I don't really know what to think/say about this one really. If the first one was the cutesy/sweet one, this one isn't. But it felt right to address it, because at least in this AU, Liz was around for almost everything...good and bad, happy and not-so-much.
As always, all comments are appreciated.
A feelin’ of discomfort settled in the pit of me stomach as I made the trek towards the Rhone home on foot. The logical part of me brain was wonderin’ why the bloody hell I hadn’t taken the bleedin’ bus, but the not-so-logical part of me brain appreciated havin’ a wee bit of time to think as I made me way towards a house I didn’t feel too keen on goin’...especially considerin’ why I was goin’ in the first place.
“Bloody hell,” I’d muttered under me breath, the heels of me school shoes clickin’ against the pavement, “what am I goin’ to say to her then? Sorry ‘bout the baby, Dot, here’s a nice trifle for your trouble?” I’d looked down at the tightly covered bowl in me hands. I’d sighed, not even half-way to her place and already feelin’ to the pit of me gut that me Dad sendin’ down had been a perfectly shite idea on his part. What good would I be to her at a time like this?
Fifteen minutes later, even though I’d tried to take me time of it, I’d turned onto her road and before I knew it, I’d been raisin’ me hand to knock on her door. I did it all quiet like, hopin’ that no one would answer and I’d be able to bail out there, probably make a dent in this here trifle as I took the bus home to me house in Allerton. However, despite the quietness of the knock, the door had been opened and I’d been facin’ Dot very tired lookin’ mum. Paul, you git, you should be here, not me.
“Hullo, Mrs. Rhone.” I’d said to her, givin’ her what I’d hoped to be a pleasant enough smile.
“Here to see our Dot are ya?” She’d said, lookin’ at me the unwelcomin’ way I imagined she’d fancy lookin’ at me brother if he was here. S’ppose I’m the next best thing.
I’d nodded her, prob’ly a bit too quickly and then cleared me throat. “Err...me dad sent this, Mrs. Rhone,” and I’d handed the covered bowl to her, and without waitin’ for her to ask, I’d set ‘bout removin’ me coat and hung it by the door with the others. Dot’s mum had looked at me for a moment, probably disapprovin’ of me in my school uniform which she mayn’t have thought was appropriate for a call this like this, and then she’d started headin’ in the direction of her kitchen.
“Can I offer ya a cuppa, Liz?”
“No thanks, Mrs. Rhone, I’m ok. Would it be alright to go up to Dot’s?” She’d looked at me another bit or so before noddin’ hastily and that’d been it.
I’d done me best to be quiet as I made me way through their house, and when I’d stood outside Dot’s door, I’d knocked quietly before makin’ me way in. “Dot, it’s me...Liz,” I’d said as I’d crossed the doorway, and I’d found her sittin’ in a chair by her window, fingers wrapped ‘round the lacy white curtains. She’d obviously seen me comin’ up the way.
“Hi, Liz,” she’d said to me quietly in that soft voice of hers. She’s been wrapped in a quilt of sorts, and when she’d looked up at me, it’d been with a deep sadness in her eyes. You can always tell y’know, when someone’s lost someone they loved very much. There’s a quiet grief ‘round their eyes, a soft turn to their mouths that can’t be due to anythin’ else. You can always tell, even when you don’t really want to...bloody hell Paul had been the only legible thought goin’ through me head and it’d been everythin’ I could do to not turn on my heel, head downstairs and leg it out of there.
“Errr...how are you doin’, Dot?” I’d asked her and I’d instantly regretted it. It’d just been so...fuckin’ inadequate. How are you doin’ Dot? How do you expect her to be doin’ you daft bint, jumpin’ over the moon? Dancin’ a jig down the corridor?
Dot had smiled at me softly and I’d seen her wrap her quilt more tightly ‘round her, and for whatever daft reason she’d reminded me a lot of a baby deer I’d seen once when I was quite young. I’d been walkin’ through the woods with Mike when we’d come across a baby deer and it’s Mum. At the sight of us, the mum had tossed it’s head this way and that, and had taken off...but the baby deer hadn’t. It’d stood there, watchin’ us quietly as if tellin’ us, “I know ya can really hurt me if you want to, but I know ya won’t,” and then after a minute or so, it’d followed in the direction its mum had gone in. That’s how Dot had looked at me, a mixture of trustin’ and a bone-deep weary sadness that made me stomach twist in discomfort ‘cos I didn’t know what to do, or if it would even be enough.
“I’ll be right as rain ‘for you knows it, Liz.” And Dot’s smile had grown a little, and I knew that she meant it.
“I brought a trifle...err, me Dad sent it, it’s downstairs with your Mum. He knows how fond you are of ‘em.”
