Coffee Break Read – Luddite

Two days later Jenny was back at home in her own space and, honestly, feeling a bit blue. It was always hard to come away from the farm and leave Meg behind, even if she did know that she had no other realistic option. It was a bit of a relief when her phone rang. As it was an unfamiliar number, she let it go to voicemail. It was Mike.
“Hi Jenny. It’s Mike here. I’m sorry I have been so long calling. But Saturday night was beyond busy. Then I couldn’t remember how to find the contacts list on this phone. Today I got brave and Googled it so here I am. Please forgive me and call.”
Jenny laughed and returned his call.
“Hi Mike.”
He sounded genuinely happy to hear from her. “Jenny. It’s a pleasure to hear your voice.”
“Yours to. Even if you are a useless Luddite.”
He laughed. “I am, but if I admit it can I come and see you? Please don’t say you’ve changed your mind. I’m pretty well housetrained – haven’t made a peepee in the corner for at least a fortnight.”
Jenny found herself drawn to his unforced silliness, and then she remembered about the pony club set and flirtatious comments about kilts. It was too good an opportunity to miss. “So long as you promise to wear trousers…”
His crack of laughter warmed her ears down the airwaves. “One-nil to you. And I’ll leave the kilt at home if you can manage to not wear your wellies.”
“It’s a deal. When?”
“I’m off this coming weekend. Saturday night?”
“Yes. I can do that.”
“Do you like Italian food?”
“Love it.” She waited for him to suggest a restaurant, hoping against hope it wasn’t one of the style over substance places that would mark him as being just another plonker. He didn’t disappoint her.
“Do you know Luigi’s on the quayside?”
He had named one of her favourite places in the city and she could feel the smile stretching her cheeks.
“I do indeed. I will meet you there. What time?”
He mumbled a bit.
“Speak up man.”
“I booked a table for seven in the hope you would say yes.”
She was amused and a tiny bit flattered he had gone to the trouble of making sure they could get a table, but she wasn’t letting him know that. Instead she made her voice stern. “Not taking much for granted were you?”
“No. I truly wasn’t. I just hoped.”
“Okay, I’ll let you off just this once.”
His relief was palpable. “I’m glad, and I really wasn’t being pushy I just know how hard it is to get a table on a Saturday night.”
That being no more than the truth Jenny felt it would be churlish to mention it any more and they giggled their way through a few more minutes of light chat.
When the conversation was over she sat for a long time staring sightlessly into the middle distance. This all felt too right and she was going to have to be very careful not to be fooled by his charm. She went into the bathroom and dropped her loose t-shirt off her shoulder to expose the wrinkled monstrosity of a scar that marred the smoothness of the skin on her shoulder and a fair way further down he back. For a moment she was back in a tall thin house, in an overly genteel street, with a man holding a hot iron to her back while she screamed. The memory made her cold to her stomach and in the mirror her lip twisted in bitter self-mockery.
“Just remember what they do when you let them get to you, girl.”

Jenny is the latest book from Jane Jago

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