Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (16) The Highfinch Curate (Part 02)
Nick was knocking on the door of his 40th birthday but he still had all his own hair and not too much middle aged spread.
On Sunday morning he was making his way to St Martins Church when Julia Thomas caught up with him.
She was a rotund lady in her fifties who sat on the parish council with him and was his next door neighbour.
“Nicholas darling” she said and took him by the arm as they walked down the street.
He had known her and her husband Charles, for many years and it was Julia who had encouraged him to move to Highfinch, when he mentioned he was looking for a rural idyll.
“Charles has left” she said blandly
“I’m sorry,” he said though in truth he was glad
He really liked Julia but he didn’t like her husband Charles, he thought he was a hard drinking womanising arsehole.
“Don’t be” she said “it’s for the best”
“The boys threw him out you know” she announced proudly
“You can do better than him” He said squeezing her hand “you deserve better than him”
Julia squeezed his hand back
Just then a voice called to them
“Wait for me”
They stopped and looked back to see Vicki Paulding
Hurrying after them.
“Hello you two” she said, “are you going to Church?”
“Yes” they said in unison
Vicki suddenly noticed Judith’s arm through his and gave him a look.
“I have a spare arm,” he offered
“Well that’s ok then” she said and quickly took his arm.
As they cordially strolled, arm in arm towards the church they did elicit the occasional sideways glance.
“You do know that you two will be the talk of the village?” he said and they both looked at him a little old fashioned.
“You’ll be the two jezebels hanging off the arms of the local TV star”
They were still laughing as they reached the door of the church where Curate Jenna Lawton, the object of his desire, was at the door as they approached, doing the meet and greet.
Her warm open face was smiling as were her green eyes and the willowy thirty something’s shoulder length brunette hair was being stirred by the breeze.
“Aren’t you worried about your reputation?” she called
“No I have broad shoulders Jenna” he replied
“Not you, you are tarnished beyond all hope” she said smiling
“I was speaking to your companions”
“That’s most unfair and only goes to show how misunderstood I am,” he said feigning injury.
“I have merely made it my mission in life to save fallen women, and I’m saving these two for later”
Jenna laughed, Julia punched him on the arm and Vicki blushed and then they went inside.
It was a good service, short on sermonising and long on rejoicing, as usual the mix of hymns was a balance of the old and traditional with a sprinkling of the modern and happy clappy.
Jenna Lawton kept the sermon short and sweet and never ever over egged the pudding and at the end of the service he felt invigorated and refreshed.
There was a coffee and mingle at the end where those who wanted to could chat and catch up with members of the congregation, he had hoped to use it as an opportunity to rub shoulders with Jenna but he couldn’t get close to her.
He had known her for more than 8 months and he still didn’t know how to get close to her.