21 July 2019

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September Song

Date Published: 06 September 2011

ISBN Number: B005LHJH8I

Publisher: http://www.astraeapress.com

Link to purchase book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/September-Song-ebook/dp/B005LHJH8I/ref=sr_1_10?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1315333522&sr=1-10

Full Excerpt:

“Aw, Kelly, please? These tickets cost a fortune and now Zoë can’t go.
Won’t you come with me instead?” Erin pleaded, complete with puppy dog eyes,
at her employer at the Surf’s Up Café.
“Erin, it’s just not my scene, really. Who’d look after my kids? And I’d
feel like a grandma going to see that type of rock band.” Kelly gave her a
sympathetic smile as she wiped over the grey melamine surface of the counter
with antibacterial spray.
“I don’t want to go on my own, plus it would be a crime to waste the
ticket. I guess it’s too late in the day to try selling it on eBay.” Erin sat down on
one of the high chrome stools next to the counter and stared at the ticket in her
hand.
“You need somebody young to go with you. A nice young man, that’s
what you need,” Kelly huffed as she began to gather dirty plates from a nearby
table.
Erin made a face. “Since when did you get old?”
Kelly laughed and the cheeks of her round face dimpled. “Since you
wanted me to go to a rock concert with you and fifty thousand screaming
teenagers!”
“What am I going to do?” Erin jumped off her stool and shoved the
tickets into the rear pocket of her jeans.
“Can’t you ask another friend to go with you?”
“It’s the end of summer. Everyone’s either away or busy. The tickets cost
a lot of money and anyone who is available is broke.” She had worked a lot of
extra shifts at the café to earn the money for the concert. It wasn’t Zoë’s fault she
was ill; she’d offered Erin the money for her ticket even though she couldn’t use
it, but Erin hadn’t the heart to accept knowing her friend wasn’t going to be
earning for a while. She wandered across to the window and gazed out at the
sea.
It looked as if the wind had changed direction as the waves had died
down to ripples. The surfers would soon be up from the beach, dragging in sand
all over the tiled floor and placing orders for cheese toasties and fries. Kelly
carried her tray of dirty crockery across the café and placed it down on the
counter. “It’s high time you found yourself a fella. Then you wouldn’t be doing
all this moping around.” Erin shook her head. Kelly was always trying to pair
her off with somebody. Ever since Erin had arrived in New Bay four months
earlier at the start of her year out from college, her boss had taken her under her
ample wing. She left the window and walked back across the café to help tidy
up.
Behind her, the café door swung open. “Hey, Dan, how do you fancy
going to a rock concert tomorrow?” Kelly called. “If it’s the concert I think it is,
I’d love to go. I couldn’t get a ticket.” Erin groaned to herself. Dan was a regular
customer. He called in most mornings for a coffee and a chocolate fudge
brownie. She wasn’t sure what he did for a living, just that he always wore a
smart suit and didn’t talk very much. He preferred to sit in the corner near the
window and read his newspaper, unlike the buff surfer guys who clustered
around the counter, chatting and swapping jokes with Kelly. “Erin’s got a spare
ticket to sell and she’s looking for some company.”
Erin’s cheeks heated.
“I’m interested! And I’d be happy to drive you over to the concert.” Dan
appeared at her elbow. Kelly winked and disappeared into the kitchen,
whistling.
Erin turned to see Dan busy studying the plate of brownies under the
translucent dome on the counter-­‐‑top. “Are you sure you want to come? I mean,
the ticket is sixty pounds and if it’s not your scene…” She couldn’t picture Dan at
a rock concert. Did he even own a pair of jeans?
“No, it’s fine. I’d tried to get a seat but all the tickets were sold.” He
made his choice of cake and placed it on a plate using the café’s metal tongs.
Erin sighed and moved behind the counter to make him his usual cup of
coffee. “There you go. One brownie and a coffee. I’ll bring the ticket across later.”
“Thanks.” Dan handed her his money. Erin blushed again as he smiled
at her. He had quite a cute smile. Funny, she’d never taken much notice of him
before. The café door swung open and a crowd of surfers came in. Erin took
orders and made drinks for the next few minutes. By the time she was done, Dan
had folded his newspaper and stood ready to leave.
“Um, if you were serious about the concert, I’ve got a ticket here.” Erin
caught him in the open doorway. The sea breeze tugged at her hair as she felt in
the back pocket of her jeans and passed him one of the tickets.
“That’s great.” He glanced at it. “Good seat, too. Let me give you the
money.” He produced his wallet and took out the notes.
“Listen, you don’t have to give me a lift if you’d rather not, and if there’s
someone else you’d rather go with I can always sell you my ticket, too.” Much as
she wanted to see the band, she didn’t want to go with someone who’d been
coerced into accompanying her. Besides, how much fun was she likely to have
with Dan sober-­‐‑sides?
Dan’s brown eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled. “No, there isn’t
anyone else I’d want to take. Do you want me to pick you up from here
tomorrow?”
Erin sensed his amusement at her discomfort, and her temper bristled.
She resented feeling as if he had the upper hand over her. “Here, will be fine.”
