The Mother-in-Law

The Mother-in-Law

By Samantha Michelle Davies (SamanthaMD)

“Dave. Have you been doing the housework in heels again?”
“Yes darling why?”
“You’ve left a whole load of heel marks on the carpet”
“So? At least you know that I’ve done it…”
The woman sighed and looked at her husband.
“Sometimes my darling, you can be really dense. You know my Mother is coming for a visit tonight. You know how she snoops over the house looking for her ‘signs that you are having an affair’ as well as dust and everything else”
Dave sighed.
“I do Harriet. We’ve been married almost 10 years so exactly when is she going to give up this campaign against me? No matter what I do it is never good enough for her”

Harriet grinned.
“Well darling, you are having an affair aren’t you?”
Dave went up to his wife and kissed her.
“And Susan loves you just as much as Dave does”
“I’m so lucky. Lucky in Love” she said as they cuddled together.

“So lucky to be loved by two such wonderful people”

When they separated, Dave said.
“I’ll run the cleaner over the carpet again. Can you check the bathroom & our bedroom? I think I have cleared all evidence of Susan away”

“I know it is a chore darling. Susan can re-appear the day after tomorrow when she’s gone back to Scotland”

In the end it was a week before the ‘Mother in Law’ went home and Dave could return to normal. Around the house for most of the week, Dave became Susan. Harriet had known about Susan well before they started dating and accepted her totally.

She considered herself very lucky. She had the best of both worlds a lover and a best friend and a husband who loved her very much. At a time when many of their friends were getting divorced their marriage was stronger than ever.

The only thorn in the side was her mother. She was very straight and had become very intolerant of anything new or different in recent years. It had gotten to the point where even her only Daughter found her to be an embarrassment to be with at times. But, she was her mother and it was hard for her to even contemplate telling her to get lost and leave them alone.

“Hello Dorothy. Please come in” said Dave as he answered the front door.
“Thank you David” said his Mother in Law.
She scanned his clothes from head to toe.
He felt like a soldier undergoing an inslecton by an officious RSM.

“Still wearing those tatty old shoes then?”

“They are very comfortable thank you Dorothy”
“They look shabby. I’d never have let my John wear anything that old & worn”
Dave grimaced.
John, her husband had walked out on her some five years previously. He was fed up with her constant griping & complaining. This had gotten noticeably worse over the years. In the end he just told her what he thought of her and walked out. He was now living in Manchester with a woman and was very happy.

Dorothy had kept on living in the huge family house in Morningside. She’d also carried on with her life as if nothing had happened.

Still biting his lip, Dave showed Dorothy into the lounge.
“Harriet will be down in a minute. I’ll go and make the tea. She’s baked some cakes just for you”

Without waiting for a reply, he left her alone.

As soon as he had left the room, Dorothy started looking around. Her eagle eye soon found the all new DVD’s that had been purchased since her last visit. Then she found the 1st Edition ‘How the Heart Sings’ by Susan Chambers. This was top of the best-seller lists but no one knew who she was. Little did she know that her idle good for nothing son in law was the author.
She opened the book and saw that it was signed.

“To Harriet.
Thanks for all the inspiration.
All my Love Susan C”

Her first thoughts were that was nice of the Author to inscribe the book to her daughter. Then she started to wonder how, her daughter who was a Staff Nurse at the local Hospital could be the inspiration for this book. The ‘All my Love’ part of the dedication also disturbed her. She could just about accept that her daughter had fallen in love and married a good for nothing man but any though that she might be a, a lesbian was totally beyond the pale for someone from her part of Morningside.

Any further thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Harriet.
“Hi Mum” she said as she came into the room.

“Hello Harriet”
The smile on Harriet’s face disappeared when she saw her mother holding the book.
“I see you found my copy of ‘How the Heart…”
“Yes darling. This book seems to be very popular at the moment. “
Harriet smiled.
“It was nice of the Author to inscribe it for you. It seems rather a personal inscription. Do you know the Author?”
“Oh her? She was a patient a year or so ago. We got talking about her ideas and then one day this came to the Hospital”
This was a total fabrication but it was the story they’d agreed to. One that they’d hoped that her mother would accept.

