Rose Lane Ch 18
Posted: 30 January 2004
Word Count: 2245
After months of little or no contact, Matthew's parents finally phoned Melanie to see how she was getting on, well his mother Hilda actually made the call.
"Hello Melanie, is that you?" she always asked, though who the hell did she was expect to answer the phone at eight o'clock in the morning at her son and daughter in laws house, the maid? No..Mam can't come to the phone right now, she's having her eyebrows plucked, can I take a message. Dozy cow.
"Yeah, it's me, hello Hilda, how are you?" Melanie replied with forced chirpiness.
"Oh you know , run off my feet as usual, now how are you keeping, I did promise Matthew I'd keep an eye on you, what on earth were you thinking of breaking your wrist like that, the female bone gets very brittle as we age dear, you really must be more careful."
The lecture went on for about 15 minutes, Melanie learned all about David's high blood pressure and the new conservatory and how long it was taking and how unreliable these builders were, and how she lost her temper the other morning and they refused the cups of tea she offered preferring to head to the cafe down the road.
"Oh it's all so tedious, anyway, you really must come up and see how we're getting on, bring the boys it's been ages since we've seen them"
Melanie could detect a note of blame in Hilda's sugary voice, naturally it was all Melanie's fault that the boys hadn't seen their paternal grandparents in months, it was all Melanie's fault that her precious son had left the family home, she simply hadn't been a proper wife, hadn't looked after him well enough, look at Hilda and David , blissfully married for over forty years. After all her other son, Matthew's brother Scott had been married for 20 years and according to him, they'd never been happier, so it clearly wasn't her boys at fault.
"Look Hilda, I'm really sorry I can't chat longer but I've got a ....doctors appointment this morning, I really have to go.....
But Hilda wasn't having any of that.
"I understand if you find it awkward talking to me Melanie dear, but I'm still the boys grandmother, I'm not going anywhere."
This candid response threw Melanie momentarily, she was used to Hilda covering her feelings in politeness and gently pressing home her barbs through a veiled pretence at civility.
"No, really I have an appointment...Mel flustered.
"I'm sure you do, look Melanie, believe it or not I'm on your side here."
"I think what my son has done to you is outrageous, inexcusable and personally I'd like to give him a bloody good kick up the jaxie."
Melanie nearly laughed out loud, this was Hilda Chase she was talking to, mother of St Matthew Chase and therefore the closest thing to the real Madonna in the world, and we ain't talking the material girl.
"Really?" she managed.
"Running off with a ninny of a girl half his age, the bloody fool, it's only sex Melanie, that's all its about, I know what it's like for women as we get older, you simply can't be bothered with all that nonsense, but men unfortunately just don't seem to tire, like we do, it's our hormones."
"We had a perfectly normal ..life actually Hilda." Melanie felt she had to defend her marriage and her reputation, three orgasms in one night, thank you very much.
"Yes, exactly normal, not exactly swinging chandeliers I suppose, no dressing up in leather bondage gear or serving him pot roast in the nude, oh I don't blame you who can be arsed when there's an episode of Corrie on the box, anyway why don't all four of you come up and stay for a weekend?"
"Four of us? " repeated Melanie, dumb struck.
"Yes, when Matthew gets back from this ridiculous fantasy trip he's taken, when he's come to his senses and that silly, wretched girl has had enough of him, which she will, you can all come and visit and be a proper family again."
You could almost visualise Hilda dressed as a fairy god mother waving her magic wand over the other end of the telephone , Ping! "A proper family, I say, be a proper family." in a magical bid to establish some sort of control over her disintegrating clan.
"Look Hilda, I appreciate your concern I really do, but Matthew and I are finished, it's over, he's made his position absolutely clear."
There was a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line.
"You don't have to answer me if you don't want to Melanie, but are you seeing anyone?"
Of course she had to answer her, if she didn't Hilda would jump to her own conclusions, which would almost certainly be worse than any truth. She couldn't very well tell her she'd had a night of unbridled passion with a complete stranger, that they'd done things to each other she'd only ever seen in porn films, could she? What would that do to her old lady hormone theory?
"No Hilda, I'm not, as it happens I've quite busy actually."
"Really, busy doing what if you don't mind me asking, because quite frankly I don't understand what could possibly take priority over a mother and wife wanting to save her marriage."
Oh here we go, this is what's it's all about, no matter what her darling has done, it was Melanie's fault after all.
"I'm busy getting my life back Hilda, busy getting on with the things I want to do, I have to fend for myself now , myself and my children, your son has made his choice, now if you don't mind...
her voice caught in her throat when she tried to suppress the tears that were surprising even herself.
"Come on now darling, no one's blaming you, my son is a fool, all men are bloody idiots, I want you to listen to me now, I want to tell you something very private...
Melanie sniffed and blew her nose.
"My David had a fancy woman once, oh years back , when the boys were younger than Ben and Alfie are now, before their sister was even born. Dreadful creature, Lydia she went by, worked in his office, such a cliché, not even a pretty girl, just different from me I suppose."
"Really?" Melanie was shocked and couldn't help wondering if Matthew knew about his fathers indiscretion.
