Carol drove along the rain-swept road, puddles were already formulating in the dips of the roadway causing the small car to shift uncomfortably. The wind howled and blew the trees and branches that edged the road about wildly their branches twisting and turning flinging leaves and smaller branches across the rain lashed windscreen of the car. Carol slowed her pace on the slick road keeping her eyes peeled for danger.
Nearing the bus stop she saw an old lady struggling with her umbrella that had blown inside out and stopped pulling in to the edge of the road as near as she could to see if she needed a lift.
The old lady gave up with the umbrella, attempting futilely to put it in a rubbish bin fastened at the side of the bus stop pole. Carol struggled with the car door as the wind blew her nearly off her feet realizing what the person was going through as she attempted to safely deposit the umbrella.
Carol took her arm ‘please can I give you a lift’ she inquired tentatively. The old woman’s hat was held on with a scarf practically covering her face and Carol hoped she was doing the right thing you heard of so many strange things that happen nowadays and Carol felt wary of picking up strangers. The woman nodded and Carol opened the door helping her in holding the door against the wind that threatened to rip it from its hinges, shivering she gladly returned to the driver’s side and pulled the door to shut out the terrible weather. The inside of the car wasn’t that much warmer but at least they were out of the wind and rain, her fingers felt numb as she stretched out her hand to put the key in the lock to turn it thankfully.
The little engine sprung to life with a gentle cough, the automatic choke working to keep the engine turning as she pulled out carefully into the road, while the old woman stared quietly out of the window, seemingly oblivious to the world around her.
Who was she? Carol wondered taking her eyes off the windswept road in front of her for a second, to glance at the shabbily dressed person at her side. Was she seeing things the woman seemed younger now? The hair not quite as grey, a trickle of fear ran through her body and she shivered involuntarily as her brain pushed the thought on one side mentally shaking herself she returned her concentration to the job in hand.
The wind was picking up again: the rain too, it slashed hard at the windscreen spreading itself out as it hit the glass into trickling rivers that made it difficult to see even with the screen wipers going ten to the dozen. She pressed her foot gently on the brake slowing the car, even more, the speed barely reaching twenty-five miles an hour. She turned her head to gaze again at the other person in the car her expression grim.
’The weather is terrible tonight, isn’t it?′ She inquired of the woman hoping to strike up a little conversation to release the tension she felt quickly she turned her head back to the road. Even in that quick glance, she had noticed the difference again in the woman that sat alongside her, and she swallowed hard, her mouth quite dry.
‘This time of year always heralds bad weather you need to keep your eyes on the road’ said the stranger in a small voice. Carol glued her eyes to the road in terror, chills of fear running up and down her spine, even the woman’s voice seemed to have changed. It was younger more determined or was it just her imagination running riot. Had what she remembered seeing been the truth. The grey hair was now brown the felt hat pink instead of grey. It had to be a trick of the light the road lights were those orange pink ones that flickered in through the window as they passed creating scattered patches of weird colour. She nodded her head reassuring herself, determined to concentrate on her driving as she watched the road intently. It was a bad night. She knew how easily she could talk herself into things; she was over imaginative at the best of times.
She sat back pushing her spine into the back of the car seat letting her tongue rest softly in her mouth she’d read that somewhere it helped to relax you. Her mouth still felt dry and she thought about the wet rain realizing it had eased off somewhat but the wind had now picked up. It howled around the little car, trying to drive her off the road buffeting against them lifting and pushing the car into the side of the road it was hard work keeping it on the road. The tension in the car was high. The woman in the car sat forward and held on to the dashboard.
Her gloves now removed bright red nail varnish adorned the youthful hands that gripped the dash in terror. Talons of white flesh dipped in blood red varnish. They had now hit Dead Man’s Hollow and the trees grew high either side of the road mingling their branches with each other creating a dense canopy and making it a black tunnel even on sunlit days. Branches tore from the trees scratched across the tarmac road, while dead leaves lifted by the winter wind scattered in their thousands littering the night sky. Lit by the headlights of the car and the street lamps was a scene Carol was unprepared for.
‘Stop!’ screamed the woman as she hung tightly on to the dashboard in abject terror ‘Stop!’
