"Good morning. Breakfast?"
Edward didn't reply. He sat down at the dining table and picked up the morning's newspaper and flicked through the pages.
"So, another day of the silent treatment is it?"
Edward shrugged his shoulders and turned the page with a stubborn flourish of the wrist.
Diana sighed and turned her attentions back to the pan, where she used a stainless steel ring to make two perfectly round pancakes. Little air bubbles began to pepper the surface of the thick batter and she flipped them over carefully. Normally she enjoyed these rare moments when she was able to prepare food for her family, even if they didn't seem to appreciate it. Carefully, she placed the golden pancakes into the centre of the plate and placed the plate in front of Edward. It only seemed like yesterday when she drew smiley faces with chocolate sauce on his pancakes, but sadly it had been a long time since Edward had enjoyed something so child- like, even if his current mood screamed that of a toddler- tantrum.
"Would you like some fresh fruit to go with them?"
Edward speared one of the pancakes with his fork and shoved the entire thing into his mouth, not once taking his eyes off the newspaper.
"I'll take that as a no then."
The sound of the front door closing, made her stiffen. John had left the house in the early hours, with just a simple note saying he had a problem at work to attend to. She hadn't expected him to arrive home so soon, but then nothing he did at the moment was normal or familiar. She'd tried really hard the night before to talk to him, to get him to understand how she was feeling, but he was having none of it.
John walked into the kitchen, ruffled Edward's hair a little and sat down in silence, not even glancing her way. He picked up one of the supplements from the paper Edward was reading.
"I didn't expect you back so soon. Would you like some pancakes too?
John flicked his wrist dismissively in her direction.
"Okay, I'll fix you some coffee instead," she said quietly.
Diana turned back to the counter and held onto the rolled edge with both hands; her eyes feeling hot and watery. How long would he continue to punish her for? She focused on making a fresh pot of coffee and placed two level tablespoons of the finest beans in the grinder. A flick of the switch and the hard, brown beans were obliterated into near dust.
"Edward, if you've finished your pancakes you need to go up and take a shower. We have to arrive two hours early to get through the security checks, so please don't take forever getting ready." John said, breaking his silence.
"Son, I think it's best if you don't come today," Diana replied.
"No," her husband responded, sharply. "Edward has a ticket and they will be expecting him. He has to go."
"I'm not putting our son through that. He's been through enough upset lately, don't you think," she finished, pointedly.
John folded up his paper and then stood up. "I'm going to shower."
Diana watched as he gave Edward's shoulder a squeeze and then left the room. He still hadn't looked in her direction. She waited a few moments to make sure he was out of ear shot and then sat down next to her son.
"Edward, no matter what happens today, or whatever Briggs does or doesn't announce, you will always be my son. I made a stupid mistake many years ago and I'm not going to repeat the same mistakes again. No matter what."
She stood up and leaned over, placing a kiss on the top of his head. He flinched at the contact, but slowly leaned in towards her.
"I love you, Edward, with all my heart, but please stay away from the Square today."
Diana fled the kitchen to the safety of the hallway, where the tears streamed down her face. She wiped them away carefully with her hands, so as not to smudge her make-up. When she felt as composed as she was ever going to be that day, she went up to her dressing room to fix her hair.
YOU ARE READING
The NumberedScience Fiction
Imagine the second you're born, a consultant removes you from your mother's grasp and runs a battery of genetic and physiological tests on you. Thirty minutes later they give you a score out of one hundred which denotes your level of perfection. If...