Home > Worth Waiting For

Worth Waiting For
Author: Tilly Tennant

One

 

 

Ellie slammed on her brakes. Distracted by what she had just heard, she hadn’t noticed the lights change to red until she was almost on top of them. Through the rear view mirror, she noted the man in the car behind purse his lips.

‘You did what?’ she squeaked. She listened, phone clamped to her ear, her frown deepening. ‘I’m coming over now. It doesn’t matter if I’m at work – this is more important. Stop arguing, Mum, I can’t leave it now…. Yes, I realise it’s illegal to answer my phone while I’m driving but you’re not giving me much choice…’ She ended the call and tossed the phone onto the passenger seat. It seemed churlish to blame her mum for driving and talking, but she felt churlish right now.

At the next roundabout, Ellie swung her Mini around.

As she drove up the other side of the dual carriageway, back in the direction she had just come from, the phone rang again.

‘Dad? What’s up?’ She listened, a new and deeper frown forming. ‘You did what?!’ she squeaked again in a voice so high it was possible that dolphins off the coast of Scotland would hear it. ‘Well, how the hell did you manage to set fire to one of those?’ She listened for a moment and then sighed. ‘I could come over in an hour or so…’ She narrowed her eyes as a thought occurred to her. ‘You did phone the fire service before you called me, didn’t you? Don’t get upset, I’m just checking… no, I don’t think you’re stupid… yes, of course that doesn’t mean I don’t want to come over and help… no, it does matter! Of course it does, it’s just that I told mum…. yes, I’ve spoken to her… no, she didn’t ask about you… no, I can’t give her a message; you know she won’t listen anyway… I have to go to her first because she needs help at Hazel’s place. OK, I’ll be an hour.’

At the next set of lights, Ellie rang one of her speed dial numbers. ‘Patrick… yeah, I’m good… I’m going to be late for this school thing, can you cover it?’ She listened for a moment and then grinned. ‘It’s only some crappy local author, just listen to her, get the gist of what she says to the kids and tell me later. If I can get there I will… I’m really sorry to ask again… you know I’ll love you forever… Yep, it’s both of them this time… No, they’re still not speaking. I know, I owe you big style.’ Ellie ended the call and tossed the phone back to the seat. She chewed her lip as a double-decker lumbered from the bus lane onto the dual carriageway ahead of her, and with a grey haired old man driving the car in the parallel lane, blocking her progress, it was as much as she could do not to jam her fist onto the car horn.

‘Bloody hell, shift it, will you!’ she muttered savagely.

The phone rang again. ‘Jethro…’ she screwed up her face as there was an irritated beep from the car behind, ‘you know I love you but whatever it is, can it wait?’ She listened for a moment. ‘I’m gutted for you, but she wasn’t right for you, I always said so… I will phone you later, I promise… I told you I fell asleep that time… OK, hang in there… if in doubt, just go to default setting: as we know, copious amounts of whisky helps to mend broken hearts.’

Just as she had tossed the phone back onto the seat the screen flashed again to signal another call. She really needed to get some sort of apparatus to answer her phone safely in the car if every day was going to be this mental.

KASUMI

 

 

Ellie sighed. This one would simply have to wait.

 

 

Ellie knocked at the sleek black front door. From within, she could hear what sounded suspiciously like voices filled with hysterical panic, but she tried not to let the idea send her spiralling into a state of panic too. Instead, she waited patiently, aware that it might take a while. After a few moments, however, she decided that her mum and aunt probably hadn’t heard her knock, and had just raised her fist to try again when the door swung open. Her aunt Hazel appeared.

‘Has she managed to stop the water?’ Ellie asked, stepping in as Hazel stood aside. She frowned as her aunt let out a wheezy laugh. ‘And what are you doing exerting yourself?’ Ellie added.

Hazel’s chortle became even louder and wheezier. ‘Your mother couldn’t very well answer the door and keep the towel over the hole, could she?’

Ellie watched as her aunt took wobbly steps down the hall into the kitchen, every so often a hand reaching out for the support of a wall. ‘Did you ring the plumber?’

‘Yes,’ Hazel said without looking round. ‘He said he’d be about an hour, but you know that means he’s going home to have his dinner first and he’ll be over when he feels like it.’

‘Probably charge you an arm and a leg too,’ Ellie said.

Ellie entered the kitchen to find her mum looking virtually suicidal as she desperately pressed a soaking towel against the wall. A large puddle had formed at her feet and water ran down the wall in a steady stream, despite her best efforts to stem the flow. On the worktop sat a rust-bitten old electric drill and an assorted and very random looking selection of screws. Leaning against the wall was a large Monet print in a wooden frame. Ellie shook her head wonderingly.

‘What the hell were you thinking of? You could have electrocuted yourself if you’d hit a wire. There must be wiring and water pipes all over the walls here… it is a kitchen, after all. I think springing a leak is actually the best outcome we could have hoped for in this scenario.’

‘I bought this lovely print for Hazel and I was putting it up. The kitchen was the room it suited best,’ her mum said in a defensive tone.

‘Mum… you’ve never used a drill in your life. Couldn’t you have got a man in?’

‘This is the new Miranda Newton you’re talking to. I don’t need men anymore, not for anything.’

‘You bloody well do for my kitchen,’ Hazel cut in.

Ellie sighed and turned to her aunt. ‘Couldn’t you have talked some sense into her?’

Hazel held up her hands and shrugged. ‘You think I’ve ever been able to tell my baby sister what to do? Besides, it’s cheered me up.’

‘Mum turns your kitchen into a scene from Titanic and it cheers you up?’

‘Well, it’s exciting. It gets boring sitting here day after day waiting for those bloody scans.’ Hazel made her way slowly to the kettle. ‘At least we’ve got water in here,’ she said, shaking it. ‘So we can have a cuppa while we wait for the plumber.’

Ellie glanced at Miranda. ‘What about Mum?’

‘She’ll have to drink hers over there, one-handed,’ Hazel said serenely. ‘You could write a story about her heroism and personal sacrifice as she struggles to stem the tide of water threatening to engulf our street, even at the expense of biscuits with her tea.’

‘Very funny,’ Miranda snapped.

Ellie paused thoughtfully. ‘Has anyone actually considered shutting the water off at the mains?’

Miranda glanced at Hazel with a sheepish expression. ‘I didn’t think of that.’

Ellie rolled her eyes heavenwards as if seeking divine strength.

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