‘Yep.’ Sighing loudly, he laughed at himself. ‘This is me being brave.’
Shaking her head, Jessie grinned. ‘And to think you’re a police officer?’
‘Ha-ha, give me twenty rampaging criminals over a ride on an ancient rollercoaster any day of the week.’
‘Here we go.’ Looking down at his white knuckles as he gripped the bar, Jessie covered his closest hand with hers. ‘I’ll keep you safe.’
‘Thanks.’ Chuckling, he kept his eyes fixed on the track ahead.
As their cart propelled forward, twisting and turning around the numerous bends, Jessie smiled to herself. It had been good of him to check on her after the car incident earlier. It had been even nicer of him to bring her here, especially as she had quite quickly learned that the thrill of the fairground wasn’t his favourite pastime. Glancing down at his hand, she felt his fingers grip hers as the cart strained up a hill on the track. The higher the cart inched along, the tighter the grip until they reached the summit. Glancing around her, she grinned. They could see for miles. Was that Penworth Bay she could see in the far distance? Maybe. It looked like it. ‘Look at the view.’
Turning, he looked away from the safety bar. ‘Wow.’
‘Too late...’ Jessie laughed as they hurtled down the track, the cart shaking with the increased speed. As they slowed to a stop, she looked across at him. ‘You can open your eyes now. It’s time to get out.’
‘Do you promise?’
‘Yep.’ Laughing, Jessie lifted the safety bar, stepped out, and held her hand for him.
Simon gripped her hand again as he joined her on the platform.
‘Shall we go again?’ Trying to keep a straight face, Jessie nodded towards the short queue of people waiting their turn. ‘The queue’s really short.’
‘I... umm...’ Running his hand across his chin, he glanced back at the rollercoaster.
Laughing, Jessie shook her head. ‘Time for some chips?’
‘Now that sounds like a great idea.’ Linking his arm through hers, he led them quickly towards a food stall.
JESSIE POPPED ANOTHERchip into her mouth and looked across at Simon. The bright flashing lights from the fair rides illuminated his features, revealing a scar on his right cheek. ‘I’ve not noticed that before. How did you get your scar?’
Swapping his cone of chips to the other hand, Simon reached up and touched the jagged scar. ‘That thing? I did that in a car accident two years ago.’
‘Sorry. I didn’t mean to pry.’
Shrugging, he looked at her, his eyes glistening with tears. ‘Don’t worry. I walked away. Unfortunately, my brother didn’t.’
‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ Touching his arm, she frowned. She shouldn’t have asked. ‘That must have been awful. That was a stupid thing to say. Of course it was. I... sorry.’
‘He was a great guy. Life and soul of the party.’
She nodded. ‘I don’t know what to say. That must have been, still be, so tough to lose your brother like that.’
Nodding slowly, he turned to her. ‘It is. I still forget sometimes. I expect him to walk through my parents’ front door when we all meet up for a takeaway or a family gathering.’
Placing her hand on his forearm, she shook her head. ‘I can’t imagine what it must be like.’
He popped a chip in his mouth, chewing slowly before looking at her. ‘Do you have family? Brothers or sisters?’
Taking her hand away, she gripped her chip cone again. ‘I do. I have a sister. We used to be really close, but recent events have put a strain on the relationship a bit.’ A bit. Now that was an understatement. When she’d first found out that Kelly had got together with Brad, she’d felt betrayed, let down, forgotten about. She shook her head. It could have been worse. She knew that. It wasn’t as though Brad had cheated on her. They’d broken up a few months before, but... it had still felt like a betrayal. It had still felt as though Kelly hadn’t cared one iota about how she might be feeling. And then, when Kelly had announced her pregnancy and that Brad had left her... Jessie focused on a bright blue light blinking in the distance. She’d felt jealous. Yes, even with Brad walking away from Kelly and the pregnancy, she’d felt jealous. She’d always wanted to be a mum and for years, she’d assumed she wouldn’t get that chance. She’d respected the fact that Brad hadn’t wanted children. And now Kelly was pregnant with her ex-partner’s baby. What was she supposed to feel? Was she supposed to be happy for her? Angry? Disappointed? Jealous?
‘That’s a shame. Do you mind me asking why?’