Part Twenty Three

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Kate spent the morning preparing lunch. There were leftovers aplenty, plus she peeled more potatoes to fry and found all the jars of picked everything to create their typical buffet. Margaret and Clarissa arrived back by lunchtime both beaming from the morning out in the fresh air.

                “Has everything been ok?” Clarissa was busy unpeeling her layers in the utility room adjacent to the kitchen.

Kate was pouring coffee for the two chilled women, “yes fine. But you’ll never believe it, Peter has got that robot arm working, he called me earlier. He’s not taken his eyes off it, it’ll be taking over the world by the time he finishes with it!”

Clarissa peered around the door and stared at Kate, “really?”

Kate smiled, “oh yes! I think they’ll be really pleased in Beaufort.”

Sighing Clarissa walked across the kitchen and hugged Kate, “brilliant! All I want is him to have some independence, maybe this will be the turning point?”

Kate nodded, she hoped so too. It was so sad to see Peter not changing, not looking like improving in any way. His independence would go a long way to making things easier for her to step back. So she wanted to encourage that as much as she could.

                “Ooh! What a lovely spread! You’ve been working hard Kate!”

Margaret laid a hand on her shoulder, “you can come and live with me any day!”

As Kate laughed, she became aware of Mason stood in the doorway, she knew he was there before she looked up and saw his face. She anticipated animosity, but instead he looked rather po-faced, if not a tad guilty. Offering him her best smile, she found another mug and poured him a coffee too.

The two women finally headed upstairs to change out of their ‘walking’ clothes, leaving Kate fully in Mason’s intense gaze.

                “Will you accept an apology?”

She turned, propping herself against the counter and meeting his gaze, “depends on what you’re apologising for?”

He groaned, “You’re going to make things hard on me aren’t you?”

She laughed, “If I do, it’s only what you deserve. But honestly, I’d like to think you know why I’m upset, not just that I need an anonymous apology."                                                                                                                                                                              

                “I understand that you have responsibility for Peter, that in some bizarre way you’re close to him...”

                “And?” her eyes pierced him with a knowing look.

                “Ok!” he groaned, “I’m selfish, I wanted you to myself, I don’t like sharing. But I get it, if you’re involved with me I have to get used to sharing you. I understand, it doesn’t mean I like it, and it also doesn’t mean that you can hold me to ransom over it.”

It was what Kate needed to here, and she was glad. Part of her instinct was to use Peter to her advantage, someone, something to hide behind, but he was wise to that.

                “Ok. And thank you!”

He came towards her, “does that mean you forgive me?” 

Just as she started to nod her head, she heard the voices of the approaching women, and the two rushed apart, casually returning to sorting out lunch, Mason to loading the dishwasher.

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