Spirit Book 1
Spirit (£2.65 | $3.33)
I stood in the school corridor, glaring at my fellow student.
“Yes, Maggie?” I waited for her to stop squirming at the strained tone I’d answered her in.
“I was wondering, Leah…” she hesitated, “do you fancy coming with me to church?”
She waited. Is she for real? Bloody cheek.
“Why are you asking me? You haven’t spoken to me in weeks. Do I smell or something?”
She attempted a smile but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Sarah can’t come; she’s seeing a lad and I…I just thought you’d be interested.”
“Maybe I would, Maggie, but you do pick your moments – though certainly not to suit me.”
She heard the sarcasm – knew that I had wanted to go weeks ago. I’d heard them talking about it on the way to the biology lesson and asked what it was. I’d never heard of a spiritualist church before.
In the past, I’d visited some weird churches, just to see what they were like – she knew as much – but all I got in reply was: ‘you wouldn’t like it’, and then they’d all strolled off together.
“Okay, Leah…I shouldn’t have asked. I knew you’d be pissed off with me.”
She turned to leave, so I decided I’d better say yes or I’d never get there.
“I’ll go with you,” I conceded. “So, how are we getting there, Maggie?”
She actually smiled. “I’ve got a car my dad lets me borrow. I’ll pick you up.”
I gave her my address. We were split up for the next lesson. She’d be arriving at six thirty so I decided to do my homework when I got back, as it was only English Lit and I’d covered that lesson at my last school.
When I got home I quickly found something to wear in the little time I had to get ready. Downstairs, I hurriedly put the casserole from the fridge into the oven and set the timer. My mum was a teacher – always had been – and was attending a meeting at school that evening. I contemplated leaving her a note as she’d be pleased I’m making friends – although ‘friends’ was stretching the definition somewhat.
I kept looking out of the window, thinking Maggie had changed her mind. When I saw the car, I wished she had. The driver’s door was black – such a pity the rest didn’t match. Now who’s being a bitch? I thought; it wasn’t as though I could drive.
Once we were on the way, I kept my eyes glued to the road, very unsure about her driving. She braked so bloody late, my feet rammed against the front of the footwell more than once. I thought that talking to her would break the ice between us.
“How long have you been going to this church, Maggie?”
“Since I was twelve. My Aunt Linda took me the first time when my mum died. I’ve been there every week since.”
Okay. Now who feels like shit? Who wouldn’t after hearing that? It didn’t match her carefree attitude with people; maybe it was all a front.
“I’m sorry. Why haven’t you asked me before? Didn’t you think I’d come?”
She glanced at me, swerved and nearly crapped herself – so did I. Answer me before we both die. “I wasn’t sure what you’d think,” she said, regaining her composure and general direction. “Most people think you’re weird when you tell them you’re going to church on a Friday night. They just sing a couple of hymns. It’s the Open Circle tonight and I thought it would interest you.”
“What do you mean, ‘Open Circle’?”
She didn’t answer me; just kept her eyes on the road, which was just as well, given there was a huge lorry headed towards us. She slowed down further still as it passed us. I began to wish she’d open up a bit. This was like drawing bloody teeth, trying to get her to talk.
She caught me looking at her. “Everyone sits in a circle and gives out the messages they get. You’ll see.”
I didn’t understand and definitely wouldn’t be telling her. I nodded and left it there.
She looked at me just before she stopped the car, beside others in a small car park. Where the hell was the sodding church? All I could see was a dilapidated village hall.
I heard her door open and hurried to get out so we could both go in together, having always hated going anywhere new by myself. She’d reached the open door by the time I’d caught up with her. I stared in disbelief at the colour of the grubby net curtain hanging loosely in the tiny window that was set into the top of the door. I followed her in and over to the left hand wall, halfway along the chairs. She picked up a small book before she sat down.
I picked up the book from the next chair along and sat beside her. I examined the book in my hand; Spiritualist Hymn Book, it declared, stamped in gold on the cover.
