Community Spirit – Episode 46

JEANNIE looked so forlorn that Nate wanted to scoop her up in his arms and make everything better.

“If the brewery gives me the go-ahead on serving food here, I’ll employ you in an instant,” he said instead.

“That’s kind of you,” Jeannie replied, looking at him with shining eyes.

“I’d employ you here now if I were making enough to pay two wages.”

“That’s really very kind of you,” Jeannie repeated, looking away. “Something will come up. Maybe tomorrow will set me on the path to a pies and pastries empire. Talking of which . . .” Jeannie stood up. “I really should go. Got to be up with the lark in the morning.”

Nate stood, too, and they both took their plates and glasses to the bar. Desperate to hug her, he forced his arms to stay by their sides as he remembered her wish not to get involved in a romance whilst Tasha was so up and down.

“You are a talented and creative cook, Jeannie, among your many talents, and I know things will turn around for you very soon,” he said.

“And you are a kind and supportive man, Nate. Thank you for always knowing the right thing to say,” she replied.

To Nate’s relief and gratification, she opened her arms and stepped forward to hug him. He put his arms around her and felt the warmth of her settle into his chest.

I won’t let go until she does, he told himself. But Jeannie didn’t let go. She stayed nestled into him and pulled him closer. He encircled her waist with his arms and held her as their breath settled into a rhythm.

After a minute, or what could have been five, Nate risked dropping the gentlest of kisses on to the top of her head. She turned her face up to his and Nate was soon swimming in the green pools of her eyes.

“I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with,” he said softly.

“I won’t,” Jeannie replied.

“What about spending the summer holidays with Tasha?” he asked.

“It turns out having her mother fussing over her constantly actually makes her moods worse.” Jeannie smiled. “I think letting her get on with it and being there if she needs me is a wiser course of action.”

Nate hugged her even closer.

“So where does that leave us?” he asked.

“Wherever you would like it to,” Jeannie told him. She stretched up and brushed his lips with hers.

“Right here is good,” Nate said.

He pulled her tight as all the emotions of recent weeks, along with his desire for this elusive woman, poured into one long kiss.

Alison Cook