(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright © 2013 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
I was actually tidying some papers and books in my study–it’s needed doing for some time–when an indignant teenager strolled in and fixed me with an angry stare. “You told Julie about me an’ Cindy at the cinema.”
“What about it?”
“She’s not my mother.”
“No, I am.”
“You had no right to tell her.” She was trying to contain her anger and it was causing her to make all sorts of little movements.
“I wasn’t aware it came under the Official Secrets Act.”
“Invented the steam engine.”
“That’s him, James Watt.”
“Jeez, Mummy, I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you?”
“No you’re not, you came in here looking for a fight because you felt I had betrayed a confidence–which I hadn’t because we hadn’t agreed to anything; plus Julie is concerned for you as well.”
“Huh–what you mean is she can’t keep a boy.”
“That’s uncalled for.”
“It’s true and she had no right to tell me I was just a boy in a dress.”
“She said that?”
Blushing very red, Danni was obviously very angry. “Not quite.”
“What did she actually say, then?”
“Um–something about what might happen if they found out I was a boy underneath.”
“She knows from firsthand what that feels like and the beating she took afterwards.”
“So–she was dressed like a hooker.”
“Sit down,” I instructed her. I then sat opposite her on the other sofa. “You’ve been very lucky to be able to explore your female side in a family which is understanding of such things. Until she came here to live, Julie didn’t–so she didn’t have big sisters to advise her on how to dress or behave. She couldn’t even talk to her mother about it, like we are now. She went with what she saw in magazines and on the internet–and it’s often very stereotyped or applies to celebrities who can wear outrageous outfits because the press are going to say outrageous things anyway.”
“So she dressed like a tart.”
“She was expressing a lot of pent up femaleness and it came out wrong.”
“Yeah–just ’cos she’s a slag, doesn’t mean I am.”
I felt like hitting her. Does she even know what it means? “Just what does that mean?”
“You know,” she lowered her eyes to the rug between the two sofas and blushed.
“I know what, young lady?”
“Well, she is,” tears running down her face she ran out of my room and up presumably to her bedroom where I heard a door slam shut a few moments later. Brilliant. Just what I need, an angry teenager. I wondered what I did next–do I ground her? Do I ask her for evidence about Julie–who is an adult and therefore legally allowed to put it about if that’s what Danni meant.
Was Danni jealous and just stirring things up, casting aspersions at someone else to avoid criticism–will she come down for lunch or sulk all afternoon probably on skype to Cindy or Pia. I switched off the wi-fi just in case.
“Told you it would go down well,” Julie poked her head round my door as I was shredding some of the papers I decided I could live without.
“I wonder if I should stop her seeing Cindy and Pia.”
“So you said earlier. She’ll probably do it behind your back so it might be better to let her carry on, and at least you can monitor it.” I looked at Julie in astonishment, she’d suddenly turned into an adult.
“What time’s lunch–have I got time to have a bath?”
I glanced at the clock, it was ten thirty–the fact that she was up was surprising–she’d have two hours. “I don’t know if you will, you’ll only have a couple of hours and I’m not sure how full the reservoirs are.”
“Ha ha, very funny.”
“If you use that oil stuff please make sure you clean the bath properly.”
“I will,” she went to go, “I always do.”
“That’s why Danni nearly broke her neck the last time she used the bath after you.”
“Pity,” was mumbled back.
The teenager was still there just better hidden, “I beg your pardon?”
“I’m going to have my bath.” The conversation was over.
“Oh bugger,” I said loudly.
“Really?” asked Simon as he wandered into my study.
“Yes, I think I’ve shredded the wrong thing.”
“I’ll see if I can find a few Iranian students.”
“To put the shreddings back together, like they did when the Yanks pulled out of Tehran.”
“No about a million years ago.”
“They’d have a job, this is a cross cutter, does bank cards and CDs as well as garden waste and scrapped cars.”
“Bank cards, eh? I wonder if Stella’s got hers with her?”
“Don’t say you’re finally going to make her spend her own money instead of yours?”
“Nah, she’d get another, it would just slow things down for a few days.”
We’d argued about this before and nothing I said made him do anything about it so I said nothing, one grumpy member of the family was as much as I could cope with at present.
“Wosswrongwiththewifi?” demanded an irritated mini genius.
“Nothing as far as I know,” I answered forgetting I’d switched it off.
She looked at my computer then spotted the router. “It’s switched off–some idiot switched it off.”
“I must have done it accidentally.”
“How can you do it accidentally? It’s designed so you can’t.”
“Oi, Missy, that’s your mother you’re talking to.”
“So I think you should apologise to her, don’t you?” Simon stood in front of the door and pretty well blocked it.
“But she switched off the wi-fi?”
“Yes, so that gives you licence to speak to her like she was the dog or cat, does it?”
“Ye–I’m sorry, Mummy.”
“Is it back on now?” I asked.
“Go on, finish whatever it was you were doing.”
She snuck up to me gave me a peck on the cheek and dashed off as soon as Simon stood aside. “An’ don’t do it again,” was her parting shot as she ran down the hall.
I looked at Simon and we both fell about laughing. Drying my eyes I said, “I don’t think we’re very good at this parenting business.”
“If it were a business, I’d be good at it and you’d be rubbish.”
“As it’s an act of love, I’m rubbish at it and you’re brilliant.” He pulled me up from my seat and to him and kissed me only for wet stuff to leak out of my bra and onto his shirt. “Don’t take too much notice of what the kids say, it’s only because they feel safe they can rubbish you.”
“Is it? I thought it was because I was such rubbish at it.”
“Don’t ever think that, you’re a good wife and mother and brilliant in bed when I can get you there without a cast of thousands.”
“Thanks for the reference, I think I’d better go and express some of the double cream before it gets uncomfortable.”
He pulled me to him again, “I fancy you something rotten,” and kissed me.
“I love you too, the most wonderful man in all England.”
“Not bad for a Scot is it?” he chuckled letting me go to deal with my now uncomfortable chest.
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