him feel guilty, not that he thought that was her intention, but it wasn’t really a lie he hadn’t yet put the room back together since the bed and stuff had been taken away, but he really didn’t think he would make for good company.
He could have spent the rest of Thursday straightening the house but he didn’t, because in the end he decided he was being selfish because Kayleigh clearly needed to get away so he spent the next hour making some phone calls and when he was done he went next door to Kayleigh’s and knocked on the door.
When it opened Kayleigh just stood there without speaking
“I was looking for gorgeous woman to go on a dirty weekend with and I was wondering if you knew someone who might be interested” he said and she grabbed him by the lapels and pulled him inside.