May The Best Team Win – Episode 18

Gerard Fay © An old colleague visits Brad in the pub Illustration Gerard Fay

The pub was electrified. Maeve felt she could touch the tension.

“I think you’d better leave.” Priscilla rose from her seat.

Anthony stared at her.

“Who are you to tell me what to do, you stupid old woman?”

“I’m seventy-three and I have never been stupid in my entire life, unlike some.”

She gave him a meaningful stare.

“Get lost.”

“That’s not very likely,” she retorted. “I know this village like the back of my hand. You, however, seem to have made a wrong turn.”

Anthony, who had seemed taken aback, now snorted and ignored her.

“As I was saying. I’d find a new boozer before you get poisoned here,” he announced.

Priscilla took a step closer.

“Enough!” she boomed. “Brad is an excellent host. The food and drink here is of the highest quality, as everyone who frequents the Flying Duck knows.

“I’ve met people like you before. You’re nothing but a common or garden bully.”

Priscilla’s eyes narrowed.

“I imagine you have been made redundant, travelled down here for an interview at Flanders and Rose, and failed to get employment.

“You knew Brad’s pub was nearby and thought you’d drop in to belittle him and make yourself feel better.

“Well, it hasn’t worked and, if you don’t leave, I shall call Inspector Douglas, who happens to be a personal friend.”

Anthony stared at her, his mouth opening and closing, his face scarlet.

He hesitated, then he turned on his heel and left.

Maeve stood stunned, while all around her, her friends began to applaud.

As a thank you to Priscilla, Brad and Maeve had organised a darts match to raise money for the local children’s hospital – Priscilla was patron.

Rachel was very excited. She enjoyed a game of darts and was looking forward to a fun evening.

The only thing spoiling her anticipation was that Ewan would be there.

He had eventually turned up at the cinema, but they’d missed the first five minutes of the film.

He’d brought flowers, but Rachel hadn’t been impressed with his excuses.

Having to work late did not let him off the hook for failing to message her.

She’d given him the benefit of the doubt, and they’d gone for a drink afterwards as planned. Even that hadn’t gone well.

They had found little to talk about and Rachel had been a bit bored.

When he’d dropped her home, she’d suggested they remain friends but Ewan hadn’t taken her seriously.

He’d said she was tired, and grumpy with him for being late, and he would call.

She wouldn’t let that spoil her night.

She arrived at the pub soon after 7.30 p.m. and was relieved to see that Ewan wasn’t there yet.

Maeve had arranged an easel with photos and information about the hospital.

Rachel bought herself a drink and went to sit with Neil, Graham, Dawn and Cam.

“Hello Rachel, how are you?” Neil smiled.

“Good, thanks, Neil. What about you? It’s great to see Apollo back to normal.”

“Yes,” Neil grinned and glanced over at the golden retriever, who was enjoying having Brad make a fuss of him. “It’s such a relief.”

“Where’s Priscilla?” Rachel looked around. She’d assumed Priscilla would be the guest of honour.

“She’s not coming.”

“Not coming?”

Neil laughed.

“Despite being delighted that Brad and Maeve have arranged this evening, Priscilla isn’t a darts player and doesn’t like, as she puts it, ‘to have a song and dance made about her’.”

“I thought she’d love the attention.”

Neil gave Rachel a quizzical look.

“There’s more to Priscilla than meets the eye. She may not give much praise, but she also doesn’t like to receive it. I think it embarrasses her.”

Rachel nodded. She was sure Neil was right. He was a good judge of character.

Rachel wondered if she had underestimated their neighbour.

She looked up as Ewan entered the pub. Perhaps she was a bad judge of character all round.

“Priscilla was wonderful the other evening,” Rachel said to Neil.

“Yes, she was very impressive.”

“How did she know all about him, though – that awful Anthony?”

Neil smiled and adjusted his glasses.

“I think it was an astute guess. She’s talked to Brad about his previous job quite a lot.

“She reads the papers, so she knows there are a lot of redundancies in that area, and that Rose and Flanders are recruiting. She’s a very smart lady.”

“I’m very glad of it. Maeve and Brad don’t deserve that treatment.”

To be continued…

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