“Did you manage to get hold of your friend?” Artemis asked as Daniel took his seat once more. He noticed that she’d bought him a coffee in the time he’d been on the phone and his body jumped for joy at the promise of caffeine. He picked it up and took a sip, the bitter liquid burning his throat as it went down.
“Yeah. He’s going to go down to the hospital and see if they’ll let him see her.”
“I’m so, so sorry Danny, I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, the small rational part of me has always been screaming that I shouldn’t go anywhere near him, but I did. I just have no explanation for why I did those things.”
Daniel looked at his mother and immediately felt a pang of pity, although he thought he probably shouldn’t. He could see guilt written all over her face.
“If it’s any consolation I think that affair was just the icing on the cake for Lorelei. There have been troubles in their relationship from the start, and I would place good money on you not being the only woman he was seeing behind her back.”
“I just feel so terrible. I never really considered her before. I guess because I didn’t know her I could just pretend that she didn’t exist, and the fact that he left me for her just exacerbated that. But seeing the look on her face when she caught us was one of the most horrible things I’ve experienced. I never want to see Sam again and I will do everything in my power to make sure that I don’t.”
They were quiet for a moment as each sipped their coffee, unsure of what to say. They might never have been Gilmore-close but they had never felt this awkward around each other.
“So, why did you want to meet?” Daniel asked eventually.
“I thought it would be a good idea if we talked.” She replied. He nodded; he had guessed this much.
“About... what you said.” She looked at her lap. “I know I’ve made mistakes with you and I can’t change that, but I really want to try and make things better.”
“What brought this sudden change on?”
She took a deep breath and began speaking.
“When you moved out that hurt, and not just because you’d gone. It hurt because it was my fault. I’d made things so unbearable for you that you felt you couldn’t stay.” She paused and picked at the arm of the chair. “As I said, I’ve been seeing a counsellor and it’s really helped me understand a lot about myself. I won’t go into most of it but I know I’ve made some really terrible choices and a lot of that stems from your dad leaving. I was devastated when that happened and since then I’ve never wanted to let another man get close. I would always keep them at a distance, I could never trust them. Some of those feelings even transferred onto you... but I think you know that. I didn’t have another relationship until I met Sam. I’m not completely sure why I fell for him in the first place, but I think there were aspects of his personality which just reminded me of your dad and.... I don’t know, I guess I got sucked in. Then when he announced he didn’t want me anymore it just brought all of that back. I was weak and so when he called I would come running. My counsellor has been amazing. She’s really helped me sort things out and I’m finally starting to turn my life around. I’ve got a job as a secretary at an advertising firm and... I’ve sort of met someone, a guy in my office. Nothing has really happened yet, we’ve only been on one informal date, but I really think this could turn into something good and this is the main reason why I’m so determined to get Sam out of my life.”
Daniel didn’t know what to say. Although he had left with the intention that Artemis try and sort things out he hadn’t been all that optimistic that she would. He had expected that he would get a call from her in a mess and he would have to go back and clean it up. But it hadn’t happened. She really had changed. He still wasn’t sure that he would like the guy she was seeing – her previous track record wasn’t good – but at least this one actually had a job, unlike so many of the others.
“I’m... pleased for you, mum. Really. Although I have to say that at the age of 37 it’s about time.” She flashed him an apologetic grin.
“Would you... perhaps, consider moving back in?” The look on her face was hopeful but he got the feeling that she wasn’t really anticipating a positive reply to her question. He slowly shook his head.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea. I’m glad you’re doing so well but I think it’s better if we stay living apart. That way we can see each other on good terms rather than seeing each other just because we’re both home. Plus, I’ve got a place to live now and I really like it there, it’s about time I moved out I think. Sorry.”
She nodded and looked down at the floor.
“I won’t lie and say that I’m not disappointed, but I understand.”
Could it really be a new start for them? Daniel hoped so.