Ryde and Hampton Cox returned to their mother with news of their ‘interview’ with Lally Rowe. They quite liked the idea that they’d put the frighteners on her. At eighteen and having lived in Popwell all their lives, they were in search of any adventure going; so they hung around the pubs in Blockstead drinking and trying to affect an air of nonchalant menace. But that was difficult in a town where everyone knew your Mum and the Landlady of The Whistling Pig had been your primary school teacher. Their menace came across mostly as sulking.
Unlike Whitney, they were good-looking young chaps. They too had the Popwell humps that were such a burden for their poor sister, but on them they were translated into manly shoulder bulk. And her slightly piggy nose was bigger and less turned up on their faces. They were identical twins, named for the two destinations at either end of the Isle of Wight Ferry on which they had been conceived. Currently between jobs, the twins had high hopes of becoming property developers but so far had only managed a stint as cashiers at Bob’s Service Station. They were waiting on a reply from The Apprentice, for which they had recently applied.
Margaret was in the kitchen preparing some ready meals. “Well boys, what did she say? Did you apologise like I said and explained that just as soon as your sister agrees to come out of her room she’ll be over there genuflecting or whatever it takes to make it up to that poor woman. She might be from London, but she didn’t deserve that”.
Ryde spoke first “Yeah, right. But she’s a moody munter Mum so she didn’t talk much. We told her that Whitney was sorry and all, but she didn’t say anything considerable back”.
“Oh Lord I hope she doesn’t take this further. Whitney’s already in trouble what with that incident in Morrison’s with the Kiwi fruits. She doesn’t need another visit from the Constabulary. Can you two get upstairs now and tell her to come out and say sorry to Miss Rowe before she ruins her life chances”. The boys rolled their eyes, but loped out in the direction of the stairway nonetheless.
Just then Adrian The Redeemer appeared. He was looking for a little snack; a pickled egg or something. On seeing him Margaret asked “Well now Adrian, how are you? You’ve been out and about a lot lately haven’t you? You still comfy on the lilo in the loo? Any more thoughts about what we discussed last week? Only I can’t be seen to be harboring a single young many under the same roof as my Whitney for much longer without tongues wagging; and we’re a respectable family”.
Adrian stared at her with cold, hard eyes. Then he narrowed them and flared his nostrils a little. This usually did the trick and stopped anyone from addressing him, but as he’d begun to realise, these Cox women were made of stern stuff.
“Only she’s gone and lamped Miss Rowe now, and I think that’s hormonal. You can’t mess with Whitney where her lady rhythms are concerned; and I think she’s soft on you and that’s causing her inner turmoil. So perhaps you could have a little think on one of your walks and let me know if you’re planning on becoming her loverboy or not. There’s a good lad” and she turned to pop a Chicken Chasseur into the microwave.
Adrian felt a panic attack coming on and stalked quickly out of the cottage to find a tree to stand beneath and breathe deeply.