It wasn’t until then I realised how the place was set out. How could this be a church? It was a bloody joke. It had to be. I stared around the room and noticed that chairs were side by side, backed up to the outside wall. The carpet that filled the centre was old and worn in places. Perhaps it was brightly coloured once, but who would know now?
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I glanced at Maggie. She was looking straight ahead at the empty seats. I noticed the stage at the far end of the hall. Christ, how long had this place been here?
Three wooden steps led up to the stage, beside a door on the left. The backdrop was a washed out sepia colour. The curtains, strangled with tight tie-backs, were faded pink velvet and the fringe down the leading edge was frayed from years of handling. Everything looked grubby and sad.
To the right of the stage languished three old ladies – hardly noticeable, until one of them moved – they were the same colour as the dingy wall behind them. More women came in and picked seats opposite and at the bottom of the hall, near the door.
A woman in her early thirties pulled a chair into the middle of the hall. She had short blond hair, looked quite slim and wore a grey jumper, jeans and boots.
This should be good. At least something was bloody happening.
Another woman walked to the chair and sat down. The blonde spoke to the seated woman. I couldn’t hear what she was saying. She had to be whispering. She stood behind the chair and rested her hands on the other woman’s shoulders with her eyes closed for a few minutes. She ran her hands over the head of the lady, stopping for a short while. She seemed to be concentrating, then moved on again all over her head. She stopped and started continuously.
What the hell was she doing?
Her hands returned to her shoulders and she carried on doing the same thing to the tops of her arms. That went on until she’d covered all down her subject’s arms, legs, chest, back and returned to her shoulders again. It took twenty minutes to do it all. I watched with fascination as I’d never seen anything like it before. Other women and a few men – lads, actually – filled up the rest of the chairs near the door.
It was strange seeing them here, sitting with these aged women. It seemed bloody weird to me.
I nudged Maggie. “What on earth was she doing to her?”
“Healing. That’s called ‘Laying on of Hands’ and lots of people come for it. Other churches do different healing.”
I nodded and turned to watch again.
The blonde seemed to have finished. The seated lady got up and went back to her chair. The chair used for the healing was put back into an empty space against the wall.
I leaned over to Maggie. “What time does it actually start?” I whispered.
“In a few minutes.”
She stared across the hall again. I followed her gaze, thinking she knew someone over there, but she was looking above them. I looked at the people waiting with us. My eyes settled on the lads, who all looked up. I felt so self-conscious I dropped my eyes to the floor.
They must know Maggie. Perhaps she hadn’t seen them?
There was quite a din as people talked across the hall, greeting each other.
Maggie looked sideways at me a few times. She was so quiet, I was actually shocked. She had enough mouth at school but who was I to judge? I’d never been here before and she was probably sad because of her mum, so I’d have to remember that. I watched and waited.
Something was about to start. A woman in her sixties climbed the three steps and walked to the centre of the stage. Her hair was brown with grey streaks and pulled tightly back into a bun. Her clothes were casual, old fashioned but classy and must have been expensive in their day. She wasn’t large but she filled the stage with her confidence.
She brought everyone to order with a cough, waited until we were all quiet, then pointed to a board hanging on the wall to her left, which was covered with a list of numbers.
“We’ll sing the first hymn,” she instructed, and proceeded to sing straight away.
Give me a break. I realised she’d taken most people by surprise. Everyone stood up. A lot of pages were being shuffled in desperate attempts to locate the hymn. Not just me then? I nearly dropped it, I was flapping so much. Maggie wasn’t reading from the book.
Bloody hell; she knows this by heart and where was the ruddy music?
Three women the other side of Maggie sang very loud and with so much confidence they carried everyone with them. By the time the hymn was finished I had the tune in my head, only we’d run out of words.
I give up.
We all sat down and the woman on the stage started talking.
