Oscar closed his eyes inhaling deep breaths through his nose and exhaling from his mouth, running a hand through his hair. He sensed the shape of his mobile phone in his pocket and dialed the familiar number.
“Hi Mum its Oscar.”
“Oh .” Her blunt, melancholy reply stung Oscar somewhat.
“Hi just wanted to ring to make sure that you’re okay. I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“Yes I’m fine.”
“That’s good Mum.”
Silence. One so awkward that it made the empty space in Oscar’s chest ache more than ever. He swallowed, coughing nervously.
“I’m also alright, university isn’t going too badly, but it’s just me and Ava now erm…”
Another silence followed. He could hear Janet’s soft breathing on the end of the line. Oscar prayed for a rational response, for Janet to say something heartfelt or meaningful, but she did not. Oscar’s patience snapped like a fragile twig.
“You really don’t care do you? What about me?! Who looked after you when you were so intoxicated that you couldn’t even take care of yourself?! I did. Do I get so much as a ‘thank you’ or ‘how are you Oscar?’ no I don’t because you’re so incredibly selfish. Do you have any idea how it makes me feel to know that I’m so unloved. No you don’t! You’re unbelievable. You don’t even have a clue what’s gone on do you? I’m ashamed to be related to you, let alone call you my Mum! I’m very lucky that I have Ava, for once in my life I’ve found someone who actually understands me and do you know what? We’re having a baby! ”
Without waiting for so much as a response, Oscar cancelled the call, dropping his phone. How his heart raced, Oscar’s whole body trembling with fury. Ava hearing Oscar’s unusually raised voice dashed into the room, finding him lying on top of his bed on one side, his face cold and clammy. She perched herself on the end of Oscar’s bed, stroking his hair.
“Oh Oscar I’m really sorry about what I said earlier! What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost! Please tell me what’s up!”
“Is she okay?”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not particularly, except to say I’d probably be more successful having a conversation with a brick wall.”
“That bad eh?”
“That bad.” Oscar bit his bottom lip, willing the tears not to fall.
“Please don’t cry Oscar.” Ava begged. “None of this is your fault. You’ve been an amazing son, I don’t know what she’s playing at but you don’t deserve any of it. The way she’s treating you is verging on mental torture. Don’t let it get to you. Just like everything that’s gone on with Sebastian. We need to stick together.”
“I know, god what’s happening to me! I’ve turned into such a drip.”
“No, you’re a darling and you mean the world to me. I’d be lost without you these days so please don’t go anywhere. You feel like you’ve got a bit of a temperature.”
Oscar managed to laugh, patting his slender stomach. “No I’m fine, just a little stressed. I’ll soon cool down . As for my weight, well I’m disappearing before your very eyes. ”
“Hmm yes you are you skinny thing! But let’s not have this argument again. I’d offer to make Hot Chocolate but you seem to be burning up.”
“No it’s fine, I’ll just get myself a glass of water and make you a hot drink while I’m there.”
Ava raised an eyebrow. “I’m pregnant, not an invalid! I said I’ll make the drinks. Do you want me to make yours with milk? I’m avoiding the stuff, I just can’t stomach it at the moment. Come into the living room, I’ll put the television on.”
Oscar nodded, rose to his feet and followed her through. “God it’s chilly in here! How does your bedroom stay so warm! It’s baltic. It’ll certainly help me cool down, but I don’t want you catching your death!”
“Put the thermostat on Oscar. We shouldn’t really turn it off anyway or else we’ll get damp in the house.”
Oscar did so, then seated himself in the corner of the sofa; Ava came through with the two mugs in her hand and carefully placed them onto the table.
“Thank you my darling.” Oscar smiled, kissing Ava’s smooth forehead, gratefully taking a sip from his hot chocolate.
To be continued…