Jess offered Rebecca to help with Jack. She took him outside to meet the cows. Malcolm knocked on Rebecca’s door and offered to take her around.
“Obviously, Jess talked to him. It would be impolite to say no.” She thought to herself.
So she put on a grey cardigan, a pair of trainers and excitedly ran downstairs to meet Jess to ask for her permission to leave with Malcolm. Rebecca wouldn’t leave; if it was a problem for Jess to keep an eye on Jack for a little longer.
Of course, Jess approved. Rebecca wasn’t impressed with Malcolm’s nosey questions earlier, but he was dating her sister..He deserved a chance to make things up.. If she only knew that Jess didn’t say a word to him.. It was all Malcolm’s idea…
What were his intentions?
Rebecca sat in Malcolm’s dirty jeep, and a second later, they were leaving Malcolm’s dairy farm on the hill.
Neither of them said a word. Malcolm let Rebecca enjoy spectacular views in silence. He let her inhale the fresh air and absorb the beauty of the Peak District without any distributions.
Rebecca didn’t want to talk anyway. She wasn’t interested in sharing another bit of her personal life with him.
They parked on top of a muddy hill by a little pond. He took a fishing rod from the back of his jeep and a small bucket with a lid. It looked like a container with dog food.
“Come on; I’ll show you something.”
Malcolm was wearing welly boots, and as they were getting closer to the pond, Rebecca noticed a little sign which read: Malcolm’s Reed property. She didn’t know he owned another piece of land outside his already massive kingdom. She realised that he could’ve told her not to wear leisure footwear. Her fabric brand new trainers were buried deeper and deeper in the mud.
“Oh, sorry. I should’ve warned you.” Malcolm glanced at Rebecca’s feet.
“Do you think so?” She added sarcastically.
“Here.” Malcolm offered Rebecca his hand as they were reaching their final destination to have the pond right in front of them.
“I am fine, thanks.”
“This is the spot.” He added.
It was indeed breathtaking there..They were surrounded by massive hills..just the two of them..not a single soul nearby.
Malcolm opened the “dog food” container and started throwing something mighty but seedy into the pond..Thousands of different little fish were rushing to the edge.. As if each one of them wanted to say hello, but they were battling for their own food.
“Why did you bring the fishing rod; when you have them all here?” Rebecca asked.
Malcolm looked into her eyes and smiled. Oh god, she noticed how handsome and how hot he really was. His hair was chestnut colour, and his eyes were green.
He had such a smooth face; full lips, and looked like a Hollywood star, she thought. All at once; she started to feel uncomfortable with her own thoughts. It was embarrassing for her to think of Malcolm that way. She never thought about another man like that. Eric was the only person she was intimate with, and she was convinced it would stay that way.
“We are not here fishing.” He replied mysteriously.
Then he unfolded the fishing rod, and Rebecca noticed a massive hook at the end..He clearly wasn’t fishing..But what was he doing?
He turned his back at Rebecca and started walking away from her, counting his steps.
“Here.” Malcolm stopped, and then he entered the shallow water, made further three steps and let the hook at the end of his fishing rod fall into the water. Rebecca was intrigued by his actions. It was such an unusual moment. What on earth was he after?
He spent a good five minutes looking for something in the pond, throwing the hook into the water and pulling it back..Over and over again.. Rebecca was getting nervous, and her feet were wet and cold..
“There we go”, Malcolm finally picked something up. Something that looked like a casket..
Rebecca’s eyes were wide open, and she was biting her lips. Please don’t tell me it is his dead wife. She thought.
But Rebecca’s phone started ringing. It was her sister Jess.
“Becky-boo, how far are you? Please don’t panic, but Jack tripped, and his forehead is now bruised.” Jess announced. Rebecca could hear Jack hysterically crying. She became anxious, picturing her son knocking his head about a stone..A sharp edge of the stone..She imagined him bleeding and in so much pain.
“Jess, tell me, why is he crying so much? Is it terrible?”
“No. He just got scared, and of course, he was asking for you.”
“We are coming back.” Rebecca glanced at Malcolm. He was holding the “thing” and waited for Rebecca to hang up.
“What happened?” Malcolm asked politely.
“I’ll tell you in the car.” Rebecca turned around and headed back up the hill.
In the car; Eric was calling. He was returning Rebecca’s call at the most inconvenient time. Rebecca told him about Jack’s accident right away. She also said to him that she was on a trip with Malcolm. They went to a little pound.
“What the hell Rebecca? I let you leave for a week to stay on a farm so you could hand over.
Jack to your sister and enjoy your free time with some random guy?”
This conversation wasn’t going well..Rebecca didn’t want to defend Malcolm and explain to Eric that he was just polite; because Jess suggested that trip. That was to say in private and not in Malcolm’s presence.
She agreed to call him again when she was with Jack.
They arrived back at the dairy farm. Jack was already content and playing joyfully with Malcolm’s son Liam. Jessica was watching them from a distance.
It was a strange afternoon. Rebecca felt guilty for leaving Jack alone; even though she had no reason. She didn’t leave him with a stranger.. It was just an accident. Jack’s first proper accident, actually. Rebecca started calling Eric right away, and she noticed that Malcolm was carrying the weird casket looking-like object to his garage.
