Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 26

Craig had brought their drinks while they were chatting. Curious, he craned to see what they were looking at, but his eyes slid right past Ged to a girl further along the bar. She was chatting to a girlfriend, her face animated and full of laughter.

“Who’s she?” he asked Cally with distinct interest.

She tracked his gaze.

“The girl in the purple top? That’s Imogen.” She waved as Imogen seemed to sense their attention and looked their way. Tim beckoned her over.

“Don’t mind, do you?” he asked Cally quickly, but Imogen was already weaving her way through the crowd towards them.

Cally was amused to see her big brother surreptitiously smooth his hair and straighten the collar of his casual shirt as she approached.

“Hi!” Imogen looked at the three of them in turn, though her eyes rested with interest on Craig for a moment.

“Hi, Imogen. This is my brother, Craig,” Cally said, and the other girl smiled shyly. “How’s Chap doing?”

“At home. Alone! Can you believe it? He’s really coming on now. This man of yours has worked wonders.”

Cally blushed at the implication. She would never have said anything so possessive herself. She glanced at Tim, but he didn’t look bothered by it as he explained to Craig about Imogen’s dog and the work they still had to do with him.

As Craig moved into full chat-up mode with Imogen, Cally watched Tim again, for any sign of jealousy this time. If anything, he was feeding her brother lines so that her brother could be the one to impress Imogen!

What had been a group of four gradually broke into two groups of two as Craig and Imogen became more absorbed in each other.

Cally watched her brother indulgently. It was almost a year since he’d broken up with his girlfriend of three years; it was time he thought about moving on.

She turned to say something to Tim, only to find he’d stood up to talk to two guys as they passed their table. She knew one of them was Jack Harman, the contractor who had done so much building work at the kennels. She prepared herself to be introduced.

However, as their conversation went on, it became obvious that was the last thing on Tim’s mind. Cally couldn’t help feeling peeved. She had introduced him to all of her friends and now even her brother.

At any other time she would have made a joke of it and introduced herself, but something stopped her. She couldn’t have said whether it was quietly fretting about the effect Tim’s kennels were having on her business, or an uncertainty about their relationship, but something kept her in her seat, irritation quietly building.

When he sat back down, she looked at him.

“Was that Jack?”

“Yeah, and his mate Gavin. Gavin’s a sparky – did some work with Jack for me at the kennels.”

He seemed to pick up on her mood.

“Sorry, I should have introduced you. I didn’t think.”

“No,” she said, and looked away to scan the crowd in the bar.

Tim took her hand and stroked the back of it with his thumb.

“I told you I’m rubbish at this relationship business. Sorry.”

“It’s OK,” she said, determinedly shaking off the mood.

What did it matter if he had a memory like a hen? Or if he seemed to forget too regularly that he had a girlfriend? Every time they were together he showed he cared in a dozen other ways.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.