Planning Ahead

Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

Steve looked doubtful. “Are you sure?” He peered around the corner from the back room out into the shop. Jeanette was sitting at the till, checking some sort of list with Adele.

Fiona nodded. “Jeanette asked, and it seems the least we can do. They have had such a wild time of it, and I think Jeanette’s feeling under pressure from Lady Freydis.”

“Is Lady Freydis still furious that she won’t get a fancy Easter Wedding from them?” Steve asked.

Fiona nodded. “But a romantic winter wedding will help, perhaps. And Jeanette has enough on her plate with getting ready for the baby.”

Steve gave Fiona a quick hug. “You won’t mind?”

Fiona hugged him back. “To be honest, I’m sort of glad I don’t have that pressure on me. As long as I know you love me, I can look back and say that it was the perfect wedding for us.”

Steve remembered their wedding. Both of them had worn bedraggled clothes and neither had been at their best. Fiona was pale and still bandaged after the attack by Rey, and he had been suffering from the crash after using so much magic and running on such an adrenaline rush. Darren had worn jeans, but at least he was wearing a dog collar, and the middle aged nurse and the chaplaincy visitor had been visibly touched to be the witnesses. It had been intimate and loving, a solemn vow before God to love each other, without all the fuss and expense that Jeanette and Adele seemed to be dealing with. “It was perfect for me, because you were there.”

“You say the best things.” Fiona said. “So I said that of course they could have the wedding at our house.” She grimaced. “But that means we need to get the house sorted. I’m not sure we have time.”

Steve stroked Fiona’s hair. “Ian’s already sorted out the plumbing, so that’s not a problem. We’ve got plenty of rooms for the wedding party, and we can get it decorated in the next week or two.” He thought. “What are they doing about food and stuff?”

Fiona stroked his hand. “Jeanette said that Ian was insisting on brownie catering, and we can get some marquees in the garden. The grass is short enough.” She grinned. “And you won’t be doing any of the decorating. You’ve got that big deal going down in Cardiff.”

Steve groaned. “I can’t really miss it.”

“I know,” Fiona said, “And we’ll be fine. I’ll see if Dave will help out. He says he’s a bit quiet for the next few weeks.”

“Get the pack to help out as well.” Steve said. “In fact, talk it over with Ian and Jeanette. I think they may be very precise about how things are set up.” There was a crash outside, followed by a thump. “I think we had better see what is happening.”

They went into the shop and Lady Freydis was looking coldly at a tall, blond elfen who was looking confused. She picked up a battered brass teapot and handed it gently to him. “I refuse to throw things at you, and this is junk.”

“But Lady Freydis, I thought you liked junk.” The elfen took the teapot and looked at it blankly. “You have lots of junk, from Mr Albert.”

Fiona glanced at Atherton who was sitting at one of the tables and trying not to laugh. “You can’t leave that in the shop.” She pointed at a supermarket trolley filled with miscellaneous brass and tin knickknacks.

Lady Freydis turned to Fiona. “Do you know what Cameron said? He said that he’s brought tribute and trusts it will allow him to not marry me. Can you believe that? He says he doesn’t want to marry me! That is not possible! It’s reverse psychology.”

“Please take the junk.” Cameron said. “And while you are truly beautiful, I am in love.”

“You are always in love.” Lady Freydis snapped. “What is it this time?”

Cameron frowned. “That is uncalled for. I am sometimes in love with people.”

Lady Freydis avoided looking at Atherton who was trying to stifle laughter. “You give the elfen a bad name. What are you in love with this time?”

“I am no longer so shallow.” Cameron sighed. “I have found a special place. She means a lot to me, you know, and we have such an amazing connection.” Atherton fell off the chair.

Lady Freydis took a breath. “Cameron, when most people say that they have fallen in love with a place, they don’t usually mean in a romantic way.” She turned pointedly away from Atherton who couldn’t get up. “Where is this place? How have you come to form a connection?”