“It’s time to open the circle,” she said, looking at everyone around the hall. “It’s nice to see the new faces tonight. You are all very welcome. For those of you who have come for medium-ship, please close your eyes. Concentrate. See if anything comes to you, no matter how small – and don’t be afraid to stand up and give your message.”
I had no idea what the hell she meant by that.
She had her eyes closed and seemed to be concentrating, swaying slightly. Everyone around the room sat still with their eyes closed. Some people started fidgeting a bit. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate. I sat like that for a few minutes; nothing happened. Mind you, I didn’t know what was supposed to bloody happen.
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A movement made me look up to a lady with grey hair, who was sitting near me, two chairs to my left. She rose to her feet and began speaking with her eyes closed.
“I have a man with me, who I think had chest problems. I have an awful feeling here, across my chest; very tight.” She patted her chest as if she couldn’t breathe. She appeared to be in pain and I watched in fascination – all this was very bloody odd to me. How could she be in the audience and get up and start talking? I’d never be able to do that. Insane.
I watched her intently. She didn’t speak for maybe a minute and then started again. “His name does start with M and he wants someone here to accept it?” She kept her eyes closed and was waiting, I suppose, but waiting for what?
No one moved so she said, “His name definitely starts with M; Michael or Mike, maybe?” She swept the room – with her eyes open this time – looking for a sign of who the recipient might be.
Again, she waited for someone to accept it. A drab woman, with clothing the same tone of grey as her skin, tentatively put up her hand – dragging it down out of the air and twitching it up and down several times; seemingly unsure whether she should have dared even to think that the woman might have meant her.
Make your bloody mind up, please… Some of us have a fucking life…
The lady beside me turned to her. “Thank you, dear. Was it your father? I feel it’s a male figure I have here.”
“It was my granddad, I think.” Drab woman still seemed uncertain. “His name was Michael and I think he died with a heart attack,” the grey lady told her with more confidence.
“He’s come with a message for your mother,” the elderly woman said. “He wants me to say he doesn’t blame her at all and she’d know what he meant. I’ve no idea what he wants her to know. I just give out the messages I get from them, dear.”
And who’s them, when they’re at home?
The woman who accepted the message nodded. The message giver closed her eyes again. She’d lost that pained grimace from her face and her breathing had slowed down.
“I don’t seem to be getting anything else. Take his love with you and thank you.” She sat down, closing her eyes again.
A girl across the hall, who looked two or three years older than me, stood up and told everyone she had a message. She closed her eyes and waited a while before she said anything else. She must have done this before and was in no bloody hurry. Those in the room waited patiently.
Finally, she opened her eyes. “I have a young man with me. He’s about my height and I can see him here.” She put her arms to her right and traced the outline of a person with her shimmying hands. She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them. “I have a name; it’s Jay or Jamie.”
A couple near the entrance gasped. The woman began to sob and the man embraced her shoulder. He was also very upset and wiped a finger under his eye. “It’s our boy,” he said, sniffing.
The message girl told them, “He’s okay now and he’s sorry for going onto the roof. He only went up there to help and everything went wrong. He forgot it had rained that morning and slipped.” The message giver looked really upset, as well. She went on to tell them, “He sends his love to both of you.” She closed her eyes again.
The couple watched her intently to see if she had anything else for them. From the way they reacted, it must have happened recently. They must be bloody raw with grief. The girl asked them to see her afterwards and sat down. I was gutted and I don’t mind admitting it.
Everyone closed their eyes again and waited for someone; anyone.
A picture flashed into my mind of a man and a woman, walking along a narrow road. High hedges dropped down steeply to the road with no verges. The kind you find in Devon on the moors. Single track roads, I think you call them. The woman was older than the man and a large dog was weaving round them playfully.
