IMPORTANT NOTE: From the 21st September new Book of Lot stories will no longer be able on this site. They’ll be available on my new site. Take a Bite Cafe will continue here until 18th October when it will transfer to my new site.

The first 3 Lot stories with will be taken down on 1st November but, until further notice, my back catalogue of writing advice articles will remain available on this site.


Megan and Nan argue about boundaries


‘Where have you been?’ Nan came into the hallway with a mug of tea clasped between her hands.

‘I went for a ride,’ I said, shrugging off my jacket.

‘By yourself?’ she asked, and plucked something from my hair as I hung my jacket up. ‘There’s bits of leaf in your hair.’ She frowned at it as if it would reveal all my secrets

‘I took a walk.’

She nodded. ‘Hmm… A walk…’

I swung round. ‘Can you just stop? If I want to tell you what I’ve been doing I will but I don’t have to.’

She scowled at me. ‘What might you have been doing you don’t want to tell me, young lady?’

‘I’m thirty-one, I don’t have to tell you anything. It’s my life.’

‘You don’t have to tell me anything but I thought we were besties.’

‘If I don’t tell you everything you make jokes about my sex life. I’m not a Barbie doll you can smush together with the latest Ken because you’re bored.’ I grabbed my jacket. ‘Jesus, I sound like a bloody teenager.’ I pulled my jacket on.

‘Where’re you going?’ She followed me towards the door.

‘Out,’ I said.

‘Where?’

‘Somewhere.’

‘That’s reassuring.’

I stopped, hands raised. ‘I just need some space.’

‘You’ve got space.’ She gestured at the stairs up to my room.

I threw up my arms. ‘You’re not listening?’ I slammed the door behind me and pulled my bike off the front lawn in a spray of dirt.

***

I drove around and ended up back on the fast roads outside the city but I didn’t have anywhere to go.

I could go to Jimmy’s. Would he let me stay over? I had no doubt he would. Was it right of me to stomp over like a toddler because I snapped at Nan? I wasn’t sure. And yet it was Jimmy I thought of first, not El, or my sister, or anyone else. Jimmy.

After a while of driving round in circles and thinking I concluded he wouldn’t have a problem with me storming in after a one-sided argument with Nan, he’d have a problem if he thought I felt I couldn’t. It was the scar tissue from Rick talking, I wasn’t being over reliant on Jimmy, he was my partner, he was meant to be my port in a storm, just like I was his.

And he’d only just been saying he worried he wasn’t supporting me enough. It went two ways, he couldn’t be there to support me if I didn’t let him.

Relying on someone was scary. The niggling fear I’d reach for that support, it wouldn’t be there, and I’d fall looking like a fool.

I stopped at a junction. It was dark and the road was empty in both directions and behind me.

One way took me… somewhere. The other way took me back towards the city and Jimmy.

I took a breath. Flicked on my indicator. Double-checked and turn back towards the city.

I was going to go and tell him I loved him. He needed it. I needed it.

A fox darted across the road. I swerved. My front wheel hit a pothole. The bike tipped. I hit the tarmac and skidded. My bike slid away with a screech of scratched metalwork and came to a halt against the verge, growling.

I stared up at the clouds passing over the moon. ‘You’re fucking kidding me.’

The fox was in the hedge on the verge, eyes aglow in Bessie’s headlight like a little furry demon.

‘I’m glad you’re alright,’ I muttered. ‘Not sure I am.’ Everything hurt but my skin was still where it was meant to be and not all over the road.

My right leg didn’t want to hold me up, was excruciating but seemed to be where it was meant to be. I crawled to the verge, every inch of my body protesting. The grass was full of rubbish tossed from car windows, takeout cups, bottles, and McDonald’s meal boxes. The nearest McDonald’s was miles away.

I turned off Bessie’s engine and propped myself against a sign pole that announced the speed limit had been reduced from fifty to sixty, for all the good it had done me. I fumbled my helmet off, I felt like a chunk of tenderised meat but my body armour had kept my phone intact and I had signal.

Who did I call? Did I call an ambulance and end up one of the adverts, ‘I was in A&E at death’s door and the woman beside me had a bruised leg’? If I called someone they’d only take me to the hospital and they’d have to drive all the way out to pick me up and take me there. And what about Bessie? Who was going to look after my poor, injured baby?

Luckily I had El to give me advice, always keep a twenty-four hour tow company in your contacts, especially one recommended by El.

‘Hi, does your tow company do hospital stops?’

I wasn’t sure that was quite what her advice had meant.


Feature image by Tobias Hüske on Unsplash

For more episodes of Take a Bite Cafe click here.


Book 4 in the Book of Lot series, Broad Faker, begins Saturday 21st September on Wattpad and my new site.

Read the description here

Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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