The Factory Girls – Episode 34

Dana bit her nails and tried to stop herself pacing the touchline. She glanced at her watch, then saw the referee do the same; it must be nearly time.“Come on, Deveroe,” she silently willed the team.The score was 1-1. The home side had taken the lead just before half time with a brilliant goal by Ollie, a curving shot into the top corner from way out of the box. Dana hadn’t realised how good her brother was, but the murmurs of appreciation around her made it clear this piece of wizardry was far from unusual and filled her with pride. But then, almost immediately, the away team had stolen a cheeky one at the far end to level the score. Deveroe had dominated the play all though the second half, even Dana could see that, but so far there was no goal, and they were running out of time.“Come on, Deveroe!”She couldn’t keep quiet now, but everyone else was yelling, too. Jonathan was shooting up the far wing with the ball seemingly glued to his feet. He was fast and seemed clever at getting round defenders. Ollie was in space just in front of the goal, his arm waving madly. Jonathan curled his foot back and swept it through. The ball arced into the air and Ollie leaped and met it with his head. The ball found the top corner for the second time that day. Victory was Deveroe’s.“Good game,” the man at Dana’s side said calmly. Dana stared at him. How did he take this much tension every week?“New lad’s a great find,” his mate said. “He and Ol make a strong pairing. Who is he?”“My boyfriend,” Dana wanted to say, but she kept her mouth firmly shut. Even so, she felt flushed with pride when, later, Jonathan stood chatting to the lads in the pub, his arm slung easily around her shoulders. Ollie came over and she smiled at him.“You’re not a bad player, Ol.”“Thanks, Danni. Glad you’re so keen on watching me all of a sudden.”“Got to support the family, you know.”“Of course. Nothing to do with my striking partner, obviously. Drink, Jonathan?”“Cheers.”“Dana?”“Great. I’ll help you carry them.”Dana gave Jonathan’s hand a squeeze, then slipped free to cross the crowded pub with Ollie. Sean was already at the bar and made space for them.“Enjoy the game?”“I did. You three are great!”“I don’t think it’s us you had your eye on.”“That’s what I said.” Ollie smirked. “It’s fancy boy she’s here for.”Dana jumped.“He’s not fancy!”“OK, OK, no offence meant. I like him. He’s cool.”“Yeah,” Sean agreed, “he’s a good bloke.”Dana gaped. This was high praise indeed from Sean.“You don’t mind that he’s not local, then?”“Mind?” Sean burst out laughing. “Why on earth would we mind? This isn’t the Middle Ages, you know.”“I know. I just . . .”“Truth be told, I admire him for getting out and doing something different. A man can get stuck in a rut if he’s not careful.”Dana stared at her brother.“Are you OK, Sean?” she asked tentatively as Ollie ordered drinks.“Me? Sure I am. It’s just a bit small, though, isn’t it? Deveroe.”“It is?”“My point exactly! We don’t know, do we? I’ve been talking to Jonathan about Manchester, and he made being in a city sound amazing. It got me thinking.”Dana shifted uneasily.“What about?”“I’ve got a mate who runs a motorbike parts store. He ships in specialist bits. He wants me to join him and I’ve always said no before. But now . . .”“You’d leave the garage?”“Why not? There’s not really enough work there for three, not with the labourers, too. Pat and Ollie would be fine without me.”“You’re serious! Where is it, this place? Manchester?” Sean looked guiltily to the ceiling and muttered something. “Sorry?”“London. It’s in London. Mad, I know.”Dana considered.“Not at all.”“You think?” His eyes fixed on hers. “You really think I should do it, Danni?”She smiled.“Why not, if it is what you want?”For a moment she thought about confiding about her accountancy course, but already his eyes were drifting around the pub.“It does sound cool, but I don’t know if I could bear to leave Deveroe. It’s great here, isn’t it?”“It is,” Dana agreed, “but you could always come back and visit. I’m not going anywhere.”“You’re not? But . . .”“But what, Sean?”Ollie was returning with their beers and Sean suddenly bent down close.“Look, don’t say anything about this London thing, eh? Not yet. It’s just an idea, that’s all. Probably won’t come to anything and I’d hate to upset anyone.”Dana gave him a quick kiss.“Our secret, Sean,” she promised and he smiled gratefully.“Oi, what’s this?” Ollie nudged her. “Has that Jonathan turned you soppy, Danni?”“Of course not,” Dana said. “Must be the beer.”But it was the fact that she wasn’t the only one in the family with secret plans that made her feel so much better. It also made her more determined than ever to save the factory and finish her degree.


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