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What had just happened? With her hands shaking, she took a deep, shuddering breath and pushed the door open. Stepping out onto the road, another car horn pierced the silence as a car sped around the corner, narrowly avoiding crashing into the back end of Elsie’s car.

Jumping out of the way, she walked around to the far side of the car. The back tyre had burst. That’s what must have made the loud popping noise she’d heard. Another car came around the bend, again swerving to avoid crashing into Elsie’s car at the last second.

She needed to move it. She needed to move it forward. Even by just a few feet or so. Could she drive on a burst tyre? Would it ruin the wheel? Shaking her head, she got back into the car. It didn’t matter if it ruined the metal of the wheel. If she didn’t move the car, someone was going to plough straight into the back of it and then one ruined wheel would be the least of her and Elsie’s problems.

Turning the key, she willed her hands to stop shaking as she forced the gearstick into first gear and revved the engine. It wasn’t budging. At all.

She glanced in the rear-view mirror as another car came past, narrowly avoiding a collision. Of all the places for the tyre to burst, why had it had to happen on a blind corner?

Pushing her foot down on the clutch, she pushed it into reverse and pressed the accelerator. She knew she’d be reversing into the oncoming traffic. And she didn’t want to. But if it meant she could inch the car backwards enough to dislodge the remaining tyres from the grass verge, then she could go coax it forwards again. Away from the corner.

Nope. Nothing. It definitely wasn’t budging. What now? Her phone. She needed to ring the breakdown cover. But which one? Which one was Elsie with? She hadn’t thought to ask. It hadn’t occurred to her she’d need to know. A green sticker in the corner of the windscreen caught her eye – Green Rescue. Good. There was a phone number on the sticker, too.

Glancing down at the passenger seat, she looked for her bag. It wasn’t where she’d put it. It must have fallen when she’d swerved. Leaning down, she rummaged in the footwell. She needed her phone. She needed to call them and get someone out. It would only take one driver to get distracted or come around the corner too fast and she’ll have caused a crash.

Where was it? Twisting around, she spotted it on the back seat. Had she put it there or had it been thrown there?

A loud tapping on the driver’s window made her jerk her head around, a sharp pain searing through her neck. Oh great. It was a police officer. Swallowing, she wound the window down.

‘Please step out of the vehicle.’ Tugging the door open, the officer stepped back and indicated for her to get out.

‘I... I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean...’

‘Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble. It looks as though your back tyre has blown. You’ve stopped on a blind bend, so you need to step away from the car for your own safety.’

‘I know. I didn’t mean to. I lost control and now I can’t budge it.’ She pointed to the car. ‘I’ve tried, but it’s not moving at all.’

‘These grass verges aren’t the best for stopping on. You’ve probably lodged a wheel or something.’ He glanced back at the car as he quickly led her further up the road.

‘Well, yes. I assumed that’s what had happened, but I didn’t drive up it on purpose. It was that or go head on into a car coming in the other direction.’ She sunk to the kerb.

‘I wasn’t suggesting you’d had a choice in the matter. Do you have breakdown cover?’

‘Yes. That’s what I was trying to do. I was trying to find my bag. My phone’s in my bag. I was trying to get to it to call them.’ Standing up, she began walking back to the car.

‘Wait. I’ll call them. I can see who you’re with. Don’t risk going back yet. My partner is with the patrol car warning traffic, but it’s better to be safe.’

‘Right. Of course.’ Sitting back down, she pulled her hairband from her wrist, winding it around her fingers.

‘I assume you’re the owner of the car?’

‘No. No, I’m not. I’m volunteering at a bakery in Penworth Bay, and the car belongs to the owner.’

The police officer nodded and pulled out a mobile from his pocket. After talking quietly into it for a few moments, he hung up. ‘They’re putting you on a priority call-out list because of the car’s position. Have you got the keys?’

Nodding, she held them out towards him.

‘Thanks.’ Taking the keys, he frowned. ‘You’re shaking.’

Looking down at her hands, she shrugged as she pulled her hairband back onto her wrist. ‘Can you blame me? I lost control of the car and narrowly missed causing an accident.’

Nodding, the police officer sat down next to her and held his hand out. ‘Simon Groves.’

‘Hi. Jessie Bentley.’ Taking his hand, she relaxed a little. She wasn’t in trouble. If anything, he’d come along at the right time. Anything could have happened if he hadn’t turned up. Still, what was she going to say to Elsie? And what would Elsie say to her? She’d inconvenienced her enough already and now she’d blown the tyre on Elsie’s car and more than likely damaged the wheel or the tracking or something. She clasped her hands in her lap.

‘So, you’re volunteering at Elsie’s then?’

‘You know her?’

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