Community Spirit – Episode 61

JEANNIE sighed. “I don’t know what to do about it.”

“You need to talk to each other and be honest.”

“But what if Nate has changed his mind?”

“You’ll just have to change it back for him.” Pamela smiled.

“If only it were that easy. I don’t know if I can do this.”

“Do what exactly?”

“Dating at my age.” Jeannie threw her hands in the air. “It’s a lot harder than it was the first time around, I can tell you.”

“Nonsense,” Pamela replied. “It feels that way because of what happened with your ex.

“Don’t let that ruin your chance of happiness with someone new. Nothing in life that’s worth having is ever easy. If you want Nate, you should fight for him.”

“Fight for him?”

“Don’t let anything stand in your way.”

“You think there is something in the way?”

Pamela looked away.

“I’m saying you need to talk to Nate. Preferably at a time when there can be no interruptions.”

“You’re right. I’ll go and see him and arrange a time for a chat.” Jeannie smiled. “And when I get home, I’ll accept that job, too.”

“Good girl. I must get on.” Pamela began gathering her things together. “Let me know how it goes.”

After Pamela had left, Jeannie took their coffee cups up to the bar. Debbie was changing the spirits in the optics for new bottles which were standing on the bar.

Jeannie couldn’t help but notice that, despite being full, the new bottles had broken seals.

Debbie turned and caught her staring.

“Yes?” she said abruptly.

“Empty cups,” Jeannie explained.

“Leave them there,” Debbie told her. “Oh, Jeannie,” she continued, nodding to the bottles. “I don’t know what you think you know, but if you value your job you won’t say a thing. To anyone.”

Jeannie smiled.

“Actually, Debbie, I don’t need your job any more so you can keep your threats, because I don’t have to put up with them.”

Debbie turned around in disbelief that Jeannie had stood up to her.

“You can’t leave just like that,” she said.

“Fine, consider this my week’s notice. And,” Jeannie went on, “if I’m not convinced in the next week that you have stopped fiddling the brewery then I will report you.”

“You wouldn’t dare!” Debbie cried, coming down the ladder.

“What’s going on?” Fergus joined them.

“She’s threatening to tell the brewery about the . . . you know. Probably in a bid to save her boyfriend’s job.” Debbie sneered.

Fergus went red in the face but couldn’t speak.

“First of all, he’s not my boyfriend,” Jeannie said more calmly than she felt. “Secondly, this has nothing to do with Nate. It’s wrong, and you shouldn’t be doing it.

“Thirdly, when will you understand that two pubs in the village are better than one?

“As well as not fiddling the brewery any more, you could consider giving everyone a pay rise just to be nice. Think of it as a new beginning for the Goose.”

Fergus spluttered and Debbie stared at him.

“Say something, Fergus,” she demanded as Jeannie walked away on legs that felt like jelly.

Neither of them managed to speak and Jeannie burst out of the pub, relieved to be away from them both.

Once outside, she sat on a bench in the beer garden at the front until she stopped shaking.

Alison Cook