“That’s very nice of him, Liz. Please send him my thanks will you?” And her voice had grown quiet, and she’d looked out the window again, holdin’ the lacy curtain tightly.
The silence had been thick in that dark room and I’d revelled in it, preferrin’ it over the inevitable questions that my visit would bring up. Where and When and Why, Why, Why? I didn’t know what I would say, could say really, to make this any easier...as if I even could, even if I wanted to.
“I was thinkin’ of goin’ to hear ‘em play tomorrow or the night after, what do ya think?” She’d asked me suddenly, breakin’ the quietness that I’d wanted to clutch and not let go while I’d stood there.
“Oh...that’d be fab, Dot,” I’d said to her because I hadn’t known what else I could. Soother of the McCartney clan I was not.
Dot had asked me about my day a bit, how I was enjoyin’ the sixth form, bits and pieces of things she already probably knew or at least suspected, but I answered quickly, and had then felt like a right cunt for wantin’ nothin’ more than to ‘flee’ the scene as it was, ‘specially considerin’ the reason for the sadness pourin’ off the girl in waves was because she’d lost me brother’s baby only days before. What kind of bloody person did that make me?
“We were thinkin’ of the name Patrick, ya know.” Dot had said at last, still lookin’ out of the window at the people passin’ by on the pavement. No, ya daft bint, she’s not lookin’ out her window to keep an eye on the people comin’ and going...she’s waitin’. Bloody hell, she’s waitin’. Paulie and me had always been great mates, gettin’ on unusually well for a northern boy and his sister, but it was times like these when I was face to face with that Ted’s faults, which sometimes seemed so inconsequential next to his virtues. Has he even come to see her since the day he went to the hospital after it happened? I caught the vase filled with what I’d assumed to be his flowers out of the corner of me eye.
Somethin’ had told me he hadn’t.
“Patrick. That’s a good name, that.” What I wouldn’t have given for a fag.
Dot had nodded and curlin’ into a ball on her chair, she’d tucked the quilt tighter ‘round her, soft blonde hair lookin’ fragile and downy as a little chick’s. I could see that she’d pulled her knees to her chest. “Paul was convinced it was goin’ to be a little boy.” I was a wee bit startled when I heard the small laugh come from her throat. “ ‘We have to think of a good name for ‘im, Dot’ he said to me ‘our first baby, we have to think of somethin’ grand’. And Patrick sounded so right, ya know?” And Dot had looked up me expectantly, eyes glassy even in the dark.
I’d nodded, despisin’ meself for hesitatin’ so.
“Can ya imagine what he would’ve looked like, Liz? This tiny little wee thing with Paul’s hair and eyes and my nose...poor mite.” When Dot’d started cryin’, me feet had been stuck to the ground. I hadn’t known what to say to her, just like the night a few days past when I’d woken up and even if the darkness of me room I’d been able to make out the figure of me brother sittin’ against the wall, smellin’ of pub, and playin’ the guitar softly. He’d told me quietly, flatly about what had happened, and knowin’ him, the last thing he’d wanted was a hug or anythin’ of the sort. Instead, I’d pulled taken one of me pillows and tossed it to me feet. I’d pulled the cover aside and made room. Head and tailin’ it we’d lain there for hour before we’d fallen asleep. He hadn’t been there the next mornin’ and hadn’t been home much since then either.
That’d been different though, I hadn’t felt comfortable comin’ close to her, doin’ me best to comfort her. I didn’t know how, bloody hell, I hadn’t know what to do. I’d been closed off for so long...that I just didn’t know how.
“I’m sorry, Dot. I wish there was somethin’ I could tell ye...but I...” My words had trailed off and I’d cleared my throat uncomfortably, feelin’ like I’d done nothin’ more than fuck this up even more than it already was.
Dot had nodded quietly and I saw her wipe her face with the quilt. I’d looked away to give her the privacy to do so without bein’ stared at. “Will he come, Liz? Do you think he’ll come?” She’s asked me, voice small and tired as if she was dreadin' the thought that he wouldn't, her fingers skimmin’ the curtain. I’d felt a tightness in my throat that I hadn’t felt in a while.
“I don’t know, Dot,” I’d answered her at last, and I’d heard a tremor in my voice that I hadn’t known I was still capable of. Maybe it hadn’t been the right thing to say, but it was honest. Dot had looked up at me, seemin’ to understand me better in that minute that I probably understood meself. While I’d stood there, blinkin’ away a mist in me eyes that I hadn’t quite known what to do with, she’d turned back to look out the window, and I knew me eyes weren’t foolin’ me when I saw her mouth a name belongin’ to no one into the air.