"A friend of mine told me, thought I had a right to know, which I did, ruined our friendship thought, you know, I shot the messenger so to speak. Well I gave him an ultimatum, his children's respect and love or some silly tart who'd probably get herself pregnant and trap him, naturally he chose us and she was never mentioned again...what's that, hang on darling....there's a clean shirt in the bathroom, behind the door.....anyway must dash David and I are going to Bridge, but remember we're here if you need us, bye bye dear."
And her mother in law hung up.
Melanie retreated to the spare room to paint. Her subject stared back at her, big green eyes, half smiling, taunting her almost. I know you, it seemed to say. You might think you created me but I created you.
The doorbell chimed. 9.15pm who could that be? Rain pelted down on the dripping girl crouched on her doorstep .
"Sorry, but my mum's kicked me out and I've nowhere to go. "
While she served Elise hot vegetable soup with bread rolls and made herself a scotch and soda, Elise attempted to justify her mothers bizarre behaviour.
"I don't blame her, she's had a hard life and I represent all her mistakes."
"This isn't your fault Elise, why did she want you to go, what happened?"
"I didn't do anything wrong." Elise's voice was rising now.
"Do you want me to call her?"
"No, that would just wind her up and you'd only get loads of abuse."
Elise cut her off.
"She's not like you, she doesn't give a shit about us. She's just into staying young and preserving her looks and she hates me because I'm not like her and I care about things, anyway she says there's not enough room.... "Elise started to cry.
"Oh please can I just crash here for a few days , that's all then I'll go when I get myself together."
Mel sighed, she'd grown fond of this girl , but was this really a good idea?
"I don't know Elise, I think you should phone your mother. Let her know you're OK."
"I'm not a little kid Melanie . she's got my mobile number and if she's that worried she'll call me."
"Ok, "Mel finally agreed. "You can stay tonight then we'll talk more in the morning."
But the next morning Elise awoke bright and chirpy. She scrambled eggs and toasted bagels, brewed fresh coffee and set about impressing her new land lady with her domesticity and consideration.
Over breakfast Elise told Mel how her mother had phoned her early that morning to say she was sorry but she needed to get her head together and Elise was welcome to stay away as long as she liked.
"But Elise you're only 17, shouldn't we go and talk to her?"
"No " said Elise adamant. "That's not a good idea, look it's only for a few days then everything will blow over like it always does and I'll go home, happens all the time especially when she's got a bloke around."
"Okay Elise, but I've made plans to get away for the bank holiday, you can stay here until Thursday morning, but then you really must go back home."
"Of course, no, that would be great, thank you."
Elise set about clearing up the breakfast dishes and making more coffee, Melanie tried to read the morning paper but this new arrangement was very distracting.
"So how did you get on tracing your friend? Did you find her?"
"Um, no not really."
"Oh well," shrugged Elise, "You mustn't give up."
Fifteen year old Melanie lay very still in bed, trying to remember Tara's instructions. She began by caressing the inside of her thigh with her hand, but her nylon nightie kept getting in the way and she felt quite ridiculous. By the time her fingers were between her legs, stroking the outside of her panties she thought she'd die of embarrassment. Her school friends would think she was sick in the head if they ever found out, not that they ever would. After a few minutes she stared to relax and her cheeks reddened for other reasons other than embarrassment. She slipped her finger into her panties, middle finger ,right hand, that's what Tara's book had said, there it was, that odd flap of skin she'd been aware of it since she was about three years old, once her mother had caught her touching herself there, years ago, when it was all so innocent.
"What do you think you're doing? Get your hand away from there you filthy little girl!"
Pattie had not reacted well.
But now it was for real, she rubbed and rubbed, circular motions that's what Tara had said, around and around, oh that felt good, occasionally she slipped her finger inside herself and thrust, but it was all a bit awkward and the whole process was starting to hurt her wrist? She moved her attention back to her target, around and around, her breathing quickened and images entered her mind, just like Tara advised. "Think about someone you're really rapt in. Anyone, a boy at school, a movie actor, a rock star, what about Rod Stewart, he does it for me, then imagine them touching you, loving you and before you know it..... wow....oh that was it, this was fantastic, Melanie panted in the darkness of her room, all alone and so very contented, without warning her room was suddenly bathed in light . Pattie stood in the doorway, her arms folded and a frown on her brow.
"What's the matter Melanie? Are you having an asthma attack?"
Melanie had been painting for hours, only a phone call from Alfie and Ben had interrupted her working day. There was no sign of Elise so Mel set about making pasta with roast vegetables for dinner, therapeutic and plenty to go round if Elise did return. Secretly Melanie hoped Elise had made up with her mother and gone home, the last thing Melanie needed right now was to mentor a needy adolescent girl, if she had of done, she'd have tried for that third baby in the firm belief that just one of Matthew's expeditious little sperms carried female chromosomes. Melanie stayed up late watching TCM, they were screening Mame, the Lucille Ball version and though Lucy couldn't really sing and the whole production had more of a seventies feel than the ninteen thirties period setting it should have had, Melanie was carried away. When Lucy's scratchy out of tune voice warbled the words of that old song - 'Why did I ever buy him those Damn Long Pants'. Melanie was genuinely moved. She tutted tutted to herself, finally after all these years she understood while all the mother's wept quietly into their hankies when Miranda made that song her own.
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