Author Topic: Season 4 Episode 2 - Paul  (Read 391 times)

Offline Rusty Viewer

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Season 4 Episode 2 - Paul
« on: March 14, 2023, 12:34:18 PM »
And so a month went by…then three months…

Dora was working out the stables when she saw in the distance through the gap at the top of the stable door what looked like a familiar figure riding through the main gate on a large brown horse.  She dropped the fork in shock. “Steve!”

Running outside and in tears she ran to pull him down and embrace him only to stop suddenly. “You’re not Steve!” she accused.

“Er no, I’m sorry”, blurted the stranger looking down at her. “I’m not.”

The mistake was understandable.  With his dark hair, good looks, and tall slim figure, he could’ve been mistaken for Steve at first glance. The stranger smiled broadly.

“Funny you should mention Steve,” he said. “That’s who I’m looking for.” He stopped briefly to affectionately pat his ride. “I understand he works here right?”

“No,” said Dora, sulkily. “Not anymore.”

There was an uncomfortable pause. The man wasn’t sure where to look.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” the stranger said finally. “I’m surprised is all. I’d heard this was his permanent residence now.”

“Well it was,” Dora said reluctantly, “but now…” she waved her handed abstractedly into the air. “He left!” she said in a huff.

“Oh, I see. Anyway my name’s Paul.” He let out his hand.

Dora ignored it, or rather hadn’t seen it, instead now staring at the horse. Once she had realised it wasn’t Steve, the horse was suddenly more interesting at that moment.  It wasn’t that she was trying to be rude, that’s just the way she was.

“And what’s your name boy?” she said, patting him.

“His name’s Chancellor”, Paul said, hoping he might be heard.

 “I’m Dora,” was the reply, but she was still looking at the horse as if it was the one that had spoken.

So THIS was Dora, thought Paul, just as he had immediately suspected upon seeing her.

“Mistress of Follyfoot,” she added as an afterthought, as if hoping the horse was impressed.

“I’ll bet you are!” Paul suddenly smiled broadly. He expertly slid down like a pro onto the ground so fast that it even took Dora by surprise, enough for her to switch attention to him as he brushed himself off as she began to give him a new appreciation.

 “So…how do you know Steve?”

He stood up, looking her up and down before responding, “Oh, we’re old mates, him and I, we both share our like of horses and all.”

“Oh, really!” Dora suddenly perked up.

“Yeah, and I thought he might’ve like, helped me out with a job or something, but if he’s not here…”

Dora said nothing but returned her attention to the horse.

“Thoroughbred isn’t he?” she said, now looking back at Paul again.

“Well, you definitely know your horses. Yes, and he did some races, not right now though but certainly not retired, and certainly not-,“ he gestured around to emphasise the point, ”-ready for a place like this. I’m looking after him as a favour to a friend,” he explained, “and of course he’s a very decent ride”. It would be rather stupid, thought Paul, to tell her how he really “acquired“ the horse.

“’Ello, ‘Ello”, piped up Ron, coming from the house peering at the newcomer.  “Thought the prodigal had returned for a moment,” he exclaimed as moved up to him.
Staring at him for a second he then said, “Sorry mate, the Steve look-alike contest ain’t ‘till next month.”

“Ah ha, funny, that’s not what I’m here for, I’m Paul.”

“Ron.”

Oh yes, Ron, general layabout. Paul knew about HIM too and figured he wouldn’t be a problem.

“He’s looking for Steve,” said Dora, “An old friend or some such, didn’t you say?” and smiled at him.

“Aren’t we all mate!” said Ron, addressing the stranger.

“Oh… well…if he’s not here, I guess I’ll need to move on. Is there a bed & breakfast you could recommend?” Paul asked, moving his head between the two of them.

“You have nowhere to stay?”

“Well, like I said, I was hoping Steve would help me out but…”

“Listen!” Dora exclaimed, a light bulb suddenly going off in her head. “You know about horses don’t you, and, as you said, you’re a friend of Steve. With him gone, work is piling up. We could always use a hand here.” She paused then added .”I’m sure it is what Steve would have done. “ The offer had all burst out of her at once, as her mind had connected the desperate shortage of labour with this good fortune of a stranger mysteriously appearing in Follyfoot at the right moment. Once the idea had entered her head, she didn’t even hesitate.

“Wow! Well that’s very generous of you. You hardly know me!”

“Yes, but we know Steve, and since you two are friends…you wouldn’t have any idea where Steve might have gone  do you?” Dora asked as an afterthought.

“Not a clue.” Paul shook his head. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“Well, you can sleep in the barn loft, where Steve was until he comes back…if he comes back,” she added, the often sad look she’d had lately, once again reappearing.

The Mistress  of Follyfoot had spoken, and thus is was arranged, just like that. As Paul was moving into his new place of residence for the foreseeable future, watched by Dora,  Ron pulled her aside.

“Can I have a word?”

“Oh, what is it Ron?”

“It’s all a bit quick ain’t it? I mean, we’ve only just met the geezer, like five minutes ago . We don’t really no nothing about him.” As he said this, he gave Paul furtive glances.

“He’s a friend of Steve. He’ll be fine.” She looked him square in the face. “You worry too much. Trust me.”

“I trust you girl. It’s him I don’t trust. Something not right about him.”

“Don’t be silly Ron.” She looked away from Ron and back at Paul moving his stuff in, a broad grin on her face.

“We’ve got a spare field for Chancellor,” she shouted to him. “Ron, take Chancellor out into the back fields.”

So he obeyed without any more fuss, shaking his head a bit. Hazel had been working in one of the stables and came out to join him, holding his hand as he led to horse to its destination.

“What’s the fuss?,” Hazel asked. “I heard talking but I was in the stables finishing off…you know, actually doing some work,” she laughed. “Whose horse is this? It’s beautiful!” she exclaimed, looking at it.

“New guy, Paul's his name, this horse belongs to. Chancellor”

“Paul.”

 “Yeah, Paul. looks like ol’ Steve, uncanny like, and Mistress asks him to stay, just like that! Says he’s Steve’s friend. I don’t remember Steve make no mention of a Paul.”
“Well, not everyone talks about everything in their life and everybody they know Ron. Maybe he’s  from a while back.”

“Something dodgy about him. I can feel  it. I’ve had my share of dodginess in my time I can tell you, and it takes one to know one.”

“Oh Ron! Handsome is he? Think he’ll take me away from you will he?” she teased. "Jealous much?”
“No, nothing like that! Honest!”

“Hmmm…well, I haven’t even met him myself and first impressions can be rather bad. Look how I thought of Dora when I first arrived. That taught me a life lesson. I think I should at least meet him before I make any judgement calls of my own, don’t you?” she smiled at him and pecked him on the cheek. “You worry too much.”

“That’s what she said!”

While they continued on their little journey, Dora went to Slugger to tell them there would be one more for his notorious stew and as Paul quickly settled into the loft, he paused and smiled to himself.

Well, that went well! Steve might have been hesitant at first to let him stay and so this had gone easier than he thought.  Who cared where Steve was anyway or if he ever returned? He didn’t need him for this little scheme of his, and as for that Dora…well…he had plans for her too…

To be continued…