Community Spirit – Episode 60

HAVING put her items back on the shelves and dispatched Tasha with two ice-creams for her and Cally, Jeannie made her way out of the shop having barely nodded to Pamela.

“Jeannie, wait.” Pamela joined her at the front of the shop. She nodded at the Goose. “Fancy a coffee? My shout.”

Jeannie was about to refuse but stopped.

“I’ve got nothing else to do now, so why not?”

Pamela arched an eyebrow at her.

“Thanks very much, I’m sure,” she said.

“Oh, Pamela, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.” Jeannie was aghast.

Pamela smiled.

“I know you didn’t. Now, come on, before Fergus obscures the entrance completely with balloons.”

It was the day of Liv’s fiftieth birthday party, which Nate had bid for but the Goose and Gander won.

Jeannie and Pamela walked past dozens of helium-filled balloons in silver and blue which had been attached to the fence surrounding the Goose.

A huge 5 and a 0 stood on either side of the main entrance, and inside Fergus was up a ladder attempting to hang bunting while Debbie directed him from below.

“Not there, I said, Fergus. There!” Debbie demanded.

“I can’t see where you’re pointing so you’re wasting your time,” Fergus replied.

Jeannie and Pamela found a table as far away from them as they could and Pamela went to the bar for their coffees.

“Aren’t you working tonight?” Pamela asked when she got back.

Jeannie shook her head.

“I’m out of favour with those two. They’re keeping my shifts down to a minimum. They wouldn’t ask me unless they were desperate.”

“The sooner you’re out of here the better,” Pamela said.

Jeannie told her she still hadn’t formally accepted the other job.

“Whyever not?” Pamela asked. “Are you holding out for something else?”

Jeannie couldn’t tell Pamela that what she really wanted to do was work with Nate at the Mucklebury Arms and to be the chef there, so she shrugged.

Pamela noticed her frown.

“I see you were chatting to Nate in the shop,” she went on. “How was he?”

Jeannie smiled sadly.

“A bit odd, if I’m honest. Tasha and I were supposed to go over there this evening but he said we couldn’t go now.”

“Did he say why?”

“No,” Jeannie replied. “He was trying to but we kept being interrupted. It’s not the best place to have a conversation. Especially if something was wrong.”

“Why do you think that?”

“I don’t know. We don’t seem to be able to get this romance off the ground,” Jeannie said. “I kiss him, then I back off because of Tasha, then I kiss him again.

“Then when I think we’re getting on to an even keel, he cancels us going over there but can’t bring himself to say why.

“Yesterday, he said he thought we could have something special, and today he’s changed his mind. What’s that about?”

“He didn’t say he’d changed his mind,” Pamela said, sipping her coffee, “but it

does sound like there are a few mixed messages floating around between you two.”

Alison Cook