Time To Repair

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Chapter 2

Somerset England, Wednesday August 6th 2262

09:04:43 hours

Norman get in here now!” screamed Hillary Jane, incensed with him yet again.

“Coming my darling!” Norman answered from the shower, his voice sounding distant behind the closed ensuite door.

Hillary Jane stomped over to the bedroom window and stood there fuming while she waited. The original plastic window frame remained, the old-fashioned double glazed units having been replaced with solar glass at some point, long before they had moved in.

It was a beautiful sunlit summer day again, without a cloud in sight. The gardeners had done a marvellous job this last week; not that she would ever lower herself and give them any praise for their work. She didn’t like communicating with them at all; let alone praising them for a job she paid them handsomely for anyway.

The manicured sweeping lawns to the front had been edged with precision up to the old block paved path which, when the house was built, would have taken vehicular access from the network of roads that would have led to the house. Now it just looked in keeping with the quaintness of the rest of the grounds and the property. The wide path’s red bricks meandered their way from the front entrance door, down the gentle slope of the terrain and up to the stately black and gold iron gates. These were set into the high perimeter wall which was covered in climbing red and white roses. There were several grand old oak trees dotted about the garden, the light summer breeze whispered through their vibrant green leaves. Several branches of the tree nearest the wall had grown so that they now extended over the boundary itself. Hadn’t she told the head gardener about this? What was his name now? Bert? He should have cut the branches back before someone used one of them to gain access into the grounds.

The shower had been deactivated. She turned to face the 4-panel pine ensuite door, which in keeping with the period of the house, was hinged.

“NORMAN!” she yelled again.

He burst out of the ensuite naked as the day he was born and dripping wet; water droplets falling from his body onto the highly waxed uneven old floorboards. He was frantically drying himself with a large fluffy white bath towel.

“What’s the matter my honey?” he asked as he walked towards her towelling down his smooth chest.

Don’t honey me!” she snapped, looking down at his petite yet toned naked body and feeling a little aroused. She pushed her desire aside as she walked over to her dressing room. “What was the one thing I said was urgent, that had to be done for today?”

“One thing?” he questioned. She glared at him.

“Oh,there were several things,” he answered swiftly, thankful that he had recalled them before she shouted at him again. “I spoke to your father and confirmed we would be visiting them this coming weekend, I organised the flowers that you wanted sent to Patricia for her birthday, and I’ve booked the decorator to start on the library while we are away at your parents.”

“And what about my new black suit that I asked you to get cleaned for me?” she enquired as she stood in the doorway to the dressing room with a face like thunder.

His heart sank. How could he have forgotten? He looked down at the floor as she disappeared into the vast room.

“I’m sorry darling,” he mumbled. She had made him feel worthless once again. He loved her so much; it tore him apart to upset her like this.

She reappeared in the doorway clutching the suit on its hanger in her right hand.

This black suit!” She spat the words out with enough venom to have put a black mamba to shame.The one that you knew I wanted to wear today! The day when I probably have the most important meeting of the year; it’s not like I haven’t mentioned this meeting with the Russians much. You know how important today is to me and you just don’t care!”

“Darli...” he started to say when she interrupted him in her usual manner.

“It’s not like I asked you to take it down to the river and wash it on the rocks with your bare hands, all you had to do was to put it in the teleporter and send it off!”

“I was on my way up the stairs to do it Monday afternoon when your secretary called me with the urgent issue you had with the gardeners,” Norman slipped in quickly while she had paused for breath. “They were nearly done for the day and I wanted to catch them before they left, I rushed back downstairs and into the garden to find them. I spent twenty minutes discussing your concerns with the head gardener about the branches overhanging the garden wall at the front… I forgot all about the suit after that... I’ll do it this morning as soon as I’m dressed.”

“THIS MORNING IS NO GOOD TO ME!” She screamed at the top of her voice “I NEED THE DAMN THING THIS MORNING!”

“Please honey, I’m so sorry, what can I do to make it right?” Norman whimpered, his bottom lip quivering. He started to walk towards her still clutching the damp towel.

“You’re so pathetic you make me sick,” she snarled. She threw the suit straight at him as hard as she could. He instinctively put his arms up to protect his face, dropping the towel as he did. The metal hanger’s hook caught the underside of his left arm, gouging a deep cut as the weight of the suit pulled the hanger to the floor with it. After a few seconds a line of blood seeped out of the wound.

Norman hurriedly dropped to the floor to pick up the suit, blood now running down the length of his arm as he tried to straighten the black suit on its hanger. By the time his trembling hands had got it back on the hanger, the blood had run into his hand and marked the suit in a few places. He silently prayed that she hadn’t noticed how he had soiled her new suit with his blood. He stood up with the suit, safely away from the blood, in his right hand, the towel in his left.

She stood in front of him, glaring.

“I’ve had to put this one on now instead,” she snapped. He looked at the suit she was wearing, he honestly couldn’t see the difference between the suit she had on and the blood-stained one he clutched in his right hand, what did he know though; being a mere man as she had reminded him so many times in the past.

She looked stunning; her pencil thin figure always looked great in whatever she put on. She seldom wore anything that wasn’t black. Her short jet black bobbed hair and black high-heeled shoes went very well with the suit. She was taller than him in her stockinged feet; now with her heels on she seemed to tower over him.

