The Prodigal

This is just the start of the opening chapter to my new story that I'm currently writing. I don't really want to post the whole thing until its finished because I'm snowed under with work and I'd rather have a relaxed approach to writing this and I know that if I begin I will feel rushed to complete it to keep interest going.


1Likes
2Comments
751Views

1. Chapter 1

Whilst he was taking orders for breakfast in the dining room below, Bernato Gregory-Carter had left his fiancée, Saul’s mother, Enrika Halbert, sweating, squeezing and screaming alone in the room above.

“Can I get you any tea or coffee sir? No. Maam, yourself?” he enquired to the rear table with placidity as though such a situation may be normal.

In fact, the 29 year old, father to be, had a somewhat truthful reasoning. It was rather common, nowadays, for couples to endure all stages of pro-creation, childbirth included, without any state provision nor private aid. The law had forbid it since the turn of the twenty first century into the twenty second. It was an initiative, set by the bogus  Alternative party, who had managed all-to-easy deception in leading the British blindly with hoax policies and insincere statements of reassurance. In their four year governance they had pledged that, in order to tackle the rising number of unmarried couples, Britain would need to reduce the aid given to couples wishing to start families who were not married in order to accommodate those families that applied the law to their family lives. Thus, for Enrika no midwife was present.

However, what was most puzzling about the pair’s behaviour was the fact that the law did not forbid that a family member could not help with the birthing process.

Bernato moved round to the second and last occupied table, rectangular pad of order sheets resting on the bed of a plump left hand and a slender bic, black ink pen suffocated by the thumb and index finger of his right.  

Bernato hung rigid, six inches or so, over the brim of the costumer’s table. The man was short and well-rounded, dressed in a denture white shirt, dark, lime cordial coloured tie, russet coloured two-piece suit and a pair of buffed tan lofas. His hair was greying and wiry, brushed to the left hand side by a, presumably, wide toothed comb and he wore brazen circular rimmed spectacles that dimly masked two bloated, blood-wired and slightly jaundiced pupils.

“Good morning, Sir,” Bernato began. “Could I interest you in some breakfast? Something warm perhaps? Freshly caught mackerel, kippers or salmon? Or we have veal, bac-”

A muffled groan that came from the couple’s metal bed frame shuffling on the wooden floor above vibrated the room, ceiling and floorboards. It was followed by a loud and wavering moan from Enrika as the room continued to shake.

Bernato smiled, bearing his perfectly aligned, pure white teeth.

“Hang on a minute,” he sang. “My fiancée calls. I’ll be back.”

He dropped his pen and paper on the man’s table heavily and made a sprint out the door, forcefully thrusting it open with broad fists and bounding up the stairs, two steps at a time. The door was already open to their shared bedroom when Bernato reached the landing and Enrika was resting on their bed, her palms and knees downwards, stomach swelling with the fullness of a new life. She made a final throaty grunt, mouth wide, eyes tight grimacing in pain as Bernato walked into the doorway and tipped her head up to look at him. She was breathing fast and on his approach, Bernato could feel the heat that it produced.

“Baby,” he said softly, cupping his palm onto her chin. It was wet and clammy but Bernato kept his hand fixed to it.

“Baby,” he repeated, addressing both Enrika and their new life form. “Baby, are you sure you can do this? It’s not too late.”

The contractions had only begun two hours ago but, un-be known to Enrika as this was her first child, they were incredibly strong. Since that first sore shift and bout of groaning, Bernato hadn’t been comfortable. He hadn’t been comfortable since the day Enrika had told him that she was expecting but he was even less so now. However, compelled by Enrika’s strength and persistence, there had never been a back thought given to the prospect of a hospital attendant aided birth. Enrika was certain that it could be done without such professional nuisance and interference and Bernato had pulled on a mask of confidence over her optimism. He didn’t think to question what was more of a full bodied experience for her than it was for him but then, it seemed to easy now to change her mind at such a weak an undignified stage for he knew that the pain was only set to get worse.

The CCA (Country Coupling Act) – the part of the law that stated the documentations and restrictions on unmarried couples – did note, in fine print, that, if was necessary, unmarried couples could receive just one, junior state trained midwife to be present at the birth of their child for, what they doted as, a ‘small’ fee of fifteen hundred pounds. Barely taking an excess of seven costumers in peak season at their breakfast café; “Fishing Soldiers”, that was never really an option but Bernato never ceased to push it through.