I tried to get the picture out of my head and couldn’t. I could think of nothing else. I opened my eyes and the picture disappeared; closed them again and it hit me. What the bloody hell is that? Whatever is happening? I glanced at Maggie, but knew I couldn’t confide in her. She was sitting perfectly still with her eyes closed and I didn’t want anyone else to hear me, even if I thought she’d answer; which I don’t.
A sharp pain niggled in my right hip, just a buzzing. It was uncomfortable at first, but that’s all. All of a sudden the pain got stronger and overrode even the picture. At first I thought I’d twisted my leg, or it had fallen asleep because I’d been sitting so still. This couldn’t be right. I’d done nothing to make it hurt so much.
The picture flashed into my mind again. That, combined with the pain was mind-numbing. I was in absolute bloody agony. What the fucking hell do I do?
Was this what other people felt when they had a message for someone? I didn’t have a clue but I had to do something about it, if only to stop the pain.
I stood up. “I’ve never done this before.” Now I felt like a bloody fool.
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I explained the picture I was getting and one of the three guys at the bottom of the hall said, “I’ll accept that.” Now I was bloody shocked. How could that make sense to anyone?
“That was a friend, taking her dog for a walk, with me,” he offered.
I asked him, “Did your friend have a dodgy leg? I have a terrible pain in my right hip.”
“My friend broke her hip and things went wrong,” he said.
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, the pain disappeared from my hip. I couldn’t believe it. That must be what they call a message. All through my life I’d had premonitions about things and they’d happened. Nothing major; little things, and I’d always thought it was normal. Was this new thing part of that?
“I’m sorry about your friend but I’ve got nothing else, I’m afraid.”
He said, “Thank you and well done.”
I thanked him back and sat down. Lots of things were running through my head and I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I kept remembering the way it built in my mind until the pain made me act. That was fucking scary, but fantastic, too.
I turned towards Maggie.
She stared at me with her mouth open. “What the hell was that? Where did that bloody come from?” she asked, through clenched teeth, and with hints of jealousy in her tone.
“I don’t know… I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. I’m just as shocked as you.”
I wondered to myself if it had really happened.
Several more people got up to give messages. I didn’t hear all of it. I was thinking about the message I’d given to the young guy, sitting with his friends. I couldn’t believe I’d done it. I glanced at him and lowered my eyes quickly. All three of them were staring at me.
After the messages were given and another hymn sung, a lady came out of the door at the side of the stage, wheeling a tea trolley. The tea was 20p a cup. Maggie and I bought a cup and a biscuit, then hovered in the middle of the hall where everyone else was chatting. It was a bit like a coffee morning, standing up.
The lady who’d been on the stage came over and said, “I’m very pleased you had the courage to stand up and give your message.”
“I’ve never done anything like that before. Until today, I didn’t know these places existed.”
“Keep coming.” She nodded to Maggie, said her goodbyes and went to talk to someone else.
“Miss bloody popular; she’s never spoken to me.”
I couldn’t bloody help what had just happened, yet Maggie remained sulky; well…more like totally pissed off.
The guy who accepted my message, walked over to us. “I’m glad you stood up; thank you.”
A smile lit up his face. This was the first time I’d looked at him properly. He was very good looking. His brown eyes were very warm with thick dark lashes. Typical, boys always get them. His hair was dark and spiky and his smile softened his chiselled features – but I was curious about his very pale skin.
I glanced at Maggie’s face; she’d lost the gift of speech – for once – and her eyes were out like organ stops.
I smiled at him.
He smiled back. “Could you tell me your name, please?”
“I’m Leah. Leah Crosby.” God knows why he’s asking.
“I’m Danny,” he said, looking into my eyes. “Have you been here before?”
“No. This was the first time I’ve ever been in a spiritualist church. I only came today…” I glanced at Maggie. “My friend didn’t have anyone to come with her so she asked me. This is Maggie.”
“Hello,” Maggie spluttered, looking totally embarrassed.
“Hi,” he said to her, without really looking.
“Leah, are you coming again?” He was serious. “I think you should. You seem to be quite sensitive.”
