K is for Kiss

Karl had certainly bought us some time if nothing else and his points at the meeting were well justified.   I wanted to hug him but instead I squeezed his arm and said, “That was brilliant, thanks so much.”

“Not really, they need to get their act together.  It’s just Fothergill trying to strong arm Brendon out and without just cause he’s going to fail.” He smiled and winked.   “Look, there’s no point me driving down south now.  Not on a Friday afternoon in rush hour, I’ll just be stuck in traffic for hours.  Do you want to go out for something to eat?” 
“Err, yeah, sure..Brendon?”  I looked to see if he might want to join us.  Brendon didn’t really do family social outings, not without causing a ruckus and after the meeting I didn’t think he’d be in a sociable mood.

“Nah, I’m good.” He smiled. “I’ve got to go out anyway; I’m going to Luke’s house.”  

“OK, well don’t be late.  Enjoy yourself.” I gave him a hug and was glad that he seemed quite calm and relaxed. “We’ll go through all this on Sunday night.” 

The school always seemed to hold big meetings or dish out hideous punishments on a Friday night.  Just in time for the weekend, they’d send your kid home wired like a time bomb and your weekend would be a complete fuck up. 

I dropped Brendon at Luke’s house and drove home to fetch Bryony.  Karl was already outside in his car making phone calls to work on his mobile.  I indicated that I’d be five minutes and went inside.  It was a painful reminder to see his car on the drive.  Just something so simple brought forth a rush of emotions I seemed to have buried somewhere deep within my soul.

I had already texted Bryony to get ready before I left knowing that she’d want to take forever to get dressed  in case she was ‘seen’ by some fit lad from school.  Miraculously she was already donned in her disco pants and thrift shop 70’s shirt when I got back. “Don’t you feel weird going out with Dad?” she asked.

“My whole life is weird Bry. I’d be concerned if something normal actually happened.” I rushed upstairs to freshen up and change my skirt to Jeans.

We made our way in Karl’s beast of a car to the Baltimore diner on the edge of the Canal.  We discussed the meeting in parts and Brendon’s behaviour at home.  That was difficult and it felt like we were treading on eggshells and avoiding the real issues we had once lived together.  Bryony was a welcome distraction and we focussed on her and the dramas of life as a teenage girl as we munched our way through our American style fodder.
On the way back home Bryony asked if she could have a sleepover at one of her friends and Karl dropped her off before we arrived back home.  There was an awkwardness between us when she’d left the car that was difficult to fill except with trivial, unnecessary chat.  I’d been with this man for years and now I couldn’t talk to him normally. As soon as we arrived Brendon came running out of the house and opened the passenger door. 

“I’ve made you both some cake!”  He exclaimed “Come on, come and eat it, quick!” 

I was so full up after the meal the last thing I wanted was cake.  However, the fact that he’d made something and was so proud meant I was going to eat it and wax lyrical about it regardless.

“You’ll have to come in and eat some or he’ll be upset...” I looked across at Karl whose engine was still running ready to leave.
He turned off the ignition and we made our way into the house.

“I thought you were at Lukes? And since when do you make cake?” I laughed as Brendon was clumsily cutting sections of some brown stodge and putting it on plates.  

“Yeah, that’s what me and Luke were doing at his house, making cakes Mommy.” He said in his put on American accent.  “And they taste just like buttermilk biscuits.” He drawled on in some southern, hillbilly fashion.  “Now go and sit down and I’ll bring them through.”  He was remarkably chipper I noted.

Karl and I made our way to the lounge and sat down on the sofa awaiting our prize.  Karl didn’t remove his coat.  I knew he’d want to take off as soon as he’d finished.
Brendon Came through proudly carrying two plates with a chocolate slab of cake covered in single cream.

“Eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey!” I said, thinking how sweet and kind he could be.

He sat down and waited eagerly for us to start eating it in his usual controlling manner.  Karl spooned some into his mouth first and pulled an interesting face.  I immediately went to taste mine so I could say how marvelous it was but...it wasn’t. It tasted kind of odd. 

 “Mmmm, it’s nice darling.” I lied. “What is it exactly...it has an unusual flavour.”  I carried on eating it and tried to swallow quickly without chewing too long so I could get it over with.  Karl was doing the same and giving me that ‘WTF?’ look.

“Exactly what is this Brendon, it has a strange taste?”  I was slightly concerned because you could never fully trust the hygiene of teenage boys.  You never knew what they might have been playing with before they went into celebrity chef mode.

  “Did you both wash your hands before you made this?”  I stopped mid spoonful as I stared at him. Karl had already finished his and put his plate on the table.  

“YES! OH.MY.GOD. Mum, just eat it.  You’re such a control freak!”  He exclaimed.

I finished it off and decided to make a cup of tea to wash the peculiar taste away and hope to God I wasn’t about to get food poisoning.

“I’ll make you a drink.” said Brendon uncharacteristically. “You two just sit down and get ready to kiss the sky.” 

“What’s going on Brendon?” I asked sternly not liking his weird behaviour.

“That cake you’ve both just eaten is a hash brownie.” He laughed. “There’s some serious skunk in there and you are so going to be able to chill out and relax for once!”

I looked at Karl and Karl looked at me. We then looked at Brendon with utter disbelief.