This is the second of my collaborations and my second with the lovely Rhonda over at Fifty Shades of Gray Hair and I think she’s possibly outdone herself this time! It has been a joy working with her on both projects and I have loved how each time I have given her a story she just creates these amazing pictures. So thank you Rhonda, you’re an inspiration!
Jen smiled indulgently across the breakfast table, over the heads of 6-year-old Jake and his sister 4-year-old Emily, at a bemused Richard, and mouthed “I love you”. Their secret smile that they saved for one another, and said that all was right with the world. Jen quickly set about clearing up the breakfast debris when Anna joined them – no matter how hard Jen tried, she just couldn’t warm to this woman. There was an air of detachment and aloofness about her that appeared to be impenetrable. Jen thought it strange that Anne had chosen a career in childcare when she appeared so uncomfortable around them. No Anna, was definitely not what you would call a natural with children. So why then had Jen chosen her, the answer was simple really, she felt that Anne had needed her and coming from a large noisy Irish family, Jen relished being needed. It was as essential to her as breathing, Richard had understood this when they first met and maybe it was the cornerstone of their relationship.
Jen started to load the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher whilst Richard departed for work. Anna sat down at the breakfast table and refereed a squabble between Jake & Emily whilst sipping coffee. Jen sighed thinking it was another morning when conversation would be minimal. Not that she minded the uncomfortable silences but once in a while it would have been nice to start the day with a few pleasantries. Jen didn’t dwell on this too long as it was her morning to take the children to school and she enjoyed the brief stroll and spending time alone with them.
Wrapped up against the chilly morning they set out pausing only to exchange words with their regular friendly lollipop lady. Once the children had been taken inside the school by their respective teachers, Jen started out for the local supermarket where she needed to collect some essentials. Anna had a day to herself today so Jen wasn’t sure whether she would be at home when she returned to start the washing. Another glamorous fun-filled day Jen thought to herself. She wondered when she and Richard would manage to grab sometime alone again. It was strange but even after these years, their mutual passion still surprised her. With thoughts of their previous night’s lovemaking, Jen decided to treat Richard to his favourite meal and set about picking up the ingredients from the supermarket shelves.
Jen was pleased, when she got home overloaded with shopping bags, to discover that Anna had gone out. After putting all the shopping away, Jen sat down at the kitchen table over a coffee – she smiled, there was nothing quite like freshly brewed coffee to raise the spirits. Five more minutes, she thought, before tackling the rest of the household chores for the day. Whilst savouring the last sips of her coffee, she contemplated where Anna had gone. Anna wasn’t the type of person Jen would choose to spend an evening with, but she had taken a couple of calls for her from friends. Maybe, Anna was the type of person who loosened up after a couple of drinks and lost that cold reserve of hers. She had appeared pretty secretive this morning and one might say even a little pleased with herself. Afterall, she had even worn a cheeky little dress suit in a bright fuchsia colour and splashed on a little channel – totally unlike her. Could there be a man? Jen chuckled and thought that highly unlikely.
Still Jen pondered over Anna’s liaison whilst she unloaded the dishwasher, sorted out the remainder of the washing and prepared the evening meal. Before she knew it, it was time to collect the kids from school.
Although it was a really wintry afternoon, Jen and the children spent some time in the park on the way home and finally arrived breathless and red-cheeked. That was strange; Richard’s car was in the drive. Still it was nice to have him home early and maybe they could catch five minutes together whilst she deposited the children in front of the television with some hot chocolate.
Once inside the house, the children called out to Richard and it was a few minutes before he ambled into the kitchen. Smiling Jen handed him a mug of hot chocolate whilst ushering the children into the lounge. The smile must have frozen on her face when she noticed Anna stealing down the stairs. Gone was the fuchsia suite and in its place was her usual trademark bland casual wear. Jen secretly thought that Dash would go bankrupt overnight if Anna stopped shopping there.
Jen returned to the kitchen to find that Anna was loading her pre-prepared meal into the oven whilst Richard was sat at the kitchen table, listening intently to something she was saying. At some point, Anna must have said something really amusing as Richard threw back his head and laughed wholeheartedly. For some reason this made Jen very uncomfortable and she felt that she was an intruder in this intimate scenario.
Jen bustled into the kitchen and started to fold the washing which she had taken out of the tumble drier earlier. Anna stopped in mid-sentence and the bonhomie moment she was enjoying with Richard, evaporated. Anna busied herself preparing a salad and Richard joined the children in the lounge and judging from the whoops of delight, Jen guessed that they were playing some rough and tumble game. What with the noise from the children and the blender, Jen was happy not to have to engage in conversation with Anna. Although she had to admit she was curious about what she had been discussing with Richard earlier and if honest, she felt a little jealous that he had sat there mesmerised as if she was the most intriguing woman in the world. Did he still look at Jen like that – the truth of the matter was that Richard had the knack for making every woman feel like they were a priceless piece of porcelain. Even his eighty year old spinster aunt with an aversion to all things masculine was not immune to his charms.
Richard suggesting bathing the children early and putting them to bed before the adults sat down to eat. So whilst Jen mopped up a semi flooded bathroom and picked up a trail of wet towels, Anna started to serve the meal. By the time Jen returned to the kitchen, Richard had uncorked the wine and was pouring out three glasses, whilst in deep in conversation with Anna. Again Jen felt like the intruder when the conversation stopped abruptly. She laughed nervously and went to help Anna, making a mental note to ask Richard later what they had been discussing.
Settling down to enjoy her meal, Jen was shocked when Anna started talking about a wonderful job opportunity that she had in a town about fifty miles away. “Well the thing is Jen; Richard and I have been discussing this” as she grasped Richard’s hand “and we have decided to relocate and as it’s so close to my parents we won’t need a nanny anymore I’m afraid. Richard and I will give you an excellent reference; you do understand don’t you?”
Coming up next a Turkish themed collaboration with Suzanne over at the travelbunny