“Be ready by four. It’ll take us at least an hour to get to the stadium.” He
tucked his newspaper under his arm.
“See you tomorrow.” She resisted the urge to snap a salute. Who did he
think he was? She was the one who’d got the tickets and now he thought he
could order her about, telling her what time to be ready.
“It’s a date.” Dan winked at her and left.
“Hey, Erin got a date!” One of the surfer regulars whistled and clapped
as he overheard Dan’s parting remark. The rest of the group whooped and
laughed. Erin glowered at them as she stalked into the kitchen to confront Kelly.
“Take out the last of these cheese toasties, please hon.” Kelly passed her
two plates.
“What were you thinking, asking Dan about the concert?” Erin took the
meals from her friend.
“Why? He wanted to go, didn’t he?” Kelly wiped her hands on a towel.
“That’s not the point! Can you imagine Dan at a rock concert?”
Kelly hung the towel back on its hook. “I think you should stop judging
a book by its cover, Erin Peters. Dan is a nice young man. Now, get those
sandwiches out of my kitchen before they get cold.”
Erin stomped out of the kitchen and delivered the plates to the group at
the counter. Maybe Kelly was right maybe she had been a bit harsh about Dan.
She went to take an order from a couple of young mums with baby strollers
who’d come in while she’d been in the kitchen.
She scribbled their order on her pad and popped it through to Kelly.
“So, Erin, are you going on a date with Dan?” Brad, the surfer who’d
overheard her conversation, asked as she pulled clean cups from under the
counter.
“It’s not a date. He’s giving me a lift to the concert tomorrow, that’s all.”
She prepared a tea tray for the mums sitting in the window seats.
“Okay, cool. He’s a pretty righteous guy.” Brad nodded his head as he
put the money on the counter to pay for his order.
“You know him?” Dan didn’t look like the kind of guy someone like
Brad would know. Then again, New Bay was a pretty small town.
“Yeah, loads of kids know Dan.” Brad accepted his change and turned to
join the rest of his group who were headed for the door.
“Oh.” Maybe Dan was a teacher. Erin closed the till drawer and took the
teapot and cups over to her other customers. It sounded as if Kelly might be right
and there might be more to Dan than she’d thought.
The café soon filled up for the lunchtime rush, and it wasn’t until the
crowds dispersed later in the afternoon that Erin had another opportunity to ask
Kelly about Dan.
“He’s been coming in here for the last eighteen months. He’s single and
lives on the far side of town in those new flats.” Kelly made them both a mug of
coffee while she told Erin what she knew.
“Brad said a lot of the kids know him.” Erin tore open a sachet of sugar
and tipped it into her mug.
“I’ve heard a few of them say hello to him when he comes in.” Kelly
shrugged.
“Brad said he was righteous – whatever that means.” Erin sat down
opposite Kelly with her drink.
Her friend laughed. “I can’t believe you’re still learning the lingo after a
whole summer here! It means he’s an okay guy.”
“I hope he doesn’t plan on wearing his suit to the gig tomorrow.”
“You are such a stick-­‐‑in-­‐‑the-­‐‑mud! The poor guy has to dress like that for
his work. We’ve never seen him out of hours. He’s good-­‐‑looking. If I were
twenty years younger and minus three kids, I’d be after him for myself.” Kelly
shook her head in mock despair making her beaded cornrow plaits shake and
click.
“Okay, point taken! But, please, Kell, no more matchmaking!”
“You sold him a ticket, and he’s giving you a ride. Sheesh, you sound
like my daughter.” Kelly finished her coffee and heaved herself up from her
chair.
“Well, now I’ve got some money I’m going to the sale at Beach Diva’s.
There’s a top in the window I’ve wanted for ages.” Erin finished her coffee
quickly. Part of the attraction of staying in New Bay had been the shops. The
town had several trendy designer boutiques aimed at parting tourists from their
money. When she first arrived, she had only intended staying for a few weeks
before moving on to the bigger resorts. By chance, though, she’d seen Kelly’s
vacancy card in the café window and somehow she’d stayed on.
Erin said goodbye to Kelly and walked along the seafront to Beach
Diva’s. The sandy beach, which had been so busy all summer, was now almost
deserted. Only Brad and his friends were at the water’s edge catching the waves.
A few toddlers with their parents played higher up the beach and a cool breeze
blew in from the sea.
Beach Diva’s had a sign in the window proclaiming the end of season
sale. Erin was relieved to see the top she’d coveted still hanging at the front of
the display. She tried it on and admired herself in the mirror. Even if Dan did
turn up for the concert looking like her primary school head-­‐‑teacher she could
still look totally radical.
* * * *
Dan grinned to himself as he walked away from the café with the concert
ticket tucked away safely inside his wallet. He hadn’t expected to get a ticket so
late in the day. The gig had been sold out weeks ago and the prices on eBay had
gone through the roof.
Erin hadn’t looked too thrilled about his offer to accompany her, though.
He rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he walked back to his office. It was a shame
because Erin was the prettiest girl in New Bay – at least, he thought so.
The brightest spot in his day was when he went to the café and saw Erin
waiting tables. He couldn’t believe she hadn’t got a queue of admirers waiting to
snap up the ticket and take her to a concert. All summer long he’d watched as
