Tickets - Novella - Chapter 9a

    Tickets!  Tickets, tickets and nothing but tickets through the door.  A huge bundle of used train tickets.  Used plane tickets.  Used boat tickets.  Even one to go on a hovercraft.  But still none for a future date.  None to Penzance.  It's still left to, whatever.  Nothing can be confused now.  She remembered, even through her travels to Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, where didn't she go?  She ticked off the main countries on her list.  Their list.  She wasn't even fused about Thailand.  Said it was too much of a tourist hotspot.  She wanted somewhere where regular travellers didn't go.  Is that why she went to Mongolia?
    But, certainly, nothing can be confused now.  She's sending a message.  It's not a post day and she's maybe even put them through during the night, but thank god it wasn't Angie who was first down the stairs today.  Can't imagine how she would have reacted if she'd seen all those tickets scattered around the hallway, with Tanya's name clearly written on almost every single one. 
     Especially today, with the christening later.  Tensions are high enough, never mind some new threat for Angie to be paranoid over.  Did Tanya know about the christening?  She wouldn't be that cruel.  Just pick them all up and get them out of sight.  To the drawer.  Yes.  Out of sight to the drawer with the other tickets.
    "Jacob!  I can't get ready with a baby in my hands.  Come and take her from me, would you?"  Crap.  Just a couple more and check there's none missed.  But Angie won’t wait, no, and she's trotting out of Alice's bedroom toward the stairs too quickly.  Got them all.  Check!  "Jacob!"  Yes.  Got them all.
    "Just a second!"  To the kitchen.  But she's chasing down the stairs.  Get to the drawer.  Can't be seen with all this in your hands.  But she's so quick.  Turn and hide them behind your back.
    "What is wrong with you?  You know I have to get ready.  Can't you be nice and help me just this one time?"  Hidden just in time.  But not really hidden.  Still in plain sight if she goes behind to look.  Down the back of the boxers, then.  The one day it would have been a great idea to get dressed before coming down the stairs.  But then they might have still been there for Angie to see.
    And of course, the baby's crying because of the big rush down the stairs.  How does Angie do that every time?  She never thinks of Alice, just pulls her along regardless.  "I was going to make you breakfast.  Since you're in a hurry."
    She takes a second.  And then chooses to believe it.  Why so suspicious?  Always so suspicious.  "Oh.  That's nice.  Thank you, darling.  But you can still hold the baby while you toast some bread."  Lean back to secure the tickets against the counter as she thrusts Alice into new arms.  Don't move until she's gone, just in case they fall.  And still, why does she watch?  You're not going to drop your own child.
    Gone.  Going up the stairs.  Much more calmly.  OK, Alice.  Alright now in daddy's arms?  Yes.  Happy enough to relax and play with daddy's face.  You're a good girl.  A really good baby.  You're happy, aren't you?  Hope so.
    Right.  Can we move away from the counter, without the bundle in daddy's underwear falling to the floor?  Slowly.  Yes!  We can.  But, nowhere to put Alice, and scared they will scatter if re-gathered with just one hand, so no drawer for now.  Toast instead.  That can be done with one hand.  Little awkward opening the bag, so no chance it can be closed again, but at least we got the bread out.  And, no, you can't play with it, Alice.  Into the toaster.  And wait. Wait for the bread to toast.  Wait for the mother to be ready and to take the baby with her out the door.  Wait for quiet.  For the chance to sort through these tickets.  Sort what?  Nothing.  There's nothing to sort.  But why is it so exciting, then?  Oh, Alice.  You're so lucky.  You have nothing to worry about.  Except being cute.  Oh, or the toaster scaring you.  Look, it's OK.  It's just the toast.  Good.  No crying.  Now, how to butter toast with a baby in one arm?  You know, Alice, everything is alright.  If daddy can make breakfast while holding you, and a pile of crap in his pants, then everything is just fine.  And will be.