A Jolly Good Show – Episode 25

WILL and Sally had a splendid tea at a rather posh caf in

St Peter’s Square. He watched her tucking into salmon and cucumber sandwiches. She saw him watching her with a slight smile on his lips.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

He grinned.

“You have the appetite of a farm labourer.”

“Dancing is jolly hard work.” When she had finished she daintily dabbed her napkin to her lips. He was still watching her. “I’m glad you came, Will. It’s so nice to see a friend. Especially since I behaved so badly when . . .” Her voice trailed off.

“When we got off on the wrong foot?” he suggested mischievously.

She swiped at his arm with her napkin.

“You’re terrible,” she protested. “I behaved like a spoiled brat. Kate wouldn’t speak to me for a week, then she told me about how . . .”

Will felt his stomach begin to churn. In a weak moment he’d told Kate how he felt about Sally.

“What did Kate tell you?” His voice was husky.

“Well, that you knew someone who might be able to help me. Did you, Will? Help me?”

In a strange way Will felt slightly disappointed. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I only recommended you to an old pal. You did all the real work.” He looked into her shining eyes. Their hands moved shyly across the table and for a moment their fingers touched. Should he take her hand? To cover his uncertainty, he said, “Are things going well?”

Sally withdrew her hand and shook her head.

“To be honest, no, they’re not. That woman! First of all she started to treat me like her personal assistant. When I made it clear I wasn’t going to play that role, she became quite icy. Clarice Dupont might be a star on stage, but off stage she’s unpleasant and arrogant.”

“Have you done a performance?” Will asked.

“Chance would be a fine thing. She’s determined not to give me any opportunity.”

“It seems to me that she’s afraid. You’re a rival, you see,” Will said. “She feels threatened.”

“I’d threaten her all right.” Then Sally’s mood suddenly lightened. “That’s enough about her. Tell me about the Jolly Goods, Will. I do miss them.”

They chatted and laughed and reminisced until it was time to go back to the theatre for the evening performance. He went with her to her dressing-room where they could say goodbye in peace. They stood awkwardly for a moment, reluctant to part.

Will glanced at his watch.

“You had better get ready and I’d better be going for that tram.”

“Oh, Will! What shall I do?” A tear trickled slowly down her cheek. “Shall I give up?”

She looked like an unhappy little girl. He stepped towards her, took her in his arms and then they were kissing.

“I’ll help you, darling,” he murmured. But was she in his arms because she was so unhappy and vulnerable, or did she feel about him as he felt about her?


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