WEEKLY SOAP Riverside
Carol receives an unlikely visitor in the café . . .
SAM leaped up from his seat on the riverside bench. The red ball was floating on the water now and a young boy was running down the bank towards it, heading straight for the river.
“Brady! Come back! Don’t go near the water!”
Sam didn’t hear the boy’s mother cry.
The boy was slipping on the bank, his little trainers sliding in the mud, and he was unable to stop himself from heading further down.
“Brady!” the woman called again.
Sam threw himself after the boy. All he could think about was grabbing hold of him to stop him from falling into the water.
The boy fell and tumbled over, rolling faster down, and Sam took his chance. He ran and slipped down the bank, past the young boy who was just inches away from the river’s edge.
Sam grabbed hold of the boy’s anorak as the child tumbled down towards him and lifted him to safety. The boy began to cry. Sam took a few deep breaths to steady himself against the shock of what had just happened, then he started to walk up the bank. He stood stock still when he saw who was waiting for him on the path.
“Claire?” he cried. “What are you doing here?”
Claire held out her hands to the boy in Sam’s arms and the child started bawling louder still. “Mummy! My ball!” She hugged Brady tight. “Are you all right?” she asked. “You’re not hurting anywhere?”
Brady shook his head and slowly started sniffing away his tears.
Claire smiled at Sam. “You saved his life, Sam. One minute he was at my side, kicking his ball along the pathway. I turn my head for a second, and he’s halfway down the bank chasing after his football.
“I can’t thank you enough. It’s given me a real shakeup. I’ll never take my eyes off him again.”
Sam pointed towards the bench.
“Do you mind if I sit for a few minutes? My legs have gone all shaky.”
Claire sat beside him on the bench, keeping hold of Brady, who was waving goodbye to his football as it slowly floated away.
“We were on our way home,” Claire explained. “What are you doing here? I thought you were working in the pub today.”
Sam cast his gaze to the grass at his feet.
“Jim’s back and I couldn’t face telling him about the explosion in the cellar. I wanted to do a bit of thinking before I told him what had happened.”
“Are you heading there now?” she asked.
Sam looked at his watch. “I can take another half an hour’s break.”
“Well, my mum will have the kettle on if you want to spend the half hour with us? It’s the least I can do after you saved Brady’s life. Mum wants to meet you.” “Does she?”
“Of course.” Claire smiled. “I talk about you all the time. She’s always asking me to bring home Sam from the pub for tea. It seems that the perfect time is now. What do you say?” Sam stood up.
“Lead the way.” He smiled.
The next evening in the Old Engine Room, Carol and Anna were treating themselves to a rare night out together.
Business in the salon was going well and they’d decided to splash out and make the most of Clive’s special Hallowe’en menu.
“I like the sound of this one,” Carol said, pointing at the menu. “Pumpkin risotto with a devilish sage sauce.”
“I think I’ll try the roast chestnut and the ghoulishy good greens,” Anna replied.
“Good choice, ladies, if you don’t mind me saying so,” Dave said as he tapped their order into his electronic pad.
“Can I tempt you with a Hallowe’en cocktail this evening?”
“I’ll have a Witch’s Cauldron, please,” Carol said.
“And a Grapefruit Gravedigger for me,” Anna added.
Once Dave was out of earshot, Carol let out a big sigh.
“What’s up?” Anna asked. “What have you got to be looking so unhappy about?”
“I miss having a boyfriend.” Carol sighed. “There are no decent single men in Ryemouth. I feel like Katherine Hepburn without her Spencer Tracy; like Lauren Bacall without Humphrey Bogart; like –”
“Fish and chips without vinegar?” Anna smiled. “Exactly.” Carol sighed. She put her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her hands.
“I’m not looking for Mr Right,” she moaned.
“Do you miss Juan since you moved back from Spain?” Anna asked.
“Heavens, no!” Carol cried.
Just then the door of the deli swung open and in walked a small man with dark hair and a pencil-thin moustache.
He marched over to Carol and Anna’s window table.
“Juan!” Carol cried when she caught sight of her ex-boyfriend. “What are you doing in England?”
“I come all the way from Spain to tell you I love you.”
Juan sank on to bended knee at the side of Carol’s chair, and before she could stop him, he took her hand in his.
“I want to do the marry, Carol. You give me your answer, yes?”
More next week.