“You’re so full of tall tales Oscar!”
“I’m not a liar! How can you say that Mum?!”
“Try and be better a better parent than I was Oscar. I was too young! Don’t you dare leave her!”
“Mum, I’m not going to leave Ava! We’ll try our absolute best. I wish we could have parted on better terms, Ava’s right, I don’t feel that I’m ready to go now, not yet!”
“You always were so melodramatic! Can’t you understand that there are people far worse off than you?!”
“Of course I’m aware of that! Do you really think I’m that selfish?”
“Mum if I didn’t give a shit about you then why did I come home the previous time? I did it because I was worried, I really care. You’re my Mum!”
“Oscar, I was a bad parent. Let’s just leave it at that shall we. Don’t follow in my footsteps and learn from my mistakes. You were right. You have to go and I meant it when I said you needed to get yourself to the doctors! Ava you’ll make him see sense wont you?”
Ava nodded. “I’ll drag him there if I have to!”
Janet sighed weakly. “Good. You should go now so you don’t get back too late.”
“Goodbye Mum take care. Can I give you a hug?” Janet edged back, her arms pressed tightly to her side. Oscar grabbed their belongings, proceeding to walk swiftly to the car.
“Take care of each other.”
“I’ll look after him Janet.”
Ava patted Oscar’s shoulder. “I’ll drive for a while, that didn’t go too horrendously did it?”
“It probably could have been worse.” Oscar sniffed.
“Sit in the passenger’s side for a while Oscar. Just until you’ve calmed down.” Oscar nodded. “Good. Let’s go shall we? Jesus, for a moment there I really thought I’d talked some sense into your Mother! Obviously not, I think I’ve just made matters worse.”
“Everything is so messed up.”
“Shhh okay, I know. Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. Oscar, you have to stop taking the blame for everything. Your Mum is incredibly selfish however, we did have a small break through didn’t we? She showed some concern. So we’ll look on the positive side of things and call that progress. These things take time.”
“I know they do.”
“You look shattered. Take full advantage of the fact that I’m driving. Have a nap will you?”
“I’ll try, but we should swap over in an hour or so.”
“Fair enough Oscar. Shit don’t do that!”
“Rest your head against the window, it brings back horrible memories.”
“When I drove you to A&E.”
“I still don’t believe you Oscar!”
“I feel alright, just drained lately. Can I try and have a quick sleep now?”
“Oh yes, sorry.”
“Oscar we’re here!”
“Wh-what? What’s happened?”
“ You’ve just woken up, we’re back in Chester.”
“ You’ve driven the whole way back?”
“Yes! You were flat out! I even stopped for a toilet break, but I couldn’t wake you.”
“Oh God I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t worry. It will be lovely to be back in my own bed tonight. I’m really tired, oh thank goodness there’s a parking space close to the house.”
Oscar nodded. “I’ll carry the bags, it’s the least I can do.”
“Alright Oscar, I’ll meet you inside. I think I’ll have a shower, feel free to relax in my room.”
“Thank you. I’ll put on a load of washing first Ava. I’ll use the bathroom after you.”
“Oh yes, I’d almost forgotten.”
“Are you sure that you don’t want me to run a bath for you ?”
“You know what? That would be lovely.”
Oscar did so, leaving the bathtub filling up with luxuriously frothy bubbles returning with a basket of washing. He jumped after sensing the hand upon his back.
“Sorry Oscar, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Ava hugged him gently.
“You didn’t, not much anyway. Your bath is ready, just test the temperature. I’ve already checked the window, it’s locked.”
“Thanks. I’m looking forward to this.” Ava closed the door, locking it behind her. Oscar washed the dishes and proceeded to fill the washing machine, leaving Ava in peace to enjoy her bath. As the door clicked shut, he tucked the basket under one arm and rose to his feet.
What was that? A distinct ringing sound, was it the washing machine, was there something in there that shouldn’t be? Oscar gazed into the washing machine door, failing to see anything. His stomach churned, matching its cycle. He held his breath, rubbing the pain above his left eye, willing it to fade away before Ava exited the bathroom. An unexplained shooting pain racked his skull. Oscar placed his head in his hands, attempting to shuffle away. He crawled in a daze into the living room and onto the sofa, his vision augmented. Oscar lay there, curled up in a ball, willing the pain to leave him and fell into darkness.
“Oscar what’s wrong?” Oscar snapped back into consciousness.
“I was just having a cat nap.” Oscar lied, returning to a normal sitting position. “Did you enjoy your bath?”
“Oh it was perfect, thank you. I’m sleepy and ready for bed now. Come on, you look exhausted . You have dark circles under your eyes. I can’t wait to sleep in the warmth of my bedroom, it will be perfect. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, perfect.” Oscar repeated feebly, his blurred vision coming back into focus.
To be continued…..