“EMMA… Are you awake?” Emma twists and stretches. She draws the duvet tightly around her.
“Emma.” She rubs her eyes and looks at the digital clock. 12.24am.
“I’m not having sex with you David. Not now.”
“No. It’s not that. I saw that dinosaur Carmichael for lunch a few days ago.”
“Oh. You didn’t tell me.”
Emma turns towards me, bleary eyed, her head poking out of a duvet cocoon. I am lying on my back, wide awake, looking up at the ceiling. Emma unravels the duvet and covers my naked torso. “You’ll get cold. What did he say?”
“He offered to buy me lunch.”
“But I thought you had lunch.”
“Another lunch. Accompanied by a bottle of wine that’d cost two and a half grand.”
“Two and…” she starts, before turning away, burying her head in her pillow. “So I’m assuming you’re tempted.”
“It’s a lot of money. I was thinking of the children. What’s best for them.”
“You already earn a lot of money. And your new year’s resolution was to be home at least twice a week before Noel’s bedtime.”
“It’s not that simple Emma.”
“He knows precisely what I earn and what this year’s bonus was. That must have come from… It could only be Sandy.”
“Maybe Sandy’s trying to get rid of me. His way of telling me.”
“David, how the hell does that work?” Emma asks, exasperated.
“I don’t know. But something’s going on.” I roll towards Emma, snuggle into her warm body and place a hand on her belly. “Now, what about sex?”
“David, I’m tired.” Emma turns, places a hand gently on my cheek and kisses me. “But I do love you.”
“I meant boys or girls? Or one of each? Shall we find out at the next scan?”
“Oh. Do you really want to?”
“Always good to have information. Knowledge.”
Emma sniggers. “Really? What would you do with it? Anyway, we’ll know soon enough.”
The bedroom door opens. Noel stands, silhouetted against the landing light. “I was having a bad dream.” I sit up.
“What about, Noel?”
“I don’t know daddy but it was scary.”
“There’s nothing to be scared of now little guy. Come on, I’ll take you back to bed.” I get out of bed and lift Noel up into my arms.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes darling,” I say to Emma. Noel is asleep before we reach his room. I lay him in his bed, tuck him in and sit on the floor, watching him sleep. I sit there for a long time as he sleeps peacefully. I must fall asleep myself because I wake and return to Emma only as the first early morning flights into Heathrow make their final descents.
The next episode will appear in next Tuesday’s City A.M.