Writer, history researcher, biographer

Short fiction #7

Posted by Suze Appleton on Thursday, June 20, 2013 Under: Short fiction

Jane looked at the old lady in contempt.
She really was the most infuriating person she knew, apart from her own mother, and she was bad enough. Most days it was all she could do to smile when she saw her. But honestly, his mother was the pits. She was all smiles whenever Derek was around but he didn't hear the bitchiness in her voice when she asked if she could help. Jane knew what she meant by help. It was her way of saying that she wasn't bringing up her daughter the same way that Shirley had brought up her precious son. Well damn well no, it wasn't, and it wouldn't be while Jane had breath in her body. Look where that had got her. It had taken her years to knock him into submission, but he knew where his place was now, that's for sure. No more running off to mummy just because she had a concussion, his place was at home, taking Jessica for her piano lessons when Jane had an appointment at the hairdressers. 
She'd caught him more than once throwing longing glances at his golf bag but he knew there wasn't time for that, or money. How could he think membership of the golf club was better value than the family gym membership? If only he used his more, like her. She was getting totally toned since she had hired Antonio as her personal trainer. She loved going to the gym now, it gave her such a buzz, and Jessica was becoming quite a fan too. If only Derek would see the sense of it...
Oh god, here she goes again, she thought, more of the baby pictures coming out. Why does she want to give them to me? I don't want all that scruffy stuff, well, it can go in the garage if I must, on the shelf above his golf bag. Is this torture nearly over yet? Every year we have to do this, just because it's her birthday we must visit he says. It's only right, he says. God, if I'd known I'd have to be this attentive I'd never have got her to mind Jessica while I went to work. Surely she should be glad she got to spend time with her granddaughter? Not many grans get the chance to spend three days a week with their grandchildren but was she grateful? Not so much as a thank you did I get, and she was forever ringing me up to tell me how she was doing. As if I needed to know that before a team meeting. 

Shirley sighed as she turned away from her daughter in law. She really was the most exasperating person she had ever known and if she hadn't been married to her son Shirley would gladly pass her on the street without a word. But she had to try, for Derek's sake, and Jessica's. Without Jane there would be no contact at all and both women knew it. Derek wouldn't dare come to see her without Jane's permission. 
Shirley made polite enquiry after Jane's mother, another hard to like woman very much like her daughter. Jane's response was non committal, a vague alright. Shirley suspected that Jane hadn't seen her recently and she momentarily felt sorry for the woman. Jane didn't seem to care that her mother was lonely. Not her problem, she would say. Shirley wondered if Jane realised that if she carried on that her life would be the same, with a daughter who was too selfish to care for her. If only she would try a little, just relax and be nice. It didn't take a lot once you got into it.

Derek returned into the lounge, wiping his hands on the towel and Shirley blinked as Jane shot up out of her seat, spilling the photos onto the carpet in her haste to leave. Derek scrambled to pick them up, with a speed that suggested an instinctive need to avoid trouble, or from a wish to prevent his childhood being trampled underfoot. Within minutes they had their coats on and Shirley got a perfunctory kiss on the cheek from Jessica, who had barely stirred from her mother's side all afternoon. Jane was at the car before she had called out her goodbye, keys in her hand to make a fast getaway. Sadly Shirley hugged her son as he sheepishly made to follow his wife. As she hugged him she whispered in his ear.
'I love you son but I wish you'd grow a pair of balls.'

In : Short fiction 

Welcome to my page of stories. It will be a mix of short stories and serial chapters of a novel that I am currently editing, a process that isn't going as fast as I want. My intention is to post at least one piece of work per week and your feedback is more than welcome, either here, on Twitter or on facebook. In the case of the serial it may even change the course of the story...

Hope you enjoy.

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