Carol slammed the breaks on as she saw the giant tree sprawled across the road. Carol turned her head to look at the woman at the side of her. It was her mother the warm fawn overcoat the luxuriant brown wavy hair and the pink hat. How many times had she gazed at that photograph? Her mother had died in a car accident when she was three years old. The woman smiled and Carol saw a tear trickle down her cheek.
‘Mom!’ she gasped and the image faded as Carol passed out.
It was teatime. The situation, a small terraced house in the middle of Sheffield, era around about 1948 not long after the war.
Alfred and his five children are arranged around a large dining room table.
Jo his wife walks in with a large steaming dish and places it on a mat on the table. On the table sits a pile of seven large plates. Alfred has been at work all day and is feeling tired, the children are arguing with one another noisily.
‘Shut up you lot lets have a bit of quiet while we have our tea can’t you.’ The children give their father an accessing look all eyes watching intently for a small sign of leniency from his direction and decide to remain quiet.
‘You’re in a foul mood tonight. Do you have to take it out on the kids?’ asked Jo picking up a large spoon to begin serving the family.
‘You would be in a foul mood too if you had been working all day and had to come home to this lot,’ he replied angrily. Jo placed the spoon she was holding down carefully on the table put her hands on her hips and stared balefully at her husband who sat slumped dejectedly head resting in his hands propped on the edge of the table.
‘And, just what do you mean by this LOT?’ Alfred didn’t look up, didn’t catch the warning look in her eyes or in her stance, he was dog tired, worn out with the continual work.
‘Come on Jo love you know what I mean. I’ve been working since five 0’clock this morning I’m tired and the kids are noisy that’s all’ he mumbled his head still in his hands.
‘And I suppose that means I’ve been sat on my backside all day doing nothing,’ she asked belligerently. Alfred now lifted his arms off the table and faced his wife. The children stared and watched expectantly the fireworks were due to start.
His expression was cocky.‘What would you call five yelling kids and cheese and potato pie?’ Sitting back comfortably with the smirk still covering his face he crossed one leg over the other and tucked his thumbs under the braces that held his trousers up, expecting the usual tumult of words.
Jo turned back to the table and picked up one of the large plates. Thinking she had decided to give in Alfred turned back to the table and gave the kids a grin.
The plate came down on his head with the words ‘I’ve had enough too!’ as she brought another one down on his head. The broken crockery fell around him as he stood up and grabbed the pile of plates.
’If you keep that up love, we won’t have enough plates to eat our tea off. Anyway, it hurts, rubbing the top of his head he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to him his eyes searching her face as big teardrops rolled slowly down to her chin. He put his arms around her and softly pressed his lips to hers and whispered in her ear we’ll go the pictures Saturday love we both need a break.
Gwen collected the children from the garden ushered them into the bathroom to change ready to go out. It was clinic day and she had to be there for half past one for her checkup. The children were good and she passed them to the Amah’s care while she had a shower and prepared herself humming happily life was wonderful at the moment, they had been in Malaysia for five weeks they were all adjusting well and she had felt the new baby move yesterday for the first time
John was away down Singapore at the moment. When they had first arrived he was sent off to Sarawak for three weeks and she had had to rely on the kindness of the next door neighbor to show her how to get to the shops and the clinic but Gwen used to army life wasn’t the type to need anyone for long and soon found her way around even though in a strange environment having come from a large family helped.
They were situated outside the main camp at a small village called Bachang Gardens several other persons were in the same area and she expected to meet some of the other women at the clinic this afternoon.
The Amah left at two and Gwen knew she wouldn’t be back for Mary to leave so went out the back to where Mary had a room of her own to collect the children and explain to Mary that she wouldn’t be back for her to leave and wanted to lock up now and Mary could leave early. Mary didn’t understand much English and Gwen had only a smattering of Malay eventually Mary left muttering to herself as Gwen locked the door trying to reassure Mary they would see her tomorrow.
Gwen shrugged and took the children’s hands she’d tried her best to explain it would probably get easier as they got to know one another. The sun shone brightly as they walked along the avenue of palms and the children skipped along gaily by her side on the short walk.
It was cool in the clinic and the children were soon occupied with the toys that were spread about it seemed they were the only ones waiting at the moment and Gwen picked up a magazine from a table as an attractive young woman walked in. she smiled invitingly and the woman walked to the bamboo couch to sit with her.
The young woman nodded at the two children ‘Are they yours?’
