(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2016 Angharad
This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
When I went to bed Julie was downstairs drinking water and talking with Sammi and Jacquie. I left them to it and went up to bed telling Danielle to put her light out en route. “How’s Julie?” she asked, “Still pissed?”
“No, she’s not.”
“Just what we need, a pisshead in the family.”
“We don’t have one and if I hear you refer to Julie by that term, young lady, you’ll regret it. Understood?”
“Okay, don’t go on at me, I wasn’t drunk.”
“Julie is your sister, please remember that and also that we work as a family when one of us has difficulties. That means not resorting to cheap name calling but trying to support each other. We all have difficulties from time to time, some of which are easier to understand and solve than others. But whatever the problem, we all work together to resolve it. When we do that, we can deal with pretty well anything. Got that?”
“Yeah, I got it,” she sighed.
I pecked her on the cheek, “’Night, sweetheart.”
“Mum,” she said as I reached the door.
“You really are an angel, aren’t you?”
“Far from it, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to aim as high as one can to protect and keep this family together.”
“Like I said, you are one.”
“Go to sleep.”
“’Night, Angel Catherine,” she called at me as I shut her door and went to my own room. On entering it, I expected to see Simon fast asleep instead he was reading a novel.
“What was all that about?”
“Oh just her being silly.”
“How was Julie?”
“She was last seen drinking water and talking to Jacquie and Sammi. I arranged for Stephanie to come over tomorrow and have a chat with her.”
I undressed and cleaned my teeth and got into bed. “What’re you reading?”
“Something about the Germans losing the war because they were all high as kites on drugs.”
“Not really, one of the guys in work had just finished it and offered it to me, so I took it. May give it back to him tomorrow.”
I picked up my detective novel and looked to find my place. “What are you reading? Murder in the Cotswolds?”
“Yeah, one of a series of whodunits set in the Cotswolds.”
“A series? Didn’t realise the Cotswolds were dangerous unless it was from boredom.”
“Yeah well, look at how many people died in Morse’s Oxford and the MidSommer Murders gives that area have a higher death rate than Washington. Thankfully, it’s all fiction.”
“I thought Washington had a high murder rate.”
“Duh—not Washington, DC I presume—but the fictional places.”
“So the Cotswolds are fictitious?” He was really beginning to irritate me.
“So how come I spent a weekend there about ten years ago?”
“You probably imagined it.”
“I was so drunk at the time, I might well have done. Didn’t see any murders.”
You will in a minute, was nearly my next statement but I resisted the temptation to see if I could stage the perfect murder after what I’d told Danielle. Instead I ignored him and began reading. He began stroking my leg.
I continued pretending to read. “Danielle said I was an angel.”
“You are,” he agreed.
“In which case you’re wasting your time.”
“In what way?”
“Angels are non sexual beings.”
Oh boy, do I have to spell it out—probably. “They don’t have sex organs because they don’t have sex.”
“Are but you’re a special sort, a sexy angel.”
“That would be like saying I was a dog like cat.”
“Definitely,” he was really dicing with his future.
“Whatever, I’m a sleepy one.” I switched off my light and turned away from him. He continued stroking various parts of my anatomy and I continued to ignore him.
“D’you think Donald Trump touched those women?”
I ignored him pretending I was drifting off to sleep.
“Did I tell you about Sammi?” He said fighting dirty. Now I’d lie there worrying about Sammi. “Oh well, better get off.” I heard the light switch click and ten minutes later he was fast asleep. I was still wondering if what he’d said was a ploy or something real while he snored away to his heart’s content—bastard.
Somehow I did manage to eventually slip into oblivion waking to an empty bed, Simon had gone to work and I was alone. It was quarter to seven so I rose and went to shower before waking the others.
Ninety minutes later I was walking into our new office to see how things were progressing. Sometime next week, we should be occupying them. Back at the old one, Diane was typing like fury.
“Not one of mine I hope,” I said as I went to switch the kettle on.
“No, a letter to the council.”
“Ah, okay, kettles on—take a few minutes to unwind—have a cup of tea—oh and while you’re at it, make me one too.”
Something thudded against the door of my office a split second after I closed it. Looked like it was going to be one of those days.
It was. Tony Hancock phoned, the man I wanted to make the film for us if you recall, seemed to have a whole pile of questions I couldn’t answer or that my answers weren’t what he wanted to hear. At one point I actually asked him if he wanted to do the film. His response was a very definite, ‘Yes’. Had I been more assertive I should have told him to shut up then, but I just felt like picking up my bag and driving home.
By lunch time Diane was calmer and I finally got my cuppa, though I’d called Tom by that time and told him he was taking me to dinner or accepting my resignation. He got the hint. Sadly, the tuna salad, nice as it was, didn’t lift my spirits—too much mercury? Possibly, but he told me to take the rest of the day off and go and see Julie.
After I took him back to the university, I sneaked off for an hour and went to the salon where Julie did a quick trim for me and assured me she was feeling better but would still have a chat with Stephanie. Phoebe stayed discreetly busy with a client the whole time I was there, so we had some privacy as the apprentice had gone for a late lunch.
“Is the business doing well?” I enquired as we rarely talk about such things.
“Yeah, it could always do better, but I refuse to work all night as well as all day.”
“Get another stylist.”
“If we did she’d either have to bring clients with her or build up a clientele here, it takes too long for most of them, especially as the existing ones want Pheebs or me.”
“You’re both very good at cutting hair.”
“Besides where would we put her, the room isn’t big enough.”
I stood up and wandered round the premises. “Make your waiting area smaller, put a counter across here for reception, take that one down and she could work there.”
“Hmm, that could work, how come I couldn’t see it?”
“I’m just a regular genius. Want me to ask Maureen to give you a quote?”
“No, I can ask her myself. Have to talk it over with Pheebs first anyway.”
“Of course, oops, must go my secretary will kill me.”
“I thought you were the boss?” called Julie as I went to the door.
“Nah, I just get paid more.”
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