Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (17) Copper Beech Farm (Part 13)
After the drunken Guy Fawkes debacle Charlotte seemed to avoid him even more but everything changed on the day in December that he walked across the yard in the late afternoon and he met Lynda Radcliffe coming the other way.
“Hello Lyn” he said surprised “is everything ok?”
“Come quick” she said and headed back the way she came.
“Why what’s the problem?” he responded and rushed after Lynda who was now almost around the corner
“It’s Charlotte” she said
“Why? What’s happened?” he asked
“She fell out of the hay loft” Lynda answered
“Oh God, where is she?” he demanded
“In the barn” she answered “but she won’t come out”
They hurried off towards the barn and when they entered he could see in the gloom sitting on a hay bale the quivering figure of Charlotte, her knees were drawn up to her chin and she was sobbing uncontrollably.
“Hey Charlotte” he said brightly “what have you been up to?”
And she looked up and as soon as she saw him she was on her feet and bowling towards him at a rate of knots and she was still crying as she launched herself at him
“Oh Anthony” she cried
“It’s alright, I’ve got you now” he said and just let her sob into his shoulder and after about five minutes she had calmed down considerably.
“Ok” he said, “let’s have a look at you”
Charlotte had a bruise on her forehead and her right eye was badly swollen, and her nose was bloodied.
Apart from that she just had scrapes and bruises.
“Right let’s get you to the house” he said with a smile “and we’ll get you cleaned up”
“Ok” she said managing a week smile
“Do you want me to come too Anthony?” Lynda asked quietly
“Yes please” he said as he put his arm around Charlotte’s shoulder and steered her slowly across the yard, but by the time they had reached halfway she was managing to walk under her own steam and she continued to do so for the short distance from there to the kitchen door.
“I’m sorry” she said
“What for?” he asked
“For being a nuisance” she replied
“Don’t be daft” he said and kissed the top of her head
“Now go through to the kitchen”
He looked over his shoulder to where Lynda was standing and she raised an eyebrow.
In the sanctuary of the kitchen as Lynda made coffee Anthony got to work cleaning Charlotte up and attending to the cuts on her face,
“Did you lose consciousness?” he asked
“No” she said and put her hand to her swollen eye.
“That’s good” he said
“I’ll take you to the hospital if you want” he offered
“No” she said, “I’ll be ok”
“Good girl” Lynda said and patted her back, which made Charlotte wince and Lynda immediately apologized.
“I’m sorry luvvie, did I hurt you?”
Anthony and Lynda exchanged a knowing look and he pulled her shirt up and he could see the bruises immediately.
“Not wearing your thermals today?” he said and Lynda gave him a look
“No it wasn’t cold enough” she replied
“How about a long hot bath?” he suggested “that will help the bruising”
“Oh yes please” she answered brightly “with bubbles?”
“Yes with bubbles and whatever other lotions and potions your heart desires”
It was amazing to think that a simple thing like a bubble bath could illicit such joy and not for the first time he was overwhelmed with love for her.