A strange arrangement
I arrived back in town happier than I’d left it the day before, and found John deep in conversation with a couple of men in suits. When he’d finished, he came over to talk to me.
“It’s no good beating about the bush Tony,” John said. “I’ve been looking at the figures, and it would take more capital than I have to reopen High Street Eats. I’m going to put the lease back on the market and spend my resources in the shop.
“I’m really sorry Tony” he went on “I know you put a lot into the opening of that place, but the flood was just too much for the business. If there’s ever anything I can do to make it up to you, just let me know. And I’ll pay you a full two months wages too, it’s the least I can do.”
John was a good guy, and I couldn’t be mad at him, especially after the night I’d had. So I just told him I understood, took his money, and went off home to think.
Mary and I had not talked about meeting again, but in my heart, I knew it was more than a one night stand. I had no idea where it would lead, or how long it would last, but I knew for sure that I wanted to see Mary again. I also needed to think about what I wanted to do with my life now that my brief career as a café proprietor had finished, but with 2 months wages in my pocket, I decided that could wait.
I wondered into town and picked up a local paper to look at the jobs available section, but only listlessly scanned them. By early evening, I was feeling irritable and bored, so I decided to go over to the Walpole Arms again. As an afterthought I packed an overnight bag and stopped to buy condoms, I had a feeling I would need them.
At the bar, both girls smiled when they saw me walk in, and I was pleased to see Mary blush slightly as I entered the room. I had a pleasant evening getting to know the locals, and I even lent a hand behind the bar when they got busy. I was introduced to Angelina –“Angel to my friends”, and it soon became apparent that she was Dani’s girlfriend. Come closing time Angel and I were invited for a cup of coffee while the girls finished cashing up, and then Dani asked if I was staying the night again. Before I could answer, Mary said, “Of course he is, only he’s staying in my room tonight.” The she paused and said, “Well if that’s OK Dani?”
“Sure it is” Dani replied, “Only do try and keep the noise down tonight, some of us are trying to sleep you know!” Angel laughed “Not if I have anything to do with it!” she said.
So began this odd arrangement that, after a while, became just ordinary. I’d spend a couple of nights a week with Mary at the Walpole. Occasionally, when she could drag herself away from the pub, Mary would come out with me for a ride to the coast, or to another village for a meal. Sometimes she would even abandon the bar altogether for the night and stay at my place by the river.