Keep It In The Family – Episode 13

Rosie flipped over the page of the kitchen wall calendar and considered the new picture of a heather-clad mountain in the Scottish Highlands that the change of month presented. It was almost unbelievable that it was four weeks since her dad’s passing.“What’s up, love?” Misinterpreting her frown, Alan spoke from the breakfast table behind her, where he was buttering slices of toast as they popped, in readiness for Jodie and Ryan coming down. Alan and Rosie always enjoyed this half-hour together before the school-day rush overwhelmed them. It gave them the chance to talk over matters that might otherwise be lost in the hurly-burly of Branscombe family life.“Hmm?” Rosie turned.“You were staring at the calendar like we’ve forgotten someone’s birthday.”“I was just thinking, it’s been a whole month since . . . you know.”Alan nodded, sympathy softening his face.“Of course. And what kind of four-week report would you give Adam?”Rosie used the few minutes it took her to pour them both some more tea and spread marmalade on her toast to consider her answer.“If I’m being totally fair, I have to give him four out of five. He was a bit wobbly when he started, naturally enough, since it was pretty well all new to him, but he’s picked it up quickly and he’s really getting the hang of things.”She took a sip of her tea and munched on a mouthful of toast, thinking.“He’s made a few mistakes, but if I’m honest that would have happened no matter who took over, because Dad was so much in charge and had his own way of doing things. But and it pains me to admit this he does seem to have an instinct for it, just like Mum said.”Alan grasped her hand across the table and she smiled tenderly at him. This had been one of the most difficult periods of her life and he had never faltered in his strength as a shoulder to lean on, even though he had his own worries with the spectre of redundancy hanging over him.“I won’t pretend it doesn’t still hurt like blazes that Mum and Dad chose him over me, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him make a mess of things and ruin the company just to prove a point, so I’m glad he’s doing OK. More than OK, actually. His confidence has grown every day.” She found herself laughing. “It’s funny he was always the least ambitious person I’d ever met, and suddenly he’s coming up with all these schemes! Mum asked me to support him, so I’m trying not to pour cold water on his ideas, but some of them are pretty radical!”“I know your mum’s proud of the way you’ve handled this, love. But she knew she could rely on you to support her decision no matter how much it hurt. Are things better between you two now?”Rosie sighed.“I don’t think I’ll ever understand why she did it, but I can’t bear to be squabbling with her so I just have to accept it. Maybe she’ll explain one day. Of course, she hasn’t told Adam yet that he’s in for the long haul, but I think she’ll do it soon now that she can see how well he’s doing. It’ll be interesting to see how he takes it, when he knows it’s not just a short-term novelty. Anyway, enough about all this. Did you say you have another staff meeting today?”Hearing sounds of activity upstairs, Alan rose to fill the kettle for more tea, ready for Jodie and Ryan coming down. At the same time Rosie put more bread in the toaster.“There is a meeting, but I’m not involved, which is the good news. The bad news is that they’re going to announce the first phase of redundancies to those who are affected. Poor guys.”It was Rosie’s turn to clasp his hand.“It’s a bad situation, and I feel for the people whose jobs are at risk, but the selfish part of me just thinks thank goodness it isn’t you. Is that horrible?”Alan dropped a kiss on her forehead.“It’s human nature, and you’re not saying anything I haven’t thought myself.”


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