Read 183 Times a Year Online

Authors: Eva Jordan

183 Times a Year

Copyright
© 2015 Eva Jordan

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.

Matador®
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ISBN 978 1784620 875 (Paperback)

eISBN: 9781785894350

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Matador® is an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd

This
book is dedicated to my children, family and friends. Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm. Special thanks to Steve for giving me the time to (finally!) finish the book; to my Mum for her never-ending optimism; and to Jade and Callum for your endless supply of inspiration.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thanks to the two Daves' – Dave Jordan and David James Smith – for giving me permission to use their wonderful song Funky Purple Haze performed back in the day with their band Hoo Knows.

Dave Jordan:

http://notownwithoutmotown.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NotownVocalGroup/timeline

David James Smith:

http://www.austingold.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/davefallenbreaks77

PERFECT:
PERFECTION:

Someone or something that is FAULTLESS.

“But no perfection is so absolute
That some impurity doth not pollute.”
William Shakespeare

CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

Prologue

Chapter 1: Fear and Loathing

Chapter 2: Exam Hell

Chapter 3: Good Friends and Cheap Wine

Chapter 4: When the Going Gets Tough

Chapter 5: The Good Neighbour?

Chapter 6: Under Pressure

Chapter 7: Divided by a Common Language

Chapter 8: Gourmandise

Chapter 9: Q – What?

Chapter 10: Bo-Ho Chic

Chapter 11: Magnifique

Chapter 12: Tesla Girls

Chapter 13: Trouble

Chapter 14: Divine Madness

Chapter 15: Party Time!

Chapter 16: The Oppressed

Chapter 17: Lethargy

Chapter 18: Summer Holiday

Chapter 19: Surprise!!

Chapter 20: Wipeout

Chapter 21: And the Results are As Follows …

Chapter 22: Hospital

Chapter 23: Dangerous Liaisons

Chapter 24: There's a Funky Purple Haze Around the Moon

Chapter 25: Don't Shoot the Messenger

Chapter 26: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Chapter 27: T'was The Night Before Christmas

Chapter 28: Love is All Around

Chapter 29: Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Chapter 30: The Burning of the Bear

Chapter 31: Ephemeral Thoughts

Chapter 32: Complacency

Chapter 33: The Last Shelter of the Incompetent

Chapter 34: With or Without You?

Chapter 35: Losing Control

Chapter 36: Remorse

Chapter 37: Trying to Cope …

Chapter 38: Grandad

Chapter 39: Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Chapter 40: Gone … But Not Forgotten

Chapter 41: New Beginnings

Chapter 42: People are Strange

Chapter 43: Acceptance of the Inevitable

Chapter 44: Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig

Chapter 45: Back To Normal … Almost

Chapter 46: The Search for Independence

Chapter 47: Who Wants to Live Forever …?

Chapter 48: Letting Go

Chapter 49: A Perfect Life

About the Author

PROLOGUE

I don't like my daughters very much. Don't get me wrong – I love them, and would lay down my life for them should the need ever arise – but right now my teenage daughters are a pain in the proverbial backside.

I look forward to the day when my attempts at communication with my daughters are not met with sulky, surly indifference. When my requests for help are not preceded with phrases like “for god's bloody sake” and the loud slamming of doors.

When that day comes my life will be perfect …

For god's bloody sake – why are adults so stupid? Okay – they're not all stupid. Nan and Grandad are pretty sick – and Mum's friend Ruby is okay too. But the rest of them can go to hell – especially Dad.

And Mum – I swear she's done nothing but nag me since the day I was born. Was she ever young? She sucks the fun out of everything so I doubt it. Why can't she just leave me the hell alone? Dad seems to manage it without any problem at all – so why can't she?

I wish I was like Chelsea Divine – her life is perfect. One day maybe? One day I will have the perfect life and everything will be … well … perfect.

Chapter 1

FEAR AND LOATHING

I open my bedroom door and thrust my head into the hallway. Fearful, I look from left to right, my heart thumping hard against my chest. All is darkness except for a slit of light radiating below the door of HER room. I take a deep breath and with tentative steps I begin my journey. Although we live in a modest house with four-bedrooms, it is not particularly big or grand. However, at moments like this, when my mission is to get from bedroom to kitchen without detection, the distance between the two rooms feels huge. This requires covert military precision.

