Tom appeared a few minutes after I started chatting with Pippa again. “Bloody women, always talking, get some work done.” His face was as straight as a poker but his eyes were twinkling.
“This is a university, Professor Agnew, it’s the undergraduates who should be working, we’re just here to supervise.”
“I’ve met one or two lecturers who seemed to really have that attitude. So have you had a look round?”
“Yes thank you.”
“And,” his eyes bored right through me.
“Okay? Okay? Okay what?”
“Okay, I’ll come to lunch.”
“Fine, that’s just fine and dandy.”
“Where are we eating?”
“The pub out on the Gosport road, the Baker’s Bollocks or something.”
“Baker’s Arms, perchance?”
“Something like that. Are we eating or having a quiz?”
“I’m waiting for some old fart to escort me to my luncheon, it isn’t you perchance?”
“Oi, less of the old. Come along then daughter dear,” he crooked his arm and I linked mine through it. “Your car or mine?”
“Mine, if you think I’m going in that ancient death-trap in this outfit, you’ve got another think coming.”
“You could of course always take it off…” he said his eyes sparkling.
“And you could buy yourself a new car, it’s not as if you go off road in it any more, is it?”
“Why should I? Nellie goes perfectly well.”
“Oh come off it, Tom, it gives off more emissions than a coal fired power station. I thought we were trying to save the planet.”
“Yes, we are. You see I have the dilemma, if I buy a new car then it’s using new resources and energy to manufacture and deliver it; whereas if I continue using Nellie, I only burn fuel.”
“Yes, about the same as a jumbo jet taking off, and as much oil as fuel.”
“Nellie doesn’t use much oil?”
“Not compared to the American plastics industry, or possibly Shanghai province. Besides, the Mondeo is more comfortable on your aching bones.” I had to stifle a snigger when I saw him stiffen at the last bit.
“You are only as old as you feel, and I still feel like a twenty year old.”
“So do I,” I said smirking, and he aimed a slap at my head which I ducked.
We were half way through our lunch, Tom and his curry and me and my tuna; when my phone peeped indicating a text. I wasn’t expecting one, so I paused in my munching to check my phone.
‘Stel is askn to c u urgently, cn u go 2dy? Lol S.’
“Oh!” I exclaimed.
“Simon has just asked me to go and see Stella, apparently she has been asking to see me.”
“I’ll have to go, won’t I? I mean I was almost persona non grata so I’m quite pleased to see her.”
“Do you want me to come? You’ve been quite tired lately, and I don’t want you overdoing it.”
“I’m sure I’ll cope.” I began to finish my lunch, besides you’ve had a drink.”
“It was only a pint of Guinness for goodness’ sake.”
“I’ll be okay, you have work to do, besides, if I do it easily, I’ll come back to work next week.”
“We’ll see.” Tom almost glowered at me.
“If I get tired, I’ll stop and have a nap—does that satisfy you?”
“It isn’t about my satisfaction, it’s about your health. You’ve been ill.”
As he spoke a waitress came to collect the crocks, “Excuse me, do I look ill to you?” I asked her.
She stepped back bemused and shook her head, “Not as far as I can see madam, but I’m not a doctor.” I was about to take the moral high ground when Tom trumped me.
“See, she’s not a doctor.”
“Neither are you,” I countered. “Look, I’m going, so drink up or you have along walk ahead. Oh by the way..”
He stood up and finished the dregs in his glass, “Yes, what?”
I kissed him on the cheek, “Thank you for the flowers, they’re lovely.”
“You got them then?”
“Yes, mid morning, I fell asleep...”
“See, you do get tired.”
“Yes, but I’ve had a nap, so I should be okay.”
“I’m really not happy about this. I’m coming, too.”
“Have you been unconscious then? I suppose you might as well have been for all the notice you take of me.”
“Cathy, I have no idea what you’re on about.”
“You said you were, coming to, isn’t that what people do from unconsciousness? I said I’d be okay, you just won’t listen.”
“I listen, but make my own judgements. As your superior and in loco parentis, I’ve made my decision, I am coming with you.”
“You’re not insured to drive this car,” I said as we drove up to the university.
“I am on my own insurance, give me the keys.”
“Fine, you can drive, just give me the keys.”
“So you don’t sneak off before I come out again.”
“I give you my word.”
“Sorry girl, let’s have the keys.” He held out his hand and I placed them in it. “I don’t want you trying to prove a point.”
I felt an element of indignation, but he was right, despite promising to stay, I’d have gone as soon as he was inside the building. I sent a text to Simon saying we were going. Tom came trotting back, with his brief case. I queried it. “She’s only asking to see you, I’ll stay in the car and do some work.”
“What if she’d like to see you as well?”
“You can always come and get me if that happens.”
In some ways I was glad to have him with me. The journey is tedious at best and we chatted as I drove. We arrived at the clinic and I parked the car. I went into reception. “Hello, I’ve come to see Stella Cameron.”
“I think she’s gone out, I’ll just check for you.”
“What do you mean she’s gone out? I’ve just come haring up here because her brother told me she wanted to see me urgently, I’ve just spent two hours in a hot car, for nothing.”
“I’m sorry, madam, she is allowed to go out and it is a pleasant day, so she’s gone for a walk with one of the nurses. I’m sure she won’t be long, would you care to wait? We could probably get you a drink, tea or a cold one?”
“I have someone in the car with me.”
“I’m sure we could manage two teas, madam.”
“Okay, two teas then, I’ll get my friend.”
I stormed out to the car.
“Who’s taken your lollipop?” said Tom, eyes twinkling.
“She’s not bloody well here.”
“Oh, where is she?”
“Out for a walk, with a flippin’ nurse.”
“So we wait?”
“Yes, inside, they’re getting us a cuppa.”
“Oh well, not all is lost.” He put his work back in his case and shut it in the boot of the car. “Shall we adjourn for tea?”
I shrugged and walked to the clinic with him. I’ll murder Stella when I see her.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.