various guys had tried to chat her up as she’d carried out her food orders.
Dan glanced at his watch. His next client was due anytime. He signed
himself back in and headed for his office. The receptionist would give him a call
when his client arrived. A pile of folders sat in his in-­‐‑tray waiting for his
attention. More papers from the court and reports to file.
Still, he enjoyed working for the probation service. It was a challenge to
keep the people he saw on the straight and narrow and out of trouble. The
problem was, in a town like New Bay, which was filled all summer long with
scantily-­‐‑clad women and buff surfer dudes, he stood out like a sore thumb in his
work suit. What chance did he have with a girl like Erin? The concert was like
the answer to a prayer.
The concert would give him a chance to get to know her better and
maybe make a good impression. He would have to make sure he cleaned his car
out. Normally it was spick and span but the other night he’d given some of his
youth group a ride. At the moment it was full of gum wrappers and cola tins that
his teenage passengers had left behind.
The phone buzzed to let him know his client had arrived. Dan picked up
his file and went through to the interview room. His client was one of the older
teenagers who attended the youth group Dan ran in his spare time.
Shane was one of the reasons Dan stayed in his job. He’d seen a lot of
guys like Shane, who’d dabbled in drugs and then had a brush with the law.
Guys, like his own brother, Will. It gave him a lot of satisfaction when his hard
work paid off and they started to make something of their lives. If only Will
would make the same kind of effort Shane had.
“Hey, dude.” Shane shook Dan’s hand and took a seat. Dan switched his
mind off Erin and focused on the task at hand.
* * * *
Erin checked her reflection in the plate glass of the café window for the
fourth time that afternoon. The new top looked really cool with her fitted jeans.
Kelly had let her finish work early so she could get ready for Dan to pick her up.
She glanced at the wall clock. He was late. So much for him ordering her to be
ready on time.
An electric blue Mini pulled to a halt in front of the café. Erin sighed and
continued to scan the street for Dan. She hadn’t asked him what kind of car he
drove, but she expected it would be something dull, like her dad’s car.
The Mini beeped its horn, making her jump. She peered through the
glass. The driver looked a lot like Dan, except Dan couldn’t possibly own such a
cool car, could he?
Erin grabbed her coat and purse from the table. “Dan’s here, Kelly. I’m
just off.”
Kelly bustled through from the kitchen to peer through the window.
“Mmm, fine car! Have a good time.” She waved to Dan, who lifted a hand in
reply as he smiled at Erin.
“Sorry I’m late. The traffic was bad in town,” he said as he opened the
door for her.
Erin slid onto the passenger seat and pulled the door shut. She snuck a
quick peek at Dan. Wow. Out of the boring navy suit he usually wore, he looked
totally different. Instead of his pinstripes he was dressed in the latest style cargo
pants and a fashionable tee-­‐‑shirt, a knotted leather necklace completed his gear.
Erin settled back in her seat with a smile. It looked as if the concert might
not be such a washout as she’d feared. She smoothed the aqua patterned material
of her top down over her midriff. It was a good thing she’d made the effort and
dressed up, Dan looked quite a hunk in normal clothes.
“You never said how come you had a spare ticket?” he asked as they
headed out of town.
“My friend Zoë intended to come with me, but she caught glandular
fever.” The nerves in Erin’s stomach tingled whenever Dan glanced her way.
This was crazy. She’d served him coffee and cake every morning for months now
and had never batted an eyelid at him. So why was he having this effect on her
now all of a sudden?
“I guess her bad luck is my good fortune.” Dan flashed a smile that sent
a sizzle right down to her toes.
Erin smiled back, and heat crept along her cheeks when she caught
Dan’s eye.
“What brought you to New Bay?” he asked.
“I’m on a year out from university. I decided to do some travelling and
earn a little money before my final year.”
“I see. So you’ll be moving on again, now the season’s almost finished?”
“I don’t know. I like New Bay and Kelly wants me to stay. I do some
relief reception work at one of the hotels and Kelly pays me well.” Erin pleated
the edge of her new top between her fingers.
“What are you studying at Uni?” Dan swung the car onto the slip road
leading to the motorway.
“History of art.”
“Wow, and here you are serving coffee in New Bay.”
Erin shot him a glance, but there was no sarcasm in his tone, just mild
amusement. She squashed down the frisson of attraction that tingled in her
stomach every time he smiled at her.
“I never asked you about your job?”
Dan accelerated into the outside lane to overtake a lorry. “I work for the
probation service.”
“I thought you were a teacher.”
Dan laughed out loud. “I’ve got clients who could teach me a thing or
two.”
Erin’s face grew hotter still, and she feigned an interest in the passing
traffic.
“What made you think I was a teacher? Or did you just think I looked
like one?”
Dan’s question came uncomfortably close to the truth, and she guessed
her glowing cheeks had probably given her away. Kelly had been right; she was
too apt at jumping to conclusions based on appearances. Now he would think
she was a real airhead, and suddenly, it mattered what Dan thought of

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