CHAPTER 10 As Sam entered the cafeteria the next morning he saw Al, Beth and Sammi Jo seated at a table. Al waved him over and he joined them. "We've got a problem Sam," Al looked rather worried. "What sort of problem Al?" Al tried to hide a snigger, "Rosie's a little peeved that you took Bernie out yesterday, she's really gunning for you." "Who's Rosie?" "The waitress standin' at the corner of the counter." Al couldn't hold his snigger any longer, "Oh San she's comin' over, get your hard hat ready." Sam turned slightly to see an advancing Rosie, she was younger than Bernie, slightly shorter and her bottle blonde hair bounced as she stomped out her irritation. "What can I get yer Beckett?" She said in between chews on her gum, her manner was rather curt . Sam sat open mouthed, "Erm, toast and eggs, fresh fruit and orange juice, thanks." "Comin' up." She turned abruptly and stomped off again. "Pwar! That's attitude for yer, what you reckon, Beckett?" Al put great emphasis on 'Beckett'. Sammi Jo and Beth laughed at Al's comment. "Is she always like that, or is it because....." Al interrupted Sam, "Nah, she's usually worse, she's bein' pleasant today, pwar." "She's interested in me!" Sam's face showed a little dismay, "She's not my type Al, too much makeup." "Too much of everything," Al held his hands up in front of him, as if weighing two objects, "if you know what I mean." "Al, stop it, you'll embarrass Sammi." Beth looking embarrassed herself. Rosie returned with Sam's breakfast, she slammed it down on the table. "Here's your order - sir," banging down the glass, spilling the juice. Again she left abruptly. "One way to get attention, I guess." Sammi Jo said looking bemused. "Where is Bernie this morning?" Sam looked around but couldn't see her. "Oh I think she's on at lunch time, they take it in turns to do the early shift." Beth commented. "How did it go with you two yesterday?" "She's amazing, so easy to talk to, I feel as though I've known her forever." Sam's eyes looked dreamily into the distance as he remembered. "There's something though, something in her past that's troubling her. Do you know what it is Al? I don't want to ask her." "Sure do pal, husband trouble. He used to beat her and the kid, he's in the slammer now, manslaughter....." "Prison? Manslaughter? Who?" Sam's mouth dropped in disbelief. "The kid, boy I think, battered him to death, that's why she's here Sam, to get away." Beth was appalled, "Aw that's awful, how can anyone do that to a child, especially their own?" Sammi Jo answered, "Some men are like that, I had a friend in school, her father used to beat her and her mother. He'd drink himself into oblivion." "Thanks Al, I'm glad I didn't bring this up yesterday. I see I'm gonna have to tread carefully here." "Just be yourself Sam, nothing to worry about there, you wouldn't hurt a fly." Al looked sadly at his friend. "I've learned a lot in the past fourteen years, I don't think I'm so naEFve as I was." "Yeah, you certainly experience a lot, though you still need some tuition where women are concerned." "What from you," Beth rebutted "Where did you get the experience from? No, don't tell me, sailor Al, a sweetheart in every port." "Maybe a sweetheart in every port, but the love of my life was home." Al placed a hand lovingly on hers and blew her a kiss. "Yeah, remember Beth, what Al went though." Sam nodded to Beth. "Yes Sam, I never thanked you for that, or should I say Jake, ha-ha." Sam nearly choked on his orange juice, "Ahm, you mean Al told you." "No he didn't have to, I remembered, I just didn't know it was you. Thank you Sam, as always." Sammi Jo turned to the window as the sound of an engine filtered into the cafeteria, "Oh it's early, I'm not ready." Sam looked confused, "What's that?" Beth turned to the window then to Sam, "Oh it Saturday, Matt brings Leone and the boys every weekend." She placed a hand on the table in front of Sammi Jo, "Hurry, go and get ready you've got about ten minutes." Sammi Jo rushed off, five minutes later, the others saw her run past the cafeteria window, as she headed for the disembarkment point. She was waving at the plane even before it had stopped. "I'm sure glad you decided not to change things Sam," Beth said, Al tried to stop her but was too late, "What Al, I've never seen Sammi so happy." "Al, it's all right, stop worrying about my feelings, look to the future, who knows what it might hold, for me, for you, for any of us. It's all unknown, and I kinda like it that way." They all stood as the door to the light-aircraft opened. A man stepped onto the platform at the top of the stairway carrying a small child. As soon as Sammi Jo saw them she ran up the stairway to greet them, the small child holding out her arms for her mother. "What about the project Sam? What you gonna do about that?" "Well that depends on Bebrooks, I'll continue it with his approval. If not, I'll find someone else." "Someone else for what? The funding? Or someone to replace you?" Sam's looked at Al, his eyebrows deepened into a frown, either he didn't understand Al's question, or he didn't have an answer. Sam returned his gaze back to Sammi Jo outside. Al's question unanswered.