Our word prompt from Fandango is proceed.
‘Proceed with caution, that’s what Joe’s mother-in-law should have had on her door. A formidable woman, she could spot a lie like a hawk could spot a mouse. She would dive into your weaknesses, and always got you to talk.
Today was going to be no different.
She had brought out the talons today – a tray full of tea and cakes. His favourite too, those little Victorian sponges she made, with the cream inside. But his wife wanted him to be strong.
‘I thought Tracey didn’t work in the evenings.’
Joe took a cake, and stuffed it into his mouth. He mumbled something about a previous engagement, someone else cancelled at the last minute. By the time he finished her death stare was in full action.
‘This is the third time she has cancelled on me.’
‘Beryl, she will see you next week. It’s your birthday isn’t it?’
‘Unless she decides to cancel again . . . Joe she hasn’t been here in weeks.’
He could hear his own heartbeat, and his ears felt like they were filling with fluid. Drowning in his own lack of confidence. She could have sent the grandkids, at least they could have cut down her defences.
Especially the youngest, Jack.
No, they had to send the weakest link, and he was no good under pressure. He could feel his vocal cords weakening, until he thought of his wife. Like mother, like daughter.
‘Jack’s been doing better at school,’ he finally found the words that could save him. ‘His mock exams were brilliant, seven’s all the way.’
‘He is a clever lad, what can I say, takes after his grandmother. Where is he by the way?’
Nice. Or not so nice. Jack was in the same place as his mother.
‘Is that the time? I said I would pick him up. Sorry I’ve got to go.’ Before she could say any more, he grabbed his coat, and rushed out the door. There was no way he could keep lying to her.
At least next week, he would be tagged out by his wife.
A birthday treat, with all her family, including her son from Australia. They had been working on it for months. A trip on the river boat, going on the London Eye, and a family get together.
He just had to get away before revealed everything.