Thursday, 18 December 2014
Stories to warm the cockles of your heart, Jack
Do you remember Jack and Claire on holiday with their children at the Bar Marchè?
Here they are again doing some Christmas shopping.
The car park was full and they had to wait for a space. Claire put on the twins favourite Cd and they started up a rousing chorus of 'Jingle bells'.
As soon as they were out of the car Claire said she was going ahead with Emma to look at the shoes and would meet him in the cafè in twenty minutes. She gave him a list of presents to buy at the Perfume counter for her mother and sisters-in-law.
Jack pushed the buggy into the revolving door and caught sight of his reflection in the glass. He thought he looked like Father Christmas with his sleigh He was wearing a Red hat with a white pom- pom, the twins had reindeer antlers and the baby had a brown teddy bear hat. The twins clung to either side of the buggy and looked around them like two miniature bodyguards daring anyone to touch the baby. Jack manoeuvred them all round to the perfume counter and got out his list. In front of him was a tall smartly dressed man with his arms round a tall stunning blond.. She was wearing a short white fur coat and hot pants, sheer tights and black suede stiletto boots. They turned as Jack reached out to stop the baby from pulling down a display of shiny bottles.
'Hi Jack, Merry Christmas, I say ho1ho1ho. Have you lost your way?'.
It was Jack's old colleague from the bank in London. An extremely successful lawyer who didn't mind who he trod on to get up the ladder.
'Hi Matt, very funny, Merry Christmas to you too.'
'This is Flora. We're doing our last minute shopping then we're off to the Caribbean for two weeks.'
Jack's gaped as Flora's fur coat fell open to reveal a very low cut top that left nothing to the imagination, as his mother would have said.
The twins looked up at him,
'Daddy's a fish, he can blow bubbles.'
They blew their cheeks out and made loud popping noises.
The baby tried to join in but only managed a few bubbles.
'I'm meeting Claire in the café would you like to join us?'
'No thanks Jack, we've got to meet some friends at the Oyster bar and we're already late.'
The baby succeeded in his attempt to tear off a poster showing a beautiful busty blonde and buried his face in the cleavage. the twins jumped up and down.
' Sam kissing lady !'
The young assistant came round to help Jack put the poster back. His hat had fallen off and his thick fair hair tumbled round his face.
'OOH, you look just like Jude Law,' she simpered and touched his arm.
One of the twins took his antlers off and waved them in her face.
'My daddy, my daddy.'
She stood up still transfixed by Jack and turned to Matt and Flora.
'You don't mind if I serve this gentleman first do you,? I think he's got his hands full.'
When Jack had paid for his shopping he turned to thank Matt and Flora. He was taken aback by the look of admiration on Matt's face and could he also detect a hint of envy?
Once if he'd been asked he would have gone to the Caribbean for Christmas in a flash. His parents had come back into his life after years of silence. In the Summer Claire had invited them to a family gathering. By some miracle they both came, his father from Spain and his mother from her boarding school. By the end of the afternoon Emma and his mother were inseparable, sitting together in an armchair and reading fairy tales. His father was pretending to be a lion and chasing the twins, who were giggling hysterically and then climbing all over him, delighted with their new cuddly toy.
That evening in bed he had turned to Claire still stunned by the days events.
'How did that happen? What did you do to them? My father laughed more today than during my whole childhood.'
Claire drew him towards her, ' You always have to give people a second chance. Anyway they're your parents Jack so they can't be all that bad.' She'd grinned mischievously and tossed her long dark hair over his chest. He felt a quiver at the thought of what had happened next.
He held his hand out to Matt and Flora.
'Come round one evening when you get back from the Caribbean, Claire would love to see you both.'
Jack walked towards the lift for the café and paused by the jewelry counter, he knelt down to the twins.
'Would you like to choose a nice sparkly bracelet for Mummy?'
They ran to the counter and peered up at the glamorous young assistant.
Jack quickly pointed to three that he liked and asked her to display them so the twins could choose.
'This one, the one with the hearts,' they called in unison. They held it out so the baby could see.
'Sam likes it too. We want that one, and silver paper and a gold ribbon.'
The young girl smiled at them.
'Ooh aren't you just so cute, just like your daddy, really handsome.'
She gave Jack a sidelong glance and a slow smile.
Jack quickly paid and went to call the lift. He took the children to wash their hands ready for the café.
Then a few weeks ago Claire had suggested that they ask Jack's parents for Christmas. Her mother had enough room for them to sleep there. Emma and the twins could go to the pantomime with them. They could have a party with some of their friends so they could all meet each other. Claire's brother would pick Jack's dad up from the airport.. She made it sound so easy and natural he just went along with it.
His mother rang to say how excited she was, she'd had a book made for Emma with her name as the main character, she'd knitted the baby a cardigan and got the twins a train set. Then when she said ' Your dad and I really miss you Jack, we're so proud of you and Claire is just so lovely', he'd had to put the phone down, he couldn't speak because of the lump in his throat.
The girls and boys working in the café were all dressed in red outfits with matching hats. There was a huge tree in the corner covered with bright coloured twinkly lights. Christmas music was playing and drawing all the customers into a festive atmosphere. whether they wanted it or not.
He could see Claire and Emma sitting at a table near the window. They had it all ready for them, a highchair for the baby and booster seats for the twins. There was a bag next to Emma with her new shoes. She was looking at her mother with a rapt expression, hanging on her every word. Jack knew what that felt like, he never tired of staring at Claire's lovely, kind face. He moved slowly towards Claire and Emma, enjoying the sight of the two of them sitting there together. Claire wouldn't turn heads like Flora, sitting there with her hair in a pony tail and her jeans and jumper, but he knew what was underneath. Jack had watched his lovely Claire this morning carefully putting on her red Christmas underwear, laughing and posing and then kissing him under the mistletoe that she'd hung above the bed.
The twins caught sight of Claire and Emma and ran towards them, clambering over the chairs and climbing over them like two little puppies. the baby waved his hands and blew bubbles. Mariah Carey sang out. Claire looked at Jack, he caught his breath, Together they mouthed 'All I want for Christmas is you'