A Week in June: Part 15

Clara meets Jacob at the Austrian restaurant, stumbles across the pavement in her high heels, wiping the tears from her face, folding her arms in a hump.

 

Jacob:

Hello, Clara.

 

Clara:

Jacob.

 

Jacob:

What’s wrong?

 

Clara:

Sorry, it’s … it’s Cesca. We’ve just had a

Dust-up. She’s like totally in the wrong.

 

Jacob:

Oh? She seemed fine with me this afternoon.

 

Clara:

And she hasn’t got back to you since then?

 

Jacob checks on the voice mail his mobile phone.

 

Jacob:

No messages, except your pleasant voice.

 

Clara:

Awww … well, she’s like such a God damned harlot.

 

Jacob:

Listen, I don’t want to rush you, Clara,

Given your frightful state, but you’d better

Tell me quickly, someone is joining us.

 

Clara:

You never said, Cesca mentioned … no one

Tells me anything till …

 

Jacob:

It’s a surprize.

 

Clara:

Well, that’s something, I guess. Anyway, she …

She didn’t give you your ticket, did she?

 

Jacob:

No … now you mention it.

 

Clara:

You ain’t going.

 

Jacob puts his arms around his waist and looks to the ground, shaking his head, before looking back up at Clara.

 

Jacob:

But it’s … I can’t not go because you two …

 

Clara:

It’s the reason why we fell out. I was

Absolutely struck numb. Her father has

Invited an Italian Count here.

 

Jacob:

Yeah … so?

 

Clara:

Listen, this Count has a box at Royal

Ascot. And the two of them are total

Arse lickers. So, Jeremiah’s using

Your own ticket.

 

Jacob:

Bloody Nora.

 

Jacob kicks the lamppost in frustration.

 

Clara:

That’s not the worst of it. OK, I’m sure

You’ll get over that soon, but Cesca’s been

All over him since he’s arrived. In fact,

They were at it when I rung, so filthy.

And to think that I …  I loved her .. but now …

 

Cesca covers her palms over her eyes. Jacob tuts and waves his arms in the air, sticking up two fingers in the general direction of Francesca’s home.

 

Clara:

Anyway, I totally stood by you

Against that slut, and then she said as if

She cares about a pair of poor orphans.

 

Jacob

So she has been using us all along?

 

Clara:

Yeah, that’s the gist of it. Such a vamp’s not

Worth the hassle. She’s a deceitful bitch.

 

Jacob:

Come here, give me a hug, cousin.

 

Jacob reaches out to Clara but she pulls his arms away after a few seconds.

 

Clara:

So, you know that we’re … did Cesca tell you?

 

Jacob:

Yes, and no. I mean, that’s part of the surprize.

 

Clara:

Oh right. I was shocked the way she told me,

Just in passing, mocking it’s importance

Like some petty trifle. Oh, Jacob, how

Long I have been searching for you …

 

Jacob:

It’s worse for you, it makes me sick to think …

 

Clara:

She was never really my friend … she just

Wanted my curves. Her words. I should pity

Her, no … now that Count Gianelli, if that’s

His bloody name, well, you can guess the rest.

And you know what? It’s true, Jeremiah

Knew our parents, but he was so vicious

To them, the fiend. Cesca made it all up.

The fact is, our parents got a loan out

For a big holiday and a new home,

And this is so, absolutely shocking,

Jeremiah charged them a big, I mean

Exorbitant, interest to pay it

All back. They never lived that long, so he

Took it out of their will. We were left with

Nothing. Not a penny. Now all we … Oh

My God! Is that Angelica Manford?

 

Angelica walks towards Jacob and Clara, and gives Jacob a big hug and french kiss, then shakes the bewildered Clara’s hand.

 

Jacob:

Clara, I’d like you to meet my surprize.

 

Clara:

I’m a big fan of yours. How do you do?

 

Angelica:

Joyous. And you?

 

Clara:

Totally dejected.

 

Jacob:

She’s just fallen out with a friend who’s been

Totally cruel to her. And lied to me.

