Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (39) Christmas Miracles (Part 03)
The snow was falling thick and fast and the wind was blowing it straight at him as he trudged up the hill, so discretion being the better part of valour, he decided to take refuge in the Church of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal.
He hadn’t set foot in a church since the funeral, he and God had not been on speaking terms since he took Gina, he was still angry.
He didn’t plan to go in on that day either, he just intended taking shelter in the porch until the snow eased off a bit, and then he would set off again but the door suddenly opened.
“What on earth are you doing out here?” said a voice behind him so he turned around to see that the voice belonged to Charli Newcombe.
He and Charli had gone to school together and they had even dated briefly on two separate occasions.
Once when they were still at secondary school and again when he returned from University but it just never seemed to happen for them.
“Hey Charli” he said “I was just out for a walk.”
“What in this?” she said
“I needed to walk off my dinner” he pointed out
“Yes but in this?” she repeated
“Well it wasn’t this bad when I left home”
“So what are you really doing out here?” she asked
“Trivial Pursuits” Nick replied
“The family are all playing Trivial Pursuits, I really didn’t fancy it” he said
“Oh I see”
“Anyway it’s Christmas Day” he retorted “Shouldn't you be at home watching The Sound of Music?”
“You’d think so wouldn’t you” Charli said “My folks are both asleep in front of the TV and I had sole control of the remote, and I suddenly got the notion I should come and get the church ready for tomorrows service”
Even she seemed surprised by her answer and wore a quizzical expression.
Apart from running the General Store and Post Office, Charli was also the church warden and her late husband Tony had been the Vicar of St Jane’s.
Charli was the same age as him, give or take a month or two, he was thirty and she was a month short of that milestone and like him she was born and bred in the village.
She had married Tony shortly after he got the appointment as the Vicar of St Jane’s he was quite a few years older than her but she loved him to distraction, and you can’t argue with love.
She was devastated when he had a heart attack in Church one day before matins and died.
That was shortly after he had performed the wedding ceremony for Gina and Nick.
He had seen a lot of her since he came back to stay with his parents in the village.
He had sought her out because of their history together and he knew she would understand how it felt to lose someone you loved and maybe help him come to terms with the grief.
They had talked it through endlessly and had burnt the midnight oil on many occasions and as a result some of the old feelings for her had come to the surface, for which he felt immensely guilty and completely disloyal to Gina’s memory.