A Jolly Good Show – Episode 39

LATER that evening, with a quickening heartbeat, Sally made her way into the dim recesses behind the stage of the Regency. She was a little nervous because of what Kate and Delia had told her about the death threat. They had been right when they’d told her that everyone would be glad to see her again and that it would relieve the tension.

“Well, look at this bad penny!” Lennie had said, and had almost hugged her breathless. “It’s good to see you, lass.”

Fabio and Rosa had been very Italian, with laughter and tears and kisses. Sally noticed that Rosa winced a little as she returned her embrace.

Nesbo? Well, Nesbo was Nesbo, she reflected. She was never quite sure.

He’d shaken her hand.

“Miss Swift!” he boomed. “The prodigal returns. I must see if I can conjure up a fatted calf.” Then he leaned forward and said quietly, “You gave it a go. No regrets. You’re much better than a couple of short films. If you’re interested, have a word with Cyril.”

Then she’d been introduced to Max Reynolds. Kate had told her what to expect, but even so she was impressed. He was very good looking. Older than she had imagined, but attractive and charming.

She hadn’t managed to see Cyril and Enid and she did want to see Cyril. Could there be a chance of rejoining the Jolly Good Company? She had not yet seen Will Griffiths, either, and that was another reason why her heart was beating faster than normal as she searched backstage.

She came to the foot of a ladder that gave access to a narrow planked gallery above the stage. Overhead she heard a man singing quietly.

“‘I’ll be loving you, always, With a love that’s true, always’.”

She called up, “It seems

Max Reynolds has competition.”

The singing stopped. A moment later two feet then the rest of Will Griffiths came clattering down the ladder. He stood at the bottom and they both stood and looked at each other.

“I heard you were back,” he said. “You’ve given up ‘Stardust’ then?”

Sally nodded.

“‘Stardust’ wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Not for me, anyway. I’m sorry, Will.” Her voice was husky.

“Sorry? What for?” he said, surprise in his voice.

“For letting you down. For letting everyone down.” She could feel a hot tear begin to trickle down her cheek. She brushed it angrily away. “I was going to be the big star. Too big for the Jolly Goods.

West End, here I come. And now . . .” She turned away from him and began to cry.

He came behind her and gently put his hands on her shoulders and his head close to hers.

“I have a confession to make. Something awful. Something selfish.”

“What?” She could feel his cheek lightly against hers, a little bristly, tickly.

“I’m not sorry,” he admitted. “If you had become a big success, a big star, I would have lost you. You would have gone out of my life. I know that’s selfish, but it’s the truth. You’ve let no-one down. Especially not yourself.” He gently turned her round to face him. “Welcome back, Miss Sally Swift.” He kissed her very softly, and she felt safe and happy.

He took her hand.

“Come on, I’ll walk you to Mrs Fiddler’s under the starry skies of Huddersfield,” he offered.

“Oh, yes,” she said.


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