A Place Of Healing – 06

Cassie duly attended the following week’s choir practice in St Margaret’s chilly church. There were only eight others– two men and six ladies – but Cassie was glad to see Mary Jordan among them.

Paul Bryant was the choir master.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for turning out on rather a damp evening. But we have a very welcome newcomer – Mrs Cassie Shelley, the doctor’s wife.”

There were murmured greetings. It occurred to Cassie that she was acquiring a title she wasn’t quite used to. She might have to make her own mark.

When the greetings and handshakes were over Paul called them to order.

“First of all, the Sunday service. I’m told that we are approaching the time of year when we can expect some Atlantic storms with high winds and rough seas, so we’ll run through ‘For Those In Peril’. Two seven one in your hymnal.”

Cassie enjoyed singing and one or two of the hymns were particular favourites. Then Paul directed them to the vestry, where there were paper cups and a large pot of coffee waiting for them.

Cassie chatted to various people, then positioned herself next to Mary Jordan.

“I must thank you for helping Jess to settle in. She certainly sings your praises.”

“She’s a bright wee girl.”

“We think so, of course. And I’ve certainly enjoyed this evening. Paul’s so enthusiastic, isn’t he? And very nice.”

“He’s working awful hard to raise money for the church repairs. He’s bound to rope you in, you know.”

Cassie laughed.

“Jess and I will get stuck in but Andrew isn’t much of a joiner, although he took to Paul. It would be difficult not to, wouldn’t it?”

Mary turned to Cassie.

“Well, I . . .” Mary’s response was cut short by the pip-pip of a car horn. She looked out of the vestry window. “That will be my lift home. My old car is in the garage again.”

Cassie looked out of the window and saw a big black Mercedes. A young man with a finely clipped, reddish-gold beard was standing by it. He reminded Cassie of photos she’d seen of George V.

“Goodnight, Cassie, goodnight, Paul,” Mary called.

Paul Bryant came and stood beside Cassie. They both looked through the window. The young man opened the passenger door of the Mercedes as Mary approached.

“Don’t kiss him, don’t kiss him,” Cassie was willing silently.

Mary got in the car. With a growl it pulled away and disappeared down the high street.

Cassie glanced sideways at Paul. She could see the unhappiness in his face.

“Who was that?”

He gave a weak smile.

“Donald Gowrie. He’s an assistant production manager at the Skerrabost distillery. Nice enough chap.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Ah, well.”

Cassie frowned. This was an obstacle that hadn’t figured in her plans. Donald Gowrie might be a “nice enough chap” but Paul Bryant, in her opinion, was an awfully nice chap who just needed a push in the right direction. From her.

It seemed there would be plenty of things to occupy her on Skerrabost. She wanted so much to live in the present and not the past. She just hoped that Andrew would feel the same.


Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!