Keep It In The Family – Episode 25

Jodie was still at the kitchen table when Joyce returned downstairs.“Ryan’s just doing his homework, so that gives us time to chat,” Joyce said. “So, how’s school?” Again she was remembering Rosie’s concern that Jodie had problems at school.Jodie shrugged.“It’s OK. I got good grades in my maths assignment today. Of course, that just meant some of the girls calling me a swot!”“It’s good that you’re keeping your maths grades up, though,” Joyce said approvingly, filling the kettle and switching it on. “So valuable for your future. And so what if some silly girls call you a swot? I bet they won’t be laughing when they can’t get into college and have no chance of a proper job.”She saw Jodie’s face light up.“That’s what I tell myself. They don’t really bother me. It’s not like bullying or anything. It’s just annoying. But thanks for listening, Gran. I didn’t like to worry Mum.”Joyce leaned over and dropped a kiss on the girl’s head.“You’re welcome. You’re a good girl, Jodie. Now, I might just invite myself for supper. Do you know what your mum planned to have? I’d like to have it ready for her coming in for a change. She’s been working so hard.”Together they investigated the fridge and figured it out from the defrosting dishes there, so that by the time Alan came in from work, a tempting smell of roasting chicken was wafting through the house.“Rosie, that you?” he called as he came into the kitchen. “Joyce!” he exclaimed. “This is a nice surprise! Is Rosie home yet?” Of course he knew the circumstances in which Rosie had gone to work, and found a moment to mutter to Joyce.“Adam was a no-show.”“I know.” Joyce nodded. “I made a quick call to Rosie myself. I’m so sorry about this, Alan. I seem to have made a real mess of things.”“It’s not your fault!” he assured her emphatically. “It’s Adam. Though I admit it’s beyond me how two characters like you and Martin managed to raise a son who has so little sense of responsibility. It’s like Rosie got his share as well as her own!”“I know, and we’ve exploited it shamefully. But she should be here with you, supporting you, Alan. I know things aren’t easy at the moment. How is work?” she said, laying a concerned hand on his arm.He sank down into the seat opposite, slumped with fatigue, and she offered him some tea.“Pretty tough,” he conceded, wiping a hand over his face. “New management. Lots of new ideas. New systems. I’m sure it’ll be great once it all settles down, but until then, none of us is sure who’ll still have a job a year from now and who won’t.”“Oh, Alan,” Joyce said. “I didn’t realise things were that bad. But, son, remember you’re a great reporter. Didn’t you break that story about the council and the fraudulent expenses claims? And it was you who uncovered the plans to build on our greenfield sites and led the campaign to have the plans thrown out.”She saw Alan’s eyes brighten, his shoulders straighten.“You’re a fine journalist, Alan. They’ll recognise that no matter what new systems they bring in. And if they don’t, another newspaper will.”Alan smiled into her eyes.“Thanks, Joyce. You’re a gem.” He looked around the kitchen. “Where is everyone?”“Ryan’s doing his homework. I hope you don’t mind but I had a bit of a word with him. Grandmother’s prerogative. Jodie’s popped round to see one of her friends, but she’ll be back for supper.”Alan smiled again.“You’re a miracle worker, you know that? Thanks, Joyce. I’ll just go and have a quick shower and give Rosie a ring to see if she’s on her way home yet, then I’ll make you a cup of coffee. You’ve earned it.”Alone, Joyce allowed herself a small sigh of satisfaction. She hadn’t fixed everything yet, but at least she’d made a good start. And if nothing else, that had made her feel a whole lot better.


Used to make posts more anonymous, eg a criminal case where you don’t want to expose the actual journalist.