Father dies, leaving four wife and four children. His children did not know that he owned his own business and was a multi millionaire.
His heartbeat became slower as he lay in his bed and waited for the end to come. Around him, his family; wife, sons and daughters, waited with sad expressions on their faces. His wife held his hand gently and he squeezed, pulling at her a little to come forward.
She inched nearer to him, careful not to get caught in the wires that hooked him to monitors that gave the ever present sound that death was near, beep…….beep……..beep.
“Let them all know” he whispered.
“I will” she said.
He was gone.
The funeral came and the funeral went with all the razzmatazz of a typical English wake. Sad weary mourners, miserable weather and miserable speeches from miserable so called friends who fought diligently to find words that they did not mean to express.
Two weeks later his wife called her two sons and the two daughters together at the family house. She had something to tell them.
Jared was the first to arrive. He had always been protective of his parents and when he was offered the job as computer programmer just a few miles down the road, he gladly accepted it and the nice little pay package that accompanied it. He had left work, drove home to pick up his wife, Alison, and then drove to his parent’s house. It had always been called the main house, even before his parents had bought it. Situated in a small ex mining village the house had once belonged to the coal company and was used to house its colliery managers. When nationalisation came, it reverted to purely a private residential home and when the opportunity arrived in the form of a legacy from a rich relative, his parent’s used some of the money to buy the house. For sure, changes had been made; the long drive had been cut in half due to road improvements, once green space was now ‘new’ housing and backed right up to their perimeter. Jared could never understand why his father had allowed them to take so much land away, yes, it had been paid for, but they did not need the money. His father used to say “Progress, boy, progress”.
Jared parked the car and got out, running round to the passenger side to help a heavily pregnant Alison out. He was glad the company car was as big as it was, she’d never get out of a Mini.
Once out, Alison straightened her clothes and took hold of Jared’s arm. She looked tired, and although they officially had another four weeks to go, he secretly wished it would be sooner, for her sake; due to the tiredness, but also for his sake due to the fact that when she was tired she was usually bad tempered and he got the brunt of it. Of course, Alison had not been so secret about her wish for it to be sooner and Jared often found him secretly chastising himself for being hypocritical because his standard answer was always ‘don’t worry love, wont be long, best for the baby if its in as long as it can be’.
He walked; she waddled up the front steps of the house. As always, the door opened as if by magic, and his mother glided towards them, brimming with happiness that was clearly etched on her smiling face.
“Hello Son. Okay?”
“Yeah fine. Well y’know, apart from doing the African safari every time we go out”
“What?” Mum, puzzled.
“He’s on about me Mum” said Alison. “Says it’s like taking an Elephant for a walk round”.
“Jared!” His Mum looked at him, giving one of those ‘that was really funny, but you shouldn’t’ type of looks.
“It’s okay mum”. Alison retorted. “Wait while he’s mucking out after Dumbo’s born”
They all laughed, and his mum took hold of Alison’s arm and led them through to the living room.
The room was large and ran from one end of the house to the other. Over the years Jared had seen many changes to its décor but no matter how much the walls changed colour or the carpets matched to blend in with a new three piece suite, the room never lost that smell. Dads smell, pipe tobacco and coffee. Jared often wondered whether his mum secretly smoked a pipe. After all Dad had been in hospital weeks before he died, but the tobacco smell still lingered as strongly as if Dad had been sat in his chair smoking away, watching reruns of Porridge on UK Gold.
Of course both his Mum and Dad drank coffee. It was a part of daily life in the Langley household. Jared had not even drunk Tea until he was nine years old, at a friend’s house. The ribbing he got from his Dad for having a ladies drink went on for weeks.
Sure enough, as soon as Alison had sat down in one of the big chairs, a mug of coffee appeared at her side.
“Get that down you sweetheart. While it’s still hot” Mum said. “Want that baby kicking like Schumacher, when he comes out”
“Schumacher? Mum, he’s a racing driver, not normally kicking unless he’s lost a race”
“Well you know who I mean, that footballer. Good looking one. Married that ‘old spice’ girl from that pop group”
“You mean David Beckham Mum. And he married Posh spice from the Spice Girls”.
“Yes that’s what I said. Bet he was brought up on some good coffee”. Off she walked back into the kitchen.
Alison could not keep a straight face. “What is it with your family and coffee? I’ve never seen a family like it. Nescafe could come and film you for its commercials”.
Jared and Alison laughed. “What can I tell you? It’s always been the same. I cannot remember us being given the choice to drink anything other than coffee when we were growing up. I’ll have to check with Tom when he comes. Maybe something happened he can let us know about”.