 

Angelica:

That’s a sad way to start the night. I’ll buy

You both a drink. That’ll make up for it.

 

Clara:

I hope so. I could do with a strong drink.

The table’s booked for … now, that’s good timing.

 

They enter the restaurant and are greeted by a waiter.

 

Waiter:

Grüß Gott, Good evening. Have you reserved?

 

Clara:

Good evening. We have booked a table

The name’s Palmer, it’s for seven thirty.

 

Waiter:

Palmer? That’s table six I believe. Please, come this way.

 

They all follow the waiter to the table, take off their jackets and sit down.

 

Waiter:

What would you to drink? An apple schnapps?

 

Angelica:

Yummy. Shall we get a bottle to share?

 

Jacob and Clara smile and nod in agreement.

 

Clara:

And, please, a bottle of sparkling water.

 

The waiter writes down the order.

 

Waiter:

OK, you’re drinks will be with you shortly.

 

They all nod and thank the waiter, who hands each of them a menu, then walks to the bar.

 

Clara:

So, what’s the big secret? After the day

I’ve had at work, I’m just dying to know.

 

Jacob:

Let’s wait until the drinks arrive. How’s work?

 

Clara:

Hectic. I’ve got sooo much work on right now,

Covering for sickness, here and there, and

Presenting rooms for loads of subhumans.

How immoral people are nowadays,

It’s all beyond belief. I smile and make

The most of it.

 

Angelica:

Where is it you work?

 

Clara:

The CHT. Jacob lives in one of

Our properties.

 

Jacob:

For now.

 

Clara:

Yes, for three months.

 

Angelica:

Why didn’t you say that, Jacob? There’s a

Room for one more below my studio.

 

Jacob reaches out for Angelica’s hands and rubs her wrists.

 

Clara:

A kind offer, I’m sure I can arrange

That tomorrow. Two staff have left, so I’m

Working in the office more from next week,

That’s a relief. There’s a really nice young

Man there, he’s so sweet and nerdy …

 

Jacob:

Oh really? What’s his name?

 

Clara:

Sylvain. His parents are French. Like your dad.

 

Angelica:

Does he like you?

 

Clara:

Mmmmm, yes.

 

Clara starts blushing and tries to look away.

 

Jacob:

Why don’t you ask him out?

 

Clara:

Oh, I get so awkward and sweaty when

I’m around him.

 

Angelica:

Have you got his number?

 

Clara:

I think so … yes.

 

Angelica:

Then send him a text, can’t go wrong with that.

 

Clara:

I guess, when I get back … here come the drinks.

 

The waiter pours the schnapps and the mineral water. Angelica tastes the schnapps first.

 

Angelica:

This is really tasty. A toast to us?

 

They raise and clink their glasses, sipping their schnapps, licking their lips after sampling the sweet taste, and give the thumbs up to the waiter.

 

Waiter:

Will you order now, or shall I come back?

 

Clara:

Please, the Schnitzel with potato Salad.

 

The waiter jots down their orders.

 

Jacob:

A Gulasch, please.

 

Angelica:

Pork belly roast, for me.

 

Waiter:

OK, that’s all ordered. Enjoy your drinks.

 

The waiter walks back to the bar.

 

Angelica:

Just like old times.

 

Clara:

Huh? Like old times? What have you been keeping

From me, Monsieur Moraine?

 

Jacob:

OK, I’m not much good with this sort of

Thing, but I’ll try, even if it’s only

Half the shock it might have been otherwise.

 

Angelica:

No half measures, Jacob, like with the schnapps.

 

Clara:

He means I already know we’re cousins.

 

Jacob:

But what you don’t know is, Angelica’s

Nana used to babysit for us both, part of the childminding group,

So we were all playpals as wee babies.

 

Clara:

Oh my God! I’m in total shock! That’s such

Absolutely amazing news! You’re my

Friend already! I’ve got many questions …

 

Angelica:

I remember having bubble baths and

Swimming in paddling pools, having pillow

Fights and …  it was so much fun, and then … yeah.

 

Clara:

What were my parents like? Or were you too …?

