Chapter 26: Food for thought as Jan loses her fight for life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 74

Solentville Tales Chapter 26 - Food for thought as Jan loses her fight for life

Tom awoke the following  morning feeling bright and breezy,he was ready for life's new challenges and was getting ready to catch up with an old flame.It was nearly 9am when he decided to take a shower and prepare himself for the day ahead.

His mind was focused on his new venture and was desperate to begin it immediately but without Jan's support it would probably not happen.

Their finances were shared jointly and he would need her permission and signature if large amounts of money were to be taken from their joint account to pay for this new business venture.

He was about to take breakfast with Leo when suddenly the phone rang,he decided to let the call go through to the answer machine as he wanted to enjoy this moment with his son.

It was Avril who had made the call and she was just wanting to let Tom know that she was running a few minutes late so she might be delayed until 11am.

He wasn't too concerned by this news as he helped himself to another delicious croissant along with a few pain au chocolat which were his favourite treat at breakfast time.

Jan was still recovering in hospital and there was no time specified when she might be able to come home and convalesce there suffice to say that it wouldn't be anytime soon.

Leo was looking forward to visiting his mother and had planned his day in advance to ensure she got top priority on his agenda.

It was Mylene's funeral today and a large turnout was expected at St.Mary's Roman Catholic church which had been the one where she had been married not so long ago.

Some members of her French family were expected to attend including her two brothers Francois and Claude.They both lived in Rodez the principal city of Aveyron and capital of The Languedoc Roussillon region in that part of south west France.

Tom had promised her family that he would stay away from the funeral to avoid conflict in view of his lusty affair with Mylene.

There was still bad blood between him and Mike and the latter had sworn revenge on Tom for his part which lead to her tragic and untimely death.

Leo was about to head out for Southampton on his Yamaha motorbike when the doorbell rang,it was Avril who was looking her usual stunning self.


Leo- Hello Avril how are you?,dad's been expecting you and he's in the lounge,please come on through.

Avril- I do hope you're not leaving on my account Leo.

Leo- No I've just got some business that I need to attend to in town and then after that I will be meeting up with an old friend Abbi.She's just flown over from The States so there's plenty to occupy me.

Avril- Well it looks like a nice day for venturing out,I think we can definitely say that spring had arrived at long last after a truly awful winter.

Tom- Avril please do come in let me take your coat,make yourself comfortable.I've just put the kettle on would you like a drink?.

Avril- Yes I'd really love a coffee thanks.

Tom- Ok I'm having a nice cup of Lofsberg Lila Mellanmorks which is my favourite Swedish coffee made from the finest Arabic coffee beans would you like to try it?.

Avril- Oh that sounds just the job,you know you could work in their marketing department Tom.

Tom- Very Funny,now don't give up your day job Avril I could quite easily see you on stage as a comedienne.

Avril- Oh really Tom now that would be something.Anyway now that I'm here I thought we could talk about your new project which we discussed at some length on dad's boat last night.Are you still serious about this new hotel venture of yours?

Tom- Yes I'm dead serious about it why do you ask?.

Avril- Oh it just so happened that I was visiting a local estate agents this morning on my way to seeing you.

Apparently there are quite a few hotels up for sale in the Swaythling area would you be interested?Here take a look at this brochure I picked up at their office,there's a lighthouse hotel which might interest you.

Tom- Now that is interesting I've always wanted to be a lighthouse keeper but of course they are all automated these days.Thanks for that and I will give it some consideration.
Was the hotel converted from the old lighthouse then?.

Avril- That's right I believe some years ago it was designed by the same person who engineered and constructed "The Beachy Lighthouse which is in Sussex I think.

Tom- That's very interesting let me see what the asking price is,350 k isn't such a bad price but I would presume that there might be additional costs for renovation and modernising to bring it in to the 21st Century.

Avril- I believe there's been quite a bit of interest in this hotel so you might have to move quickly on this one.There was talk about it being auctioned in a few days time but that still doesn't give you much time I know.

Tom- Well right now I'm not in a position to release funds even to put down a deposit however I still have my shares in the boat yard and they must be worth over 150 k.

I could also use the house as collateral although given my previous experience of negotiating with the bank that might prove tricky and may not be my best option.

Avril- Anyway I must be going now as there is a board meeting coming up soon at "Leisure Holdings and it might result in me having to look for a new job.

If the rumours are right they are looking to elect a new chairman and the person they have in mind is Sir Charles Harvey.As you know we have history between us and the past always has a nasty habit of catching you up.

Tom- Ok Avril,it's been great talking to you and thanks for the brochure,I really appreciate you taking time out to see me.

