“You’re probably all aware,” Cathy said, “that Steve and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye.”
“That certainly hadn’t passed un-noticed,” Helen said, laughing.
Steve picked up the baton. “You and Mike were in Spain, Helen,” he said, “but at the last group dinner party – at Beryl and George’s – Cathy had a go at me,” he looked at her for confirmation, she nodded, and indicated that he should continue. “I sniped back, and Geoff told us to ‘play nicely’.”
Beryl said, “Yes, I do remember that. It was a bit of an awkward moment.”
“Over the next couple of days – and at the dance that week – we put our heads together and agreed that we needed to do something to sort out our differences – to agree a modus vivendi.”
“Well, I do agree that you both needed your heads banging together at times,” Beryl confirmed.
Cathy took over, “The past two Saturday afternoons we’ve met and discussed where we can agree and where they may be still differences. There was nothing irreconcilable and lots of views in common. At times, the points we covered were quite deep, but we had a good time nattering. By the end of the second meeting we’d already agreed that we would be dancing together at the Social Dance. While we were dancing we carried on talking. Do you wish to add to that, Steve?” She smiled at him and touched his hand – a gesture that again attracted Beryl’s attention.
Steve took a deep breath and looked at her again for approval before continuing. She nodded.
“On Saturday evening, after the dance, it turns out that we were both a bit stunned by how we felt about what was happening between us. We both still are.” He looked at her and she nodded.
Just as he was about to speak, Geoff welcomed everyone and announced the notices and the first dance.
“To be continued,” Steve said.
“Not so fast,” said Beryl, “you can’t leave us in suspense like that. There’ll be lots more dances. Sit down and carry on.” She was part-hoping for something juicier, but part dreading it, given Steve’s recent stepping down from his church roles.
“I agree with Beryl,” said Mike. He and George had stopped talking and were now agog with interest. “You two make a great double act.”
Steve looked helplessly at Cathy. She took his hand and said, “Go on. You might as well.”
“Okay,” he said, “Yesterday, totally unplanned, an absolute coincidence- honestly – we both met again. Peter phoned me and suggested that we go for a walk. We agreed that it would be nice to have a walk around the Mere. What I didn’t know was that Cathy, Barbara and little Emily would be doing the same, but coming the other way. When we met, our children could see the confusion in our faces – and apparently we had both blushed. After brief greetings, we’d gone our separate ways. Both of us were then interrogated. Despite our insistence that we were just good friends, neither Barbara nor Peter believed us.”
He paused and shrugged. Cathy took over.
“Last night I rang Steve. I was concerned over how Peter might have reacted. As we talked we agreed that, perhaps, our children could see in us what we’d been reluctant to recognise. We have become more than just friends. On the other hand, this is all new to us. We hardly know each other – yet – so, we’ve decided that, for the time being, we do need to spend more time learning about each other. And that’s it. We are, but not fully committed, an item – a couple.”
“Beryl,” Cathy said, reaching to touch her hand, “I’m sorry – we’re sorry if you took offence on Saturday. If we seemed to be ignoring you. We didn’t mean to cause anyone any offence, truly. We just needed to be together – to dance, but also to talk and dance; to experience being so close together with the music – and Geoff played some wonderful music. It seemed, to me at least, that it was just for us. I hope you understand.”
Beryl stood up and walked round to sit by Cathy. She put her arm around her.
“God bless you both. I do understand now, and you have my best wishes, whatever you decide in the weeks and months ahead. You both deserve some happiness. But you,” she looked at Steve, “I want a word with you later.”
We’re still at the weekly dance at St Philip’s Church Hall – time to nip the gossip in the bud and declare what’s happening between Cathy and Steve. There will be worried people to placate and some fancy footwork will be needed – hence my choice of photo.
EXIF data were: Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera and Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens. 1/1000 secs @ f/2.8 and 55 mm. The ISO was 6400.