“She is a scrapyard, and I call her Rose, as she is so fair.” Cameron said.

“But it’s going to be full of iron?” Lady Freydis said. She looked at him suspiciously. “Are these stolen?” Jack had turned up and was laughing while trying to help Atherton who was gasping for breath.

“It’s okay.” Sir Ewan walked in with Sir Craig. “We were a little concerned, but it turns out that young Cameron here-”

“I am not young!” Cameron said.

“Mr Cameron here has been helping out the scrapyard over the summer with some maintenance.” Sir Ewan said. “They paid him a fair amount, and gave him a discount on some…” He trailed off and looked at the trolley.

“It’s tribute and a chance to explain to the beautiful Lady Freydis that I am not available for romance.”

“Is he alright?” Sir Craig said, looking at Atherton rolling on the floor in hysterics. “The scrapyard looked lovely, by the way, very artistic, even at this time of year.”

Fiona knew that the elfen could amazing things with plants, if they wanted to be bothered. “Where is this scrapyard? I’m sure it looks beautiful.” She caught sight of Cameron’s expression. “I’m sure she looks beautiful.” Atherton howled.

“There’s some most well kept thingy.” Cameron waved a hand. “And a magazine will visit. I don’t know the details. I thought it was the least I could do for Rose, and if the stupid manager was willing to give me money for it, then I was happy to take it.”

“You were trying to get immunity to iron, weren’t you?” Sir Craig said.

Cameron looked furtive. “Perhaps initially, but that was before I met her.” He sighed.

“Just take this stuff away.” Fiona said. “It can’t stay in the shop.”

“Too late.” Cameron said. “It is given as tribute.”

“Can I tell Callum that we’re putting some stuff from a scrapyard in warehouse?” Mrs Tuesday said innocently. “I just want to see his little face.”

“He’s a little stressed with the wedding.” Fiona said. “Perhaps we should let him get on with it. You know what Adele’s family can be like.”

Mrs Tuesday looked past the trolley. “Jason! You managed to get here!”

Steve looked over to a dangerous looking man who had just come in. He was tall, broad shouldered and his eyes were a lot older than his face. Mrs Tuesday bustled out from the café and gave him a hug as Sir Craig tensed.

Mrs Tuesday turned around. “This is Jason Keys, the one I told you about. He’s staying in York for the next few days.” She turned to Jason. “Where are you staying?”

“I’ve got a place in a B&B out in Fulford.” Jason said.

“I believe a lot of the places out there are run by werewolves.” Sir Craig said. “It’s probably not a good idea. Which one are you staying at?”

“I’ll be fine.” Jason said coolly.

“Why can’t you stay here?” Lady Freydis asked. “I am sure there is no issue with a good friend of Mrs Tuesday spending a few nights.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Sir Craig repeated. “Jason doesn’t always deal well with non-normals.”

“But Mrs Tuesday is a boggart.” Lady Freydis said, looking between Sir Craig and Jason.

“It’s okay,” Jason didn’t flinch from Sir Craig’s hard stare. “I’m okay with non-normals these days. I’m not a danger to the peace.”

“It’s not that.” Sir Craig said awkwardly. He looked around. Atherton had stopped laughing and got to his feet, ready to protect his prince. Jack was clearly assessing Jason, a frown on his face, and Mrs Tuesday was looking daggers at Sir Craig. Cameron was starting to edge out of the shop.

Jack broke the tense silence as he strolled over to Fiona and draped a casual arm around her shoulders. “I think Jason should stay here and enjoy Mrs Tuesday’s cooking.” He grinned. “And I shall stay out of the way so I cannot cause any problems. Perhaps I should I take a leaf out of Cameron’s book and sort out the garden of my Fair Fiona?”

Steve did not look impressed.

Some may recognise the name of Jason Keys, as that of Sir Jason Keys, who had a hard time in Digging Up the Past. I have made some small changes in the last few pages of the book, so Jason can continue to cause trouble. Leave a comment below if you need me to let you know about the very minor changes.

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