After Lucy’s re-entry, the conversation became less teasing and moved on to safer ground. Lucy insisted that Mel should sit between herself and Tracy – that Mel must have had enough of Jamie and that she’d be ready for some female-to-female bonding.
Lucy made Mel feel very much at home and that she was welcome any time she was in the area to pop-in – not to wait for an invitation. Tracy also showed pleasure in Mel’s company and invited her to visit her house soon.
At least, when Jamie took her home later, and dropped her off, he wasn’t present to hear the embarrassing family banter there.
From then onwards, Mel was an honorary family member.
Feedback to Stacy
‘So, how was your weekend with the boss?’ Stacy asked, ‘Did he crack the whip?’
They were at Stacy’s house.
‘Who? Jamie?’ Mel said.
‘Who else did you go with then? Surely you didn’t take Tony – your boss’s boss?’
‘Don’t be daft. And Jamie isn’t the whip-cracking type.’
‘Ooh! Did you ask him?’
‘You’re getting dafter,’
‘All right, but you haven’t answered my question. How was your weekend?’
Mel told Stacy the same as she’d told Tracy,
‘The weather was great; the lodge was as described, and the scenery was stunning as you’d expect at this time of year.’
Stacy raised her eyebrows and twisted her mouth.
‘You’re not the only one who’s been proposed to,’ Mel added.
‘He didn’t?’ She paused to check Mel’s expression. ‘He did? He actually proposed while you were away?’
‘Yup!’ He did, but I told him that I’m not that sort of gal.’
Stacy stared at her friend.
‘How did he take it?’
‘He didn’t die of heartbreak, and we continued having a great weekend together.’
‘Is that your final word on the subject of marriage?’
‘For now.’ Mel replied, ‘I’ll jump off that bridge when I come to it. We’re not ready yet. I might reconsider in a couple of years, and, in the meantime, we can still have a great time getting to know each other better.’
‘That doesn’t sound good to me, Mel. He could get impatient and look for someone else. If you love him – and become even more in love – you could get hurt.’
‘If I marry him now, he could still get fed up with me after a couple of years and start looking for someone else. It happens all the time. If he’s the kind of man who has a wandering eye, I’ll find out soon enough. Otherwise, we can start building a future together for the time when we are ready.’
‘It’s your life, your future, love,’ Stacy said, ‘Take no notice of me. When I asked about your weekend, I didn’t mean to end up lecturing you. Friends?’
Mel nodded and embraced Stacy.
‘Of course we’re still friends,’ she said, ‘I hope we always will be. Anyway, change of subject, how are the plans for the wedding going?’
November 2015 – Black Friday
All too soon the twenty-seventh came around. The staff in the shop had been preparing for months. Black Friday advance banners had been displayed during the previous two weeks. Manufacturers’ discounts for the event had been factored into the price cuts that would be in place for the weekend. It was the beginning of the build-up to Christmas.
In Codmanton, Black Friday had been heralded the previous evening by the annual switch-on ceremony for the Christmas lights that hung from streetlamps and featured in almost every shop window. Decades after the pits had closed, the colliery band, clinging on to its existence by its fingernails, had played carols in the Town Square.
On the day itself, the large department stores had queues forming outside before Mel reached Hannays’. There were no queues there at that time, but during the day, several people looking to buy Christmas gifts in advance did arrive to take advantage of the cut-price offers on cameras and associated equipment.
The shop wasn’t so busy that the staff didn’t have time to talk to each other and Jamie reported that online business was even greater than that on the shopfloor.
I continue with another of the architecture shots that I took on my afternoon in Liverpool a few weeks ago. Today’s shot is another that I took looking skywards. As with yesterday’s shot, I can’t remember exactly where I was when I took the photo, but it was in the university area. I just liked the patterns made by the intersection of the rooftops and the reflections in the buildings.
For all the street shots, I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera twinned with a Pentax 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens at an ISO of 100. The EXIF data for this photo were 1/320 secs @ f/8and 16 mm.