Lucky had made some progress. He’d come out of the house and took a small walk with Scout. He was less worried about things happening now because he had more of a handle on his stoma. He’d completed two cycles of chemotherapy although the side effects had knocked him for six, fatigued and thin from the drugs that were pumped through his system.
“I still can’t believe she told you and not me,” Lucky said.
“You have a big mouth and I’m a trusted friend,” Scout responded.
“I have a big mouth? Babe, you need to look in the mirror.”
Scout helped Lucky get out of the car and he made his way up to Ava’s front door while Scout collected things from the back seat. Ava was having a gender reveal party for her baby and Scout had been the one entrusted to know the gender and help get everything ready.
Lucky had spent the last two weeks trying to get Scout to crack but she wasn’t that easy to break. He had sulked and whined and tried to use seduction but nothing had worked. He could find out with everyone else.
“Let me help you.” Michael came out the door and took some bags from Scout’s hands.
They walked into the house and through into their kitchen. Lucky and Ava were talking quietly. She’d been around to the flat a few times. Lucky needed help to build up his core again after surgery so that he could do things like he used to. He had a physiotherapist but Ava made sure he was doing everything he could.
They’d had some arguments. Michael and Scout had to step in when things had gotten a little too heated but for the most part Ava had helped ease his concerns.
“Thanks again for helping us out with all this, Scout.” Ava gave her a hug. Her stomach had a small swell in it and she was glowing. Pregnancy suited her.
“It’s no worry.”
“I feel bad. You have enough to deal with but there’s no way I could have trusted Dad with this.” Scout watched as Michael took Lucky out into the back garden that had been decorated in pink and blue. “How’s he been?” Ava joined her at the door as they watched the men talking in amongst the bunting and balloons. Lucky was shaking his head at something Michael said.
“Okay. The usual. He’s up and down with it all.”
Scout pulled her eyes away from Lucky and towards Ava. “Yes?”
“Sticking by him.”
Scout ducked her head and walked over to the table to pull a large caked out of the bag. The gender reveal cake. Ava and Michael didn’t want anything too flash so they had a two tier cake with coloured sponge. Cut it open and they’d know if they were having a boy or girl.
“You don’t have to thank me for that,” Scout told her.
The house started to fill with people. Chris and Jim arrived together. Michael’s parents and sister had all travelled down. Ava’s work friends and the twins childhood friends that they were still close to.
“You’re looking a little peaky, sweetheart,” Chris said when he saw Scout. “Are you feeling okay?”
She’d left the garden and come into the kitchen. The amount of people was quite overwhelming and she was feeling a little light headed. “I’m fine. I’m just feeling a little funny.”
“Have a drop of water.” Chris ran the tap and handed her a glass and Scout took a few sips, cooling down. “Have you had much to eat today?”
She shook her head. Scout had been running all over the city to pick things up for the party so she was only fuelled by coffee.
Chris picked up a plate that had pineapple and cheese all over it. “You need to eat, Scout. You’re no good to anyone if you’re not looking after yourself.” The smell of pineapple filled her nose and her stomach turned and she gagged. “Scout…”
“Sorry.” Scout turned away from Chris and ran towards Ava’s bathroom before throwing up in the toilet. Chris followed her and pulled her hair from her face as she wretched. “I must have picked something up from the hospital,” she said when she was done. Chris helped her up to her feet and she rinsed out her mouth. “I’m going to have to steer clear of Lucky.”
Scout turned around and leaned back against the bathroom counter and put her head in her hands. Chris came over to her and pulled her into a hug. It took everything in her not to just breakdown and cy. She wasn’t even sure why but everything suddenly felt a little too much.
“Why don’t you spend a few nights with your Dad?” Chris suggested. “Or Lucky can come home with me?”
Scout took in a shuddery breath, her head still against Chris’s chest as she tried to think what the best plan of action was. If she went to Jim’s then someone had to move in with Lucky to help him so maybe it was best for him to be elsewhere.
“Scout, sweetheart,” Chris pulled away to look at her.
“Sorry. I don’t… He’s got his third cycle at the end of the week. I’m not going to be able to go with him.”
“Honey, you need to stop for a second. I appreciate that you’re looking after my son but let us help you out so you can look after yourself a little.”
“Scout.” It was the sternest she’d ever heard Chris. Scout assumed Chris was where Lucky got his calm head from when it came to arguments.
She found herself nodding at him. “Okay. It might be easier for Lucky to stay with you or maybe Ava if it’s not too much to ask.”
“I think that would be the best plan.”
They went back to the party in the garden and when Ava clocked Scout she grinned. “We’ve been waiting for you two. We’re about to cut the cake.”
“Sorry,” Scout apologised. “Felt a little unwell.”
“Are you alright?”
