An Act Of Kindness
Jessica had been looking forward to her 60th birthday celebration at a luxury country cottage with her four siblings and their partners. And her husband if he came back from India where he had gone to find himself, a process that was taking an inordinately long time.
But the excitement of a family gathering other that at a wedding or funeral was fast fading as the weather forecast for the weekend turned increasingly dire: thunderstorms, heavy rain and flood alerts. So much for picnics and BBQs. Her youngest sibling, Cindy, suggested postponing. Philip, the oldest, was worried about WIFI coverage and Alex, number four, couldn’t decide whether to invite his new boyfriend or not
Then Thursday evening, the middle one, Beatrice, threw in another issue.
“Monday. It’s an important part of my new well- being regime. Oh, and Nicholas won’t be arriving until Saturday afternoon, if at all.”
Jessica sighed, she had already done the Ocado order, so she called a friend.
“Alexa, what is the best meat substitute for vegans.”
“Satan? Please explain.”
“Seitan A versatile protein made from wheat dough.”
“Okay. Order enough satan to last the weekend. And Alexa. Double the gin order.”
“No, just the gin.”
Jessica arrived at the cottage Friday morning to check that everything was in order. Twenty minutes later while she was having a pre-lunch glass of wine, the Ocado man turned up. As he was unloading the boxes, Jessica found herself staring at his muscular biceps wondering what he would look like naked, a thought that had never occurred during her usual weekly transaction. When he asked where she wanted it, she replied the kitchen table and that was indeed where they had it. It was not an unpleasant experience.
Cindy arrived next, looking rather flustered and dishevelled.
“My car broke down,” she explained. “The AA man, well, he was incredibly good looking. I don’t know what happened, I couldn’t stop myself. I practically tore his overalls off .”
Jessica nodded. “I totally understand.”
Alex and his boyfriend turned up at tea time and one look showed Jessica why they were later arriving than they had said. Followed shortly after by Philip and his wife who headed straight to their bedroom saying they needed to freshen up.
Jessica was pouring a large gin as an extremely loud clap of thunder shook the house and Beatrice walked in.
Beatrice. One had bulging biceps, another had a large rip in his overalls, the third wearing a Ghandi type loin cloth and shawl looked vaguely familiar.
“Their tent had blown away so I said that they could stay here until the storm passed.”
“Welcome,” Jessica said. “Just as well I ordered extra gin and satan.”
“The causeway is flooding. We’ll probably be stranded.”
“Who are they?” Jessica asked, pointing to three men standing behind