Chapter XVII

Back to Rookery Hall 2005. The phone went down. That was that. It had ended before it began. I stood at the window and stared out across the darkening fields. We didn’t speak for a few seconds then Sarah turned round and in a flat, determined tone said.
“Tom, why don’t you go down to the bar and have a drink? I’m going to make some calls.”
The look on her face was a look that I have since 2005 grown to know and love. This look was one of, “trust me, I know what I’m doing.”
I have a similar “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” face. Usually, when we are driving somewhere and Sarah is insisting that we are lost. Then, after driving past the same pub for the fourth time I sometimes put on my “I know what your thinking but I never bought this stupid satnav anyway” face.
Then Sarah will fold her arms and put on her “I’m saying nothing” face. Then I will turn round and …
Ok, I know what your all doing, your all doing your “Get on with the story Tom!” faces.
Don’t you just love it when your partner takes control ? (stop it). I hadn’t known her for that long but I was getting to understand her personality. Shy but at the same time nobodies fool . A pragmatist. Give her a problem and she can sort it out. Although I had resigned myself to an early bath, I knew that if we were going to rescue the situation, Sarah could do it.
I sauntered down to the lounge – a cosy oak lined snug with high back leather chairs and dried flowers in the hearth. David, the guy who showed us to our rooms was behind the bar. I Leaned against the counter, flicked a toothpick into my mouth and ordered a shot of bourbon. I took a sip. It was bloody horrible.
David looked over to the door “The lady not joining us yet sir?”
“No she’s on the phone to her husband”
Now, I don’t know what face David pulled next, but it definitely wasn’t a “have a nice day” face.
“Well, ex husband, well when I say ex I mean soon to be, er..”
“I’m sure everything will be sorted out soon sir.”
I think that was waiter-speak for “You nasty little weasel”
I tried to make small talk but David tuned his back on me and started slicing his lemons. The snap of the knife on the chopping board the only sound to puncture the terrible silence.
Looked at my watch. I had been in the bar only seven minutes. It felt like seven hours. A middle aged couple strolled in hand in hand. David span round and a simpering smile dripped from his lips.
“And are you here to celebrate anything in particular sir?
“Yes, its our anniversary.
David glared over at me “Oh isn’t that lovely? How romantic.” Then he returned to his lemons
What do you do when you are alone in a bar without a smart phone to make you look like you’ve got loads of mates? Here were my options;
Eat all the peanuts. Too greedy
Rip up all the beermats. Too messy
Make small talk with the barman.
It was another ten minutes before Sarah reappeared. She sat down next to me and smiled.
“Are you going to just sit there or are you going to get me a drink?
“Why? Are we cool
“As a cucumber. She’s gone to my Mum’s.
“What about –
“We wont hear from him again tonight. Trust me.
“Right so we having a drink or what ?
“Yes. Excuse me, can I see the menu?
David was over like a shot “Of course madam”
“Have we got time to order?
She put her hand on my leg. Don’t worry Tom, we’ve got all night.
I looked up at David, who smiled and gave me a wink
And if you click on the link below you will find out what happened next

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