‘You don’t fool me,’ she said, pointing at him, her voice raised, ‘I’ve watched you two – the way you talk and the way you dance. Any closer together and someone would have called the police.’
‘Mmm,’ he said, ‘our dancing. Well, yes, I can see what you mean. Listen, we’re both beginners, we’re both rubbish at dancing and we know it – but we try to have a laugh camping it up. You and most of the others take it too seriously. It isn’t Strictly Come Dancing is it?’
Charlotte was lost for words.
‘Anyway,’ he said, ‘I didn’t come here for a row, but I’m beginning to think that you only asked me to come and help with the grass because a row is what you were looking for. Well, I’m not falling for it. You can have a row with yourself. I’ll see you when I see you.’
He picked up his coat. Charlotte was furious. She grabbed his arm.
‘Where do you think you’re going? Don’t you dare turn your back on me. I’ve not finished.’
Frank was angry now.
‘Let go of me you mad cow,’
She smacked his face.
‘I’ll give you cow,’ she screamed.
‘Just mad then,’ he countered.
She smacked him again but harder this time.
‘Oi!’ he said, ‘That’s enough. You try that again and you’ll get smacked back.’
She raised her hand to hit him but he grabbed her wrist, yanked his other arm free and raised it to smack her, but she grabbed his wrist.
They each struggled to free their captured arms, their bodies rotating with the effort. As they pulled, their angry faces moved closer together. It was Frank who broke the tension.
‘Are you dancing?’ he asked as they struggled.
‘Are you asking?’ she answered.
They both relaxed and fell into each other’s arms, laughing.
‘Daft bat,’ he said, as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
They kissed fiercely, his arms pulling her close to him.
‘For God’s sake Frank, come home,’ she said, ‘I’ve missed you so much.’
‘I’ve missed you too,’ he said.
‘I was so jealous when I saw you so happy with Janice. I was miserable and lonely.’
‘I know,’ he said. ‘Me too. There isn’t – hasn’t been – anything going on with Janice.’
‘Will you come back?’ she asked.
‘Will you allow me to help you?’ he asked.
‘I’m sorry I drove you away. I even missed you being in the kitchen.’
‘About that,’ he said, ‘I’ve been thinking about how we could get some builders in to make the kitchen and dining room easier for us both to work in.’
She hugged him tightly and kissed him again.
‘The family’s coming for their usual Sunday meal tomorrow,’ she said, ‘Would you like to make some of your rice dish?’
Well! That’s the end of this story. Love, like the Phoenix was apparently burned up but rose from the ashes.
Tomorrow, I’ll post one of my short stories. I have begun a longer story to replace the Phoenix Time, but I still don’t know where it’s going. In the meantime, while I make more headway, I do have a couple of other short stories to tell.
Today I show another view along the Sankey Canal bank near Earlestown. Ted, my daughter’s Japanese Spitz dog, who was my companion on the walk, photobombed the shot – but I think that his cheeky face added to it.
I used my Pentax KP 64 MP cropped sensor camera and my 35 mm f/2 full-frame lens that. The shutter speed was 1/200 @ f/13 The ISO was 3200.