“Ellie.” Graham called up the stairs. “I hope you’ve tidied up your bedroom like I asked? I can’t hear much movement going on up there.”
“Daaaaaad, relax, you’re going on like this is a royal visit or something. Honestly, Lesley is coming to see you, not the house. And I’m pretty sure Lucy isn’t going to give a damn what my bedroom looks like, hers was messy enough.”
“Elisha Peters, you watch your mouth! We’ll have less of your cheek and foul language thank you very much, I’ve brought you up better than that. Now, you’ll get that bedroom of yours tidied up before our guests arrive, and I’ll not her another word of argument from you about it unless you want to spend your summer holidays grounded?”
“Hmph!” Ellie knew she was beaten, there was no point trying to argue because the last thing she wanted was to be stuck indoors all summer. Stomping back to her bedroom, she slammed the door closed forcefully, resigned to carrying out her Dad’s request, although she wasn’t at all happy about it.
Shaking his head and muttering “Teenagers” under his breath, Graham returned to his own cleaning, determined to make a good impression when Lesley arrived. He’d been a little in awe of her home when they had visited yesterday, her senior teachers salary clearly affording a much more lavish and comfortable lifestyle than he himself could ever hope for, and he was conscious that his own modest house paled in comparison. Being a working single Dad of two youngsters plus a stroppy teen, housework often wasn’t quite as high up his agenda as it perhaps should be, and he knew that he’d let things slip a little, so was determined to get everything ship shape before his lady friend arrived.
As he was tackling the mountain of dishes, wishing that he’d had the foresight to invest in a dishwasher, Graham heart his phone ting in the other room. Typical, he thought, as soon as I put my hands in the water…isn’t that always the way.
‘Hi Graham. Sorry, we may be a little later than I’d planned. I’ve just picked up Lucy, but we need to pop home before we come over to you. Hope that’s ok? See you soon, L x’
Reading this, Graham breathed a sigh of relief. Now he’d have time to finish the chores and make a start on dinner too.
‘No worries Les, there’s no rush at all. I’ve washed all of the clothes we borrowed ready for you to take them home. See you later, I’ll have the kettle on. Gray x’
The rest of the journey home from the petrol station was made in awkward silence, with Lesley blushing and shifting uncomfortably in her seat as she drove, feeling dirty and in desperate need of a shower and a change of clothes, and Lucy staring resolutely at her phone, doing her best not to get drawn into any potentially embarrassing conversation. Jack, sitting in the back of the car, hadn’t even realised they’d made an emergency pit-stop, never mind the unfortunate outcome, he was so engrossed in his book.
As they turned into the driveway, Lesley turned to address the kids, red faced and feeling mortified.
“Ok, I need to go and get washed and changed before we go anywhere, do either of you need the bathroom before I take a shower?”
Having got to the toilet shortly before her Mum had collected her from Emily’s house, Lucy said that she was fine. Jack barely lifted his eyes from his book, shaking his head without even listening to the question, unhappy at being disturbed and losing his place on the page he was reading.
“Lucy, can you unpack your bag then please whilst I’m getting sorted? And Jack…” He grunted, again not paying any real attention. “JACK! Put that book down will you and pay attention! You can go and make a start tidying up the chaos in your bedroom. I know there were 4 of you in there last night, but it’s a right state.”
As they clambered out of the car, Lucy and Jack exchanged exasperated glances. They loved their Mum dearly, but when she was in a tiz she was a right nightmare.
Lucy noticed her Mum grabbing the small bundle that she’d hidden inside the glovebox and shoving it into her handbag, noticing the toilet paper was wet she was fairly sure that her suspicious had been right, and that her Mum had not made it to the toilet and must have wet her knickers even if her dress had escaped unscathed.
Jack was far less subtle, being a typical young boy he almost always said it how it was, even if sometimes it would have been best to say nothing at all.
“Mum? Why are walking like that…it looks like you’ve weed yourself or something.”
Lucy cuffed him gently, and shook her head, motioning for him to say nothing more, whilst Lesley felt a tear trickling down her cheek and made a made dash to the bathroom where she shut herself away in privacy and broke down, thoroughly ashamed of herself.2
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