It’s Jane Lovering‘s turn on our Mother’s Day Round Robin today! Will Jenny’s Mother’s Day lunch be a success or a complete disaster? Let’s see Remember to read right until the end for a competition.
To enjoy this story make sure you read the other parts first:
Part One by Margaret James HERE
PART TWO BY JANE LOVERING
Sunday dawned, and the heavy skies mirrored the feeling in my stomach. What on earth had I been thinking? Three generations of my family, plus … well, plus Mike, it was almost as though I was willing disaster on myself. Even the leg of lamb looked vaguely accusing as it lay in its red wine marinade and I found myself patting it reassuringly, as I’d used to pat Lucy’s nappied bottom when she’d cried as a baby. She’d been such a lovely child, all blonde ringlets and a slight look of Felicity Kendall about her, we’d been close through her childhood and even her teenage years had been more spirited attempts to get her up, washed and to school on time than the slammed door slanging matches that my peers all seemed to indulge in.
I gave the lamb another pat and popped it into the oven just as the doorbell rang. I tidied my hair (in case it was Mike), checked the level on the gin bottle (in case it was my mother) and assumed a suitable air of situational control (in case it was Lucy), then went to answer it.
‘Ah, there you are,’ said my mother, as though she’d been waiting on the step for half an hour. ‘I do hope it’s not going to rain. I left the sheets on the line, you know, they simply don’t smell clean when they’ve been in the tumble drier, do they?’
‘Happy Mothers’ Day, Mum,’ I said, a little weakly. ’Come on in, Lucy should be here in a minute and … well, there’s someone else coming who I’d like you to meet.’
Somewhere on the horizon thunder rumbled. I crossed my fingers that the weather wasn’t being metaphorical.
My mother sniffed. She had a whole series of sniffs, eloquent as a curse at one end of the spectrum and resigned admiration at the other. Suffice it to say that her ‘disapproval’ sniffs got far more of an airing. ’Yes,’ she said. ‘Lucy mentioned something about you having A Man.’
I poured her a glass of wine in the kitchen and bustled her through to the dining room, where the table was neatly laid for four. ’I haven’t really got him, mum, he’s …’ How to sum up what Mike was to me? More of a companion, more affectionate, more concerned for my wellbeing than Lucy’s father ever had been? Also considerably better in bed, but I certainly wasn’t going to mention that to my mother … ‘He’s a very nice man,’ I finished, inadequately.
The sniff this time told me that she was reserving judgement.
‘This wine’s bitter,’ she said. ’Haven’t you got any gin?’
Just as I reached for the bottle I heard the rattle of hail against the window, mirrored by a rattling sound as Lucy’s car drew into the driveway, it sounded as though something had come loose somewhere underneath. Probably exactly what she thought about me, I mused, opening the front door so that she could run straight in out of the apocalyptic weather that was breaking above us. Hailstones clanged and battered off the roofs of the cars, flattened the clumps of daffodils that Mike and I had weeded so assiduously last week and laid a slippery mat on the doorstep. Lucy hurtled in through the door, like a ghost of who she had been.
‘I hope you’re not taking to gin,’ she said, seeing the bottle in my hand. ‘It’s bad enough with … hello Granny!’
The sniff this time passed judgement on the length of Lucy’s skirt, the shortness of her hair and the redness of her lipstick. ‘That car doesn’t sound right, Lucy,’ she said, despite never having driven in her life and having a knowledge of cars that stopped at ‘four wheels’. ’Can’t your father have a look at it for you?’ She hugged Lucy quickly, disentangling herself in favour of the gin I held out.
‘Dad’s too busy these days, I think Megan and Luca keep him occupied,’ Lucy said a little too brightly and I wondered if she’d already asked Jack to take a look at the car. ‘But it’s fine, Granny. Happy Mothers’ Day, Mum.’ She held a bowl of blue hyacinths out like a peace offering. ’These are for you.’
I took them and buried my nose in the shell-like flowers, inhaling their sweet smell and hiding my face at the same time. Hyacinths had always been my favourites. She’d remembered.
‘Never liked those things. Smell like old ladies,’ said my mother, who only ever smelled of Chanel No 5.
The noise of the hail had drowned out any sounds from outside, so when the doorbell rang again it made us all jump. Mike had arrived.
Now that Mike’s arrived, the fun can really begin (or possibly not!) Let’s see where AnneMarie Brear takes it tomorrow
If you enjoyed Jane’s writing, make sure you keep an eye out for a new release, coming soon! Until then, you can check out her existing novels HERE.
To be in with a chance of winning one of Jane’s novels and some chocolate simply answer this question:
What is Jenny’s mum’s drink of choice?
To enter, send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Round Robin Jane Lovering comp’ by Monday 27th March. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Tuesday 28th March.
Read Part Three by AnneMarie Brear HERE.