‘Yes, Tracy and Michael.’
’How old are they?
‘Four and two and a half.’
‘You’re so lucky this is my third try, I’ve had two miscarriages.’
‘That’s very sad I do hope everything goes well for you this time.’
‘Yes so do I’ she said sighing as she watched the children playing.
A nurse entered the room and called ‘Gwendolyn Mason?’ Gwen stood up to follow the nurse and was just about to gather the children When the young woman spoke up ‘Don’t worry about the kiddies I’ll keep my eyes on them.’
‘Oh thanks, I don’t think I will be very long’ and trotted after the nurse.
She came out after a few minutes and smiled her thanks as the nurse called out Kate West. Kate passed her with a grin saying ‘hang on for me I don’t think I will be too long if your anything to go by’ and followed the nurse.
She was a bit longer than Gwen and the children were beginning to get restless by the time Kate returned
‘Can’t we go yet mum? You promised us an ice cream’ asked Tracy plaintively.
‘Yes we can go now Tracy sweetheart and we will have that Ice cream’ said Kate walking up to them and smiling happily at Gwen she whispered ’everything is perfect at the moment, come on let’s get a taxi and I will take you to the best Ice cream parlor in Malacca.
It wasn’t long before the two young women were friends and Kate found out Gwen and her children had only just arrived from England. She was an Australian and had already lived in Malaysia for a year and a half.
‘Look you haven’t been here long and you’re on your own and so am I come back and stay the night with me, Please?’
‘I couldn’t do that, I mean you hardly know me, and what about the kids?’
‘They have to come silly, I wouldn’t expect you to leave them. Besides, it’s one of the reasons I want you to come. I live nearly on the beach we can have a great time making sand castles and things with the kids you know they will love it.’ She pleaded eloquently until Gwen gave in there was really no reason for her to go home it would just be another night on her own once the kids were in bed.
‘Well I suppose we could but I should get some stuff for the kids and a change of clothes.’
‘Too far for you to go back now by the time we get back to my house the light will have gone. You know it gets dark by about seven’
‘No buts the Amah can wash the kid’s clothes through and you are about my size you can borrow some of my stuff, and there’s no worry about the food I’ve got stacks, so now what excuse have you got,’ she said laughingly.
‘Can’t think of one’ replied Gwen returning a big smile.
They all had a fantastic time on the beach paddling building sandcastles and watching the kids run around ending up so tired they had to be carried back half asleep.
When the children had been put to bed Kate said ’You have your shower and I’ll sort something out for you to wear, my bedrooms next to the children’s room.
’It doesn’t have to be anything special anything will do begged Gwen as Kate walked away. Gwen wrapped a towel around her and padded into Kate’s bedroom it had been a rum sort of day what did Kate have in store for her now thought Gwen as she walked into the room. On the bed were three dresses a pink a blue and a brown silk one that shone gold a bronze in the evening light.
‘They are much too good to sit around in,’ exclaimed Gwen.
‘Ah! but we are not going to be sitting around,’ said Kate mysteriously ‘you try them on and see which fits best or the one you like best while I have my shower’ and she sailed away leaving Gwen to stare after her in amazement.
Kate arrived back in the room to see Gwen staring at her image in the long mirror that hung on the wardrobe. She couldn’t believe she could ever look so good if only John could see her now she looked even better than she had in her wedding dress.
Kate gasped ‘you look positively stunning in that dress it has never looked so good on me.’
‘Thank you, Kate are you sure you want me to wear this it is really beautiful.’
’Of course, I am here try this lipstick and this eye shadow my you look terrific, just let me get ready then we can go down Mark and Greg will be here soon.
‘I thought you said your husband was away like John’ exclaimed Gwen worry marring her face.
‘He is Mark’s his best friend they’ve known each other since they were children and he’s asked him to keep an eye on me while he’s away to stop me getting bored, that’s why I asked them over tonight while I have someone with me,’
A knock was heard at the door followed by it opening and a voice shouting. ′ are you there Kate?′
‘Yes, SSH noisy there are kids asleep.’
’Oh sorry. ’Kate advanced on them while Gwen hung back shyly.
The one called Greg was very tanned, his hair darker than a night sky and green eyes met her tawny one with a look of utter surprise. Gwen was struck dumb with the impact never before had she felt this way, she put her hand on the wall for support hoping that no one could tell the way she was feeling.
