I THINK I loved you at first sight,” Ted said into the silence of his kitchen, “and it never changed till the day you . . .” He swallowed hard. “Well, you were always the only girl for me,” he whispered. “I don’t half miss you, pet.”He sat quietly for a minute, listening to the wind surging against the windows, then gave himself a bit of a shake.“This won’t do, Lil, will it? I have to make the best of things now. I’d be letting you down, otherwise. This show’s given me something to get my teeth into, just like the hall did.”He scooped up the last spoonful of golden egg yolk and sprinkled some pepper on it before popping it into his mouth.“Grand eggs, these, Lil. Free range, from Evelyn’s store. She gets them from the farm.” He chuckled. “Evelyn’s keeping Mavis Prior in her place, that’s for sure. Mavis still thinks she’s the queen bee reckons she’ll be the star of the show. You always had the measure of her, mind, and I think Evelyn does, too. You’d like her, m’duck . . . She’s a lot more down-to-earth than that Dolores Granby. Scares the life out of me, she does, with her fancy talk of showbusiness and the like.“But hark at me blethering on. I’d better get a move on. We’re having a meeting and it wouldn’t do for the director to be late, would it?” He chuckled again. “Director me!”He shuffled his dishes together, and glanced again at the clock.“You’d skin me for this, love, but I’m going to leave these till later! But I might just manage another cup of tea while I put my shoes on . . .”
“Megan! Hi, Megan, hold up!” As the wind whipped at the bag in her hand and tugged at the scarf round her neck, Megan thought she heard someone call her name. She turned to peer back through the November darkness. At least it had stopped raining, but the night was stormy and cold, with icy fingers that found the gaps between scarf and neck, and sleeve and glove.Nick Evans came running along the road to catch up with her, a woolly hat pulled down over his ears and his collar turned up to try to minimise the gap.“Phew, what a night! Mind if I walk with you? At least I can rescue you if this wind blows you off your feet! It’s foul, isn’t it?”“It was a thought to leave my fireside tonight,” Megan confessed. “I hope they’ve got the heating in the hall going full blast.”They fell into step together, making small talk. It was easy with Nick; a paramedic, he always had something interesting to say about his day.Nick and the Scouts had enthusiastically volunteered their services to the show and were taking care of all the “gofering”.“We go for this and go for that,” he’d explained to Ted Hodges, who had been mystified by the term.Nick had asked the boys if they wanted to be involved in the show proper, maybe sharing the stage with the Brownies and the Rainbows, but as he’d reported back to the organising committee, “None of the boys wants to be seen sissy dancing!”The hall glowed warmly ahead of them.“It’s a welcoming sight, isn’t it? I’ll get the door . . .”He tugged open the heavy door for Megan to go in ahead of him, and they were almost flattened as the wind blew it shut behind him, shoving him into her back.She staggered and he reached out to catch her.“Sorry! Are you OK?”She blushed as she looked up at him, suddenly close enough to see the flecks of amber in his blue eyes. She’d read in romantic stories how time stood still, or that it was as if they were the only two people in the world. She had always thought it a ridiculous notion, but suddenly she knew exactly what it meant. It was as if there was no sound around them; her gaze seemed to be locked on his.Her mind was telling her to move, to break the moment, yet she so much didn’t want to.