KATE and Delia had their heads closely bent together as Delia held the telephone earpiece.
“Hello,” Delia said. “Sally, is that you?” She nodded at Kate. “How are things going?”
Kate heard Sally’s faint tinny voice speaking from the stage manager’s office of the Manchester Empire.
“Delia, how lovely to hear your voice. I’m working my socks off dance routines, songs, lines to learn. How is everyone?”
“We’re all fine. We are missing you, of course. Kate’s here with me. She wants a word.” Delia handed the telephone to Kate.
“Hi, Sally,” Kate said. “You’ve settled in all right, then?”
“Well, I’m gradually getting to know people. It’ll take time, I suppose.” She sounded a little doubtful, not quite her usual self.
“Of course it will,” Kate reassured her. “What’s the great Clarice Dupont like, then?”
“I’ve not met her yet. She joins rehearsals at the end of the week. How is everyone, Kate? Nesbo still making you disappear? And Johnny West? He’s stuck on you, you know.
And . . .” Sally hesitated for a second “. . . and Will Griffiths. Is he well?”
“He’s missing you,” Kate said, and then had to add, “As we all are.”
The conversation continued for a few more minutes, then their goodbyes were said and Kate and Delia looked at each other.
“It’s early days. Sally’s in a bigger pond now. But she’s got a lot of talent and a lot of determination and now she’s got her chance.” She sighed. “But she’s obviously missing the Jolly Goods.”
Kate nodded in agreement.
“She’s bound to for a while, isn’t she?” she added.
Delia was silent for a moment.
“Did I hear her ask about Will Griffiths?” She gave Kate an enquiring look.
“Yes, you did,” Kate replied. “I think after that little unfortunate incident, they got on quite well.” Kate avoided Delia’s gaze.
“Quite well?” Delia gave a little laugh. “I might be a silly, middle-aged romantic, but at Sally’s farewell party, whenever Miss Swift and Mr Griffiths came within two feet of each other, there was the distinct crackle of electricity between them.”
“I know he likes Sally,” Kate said lamely. She couldn’t betray Will’s confidence or reveal how he’d been responsible for Sally getting her big chance.
Delia’s steady gaze was on her. Kate glanced at her watch.
“We’d better get to the meeting.”
The friends hurried off.
After Sally’s departure there was obviously a gap in the Jolly Good Company’s line-up. For a couple of weeks they could cope, with everyone doing a little more, extending their repertoire. Nesbo performed more conjuring tricks, which he despised, considering himself to be an illusionist and mentalist rather than a conjuror.
It gave Kate more opportunity to perfect her involvement in the telepathy part of the act. She and Nesbo became very adept with their secret code, to such an extent that it almost became telepathy, and Nesbo said to her, “I told you I could read your mind. And you didn’t believe me, did you?”