Jane Jago’s latest hard-hitting novel, serialised for you to enjoy!
After that, there didn’t seem to be much to say and the rest of the journey to Glasgow was accomplished quietly. Their first drop off was the boomer boys, and Sam went into a featureless building to supervise the plastering of one mangled arm. He came out laughing.
“They had their own doctor waiting. He was a bit pissed because I had set the arm in the field. Then he looked at the job I made, and had to get off his high horse.”
Bill was fully awake by now and regarding the world with round, curious eyes.
“What’s a high horse?” he asked.
“It’s a saying,” Sam explained, “it means somebody is cross and acting like they are better than you.”
“Like they are high on a horse?”
“You got it, mate. How about a high five?”
Bill chortled delightedly and high fived Sam.
“Can I ask you a thing, Doctor Sam?”
“Course you can?”
“Why is your face so nice and brown? It aminds me of Grandpa Cracksman, but you aren’t a pikey like us, are you?”
“No. And yes. My face is brown because my granddad came from Jamaica, and his face was black. He married a lady from China, whose face was sort of creamy, and they had my mum. Her face was a bit browner than mine. She married a doctor from Basingstoke, whose face was pink, and they had me.”
Bill patted his arm.
“Oh. I see. Thank you for explaining.”
He studied Sam thoughtfully, for a minute.
“Were people horrible to you when you were little boy?”
“Oh yes. Indeed they were. They horrible to you?’
“Mostly not. Coz the twins beat people up if they are.”
“Well good on them,” Sam laughed. “Though kind of overkill. Unless people are physically unpleasant, I’ve always found it best to just ignore them…”
“That’s what Jamie says, but the twins think it’s more fun to hit people.”
“The twins would think that. They have a bucketful of Cracksman pig-headedness. The other boys are brighter and more fastidious. I love them all, but I think I understand the twins best. Anyway, we’ll be landing soon. Are you ready for the circus?”
“I reckon. Bill?”
“Yes. I want to see Anna and Bonnie.”
“Who is Bonnie?”
“Anna’s dog. She is a Belgian Shepherd and she is awesome. Do you have a dog?”
“No, because I work too much, and a dog would be at home alone. It’s a shame, because I always wanted a dog. Maybe one day.”
William patted him again.
“Don’t be sad Doctor Sam, you’ll get a dog one day. And it will be a special dog because you had to wait for it.”
Sam gave him a big hug.
At that point, the chopper touched down, and Will jumpsuit opened the door. Sam got up and collected the bags, while Rod stood up with Bill in his arms.
“Thanks Mister Will,” Bill said.
The man patted him kindly.
“You take care, now, and I won’t forget the jumpsuit.”
Then there was a bit of back slapping and hand shaking before the three of them stepped out to where a big black car awaited them. The rear door of the car burst open and a tall, slim woman burst out, accompanied by a black dog.
Rod grinned and put Bill down on the ground. The boy opened his arms and hugged the big black dog, who licked his face and wagged her tail happily. The woman smiled down at them before turning to the two men.
“Hello Rod. You must be Sam.”
She held out a hand and they shook solemnly before she smiled at him.
“Pleased to meet you. Even if I am a bit overwhelmed by the circumstances.”
Sam smiled at her.
She bent down and patted both boy and dog.
“Come on you two, get in the car.”
Child and dog obeyed and the adults piled in behind them. Bill scrambled into Anna’s lap.
“Do you like my jumper? It belongs to Doctor Sam. He put it on me because I was very cold. Isn’t it nice and soft. I don’t think I ever felt anything softer. And it smells like Daddy.”
Anna hugged him and smoothed the jumper.
“Yes it is soft. It was very kind of Doctor Sam to lend it to you.”
“It’s not a loaner,” Sam laughed. “It’s Bill’s now. He gets to keep it till he grows into it.”
Anna opened her mouth, then she must have seen something in Sam’s face, because she ruffled Bill’s hair. “You’re a lucky boy then. I wish I could find somebody to give me a nice soft jumper. I’ve got your favourite boeuf bourguignon for supper. But you need a shower first. You might pong a bit under your nice jumper.”
“I spect I do. And Rod and Sam say they need a shower too. We’re going to shower together like a rugby team. It’ll be fun.” Then he screwed up his face. “I got no clean clothes…”
“You do. I got you some.”
He relaxed against her.
“You are a very kind Anna. Thank you.”
She looked at Rod over his head, and winked away a tear.
The car pulled into the grounds of what was obviously a rather expensive country house hotel. Anna grinned and shrugged her shoulders.
“The camper looks a bit out of place, even round the back. However, Geordie dictated that we were welcome. So we are. We have the use of a self catering cottage for as long as we want, so there’s a nice warm bathroom, and I’ve been able to use the kitchen to cook supper.”
Rod laughed out loud, then sobered.
“Good. Shower. Supper. Then we’ll get on the road. If we’re agreed?”
“Sounds good to me,” Sam agreed. “Only one amendment. A soak in a bath would be very good if there is…”
“Oh yeah. There is. Big enough for the three of you.”
At that moment the car stopped outside a low stone-built cottage. They all piled out and Anna unlocked the door. Sam picked Bill up and walked inside.
“Nice and warm. With bubbles?”
“Why not. If you will share with me and Rod.”
Anna caught on fast, and led the way to the bathroom, where she turned on the taps to fill a huge sunken bath. She poured some scented gloop from a bottle and bubbles began to form in the tub.
“Right. I’ll leave you boys to bathe. When you are ready come to the kitchen for supper.”
She left the room, and went to wait in the kitchen. When her phone rang she answered absent-mindedly, then sat up and took notice.