It was a bloody fluke; couldn’t you tell? A smile touched his lips and was gone so fast…maybe I imagined it.
“I didn’t know about any of this, until tonight. I don’t know…I don’t have a car and Maggie usually brings her other friend with her.” She’d likely rather die than bring me again.
He looked at Maggie. I couldn’t see the expression on his face. He looked back to me, “Where do you live? I could pick you up if you want?” he said without taking his eyes off me. “We usually have my mate’s girlfriend with us but she wasn’t well tonight.”
This was fucking tricky. I didn’t know him from bloody Adam so he wouldn’t be getting my address or phone number.
“Have you a phone number?” I countered. “I’ll ring you if I can come again.” Hell will freeze over first.
A smile flashed across his lips momentarily. He wrote his number on the back of a receipt he’d pulled from his pocket. When he gave it to me, he said, “Ring me.”
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Another brief smile, then he turned towards the door. The two guys he was with both looked up at the same time as me. They stood up, still staring, and followed him out of the door. They’re weird buggers. I shoved the paper in my pocket carelessly – I’d never be seeing him again.
Maggie yelled, “Let’s go!”
We both left the church.
Needless to say, no more invitations came my way, and the ride home that night was interesting, even for her.
“What the fuck was all that?” she asked.
I’d only just shut the car door. “Keep your fucking hair on. I’ve no idea, like you.”
She huffed and started the car – called me a liar. I was furious. What happened in that hall shocked me. Even I didn’t know where the hell it came from. I didn’t know anything like that existed. I wished I’d never fucking gone with her. Ha! I nearly wished I could talk to her about it, but instead, I ignored her the rest of the way home.
At school, she kept her distance and hung around with Sarah all the time. I’d had one tongue lashing from her and didn’t want another. A couple of the other girls asked me what I’d done to her. I was pissed off they’d even asked. They already knew what she was like.
“Nothing. I went to that church with her and something weird happened to me. I had to stand up and tell everyone about the picture I couldn’t get rid of in my head,” I explained. “She was furious with me all the way home.”
Becky said, “She must be jealous of you. From what I’ve heard about her and that church, I don’t think anything like that has happened to her.”
“I don’t care if nothing has happened to her. There was no need for her to be like that,” I snapped. “Sorry about that, but she was really pissing me off all the way home and I suppose she’s told the whole school?”
The two girls looked at each other. She bloody well had, and all…knowing I’d look an idiot to everyone. Nothing new there.
I just got on with my life and tried to forget that night, although I did decide to do some research on the spiritualist movement. I tried the library and found nothing there so I looked for books on eBay, where I found one that looked interesting. It was second-hand but that didn’t matter. I paid for it and waited for it to be delivered.
A few days later, a tan padded envelope containing my book was waiting on the mat when I got home from school. I was pleased to see it and had enough time for a sneaky look before revising. I quickly moved the casserole from the fridge to the oven; hopefully ready for when my mum arrived home from work. I grabbed the package and ran up to my bedroom.
I ripped open the envelope and the book slid out onto my bed. I eagerly opened it and started to read the first few pages. The book had been printed in 1947, which explained its aged look – fine by me. I had homework to do and knew I couldn’t get stuck in for long because I also had to revise for a forthcoming exam. I’d have loved to have read it from cover to cover. Plenty of time, after my exam. I pushed the book between others, on a shelf above my bed and left it alone. I was being good for once; what a laugh.
For the next few days, all I could think of was the exam: Geography. I loved the subject and so didn’t anticipate any problem with it. The night before the exam, I settled down in my bed and pulled the book from the shelf. It’d been there since the day I got it. I flicked through it. In the middle were a few pages of old monochrome photographs. I flattened the book with the base of my thumb. Not something you do to books, but it’s mine. I riffled through the pages, quickly scanning each one in turn until I got to the last page, then flipped back through them in reverse order. I stopped at a photograph of three men, standing together. They weren’t very old. They wore old-fashioned suits, like the ones service men were issued with after the war. I only knew that because I once had a teacher who was obsessed with the Forties era.
