Countdown To Christmas – Episode 26

KATE was piling the bags containing her costumes and shoes in the corridor when, glancing up the steps to the stage, she saw Ted and Evelyn standing there together.“Sal, look!” Kate exclaimed quietly, nudging her friend.Sally looked, and sighed.“Aw, that’s nice. I really hope those two get together. They’re such nice people, and I’m sure they’re both a bit lonely. They’re made for each other.”“And Evelyn’s much better suited to him than Dolores, bless her,” Kate added, laughing.“I think Dolores has found other fish to fry!” Sally told her. “Didn’t you see her with that reporter who came from the local paper?”Kate shook her head, eyes wide.“No! When was that? I didn’t even know a reporter was here!”“You were probably in the Ladies again,” Sally said, chuckling. Poor Kate had gone about six times before her turn on stage.Sally recounted how Dolores’s eyes had lit up at the sight of the reporter, a “more mature” gentleman of the Press.In his green corduroy jacket with sky-blue silk handkerchief spilling out of the breast pocket, he had, Sally told Kate, been just their dance teacher’s type.“‘Have you ever been on the stage?’ she asked, and I swear she fluttered her eyelashes at him,” Sally said. “The old boy lapped it up. Said he often gets free tickets for the theatre, if the ‘dear lady’ would care to accompany him some time. It was fabulous. Shame you missed it. I would have missed it, too, if I’d been dancing, so every cloud, eh?” And she patted her plaster cast, and winced at the pain it caused.“Come on, it’s time to get you home,” Kate said, seeing it. “I can’t thank you enough for being here for me, Sal. But I did it! I can hardly believe it. And Dolores wasn’t so bad really, was she?” she added, forgetting in her post-show euphoria the torture of those first weeks’ lessons.“It might have been a Christmas show but with all the romances springing up it’s been more like Valentine’s Nick and Megan, Ted and Evelyn, and now Dolores and her reporter. It’s all so sweet.”She gathered her holdalls together.“Come on, let’s get home.”They pushed open the doors of the hall and found Steve and Phil waiting for them.“Here they are, our two stars!” they cheered.“One star,” Sally pointed out. “You’ll always be my star,” Phil protested gallantly, wrapping his arms carefully round her.“You were great, Kate.” Ellie was bubbling with excitement. “Do you think I could go to tap- dance lessons, too? It looked like fun!”“We’ll see,” Sally told her, winking at Kate.Steve grabbed Kate’s bags, and the group turned for home.The car park was deserted now everyone had gone. The road, too, was quiet on this winter night. Not a cloud in the sky meant millions of stars sparkled above them, and a haze round the moon warned of a freezing night ahead. But right now they were still warm from the success of the show as they tramped along the snow-encrusted pavements.Husbands and wives held hands, while their respective offspring flanked them.“Soon be Christmas,” Kate observed. “I wonder if it’ll be a white one?”They walked along, enjoying the silence, the cold, the moonlight . . .“Of course, you know what Christmas means, don’t you?” Steve said.“Presents!” the kids said.“A tree!” Sally suggested.“Bills!” Phil said with a groan.“What?” Kate asked, as Steve continued to shake his head.“Well, once it’s Christmas, New Year isn’t far behind, and New Year means January and . . .”“And?” Kate prompted.Phil caught his eye and started laughing as he cottoned on, and Sally thumped him playfully on the chest.“What?” she insisted.It was Steve who explained.“Well, in January the new night-class schedules will be out and you two will find something else to do, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!”Kate and Sally looked at each other and Sally’s eyebrow quirked.“He has a point,” she conceded, and Kate laughed.“But that’s weeks away yet, so right now you’re stuck with us,” she joked, and felt Steve squeeze her hand.“You’ll get no complaints from me, love.”“Nor me,” Phil said, planting a kiss on Sally’s cheek.And the group ambled happily homewards through the starlit winter night.

The End.


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