Chapter 2

Fay entered The Wheelhouse and scanned the people in the room for Sal and Pat. The bar was housed in an old building where the paintwork and furniture had seen better days. The darkness of the woodwork and navy blue walls didn’t add much to the decor either and gave the impression that the bar was narrower than it actually was. Despite this though the place had a homely feel about it with the pictures and soft furnishings that had been dotted around the room; and many of the British workers in the town frequented the establishment for the warm welcome they received from Ruth, the bar owner, who always offered a sympathetic ear and friendly conversation. Expats could often be seen sitting at the bar reading one of the paperback books that lined the shelves running down the length of the room, or watching a DVD of classic British television whilst enjoying a beer.

Fay eventually spotted Sal sitting at the far end of the bar with an assortment of take away boxes in front of her. As she made her way across the room a number of people looked up and smiled or waved at Fay.
“Hi you two, I see you’ve introduced Sal to the local take away then Pat,” Fay said as she approached them. A woman with wild curly hair and a bright smile looked up.
“Well, it would be rude not to,” Pat said with a wink. Fay sat next to them at the bar and peered into the takeaway box.
“What is this anyway?” she asked with curiosity, looking down at the remains of some kind of meat in sauce.
“Mmm it was lovely, Chef Chicken and potatoes in the oven, not to mention an excellent glass of local wine. Good place is this Fay. Can’t believe they let you eat takeaways in here too.” Sal replied.
“Yep, as long as you order drinks and don’t cause too much chaos the rules are pretty much that there are none.”
Pat laughed and looked at Sal dubiously. “Well I’m sure that Sal can manage to order the drinks but do you really think she’s capable of not causing any chaos?” Fay shook her head and they both chuckled. Sal smiled sarcastically.

The bar owner overheard the tail end of their conversation and appeared in front of them, folding her arms on the bar and leaning over it to talk.
“Who’s causing chaos in my bar?” Ruth asked with a grin.
“No chaos as of yet Ruth but watch this space.” Pat said looking across at Sal.
Sal abruptly put her wine glass down on the bar and glared at them. “Hey, I’m being picked on here and I’ve only just arrived!”
“Don’t worry Sal; I’ve seen these two cause enough chaos in their time. Glass of wine Fay?” Ruth asked.
“Go on then Ruth but I can’t stay long, I’ve got a review to finish I’m afraid.”
Sal turned to Fay with a frown. “You can’t work tonight; it’s my first night here!”
“Sorry Sal but if I get it done tonight then we’ll have the whole day tomorrow free. And besides it looks as though it’s the last one I’ll be doing for a while so I’ll have lots of spare time then,” she said trying to appease Sal and thanking Ruth as she placed a glass of wine on the bar for her and cleared away the empty takeaway boxes.
Sal sulked for a while and then turned to Pat. “But you’ll stay out for a bit won’t you?”
“Sure, someone has to keep an eye on you!” Pat exclaimed.
“Yes, she’s already invited a complete stranger back to my apartment,” Fay added.
Pat smiled knowingly at Fay. “Ah yes, so I heard. A tall, dark stranger who wanted to get you into the shower eh Fay.”
“That wouldn’t happen to be the same tall, dark stranger who is sitting over there would it?” Ruth interjected, pointing across the room.
“Oh wonderful!” Fay exclaimed, looking nervously down the bar. “And by the way, he didn’t want to get me into the shower so you can stop that rumour right now!” Ruth, Pat and Sal looked at Fay with wide eyes at the sudden harshness in her voice.
“You seem very touchy on the subject Fay,” Ruth teased, “are you sure you aren’t harbouring any lustful thoughts for this man?”
Fay rolled her eyes. “You are all being completely ridiculous! I have to go soon anyway so I’ll leave you to your outrageous gossiping… and come to think of it, out of all the bars in town how come he ended up in this one Sal?”
Sal glanced down sheepishly. “Err, I might have told him where we were going.”
“Hmm, thought so.”
“Let’s take a look at him then.” Pat said, leaning past Fay and straining to catch a glimpse of the newcomer.
“Don’t look now, he’s coming over,” Ruth warned.

Fay looked up in shock to see the man approaching them. “You embarrass me now and you can find yourself somewhere else to live!” she whispered to Sal. The man stopped behind Fay and leant forward to order a drink.
“Can I get a beer please? And whatever the ladies would like,” he said grinning down at Fay who was trying her best to ignore his presence. Pat and Sal looked delighted and ordered more wine.
“None for me I’m afraid, I have to go,” Fay said emptying the contents of her glass and standing up. She turned to the man with a false smile. “Thanks anyway,” she said. He shrugged.
“I’ll see you later Sal. Bye everyone,” Fay called out, turning abruptly and striding out of the bar.

The man watched her leave before turning to look at Ruth. “Bit uptight that one isn’t she?”
Ruth laughed and leant across the bar to speak in a hushed voice, “Not usually, maybe it’s just you.”
He grinned.
“Perhaps you would like to join us for a drink then, err…” The man began, waiting for an introduction.
“Ruth. And this is Pat and Sal,” Ruth said gesturing to them.
“Adam,” he supplied, shaking hands with all three. “Where has she disappeared to so quickly then?” he asked, glancing at the door through which Fay had just exited.
“She has some work to finish off. She writes reviews for holiday companies,” Sal explained. Adam looked up suddenly in shock and began to laugh, putting a hand over his face and shaking his head. The women looked puzzled by his reaction.
“Don’t tell me, her name is Fay Thompson.”
“How did you know?” Sal said with surprise.
“She was recommended to me. I was going to offer her some work,” he informed them, glancing again towards the doorway.
“Oh, she has just told us that she was going home to finish her last review for a while so she would probably be glad of some more work, hold on,” Ruth said, moving down the bar and reappearing with a card in her hand. “Here, this is her contact number.” He took the card and looked at it with a smile. “This should be interesting,’ he said to himself as he slipped the card into his pocket.

The End

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