They sported trilby hats, tilted at a jaunty angle. But their faces caught my eye more than anything. Holy shit! Was I fucking seeing things? The three guys at that church stared out at me from the page. I threw the book across the floor, scared to look at it again. My whole body was shaking.
I tossed and turned all night, trying to get some sleep so I’d be in shape for my exam the following morning.
How I got up and made it to school on time, I’ll never know. The exam was more difficult than expected, and my mind kept flitting back to the men in the book. I finished the exam and handed the paper in at the front desk as I left the classroom, hardly believing I’d managed to answer all of the questions.
Becky and her friend were leaving the classroom at the same time I was. I called her name. Becky smiled and said, “How was it for you, Leah?”
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“I think I answered all the questions properly but I didn’t get much sleep last night.” I felt so tired I could have easily slept in the bloody corridor.
“Had any more trouble from Madam Maggie?” Becky asked, twisting her mouth around the words.
No love lost there, then.
“She’s giving me a wide berth, and all I get are odd looks, thank God,” I told her, quietly praying for no more grief from Maggie – ever. Although, niggling at the back of my mind was one fact: I’d have to return to that church at some point in order to solve the mystery. She would be there, of course. Was I wrong about those guys, or did I need bloody glasses?
Half term arrived and was a welcome respite. I liked school, but enough was enough sometimes – and now was one of those times.
I wondered if I could get a bus to the church and what times they ran. I considered calling a taxi but realised it would cost too much. So I rang the bus depot, got the times and thanked the woman on the other end for her help – she’d gone to the trouble of checking a map, making sure the bus stopped close enough. Thank you, lady. That had gone well, but now I had to pluck up the courage to actually go through with my plan. That could be tricky.
I picked up the book, which was still lying on the floor where I’d tossed it. I’d been too scared to look at it since. How bloody lame is that? I turned to the middle page again and there it was. Fuck! My stomach heaved and I began shaking. I laid the open book on my lap, staring at the picture. Perhaps it wasn’t them. Daft bastard! I knew in my gut that it had to be them – so, what to do?
Should I take the book and show them? Or just tell them I’ve got a copy and see how they react? Had I got big enough balls to do that? The answerto that is no and you already know that.
I could go to the church, say nothing and just see what happens – they may not even be there or ever return there. That was a load of shit and I knew it.
Something wasn’t right – and I couldn’t just leave things as they were. I decided on the third option: see what happens. God help me.
The church service (if that’s what you call it) was due to start at 7 p.m.. The bus journey would take twenty-five minutes, so I’d have to leave at six to get there on time. That gave me ten minutes to get something to eat. I threw together a sandwich, ate it too fast and felt the lump in my chest. Great. I quickly cleaned my teeth, drank a lot of water to flush the lump down and dashed out of the house.
It seemed I was the only one on the bus until the bell rang, upstairs. The bus came to a halt and the driver turned to me and said, “This is your stop.”
Just as I was saying thank you to the driver, the upstairs passenger swept past me, almost knocking me flat, he was in such a hurry. I managed to right myself and stepped off the bus. I hoped it wasn’t an omen; bloody good start that would be.
The directions from the bus depot lady were exactly right. I easily found my way to the hall. When I reached the door, I began to tremble a little. I stood there for a moment.
“You bloody fool,” I said out loud and walked through the open door and into the hall. I scanned the room quickly – most of the chairs were full. I turned to my left and saw an empty one right in the corner.
As I moved towards it, a male voice said, “There’s an empty chair here.”
I knew who it was without looking. Oh, shit; just act casual.
