The conversation continued amicably, but shortly after that, Steve left Cathy, Barbara and Emily to talk privately.
“Barbara’s main contribution was, “I just hope you know what you’re doing, Mum.”
Monday 2nd May Codmanton Library
Everything was in place ready for Opening Time. The alarms had been switched off and, between them, the staff had performed the Health and Safety checks. Those book-titles which had been reserved by customers had been pulled from the shelves after consulting a Requests List. The cash-float had been put back in the till, and electric power to the computer and all other facilities had been switched on.
Cathy, Ellie and Fran had talked through what would be happening in the coming week. In particular, the Library would be closed to them and to the public on the Thursday except for voting in the elections. There would be normal municipal elections taking place to replace a third of the local councillors, but there would also be a General-Election. Cathy had briefed them on the handover procedures. In the ten minutes or so remaining before the public came in, they just chatted.
During this, Fran said, “I heard someone mention your name in Costa yesterday morning, Mrs Denton.”
“Oh, yes,” said Cathy, non commitally.
“It was Mrs Pearson, the teacher from St Philip’s,” Fran added.
“Ah,” Cathy said.
“It was strange,” Fran said, “She was with a man – it wasn’t her husband. He said something that really made her laugh. They arrived and left separately, but she hugged him really close when she left. Would that have been her boyfriend, do you think?”
Cathy laughed, “No, Fran, it was my boyfriend. He’s her ex-husband.”
“You mean that you let your boyfriend meet his ex?” Fran was horrified at the idea. “I’d kill Brian if he made a date with one of his ex-girlfriends. And you should have seen how she hugged him.”
“I know, Fran,” Cathy assured her, “he told me all about it. Don’t worry about it. Now go and let our clients in.”
Fran walked away, shaking her head.
Cathy shouted after her, “Fran. This conversation must not become a topic for gossip. Do you hear me?”
“Yes, Mrs Denton,” Fran promised.
Cathy and Ellie went to their stations.
Tuesday 3rd May Codmanton Library
Just before ten, the Library Staff heard, through the windows, the high-pitched sound of children laughing, squealing, shouting and gossiping as they neared the Library doors. Fran had unlocked the doors of the Community Room ready. Marjorie Pearson, the teacher in charge, got the pupils lined up so that they didn’t block the double doors, then let them pass through in line, counting them as they entered. A young Teaching Assistant led the youngsters into the Community Room. Marjorie watched the children file in then walked across to Cathy.
“Congratulations,” she said, “I believe that you have a new boyfriend.”
“Yes,” Cathy said carefully, waiting for the trap to close, “I believe that you know him.”
“You’d better believe it, Cathy,” Marjorie said, “he’s easily distracted though.”
“You’d know more about that than I would,” came the calm reply.
“Be careful of picking up someone else’s leavings,” Marjorie warned cattily.
“Marjorie,” Cathy said, “in the words of a recent popular song, ‘I’m his future, you’re his past.’ Get over it. You’ve got a partner, leave my man alone.”
“So, he’s your man is he?” Marjorie batted back, “I understood from him that this arrangement was somewhat provisional.”
“True,” was Cathy’s answer, “but we both know where it’s headed, It’s just a case of when and how.”
“Good luck with that,” Marjorie said, turning to walk to join the children.
As she walked away, Cathy said, under her breath, “Bitch!”
Fran had watched the exchange from across the room, terrified of a catfight breaking out, but Cathy remained composed and carried on with her work.
But as Marjorie was walking towards the room, she was also muttering under her breath, “You haven’t heard the last of this, bitch!”
All of today’s action takes place within the library, so both my opening photo and my Featured Photo reflect that scenario. The opening image is of a different library than the one I’ve used previously, but I thought that ‘a change is as good as a rest’. The Featured Photo is one that I shot with permission inside a small public library.
EXIF data were: Fujifilm X-T4 26 MP cropped sensor mirrorless camera and Fujinon XF 16-55 f/2.8 lens. 1/30 secs @ f/5.6 and 22.7 mm. The ISO was 1600.