Tickets - Novella - Chapter 2a

 They must have been lying there for hours, unfound, unseen, unknown to those they were awaiting.  But there they lay on the carpet biding.  Two this time.  Two sets to different destinations.  Used; but not finished with.  Not abandoned yet.  Chucked through a letter box, but not thrown away.  A pattern emerging.  Two months later, but still clearly intentional; unbeknownst to the slender brunette as she bent over, with her small, yet telling bump, to pick up the scattered post while entering the bare and unhomely hallway.
    "You just walked over the post.  You didn't even notice it, did you?  There's an envelope with your footprint on it.  Jacob!"  She's still cute.  For caring about stupid things like that.  For saying a name in that tone of disbelief and confusion.  "Jacob?  Don't just look at me.  At least shake your head or shrug your shoulders."  Kissing her works instead.  When all is lost you still have kissing.  Fun, cheeky, easy, familiar kissing.  Four years together does that to kissing.  It becomes so familiar, as if just thinking about doing it gives you the sensation that you already have, because you know exactly how it will go; who will pull back when, who will drive it forward or get restless and slip up.  How to avoid the teeth colliding or the lips catching a sly nip at the wrong moment.  Angie never liked the crafty stuff.  For a creative girl she's not so imaginative or inventive.  "Come on, Jacob.  Enough of that.  I'm hungry.  Don't you hate this kitchen floor?  It might be worth asking the landlord."  Kiss again.  Much better.  "Jacob.  The baby's hungry."
    Oh.  The baby excuse again.  You only have to find it cute for another, is it four months?  Only four months until everything changes.  No more date nights then.  But is that so bad?  Dates are an effort.  To organise, to plan, to go through with.  
    "Meow," small and somehow strangely endearing.  Henry's kitten wants attention.
    "Jacob.  There's a cat in your house."  Well done.  That's exactly right.
    "Henry's.  It was a present for his birthday yesterday."  He's probably hungry too.
    Everybody's hungry, but the only way that will be fixed is if more work is done.  Washing, chopping, seasoning, mixing, frying, grilling, boiling.  Ugh.  But earning money and watching that it doesn't slip away too quickly takes extra care that the joy of take aways do not match up with.  Just got to get on with it.  Keep getting on with it all.
    Wash the fish.  And make sure Tibbet doesn't think it's his dinner.  "Why a cat?  I thought you boys all hated cats."
    "Well, Janice thinks Henry loves cats."
    "Oh.  I see."  You do?  No one else does.  He's kept it up well.  "What's his name?"
    "Tibbet.  Because Janice says he's like a little titbit, so it's easier to say Tibbet.  Henry secretly likes him.  I caught them napping together on the sofa last night."
    "There's a second notice bill for the water."  Wash the fish, out of trouble.  "Jacob, you've got to pay these things on time.  You can't afford extra penalties, it's a waste of money.  Oh.  What's this?"  Another bill presumably.  That fish is most certainly clean.  It's a good thing this kitten is too small to jump up anywhere.  On with the vegetables.  No!
    "What are you doing?  Don't open that!"  Addressing it to Henry did not help hide anything.
    "Henry won't mind.  I want to see what he's looking at.  I think it's great that he's interested in university again."  Oh really?  It's a good thing.  Maybe Henry wasn't needed as a cover after all.  "I meant, yeah he'll be in a crazy amount of debt by the end of it, which would drive me insane if I was him, but at least he'd be able to get a better job to pay it all off after."  So it's a good thing, but a bad thing, but also a good thing?  Two goods against one bad.  OK.  Positive.  "Thank God we've only got the undergrad debt.  The baby debt will make that look like nothing in a few years, but it's nice knowing there's only the normal student debt to start off with.  Shit, could you imagine if we had to pay the fees now?  We'd never have a hope of any money of our own.  Well, we don't have that now, but I think we have a better chance of getting loans or a mortgage in the future."  Mortgage?  Shit.  Babies bring mortgages too?  "That's if we ever get a deposit for a house.  You never know, my parents and your parents might help out with that.  Especially if we get married."  Married?  Oh, god, it's time to wash the vegetables.  Just wash the carrots and broccoli.  "Oh, my mum's coming on Sunday.  I said we'd meet her for lunch."  Keep washing.  And munch a carrot.  Then you don't have to talk and it might help the dizziness go away.
    "Oh.  I didn't notice these before.  Did they come with the post?  They should have come in an envelope, they could have got lost otherwise.  Jacob?  Did you order them?  Or are they Henry's?"  There's more.  Again?  Really?  "Hey.  You didn't have to snatch them like that."  2008 again?  Yep.  2008.  June this time.  June 2008.  Where are the others?  They were for Paignton.  What about these?  Torquay.  Wait, and Exeter.  Moving up in the world.  Nicer destinations.  Paignton are still up on the board.  Add these to them and then maybe the puzzle will work itself out.  "Oh I forgot about those other tickets.  But weren't those old ones?"
    "So are these.  They've been used."  Is someone doing this on purpose?  Who used them?  Why didn't they just put them in the bin?

    "Oh, that's stupid.  Why are you keeping them?  Put them in the bin."  It wasn't Angie, anyway.  "Do you want any help cutting the onions?  Or those sparkling carrots?"  Angie's offer to help is only ever a reminder that there's a job to be done.  So chop.  Get back to work.  Chop.