The Inklings: Chapter 15

It had been more than a month since John’s father had checked up on him. John had spent most of it with his head in the clouds and D’arby claimed John was even whistling in his sleep. The more time John spent with Fanta, the more perfect she seemed. The only downside was that John often wondered what Fanta could see in him. He tried not to dwell on those thoughts and was determined to enjoy his relationship with Fanta while it lasted.

Fanta was also happy. John had told her what he’d been through but she really believed that he had reformed. What John hadn’t told Fanta about was how he’d had some help when he gave up.

Fanta’s last exam was on John’s day off (the restaurant was closed on Mondays) and he’d promised to cook her a special dinner. Fanta hadn’t been to John and D’arby’s place before so John was pretty nervous. He got up extra early and spent the whole day cleaning and cooking.

When D’arby got home that afternoon the flat was sparkling clean, a dining table had appeared (covered in a crisply ironed table cloth) and there were little vases of fresh flowers spread around the place. John had even hung some curtains on the kitchen window. There was a roast cooking in the oven and a bowl of salad on the table.

“I feel jealous” said D’arby. “You never do this for me!”

“Well, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you aren’t as pretty as Fanta” said John. He was lying on the sofa, trying to recover some energy before Fanta arrived. “I’m exhausted though. I wouldn’t want to have to do this every day.”

“Ha ha. Hopefully Fanta won’t want you to do anything too energetic tonight then.” said D’arby

“Don’t laugh too hard. You are the one who should be hoping Fanta doesn’t want to do anything energetic. If I keep you awake at night when I’m here on my own, imagine…..” said John

“No thanks!” said D’arby. “Don’t worry, as soon as I’ve said hello I’m going back to uni to work on my thesis and then I’ll sleep under my desk” said D’arby.

When Fanta arrived John sat her down on his folded-up sofa bed and got her a drink of home-made lemonade. D’arby was putting books into his uni bag and asked Fanta how her exams had gone.

“Ok, I think” said Fanta. “I’m just happy that they are over” but as she said it she wasn’t thinking about what she was saying. Fanta was looking around the flat. She noticed that it only had one bedroom.

“That’s good” said D’arby. “I better get back to uni now. I’ve got lots of thesis to write. It was nice to see you again Fanta.”

“Save some dessert for me” said D’arby to John as he left.

When D’arby had gone the first thing Fanta asked was what was for dessert. She just wanted to make sure that there was some because she thought she’d seen D’arby wink.

“Pavlova” said John, wondering why there was such a strong interest in dessert and hoping that he’d made enough.

When Fanta had gone home John reflected that dinner had gone well, apart from when he briefly fell asleep at the table during dessert. John unfolded the sofa bed and lay down, enjoying the feeling of knowing that he could finally have some sleep. Then the phone rang.

John struggled to get up and answer the phone. Ignoring it was not a choice. If John didn’t answer he knew he’d get less sleep than if he did answer because if he didn’t answer he’d lie there for hours wondering who had called and keep imagining that it had been someone in an emergency.

“Hello” said John

“Hello John” said John’s father. “Your Mother and I have decided to give you an early Christmas present…… we would like to hand over the restaurant to you. We’ll have to meet with my lawyer to sort this out. Will you have time tomorrow morning?”

John pinched himself after he’d hung up the phone, but that didn’t help convince him that he’d been awake during the phone call. “I might be awake now, but how do I know I didn’t just wake up from a dream about a phone call?” thought John. Fortunately the morning wasn’t far away. John finally drifted off to sleep wondering whether his Father would turn up in the morning or not.


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