WEEKLY SOAP Riverside

Carol re­ceives an un­likely vis­i­tor in the café . . .

The People's Friend - - This Week - by Glenda Young

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.

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