This is the twenty-first part of a fiction serial, in 825 words.
The next years pased peacefully. Little Stephen coped well at school, and Susan was happy to go back to work part time, working in the office of the same primary school. It was her ideal job, and during the times she had to work during the school holidays, my mum came over to watch him. I got the promotion at work, and we moved offices to a new development close to the construction of Canary Wharf. A longer journey for me, but twice the salary.
Enough to buy a second car, even though we only needed two cars occasionally. I left Susan using the Volvo, and treated myself to a Golf GTI. They were all the rage then, real boy racer cars. Susan didn’t like to go in it when I was driving. “You drive too fast, love. Slow down”.
John Major won the election that year, and I had my thirty-second birthday. Susan was already thirty-seven, and had never again spoken about a second child. We didn’t need to move, as we had already installed a modern kitchen, and there was plenty of space for the three of us. Life was good, we had plenty of money, and even took two holidays a year.
But I still had Keith to consider.
He had made good with his dodgy contract to Terry. The last I had heard, Terry employed five staff and ran four plumber’s vans. Keith had stood for the Conservatives in the election, but they had put him up in a safe Labour seat that he wasn’t expected to win. Meanwhile, he had got elected to Westminster Council, and was making a name for himself. Next election, they would find him a safe seat for sure. I couldn’t get the problem with Terry out of my mind. I didn’t trust Keith not to eventually ruin him, or worse, kill him in some way.
It would probably look like an accident. Or maybe a burglary gone wrong. Suicide wasn’t an option, because that was too close to how Johnny was supposed to have died. The deeper Keith became involved in politics, the more I became convinced that he wouldn’t risk Terry buckling in the future, and causing some fuss about Johnny. If he did that, Keith would undoubtedly silence him.
And I was not going to let that happen.
Not that we saw much of him. Susan kept in touch by phone, and we all had one of those new mobiles that were all the rage. Him and Maddy hadn’t had kids, and her photography business hadn’t worked out. She was now working as a party arranger. When I asked Susan what all that was about, she told me Maddy got paid for arranging functions for companies and rich people. I remarked that it was a good way to earn a living, basically going to parties.
My dad had to go into hospital late in the year. Mum made light of it, but they put something into his heart to improve his breathing. She didn’t say what, but I thought it must be a new valve. We went to visit him before he was discharged, and he was as upbeat as ever. He wasn’t one to complain. After that, he couldn’t work for a long time, so I slipped mum a few quid on the side to help them out.
Keith rang one evening. He suggested a night out with Terry closer to Christmas. “Let’s get together again, the old musketeers. What do you say, Danny? We could get Terry up to the West End one night, I can get into some pretty exclusive clubs you know.” I didn’t like the sound of it, so put him off by saying I was too busy at work. He didn’t give up. “Let’s make if for the new year then. We are all getting older now, and all three of us are doing okay. High time we rekindled that friendship, Danny mate”.
Far too jolly for my liking.
Leaving it that we would be in touch at some time over the Christmas period, I said goodbye. Susan asked me what her brother had wanted, so I told her. She shook her head. “It’s up to you of course, but I can never forget what happened the last time you all met up. I hear Johnny’s mum is not doing well. She gave up the house and moved into a one-bed flat in Kidbrooke. The last I heard she was drinking too much, and Georgie had washed his hands of her. He told my dad she had all kinds of men in there, and he thought she was doing more than boozing, if you get my meaning”.
I got her meaning. Jeannie was using sex, drink, and drugs to ease her grief. And at her age, that wasn’t good. But where was Graham? he should have been helping his mum.
So I decided to try and contact him.