I turned and said, “Hi,” totally embarrassed. He oozed confidence and had a grin on his face wider than the Blackwall Tunnel; he gestured to the seat beside him. I walked to the chair and sat down; couldn’t think of an excuse not to. I turned and smiled at him, still feeling a bloody idiot. This wasn’t meant to happen. Christ, I realised I was going to speak to him after the service. You brought yourself here; dozy bugger.
When I looked at him, he said, “Leah, where have you been?”
“I had exams.” Why is he so interested? And he remembered my bloody name. “Maggie wouldn’t bring me again. She was pissed off that other time, so I wouldn’t ask her.”
“You should have phoned. I’d have picked you up. I gave you the phone number, remember?”
I put my hand in my pocket and pulled it out. “Sorry.” I held the paper up.
“Why was she livid, anyway?”
“You remember last time, your message? I swear, sorry.” He’ll have to lump it. “We had a blazing row in the car – I told her to fuck off, for calling me a liar.”
He almost laughed.
I looked across the hall to where we had sat that night and Maggie was staring at me. I’d forgotten all about her until now. Danny followed my gaze and Maggie suddenly dropped her eyes. His face radiated anger as he looked at her, but when he turned back to me, he smiled. Whatever’s going on, I’ve no bloody idea – and don’t want to know.
The service started. Thank God. I’d had enough small talk for one night.
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It took the same course as the last one, but when the time came to open the circle I just sat there, wondering. Would I get anything through? All I kept seeing was the photograph in the middle of my book. I wouldn’t own up to that considering who’s beside you. All through the service I was vividly aware of his presence next to me. A few people gave messages and the service came to an end.
I was rising from my chair to head for the tea trolley when someone stepped in front of me. It was Danny. Of course it bloody is; where else would he be?
“How do you like your tea? Stay there and I’ll get it for you.”
I told him and he headed off.
While he was at the trolley, one of his friends spoke to me. “I’m sorry for almost knocking you off the bus.”
I looked at him. He had fair hair and his face was gaunt, which took me by surprise.
“That’s okay,” I said, and smiled at him. He looked ill to me and I was just wondering what was wrong with him, when Danny crossed the hall with a cup in his hand and sat down, blocking my view of the other guy. He handed me the cup and I thanked him.
All I wanted was to make my escape to the middle of the room, where others were congregated. What the hell should I do? I’d have to get away from them, somehow.
“Aren’t you having one?” I asked him.
“No, I’m not thirsty.”
He smirked, which I thought was odd.
I drank my tea and Danny chatted to the two guys on his right but I couldn’t hear what they were talking about. Then he turned to me. “Do you want a lift home?” There was that grin on his face again. In your bloody dreams, buster.
I saw a smile brush his lips as I opened my mouth to speak. “I have a return ticket for the bus – I’ll use that, thanks.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say, I’d answered him too fast.
“You don’t want to ride a bus when there’s a perfectly good car out there, do you?” He indicated to the three people on his right. “I’m taking these three home, too.”
I looked at them: two guys and a girl; they were smiling at me.
“Yes, I’d like a lift – if it’s no trouble.” Why the hell did I say that? I must be bloody crazy. Well…you can only blame yourself, if this goes tits up, darling.
“I’ll take my cup back. I’d like to say goodbye to the lady who took the service and visit the loo before we leave,” I said to Danny, with a smile on my face. Pick the bones out of that.
“Fine. We’ll wait here – there’s no hurry,” he assured me. I walked across the hall to deposit my cup and got tagged by Maggie.
That’s all I bloody need tonight.
“What are you doing here?” she barked with a nasty edge to her voice.
“What’s it got to do with you where I go? I thought anyone could come here – or do you own the bloody place?” I snapped back at her with as much bitterness I could muster. Of all the fucking cheek.
“Why are you with him?” she retorted.
“I’m not with him. Although, I shouldn’t think it was any of your business who I was with, so why don’t you leave me alone? You’d have more luck annoying someone else – you’re good at that.”
I walked away, spoke to the lady who ran the service, said goodbye to her and followed her directions to the loo.
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