“I’ve never seen a young woman so upset. So we went and had a cup of tea. She said you’d not wanted to see her tonight because I was ill. I said perhaps she’d misunderstood what you’d meant. But she shook her head. Trying not to cry, she was. Poor girl. What do you think you’re doing, Archie?”
“What did you want to go and tell her your grandma was ill for? That’s not a nice thing to say.”
“I had to think of summat,” mumbled Archie.
“Why didn’t you tell her the truth?” said Mum.
“Because it would have upset her. Anyhow, I did want to see her but I couldn’t.”
“Couldn’t?” said Mum.
“Homework and stuff.”
“No, Archie, you’re lying again. You ain’t been doing your homework.” Mum looked at Grandma and Grandma nodded.
“Well, stuff, then.”
“And you couldn’t tell her about the “stuff”? What “stuff”, then?”
“I had to see Ollie and Red.”
“Oh, them two. You’d be better off spending time with Amanda than with that pair of plonkers. As long as you’re careful, though. We don’t want no babbies around here. “
“Mum!” Archie’s cheeks were burning.
“Well, she’s upset, anyway.” Grandma sniffed. “She’s a really nice young lady. You want to hold on to that one.” She turned to look at Archie’s mum. “I don’t think you need worry about any unwanted babbies. She’s got her head screwed on all right. And she’s got some self-respect. She wouldn’t let him have his way with her.”
“Charming,” said Archie. “And don’t talk about me as if I’m not here.” Bloody hell, I wish she would let me. I bet Millie would. Oh God! He remembered Millie’s legs. And that one time – the one and only time – Amanda had let him touch her breast. Gorgeous, both of them. But these women were doing his head in.
Well,” said Grandma, standing up. “You’d better start respecting us women if you want us to respect you. I’ll be on my way, now, Bren.” She turned to face Archie. “You’ll lose her if you ain’t careful. In fact, you might have already.” She touched Archie gently on the shoulder. “I hope not though. I really hope not.”
Archie thought he was going to cry. Please, not in front of these two. Bloody hell, what an idiot.
Grandma nodded. “Tara, then.”