Stealth like and bare-footed, so as not to make any flapping or clacking noises with said slippers or shoes, I wander along the unlit hallway. I am determined to reach my destination without alerting the monster residing in the bedroom next door. I truly can't face another telling off tonight. It really is about time she stopped talking to me as if I were a child and treated me more like an adult.

My eyes adjust to the darkness and I continue my potentially explosive journey. I grimace, tiptoeing past her room. Her TV is switched off. This can mean only one thing. She is reading THAT book. The one that is as shady as its title – or at least something of that ilk. I roll my eyes to the darkness and feel my cheeks burn with embarrassment. Oh god, what am I supposed to tell my friends when they ask me if she's reading it?

I chastise myself. What does it matter? I've been told it's very
educational
– maybe I should read it too? Purely for research purposes of course.

I descend the stairs but my thoughts have momentarily distracted me from my mission. I trip and miss a step. My stomach leaps into my mouth and before I can stop myself I yell out as I grab the banister to prevent my fall. I quickly steady myself, clasping both hands across my mouth.

Oh shit. That's surely done it.

I freeze, rooted to the spot. Not daring to move, not daring to breathe. I look up into the darkness. All remains quiet. I breathe a sigh of relief.

I've got away with it.

Then I hear her; the familiar thud of heavy footsteps across her bedroom floor.

My heart sinks. Her door swings open and the hallway is filled with a blinding light. The monster has awoken.

Defeated, I squat on the step nearest me, clutching and rubbing my now twisted ankle. The sound of her footsteps grows ever nearer. I screw my eyes shut and duck my head into my hands, mentally preparing myself for what is about to come.

‘MUM?' she yells, her voice as unceremoniously loud and uncouth as ever. ‘Mum,' she repeats. I lift my head from my hands.

Oh well – here we go again.

‘MUUMMM!' my petulant, obnoxious and hormonal firstborn shouts for a third time, the intonation of her voice clearly marked with her ever-growing impatience. ‘Is that you?'

Foghorn Lil from over the hill, my Dad calls her.

“Cor blimey,” he once said. “No-one's ever likely to kidnap her; she'd drive em round the bleedin bend – begging ya to take her back.”

I thought his observation a little harsh and told him so but right now I find myself agreeing with him. My beautiful but
hormonal
16-year-old daughter is on transmit.

‘What the hell are you doing up? I thought you had a migraine? Why are you making so much noise for god's bloody sake? Don't you understand I have exams to revise for? It's all right for you; all you have to do is go to work. I'm only doing this for you anyway. You're the one that puts all the bloody pressure on to “get a good education, go to university”. Most normal Mums just want their kids to be happy but
no
, that's not good enough for you is it?'

This barrage of information is being downloaded at alarming speed, and she hasn't even reached the bottom of the stairs yet. I am both mildly amused and slightly terrified at the same time. Subjugated, I stand up and hobble to the kitchen. The whirlwind that is my daughter follows me – to enlighten me no doubt – with yet more of her wisdom and knowledge.

‘See the dishwasher,' she points, her arm outstretched and stabbing the air, ‘I did that. Me. I loaded and unloaded it,' she yells. ‘I did that for you.
For you
. Not the Emo freak, not the “perfect child” but me. Me!'

I could be wrong but as far as I can remember, everyone in the household eats and drinks – some more than others – and everyone likes to do so from clean cups and plates. Why then does the loading and unloading of the dishwasher benefit only me? I'm far too tired to think of a witty reply.

‘Thank you Cassie,' I say in a voice much softer and calmer than my internal one.

I have a sneaky suspicion this latest outburst is down to yet another text war with her supposed best friends.

My red-faced daughter wears an expression of indignant astonishment. ‘Thank you? Is that it?' she asks.

The front door bursts open and a gust of cold air rushes through Cassie's animated soliloquy. It's Maisy (or as Cassie so fondly refers to her, the Emo freak) my 17-year-old stepdaughter.
Equal
parts petulant, obnoxious and hormonal.

Both girls nod at one another before Cassie continues her rant. Maisy observes the commotion through heavy, eye-lined eyes. Somewhere beneath that thick, black liner lurk the beautiful green eyes I was first introduced to almost six years ago.

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