The short walk home was silent except for the click clack of Lucy’s heels on the flagstones. As they passed through the front gate Suzanne said. “You’re staying, aren’t you?”

“Do you want me to?”

“Yes, of course. Cancel the place you’re in and come and stay with me.”

“I didn’t come to you because there was a risk, well there still is a risk that bloody Steve will come round. I don’t know where he is right now, but you can bet he’ll be planning some trouble.”

“What are you going to do about all of that?”

“Soon as possible, I’m putting things in place to get a divorce. I have to tell the kids first though. I don’t want to do that by phone. I need to go and see them.”

“Well, I don’t care if he does come round. We’ll see him off between us. Why don’t you ask the kids to come here? It’s neutral territory, which might make it easier for them.”

Lucy leaned to wrap her arms around Suzanne’s shoulders. “Thanks, love. You know what, that’d be great. Can I ask them to come tomorrow?”

“Anytime is fine by me. They can stay over. One of them will have to go on the bed settee in the study but it’s comfortable enough. That way we can make them a meal and you won’t have to worry about timing. What about the girls?”

“They’ll be fine with Carl. I wouldn’t want them around at a time like this. It’ll be upsetting for them, anyway. Say what you like about Steve, and believe me I could say a lot, but the girls think he’s great.”

Right, that’s one thing organised. For now, I’ll make us something to eat and you see if you can arrange that. Anytime is fine, but I reckon the sooner the better.”

“Brilliant. Oh!”

“Oh what?”

“You’ve got a parcel, there look, in the porch. Were you expecting anything?”

“No. It’s probably for one of the neighbours. You know what these delivery people are like.”

Suzanne leaned to pick up the brown paper parcel and peered at the label. She raised her eyebrows and passed it across to Lucy. ”Hang on to that while I get the door unlocked.”

“Well, it’s addressed to you,” Lucy said. “Wonder what it is. It’s quite heavy, a bit squashy. Intriguing. Unless you’ve ordered something and forgotten.”

“Don’t be daft. I’m not doolally yet. I haven’t ordered anything. Stick it on the hall table while I put the kettle on. Or, shall we just get straight into the wine? This has all been a bit stressful and we need to regroup. What the hell is going on with that agent and the house? We left her there but now I’m beginning to wonder if that was the right thing to do.”

“She had that letter and the door key.”

“True. But none of it feels right, I could do with a drink.”

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