 

Angelica:

I don’t know much but my parents laid some

Flowers at the scene of the crash every

Year, and wrote poems in their memory.

They’re buried in the same plot, like in life.

 

Jacob and Clara turn to each other, screaming with joy.

 

Clara:

Could you take us, Angelica?

 

Angelica:

Not this weekend as I have a meeting,

But the weekend after, perhaps. It’s near Bladon.

 

Clara:

Bladon? Isn’t that near where our Eve lives?

 

Jacob:

Yes, in fact I’m staying with parents

On the week. They want to adopt me.

Angelica: Well, maybe Clara and I can come and pick you up.

 

Clara: Congratulations! That’s so amazing!

 

Angelica:

I’m chuffed, I know how much she means to you.

 

Clara:

Do you know Eve?

 

Angelica:

Loosely, not as a friend.

 

Clara:

You must must meet her, she’s so lovely and kind.

 

The waiter arrives with the three main dishes.

 

Waiter:

Here’s one schnitzel …

 

Clara:

Thank you.

 

Waiter:

One fiaker gulasch …

 

Jacob:

Thanks, cheers.

 

Waiter:

And one pork belly roast.

 

Angelica:

Thanks you ever so much.

 

Waiter:

Enjoy your meal.

 

The waiter leaves, as they tuck in to their meals.

 

Clara:

What do you think of my darling cousin?

 

Angelica:

My, you’re direct.

 

Clara:

I’m a straight talker, me.

 

Angelica takes a bite and digests it before answering. Jacob continues eating, appearing not to pay attention.

 

Angelica:

As a painter, he’ll be the focal point

For all my works. I’ll make his face famous.

As a spiritual lady, I’ll say

He’s the perfect model of purity.

As a woman, I could simply

Smother him with kisses. The only bad

Thing is, he’s a gambler.

 

Clara:

Should pure souls bet?

 

Angelica shakes her head. Jacob pretends to take longer to chew his meat as Clara looks at him, giggling.

 

Jacob:

I’ll talk when I finish my meal.

 

Angelica:

Haha, typical man. The answer’s no, and you know it.

 

Jacob:

I don’t feel like gambling right now.

 

Angelica:

I thought you were going to the races?

 

Clara:

Cesca was due to go with him, then a

Wealthy Italian turns up and swaps

Concrete for an hospitality box.

 

Angelica:

That’s the way of the world. You’re much better

Off out of it.

 

Clara:

Why did you start gambling?

 

Jacob puts his knife and fork down and groans.

 

Jacob:

Hmmm … to get even with Joseph. Then he

Stole my winnings, ten grand.

 

Angelica:

And you’ve tried to win it back ever since?

 

Jacob:

Something like that.

 

Clara:

Don’t go chasing money. Angelica

Will make you a fortune, isn’t that right?

 

Angelica:

Yes, but, only if f you promise to stop

Gambling, Jacob … are you listening, my pet?

 

Jacob:

Yes, yes, concentrating on my great food.

 

Angelica:

Don’t dodge questions. If you give up gambling

I’ll give you a bubble bath, like old times.

 

Jacob doesn’t respond, until Clara kicks his leg.

 

Jacob: Sounds too good to be true … if it means I

Must wave goodbye to the Grand National.

 

Angelica:

I won’t paint anyone who tolerates

Cruelty to animals … but I’ll let you

Have one football bet per week, like my dad.

 

Jacob sighs.

 

Jacob:

If it means that much to you then I will.

 

Clara and Angelica give each other a high five and ruffle Jacob’s curls.

 

Jacob:

Do I get to watch the game tomorrow?

 

Angelica:

Of course, Straight after our painting session.

 

Angelica leans over and gives Jacob a soft, tender kiss on the neck.

 

Jacob:

When you put it like that …  it’s not so bad.

 

Clara:

More schnapps, my two lovebirds?

 

Jacob:

Fill her right up.

 

Clara pours out the schnapps and raises her glass.

 

Clara:

To us, for now and all eternity.

 

© 2017 AGP

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