‘Greg this is my friend Gwen, Gwen meet Greg and this is Mark.’ mark was the exact opposite of Greg, fair with pale blue eyes and a rather learned look about him.
‘Come on let’s go on the veranda,’ said Kate taking Mark by the arm ’maybe we can have another game of chess smiling up at Mark as she led him to the table ’Do you like chess Gwen.
‘Yes, but I’m not very good.’
’That makes two of us.‘said Greg giving her a tentative smile.’
‘Well, perhaps you would enjoy a stroll on the beach there’s usually a nice sunset Greg’s a bit of an artist and enjoys things like that’ she smiled practically pushing them on their way and giving Gwen a wink. ‘He misses his wife she’s expected next week, he can tell you all about her’ and with a wave, she dismissed them and turned to watch Mark setting out the chessmen on a small table.
They gave each other a look that spoke volumes and left the veranda the path was wide enough to walk side by side and this they did being very careful not to touch. The sky was dark red at the seas edge the sun riding on the ocean's horizon, where the elements met, deep velvet-purple and lilac crested waves rolled towards the silver beach at their feet. Above their heads, the palm trees waved their satin green leaves in the silvery moonlight.
The air was palpable their feelings pagan but neither moved, they were old souls and had met before in many lifetimes, each knew what would happen if they touched and holding back was the hardest thing they had ever done.
Greg broke the silence ‘My wife arrives next Thursday with our baby son she was too far on in her pregnancy to come with me’ his voice was gruff and touched with tenderness as he gazed soulfully into her eyes.
Gwen smiled softly, the spell was broken.
LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE
The rain lashed down in bucketfuls as Sally made her way to the butchers leaving her old dog Sam sleeping under the kitchen table. It wasn’t usual to leave him because he enjoyed the walk and she had hung on hoping the rain would stop and brighten up nearer the end of the day so they could take the walk together alas it hadn’t.
The rain still pounded down and Sally gave Sam a sorrowful look ‘Sorry Sam it’s so hard for me to dry you now with the damn arthritis you will have to stay here for a while’ and pushing her umbrella under her arm left him to his sleep.
Sally trotted into the butchers and bought the meat she had nearly every week a pound of pig liver, a half pound of kidneys and two pounds of stewing meat this was shared with Sam and would last them the week. Popping it into her bag she wandered back home thinking of the steak and kidney pie and what to make with the liver and kidney probably a casserole.
The rain hadn’t let up the whole way there and back and she was feeling pretty wet a weary by the time she got to her door. Her hands were wet as she pushed the key into the lock finally managing to open the door she put her bag onto the steps in front of her and hung her coat up turning in expectation of Sam plodding down the hall to greet her, but there was no Sam.
Feeling worried she dashed down the hall as fast as she could, after all, he was getting on in years like herself. Entering the kitchen her head down looking for Sam she didn’t notice the back door was open until she looked up. Goodness, she was sure it was shut when she left. The door swung with the wind and she realized the back door was open too. Panic filled her chest, she had been burgled but where was Sam? Looking around the kitchen nothing seemed to be missing except Sam.
Turning to the front room she saw her things upset and thrown around the room at random making her way upstairs to the mess that greeted her she began to cry. What little she had wasn’t worth stealing they could have it all if only she had Sam she cried painfully. Moving back downstairs she saw the phone and realized she had to call the police her heart hurt when they said they would send someone round to talk to her.
Calling her son Tim was her next thought and then it was a cup of tea Tim would be ready for one when he arrived after his dash round to her house. It wasn’t long before her son and a young policewoman arrived and she related the whole story. Sam still hadn’t come home when the police left. Sally and Tim put their coats back on and they tramped around the streets till it was too dark to see any more, her heartbreaking Sally waited up all night and finally fell asleep in her chair waiting for Sam’s return.
Tim popped in every morning to see how she was and if Sam had returned, Sally put notices in the shops and the paper even offering a reward in the hope someone had seen him or found him. Nothing much had gone missing only her husband’s old wedding ring and an old watch he had bought her years ago.
Three days later Sally was sat in the kitchen reminiscing about the good times she and her husband had had with Sam when she heard a thin whining sound. Sally was up like a shot to open the door and there stood Sam her beloved Dog.
