18 July 2009

Coming home?

Sharon curses to herself under her breath while smiling at the valet and tips him generously, hoping he doesn't notice that she's concentrating way too hard on putting one foot in front of the other, and the pain is shooting up her spine something fierce. As soon as she pulls away from the nondescript building, safely out of view, she fumbles with the cap on the Diazepam and sucks down a couple, cursing because she drops the cap and all she can do now is keep driving with a giant illegal bottle of valium sitting in the cup holder like a cup of Starbucks. She lights a cigarette and drops that, too, scorching her dress before it rolls onto the floor, by instinct she bends over to get it and bangs her eye on the wheel.
Of course this is making the VW Phaeton swerve wildly and wouldn't you just know it, there's a policeman right behind her. Now she's really starting to panic, throwing the valium into an empty bag from some godawful fast food place her sort-of-husband liked to stuff his face in, just in time.
"Ma'am, are you okay?" asks the officer.
"Why, yes, sir, why wouldn't I-"
But she catches a glimpse of her face in the mirror, which doesn't look so good at all, the bruise from the steering wheel already starting to swell up.
And she knows how to play this, looking down as if she's scared of this idiot in his ridiculous uniform.
"Please don't call this in officer. My husband will find me, I mean, find out, if you do."
He steps back, peering at her, trying to judge if she's lying, and Sharon knows that means she's got him, when a man tries to figure out if she's lying, he's done for.
"Where are you going?"
Trying to get control of the situation. Good luck with that one, idiot.
"I'm, I'm,"
Now the cop is starting to realize she doesn't want anyone to know where she's going. The man who did this to her eye can do much worse if he finds her, and it's his turn to look down.
"Look, ma'am, you were driving erratically, and, well-"
"I dropped my cigarette," she says, rushing the words out and trying to keep the frightened expression consistent.
He nods, pretending to take stock of the situation, looking up and down the road even though there's not a single car on it.
"Very well," he says at last. "This time, I'll let you go. But go and get that eye looked at."
He hesitates.
"If you want me to help you with your, your, situation," he starts.
"I don't think you can, Officer," she says, and that's enough for him. He nods and then he's gone and she's fumbling with the GPS, her wits enough together now that the valium is working to realize she has no idea where the hell she's going.
She presses "avoid major highways" without a second thought. She should not be driving in this condition. And two hours and ten minutes later she finds herself on a dirt road that's more out in the country than she ever believed possible in Britain, at least these days, and there's the address, which of course has the same damn highway she was on right behind it, probably thirty minutes from where she had turned off to avoid another run-in with the police.
She steps out, still a little unsteady, and drops her purse and everything because she sees Jake and Sam, kissing each other, and not in a way normal brothers would, alone in their world, hidden from the highway and the house, not expecting her to come up from some farm road.
Jake looks up, a little shocked at first, but he smiles, even though she can see stitches across his forehead and an ugly bruise.
"Hey ma," he says, and it strikes her as even more odd that this spawn of hers she had always been a little afraid of, manipulative, vindictive, angry all the time, now he seems...happy. Something makes her mind tell her to sit down without even considering there's nothing to sit on, and she lands hard in the dirt.
"Moms," says Sam, and he hasn't called her that for at least two feet of his height, "we need help. We need your help, and we need it bad."
She can't find words, dammit, Sharon, you picked a hell of a time to be stoned off of your ass, not even really conscious she's still sitting in the dirt looking up at her sons, and even better is that the Doctor they refer to pops his head around the corner, having heard the voices, and she feels like she's in one of those movies where the background zooms in on the character because, damn it...
"Peter? Is that, is that...you? Oh my god."
He stops and his eyes flash in recognition.
The memories flood back and she feels as if she's right back there, even the accent she spent years trying to smooth out is bubbling up in her throat like a lunch of live snails.
"Sharon? Sharon Davies? From Fairwater Estates?"

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