Weekend Wind Down – Jenny

It was scarcely a romantic meeting. Jenny was in the farm office, with her beloved collie, Meg, asleep across her feet. She had been alternating looking her fill at the house of her dreams on the other side of the valley with battling with the shoebox of receipts and bits of paper that constituted her parents’ idea of bookkeeping when she heard Mum call her name. She went to the office door.
“What is it, Mum? I’m trying to do the VAT and if you and Dad don’t want to be hailed off to prison for tax evasion I really need to get it sorted.”
“Sorry, love. It’s Bob. He’s..:”
“He’s what.”
“Concussed, it seems.”
Jenny ran downstairs, with Meg, at her heels. The blond bear that was her little brother Bob, aka Sorbo Man, stood in the kitchen swaying slightly and staring around him from unfocused eyes. A tall loose-limbed man she didn’t recognise stepped out from behind Bob and steered him to a chair beside the Aga. Seeing a stranger, Meg retired to one of the many dog beds that littered the house, and watched proceedings.
“Sit.” Bob obliged, which was, in itself alarming.
Jenny went and put a consoling arm around Mum.
“What’s he been up to now?”
The stranger laughed. “That’s been everybody’s reaction so far. But this really wasn’t his fault. He and Jack Hallett were standing at the edge of the running track around the park encouraging the under sixteen rugby boys to move faster when Bob was the victim of a freak accident. A kid sneaked onto the skateboard circuit on his BMX bike. Showing off. He came over the edge bike and all. Fortunately for him he hit Bob instead of the tarmac. Fortunately for Bob he’d parted company with the bicycle before he landed on Bob’s shoulders.”
Jenny winced. “Ouch. So what’s the damage?”
“Kid dislocated his shoulder and has a few abrasions from sliding down Bob’s back onto the tarmac. Sorbo Man here has concussion, but not of the serious sort so I brought him home. Shove him in bed and check on him hourly until, say, midnight. Then a couple of times in the night. Wake him up and as long as he swears at you he’s on the mend. If you have trouble waking him, or he seems to be getting more confused give me a call and l’ll come straight over. But for now I better phone myself a cab and get back to town. I’m on call.”
“Thank you so much, doctor.” Mum wrung her hands in distress. “I’d run you back to town but I’m not allowed to drive on the road. And anyway I’d better put this big dollop to bed.”
“No worries. I can just call a cab.” He took his phone out of his pocket and regarded it in some disgust. “Oops.”
“What’s up?”
He held out his two hands with half an iPhone in each. Jenny couldn’t help laughing at the comical dismay on his face.
“The little charmer who fell off his bike kicked and squirmed and screamed while I was trying to get him to keep still. He must have got my phone. At least it was in the line of duty so I can claim on the practice insurance, but for now can I use the house phone?”
Jenny laughed. “No need. I’ll run you back to town. And do you have a spare phone?”
He blushed. “No. I lost it awhile back and I haven’t replaced it.”
“Stay there.”
She ran upstairs and quickly unearthed her own spare from her travel bag. It was a second generation iPhone, and fully charged, if cosmetically rough. However, it worked and, provided the young doctor’s SIM card wasn’t bent or broken, it should do him until his insurance paid out. Back in the kitchen the stranger was on his own, Mum, Bob and Meg having disappeared upstairs, he looked a bit uncomfortable.
“You don’t need to do this.”
Jenny held out a hand without comment and he gave her the two halves of his broken phone. She had the card out in a second, and two minutes later the elderly iPhone was up and running.
“There. When you get your new phone you can give this one to Bob. He’ll probably remember to bring it home.”
The young doctor held up his hands in amazement. “How did you do that so fast? I might have got there eventually, but it would have taken me all day.”
Her grin was a bit twisted. “Oh. I’m Geeky Jenny. Has nobody told you about Bob’s odd sister?”
“Nope. I know your name is Jenny, and you live and work in Exeter, and you are the one person in the world Bob is properly scared of. Also a couple of the rugby guys reckon you are a genius at the quiz machine, and another one says to never play poker with you. But nobody said anything about anything else.”
“Sorry. It’s just that life around here became just about unbearable for me when my marriage fell apart.”
“That happens. I was all but hounded out of town when my fiancée found someone richer.”
Jenny knew a moment of empathy before snapping herself back to cool rational thought. She waved her car keys.
“Come on then fellow leftover, I’ll run you back to town. Where at is your car?”
“Practice car park.”
“Okay. And what’s your name. I can’t keep calling you ‘you’ or ‘leftover’. It sounds rude somehow.”
“The name is Mike. Mike MacLellan.”
“Okay, Doctor Mike.”
“Don’t you start that. Half the hair-brained females in this town call me Doctor Mike. With the addition of an inane giggle. Then they figure out I might be of Scottish extraction and start being coy and flirtatious about kilts. It’s coming close to doing my head in.”
Jenny grinned and led the way out to the side of the house where her dark green Discovery Sport was parked.
“Nice car,” he pushed out his lip in appreciation.
“Actually it’s not. The bloody thing is as temperamental as it can hold together. But it’s pretty, and when it deigns to work it’s great fun to drive.”
She flicked the unlock button and Mike folded himself into the passenger seat.
Jenny pressed start. “Pray,” she said, and the engine leapt into life. “Good car.” She patted the dash and turned a smiling face to her passenger. “We’re fine now. If it starts it’s as good as gold. Just doesn’t always start.”
“Oh. I had a car like that once.”
“What happened to it?”
“I beat it to death with a hunk of wood. I think I must have been influenced by Basil Fawlty.”
Jenny’s whole face was animated by sudden laughter, which brought a pair of dimples to life in her left cheek. Mike couldn’t help noticing the red HB pencil that was shoved into the curling mass of her hair. Something in his face must have alerted Jenny, who frowned.
“Oh no. I haven’t, have I? Will you take it out for me please?”
Mike put up a hand and pulled gently on the pencil. He carefully placed it on the dashboard but said nothing. Jenny snorted.
By this time they were at the end of the farm driveway and all of her attention was taken up by pulling out into the traffic. For some reason she elected to say no more, and he was a wise enough man to sit quiet as she drove the five miles into town.

Jenny is the latest book from Jane Jago

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