His coat slicked to his body his fur dirty matted and covered with mud and thin as a rake. In his mouth was an old bag of hers and his tail thumped wildly side to side. Sally was on her knees tears rolling down her face as she held the old dog so happy to have him back home.
A FAR BETTER PLACE
Lottie sat in her rocking chair on the front porch and smiled to herself thinking good everything is clean and tidy for when Margery comes she won’t have anything to clean up after me today she has more than enough to do as it is. She was just like I used to be thought Lottie full of life and energy nothing is too much trouble.
Now, of course, was a different matter since Jed had passed on the life seemed to ooze out of her and left the aches and pains of arthritis to take over. It was all she could do to get out of bed in the morning and if she let the house cleaning get away from her she never seemed to catch up. This week she had been determined to get everything in order before Margery came.
Lottie leaned back in her chair sighed heavily as she adjusted the cushions until they felt reasonably comfortable, everything looked clean and sparkling in the morning sun and the birds were singing merrily. The air was filled with wallflowers that she and Jed had planted she closed her eyes in rapture at the lovely smell.
The view in front of her led across a small front garden and out the front gate to a panoramic view of grassy meadows, with browsing sheep and cattle. To the left of her ran the road to a bridge that straddled a small river where she and Jed had first met.
She and her sister Miranda had been on the way to the village to do some shopping for their mother, Lottie sighed again heavily.
Jed in her mind was the most handsome of the three boys they met along the road, he had asked her to the village dance, and Margery couldn’t wait the girls giggled excitedly as they returned home.
Their mother had hummed and awed when they asked to go because they were to be meeting strangers young soldiers from the camp and she was worried. If you promise that you will stay together and make sure you come home straight away when it’s finished, together mind. They hugged one another in anticipation laughing as they entered the house talking about what they were going to wear.
Lottie remembered that night well she had fallen for the young dark-haired soldier head over heels, he had made her laugh all night as they danced together never wanting to be apart it had been heaven in his arms.
They had stopped on the bridge he had taken her in his arms again and asked if she would meet him again, Lottie didn’t want to leave him then she didn’t want to part and if he had asked if she would go away with him then she would have done.
After arranging to meet in a couple of nights time he leaned over and gently pressed his lips to her, Lottie’s heart thumped she was sure it missed a beat she wanted to throw herself into his arms and never let go.
The next two days seemed to last forever she was impatient irritable and felt like she was dangling on a piece of string, she tossed her head restlessly and looked at the clock worriedly, she mustn’t be late.
Why wouldn’t her baby brother Johnny go to sleep her mother said she couldn’t go till he was asleep. ‘Please Johnny go to sleep’ she begged under her breath her mother didn’t know she was meeting anyone she hadn’t dared tell her because she knew she would say no. Instead, she had asked if she could go and collect some flowers and twigs to dry and her mother said yes providing Johnny was asleep. Lottie sang to him softly that usually sent him to sleep she watched on tenterhooks as his eyes slowly closed at last. She quickly ran a comb through her hair straightened her dress and tiptoed from the room. Ten minutes she would just make it dashing down the road to his arms was all she could think about.
Margery pulled the car up on the busy road in front of her mother’s house she gazed in exasperation at her sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch. Why in God’s name did she insist on sitting in the old rocking chair in front of the house thought Margery the fumes from the cars that passed were enough to choke you and the view was nothing to look at just houses and shops and the cars that passed on the road.
Margery shook her head as she took the groceries out of the car boot she had bought for her mother. Picking up the bags she kept her eyes on where her mother was she seemed to be saying something no her eyes were closed. As Margery got closer to her mother she saw her lips move and a smile came across her face so radiant that Margery halted in her tracks.
’Mum! ,' Marjorie had left this world she was in a far better place.
I trudged up the hill only a few more meters to go and I would reach the top would I have the courage? I was reaching sixty all my life I had been a little on the adventuress side. If someone said I couldn’t do it or it couldn’t be done then I would have to attempt to prove them wrong.
To fly like a bird at my age was stupid they said I was too old for one thing and too heavy for another. So what I said to myself if fellow’s weighing twelve and fourteen stone could do it why not I. That was just their way of trying to put me off I didn’t weigh anything like twelve stone for a start. Up the mountainside, I continued my journey and reaching the top I sat down to recuperate it had been quite a tow and I felt exhausted.
