The Call Of The City – Episode 24

daily serial the call of the city the people's friend

Kerry wiped her eyes as Daniel took her in his arms, rubbing her back.

“I’m sorry,” she muttered against his chest.

“Don’t be. But why are you crying? Isn’t this good news? We’ve always wanted a family.”

“Yes.” She took a steadying breath.

Yes, of course it was good news. A baby was a wonderful thing, a miracle.

But her father was still so ill, her mother needing so much support. Kerry herself was only twenty-four. She’d wanted a family, but down the line, when her work was established and they’d been married for a few years.

“I just didn’t expect it so soon,” she said. “I feel so overwhelmed already.”

“Overwhelmed?” Daniel frowned. “I didn’t realise you were feeling that way. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Kerry stared at him. She’d told him in a thousand different ways, but Daniel hadn’t picked up on any of them.

And why should he? He was a man, looking to solve a problem rather than dance around it.

In truth, Kerry felt guilty and ungrateful. She had so much to be thankful for – her health, home, husband, family, work. And now one thing more.

“I don’t know why I didn’t tell you outright,” she said on a sigh. “I suppose because I’ve wanted to manage everything myself.”

“Kerry, we’re married now. You’re not meant to manage everything yourself. We’re a team, remember? Let me help.”

“How?” she asked. “You’re so busy with the farm. And it’s not even as if there’s anything to help with, not really. You can’t do my job for me, and you certainly can’t carry this baby!”

Annoyed with herself and the whole conversation, she turned away from him and began banging pots on top of the Rayburn for supper.

“There must be something,” he persisted. “I could go to your parents and help out there.”

“They’d feel guilty for taking you away from the farm. It’s fine. I’m just having a bit of a moan.”

She reached into the fridge for a packet of mince and dumped it into a pan.

“Hold on, would you?”

Daniel stayed her arm as the mince began to fry. “Why don’t we have a take-away tonight?”

She shrugged him off.

“It’s already cooking.”

“All right, but stop for a moment. Can we talk about this seriously?”

She was being unfair and unreasonable, Kerry knew, but it was hard to know how to stop.

“Yes, but I’m not sure there’s any solution.”

“There must be. What if you cut back your hours?”

“We need the money, and I want to work, Daniel. My career is important to me.”

“All right, it was just a suggestion.”

He raked a hand through his hair, sending it up into tufts. It almost made her smile.

He wanted to find a solution, and sometimes that just wasn’t possible. Sometimes you just had to muddle through.

“Tell me something I can do, Kerry. I want to help.”

She looked around the kitchen with mail piled on the table, the sink full of dishes and Daniel’s mudsplatted boots and overalls by the door.

“I know something you can do. Clean the kitchen.”

He looked flummoxed.

“I didn’t even realise it was dirty,” he admitted, shamefaced, and Kerry laughed out loud.

“Daniel! Look at this place. We’re both always so busy and so we just let it all lie, but honestly. If we’re going to have a baby –”

For the first time the words held a promise, even a thrill. They were going to have a baby!

“All right,” Daniel said, squaring his shoulders. “Clean the kitchen it is.”

It felt homely to make supper while Daniel bustled around, dumping his dirty clothes in the wash and then starting on the sink.

By the time Kerry was taking the shepherd’s pie out of the oven the kitchen, although not entirely clean, was in a much better state.

“See?” Daniel said as Kerry began to dish out the meal. “We can do this.”

She glanced around, her spirits lifting at the sight.

But this was just one room, on one evening. So much else felt as if it were piled on her shoulders. Her parents, her job . . .

With effort, she pushed the worries away.

“Yes,” she said with a determined smile. “We can do this.”

To be continued . . .