Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Jack finds love at Le Bar Marchè part one
Wednesday was market day at the small seaside town along the Còte D'Azur and there was a long queue of cars into the car park. Jack felt the sweat trickle under his collar. His back was sore from making sandcastles with the twins and ignoring Claire's offers to rub some suntan oil on him. He was thirsty and wished they were by the pool.
'I can't bear this, it's more fun going to work. I'm fed up with this holiday. I wish I was on my own in a hotel.' He snapped.
Claire turned to look at him and he ignored the hurt look on her face.
'Why don't you drop me off with Emma and the twins and then park the car and we'll join you at the bar? Can you manage the baby and the buggy on your own?'
Jack tensed at the unaccustomed sarcasm in Claire's voice and pulled the car over.
'Great idea,' he was abrupt and gruff, 'I'll meet you at the bar in twenty minutes.'
Claire walked away holding tight to the twins, without giving her usual display of affection, only Emma turned round to smile and wave before skipping away alongside her brothers.
The baby Sam, sensing the tension refused to sit in the buggy, his normally soft and cuddly little body going rigid and proving surprisingly strong. Jack decided to carry him and push the buggy.
He stopped in front of the elegant hotel with the Michelin star restaurant and gazed longingly into the foyer. It looked so cool and inviting. He thought of the air- conditioning, the clean tablecloths and the peace and quiet within.
Someone slapped him hard on the back. He grimaced and turned round.
'Oh Jack it's you, I didn't recognize you at first in those clothes. You look hot and bothered.'
It was Matt his colleague from the London solicitors firm where he used to work. He was dressed in smart freshly ironed shorts and was hanging on to a beautiful blonde woman in a low cut top and high heels.
'This is Flora. We're staying here in the hotel. We're going to Monte Carlo today to try our luck at the casino. Come by for a drink this evening with Claire. Not with the kids though.'
The baby held out his little beaker and gave one of his deep throaty chuckles. He looked at Jack as though they were best mates enjoying a joke, and while staring at the expanse of Flora's bosom said his first word. 'tee-tee.'
Matt and Flora smiled rather self-consciously and moved away.
Jack took advantage of the moment to strap him into the buggy and hurried off to the bar. He couldn't wait to tell Claire about Sam's first word.
He hoped that she would be back to her usual cheerful self. She was so good-natured he wasn't used to sulks and bad moods. All the children had inherited their mother's sunny nature and Jack wondered for the first time whether perhaps he took it too much for granted. He saw them standing next to the bar waiting for him. Claire's face lit up at the sight of him as it always did, but she stayed where she was and then they all went towards a free table at the front near the plane tree and the accordion player.