In a Church, Nick finds Rachel to be daring...
I looked round at Mum and Len, I went over and kissed Mum, very aware that she still hadn't said a word. "I doubt whether I'll see you again until after you get back from seeing Brian and your holiday in Scotland. So, do have a good time." I kissed her cheek again and headed for my car.
As I got to the front door, I realised that Mum was following me. Len was trailing behind her. I looked at her.
"Go on, out to your car. We can talk outside."
I went out and pulled my car door open, then I turned to Mum. "Don't say it Mum. Don't let's part on a row. Just give Brian my love, and Morag and the children of course, and I'll see you in a couple of weeks." And I kissed her on the cheek for the third time.
I was quite hopeful that she wasn't going to say anything, I was wrong.
"How could you? How could you shout at her? She's doing her best to hold it together. She's made a mess of her life, and now she's turned to the man she loves, the father of her children, and you shout at her and walk away. How could you?"
"I shouted at a woman who was unfaithful to me, who walked away from me, and who's been married to her lover for the last four years. And if you have a problem with that Mum, then you need your head examined."
We stared at each other in a sort of stand-off. I broke the spell to get into my car, and I closed the door and lowered the window. She was still watching me, intently, but I thought with a little doubt in her eyes. Len was still hovering just behind her. Then Ralph came out and looked at me.
Ralph said, "Before you go, Chris, I'd like a word." He looked at Mum.
It was Len who got the message. He took hold of Mum's arm, "Come on Dear. Let's go in and see the boys." And he led her indoors.
As she went through the front door, Ralph turned back to me, "I just wanted to say that I hadn't realised how hard this must be to you, Chris. I once said that I thought Molly was going to ask you to do the hardest thing you'll ever have to do. I thought that that was to try and forgive her. To try to build something new with her."
"I'm sorry, Ralph. I know that's what you want. It's what Mum wants. But...."
"But what I didn't think about is just how hard it must be for you to accept that any of that is even a possibility. I know that when we talked I never heard a word of criticism or recrimination against Molly. That gave me hope. I suppose its part of the reason I engineered all this. But, I didn't listen to everything. I've only just begun to realise you never said a word of anything but that it was all over. However much you had regrets, you never wished to change things. You very firmly accepted that she was gone, that she loved Peter more than you and that was that. I guess it's how you coped. It must be almost impossible to just change your thinking, to understand the options you have."
I looked at him, grateful for his understanding. But I could still feel my disappointment, hurt and anger with Mum coursing through me. "Don't tell me, Ralph. Tell them."
I put the car into reverse and slipped off his drive.
I went home to feeling pretty unsettled all that evening, and only managed a few hours of troubled sleep.
But on the Saturday I was feeling a little more cheerful, when in the middle of the morning my doorbell buzzed, and when I opened it, there stood Mum.
"Mum, I thought you were off to Newcastle to see Brian this morning."
"We are. Ralph is giving us a lift to the airport, and he and Len are downstairs. But I couldn't go without seeing you."
"Then you'd better come in."
We stood facing each other in the living room. She looked at me and just said, "Sorry."
I waited and she went on, "I'm sorry, Chris. Ralph talked last night about some of the conversations you and he had had in the last few weeks. I wasn't here when you and Molly broke up, I heard you on the phone when we talked, but I could never see your face or look into your eyes. I don't think I ever realised how hurt you were. I guess you still are."
I sighed, "Yes I was hurt.