Natasha and Sally had got into the community fundraising experience, and prepared a gymnastics show.
“I’m not sure about this,” whispered Harriet as she queued with Liam.
“Me neither,” he replied in amusement. “But at least they’re doing something. And it looks like they’ve sold a lot of tickets.”
“That’s because we all need a good chuckle,” she muttered. He laughed, as did the couple behind them.
The church hall was filled as everyone awaited the arrivals of the gymnasts.
“Eva would’ve loved this,” said Harriet.
“You know my sister all too well.”
Katy Perry blasted out and leaping onto the stage came Natasha and Sally.
“No, Deirdre and Patsy?” Whispered Harriet.
“I don’t think they’re fans,” he whispered back. Natasha did a very impressive no hand cartwheel whilst Sally twirled on one foot.
“I take it back, they’re not bad.”
“Thank god,” he mumbled. It was her turn to snicker.
The show ended in box splits, and a lengthy round of applause.
They permitted people who purchased a blue ticket to stay for wine and cheese, and those without soon left.
“Good turnout,” said Liam to Natasha.
“Pastor Liam, it’s nice to see you here. Did you come with anyone?” She smiled at Harriet.
“Harriet invited me.” He replied.
“Did she? How’s that gorgeous boyfriend of yours?”
“Ex,” she frowned, avoiding the ‘you helped celebrate my break-up’ speech. It was pointless, Natasha needed her kicks wherever she could get them.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” smirked Natasha.
“So now you’re free, you’re making a move on Pastor Liam?” Giggled Sally.
“That’s enough,” said Liam.
“I can’t blame you sweetheart, he is unbelievably attractive,” she touched his arm, but he instinctively pulled away.
“I need some fresh air,” said Harriet, and walked off. Liam was about to rebuke the women, when they swanned off to receive compliments from their admirers. He put his wine down and went after Harriet.
“Pay no attention to them.”
“I’m not, but they’re only saying what others will say – I’m trying to make a move on you.”
“And is that such a bad thing?” He smiled and moved closer.
“No,” she hesitated. “It’s awkward though, you’re a man of god, and I’m just a…”
“Very beautiful woman.”
“I was going to say millionaire,” she scoffed in good humour. “You can see how this will get awkward?”
“I’m not a priest, I can get married.”
“No, no, I didn’t mean it like that, I wasn’t proposing. Shit, now this is awkward.”
“And would you?” She asked earnestly.
“In a heartbeat.”
“I think I should go home. I’ll call you.” She said, her heart thumping in her chest. If he had proposed to her right there in the street, she probably would’ve accepted.
What on earth is wrong with me?
“Okay,” he replied, and watched her walk away. “I’m such a bloody idiot,” he mumbled to himself.
Nathan called to let Harriet know that Viking’s Cider, and Sanders Soaps had agreed to sponsor the race.
“Frieda suggested that Golden Ice creams should also sponsor the race.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
“How’s things?” She asked, wanting to hear his voice for a few more minutes, anything to distract her from Liam’s non-proposal.
“Not bad. It feels weird packing up my office.”
“You’re still coming to race next month?”
“I wouldn’t miss it.”
“40 people have signed up now.”
“I know, I’m almost gave up several times, but if it wasn’t for Liam’s enthusiasm.”
“Glad to hear it,” he said, genuinely pleased for her. “Well, I’ll see you on the big day.” He rang off and followed Lori out of the room.
Liam hoped to see Harriet in church, but once again she wasn’t in attendance. He suddenly wondered if the thought of being a pastor’s girlfriend or even wife repelled her, maybe he repelled her? No, her kisses suggested otherwise, so why had she ignored his calls. Surely the M and L words didn’t scare her that much?
“So you and Mr handsome have definitely broke up?” Asked Natasha as they stood in the shop queue behind Patsy.
“Yes,” replied Harriet.
“Do you think I stand a chance?”
“Pity. Hey Pastor Liam’s a free man.”
“I guess so.”
“I think I’d make a gorgeous pastor’s wife. You know the whole tarts and vicars thang?” she chuckled. Patsy turned and frowned at her. “What?” She hissed. “Nosey old bag.”
“I don’t think we should discuss Pastor Liam’s private life in public,” said Harriet.
“I couldn’t agree more,” replied Patsy. “You should be more careful of the company you keep, Miss Golden,” she said firmly, and left.
“Liam doesn’t have a private life,” smirked Natasha and waited for Harriet’s reaction. “Or does he?” Harriet said nothing. She paid for her shopping and headed home. Natasha dashed after her.
“Come on, spill the beans. I know something’s going on between you two. The chemistry is sizzling.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.” She blushed.
“He talks about you all the time, he’s totally besotted.”
“I’m sure he’s only mentioning me because of the bike race.”
“Stuff that! He likes you, why can’t you accept that?”
“I don’t know.”
Natasha took hold of Harriet’s hand and said.
“I’d give anything for a man to look at me the way Liam does with you. Don’t run from him, he’s a good bloke. And not because of all the boring church stuff.”
“I don’t mind the church stuff,” whispered Harriet.
“Then what’s wrong?”
“When I moved here, I was looking for a fresh start, away from dramas, but as usual I’m in the middle of one.”
“It’s only a drama if you want it to be.” Harriet smiled and hugged her. “Thanks for organising the race, we’re looking so forward to it. Even misery guts herself.
“Glad to hear it,” she replied. “How is Stacey?”
“Cheered up a lot now she’s on the payroll, and has a boyfriend. It’s nice to have a relationship with my daughter again.” They said their goodbyes and went separate ways.
Harriet was going to head home, when she felt it was time to call in on Liam.
“Hi,” he said in surprise. “I wasn’t expecting you.” His hair was damp and spiky as he had just had a shower.
“Can I come in?”
“Of course,” he stepped aside. “Are you busy?”
“For you? Never.”
“You really mean that don’t you?” She choked.
“Yes I do, and,” before he could continued, she stopped him with a kiss.