I have a number of posts that will come up today. Please bare with me but first up is Picking up the Pieces. I’m lucky to share with you an extract from Picking up the Pieces.
The book on Kate’s lap remained unread, a Nordic noir thriller that no longer held her interest. She was restless. Shadows flickered on the walls from the glare cast by the small round lamp that was nestled among the yellowing paperbacks on the bookshelf. She should really be writing up her articles, but she couldn’t concentrate. All she could think about was the phone call, and if she was being truly honest, those piercing blue eyes belonging to the new next-door neighbour.
The phone call had unnerved her, shaken her. It had taken her back to all those years ago, when she had been a different person, a completely different person to the woman she was now. She did not want to be that woman again. She had checked her phone, once Sam was safely tucked up in bed, to see if there was a number logged, but it had been blocked. That’s what really bothered her. The fact that whoever it was didn’t want her to know their identity. It had to be Jake; she couldn’t think of anyone else who it could be. But how did he get hold of her number?
Kate pulled the crocheted blanket, a mess of woollen blues, yellows and reds, that scratched her skin, further around her shoulders. She was far too tired to think straight but although exhausted, she knew that sleep would not come.
Jake, her ex-partner, the man who had made her life a living hell. It could very well be him. She thought that she had got away with it. How stupid was she? Nothing was ever that simple. After six years, she had grown complacent. She was less careful; she should never have let her guard down. Paranoia was beginning to set in. Kate had made sure that all of the windows were locked when she came home with Sam; she had checked twice. Now, she could feel the fear overcoming her once more, and she could not let it, not again. He would never again have that power over her.
No, it wasn’t Jake. It wasn’t him. Kate kept repeating this mantra to herself, in the hope that she would believe it.
It was nearly 11:00 p.m., but Kate decided to make herself a cup of tea to take up to bed with her. Tea always had the power to soothe. She was not sure why that was so. Perhaps it was the ritual of making it? Or the fact that she could drink it from a sturdy brown mug, with two teaspoons of sugar. She switched the kettle on and hunted out the teapot. Staring out of the kitchen window, she saw the trampoline bathed in shadow; it looked so forlorn in the darkness. She shook her head; she would need to fix the fence tomorrow, meaning that she would have to go to the large industrial park at the edge of town and pick up some large wood screws, or whatever they were called. It was her responsibility, the fence; it was on her side of the garden. Perhaps she could ask Matt to help? But no, Kate thought, that wouldn’t be fair. If she asked him then he would probably feel obliged to do the work, so no, she would fix it herself.
Kate heard Sam shuffling about above her in his room – he’d not yet settled. She had left him to settle himself. She would check on him in a little bit. Sometimes she found him asleep in his sensory den, lying on all the soft cushions, toys draped over his sleeping body. It was always a military operation trying to gently lift him back into bed without waking him.
The kettle beeped. Kate picked it up and poured the boiling water into her bright yellow teapot. It was one of the very first items that she had bought when she moved into the house all those years ago. She loved the colour – it was bright, cheerful, carefree. It was how she wanted to be, how she wanted to feel.
She waited for the tea to steep, the water slowly turning brown.
She thought of Matt. His eyes, his eyes were so blue. She had never seen eyes quite so blue before and they stirred something deep within her, within her soul, something that had long been buried. It would, however, take her a long time to trust another man, and anyway, she had Sam. He was her priority. He was her life now.
She picked up the teapot and sloshed the brewing tea about a bit before pouring the scalding liquid into her favourite brown tea cup. She spooned in two heaped teaspoons of sugar and then taking the cup, went up the creaky stairs to the safety and warmth of her bed. She believed that there was something quite magical about lying in a warm bed, nestled under the covers. Nobody could get you there; the outside world was miles away. Maybe these thoughts stemmed from childhood? Hiding under the bedcovers so that the bogey man couldn’t get you. Many emotions, thoughts and feelings came from those hidden recesses in the mind, locked away from childhood days gone by. Kate knew that they made us who we are.
Her thoughts then drifted to her gran, and of how she would tell Kate bedtime stories about the times when she was a little girl, growing up in the war. Kate smiled at the memory. She missed her gran.
Kate switched on the bedside light and picked up her tea. Everything was now quiet from Sam’s room. She sipped her tea,
enjoying the sweet bitter taste. She briefly closed her eyes and an image of Matt appeared. She hated to admit it, but there was an instant invisible attraction between them. But she had been so flustered, so preoccupied with finding Sam and making sure that he was safe that she knew that she had come across as rude and almost aloof. What must he have thought of her? Did he see a worried mother, or a woman who appeared cold and uncaring? Kate had no idea, she just hoped that he didn’t think that she didn’t trust him. Could he have thought that? Kate held her head in her hands, suddenly weary with it all. She felt awful now; she didn’t even thank him properly. She was just so frazzled, with the phone call and then not seeing Sam. If she hadn’t received that phone call, then things would have played out very differently. He may even have liked her.
Thank you Kelly for including me once again…