On Sunday, I posted the start of a story.
Now I’ve written a little more.
Lewis was waiting for me outside the estate agent’s. We hugged briefly. We’ve always been close, and it was a relief to see him. He had a sheaf of papers in his hand.
“Ready?” he smiled, “We can see both of these and have coffee afterwards, if that’s alright with you.”
“Fine,” I said, “Are they close?”
“Ten minutes. they’re in neighbouring streets.”
We walked past a parade of shops, and I asked Lewis to wait while I got the paper from the newsagents. He raised his eyebrows when I came out with the Surrey Advertiser.
“I suppose you haven’t got the Guardian tucked in the middle of that lot have you?”
I shook my head. “I’ll explain later. Tell me about these flats.”
They were both conversions in Victorian houses. Lewis was hoping for high ceilings and gracious neighbours. One of them had its original fireplaces, and I could see that appealed to him, though the other had the garden he craved. My rôle was to be that of Phil-and-Kirsty, making him view with his head as well as his heart.
“What time are they expecting us?”
He glanced at his watch. “About now. It’s alright; the agent is meeting us at the first one.”
As it turned out, neither of the flats suited. Although the rooms had the requisite high ceilings, the neighbours in one did not seem that gracious, unless you like drum and bass pounding through the brickwork at half past nine on a Saturday morning, and the work the other required to make it habitable put it beyond Lewis’ budget.
He was philosphical.
“Let’s get that coffee. I’ll ring the other agent and see if she has anything new, and you can tell me why you want to read the local rag.”
We headed for our favourite café, and found a snug sofa by the window. Lewis returned from the counter with a cafetière and some Danish pastries. I had the paper folded open at the Obituaries section.
“Now that’s a thought. Why didn’t I come up with that? Will chasing, that’s how I could increase my deposit.”
I managed a half smile, but I had found what I was looking for. “In Loving Memory, Edward Jones, 1980-2012, only son of Mary and Ted. Forever in our hearts.”
I tapped the words gently with my finger.
“Who was he?”
“I don’t know.”
Lewis opened his mouth and shut it again. He shot me a glance, then poured the coffee.
“OK, spill. I’m listening.”