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‘Perfect.’ Wendy called from the other end of the barn. ‘That looks amazing.’

Stepping back down onto the floor of the barn, Jessie put her hands on her hips and looked up. Itdidlook good. Very romantic. She bit down on her bottom lip.

‘Hey, are you okay?’ Lying bunches of dried lavender on the table, Wendy walked towards her.

‘I’m fine, sorry.’

‘Please don’t apologise. You did enough of that this morning when you got back.’

‘I know. I just feel bad. I didn’t realise we were supposed to be starting to set up the barn today. I didn’t think any of it through when I decided to leave this morning.’

‘You had other things on your mind. Besides, we hadn’t planned to start setting it up today. It’s just that as the weather’s supposed to be dry for the next few days, I thought we might as well get a head start.’

Jessie nodded. Everyone had been so nice when Kelly and her mum had dropped her off earlier. Elsie had welcomed her with open arms and everyone else has just carried on as normal. They hadn’t made her feel bad that she’d planned to leave them in the lurch. If anything, they’d been happy to see her. Reaching out, she picked up another swathe of tulle from the back of a chair.

‘You’re still worried about Simon, aren’t you?’ Looking at Jessie, Wendy touched her forearm.

Nodding, she ran her fingers across the fabric in her hands. The only thing she knew was what she’d overheard over the radio at the garage. She just knew there had been an RTA, which she assumed meant a car crash, and that Simon called for back-up. ‘I know he’s probably absolutely fine. I mean, I heard it over the radio hours ago. Whatever was going on is probably over and done with now.’ She picked some fluff from the tulle. ‘It’s not even as if anything is going on between us now.’

‘It must still be difficult. Just because you’re not with him, it doesn’t instantly mean you don’t care about him.’ Wendy rubbed Jessie’s arm. ‘If you want to talk, I’m here.’

‘Thanks.’ She shrugged. ‘I just need to put him out of my head now.’ She could think about him later. She knew she would. She knew she still had tears to shed over their short but perfect relationship, but for now, she wanted to, needed, to focus on Claire and Callum’s wedding.

‘Okay.’ Wendy glanced behind her. ‘I’ll finish the lavender and then I’ll run over and see if Chris has any large logs or anything to bring over for outside seating. He mentioned he might have.’

‘Great. We’ll be done in no time.’ Grateful for the distraction, Jessie pulled the stepladder to the opposite side of the barn and began hanging the tulle again.


‘RIGHT, I’M OFF. I’LLsee you in a few minutes.’

‘See you in a bit.’ Jessie called as she knotted the tulle into place. No, that didn’t look right. It was too gathered at one end. Frowning, she climbed to the top step and reached across. ‘Perfect.’

‘I’d say so.’

Gripping the top of the stepladder, Jessie turned. It was. It was Simon. He was standing just inside the entrance to the barn. What was he doing here? Climbing down, she stood, one hand on the ladder, and looked across at him. He had a streak of oil on his forehead and smudges of something across his uniform. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘Elsie told me you were here. You came back?’ He rubbed the back of his neck.

‘I realised this was where I needed to be.’ She shifted on her feet. ‘Kelly is fine. I can support her from here and she’s hoping to get back with the baby’s dad anyway, so...’ Why did she feel as though she needed to offer him an explanation? ‘I know you think I should have gone back home, but she doesn’t need me.’

‘What I said last night... I hadn’t meant to sound as it had. I just wanted what was best for you.’

She shrugged. That wasn’t what it had sounded like. ‘Anyway, are you okay? You look as though you’ve been on a tough shift?’

Looking down at his uniform, he tried brushing off the marks. ‘It was.’ He nodded slowly. ‘Car accident.’

‘Sorry, that must have been tough.’ She took a step towards him.

‘It was.’ He sighed. ‘Fortunately, everyone walked away.’

‘That’s something then.’

‘Definitely.’ Glancing down, he rubbed the back of his neck again before catching her eye. ‘I’ve messed up, haven’t I?’

Standing still, Jessie bit her bottom lip. What did he want her to say?

‘I didn’t mean to push you away. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was giving you the chance to head home without worrying about...’ He gestured between them. ‘... us. I didn’t mean that I wanted things to finish between us. That was the last thing I wanted... The last thing I want. I guess... I just wanted you to be able to make your own decision without having to think about me.’

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