“Mhm. Must be a bug or something. I… do you think Lucky could spend a few days with you while I get over it?”
“Yeah, of course. That’s no problem.”
Scout was grateful that they were siblings with a close bond. She dreaded to think how it would go if they had barely spoken to each other. Ava walked over to Michael and Scout found Lucky, sat at a table, watching the pair.
“Where did you disappear?” he asked, patting his lap for her to take a seat.
Scout shook her head at him and ran a hand through his hair gently. “I’m sick, bub.”
Lucky’s brow furrowed and he took her hand. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m just not feeling great. I threw up. You know you’re meant to be careful because of your immune system.” Lucky’s features clouded over. “I spoke to Ava and she said you could stay here for a few days until I’m better.”
“You didn’t think to speak to me first?”
“What if I don’t want to be away from you?”
“Luck, we need to make sure you don’t pick anything up.”
“Jesus, Scout! I’m tired of being put in bubble wrap.” He let go of her hand and folded his arms across his chest and Scout deflated inside.
The tears stung her eyes and she blinked them away. “I’m only trying to look out for you.” She let the words leave her mouth before she walked away to get some food. Scout picked up a custard cream and nibbled on the end, watching Ava and Michael cut through the cake to reveal a bright pink sponge inside. They were having a baby girl. Chris would have a granddaughter and Lucky would have a niece.
Scout helped to clear up after the party, strategically avoiding Lucky because she was hurt by his attitude. She’d like to think she had a thick skin but every now and then something slipped through the chink in her armour.
She drove back to the flat alone to pick some of Lucky things and drop them back to him at Ava’s place. They were both in a stubborn mood, which led to a frosty goodbye.
“I’ll see you in a few days,” Scout said.
Scout swallowed the lump in her throat. She didn’t know why everything these days made her want to cry. By the time she got back to the flat, she skipped dinner and changed into pyjamas before crawling into bed.
Scout spent the next two days moping around the flat. She and Lucky had exchanged a few texts but she guessed they were still in a weird spot after their sort of argument. She was too tired to try and make amends right now. A few days in bed had done nothing to make her feel better.
By the third day, she was sick of the house and considering she hadn’t thrown up, Scout assumed she must be over the worst of whatever it was and decided to visit Jim.
“You still don’t look great, love,” he said to her.
“Thanks, Dad.” Sometimes he knew exactly what to say and other times he put his foot in it. Scout got him to settle down while she went off to make tea for them both. “Scout!” he shouted. “Your phone is ringing.”
“It’s probably Lucky. Just pick it up!”
“It’s an 020 number.”
020. That meant the call was coming from London. Scout walked back into the living room, carrying the two mugs of tea and set them down on the coffee table. Her phone had stopped but there was a voicemail.
“Miss Daniels.” Marco Lyton’s voice filled the room as she played it on speaker. “It’s Marco Lyton. We met at the audition a few weeks ago before you promptly ran out.” She cringed thinking back to how unprofessional it seemed. She had no doubt that Lyton had blacklisted her all over London. “Despite the way you left the audition, I cannot deny that you have a raw talent that is quite difficult to forget. I’d like to offer you a position in the company. Please ring me back on this number to discuss details. Good day.”
“What just happened?” Scout asked, looking at Jim.
“Raw talent, Scout!” Jim had been her biggest fan since day one. He was the one that dropped her at every rehearsal and sat in the front row for every performance. If he couldn’t be there he would ask for it to be recorded so he could watch. “This is what you’ve been waiting for.”
This was everything she’d been dreaming and working towards. Scout promised herself to spend no longer than a year back in Swansea. She promised herself that she would work hard to recover so that she could leave. This was opportunity knocking on the door. This was fate handing her everything that she wanted on a platter.
So why did she feel like she didn’t want it as much anymore?
Lucky was back at the flat. Scout was tired but there wasn’t much else wrong with her. She got the occasional wave of feeling a little sickly but her sleep pattern and food schedule was all over the place so that was probably the reasoning.
Scout opened the flat door to see Lucky standing there and her heart flipped. Spending a few days away from him made her appreciate him again.
“I missed you,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck in a hug. When she leaned in to kiss him he gave her the cheek. “Luck?” Scout asked, pulling back.
“Scout… can we talk?”
Her heart plummeted to her feet. Those three words would always strike the fear of God into people.
“Yeah, sure,” she squeaked. Her mouth started to go numb because nothing good ever came from ‘can we talk?’
“Are you feeling better?” Lucky asked her.
“Mhm.” Scout nodded. Her power of speech had left her and her heart was racing. Her hands were starting to feel tingly.
“I did some thinking while I was at Ava’s.”
“Dangerous for you,” she tried to joke. Lucky kept a straight face and she thought she might be sick.
“Scout. I don’t think this is working. I think we need to break up.”