Today was Jane’s day in the sun. At least, it was until Pamela brought her wasp-waisted tongue to join the conversation.
“Have you heard?” Her high notes struck the air.
“It’s in the stars,” muttered Chloe, turning away.
“Next July we collide with Mars!” Her alter ego, Zoe, followed her.
Lorelei stood up to Pamela. “If you mean about Jane, yes, we’ve heard. We were just rejoicing in her good news.”
“Good news?” Pamela chortled, her laughter echoing through the azaleas and resounding from the jacarandas. “It was on this morning, by noon it was off; then on again and off again – who knows where it stands at the moment. Dwayne tells me that Thomas has his feet in the freezer and Jane, poor Jane, doesn’t know which end is up. I saw the doctor going into the house as I came past. Wonder what that means? Oh, there’s Sandra, I wonder if she knows ...”
The clatter of her shoes took up where the rattle of her lips left off. We watched the sway of her retreating hips in silence. The silence was broken by a concerted expulsion of breath. Julia echoed our thoughts: “What was that all about?”
We looked at each other, and turned to Lorelei. “Have you any idea what Pamela was talking about, Lorie?”
Lorelei shook her head. “All I know is about Jane’s promotion at work. She has worked so hard to get the qualifications she deserves the recognition she has been given. But Pamela, well, you know Pamela: before the afternoon is out she’ll have the whole town buzzing about Jane and Thomas. And she never says anything definite, so everyone will be looking question marks at everyone else and poor Jane and Thomas will come in for a lot of speculation and surmise. Tell you what, I’ll go and see Jane and we’ll try to get this sorted out before Pamela turns the town upside down.”
“Good idea, Lorie. We’ll find a quiet corner where we can get a cup of coffee and we’ll spend the next half hour or so in prayer. When this sort of thing starts we need all the help we can get.” Julia was a positive soul.
“Great. See if you can get a garden table at Clancy’s Cafe and I’ll join you when I’ve spoken to Jane.” Lorelei hurried away.
Clancy’s was a favourite meeting place and close by so we were quickly served and seated. Julia slipped a tiny New Testament from her pocket.
“Before we begin let’s just read Philippians 4 verses 6 to 9. ‘Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honourable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. Do what you learned and received from me. And the God who gives peace will be with you.’ “
She closed the book, keeping her hand over it. “We’ll pray for Jane and Thomas, they need protection from gossip of any sort, and we know they need the Lord’s provision as they prepare for their wedding. But we also need to pray for Pamela and Dwayne: they have been the cause of no little heartache in this town. I am surprised that anyone takes any notice of them anymore, but I think it is not what they say; the trouble is with what they don’t say. They start the rumours but they can always step back and say that they didn’t say that, and they refuse to take any responsibility for what they start. Viv, will you start, honey, and we’ll pray round the circle.”
We were still praying when Lorelei rejoined us, sliding into the chair that was waiting for her. Julia brought the prayer session to a close. We looked to Lorelei. She was smiling hugely.
“Jane and Thomas are fine. The doctor was there to discuss his part in the ceremony – he is her mother’s cousin and as her father has died he will be giving her away. Coming back I saw Pamela with the pastor’s wife attached to her – literally, she had Pam firmly by the arm, and Pamela couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I expect Mrs. Beale will sort her out well and good.”
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