Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (15) Art and Loneliness (Part 09)
After her long relaxing bath she felt suitably refreshed and was possessed of a new resolve.
Having dried her hair and made herself up she put on the most presentable clothes she had packed and stood in front of the mirror to check the damage.
“Well that will have to do” Sally said to herself and then picked up her handbag and left the room.
Twenty minutes later she was knocking on Ben Noble’s front door.
It was a few minutes before it opened.
“Good evening Ben” she said
“Hello” he mumbled
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Sally asked
“I suppose so” he said grumpily and stepped back to let her in.
“Thank you” she said
“You look very nice” he said quietly
“Well thank you kind sir” She said and gave a little curtsy then there were an awkward couple of minutes when neither of them spoke so Sally looked at her watch and said
“Well we had better make a move, the Harts are expecting us in 10 minutes”
“I’m not going” he said
“Oh yes you are” she said determinedly “Now get your coat”
“I’m not going out” he said resolutely “I’ll get a takeaway and we can eat here”
“Oh I see, so I “look very nice” but you don’t want to be seen with me in public” she said baiting him
“That’s not what I said, you’re putting words in my mouth” he responded
“The Vicarage then” she said firmly “Get your coat”
“You really are bossy” he said slipping his jacket on
“And you really are a curmudgeon” Sally said
On the short walk to the Vicarage the conversation between them was restricted to the weather and the picturesqueness of the village.
When they reached the Vicarage he faltered half way along the path so Sally slipped her arm through his and guided him the rest of the way.
She rang the doorbell and a few moments later Caroline answered the door.
“Sally how lovely to see you” then she did a double take of her companion “And Ben, what a wonderful surprise, come in, come in Donald will be thrilled”
“I thought you said “WE” were expected” Ben whispered
“Oh did I?” Sally asked innocently
Caroline and Donald Hart were delighted to see their surprise guest and it took Caroline very little effort to accommodate him at the dining table and the evening passed off very congenially.
So much so that it was very late when they left the Vicarage, in fact it was two hours into Saturday by the time the heartfelt goodbyes had been said.
They were arm in arm as Ben walked Sally back to the Hotel,
“I’ve had a lovely time” Sally said outside the Coachman’s
“Me too” Ben said and kissed her cheek before adding
“Goodnight Sally” And then he was off down the road.
“Goodnight” she called after him and then said quietly to herself
“That was a very agreeable beginning”