Here’s the next part of a story which might turn into something longer… or might not! Jay has been relocated with a new identity to the village of Oxhope. One evening she wanders down to the pub where there seems to be a mini music-fest in progress. A band sets up and starts to play, and Jay finds herself on her feet and dancing, for a moment forgetting her problems.
There was a moment when the band stopped to gather themselves, grab a drink, change instruments and there was movement in the crowd too.
Now would be the time to get a drink, as the band got ready for their second set, before they finished when an intermission would cause a stamped for the bar. There was an outside serving area but there was a great crush around it.
Jay jumped down the back of the wall and made her way between the outside tables and benches and into the pub. It wasn’t quite as crowded as when she’d arrived, maybe everyone was out the back. She squeezed between two big beefy blokes who just seemed to be chatting, She realised she was standing next to the grumpy woman, the man who had spoken to her was nowhere in sight.
The woman glanced at Jay as she took her drink from the lad behind the bar.
“can you get one in for my mate here!” the woman shouted at him, shouting because it was noisy inside too. “There you are, love,” she said to Jay, and the lad took her order. “You’d be here all day else!”
“Thanks very much!” Jay shouted to her, and the woman smiled, perhaps not grumpy after all.
Jay took her beer and squeezed through the sudden crowd of young woman who were now standing behind her. She suddenly realised she was happy, happy as she hadn’t been for such a very long time. She wasn’t free of her past, she probably never would be, but –
A blond man was grinning at her, she didn’t know who he was, he seemed familiar, he knew her name… She wanted to turn and get out, she wanted to shove him away from her, how did he know her name –
“I wondered if I’d see you here,” he said above the racket of music and conversation… who was he, where was he from, who was he from? His grin was beginning to slip. “It’s me, Ed from the quiz, I’ve had my hair cut!”
She could have hugged him with relief! He was not some person from her past, from her other life, he was Ed, long haired Ed from the quiz team. She smiled at him with relief, probably looking more pleased to see him than he would have expected. She remembered him now; he and a couple of women had sat on the next table to her earlier in the week when she was having a sandwich at lunchtime. She had got into conversation with them, and they had mentioned the quiz, and she’d replied that she used to enjoy quizzing. The women… they were Gemma and Emma, she remembered, Gem and Em.
And now he mentioned them. “We’re thinking of coming down to the quiz next Tuesday, do you want to make a team with us?”
Without a second thought Jay accepted the invitation, and, great see you there! and Ed squeezed past her with a friendly open smile, and Jay headed back outside. Her hand was shaking so much she had to stop to gulp some beer before she spilled most of it.
Quiz night, it was only a quiz night…