“Hello, love. How did it go?”
Bethany’s mother, Diane, was struggling into her coat.
“Really well. Grandad was there. He brought me and Rachel home. He said he was really proud of me.”
“He would be. I bet he reckons that one day there’ll be another Douglas name on his trophy. I’m sorry I couldn’t come, but you know how it is.”
Mum always had some excuse not to watch her play, Bethany thought sadly.
“I made dinner before I got ready for my shift. Will you dish it out?”
“Have you had something to eat?” Bethany asked, picking up her mother’s bag and handing it to her.
“I grabbed a bit of chicken to make a sandwich,” Mum admitted. “But your dad and sister have to be fed.”
“Couldn’t Mizzy ” Bethany began, annoyed that her young sister never seemed to help.
“She says she’s studying for her exams, but how she manages to think with all that racket going on, I’ll never know.”
Mizzy never seemed to play any of her music at a normal volume.
Her mum gave Bethany a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Thanks, love. I’d better be going, or I’ll be late. Mizzy, come and help your sister!” she shouted upstairs as an afterthought.
She stuck her head into the living-room as she passed.
“See you later, love,” she called to her husband, who glanced over the top of his newspaper. “Dinner’s on its way. I don’t think I’ll be late, but you never know.”
Mizzy came reluctantly downstairs as her mother left.
“I suppose you’ve been tooting your flute all afternoon while I’ve been studying hard,” she said sulkily.
“I’ve been playing my cornet, yes,” Bethany replied. “Grandad seemed to think I did all right.”
“He would. He’s as brass barmy as you are. For Pete’s sake don’t mention it to Dad or we’ll have the ‘music never earned anyone a crust’ lecture.”
“Are you going to help me dish out dinner? I’m getting hungry,” Bethany said pleasantly.
She hoped her mother had had enough to eat. These days Mum always seemed to be dashing in and out of the house and not eating regular meals. But as a bank nurse she didn’t always have regular hours and could be called on at any time.
“Do you need me to help?” Mizzy groaned, her bottom lip stuck out.
“Come on, it won’t kill you.” Bethany grinned.
Her father looked up when she brought the dishes into the dining-room. He looked tired.
“Dark or white meat?” Bethany asked her father gently.
“I only eat the breast,” Mizzy demanded.
“I wasn’t asking you! Come on, Dad, before it gets cold.”
He smiled up at her.
“You’re good girls most of the time!”
He was a good dad, too, despite his lack of interest in her music. He’d always made time for the family despite his demanding job.