Tuesday 10 November 2020

A Packet of Pills


By Alison Proud

a cappuccino, a partnership of espresso and steamed milk

Meet Dan, a magician who performs at children’s parties.  Grew up in a family of eight, the youngest of his five siblings. 35 years old and living by himself in a cottage close to the Mendip Hills.

Meet Jane, a sales manager travelling the width and breadth of the country for her much-loved job.  Grew up as an only child. 38 years old and living in a flat in Bath.

Jane woke up to her alarm ringing.  She tapped the screen, switched it off and got up. She was off to Sarah’s today, her best friend of many years.  Maisie, Sarah’s daughter is six today.  She had insisted that ‘Aunty’ Jane comes to her birthday party. “Oh god” thought Jane as she showered, fifteen excitable kids for three hours.... three long hours.  Jane was not a fan of children, she loved Maisie, she was the exception, but any others she could not tolerate.  The noise, the mess and the invasion of your space was too much for her to bear. 

Dan grabbed a towel and rubbed the water and mud off his dog's body.  It was a rainy morning, and they were both soaked from their early walk.  He took off his waterproofs and made a cup of tea before he sat at the kitchen table preparing for the party.  He had a couple of new tricks to try today, ones he’d developed himself, so he was quite excited. 

“Aunty Jane,” screamed Maisie as she ran up the drive.  

 “Quick Jane” Sarah shouted, “the magician is about to start”.  

Maisie grabbed Jane’s hand and they ran inside. There were screams and way too much noise coming from the lounge, “oh god” thought Jane, “here we go, it’s only three hours, I can do it, I can”!

“Hello," Dan said. “So, you’re who we’ve been waiting for”.  


“Yes sorry” said Jane, “I’m always late”.  He smiled and she blushed.  The tricks were quite good and apart from the noise and too many children, Jane had quite enjoyed this afternoon.  The eye candy had been good too! 

Jane was nervous, sitting in her favourite cafe watching the door and waiting for her date.  He came in and walked over to her.  Yes, he was incredibly good looking and taller than she remembered.  


“Hi," said Dan. 

They chatted for a long time, the date was going well.  “I wasn’t sure if you’d agree to meet me,” said Dan.  


“I couldn’t stop thinking about you after the party and I hoped your friend would pass on my number”.  Jane laughed, “Sarah is desperate for me to meet someone, she called as soon as she got your message”!

Three months later.........

Some might think it is too quick but Jane didn’t care, she was moving into Dan’s cottage today.  He’s the one, she knew it, had felt it from the first moment she saw him at Maisie’s party.  The only niggle being he loves kids, comes from a big family, and wants kids of his own.  He’ll change his mind she thought, he gets his kids' fix through his job.

Dan finished clearing his wardrobe; he would be sharing the space from today.  Jane would be here in a couple of hours. She’s the one, he knew it, had felt it from the first moment he saw her at that party.  The only niggle being she’s not keen on kids, has no family and is adamant she doesn’t want her own.  She’ll change her mind he thought, I’ll convince her.

They unpacked her things and then opened the champagne.  “I’m so glad you’re here Jane, I’m happier than I’ve ever been”.  She snuggled up to him, this was perfect. They were excited to go bed tonight, she’d stayed overnight here before of course, but now it was for the long term and it felt different.  She looked amazing Dan thought as she walked over to the bed.  She took a pill from the packet on her bedside table and the first night in her new home began.

Nine months later....

Bath is fabulous at Christmas.  Jane misses the city sometimes, but she and Dan come here to shop quite regularly and today they are celebrating their one-year anniversary of being together.  “I absolutely love you Jane Wilson,” Dan says drinking his coffee in the cafe where they had their first date.  

“I absolutely love you too Dan Adams,” she replied. 

“Now when are you going to stop taking those pills by the side of your bed missy?” he asked. 

“I’ve told you a hundred times over mister.....never” she said.

Dan was planning to propose tonight over dinner at the hotel they had booked, but the niggle about children was bothering him more than normal.  Jane had told him that she was going for promotion at work which could mean she would be travelling during the week.  He realised convincing her to have children may never happen.  Could he spend his whole life with Jane and sacrifice what he had always most wanted?  Suddenly today he was unsure.

“Uncle Dan,” shrieked a little voice as Maisie ran across the cafe.  He picked her up and spun her round as they rubbed noses in the funny way they always do when they’re together.  Jane felt a warm rush run through her body, such a strong sense of passion as she looked at him and at Maisie.  Almost a desire for something, but she wasn’t sure what.  What she did know though was that she secretly hoped he might propose today.  


“Sorry” said Sarah.  “She saw you through the window and went rushing in. Come on Maisie leave these two lovebirds alone, we’ve got shopping to do”!

Dinner was lovely. Dan had pre-ordered an expensive champagne and the chef made a special anniversary dessert.  It was a perfect evening, but to Jane’s dismay, (which she tried not to show), there was no proposal.

Dan felt muddled this evening, here he was with the girl he loved more than anything in world but he had realised today he could not live a life without children.  He could not sacrifice this, even for her.  He needed to tell her, but he decided he would leave it till tomorrow.

She looked amazing Dan thought as she came out of the bathroom.  She picked up the packet of pills from the side of the bed, walked back across the room and placed them in the bin under the dressing table. She got into bed and smiled, he pulled her close, there were tears in his eyes and he whispered, “Jane Wilson, will you marry me”.


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