Enrika glared at him with wild eyes, most probably the most vicious look she had ever given him in their nine years of dating. She sat up to kneel on her legs, wincing slightly.

“Baby,” she said hoarsely. “Don’t doubt what is not yours to question.”

Then, more soothing, she added, patting his shoulder;

“I can do it.”

Although she found it hard to believe herself, she continued.

“This baby’s no different from any other and I know that this takes time, so let’s give it enough time. It hurts for me and for you to see me like this but there are plenty of families who can do this alone and you and I are just the same. Don’t fret, baby. We’re just fine.”

She rubbed her lean fingers around her belly and then traced, with her nail, the purple – blue stretch marks that scarred there. She outstretched her hand, asking for his and drew it onto her stomach. She rested her hand on top and gazed back at him.

“We’re not alone.”

 

When Bernato returned, more cautiously, downstairs on the back table was a five pound note that had been weighted down with three pound coins and two half-finished portions of French toast, melted brie and, on one, a few remaining slices of veal.

Behind him the bell system attached to the door, chimed and Bernato pivoted to the sound. The rotund, poor suited, spectacled man was leaving, heading for the gravel of the car park. Bernato dashed for the door.

“Sir!” he cried, waving his hands above his head. “Sir, wait!”

He bustled through the chime of the doorbell and the door’s wooden frame out into the warm. A sky, blue with promise, spare the earth coloured haze that was no longer a stranger these days, a sun heated with excitement, a gentle breeze tickled with anticipation. 

The man turned ever so slightly but continued walking towards his car. It was a black Flemming estate with golden hub – caps imprinted with a dragon giving birth to itself in a breath of its own fire.

“Sir, please come back.” He tiredly pleaded sensing the man’s decision was far beyond his grasp.

The man paused for a second, then opened his car door and dropped one leg in.

“Can I interest you in a breakfast? Eggs?” he tried, one last time.

The car door slammed and Bernato grimaced in the humour of it. He remembered the evening that Enrika had told him they were to be parents.

They were sitting in the living room of their flat above the café on a mid – April evening watching the ten o’clock replay of “Keith Hannings’ Comedy Rollercoaster”, a particular favourite of theirs. Bernato was sat upright with Enrika lying under his arm, consuming about three quarters of the sofa, her head rising with the inflation of his soft breathing. She had tipped her head up and watched him sit happily soaking up the jokes.

“Baby,” she said after a few minutes of staring. He looked down at her, fully re-focusing his attention to her.

“Yes, baby?”

“How do you like your eggs in the morning?” she sang.

He smiled and diverted his gaze back to the TV. She shuffled under his arm and sat upright as he was.

“Baby?”

“Yeah,” he replied eyes looking forward at the TV.

She reached her hand out to place it on his and it was only then that he looked at her once more.

“Baby, I’m pregnant.”     

*

Now he stood in his own car park fixed by the reality of his own destiny. Over-joyed by his ability to have conceived what, not only the government wished for – any birth, even of those babies born with illegitimate blood streaming their veins, was considered an achievement, so long as they hadn’t been conceived by tanked-up parents – but it was also what Bernato had willed for his own selfless yet greedy sake. He had done it, climbed the biggest hurdle that life had thrown at him like a noose around his neck. But he had done it and now, right now, it was happening. 19th January 2112. It was happening. He was coming, their first born, their son. A man to help his mother and to be trained to sue chef quality by Bernato himself, ready for the expansion of their breakfast café into a luncheon diner and cocktail bar. A young muscle man to fix up the house, a bread-winner and, given a promising and hopeful future, a father to aplenty ‘pure’ offspring. ‘Gregory-Carter’ would be a household name. Fresh on the lips of every Briton, ringing in the streets, the family that bred Britain from the brink of immortal intoxication. Smile emblazoned, he remained in the vanishing dust of, most definitely, his last costumer of the day until his up curled lips resembled it – unfurled by the aggrieved screech of his own name;

“BerNNAATTO OOLIVVIEER!!!”

       

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...