My Daft Boyfriend

Sweet Ro­mance

My Weekly - - Contents - By Jo Styles

Iam go­ing up af­ter him,” Jack called from the bot­tom of the gar­den – just be­fore he sneezed. “Achoo!” He fished out his han­kie and blew his nose.

In sweet Septem­ber a stray sneeze could feel very poignant to El­lie. She aban­doned her job of snip­ping off dead flower heads in the bor­der and charged down the lawn.

She found Jack tilt­ing back his head and squint­ing up into the boughs of the old ash tree.

“I can’t just leave him, can I? He’s been up there all day.”

She gazed up too. “He loves climb­ing. He’s a cat, it’s what cats do. He gets down him­self usu­ally.”

“Even so… he still might be stuck for all we know.” True. Al­though nor­mally Sylvester could climb up­wards, side­ways and back­wards, he might have lost his nerve this afternoon.

Jack SHUF­FLED back­wards so that the CAT would FOL­LOW him

“What’s your plan then?” El­lie asked Jack. “You do have one, don’t you?”

Is he wor­ried about falls and bro­ken bones? Have all the con­se­quences of this passed him by? El­lie wished she could blame all her shal­low breaths on the pollen float­ing about the lawn.

“I’ll climb my lad­der up to the branch he’s on,” Jack said. “I prom­ise I’ll be care­ful.” he added. “Hon­est.”

“I hardly call that a plan. Maybe you need to… to..…”

Too late, he charged off to get ev­ery­thing or­gan­ised.

As soon as Jack set his big metal lad­der against the tree’s wide trunk, El­lie took a good hard grip on its sides. “I’ll hold it steady for you.” She watched as up the rungs he climbed.

“Come on, Sylvester. Come here!” he called when he stood at eye-level with the right branch. “He’s not mov­ing. I’m go­ing to have to go and get him.”

Jack stretched up, took a good grip then, mon­key-fash­ion, clam­bered into the leaves. Set­tling him­self astride the bough he wrig­gled down it.

“Sylvester. Come on. Come here.”

The beige blob that was Sylvester did ac­tu­ally edge closer. As he did so, Jack shuf­fled back­wards again so the cat would fol­low him. At the point where the branch met the tree he peered down.

“What are you go­ing to do now?” El­lie called. “You can’t carry Sylvester and get back onto your lad­der, can you? You don’t have

He’d given her a KIT­TEN even though he was AL­LER­GIC to cats

enough hands. I knew this was a bad idea.”

“Achoo!” A sneeze echoed alarm­ingly through the green­ery.

No, this was not a good month for stray sneezes… and bad ideas. They stirred up too many mem­o­ries of lap­tops… and of Sassy-Girl981.

In Septem­ber two years ago, El­lie had moved into Jack’s house. While he was out she bor­rowed his lap­top, hers hav­ing over­heated in an un­sea­son­ally hot spell. Jack hadn’t logged out of the so­cial me­dia site he used as a home­page. She gaw­ped at what had gone on be­tween him and Sassy-Girl981.

“I wasn’t flirt­ing with her at all.” He’d looked sheep­ish and ill-at-ease when he re­turned home and she’d con­fronted him. “It was just… just silly ban­ter.”

“You didn’t think, did you?” El­lie had replied in numb dis­be­lief. “It didn’t even oc­cur to you that I’d think you were all set to cheat on me. You never think, do you, Jack?”

She could so eas­ily have walked out on him. She very nearly did, too.

Now, up in the branches he yelled down, “It’s all right. I know what I’m do­ing.” Leav­ing Sylvester be­hind, he clam­bered back down onto his lad­der. Once an­chored to a rung with one hand, he reached up and, like a mother cat, plucked the cat off the tree by the scruff of his neck. Then, with one arm still braced through a rung, he man­aged to get Sylvester tucked up un­der his arm. What a cir­cus act!

“Achoo!” He sneezed yet again as he de­scended. “He’s fine. He’s all right. And so am I.”

Safely back on the lawn, he handed Sylvester over.

Septem­ber, a stray sneeze, a plan, and now a cat… mem­o­ries piled up. The day af­ter the dis­cov­ery of Sassy-Girl981 and their first ma­jor row, Jack had pre­sented El­lie with a tiny ball of fluff.

“He’s a peace-of­fer­ing,” he’d said like a re­morse­ful child rather than a 23year-old. “I know how much you’ve al­ways wanted a cat.”

She’d quiv­ered – and so had the kit­ten in her arms.

“But you’re al­ler­gic to cats, Jack. That’s why I can’t have one. He’ll have to go back. You didn’t think of all the con­se­quences, did you? Yet again!”

Jack hadn’t looked ashamed or guilty this time. He’d smiled in­stead.

“Ac­tu­ally, I did. That’s why I searched ev­ery­where for a Ba­li­nese. I did some re­search, you see. I found out they’re more hy­poal­ler­genic than other cats. I’ve also stocked up on an­ti­his­tamines, just in case. I know what I’m do­ing here, El­lie. Let me say I’m sorry this way. Please. Let me prove you can trust me to think things through. I won’t hurt you ever again, I prom­ise.”

Now, in the gar­den un­der the ash tree, Jack stroked Sylvester’s head. “I couldn’t let any­thing hap­pen to him, could I? It would break your heart… and mine.”

El­lie did take great com­fort from days like these, full of stray sneezes… and cats. She did oc­ca­sion­ally still worry Jack would slip back into his old ways but he had proved he’d much rather keep his all prom­ises to her. She’d keep all her prom­ises to him as well – in­clud­ing the one she’d made to marry him in two weeks’ time.

She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Do you know what you are, Jack?” It wasn’t as if she hadn’t asked him be­fore.

He looked very pleased with him­self. “I’m your man with a plan, El­lie.”

And what a won­der­ful plan it had turned out to be.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.