Dave arrived back carry a tray with the tea & cakes. He put it down for Harriet to pour.

While they drank their tea the two women talked the sort of talk that only a mother & daughter can talk. They totally ignored Dave. He didn’t mind. He was watching his Mother in Law closely. She was going to appear in the next Susan Chambers Novel in all her pernickety detail. It was going to be his way of getting back at her for all these years of ‘My Daughter is far too good for you’ comments from Dorothy.

At the end of the tea, cakes & gossip session, Dorothy got up and excused herself.
When she’d left the room, Harriet & Susan breathed a sigh of relief.

All too soon, they heard the flush of the toilet. Then they heard the soft footsteps of Dorothy as she went into their bedroom in search of clues for his infidelity.

In her opinion, Dave was an idle lay-about good for nothing writer who would never have anything published in a million years. She didn’t know that this idle so & so who supposedly worked from home was none other than the hottest new writer of the year and possibly the decade.

Dorothy was sure that he was having an affair with some floozy while her delightful daughter who could never do anything wrong slaved away at the Hospital.

Some five minutes later, Dorothy returned to the lounge.
“Thank you for tea and the cakes were delightful”
“Mum, we have something to say to you”
“Yes dear. What is it? Are you getting a divorce?”
A picture of hope appeared on her face.
“No Mum. Dave & I are happily married.”
Dorothy’s face sank.

“We are moving. We have bought a new house in the country outside Winchester”
“Eh? How? How can you afford it? With your idle husband here not working for how many years is it? Six or is it Seven?”
“It does not matter Mum. We are moving next week.”
“How will I come to visit you? You know I don’t drive besides it is an awful long way. Now I just get the train from Waverley to Kings Cross and then its 10 minutes by Taxi”
“We can meet you at the station. There is one train a day from Waverley to Winchester. It’s only 6 or 7 miles away”
“What about your Job at Guy’s?”
Harriet smiled at her mother.
“I’ve got a job in Southampton. I’m going to be the Assistant Matron”
Dorothy sat back flabbergasted. It was bad enough her daughter moving to London but to go even further away was not what she’d come all this way to hear.

[Nine months later]

“Good morning. This is “Wake up Britain” said the male presenter.
“Good morning. Today we have a world exclusive. The first public appearance of Susan Chambers” said the glamorous female presenter.

Dorothy was as usual sitting in her kitchen listening to the ‘Wake up Britain’ show on the small TV that sat in the corner of the room. That day, she was eating some porridge when their star guest appeared.
“I want to give you a big ‘Wake up Britain’ welcome to Susan Chambers. She is accompanied by her partner, Harriet Mitchell”
The name of her daughter caused Dorothy to look at the TV.
She scrambled for her glasses despite having a mouthful of porridge.

Once they were in place she saw that it was indeed her Daughter.
The interviewer asked.

“Susan, this is your first ever TV interview. I want to thank you for coming in today. Please tell us about the main character in you new novel, ‘I’m not really here’”
“Well Victoria, I got the basic idea from a friend of mind named David. It is about a time when his Mother in Law came to visit and almost totally ignored him. Well apart from accusing to his face him of having an affair. It is about his revenge on her”
“Aren’t Mother in Law Jokes a bit old fashioned?”
“Oh Victoria, this is not a comedy. This is a thriller. There is a victim.”

Then Dorothy recognised the voice. It was that layabout good for nothing son in law David. He was wearing women’s clothes. Then it hit her. She was the mother in Law.

The spoonful of porridge that she’d just put into her mouth came flying out as she coughed. It went all over the table and much of the newly cleaned kitchen floor.

Dorothy watched the rest of the interview with increasing incredulity. The rage inside her was growing all the time. All the details about the story that emerged were about her and her life and her daughter.

The interview ended with Dorothy in a real temper.
She leapt for the phone and punched the number for her Daughter.

It went straight to voicemail. She slammed the phone down without leaving a message.
She didn’t know what to do. Her anger was all consuming. If there had been a cat in the house, she would have kicked it.

