Thankfully the door's open, and Ava and Ryan are in the kitchen. When I go in, I make Ava jump a bit. I signal for them to be quiet and sneak out into the hall so I can get upstairs. I hear footsteps behind me as I reach Hadley's room, but I ignore them, getting on with packing up our stuff.
"Want a hand?" Ryan says. I half glance up and shrug.
"Knock yourself out." He comes over and starts helping out. Between the two of us we finish in a few minutes and I mutter a quiet ‘thank you' as I zip up the case.
"Hadley coming in?" I shake my head. He looks a little upset at that.
"Tell him bye from me and Ava, then. We're heading back in a couple days."
"He's in the car waiting outside for me. You can come out and see him, if you want," I tell him, looking around for anything we might have missed.
"Sure. Want me to check if the coast's clear?" he smiles and I laugh slightly.
"Yeah, please." Sure, I'm not a stranger to yelling and fighting, but that doesn't mean I don't want to avoid it. He goes off to check and comes back with this little gem of good news:
"This is gonna be messy, mate. She's sat in the living room so there's no way you can sneak past." I sigh slightly and shrug. Ryan seems more nervous than me as he follows. Momma Smith is pretty much waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me. I just go straight down. I wasn't expecting to get out of here without an ear bashing of some kind, so I'm honestly not as bothered as I should probably be.
"What are you doing here? I thought I made myself clear." Oh you did, m'dear, but the thing is, I need clothes, and Hadley needs his. I sort of lift up the suitcase a little, just in case it wasn't already obvious enough what I was doing upstairs. She crosses her arms, unimpressed. "Hadley couldn't have done that?"
"I warned you when you were mouthing off that you would just end up falling out with everyone and now your own son can barely stand the thought of setting foot in this place. You ought to stop yelling like a child that's not getting its own way and just let Hadley make his own decisions." She does nothing for a few seconds.
And then she slaps me. Really quite hard. I can't help the tiny wince I let flicker on my face, but otherwise I take the stinging pain in my cheek.
"I've always let him make his own decisions, you rude little bastard."
"Then why'd you treat him like a kid and tell him he can't possibly like me? That doesn't seem like he's being allowed to make his own choice about this to me."
"Because he still is a kid!"
"He's nineteen!" By the time I was nineteen, I was renting a flat with Alex and earning a living of my own, and hadn't talked to my parents in months. Not being told who I could and couldn't be with.
"That might be the case but he's still a kid."
"Look, I know he's your youngest and you don't want to lose him, I can understand that, I really can. But seriously, you're not gonna lose him if you could just stop bitching out over everything and let him get on with his life." She doesn't say anything and I kinda wonder if I can get past her where she's stood. "Now, if you don't mind, I have to go find some way of calming your son down." Inwardly, I just go ‘fuck it' and try to get past her. She doesn't move, either. "Excuse me," I sigh a little impatiently.
"You've taken him away from me," she sort of mumbles.
"I've not taken him away from you," I retort bluntly. Which probably wasn't the best idea, now I think about it.
"Just... Just go," she says, getting out of the way. I go back to the car and put the case in the back. Hadley's quiet.
"I think you should go say goodbye to her, Bunny," I murmur.
"I'm just gonna end up shouting at her," he mumbles and I sigh a little. He has this kinda sulky look on his face as I sit back in the passenger seat. I lean over and peck him on the lips.
"She just doesn't want to lose you, gorgeous." He presses his forehead to mine and I push my lips against his gently. "She's scared, Bunny," I saw quietly, "I'm not asking you to make up and hug her or anything. Just let her know you're not gonna abandon her just because you have a boyfriend."