A gift ficlet for @cumberbatchedandgatissmitten
Cumber, this is just a wee gift because A) you’re so kind, patient and all around lovely about my terrible existential angst over writing your RG auction fic, and B) cuz you deserve a little TLC :)
Juggling her keys, purse and tablet in one hand, Alia managed with the other to hang onto the sticky hand of her youngest, Ollie, who was tugging impatiently, trying to get back down the steps so he could go chase a cat which had darted into the bushes. “Oliver!” She finally snapped exasperated, “Stop! We’ve got to get inside. Besides, I can’t take care of a bloody cat on top of everything else.”
When his hazel eyes filled with hurt, she was instantly stabbed with remorse. It wasn’t his fault that the divorce proceedings had left her off-kilter, and that full-time work and mostly-full-time-single-mum-hood was proving crushing. You’ll get through this, she reminded herself.
She’d bloody better, not much in the way of choice.
“Sorry, pet,” she soothed, giving his hand a squeeze. “I know you want to find the cat, but let’s go inside first to put down our things.” And pre-heat the oven so she could get some sort of dinner prepped for her three boys, start the laundry, sort the bills…
Door finally open, Alia let Ollie run ahead to fling himself in front of the telly, their usual after-school routine. She felt awful depending on it as a sort of nanny, but honestly what parent didn’t do that at least part of the time?
Glancing at the bench by the door, she spied Jeremy and Simon’s school things piled untidily in a heap and bit back a sharp sigh. At eleven and fifteen they weren’t any exception to how messy and frankly disgusting boys could be. Looking up, however, she blinked in shock; not only was the house tidy, for once, it also smelled pleasantly of lemon-scented cleaner, and aside from the school things, was shining with spotlessness. A state it hadn’t achieved since they’d moved in, essentially.
Overriding the smell of lemon was an even more amazing aroma: fragrant Indian food.