Upton Close And Personal - Part Five of Five
The finale is here! Yay! I actually really like how this story ends. Though I don't think I quite tied up all the loose ends, I think it's rather sweet.
19 Upton Close – Margaret and Will Coates-Lee
There was dust all over the house. On top of the bookshelves, behind the cabinets, and even on the table where she kept the printer. Margaret danced across her living room with a feather duster in hand, cleaning with the same gentle enthusiasm that a bee has when pollinating flowers.
She paused momentarily, turning instinctively to peer out of her window and flinching when she saw it blocked off with a black plastic bag.
“Oh.” She whispered to herself. “Oh right.”
She was just dusting the photos on the mantle when the doorbell rang. It was her son.
“Will! You look so smart in your work clothes.”
Will rolled his eyes. “When the council noticed it was you, they thought they might as well send me.”
Margret recoiled. “Don’t say the C-word when the door is open, the neighbours might hear. Nobody needs to know…”
“Nobody cares that you live in a council house, Mum.”
She lowered her voice to a whisper. “They do, my boy. They’ll think I’m a c-h-a-v.”
He rolled his eyes again, more deliberately this time. “Mum, you’re sixty-two. Nobody thinks you’re a chav.”
“Still.” She replied, ushering him inside and shutting the door behind him. “It’s nice to see you. How have you been?”
He shrugged. “Fine, I guess.”
“Have you missed your ol’ Mum?”
“Mum, I’m twenty-eight. I have a wife and a mortgage.”
Margaret’s face fell.
“Don’t be like that.” He sighed.
She forced a smile, but her eyes still frowned. “A wife, a mortgage, but no grandkids for me, huh?”
“The replacement glass pane is in the van.” He said quietly. “Go and sit down, I’ll get it all installed for you.”
“Don’t you want some tea? I might have some of those biscuits you like with the chocolate chips.”
He sighed. “I can’t stay. Got a door replacement the other side of town at three.”
Margaret sat down in her armchair, watching as Will disappeared out the door. She pulled a crossword book from the coffee table and tried to look deep in thought, but her face was still dejectedly downcast.
Will returned a moment later, toolbox in one hand and sheet of glass in the other. He didn’t even acknowledge her as he started, the nimble hands that once played with Lego bricks making short work of the shattered window.
Tears brimmed in the corners of her eyes. She sniffed hard, banishing them.
Then, quite suddenly, the doorbell rang once more.
“I’ll just get that.”
It was Jill and her husband. She was smiling furtively, a lunchbox in her hand. He was staring at his shoes; football boots, newly washed but slightly scuffed at one toe.
“Hey, Mrs Coates-Lee.” Jill said brightly. “I saved you a slice of apple crumble.”
“Oh! How thoughtful. Thank you. How did you find the recipe? That ginger really adds a kick, doesn’t it?”
Her husband turned to face her, his brows furrowed.
“Ginger?” He mouthed silently.
“How was I to know?” Jill mouthed in return.
“Anyway.” She continued. “Frank has something he wants to say to you.”
“I am sorry to hear about your window.” He said, teeth gritted.
Jill stamped on his foot, causing him to yelp in pain.
“Frank!” She hissed quietly.
“Ow! Jill! Fine.” He said, scowling. “I am very sorry to hear about your window. I hope it never happens again.”
Margaret gave a bemused frown. “Oh, that’s okay dear. Just some local kids, I suspect. My son is fixing it. Not on official business or anything, just out of the kindness of his heart.”
Jill beamed warmly. “Oh, how is Will these days?”
“He’s doing very well for himself. Beautiful wife, lovely house, grandkids on the way. Still loves his ol’ Mum of course, but he always was a mummy’s boy.”
“Aww, that’s wonderful. I’m so glad.”
“Must dash.” Margaret said. “He needs someone to hand him his tools.”
“Okay. See you.”
With that, she shut the front door firmly, turning the lock with a harsh click. She sighed wearily and sniffed again. The tears were returning.
It was Will.
“Mum, I’m sorry.”
She wrapped her arms around him. “Don’t be sorry.” She said, words muffled by his paint-speckled work jacket. “I’m just your embarrassing old Mum.”
“I’ll come back.” He promised, hands hovering above her shoulders. “After that stupid door job. I’ll come back and we’ll have dinner. And we’ll talk and I’ll be nice to you because I’ve been so short with you lately.”
He held her tightly. “I love you, Mum.”
“I love you too.”