Cara dropped to her knees and pulled me into a tight hug. She didn’t need to say anything, just the fact that she was there was enough. I pulled her closer to me breathing in a familiar sweet smelling scent that was the perfume that she always wore. I felt silly for crying but it was also a relief and a weight off my shoulders.
Cara pulled out of the hug and looked at my tearstained face. She smiled at me warmly and wiped a tear from my cheek.
“Welcome home lovely,” she said softly, “I have really missed you!”
“Yeah me too, it’s so good to see you all!” I said getting to my feet and looking at them all. The only person who had changed substantially during the time I had been away was Ali who had ballooned and now looked ready to pop!
“Ali, wow! How long left?” I said placing my hand on her bump. Ali grabbed my hand and readjusted it on her bump and within seconds a felt movement and a small kick.
“Oh my god that’s amazing! That is the first time I have ever felt a baby kick before!”
“I have about twelve weeks left and I am super excited!”
“Still craving strange food concoctions?”
“Not so much… just a small obsession with doughnuts now!” she replied.
“I’m sorry, did you just say ‘small’ obsession with doughnuts,” Cara cut it, “Small is such an understatement and rephrased to absolutely freaking massive obsession with doughnuts!”
Ali looked sheepish, “I shared the ones in the car…”
“You begrudgingly gave me a bite of one and that was after pleading with you for fifteen minutes,” Jak corrected, “You scoffed your way through six jam doughnuts before we got onto the motorway and then wanted to stop at a garage for more!”
“What can I say,” Ali shrugged, “Bump was hungry!”
I made cups of tea for everyone and we all sat in the living room. The gang had all bought a welcome home cake for me which we took no time in devouring – Ali having two slices and insisting that one was for bump so it didn’t feel left out. Mum had loved the books and the grapes and said that she had been trying to find a good book to sink her teeth into whilst she was having her chemotherapy.
“You’re very welcome Mrs Haw…. I mean Caroline,” Cara said. My parents had spent years trying to persuade Cara to call them Caroline and Andy and yet every time she saw them she had to stop herself from calling them Mr and Mrs Hawman.
“Yes, thank you very much for my cookies,” my dad chimed in, “There was really no need to go to so much trouble.”
“It’s fine honestly!”
We all chatted for a while until my mum announced that she was heading upstairs for a lie down,”
“Okay Mrs Haw…. Caroline, It was lovely to see you,” Cara said smiling,
“You too Cara! Don’t leave it too long next time,” She said before heading up the stairs and out of sight.
“I might go and get one with some gardening then and leave you guys to chat,” my dad said also getting up from his seat and heading out of the room.
“I’m hungry…. Do you have any doughnuts Anna?” Ali asked and we all laughed.
“I’ve really missed you guys. Thanks for coming to see me!”
“As if we wouldn’t,” Liam said, “I would have had a death sentence from Cara if I hadn’t brought her to see you!”
“You weren’t even driving!” Jak corrected him, “So why would you have had a death sentence?”
“I was practically driving ….”
“You mean your back seat driving?” Jak said before putting on a voice and imitating Liam.
“Put your foot down and overtake that guy! You should have indicated then! Don’t let that guy drive so close to you!”
“There is a phrase for that….. Its called road rage,” I said with a laugh.
“Exactly Anna. This is why Liam doesn’t get to drive the van!” Jak said.
“I will have you know that I am a very safe driver,” Liam said smugly, “Passed my test first time,”
“Was the driving instructor visually impaired or blind?” Jak teased.
“No, he was my uncle….”
“So that’s why you passed then …. Knew you were a lost cause so just thought he’d pass you to avoid hassle!” Cara chimed in with a laugh and then having to dodge out the way as a cushion came hurtling towards her face thrown by Liam.”
“Flip a coin Jak. Heads I drive back and prove that I am a safe driver or tails you drive!”
Jak pulled out his wallet and pulled a two pence coin out and flipped it.
The coin landed on the floor and I crouched down to look at the outcome.
“Well, I’m not going anywhere until I have more doughnuts! Especially if Liam is driving,” Ali said folding her arms.
“There is a shop just down the road Ali. Cara and I will take a walk and get some for you”.