“You look wonderful darling,” he said in an attempt to make her feel better. “You know you would look the best in whatever outfit you put on.”

“Get out of my way you pathetic spineless creep,” she snarled, pushing him roughly aside and strutting to the door. He staggered a little as he tried to keep his balance. She stormed out onto the gallery landing, slamming the bedroom door so hard behind her that the family pictures on the bedroom wall rattled in their wooden frames. He winced at the sudden noise.

Hillary Jane stormed down the wide carpeted central staircase, oblivious to its beauty this morning. She swung off the last tread, holding on to the pine ball that topped the newel post as she did. She flung open the kitchen door with such force that its brass knob thumped into the wall, creating a dent. A shower of dust fell to the slate grey tiles. She stomped over to the oak wall cupboard next to the sink and pulled out a white mug, slamming the door shut afterwards. She added coffee and sugar from the silver canisters on the black marbled worktops, and then boiling water from the tap to the right of the other two. She didn’t have time to make her normal coffee this morning.

Upstairs Norman had cleaned up his bleeding wound in the ensuite. He’d pulled out the first aid kit from the cupboard under the basin and applied Plaster-gel to cover it. The blood hadn’t yet congealed under the gel. He now pulled on his scruffy blue towelling dressing gown and found his slippers that had been under their four-poster bed. He could hear Hillary Jane banging and slamming around in the kitchen. His heart seemed to be racing at twice its normal speed. He glanced round quickly as he hurried to the bedroom door; he would clean up the blood from the floorboards and tidy the room when she had left for work.

He descended the staircase and gingerly entered the kitchen. He stood in the gap between the end of the breakfast bar and the wall. Hillary Jane was sat at the head of the pine eight-seater table in the dining area eating her usual bowl of muesli. She faced the white upvc French doors that led to the rear courtyard and gardens.

“What do you want?” she asked coldly, her mouth half full of muesli. She had calmed down a little now.

“Please darling, don’t hate me,” Norman whimpered. His shoulders where hunched and he was staring at the slate floor. There was a small white food stain on one of the tiles that he rubbed at with the toe of his slipper.

She dropped the spoon into the bowl and turned her head to look at him. He looked so pathetic at times.

“I couldn’t bear it if you threw me out again,” he mumbled. “I still want us to get married as planned next April,” he added. “I know I’m a little forgetful at times, I will try harder to get things right for you.”

She continued to stare at him, enjoying how uncomfortable the silence was making him feel.

She had no intention of calling off the wedding. She did love him; she had never had these feelings about any man before. She had never shared this with him though, not once in the four and a half years that they had been together had she told him that she loved him. She often resented him for making her feel so weak inside. The resentment always kicked in when she had been perilously close, on the very rare occasion, to expressing her true feelings. She damn well wasn’t going to tell him now, or reassure him either.

What was it about his floppy blond hair and petite frame that made her want him so much? He was a gentle-natured thing really, weak in far too many ways. Her strength though, more than made up for his weakness.

She turned back to the table, drained the last of her coffee and then stood up pushing her chair back as she did. It shuddered noisily against the hard surface of the floor.

“I’m going to work,” she snapped. “One of us needs to keep this roof over our heads.”

She walked towards the narrow gap that he was blocking - he didn’t move. His big brown eyes glistened as he fought back tears. She felt like putting her arms round him now.

“You’re in my way,” she said bluntly instead.

He didn’t move. He stared into her piercing eyes, silently longing, pleading with her to forgive him for his stupidity.

“Move!” she said, wanting to get out of the room before she caved into the weaker emotions within her that were fighting to surface. Norman dutifully stepped aside and stood with his back against the wall. He looked over to the corner of the dining area where the ceiling and the lime green walls were separated by the ornate coving. If he looked at her now he would break down.

She put her face up against his; close enough to kiss had she given in. He held his breath, in anticipation, in fear, not knowing what to expect next.

She thrust her hand inside his dressing gown and gripped his large warm testicles. She squeezed, but not enough to hurt him.

“You do have balls then,” she said viciously. He winced, not knowing whether she was going to hurt him or not. She let go and had left the kitchen before he got his breath back.

He heard her heels on the floorboards as she walked the length of the hall, he listened as she opened the door to the port room at the far end, and then close it behind her with a click as the latch found its keep.

She must have calmed a bit, he thought, the door slamming had ceased. She would be gone in a matter of seconds.

Norman leant forward on the end of the breakfast bar, crossed his arms over the cool marble top, placed his head on them, and finally let go. He sobbed loudly and uncontrollably into the sleeves of his dressing gown. Deep racking sobs that made his shoulders appear to spasm out of all control.

Hillary Jane stood with her back against the port room door, listening.

She felt bad as she heard him sobbing. She also felt bad that she had injured him with the coat hanger like that; she hadn’t meant to physically hurt him. Should she go back and see that he was okay? She checked her dat-com strap, she could probably spare two minutes before her scheduled port time.

She thought back to the cause of the row and looked down at the suit that she now had to wear because of him.

The anger started to simmer within her again. “He will be fine,” she convinced herself out loud.

She walked over to the teleporter, put her thumb against the panel to the right of the door and voiced her destination; trying to ignore Norman’s sobbing and obvious sorrow as the door slid aside. She stepped inside and breathed a heavy sigh of relief as the door closed behind her and finally blotted out his grief.

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