MJ looked up from behind the reception desk having just pressed the buzzer for the front door. She had heard the engine of a motorbike outside. Not the sound she was expecting to hear, not the low chuckle of Henry’s Diesel jeep, its tires crunching on the gravel.
The clinic was closed in the afternoon and there hadn’t been any other sessions scheduled after that mad woman had thrown a tantrum and run off without paying up. She hoped he hadn’t forgotten about the promise of taking her out to dinner to make up for all she had had to put up with this morning. No lie-in for starters. And she wasn’t a morning person, found it quite stressful to be all smiles, welcoming and tea making from 9 o’clock sharp. She pulled her cardigan across her chest and folded her arms across.
“Just as I thought my day couldn’t get worse. What the hell are you doing here, Junior?” The chances of a romantic dinner with Henry were fading even more.
“Hi Em, you look great. You holding the fort here all by yourself? Thought the clinic was closed to the public in the afternoons?”
“Don’t Em me, you chancer,” she glanced at his dripping rucksack, “I see you’re planning on staying the night. Two is company, three is a crowd as they say. I’m out of here so.”
Junior shrugged and held out her raincoat for her. “If you say so. It’s pissing rain out there and I didn’t see your car parked outside. You planning on hiking home in this weather?”
“Bugger, forgot that Henry picked me up this morning and was going to drop me back home. This odd girl he has working for him called in sick with the effects of the full moon. I tell you this place has gone crazy.”
“Why, what’s wrong and where is he?”
“He said something about time to call on an old friend. He probably meant John, guess they met somewhere in town for lunch. It was mayhem here earlier and he seemed worried about a woman who completely lost it during her session. He should be back by now. Hope he’s not driving around trying to find her.”
“Oops, can’t have another suicide on the books, can we. You, er, didn’t tell him what happened in Dublin that time, did you?” Junior threw the raincoat back over the coat hanger.
“No, but there better not be a repeat of that kind of thing, or I will tell him. So how come the wind and rain have carried you back up here, thought Dublin was the place to be and the country was for losers?”
“Long story that. Any chance you could make us a cup of tea?”
“Wrong question to ask today, young man. Piss off and make it yourself. You know the way to the kitchen. Oh, and you might want this with it.” She grabbed something off the desk in front of her and flung it at him.
Junior’s reflex was quick and he examined the chicken bone with a concerned expression. “Looks like my mum’s. Did someone smash her picture?”
© Ash N. Finn, 2016