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After the Solstice

The Sequel

Willow’s Dip Book Two

            “Hi darling! Guess who?”

“Ja… er, Gervais!”

“Darling, you remembered!”

“Of course! You’ll always be Jamie to me but I know you prefer to be known as Gervais.”

“You’re so sweet. Listen, what are you doing?”

“What now?”

“Yes.”

“Nothing. Why?”

“I was going to come and see you.”

“What now? Are you here? Aren’t you in London?”

“Yes, yes and no. I’ll tell you all about it when I come over darling.”

“All right then. I’ll dig out a bottle of wine. What time will you be?”

About eight OK?”

“Yes, that’ll give me time to put the boys in bed.”

“Fine babes, and don’t bother about the wine, I’ll get one from the offie on my way. See you later ducky.”

“Right then. Look forward to it.”

What was Gervais doing back here? Everything had been going so well for him in London. He’d been working in a top class hairdressing salon, had a swish apartment and a social life to match. Something must be wrong for him to have given it all up. Maybe he was just here visiting his mother. He hadn’t said he was here permanently, that was just the conclusion she’d jumped to, possibly due to the tone of his voice when he’d said, ‘I’ll tell you all about it later.’

On the dot of eight the doorbell rang. Just like Gervais, always punctual. She went to open it and there he was, flamboyant as ever: frilly shirt cuffs, tight, black leather trousers, just reaching the black stilettos, heavily made up eyes as artistically done as ever, and the peroxided, spiky hair.

“Darling!” He held his arms wide and she went into them, returning his hug.

“You look really well, make up’s perfect as usual, better than mine.

“Well you have to make an effort don’t you ducky.”

She looked past him to the sleek, black Porsche parked on the drive. “Snazzy motor. When did you get that?”

“My little extravagance darling. Got it last year. It is a beauty isn’t it. I’ll take you for a spin one day, show you what it can do. Now then,” he waved the bottle of wine at her, “where’s the corkscrew?”

Fifteen minutes later they were ensconced in the lounge, slippers and stilettos kicked off, feet tucked up on the settee. The log fire crackled and the wine flowed. Chloe looked across at her friend. It’d been years since she’d seen him; her wedding day was the last time, and he hadn’t changed at all. Well, perhaps he was a bit more flamboyant. She wanted to know all his news.

“So, is this just a holiday, or are you back for good?”

He looked suddenly serious. “Probably for good. It’s Mum. She’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.”

“Oh Gervais I’m so sorry.”

“Mmm. It came as a shock. She’s always been so fit and healthy. She’s got to go in for surgery to remove the lump. They hope to just do a lumpectomy as opposed to a full mastectomy, but if they can’t, well….” He raised his shoulders and twisted his mouth. “Then she’ll have to have chemo, so she’ll need someone to look after her, and since Dad died, that means me.”

Chloe just stopped herself from saying, ‘Will you go back to London after…’ but chose different words just in time. After all, breast cancer wasn’t the death sentence it used to be. Lots of women survived, or at least today’s treatment bought them several more years. “Were you gutted to leave London?”

He shook his head looking subdued. “No, the time had come. I suppose I’m running away. Broken relationship.”

“You poor thing. You are having a rough time aren’t you. Anything you want to talk about?”

He shrugged. “Nothing much to say. He found someone else.”

After the Solstice

 

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