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After driving in silence for some time, and a few false starts, Donald said hesitantly, ‘Hugh, I had a special reason for wanting us to come on this outing. I needed to tell you … I mean, I have something serious to talk to you about … that is to say, I want to ask you to be very grown-up and understanding about something …’
‘You’ve met someone you fancy,’ Hugh said in a dull voice.
‘As a matter of fact, yes,’ Donald admitted. ‘How did you know?’
‘I sort-of guessed from the way you’ve been acting, and from all those secret telephone calls and everything. She’s from upcountry?’
‘That’s right,’ his father confirmed eagerly. ‘I met her on that first business trip, and we’ve been seeing one another every time I’ve gone up there since. Anyway, I think it is rather more than just “fancy” or I wouldn’t have bothered to mention it. We’ve become really serious.’
‘Oh,’ said Hugh.
‘I mean, it’s not as if she can replace your Mom,’ Donald added in a rush. ‘Nobody could do that. It’s just that I’m ready, now, to share my life with someone else again, and Raine – her name’s Raine Flynn – is an absolute darling. I’m sure you and she will get on very well.’
‘Yeh; right,’ said Hugh.
There was silence while Donald concentrated on overtaking a very large and slow-moving timber truck and trailer, and then he glanced at his son whose face was copying his voice by giving about as much away as a miser does to beggars. ‘Well, um, what do you think about it?’
‘Don’t like it, but there’s nothing I can do, anyway, is there?’ Hugh said bluntly.
‘But you will try to be reasonable?’ Donald pleaded.
‘Um,’ said Hugh without enthusiasm. ‘Suppose so.’
‘Great; that’s all I ask. There is something else, though, which I hope isn’t going to be as awkward as I think.’
The suddenly worried tone aroused Hugh’s curiosity. ‘What else could there be?’ he asked.
‘There’s this daughter, Tyrentia, about your age,’ Donald said, trying to choose his words carefully. ‘To be quite honest, I don’t like her much – no, that isn’t really what I mean – that is to say, she’s a bit difficult to get on with and I can’t really make her out, but naturally she is an important part of Raine’s life and we’ve just got to find a way to live with her.’
Hugh had a horrible sinking feeling. ‘Tie-what? What’s she like, exactly?’ he asked bluntly.
Donald spelt the name for him and went on, ‘Well, she seems to have a great opinion of herself, and mostly comes across as rude, sulky, bad-tempered and selfish. It isn’t only that she resents me butting into their lives; she’s had the same reaction towards everyone I’ve ever seen her come into contact with. It isn’t a case of “like mother, like daughter” at all, because Raine has the sweetest personality you can imagine.’
‘Charming!’ Hugh commented.
‘Oh, how I wish she were!’ Donald smiled ruefully. ‘A great white shark could give her lessons in being that. Anyway, please try and get on with her somehow. They are coming down on Tuesday to stay for a week with Raine’s mom and dad who live about fifteen minutes away from where we are. After that … we shall have to see.’
© Colonialist June 2013 (WordPress)