Finding Out Secrets

When Julie walked into the hardware store, she was shocked. She couldn’t believe her husband, Jack, had risked his life by driving through a dangerous storm just to get to a store that was completely ordinary. Julie knew for a fact that it wasn’t special because she had been to plenty of hardware stores in her time. In fact, Julie noted that this hardware store in Cheltenham looked exactly the same as the Hampton hardware store she had visited with Jack a few weeks ago. Julie was not impressed.

Deciding to investigate further, Julie approached a shop assistant who was innocently stacking shelves. The shop assistant didn’t notice Julie standing there at first. She was so enthralled in the job at hand that it appeared as if no one else in the world existed. Peculiar. Julie politely cleared her throat to grab the shop assistant’s attention. Turning towards the sound, the shop assistant looked immediately stunned at the site of the pregnant woman standing before her. Julie could see the wheels turning in the shop assistant’s mind, as the shop assistant put two and two together. Unsure what to say, Julie stood there silent and waited for the shop assistant to make the first move.

“Hi there,” the shop assistant began. “What can I help you with today? You look like you’re in the market for plumbing supplies sold in Cheltenham. Is that correct?” Stumped by the shop assistant’s helpfulness, Julie found herself stumbling on her words. Julie explained how she was actually there to get a better understanding of why her husband wanted to visit this store so badly during a terrifying storm. Julie said she wanted to know why her husband would leave her, his pregnant wife, just to be here. When he knew that she needs him both now and after the baby is born. After Julie was finished oversharing, she looked up and noticed the shop assistant crying.

Revealing the Build

‘Wow,’ Laura nodded, arm on my shoulder. ‘Colour me impressed.’

‘It’s better than you thought?’ I grinned proudly at her.

‘No, I’m impressed you actually finished the thing.’

I dipped my shoulder so her arm fell off, and she laughed as she caught her balance.

‘Do you think my mum is going to like it?’ I asked her.

‘I don’t know,’ Laura shook her head. ‘She might pull out the electrical work and rewire it herself.’

‘That’s actually why I made the walls out of solid steel,’ I nodded. ‘To keep her out.’

‘Do you think it’s enough?’

‘At least until I can get the lasers working,’ I said. ‘Plus, as an added bonus – fridge magnets work on every wall.’

‘Revolutionary,’ Laura nodded along. ‘You might have trouble explaining to the accountant why you spent so much time at a store that specialises in plumbing supplies. Cheltenham houses are rarely made of just plumbing supplies and solid steel.’

Laura cracked first, and let out a laugh that made me start chuckling.

‘You two seem to be enjoying yourselves,’ my mother’s voice drifted towards us. We turned and watched as she picked her way across the last bit of the backyard to stand in front of her new flat.

‘What do you think?’ I asked her, nervously.

‘I like the colour,’ she said after a short wait.

‘The… the colour?’ I frowned. ‘The colour, cool. Great.’

‘Didn’t she pick the colour?’ Laura murmured next to me.

‘Yep,’ I said, through gritted teeth. ‘And it only took five trips to that local hardware store. Sandringham is local, isn’t it?’

Laura snorted.

‘Is there a key?’ my mother asked, turning to me. ‘It seems to be locked.’

‘Oh, right,’ I patted my pockets, looking for the copy I’d had made. ‘I have a few spare copies, in case we ever—’

‘Excellent,’ she interrupted me, reaching over and taking the whole keyring ‘I’ll hang onto those.’

‘Actually, I was thinking we should all—’

‘See you at dinner,’ she called over her shoulder as the door slammed shut.