‘Not at all. It’s a difficult situation. A really difficult situation and you’ve got to navigate your way through.’
‘Yes.’ Holding out her hands, she waited until he’d taken them before pulling him up. Standing there, neither of them made the move to go back inside. Jessie looked into his eyes as he looked back into hers. Cupping the back of his neck, she gently pulled him towards her, her lips against his. She felt his hands reach behind her, his fingers weaving into her hair. What had she done to deserve someone like him? Someone so understanding, so kind, so non-judgemental? Maybe she shouldn’t be so harsh on her sister. Kelly didn’t have this. She didn’t have someone to support and talk to her. Yes, she still felt that sharp stab of betrayal inside when she thought about Kelly and Brad and their brief relationship, but Kelly was now facing probably one of the most difficult and scary times of her life. And where was her big sister? Miles away. The least Jessie could do was to hear her out.
‘Okay?’ Inching away, Simon cupped her cheeks, running his thumbs along her lips.
‘I’ve decided I’m going to call her tomorrow. Listen to what she’s got to say.’
Nodding, Simon smiled.
The creak of the pub door broke the silence and a gush of warm air escaped into the night as Diane poked her head through the open door. ‘Hey, Jessie. You’re from Rugby, aren’t you? You’ll know the answer to this question; Knightlow Hill, which stands between Coventry and Rugby, is famous for what ceremony which began in... Hold on.’ Diane ducked her head back inside.
‘Knightlow Hill?’ Simon rubbed his chin.
‘1170 AD on the 12th of November?’ Diane called across the courtyard.
‘The 11th of November. The Wroth Silver ceremony.’ Jessie laughed.
‘Wroth Silver? Right, thanks.’ Ducking back inside, the door swung gently closed behind her.
‘Wroth Silver?’ Simon frowned.
‘It’s a payment thing. I’m not sure if it’s something to do with unpaid rent or something someone or other has supposedly done wrong.’ Jessie shrugged. ‘Drinking rum with milk is involved, though.’
‘Oh, nice.’ Simon grimaced. ‘I’m not sure how I feel about that combination.’
‘Ha-ha, it’s surprisingly tasty. Shall we go back inside?’ Holding out her hand, she waited until he’d taken it before pushing the heavy pub door open again. Diane was standing at their table, relaying her answer, everyone else leaning in to listen and Teresa scribbling on the answer sheet. She smiled. She felt included, wanted, accepted. Who’d have thought that after just a few days, that could even be possible?
Jessie yawned and lookedat the array of cakes, cookies, and pastries beneath the bakery counter. She’d spent most of the night thinking about Kelly, the events of the past few months and whether it would even be possible to get past what had happened. When she’d heard the quiet click of the back door as Teresa had arrived to help with the morning’s baking, all she’d felt was relief. Relief at being able to get up and escape the thoughts marching through her mind.
Now, though, now their first meeting of the day was over, the tiredness had finally set in and she was in need of something sugary to get her through to lunchtime. As she waited for the customer in front of her to be served, she tried to decide between a cupcake or a cookie. Or should she go completely against her initial thoughts and have a pasty? A hot cheese and onion pasty would be nice. Filling too. But would it make her more sleepy?
‘What can I get you, Jessie?’ Brooke smiled as she opened a small paper bag.
‘I’m not sure. I can’t decide between a pasty or a cookie.’ Jessie scrunched up her nose.