The prompt this week from Write Anything is:
Why did the Tooth Fairy fail to deliver coins one evening?
As always, I’ve not edited. Here goes:
Paula heard the front door slam and waited for Andy’s tell tale steps into the kitchen. He seemed to be taking longer than usual.
‘Yeah?’ He sounded like he was still by the door. He was probably checking the mail. She tried no squash her fears – he always came and kissed her before he did anything else. She stirred the casserole once more, replaced the lid and went to the door.
‘Hey. You’ll never guess what Holly… OH MY GOD. What happened to your face?’ She looked down at his body, as well as the swelled eye and cheek and bloody lip, his tie was a mess and his shirt ripped a little. Andy winced as she turned on the light to get a better look.
‘Andy, someone’s done this to you. It’s not nothing. Did you get mugged?’ She looked down and his briefcase was on the floor. He obviously had his keys because he’d got in the house. ‘Did they steal anything?’
He shook his head. ‘I didn’t get mugged.’ He said quietly, avoiding her eyes. Inexplicably Paula felt something tighten in her stomach.
‘Come in the kitchen, lets get you cleaned up. Oh you go sit down, I’ll just grab the first aid kit from the bathroom.’ Andy started walking slowly to the kitchen. He was obviously in a lot of pain.
As Paula ran up to the bathroom, the feeling in her stomach grew, it was fear. Fear and nerves. Why had someone beat up Andy? If he wasn’t mugged, what had happened?
She was on the top step to run back down when she heard a quiet ‘Mummy’ coming from behind one of the bedroom doors. She thought it was Holly’s. ‘Mummy?’ Yes, it definitely was Holly’s. She went to the door and opened it slowly.
‘Holly bunny. What are you doing awake?’
‘Mummy, I thought I heard the Tooth Fairy, but it was you. My tooth’s still here. When’s she coming?’
Paula crossed to her youngest daughter’s bed and sat next to her.
‘Tooth fairies are very shy creatures. They only come out when everyone’s asleep. So when Daddy and I go to sleep…’
‘Daddy’s home?’ Holly sat up in bed, although Paula couldn’t see her face, she knew the excitement that would be on it.
‘No, not yet,’ Paula replied quickly. She’d want him to come and read her a story, and she didn’t want her to see her daddy in that state. Besides, she had to find out what happened. ‘He’ll be home in a bit. Then we’ll go to sleep. And then, in the dead of the night, when everyone’s asleep, the Tooth Fairy will come.’
‘What about Pepper? Will she say away if he’s awake? Because he’s always awake at night.’
‘No, she’s not shy of hamsters. In fact hamsters and tooth fairies are good friends. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if she lets Pepper out and they have a little game of hide and seek before she leaves.’
Holly settled back down under her cover. ‘When I grow up I want to be a tooth fairy Mummy.’ Paula chuckled to herself.
‘You know Holly, I think you will be.’ She kissed her daughter on the forehead and headed downstairs, the dread growing inside her with every step.
Andy was at the kitchen table with a cloth on his lip, presumably with ice. Paula sat opposite him.
‘Honey who did this to you?’
‘I deserve it.’ Paula started to feel lightheaded, how could someone deserve that.
‘Don’t be silly. No one deserves that. What happened? Who was it.’ She started getting cotton wool and Savlon liquid out the first aid bag.
‘Paula wait.’ She ignored him and carried on getting the stuff out. He gently took her wrists. ‘Please Paula. I need to…’
She pulled out of his hold. She knew she wasn’t going to like what she was about to hear. Did she know what he was going to say?
‘Paula. It… It was Sharon’s husband.’ She forced a laugh.
‘Why would he beat you up?’ Please, she silently begged him, Don’t say the obvious thing.
‘He found out about our affair.’
Later Paula couldn’t remember any specifics of their conversation after those words. She remembered the constant apologising and tears. She remembered slapping him – and hoping it hurt where his cheek was already swollen. She remembered forcing him to leave when he’d wanted to stay.
Worst of all though, after a night of not sleeping and going over the last six months in her head again and again, she remembered the tears on her daughter’s face when she woke to find the Tooth Fairy had forgotten her.
Please let me know your thoughts, good or bad are all welcome 🙂