Strike Up The Band – Episode 25

It was inevitable that Rachel and Des would be shy with each other. Both knew that that they’d been set up by Bethany, so instead of the natural conversation of their first meeting, they were polite as Des opened the car door for her and they set off for Manchester. But Des put on a CD with some of the music that they would hear in the concert that evening, and in no time they were happily discussing it.

Then Rachel entertained him with stories about the primary class she taught, and by the time they reached their destination they were completely at ease with each other and had found they had much in common. Laughing together as they went into the concert hall, Rachel stopped abruptly as they came face to face with Ken and Janine, standing together in the foyer.

“Hello, you two!” Rachel exclaimed. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Ken turned red.

“We, er . . . I, er . . .” he stammered, with the air of someone who’d been caught doing something wrong.

Janine just smiled warmly.

“I’m really looking forward to the concert, aren’t you? Ken and I know one of the trombone players in the orchestra. He was in the band years ago before he turned professional. He sent Ken tickets.”

“Lovely.” Rachel smiled. “This is Des. He’s a big fan of the band. It was Des who rescued Mr Douglas when he was taken ill on Whit Friday.”

“Hardly rescued,” Des said modestly. “I just helped out. It’s nice to meet you both. I suppose we’d better find our seats,” he suggested to Rachel.

She smiled up at him as he took her arm.

“Fancy seeing Ken and Janine together,” she murmured. “He’s our bandmaster. Though I had a suspicion something was going on between them at our last practice.”

“Perhaps they’re just friends,” Des suggested.

“I don’t think so not from the way he looked at her,” Rachel replied, chuckling. “Good luck to them both.”

She would have felt quite sorry for Ken if she had overheard him fretting to Janine over the unexpected meeting.

“Do you think she’ll tell everyone she saw us together?” he asked anxiously.

“What if she does? Are you sorry you came with me?” Janine asked him.

“No, not at all.” Ken took a deep breath. “I think you’re lovely,” he said, looking into her eyes and taking her hand.

“Good,” Janine replied with a satisfied smile. “Then let them tell who they like.”

Happy in each other’s company, they settled back into their seats, ready to enjoy the concert.

* * * *

Des and Rachel smiled as they settled into their seats. They had already discovered that they really liked each other, but both were painfully aware that Des had asked Bethany to the concert first. But he was now realising that Rachel was the one he felt happier with. She had a way of making him forget his shyness and he thought how good she must be with the more timid children in her class. By the end of the evening he knew it was Rachel he wanted to see again.

“Do you think Bethany will mind if I ask you out again?” he asked as they made their way home. “I wouldn’t like to cause trouble between you, but I’d love to see you again. I’ve really enjoyed this evening.”

“Bethany wouldn’t mind at all, I’m sure,” Rachel assured him, smiling at his consideration. “We can call in and ask her if you like? To set your mind at rest. We go past her house on the way home.”

“But she won’t be in,” Des began. “She said she . . . oh, I see!” The penny dropped. Bethany’s excuse had been to get them together.

Des grinned.

“She really won’t care, will she? OK, maybe we should just stop by to thank her,” he said, chuckling.

So it was that as Ellis drove past Bethany’s house on his way home that evening he saw Des’s car sitting outside and drove away, disappointed, putting two and two together and coming up with completely the wrong idea.

* * * *

With her success as a matchmaker confirmed, Bethany was feeling rather pleased with herself as she arrived at the clinic on Monday morning. So she was surprised when her boss asked rather seriously if he could have a word with her.

“I’m sorry, Bethany, but we’ve had a letter of complaint about you,” he said, sighing.

“Me? Oh, wait don’t tell me. Is it from Mrs Latimer-Davies?” she asked.

“It is, though what you’ve done to upset her I couldn’t tell. The letter is a bit vague. There’s an accusation of unprofessional conduct, but no real details. It’s not like you to upset our clients. I’ve only ever had praise about you.”

“She thinks I’m going out with her son.” Bethany sighed. “And she made it clear that she doesn’t approve.”

“Ah, that explains the remark about personal involvement,” he said, shaking his head. “Oh, dear. But I’ll have to process it through the proper channels, you know. Perhaps you’d like to prepare a personal statement to send with it. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about, but we have to follow procedures.”

“Of course,” Bethany replied, then she began to chuckle. “What Mrs Latimer-Davies doesn’t know is that her son is actually going out with my friend, Rachel!”

All the same Bethany had enough to worry about without a complaint like this hanging over her head.


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