The view in front of me was majestic and after regaining my breath I walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down. The edge dropped away from me straight down and my stomach did somersaults was I really going to jump off there? Feeling rather nervous I walked back to the canvas bag I had dragged up the hill behind me and emptied the contents on to the ground.
A large piece of canvas and aluminium struts in a tangled mess met my gaze and I swiftly bent down to retrieve the instructions, at first look, it was a little like a jigsaw puzzle. Turning the instructions till they made sense I began to slide the aluminium poles into the slots on the canvas I had straightened out. It didn’t take long once I had the first few pieces in place it came together easily. After fixing the harness I referred to my instructions for how to fly.
Leaving the bird with a large stone on it as it looked like it might take off on its own, I walked to the edge of the cliff again, cautiously testing the ground, thoughtfully dismissing one or two places where it appeared crumbly and might give way. After deciding where to take off I trailed back to the bird marking out my runway with a few stones so that I knew where to run.
Struggling a bit I managed to get into the harness and checking my instructions again slipped them into a pocket. I took a few deep breaths and looked towards the cliff edge feeling the excitement tighten my gut, I could feel my heart racing It was now or never.
Pulling my gut in even further I took off running as fast as I could for the edge of the cliff. The wind caught me and I sailed up and out hanging on desperately to the hand grips on the cross pole. For a few moments I hung literally breathless before remembering the instructions, I need to get my feet in the instructions had said, eventually managing it after a few heart-stopping moments as the wing tip dipped and nearly upset my balance. It dropped dangerously toward the earth, I took a deep breath and thought won’t do that again a lesson quickly learned.
I began to enjoy myself as the wind held me and I sailed like an eagle over the land below talk about riding on the crest of a wave it was magic, a bird’s eye view unbelievably thrilling. The land below sped by as the wind picked up, the rocks grass and trees a swishing blur as I winged over them far below.
A bird flew alongside me for a few moments turned its head to stare and then flapped it’s wings and flew away in the opposite direction. I tipped the rudder gently and the wing shuddered now was the scary part how did I get down?
My arms were beginning to tire and the wind felt colder I shuddered. Suddenly my arms were wrenched from the steering rack.
‘There’s a cup of tea on the side love’ my husband’s eyes gazed mildly into mine as he swished my chair away from the computer.
‘Sorry were you, asleep love?’
BEGINNING OF A ROMANCE
The car came to a shuddering stop Samantha opened the door to get out and turned slamming the door and giving the tire a kick. ’Damn!! that hurt! She swore to herself hopping on one leg and rubbing her toe’s trying to ease the pain she had forgotten she was only wearing sandals.
All week she had been looking forward to getting dressed up for a change and going to Joanne’s twenty-first birthday party and now the stupid car had broken down. Gazing up and down the street in exasperation she sighed wistfully no knights in shining Armour to the rescue for her, never mind at least she probably could mend it but it would mean getting her hands filthy and ruining her hands and nails that she had been carefully guarding for the last couple of weeks to get them looking like nails.
Shrugging her shoulders she opened the car door releasing the catch she was just opening the bonnet and about to start touching the filthy works when she heard a car pulling up beside her it’s engine purring gently. It was a sleek black Jaguar quickly removing her hands from the bonnet she looked up to see the driver walking toward her.
A tall fair-haired young man that took her breath for a minute phew he was a hunk thought Sam slowly perusing him as he walked towards her and with a car like that too, he was probably one of the guests going to Joanne’s party.
‘Can I be of assistance’ he asked nodding to the car. He had a gorgeous smile thought Sam. ‘Well I don’t know, I am going to a party and the car just decided to stop on me’ she answered smiling into his dark blue eyes.
’That’s a coincidence I’m on my way to a party too, it wouldn’t happen to be Joanne Perkins, would it?
‘Come on then leave your car here we can go in this one.’ By the way, my name is Mark what’s yours?′
‘Sam, Samantha but everyone calls me Sam’ she replied giving him a tentative smile she collected her parcel from her car and slid into the cool cream leather of the front seat wondering how she would get back home and would she be safe with this young man you heard such tales nowadays. Joanne Perkins was her friend’s name so they must be going to the same place.
‘Do you know Joanne very well Mark?’
