Dana sighed.“Next left. It’s the big garage halfway up. I live with my brothers.”“Just your brothers?”“Just them.” Again the look, but she drew back. She wasn’t ready to share more. “Three of them.”“Three brothers! Are they big?” He was smiling at her, trying to break the tension, which she appreciated.“Very!”“Scary?”“They’re my brothers, aren’t they?”“Perhaps I’ll just drop you off after all!”But he took the turning all the same, and moments later they were pulling into the yard. And there they all were Pat, Sean and Ollie in the middle of a makeshift game of football. They stopped and gawped as first Dana and then Jonathan emerged from the car.“Who’s this?” Pat called.“Jonathan,” she managed, waiting for the jokes.Pat, however, just tipped his shaved head on one side then spoke over her head. “D’you play?”“A bit.”Next thing she knew the ball was flying towards the car and Jonathan was stepping up and stopping it with his foot in mid-air, playing it down to the ground and passing it neatly back.A bit? Dana was stunned, but Jonathan was already drawn into the game. It took the men only a few moments to find their positions, Jonathan joining Pat to take on the other two. Dana sat casually on the bonnet of the car, trying not to look too interested, but inside she was yelping with joy. She’d never, ever have thought she would be grateful to football. It was normally the bane of her life, yet here it was, broaching an easy friendship between her brothers and her . . . boyfriend? Was that what Jonathan was now? That felt OK out here at the garage, in fact, it felt great, but how on earth was it going to go down at Cardill’s?
On Monday morning the factory was abuzz. Carol walked the floor, wondering what she didn’t know and hoping it was something good.“Chrissie saw them. In the Swan. Together.”“Together together?”“She reckons so. And Mike says he was in the Crown with Pat and Sean and Ollie, so that proves it.”Carol’s ears pricked up. Was Dana dating? Surely not! She longed to ask, but she made it a point not to get involved in the shop-floor gossip so didn’t dare. Frustrated, she threaded her way slowly round the factory floor. But despite hearing that the man in question was “not bad looking really” and “quite cool in a weird way” she was no further on with his identity by the time she got back to her office. Thankfully, Helen was there. Carol pounced.“Helen, who is Dana . . .?”“Ssh!” Helen put a finger to her lips and nodded behind. Carol turned and to her astonishment saw Jonathan walking into the office. She spun back to Helen and her supervisor’s wide grin confirmed it. Dana and Jonathan?“I know,” Helen said. “I was pretty stunned myself.”“At what?” Jonathan asked.“At how easy it was to find that clause,” she replied calmly with a wink at Carol. “Good call, Jonathan.”“Thanks. I hope it works out.”“Me, too.”