Throwing the towel in a laundry bin by the sink, she went to close her suitcase. Just as she was fastening the catch, her mobile pinged from inside. Sighing, she rooted through her clothes and pulled it from the spot she’d buried it in last night when she’d packed.
The ping had been a message notification. She tapped the sleek mobile against her palm. Should she read it? She’d buried the phone in her suitcase so she could have a break, a proper break from everything going on back home. She’d promised herself she’d clear her head and that meant pausing all ties with home, but...
She glanced quickly at the screen. It was from Tabby. The message was from her closest friend Tabby. Jessie had told her she wouldn’t be using her phone. She’d told her she was going to be having a break from social media, everything. Tabby would only have messaged her if it had been important. She’d been the one to encourage her to take a step back.
Standing up, she rolled her shoulders back and tapped in her passcode. She’d read this message, but that was it. She wouldn’t be drawn into anything that was going on back home. She’d needed this break for a reason and she wasn’t about to waste the time away she had.
Hi. Sorry, I know you said you wouldn’t be using your phone. I hope you aren’t, but I wasn’t sure if you’d be on it today whilst travelling or not. If you are though and you’ve seen the post. I’m here if you want to talk. Tabby xxx
Great. What post? Why hadn’t she just ignored it? Not looked at the message? Now she was going to be drawn into some drama or other again, and as much as she didn’t want to open her social media and check the post Tabby was referring to, she knew she would. She knew she had to.
Or not. Jessie watched as the screen faded to black. Well, that sorted that dilemma out then. Throwing the now useless phone back into her suitcase, she closed the lid and stood up. Now she needed to go and make her apologies and find somewhere to stay for the night. She looked out of the small window. It would be dark soon and she had no idea where anything was in the bay, if she was going to find somewhere, then she needed to act fast.
As she walked downthe staircase, Jessie could hear people chattering and laughing. Pausing, she swapped her suitcase to the other hand before taking the last few steps down into the living room.
‘There you are, love. I bet you feel better now, don’t you?’ Elsie patted the sofa cushion next to her. ‘Come and sit down. We’ll introduce you to everyone and then we’ll go and get our dinner from the kitchen.’
Jessie looked across at Elsie. Ian was sitting next to her on her other side while Brooke and Max were perched on a small sofa by the window. Daisy and a man, Ollie probably, cuddled on a large armchair while a couple and the small boy who had run across to get his T-Rex toy sprawled on the rug surrounded by an abundance of plastic dinosaurs. Placing her suitcase by her feet, she wound her finger around the hairband around her wrist. ‘It’s okay. Thank you for letting me clean up, and thank you, Brooke and Max, for rescuing my suitcase, but I’m going to get going now. I’ve imposed too much on your evening already.’
‘Oh, love, you’ve not imposed.’ Pushing herself to standing, Elsie walked towards Jessie and gently touched her arm. ‘We’re a team at the bakery. A family and you’re one of us now. We take care of each other. Brooke is moving out next week anyway, so she’s said she’ll go tonight so you can have the room at the bakery.’
‘Oh no.’ Jessie looked at Brooke. ‘You can’t move out on my account. Please don’t.’
‘I was moving out next week, anyway. I’m only going down the road and am going to be staying in Max’s grandmother’s campervan, so I’m more than happy to go a week early.’ She glanced at Max and smiled. ‘It will mean I’m closer to Max sooner, anyway.’
Swallowing, Jessie looked from Brooke to Elsie and back again. ‘Are you sure? I really don’t want to mess up your plans. It’s my own silly fault for not checking the dates.’
‘Honestly. I’m happy to.’
‘That’s decided then. Let’s enjoy our meal and then I’ll show you your room.’ Elsie grinned. ‘But first, we’ll introduce ourselves. You’ve met Ian, Brooke, Max, Daisy and little Hudson. That’s Ollie over there.’
‘Hello, Jessie. Good to meet you.’ Untangling himself from his chair with Daisy, Ollie stepped forward and held out his hand.