[meanwhile outside the TV studios in London]
“Well darling we did it”, said Harriet.
“Yes we did.” Said Susan.
“Do you think she saw it?”
“Probably. She has it on every day. That’s why we chose this show for my ‘coming out’ event”

Harriet switched on her phone when they’d navigated the A40 & M25 and were on the M3 heading home.

There were six missed calls.
“Mum’s been calling”
“We expected that. She probably saw my debut performance then”, said Susan grinning.
“We did indeed”
“Are you going to call her?”
“I don’t think so. Well at least not until we get home”

They got home and settled in.
Susan checked her email.
“There’s a load of emails from my agent” said Susan

“What does she say?”
Together they perused the some 40 messages.
Overall, the message was positive. So far there had been no hint of Susan’s background in any of the press reports.

Harriet called her mother later that day.
“Hello Mum”
“Yes. That’s correct. Dave is Susan Chambers”
“No Mum. I’m very proud of her”
She had to hold the phone away from her ear.
The torrent of abuse coming from the phone was even heard by Susan.

When it had subsided, Harriet said to her mother.
“Mum, I understand your anger. I’m not coming home to you.”
“No. Please don’t. You are not welcome here until you can accept Susan for who she is.”
“If you must do that then that is your decision”
She then put the phone down.

Harriet stood up and went over to Susan.
She kissed her husband/partner & lover.
“She’s made her bed. I don’t think we will be seeing her anytime soon”

Susan looked at Harriet.
“There is something troubling you”
There was a slight pause before she answered.
“She threatened to go to the press about you”

Susan sighed.
“We talked about that. I’m ready to face them.”
“WE are ready to face them remember”, said Susan cuddling up to her lover.

“But are we ready to face your Mother?”
“Yes. I want to tell her to her face that you are more than good enough for me”

The following afternoon Harriet parked their car outside her Mother’s house in Edinburgh. Harriet waited for Susan to join her in front of the imposing Edwardian mansion.
They held hands.
“Ready?” Asked Susan.
“Yes. Ready as ever”

They went up to the front door where Harriet used her key to let themselves in.

“You have a nerve. Coming here with that thing?” said her Mother who was waiting for them in the hallway.
“Mum, I’m going to say this only once.”
She looked at Susan and held her hand.
“You always wanted to marry someone else. I’ve always loved Susan ever since we were children. She told me about herself when we were 15 or so. I don’t mind people talking about us now. But you’ve never accepted my choice in Dave and now Susan as my partner for life.”

“But I’ve only ever wanted what’s best for you”
“No mum. You’ve only ever wanted what is best for you and your cronies in the Ladies section at the Golf Club. You wanted to pair me of with that idiot James King. If I did what you said then where would I be now? Probably out on the street after all the fraud he committed. How many Golf Club members bought that non-existent land in Spain from him then? Eh? How many?”
“No more buts Mum. Dave might not have had a job for a long time but I had faith in Susan to write a blockbuster novel. She did and now we have more money than even I can spend. We both knew that you’d never understand so that’s why we hid Susan from you until we were ready. We were ready when Susan’s second book hit the bookstores and well, the TV show and everything”
“But Harriet…”

“Mother, you are never going to change. Look how you refuse to speak to Cousin Clarence. When did he come out? Twenty years ago?”
She paused to let that blast sink in.
“That’s why with great regret Mum, this is goodbye. Goodbye until you change your mind and accept us for what we are”
Dorothy turned to Susan and said almost shouting

“This is all your doing. You are evil. May you rot in hell”
“No Dorothy. This is all your doing. Perhaps you should look at yourself in the mirror, or read my book. You might learn something about yourself”
Harriet started to weep.
“Bye Mum”

Harriet led Susan out of the house.
Dorothy came after them when she’d recovered.
She opened the front door to her house and looked outside.
They’d gone.

Reluctantly she turned and went back inside. There hanging in the lock was Harriet’s front door key.

Then she realised that her daughter had gone from her life for good.

[the end]

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