flustered by phoenix.writing

17 Oct

What do you think you are doing, you stupid boy?  What can you have been thinking of?  Ring me immediately.  You know how I hate these infernal machines.

Adam could only think of one thing to say, and it was most definitely not appropriate for his gran: shit.

The only reason that he had the answering machine anymore was for his gran.  She didn’t trust cellphones, and he’d not yet been able to convince her that leaving a message on his voicemail would be no different than the answering machine.  Since it didn’t leave a message anywhere that she could see, she found it untrustworthy.

He suspected she wouldn’t believe that the answering machine had failed to save the message, but it was almost worth attempting; he wanted to put this particular confrontation off for as long as he could, though he did recognize that that would scarcely make the situation any better.

But god, it was tempting.  Perhaps he could move?  Change his name?

He loved his gran, he did, but she was a relic of a bygone era in many of her beliefs, and he did not want to have this conversation with her.

He couldn’t figure out where he had been seen, and he only hoped that it had not been by Isa herself.  Hearing about it from someone else would be bad enough, but if she’d seen him, he would never hear the end of it.

He contemplated calling Aiden, but gave the thought up.  He knew exactly what Aiden would say, because Aiden was annoyed enough with his caution as it was.

Adam thought that Aiden should give having a gran like Adam’s a try, and then he’d change his tune, but really, Isa was one in a million.

Recognizing that his frazzled impulse to go for something alcoholic or run his hand through his hair would not make him feel better in the long run, Adam drew a deep breath, let it out slowly, and picked up the phone, hearing it ring like a death knell.

Perhaps she was out.  Perhaps she was sleeping.  Perhaps—

“Isa Richards speaking.”

Adam cringed.  “Hello, Gran, it’s Adam.”

“Adam Smith, I have never been so ashamed in my life.”  Her voice was sharp as a whip and full of ire.

He made a face.  “Gran, I can explain.  I know you don’t like that sort of thing, but if you think about it, it really doesn’t have much of an impact on you, and it’s not something that you need to get upset about.”

“Not have an impact on me?”  He had to hold the phone away from his ear.  “Not get upset about?! Young man, those are shares that I gave to you as a baby, and your decision to sell them without so much as consulting me is the height of insult.”

Adam’s brain ground to an abrupt halt.  Cautiously, he started thinking again, new mental connections forming rapidly as something like giddy relief bubbled through him.

“Well, Gran,” he said cautiously, “the point of stocks is generally regarded to be making a profit, and given their performance recently, I judged it more prudent to sell than to hold.  I should, of course, have spoken to you at the time, and I apologize for that error in judgment.”

Adam held his breath and waited to be judged.

“Well, dear, as long as you recognize the error of your ways, there is hope for you in the future.”  Her voice had softened to that slightly more lenient one that his mother said she only used on him.

Breath left him in rush of relief.  She continued.

“I will have to speak to your mother, however; I don’t see how she came to raise a son who has such lapses in courtesy.”

Adam rolled his eyes.  This, at least, was an argument that they’d had multiple times.

“Now, now, Gran, you know it’s not her fault if I fail to live up to my upbringing.  I’ll come round tomorrow, shall I?”

She sounded much more pleased now.  “Very well. And when will you be bringing a nice girl with you?”

Adam suppressed a sigh.  “I’m not looking to marry just at the moment, Gran.”

Also an oft-voiced argument.

“You’ll wake up one day middle-aged and alone,” she warned him sternly.

He sincerely hoped not, although the likelihood of this happening was probably increased as long as he hid Aiden from his family.

“I certainly hope not, Gran.”  Adam drew a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “Perhaps we can talk more about it tomorrow.”

<><><>

Adam was seen previously in Blame Aiden.

P.S. I’ll be on vacation for the next couple of weeks, so the next couple of prompts may be late or absent.

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One Response to “flustered by phoenix.writing”

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  1. the consequences of rage by pheonix.writing « the character project - November 7, 2010

    […] Adam’s gran, Isa, was heard in last week’s story, Flustered. […]

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