‘Umm, we’re a small group tonight, then.’ Teresa passed Jessie and Simon both a glass.
‘Thanks.’ Sitting between Wendy and Simon, Jessie took a sip of her drink. She had no idea what it was, but it was nice. Something orangey and maybe it had mango juice in too.
‘Simon, have you been roped into the bay’s summer fete on Saturday?’ Charlie nodded towards Simon.
‘Yes, mate. I’ll be there.’
‘What’s this?’ Lauren frowned.
‘We’ve been asked to take the fire engine up to the summer fete so the kids can have a look around. Simon’s taking the patrol car, too.’ Charlie grinned at Lauren.
‘That’ll be nice, then. You enjoy these community days, don’t you?’
‘I do. It’s nice to let the youngsters see what we do and get them interested in the job. You’ll back me up on that, won’t you, Owen?’ Charlie looked across the table towards Owen.
‘Yes. It is.’ Turning, Owen smiled at Jessie. ‘Me and Charlie are firefighters.’
‘Oh, okay. That makes sense then.’ Jessie nodded.
‘Is that your phone?’ Simon touched Jessie on the forearm.
‘Yes. Sorry, I’ve not had it on me for so long, I’m not used to listening out for it.’ Twisting in her chair, Jessie pulled her mobile from the back pocket of her jeans. Frowning, she squinted at the number. She didn’t recognise it and it wasn’t a number stored in her phone. A name would have shown on the screen. ‘I’d better take this. Sorry, I won’t be a moment.’
‘No worries.’ Simon shifted his chair, giving her space to pass.
‘Thanks.’ With the phone ringing in one hand, she pushed open the pub door with the other and answered it. ‘Hello?’
‘Jessie? It’s actuallyyou? You’ve answered my call.’
Sinking down at one of the picnic benches outside the pub, Jessie held the phone away from her, checking the number again. She definitely didn’t recognise the number. She recognised the voice, though. It was Kelly. The one person she had travelled this far to get away from. ‘Kelly.’
‘Look, don’t hang up. I know you want to. I can tell you don’t want to talk to me by the tone of your voice. That’s why I had to use someone else’s phone. So, you’d answer my call.’
‘You tricked me.’ She could feel her hands shaking already. She could feel the familiar cold sweat dribbling between her shoulder blades. This was what her sister did to her now. This was why she’d had to take herself away. Take herself out of the situation.