Finding Audrey

Author: P Hana

Page 56

   

Yup, that’s really gonna happen.

FRANK

You need good knives. Ade says I can come and learn some more skills at the pub. Only I have to do a bit of washing up or whatever, but you know, if I do that, he’ll teach me.

He looks up, his whole face alive.

AUDREY (V.O.)

That’s amazing!

FRANK

He has this whole thing that he does with a blow torch. He singes a chicken.

AUDREY (V.O.)

Wow. Well, it was delicious food. No-one could stop talking about it.

FRANK

The Waldorf needed more seasoning. That’s what Ade said.

AUDREY (V.O.)

Tasted OK to me.

The camera moves out of the kitchen and towards the garden door. There it pauses. We see Mum and Dad, standing by the play house, talking in low voices. Mum is holding a letter and gesticulating furiously with it at Dad.

MUM

I can’t believe they would even ask this.

DAD

Anne, don’t take it personally.

MUM

How can I not take it personally? How can they have the gall? The nerve?

DAD

I know. It’s preposterous.

MUM

It’s monstrous! Do you realize how much damage they could do to Audrey? I’m going to email this woman tonight, and I’m going to tell her what I think of her and—

DAD

I’ll send it.

MUM

(fiercely)

Well, I’m contributing. And you’re NOT censoring me, Chris.

DAD

We’ll work out an email together. We don’t want to be too antagonistic.

MUM

Too antagonistic? Are you joking?

AUDREY (V.O.)

About what?

Both parents whip round in shock.

AUDREY (V.O.)

What’s going on?

MUM

Audrey!

DAD

It’s nothing, sweetie.

MUM

Nothing for you to worry about. Um, wasn’t the fete fun?

There’s a pause as the camera surveys their anxious faces and zooms in on Mum’s hand, clutching the letter.

AUDREY (V.O.)

(slowly)

Yes. It was super-fun.

What were they looking at? What?

I’m totally flummoxed. Mum and Dad have never been like that before. They were so anxious that I shouldn’t know what they were talking about, they were kind of aggressive. I mean, Mum was almost snarly.

So whatever it is, they don’t want me to have even the slightest inkling of it.

I’m nonplussed. I can’t even go through all the possible theories in my head and eliminate them, because I don’t have any theories. Maybe something to do with Dr. Sarah? That’s all I can think of. Maybe she wants to do some weirdo experimental treatment on me and Mum and Dad are mad at her for asking?

But Dr. Sarah wouldn’t do that. She wouldn’t just land something like that on me. Would she? And Mum and Dad wouldn’t call her they.

That evening at supper I bring it up again, and both Mum and Dad practically bite my head off.

“It was nothing,” says Mum, eating her pasta very fast and crossly. “Nothing.”

“Mum, it was something.”

“You don’t need to know every something in the world, Audrey.”

As she says that, I feel a sudden shaft of fear—is Mum ill or something? Is there some massive family tragedy coming along to hit us like a juggernaut and that’s why she won’t say anything?

But no, she said damage Audrey. And they. It’s all about they, whoever they are.

That evening Mum and Dad are closeted in Dad’s study for, like, two hours, and then eventually they emerge, and Mum says, “Well, there we are, then.” There’s a kind of dark, satisfied cloud surrounding her. I have a feeling her email didn’t hold back.

Dad announces he’s off for a quick half with Mike who he plays squash with, and Mum says she’s going to have a bath. I wait until I can hear the water running, then sidle along to Frank, who’s in his room, listening to his iPod.

“Frank, can you hack into Dad’s emails?” I say in a low voice.

“Yeah. Why?”

“Can we do it? Now?”

From the way Frank gets straight into Dad’s inbox, it’s clear he’s done this before. He even knows Dad’s weirdo password, which is all signs and numbers and gibberish.

“Do you often look at Dad’s emails?” I say curiously, perching on the side of the office chair.

“Sometimes.”

“Does he know?”

“Course not.” Franks clicks on a couple of emails from someone called George Stourhead. “There’s some quite interesting stuff. Did you know he applied for another job last year?”

“No.”

“Didn’t get it. But his mate Allan reckons the company’s in trouble anyway, so Dad’s well out of it.”

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