Chapter Thirteen: Meeting the Mum
My mum glanced at Amy then at me in confusion, then some kind of understanding crossed her face. But I had a feeling it was the wrong kind.
“James, you never told me you'd met a girl,” she said, adding emphasis to the girl and making my cheeks turn red. She let herself into the kitchen and put the pot on the side.
“I figured I bring over some vegetable stew so you wouldn't let yourself starve tonight. The smell of MacDonalds already tells me you're not being very healthy,” she said with a grin. She then turned her attention to Amy, studying her more.
“What's you name dear?” she asked with a smile.
“Amelia, Amy for short ma'am,” Amy said, shuffling nervously. Mum laughed and sat down at the dinging room table.
“Ma'am? I didn't realise I looked that old,” she joked, she saw panic cross Amy's face and waved a hand at her before she could speak.
“Don't worry, I don't take offence. But I'm glad James has made a friend,” she said. Again, unnecessary emphasis on the friend.
“Yes, just a friend. Is there anything else you needed?” I asked, trying not to let my embarrassment show. Something that seemed to only amuse my mum more.
“Just some things from the attic, mind helping?” she asked, standing up and heading for the stairs.
“Sure,” I said and followed. The ladder creaked as I pulled it down, dust falling and making me cough a little. I went first and helped mum up. The attic was basically a small walkway. If you wanted to go either side you had to crouch.
“What are we looking for?” I asked as I bent down near some old boxes. I opened the nearest one out of curiosity.
“Nothing, but want to tell me about that girl?” She asked, sitting cross-legged on the floor, blocking my route of escape. I glared at her and she grinned.
“I told you, a friend,” I replied with an exhausted sigh. I continued to riffle through the box and realised it was dad's old stuff.
“Is that why she was wearing your shirt?” she asked with a suggestive smile.
“She split stuff on her old one,” and ripped it, I added internally. But if I told her what really happened she'd freak out. Mum laughed at the explanation and shook her head.
“Why aren't you annoyed? I mean, I did say I was going to be alone,” I said, my mum had seemed so happy and at ease in a long time. She studied me for a few seconds before looking at the attic floor. When she looked up again she still seemed to be searching for words.
“I'm just happy to see you interacting with others. You hide yourself away so much,” She said honestly. I didn't really know what to say to that and delved further into the box. I frowned when I pulled out a certificate.
“Since when did dad have a PhD in biochemistry?” I asked. Mum's eyes widened and she reached over to take the framed thing, laughing softly as he did.
“A very long time ago. But he and the company he worked for had disagreements. He never told me the details. After that he went into business,” she explained with a shrug. The disagreements must have been very unpleasant, I had no clue he had anything to do with the field. Mum checked her phone and sighed.
“I gotta go, but you have fun with your 'friend'” she said, with added air quotations. I gave her a deadpan look which she laughed at. Amy was fiddling with her hair nervously on the sofa when we came back downstairs.
“I'm off. It was nice to meet you Amy,” my mum said with a wave. Amy returned it and then turned to me when the door closed.
“How bad was it? Did she think I was a bad influence?” she asked. I blinked at her for a few seconds, wondering how she drew that conclusion.
“No, she thought you were nice,” I said and Amy groaned.
“That's code for thinking it but not wanting to say James,” Amy exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air.
“Why do you care what my mum thinks?” I asked and she paused mid-step.
“Point,” she said, grabbing the remote and turning on the TV. I frowned, her answer seemed off for some reason.
“Whoa,” Tom said behind me. I followed his line of sight to the TV screen and saw why.