No Bra Required!(4)

By: Nikki Ashton


“Lucy, are you actually listening to me?” Annabelle’s shrill voice screeched into Lucy’s ear.

“Yes mother, do I even have a choice?”

Annabelle tutted loudly, “No, Lucy you don’t. Now open the door and let me in. I know that you are in the kitchen because I can see you. I’m outside the back door.”

“How did you get around the back? You haven’t climbed over the gate have you?” Lucy moved towards the back door and peered through the frosted glass.

Annabelle’s laugh tinkled on the other end of the phone. “Don’t be so bloody foolish. I still have a gate key from when you asked me to water your plants, when you went on holiday.”

“That was five years ago,” said Lucy. “Why do you still have the gate key?”

“Oh for goodness sake Lucy, stop being bloody pedantic, and open this door now. This summer drizzle is playing havoc with my bob.”

Lucy could see through the glass that her mother was smoothing down her hair. She sighed as she turned the key and cut the call off - she had no choice but to let her in.

“You’d better come in then,” she said swinging the door wide open.

“Oh goodness what an absolute fright you look, you really are a foolish goose.” Annabelle gasped as she continued to pat her hair.

“Oh for fucks sake Mother, stop it with the home counties words and accent. You sound like a pissing Enid Blyton adventure!” Lucy couldn’t help herself, she prided herself on not swearing in front of the older generation, but her mother was an exception, she was enough to make the Pope scream a barrage of obscenities.

Annabelle stopped in her tracks and held on to the work surface as if to steady herself. “Well I have never been so insulted,” she cried.

“You obviously don’t get out much then,” screamed Lucy. “What do you want anyway? It’s not as if you care about me or what’s happened, you hated Simon.”

“That’s not true, I didn’t hate him. I didn’t think that an accountant was good enough for you, that’s all.”

“Crock of shit Mum. You said, ‘He has a pin head and squinty eyes and looks as though he should live in a caravan’. Were they or were they not the words you used to describe him when I brought him home to meet you?” Lucy remembered that day eight years ago as clearly as though it was yesterday. They had met at a quiz in a pub where Simon had been drinking with his mates, and he had helped Lucy, Sarah and another friend, Karen with some of their answers. After the quiz, he’d offered them a drink, and Lucy had been mesmerised by his dark brooding looks and wavy black hair.

“I did no such thing. As I remember, I told you that he’d break your heart one day, and I’ve been proved right.” Annabelle studied her nails, a satisfied smile upon her face.

“No, you didn’t and even if you did, there’s no need to be so smug about it, just because you were right. Christ Mum, you make up your own version of events and repeat it so much that you actually end up believing it. Dad and Granny have always said that half the stories that you’ve told Sophie and me, aren’t true. No wonder you have such an unhealthy relationship with both of us. Sophie even moved to South Africa to get away from you and hasn’t been home to see you in over three years.”

“She hasn’t been to see you either, just your bloody father, and his camp little friend.”

“Mum, don’t be so rude about Dad and Richard. Anyway, I did see Sophie, about eighteen months ago, admittedly only for an hour on Crewe Railway Station, but she had a really important meeting in London, and it was the only chance we could get.” Turning her back to Annabelle, Lucy flicked on the kettle.

“I do hope you’re not making instant, it's absolutely ghastly?”

“Firstly, I’m making tea, secondly I’m not making you anything, and thirdly, it's ghastly, not GHARSTLY, there’s no bloody r in it!”

“I’ll make my own then. You do have fresh coffee don’t you?” Annabelle asked, oblivious to Lucy’s tone.

Lucy sighed as she opened a cupboard and pulled out a pack of ground coffee that she threw at her mother. Annabelle just managed to catch it, and held it at arm’s length in case it marked her extremely expensive cream suit.