Leave by Rachel Hilton


They had only been together for a matter of weeks when Cecil asked if Hayley would accompany him on a visit to his parents. He wanted to introduce her to them and thought it would be a good idea to go for a weekend. She wasn’t so enthusiastic and told him so.

“It’s too soon, we need to know each other better before we meet each other’s parents.”

“Nonsense, you’ll like my parents and they’ll like you. They are so easy to get along with.”

He kept on and on at her and eventually she relented. She didn’t want to go, it was more to shut him up than anything.

Hayley made sure she was busy at the weekends for a couple more weeks. The car needed MOTing and a service one weekend, another she was going to the theatre with her girlfriends, and didn’t want him to spoil her plans.

Finally, she couldn’t put it off any longer. She picked him up after work in Leeds on Friday evening and they drove over to Scarborough. Well, she drove all the way, he pratted about with the radio throughout the journey.

Upon arrival, his Mum, Jean, gave Cecil a big hug and a peck on the cheek and then did the same to Hayley. His Dad, Steve, was in the kitchen cooking tea but paused for a moment to come through and greet them both. Both his parents were pleasant people. They had a lovely house, set back from the road, with a winding driveway.

After they had finished eating Cecil and Jean had cleared the table. That done Steve announced they were all going to the pub for a few drinks and a chance to have a chat. “Great” thought Hayley, considering she didn’t drink. Anyway, she changed her clothes, cleaned her teeth, brushed her hair and she was ready to go.

The pub was not far so they walked. It was rather busy when they arrived but they managed to snag the last available table. Cecil and Steve went to the bar while Jean and Hayley sat chatting. Hayley had already said she was drinking lemonade to Cecil, as she didn’t like alcohol, so she didn’t think there would be any problem.

The men returned with the drinks and soon everyone was laughing, joking and generally enjoying themselves. Hayley noticed the lemonade tasted slightly different to usual, and mention this, but Cecil said it was because it was draught and she usually drank the more expensive bottled version.

She tried to think no more of it, but she did slow down drinking as she wasn’t too keen on it.

On the walk back to the house, Hayley felt a little peculiar. She put it down to feeling tired as she’d had a long, busy day before driving to Scarborough. When they arrived back at the house, she went up to her room to take her shoes off and sat on the bed for a moment. She let her bag drop gently to the floor.

There was a soft knock and Cecil popped his head round the door. He looked at her and grinned. “How are you feeling?” He asked. “Just a bit tired.” She replied. “No, actually, a lot tired.” She said, thinking about it. “Why, how are you feeling?”

Cecil grinned all the more. “I feel fine, thank you. But then I’ve not been on the hard stuff.” Hayley stared at him. “What the hell are you talking about?” She asked. “Well, you didn’t honestly think I could let you sit there all night supping lemonade, did you? That’s no fun.” He answered, laughing.

“What did you do Cecil?” She asked. “Oh, I just thought a little vodka would loosen you up, and it worked, didn’t it? Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it, you were chatting to Mum and Dad without feeling nervous, weren’t you?”

She glared at him, picked her bag up and made to walk out of the room.

“Where are you going?” He asked. “To the bathroom.” Came the reply. “I’m off downstairs then, Hales. Come down when you are done.” “Okay, I shall”. With that Hayley left the room. Cecil went downstairs to the kitchen, helped himself to another can from the fridge and went through to the living room, where his parents were.

“What do you think?” He asked. “Oh, she’s a lovely girl.” His Mum replied. “Yes, she’s clever too.” Added his Dad. “Not your usual type, eh Son?” Cecil frowned at his Dad, then saw him smiling. He relaxed and smiled back.

They all sat talking for a short while until Hayley entered the room. The fIrst thing Cecil noticed, she had her overnight bag in her hand. “What’s going on?” He asked, rising to his feet.

“I’m leaving. I’m sorry, Mr and Mrs Sewell, but I’ve telephoned my friend, Cally. She lives about 10 miles away and she’s coming to pick me up. Apparently I’ve been drinking, so I can’t drive, but I’ll come back in the morning early to collect my car and I’ll then be going home.”

“What do you mean?” Asked Jean. “I’ll leave Cecil here to explain, I’m going to go wait outside for Cally. I would hate for her to miss the house.” With that, Hayley turned round, left the room and let herself out the front door.

Jean turned to Cecil, but he was already following Hayley outside. “What the hell was that about? A joke is a joke, but get yourself back in there and apologise to my Mum. That was plain rude.” “Oh, and shall I explain how plain irresponsible you are. Spiking my drink, when I asked for plain lemonade.” Emphasising the word ‘plain’ each time, she stood, staring at him, daring him to answer.

“Like I say, I’ll collect my car in the morning and go.” Hayley was angry and it showed. “How will I get home?” He whined. “I don’t know and right now, I don’t care”. Hayley retorted. “Please come back in, they’ll wonder what’s going on.” Cecil persisted. “If I come back in there, I will definitely tell them the truth and they won’t be wondering anymore!”

At that point, a car headlights could be seen coming down the road. It was Cally. She pulled the car onto the driveway and Hayley started to walk over to her.

“If you get in that car, you won’t see me again.” Threatened Cecil. “Funny, I had exactly the same thought. But it was more, ‘when’ I get in this car, you won’t see me again. I’m leaving you Cecil!”

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