What did he keep inside that he wanted to share with her? She couldn’t remove all her morbid thoughts from her head.
Rebecca was finally able to explain to Eric the whole situation.
He insisted on coming to join her, but for no more than three days.
After that, he wanted all of them to leave back to London. She agreed. It was fair.
It was almost after dinner time when Eric arrived. Jack was just in his pyjamas downstairs with Liam; playing racing cars. He was such a good company for Jack.
Rebecca could enjoy a glass of wine with her sister and Malcolm. Eric seemed pleased to see his crew. He lifted Jack as if they hadn’t seen each other for months and kissed Rebecca. Malcolm offered him a beer, but Eric was a wine person, so he poured himself a glass from a bottle sitting on the table. It was so cosy down there.
Eric sat next to Malcolm, and they were talking about business. Eric wanted to know what it was like to be a farmer in the Peak District. Rebecca could spend more time with her sister. They talked about their parents..
Jack seemed to be tired. Liam suggested to take him upstairs and stay with him for a bit.
“Oh, that’s so sweet, Liam, but please don’t worry. I’ll go.” Rebecca stood up, but Eric grabbed her hand and said: “Let him go, Rebecca. He will be fine.”
She was perplexed. Jack didn’t seem to have a problem going upstairs with his new friend either.
Rebecca opened another bottle of wine that Jess passed to her when Malcolm and Eric left.
“Do you think they get along, Jess?”
“Well, Malcolm has a gift. He’ll be able to talk to anyone. No matter if they have something in common or not.”
“That’s reassuring.” Rebecca laughed.
“How are you feeling?” Jess landed her hands on Rebecca.
“You were right. I needed this. I haven’t done anything like this since Jack was born.” She replied.
As if changing the environment and escaping daily routines offered a new perspective. Was it really that simple, though? No. Rebecca knew that running away from problems wasn’t a solution. She also admitted to herself that her life wasn’t going according to the plan. Most importantly, she didn’t want to feel guilty about being a full-time mother who could not stay on top of the housework. So what? It wasn’t permanent. Why such a big deal?
The wine they were drinking was working wonders. She suddenly figured out what she needed to tell Eric to fix their relationship. She wasn’t happy with his attitude and support.
“Where did they go, anyway?” Rebecca fixed her eyes on Jess.
“I have no idea. Do you want to go and check?” Jess suggested.
“What about Jack, though?” Rebecca reminded her sister.
“I said, do you want to go and check? Of course, I will stay and check on him.”
Rebecca slid into her dirty and muddy trainers and walked outside. It was pitch-black out there. She noticed that there was light in Malcolm’s garage. It was about fifty steps away from the cottage, and she decided to walk there. The front door was locked, which was weird. She could hear Malcolm and Eric talking inside. There was no window, so she could peek inside. But the old garage door made of wood offered tiny holes; she tried to find the biggest one to see what they were doing.
Finally, she found a hole big enough to lean on and see.
They were sitting on old chairs; she could only see their backs. It looked like there was something on the table that they were looking at. They were murmuring. She couldn’t decode a word. Malcolm got up, and then she saw it. It was the casket on the table! “Oh my god! Why was he showing it to Eric?” Maybe they were plotting a “how to get rid of your wife” plan..
“Psst, Becky-boo!” Jess was calling Rebecca from the dark.
“Jack wants you!”
“Wait! I am coming.”
Rebecca was trying to stay a couple of more seconds, but Jess kept announcing that Jack was tearful. She left back inside to put him to sleep. She had so many questions to ask Eric. She was so curious about what Malcolm was hiding in that casket and why it was so important that he wanted to show his guests? It was morbid, indeed.
The next morning, Rebecca found herself in bed with Jack. She had a terrible headache and from what she was wearing was clear that she fell asleep last night when putting him to sleep. Eric was fast asleep too; but he was undressed at least. Rebecca wondered about last night and how much she wanted to know what was in that casket.
Rebecca lied in bed and was trying to fall asleep, but Jack was ready to start the day. He was demanding breakfast. She put on some clothes, and they went downstairs to make some pancakes. On the table, she found a loaf; a jam jar and a note – please help yourself. It was only 8am. She spotted Malcolm outside when she started spreading butter on Jack’s toast.
“Good morning, pumpkins.” Eric surprised her.
He walked downstairs with a warm smile; kissed Rebecca and Jack. He scanned the table and offered to make a coffee.
“Shall we go for a little family adventure today?” He proposed.
‘I’ve heard there is a great farm with horses, Jack. Shall we check it out?”
It was sweet of Eric. Rebecca didn’t expect him to be excited about this trip nor being involved in any family activities. In fact, she imagined him working on his laptop all these three days; catching up on work or watching more YouTube videos.
“Sounds great, Eric.” Rebecca replied. She was dying to ask him what he and Malcolm were talking about last night. As if there was an inner voice stopping her from asking. She also thought about whether Malcolm was responsible for Eric’s idea to explore the farm with horses.