Five

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Two

Mike sat up and glanced at the clock on Evie’s bedside table. 06:02. Her side of the bed was empty again and he heard the faint sound of running water downstairs. It was breakfast craving time again.

He swung his legs out of bed and sniffed. He couldn’t smell anything cooking, maybe she was having a weird, cold breakfast today. He stood up and collected his dressing gown from the back of the door.

Thank god it was Friday. The week had felt like an eternity and he had another manic day ahead. He stretched as he walked downstairs and decided he deserved a long lay in tomorrow before he carried on with the nursery.

Evie came rushing out of the kitchen as he reached the bottom of the stairs.

‘I’m sorry.’ She held her hands out apologetically. ‘I know it smells really bad! I burnt the bacon and had to open all the windows before the smoke alarm kicked in.’

Mike stopped, puzzled. ‘I can’t smell anything.’

‘What?’ She replied confused. ‘It stinks!’

He sniffed hard. There was nothing. He passed Evie and went to the kitchen. The charcoaled bacon was sitting on a baking tray on top of the oven. He bent down until his nose was millimetres from a particularly singed rasher and breathed in deeply.

‘Well?’ Evie asked from behind him.

He turned around bewildered. ‘Nope, I can’t smell a thing.’

She came over and put a hand to his forehead. ‘Maybe you’re coming down with something.’

‘I guess, I couldn’t seem to taste anything yesterday. My nose doesn’t feel bunged up yet but I could have the start of a cold.’

‘Maybe you should stay home today?’

He gave a short laugh and shook his head. ‘No chance, we’re so busy I’d have to be dying to phone in sick. Besides I feel perfectly fine.’

‘You’ve been under a lot of stress over the last couple of weeks.’ She looked up at him concerned. ‘You should take it easier today and over the weekend.’

‘Ok.’ He agreed half-heartedly.

He had a cup of tasteless tea and went back upstairs to get ready. Perhaps Evie was right and he was stressed. That could bring on an illness and he had been pretty tired over the last week. His body was run down and telling him so. He went to work vowing that he would have that lay in tomorrow and get some decent rest.

The office was already a hive of activity when he arrived. There was a crisis with the planning permission on one of their new developments and he had to dive right into his work. He’d almost forgotten about the morning’s incident until he went on a site visit with two of the contractors just before lunch.

They took one of the company vans and Mike sat in the front passenger seat while David drove and Ash got in the back.

‘Urgh, mate, I can taste that aftershave.’ David coughed, looking in the rear-view mirror.

Ash laughed. ‘Sorry, I got a bit carried away! I thought that girl from accounts might be there.’

Mike smiled weakly. He couldn’t smell a thing in the confined space.

David glanced across at him. ‘Crack open your window and let some air in. It smells like something my teenage son wears.’

‘I like it.’ Ash said defensively. ‘What do you think Mike?’

‘Urm…’ He started. ‘I’ve got a bit of a cold and can’t really smell it.’

‘Lucky you!’ David snorted. ‘I swear it’s burning my nostrils.’

They carried on with their banter but Mike zoned out. There was a small niggle of worry in the pit of his stomach. He really didn’t feel like he had a cold so why had his senses of smell and taste gone? He hoped it wasn’t the start of something serious; he couldn’t afford to get ill right now.

When he got home that evening, he played it down. He told Evie that he could faintly smell and taste now so she didn’t worry. It was the last thing she needed. They sat down to a dinner of chicken curry with rice and he made some appreciative noises. In reality he could have been chewing on a warm sponge.

If he was still having problems after the weekend he would make an appointment at the doctors on Monday.

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