“I’m sorry,” said James junior as soon as he appeared in the living room.
“Is that all you have to say,” asked Myrtle after she’d waited a couple of minutes for him to elaborate.
“What Ivy, Roses Mother, said was totally unforgivable,” said James. “I was stunned. I didn’t believe my ears, but I should have said something. I am so sorry that I just stood there like some sort of stuffed dummy. I should have defended you. I know that you would never have done anything like that, there are times, during the birth, when I wished you had. It’s hard to watch the woman you love going through so much pain, but even then, I knew that you wouldn’t because you believe that sort of thing is wrong. I am so sorry that you thought that I doubted you for even one second. Please say something.”
“Your silence hurt me, hurt me deeply,” Myrtle replied.
“I will regret that to my last day,” said James. “If I could take back those words, I would.”
“And, if something like this happens again?” asked Myrtle. “Because it could do, people look at fairies and make assumptions based on nothing.”
“I am not going to promise that it will never happen again, because as you say, people make assumptions about fairies and I may be taken by surprise again, but I shall do my best to stand up for you in everything,” James replied. “Please believe my, you are my world, I’m lost without you.”
“I’m lost without you,” said Myrtle as the babies started crying.
“Shall we do this together?” asked James. “We do work well as a team.”
“OK,” said Myrtle, glancing towards the twins. “We’d better get started before they become a bio-hazard.”
“Yes,” said James fetching the changing bags. “There is a bit of a ripe smell about them.”
“They’ll need fresh clothes,” said Myrtle, picking some up from a pile of laundry.
“So where do we go from here?” asked James as they stood by the twins watching them sleep.
“I don’t know,” said Myrtle.
“If you don’t want me to see my family,” James started.
“I wouldn’t ask that of you,” said Myrtle. “But I hope you understand, if they are going to snipe at me for what I am, then, I won’t go with you.”
“I’ll talk to them, they shouldn’t be like that, wheeling out the stereo types after all that you did for them,” said James.
“I know that people don’t think things through when they are stressed, but I didn’t think they’d be like that,” said Myrtle.
“Do you want to be with my when I ring them?” James asked.
“I don’t know,” said Myrtle. “I might join in and say something that I’ll regret.”
“Perhaps we aught to leave it till tomorrow,” suggested James. “They might want to ring to apologise.”
“Tempting, but they might not ring,” said Myrtle. “And I don’t think it is something that we should leave over night, this sort of thing can fester.
They had had their evening meal, the twins had gone to sleep and were being put down in their cots when James’s phone rang.
“Hello,” said Mary cautiously.
“You’d better take that into the other room,” said Myrtle as the twins began to stir.
“Hello Mother,” James whispered, walking back to the kitchen.
“If this is a bad time,” said Mary. “I just wanted to know if you were OK.”
“Of course I’m OK,” said James. “I’m surprised that you should even feel the need to ask that.”
“We didn’t think she turn you into a frog,” Mary laughed slightly.
“So why did you even mention it?” asked James.
“Well, you never know with,” Mary paused slightly, realising that her attempt to lighten things had only made them worse.
“When you are down a hole, stop digging,” said James.
“She’s got you under the thumb,” James senior’s voice came over the phone.
“I thought you had rung up to apologise,” said James junior. “Not to slag my wife off.”
“I rang because I wanted to know that you were OK,” said Mary. “I didn’t want to cause any more trouble.”
“Then perhaps you need to rethink your attitude to fairies,” said James junior.
“Why wont she let you see us if we aren’t nice to her?” snapped James senior.
“I will never stop James seeing you,” said Myrtle. “But I don’t see why I should go with him if you are going to spend all your time snipping at me. If I want family hostilities, I can see my relatives, they make you lot look like rank amateurs.”
“I thought I was talking to my son, not his, what exactly is your relationship to him?” asked Mary.
“I am his wife,” said Myrtle. “Do you want to see the marriage certificate?”
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” said Mary.
“I don’t know, I’d like to see this so called certificate and check it out for authenticity,” said James senior.
“That’s enough,” said James junior. “I thought we could get through this, but clearly you aren’t prepared to try, so I see no future in this,” he added and hung up.
“That didn’t go to well,” said James.
“That’s one way of putting it,” said Myrtle.
“I’m sorry,” said James.
“It isn’t your fault,” said Myrtle. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have pushed you into seeing them.”
“You weren’t to know what they’d be like,” James sighed.
“You couldn’t just keep your big mouth shut,” Mary shouted at James.
“She’s got him wrapped around her little finger,” said James senior. “He couldn’t even talk on the phone without her adding her two penny worth.”
“You didn’t exactly stay silent,” snapped Mary. “It might have been better for everyone if you had done.”
“And my input isn’t wanted,” James senior replied.
“At that point, no,” said Mary. “Thanks to you, we might not get to see two of our grandchildren.”
“That’s if they are our grandchildren, we don’t even know if he is our son,” said James senior.
“What do you want, a DNA test,” snapped Mary.
“I’m doing that,” said James senior.
“What!” shouted Mary.
“Remember the coffee he had at the hospital,” James senior smiled.
“What about it?” asked Mary.
“The cup,” said James.
“The one you said you were binning?” asked Mary.
“I didn’t,” he said. “They are testing the DNA on it to see if he is my son.”
“I do not believe that I am hearing this,” said Mary.
“You have to admit that it’s a bit to neat and tidy, him turning up, now after all these years,” said James senior. “You wouldn’t expect me not to check.”
“I would have expected you to be honest about it and ask if he minded,” Mary replied. “This is just so underhand.”
“So you don’t want to know the results?” asked James senior.
“Of course I do, if only to confirm what I already know,” Mary replied sitting down heavily.
“I just want what is best for you,” said James senior. “You know that don’t you?”
“Of course,” sighed Mary. “When do you think you’ll have the results?”
“Tomorrow afternoon sometime,” he smiled.
“Right, we’ll see what we do then,” said Mary.
By Janice Nye © 2021