I really do need to pull my finger out and start prepping the print/e-book versions. With the edits all done, and new cover art I just need to do- everything else! Have great weekends, and I hope you like this sweet little chapter.
Chapter 80 – All She Needed
His parent’s front garden was exactly as Smith remembered. Shoulder high dahlias flanked the path; blue pansies, pink daisies and orange marigolds still clashed in the flower bed.
Why shouldn’t it be the same? Had had only been away a few days.
It felt like forever.
The garden gate clicked shut behind him. ‘My, what a lot of flowers,’ Heidi said. ‘They’re so, um, colourful.’
Smith pressed the doorbell. Soft chimes rang in the hall. I’m not nervous, he told himself as he reached for Heidi’s hand. I’m excited.
A slightly stooped female figure swam into view through the hammered glass of the front door. She stood still for a moment fumbled the catch and flung the door wide. Violet Smith looked joyfully up at her son.
‘Hello, Mummy,’ Smith said.
‘Who is it?’ Albert Smith called from upstairs.
‘Derek,’ Violet said quietly. She called out louder: ‘Albert, it’s Derek. He’s come home.’
Furniture bumped upstairs, a door slammed. Unbuttoned cardigan flapping, bifocals swinging from the cord round his neck, Albert Smith erupted onto the landing and thundered down the stairs. ‘By God, my lad, where have you been? Your mother’s been worried sick.’
‘Albert,’ Violet cautioned.
‘Whatever you’ve been up to, my lad, it was not Good Thinking.’
Violet’s voice carried an edge. ‘Albert. Derek has a friend with him.’
‘Actually, it was very Good Thinking indeed,’ Derek said. ‘Hello, Daddy, this is Heidi.’
Albert Smith lurched to a halt, reassessed the situation and stuck out his hand. ‘Hello, my dear. Won’t you come in?’
It didn’t take long. Violet knew she could be good at this sort of thing if only she had the chance. She’d waited such a long time.
‘So tell me, where did you meet Derek?’ Violet said.
‘In the office where I work. Del helped me out with some calculations.’
She calls him Del, Violet thought happily. ‘He’s always been good with numbers. Lists and timetables, things like that.’
‘Did you come over on the bus?’ Albert said.
‘No, in Del’s new car.’
Albert looked through the lace curtains, gaped and turned back. He managed a rather high-pitched, ‘Derek, where did you get that car?’
‘It’s not mine, I borrowed it.’
‘When did you learn to drive?’
‘It wasn’t that difficult.’
That wasn’t the answer Albert had been looking for. He opened his mouth, lifted a finger.
‘I like your front garden,’ Heidi said a little loudly.
It was all Violet needed.
‘Come out back and see what I’ve done. Derek, go and show your father the car.’
She’s nice, Violet thought to herself as the two women toured the garden. Her top is cut a bit low, but I expect that’s just me being old fashioned. It’s not every girl who’d pretend to be interested in flowers to please her boyfriend’s mum.
Later in the front room the two women looked out the window at the men. Albert knelt beside the wing of the Imperial making circular motions with his palm over the dented bodywork. Derek helped him up and they stood back, arms folded, heads nodding slowly.
Violet took a deep breath. ‘You and Derek get on well.’
Heidi smiled to herself. ‘We’ve really only just met.’
‘I know, dear. I can’t help it, I’m his mother.’
Out by the car Derek said something. Hands stuffed in his pockets, Albert roared with laughter. Watching them, Violet felt her feet were about to leave the ground. She blinked hard, it had been a long while since she had last felt this happy.
Albert and Derek came inside. Violet put her arm round her husband’s waist and gave him a hug. ‘I’d like to go to the garden centre. Heidi suggested I put a purple clematis over the trellis,’ Violet said.
‘Derek and I need to go to the car shop.’
‘Why don’t we go together,’ Heidi said.
‘I’ve decided to become an explorer,’ Derek said.
To be continued…