‘No not really’ he replied concentrating on his driving. Samantha began to panic a little bit if he didn’t know Joanne who had invited him to the party and how did he know where she lived. Would it be rude she wondered to ask him after all he had been good enough to give her a lift?
Turning his head he gave her a grin ‘Would you like some Music’ as he turned on the radio she noticed his hands looked a bit rough one of his nails had a blood blister and they looked like a workers hands they didn’t agree with the well-cut hair the polished shoes and expensive leather jacket he wore.
He knew she was sizing him up and started his own perusal Great body he’d noticed that and her hair which was a lovely shiny brown and hung down her back in deep waves probably too uppity for him though if she was going to this party. They pulled up to have a look at the numbers on the gates the road had been thoughtfully planned most of the houses stood well back from the road with velvet green lawns and beautiful arrangements of flowers in perfect borders and bushes cut to perfection.
A far cry from when Joanne had lived a few blocks from Sam they had grown up together sharing the same friends and going to the same school. Joanne’s father had been lucky winning on the pools and the family had quickly moved and now they only kept in touch occasionally.
On seeing the house Sam was glad she had spent the extra time on her hands and clothes Mark smiled at her as she climbed out of the car and waved goodbye as he drove it around the back of the house.
Walking into the house she was told to help herself to a drink from a table set up on one side and pointed to a door leading into the room where the party was being held The music was heavy rock and the place was bouncing, the room massive one side opened up to lead into the garden where some of the guests were sat around in chairs talking.
The rooms were alive with people and it took a few minutes for Sam to catch sight of Joanne who stood in the corner of the room talking to friends and laughing happily at them the table behind her piled high with presents in fancy boxes. Making her way past the dancers she finally arrived at Joanne’s side.
‘Hi, Sam it’s good to see you again.’
‘Hello, Jo it’s good to see you too’ putting her arms out to give her old friend a hug.
Joanne introduced her to some of her friends that surrounded her and laughing and joking pushed her into the arms of one of the young men.
‘Take her for a dance Daniel and cheer her up.’ Daniel was only too glad to lead her away he’d been eyeing her up since she arrived at Joanne’s side. Samantha didn’t take to him at all and soon excused herself to powder her nose she hadn’t realised that it would be a different sort of party to what she was used to and managed to find herself a quiet corner in the garden.
There was a rumble of drums and Joanne’s father stood in the entrance to the garden tapping his glass and waiting for the noise to abate taking Jo’s hand he led her to the middle of the garden where the black Jaguar stood polished to perfection a gigantic pink ribbon wrapped around it.
′ Happy Birthday Darling’ giving her a quick kiss on the forehead the crowd began singing happy birthday and her mother arrived with a large cake covered in candles.
The rest of the party went with a swing and a marvelous evening was had by all Joanne insisting Sam stay the night they had plenty of room and she promised to drive her back to her car in the morning. Although she looked everywhere for the young man whom she had driven into Jo’s with she didn’t see him and wondered if he had got home okay.
It was a fine morning and borrowing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt off Joanne they set off to find Sam’s car. Joanne was thrilled to bits with her new car enjoying driving it for the first time and couldn’t stop chattering how lucky she was. Arriving at Samantha’s car they realised some one was stood at the front end with his head under the bonnet showing off a very nice rear end in dark blue jeans.
‘M-mmm’ ‘Nice said Joanne’
‘Huh might be but what’s he up too, Hey! You! What do you think your doing that’s my car.’ ‘It might be an old rattle trap but it’s mine,’ she said to Joanne quietly.
A fair head came up from under the bonnet narrowly missing the edge.
‘I know’ he said grinning at her ’I’m trying to fix it″
‘It’s Mark’ she said grinning from ear to ear ’the guy who delivered you jaguar. In two Minutes she was under the bonnet with him and they were chattering away about valves carburetors and such.
Joanne new her friend; patting her on the back she gave her a significant smile and with a raised eyebrow she drove away a loud horn pipping a goodbye.
An hour later the engine was purring, I’ll follow you home Sam; just to make sure you get there all right. I know, I know you can mend it yourself !′ he said putting his arm’s up to defend himself and laughing heartily, at her attempts to wallop him.
‘But I desperately Need a girl who can make a cup of coffee as well as mend her own car’ he said pulling her grease and all into his arms.
The end you don't need me to tell you what happened it's a familiar story Bye .
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