Rebecca – August 1985
Rebecca was watching the clock awaiting the arrival of her boys. She had asked Dylan to have them back to the Pimlico house no later than 6.00pm, it was already 6.15 and she was starting to fret. He had always been punctual to pick-up and drop-off the boys so far. Her mind started to picture horrendous accidents on the motorway and she had to tell herself off for being melodramatic and precipitous. She regularly traversed parts of London at this time in the evening and the going was often slow.
Caitlin and Rebecca had had a fun evening out and she had spent some quality time with Suzanne without the boys being the focus of her attention. She hadn’t enjoyed the freedom as much as she had envisaged. Truthfully she missed her children and the domestic routine that surrounded their lives.
She wondered for a brief moment what it would be like being a proper family with the boy’s father under the same roof before resolutely pushing the scenario away as an impossible fantasy. Dylan would change his mind again as soon as they got used to him being around and she’d be left nursing a broken heart and dealing with Ty and Roo’s disappointment and hurt.
Jack had departed for a couple of days to stay with friends in Oxford and Caiti was otherwise engaged with her new lover forcing Rebecca into the position of meeting Dylan on hand-over. In fact she would have volunteered to be here, as she didn’t think that she could wait any longer to see them both. 6.30 arrived and receded by which time Rebecca was getting restless her mind fluctuating between worry that something untoward had occurred and wrath with Dylan for disobeying the rules.
Rebecca finally heard the car pull up outside, doors slamming and excited voices. She was at the door before the bell was rung scooping her boys into a maternal embrace so relieved to have them home safely that she was near to tears. It was almost 7.30.
‘What happened? I was worried’ Rebecca supplied unnecessarily she looked frantic Dylan saw.
‘I’m really sorry’ he said contritely, ‘there was a police roadblock on the motorway. Not sure if it was an accident or stop and search but it took ages to get through. I thought about stopping at services to call you but that would have taken even longer. Anyway all’s well now. They’re tired and hungry, well we all are.’ He looked at Rebecca sheepishly, ‘I don’t suppose you could make me a cup of tea or something.’
Tyrone sped back into the kitchen after a race around the house locating favoured possessions and the cats heard ‘tea’ and skidded to a halt beside Rebecca. With a beaming smile he put his hand in hers and asked,
‘Is Daddy staying for tea?’ in such a hopeful voice that Rebecca’s ire melted.
‘If he likes sausage, egg, chips and beans he can.’
‘Yippee!’ intoned Tyrone racing off to tell Reuben,
‘My favourite’ murmured Dylan, pulling out a chair, ‘Penny sends her love and Charles and the children.’ Rebecca struggled with herself should she be monosyllabic and distant or polite and friendly. In the end she was neither. The children returned to the kitchen their voices raised in friendly competition for her attention relating their escapades with Dylan’s collaboration being required now and then.
By the time that they had all partaken of the ‘fry-up’ everyone was talking animatedly including Rebecca. She had heard all about Daddy taking them to the seaside at Scarborough swimming, snorkelling, building sand castles with moats, diving into the waves and surfing. Rebecca raised an eyebrow at Dylan, ‘Only on their tummies’ he reassured, ‘you should see them in the water Becca they’re like seals. Really confident strong swimmers; they can both swim further and faster than Lucy and almost as well as Simon.’
‘Mummy, come with us to Daddy’s house’ recommended Rueben, ‘I’ll show you my racing dive and swim a whole length to show you.’
‘Me too’ seconded Tyrone with his mouth full. Rebecca didn’t say anything feeling like she had walked into a trap.
‘Mummy’s very busy with the shops when we do swimming’ Dylan said, providing her with an escape route should she want it, ‘You’re welcome if you’d like to come round.’ He added feigning nonchalance. He knew that the children’s words counted for far more with her than anything that he could say.
The sound of a key in the door announced the arrival of Jack who followed the sound of the voices to welcome home his young friends. He shook hands with Dylan warmly and joined them at the table to hear a fresh account of the holiday in Yorkshire. Rebecca cleared the table distancing herself from the amiable conversation. They all like Dylan and they want him here she observed. Would she ever be able to trust him again?
‘Who’s for Ice cream?’ Rebecca asked to a clamour of appreciation. Only Jack refused saying it was too cold for his teeth. Dylan, Tyrone and Reuben all opted for a scoop each of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Rebecca decided what the hell and followed suit. They all ate slowly savouring every mouth full. Dylan stole a glance at Rebecca and caught that look of dreamy pleasure on her face, one he hadn’t been allowed to see for many a long day. She looked beautiful, her face relaxed and carefree. She felt his eyes on her and looked up to catch his unguarded expression of love. Flushing slightly she tore her eyes away from his and dropped her head so that the familiar curtain of hair hid her expression from view; but not before Dylan had detected a tiny chink in her armour.
It’s time you two went up-stairs and got ready for bed’ commanded Rebecca, ‘say goodnight and thank you to Daddy.’ Dylan rose taking his cue. The boys clambered all over him as he shook hands with Jack and headed for the door thanking Rebecca for feeding him and saying his farewells.
‘See you both on Wednesday’ he engulfed first Reuben and then Tyrone in bear hugs, ‘Mummy can come with you if she’d like to and I’ll return the hospitality.’ He smiled his quizzical lop-sided smile that always made her heart lurch. Seeing an opportunity Dylan chanced his luck, he stretched over the heads of their children and kissed Rebecca very gently on her cheek, ‘It was great to see you, thank you.’ He said disappearing through the door. Rebecca stood stock still for a moment his touch had jarred through her like an electric shock.
‘Mummy’ Tyrone’s hand stole into hers, ‘I missed you.’
‘Did you darling? I missed you too. You liked being away with Daddy though?’
‘Oh yes, we had a great time’ he looked up at her very solemnly and asked ‘will you come and watch us swimming at Dad’s? Please?’
‘If you go upstairs right this minute and you are both bathed in your pyjamas in 20 minutes I’ll think about it.’ Rebecca issued in mock severity. Ty giggled and raced off upstairs calling to Reuben to get to the bathroom NOW!
Rebecca – August 1985