Avril- Oh that's ok anytime Tom, just give me a call and let me know how Jan is doing,bye for now.


Tom smiled to himself as he gently closed the front door,he was now looking forward to discussing his new project with a fit and mobile Jan.

He was optimistic that she would share his vision for their future together and hopefully she would grasp the opportunity with both hands.

It was now just after midday when Leo arrived home with his friend Abbi who was Polly's daughter from her first marriage.

Abbi didn't care much for her stepfather Gerald or her mother for that matter.

Tom wasn't sure what time he and Leo would be departing for the hospital and Abbi's unexpected visit might now change his plans for the day.He welcomed Abbi in any case and asked her if she was stopping by for lunch.


Tom- Hello Leo and who's this?,I'm only kidding,please do come through Abbi and let me take your coat.

You are more than welcome to stay for lunch dear.It's been quite a while since we last saw you over on this side of the pond,how's life in America?.

Abbi- Oh the usual,I'm working in one of mum's prestigious boutiques "Bouquet De Fleurs" on fifth avenue.She tells me that Jan had sold all of her UK shops to mum.Now there is there the possibility that mum might be selling up all of her business's in America in order to concentrate on operations over here.

Tom- Really I didn't know about that,what I do know is that it's a done deal with regard to Jan selling all of her boutiques and our solicitor is handling the sale.

As you might be aware Jan is currently in hospital after suffering a stroke which then resulted in her having a cardiac arrest.

Abbi- Yes mum told me about it,how awful.I was wondering if you wouldn't mind if I tag along with Leo this afternoon as it's been great catching up with him but I would love to see Jan again.

Tom- By all means please feel free,right now I need to fix some lunch so what would everyone like to eat?.

Leo- I quite fancy pasta bake and salad what about you Abbi?.

Abbi- Oh no I had better just stick with a nice salad,have you got any salmon,prawns or tuna?.

Tom- Yes I think I can do that for you,Ok folks just give me a few moments to put all of these things together.Now let me see there's some pasta bake left over from last night which I can put in the microwave and some some fresh salmon,prawns and tuna here in the fridge.


The time seemed to race by today as long dark shadows had now replaced the earlier bright sunshine meaning it was now early evening.

Lunchtime had turned in to a late afternoon soirée and everyone had consumed a few drinks and played one or two board games.

They had missed the opportunity of visiting Jan,the next visiting hours weren't until 7pm which was now just an hour away.

Tom was about to take his car in to Solentville to fill up with petrol at a local petrol station when he was stopped in his tracks by a visitor who was lurking at the bottom of the driveway.

At first he heard a strange noise and then suddenly out of nowhere a hooded figure began to approach the boot of his car.


Tom- Hello can I help you?

Visitor- Yes you might be able to help me,are you by any chance Tom Devereaux?

Tom- Yes but who's asking and what's this all about then and who are you?.

Visitor- Oh I'm just the messenger or courier,sorry for my sinister appearance.

Tom- Alright just spit it out what's your business?.

Visitor- I was told to deliver this package to you could you just put your signature in that box with this e-pen.

Tom- Yes gladly if I knew exactly what I was signing for.

Abbi- Tom the phone's ringing,I have a hunch it might be the hospital,Leo told me to come and fetch you.

Tom- Alright where's Leo?,I'll be back with you in two ticks don't go anywhere.

Leo- Dad it's the surgeon from the hospital he's asking for your permission to turn off the life support system which is keeping mum alive.

Tom- Oh no it can't be let me speak with them.

Leo- Who were you talking to on the driveway dad?.

Tom- Hello sir there must be some mistake she was fine yesterday what's changed her condition?.

Hospital Surgeon- I'm afraid we had to take her in to theatre this afternoon to remove the clot on her brain,she had lost a significant amount of blood.The aneurism operation proved unsuccessful I'm really sorry sir but we did everything we could to save her.

Leo- Dad what's happening?,we need to see mum right away just to say our final farewell.

Tom- Yes I know Leo just let me deal with this delivery guy on the driveway,oh it looks like he's gone,quickly fetch me a torch Leo.

Leo- Right away dad what's wrong?.

Tom- I don't understand it I could have sworn I was talking with him just a few minutes ago but he's completely vanished.

Leo- Dad we've both had a terrible shock sit yourself down,you're in no fit state to drive anywhere tonight I'll call a taxi.

Abbi did you see anyone talking to dad earlier?.

Abbi- No he seemed to be having a conversation with himself and answering his own questions which I found rather peculiar.You don't think he's losing his mind do you?.

Leo- I sincerely hope not for both of our sakes,we have been through so much as a family recently what with Lynn's untimely and tragic death.


Tom suddenly collapsed in to a crumpled heap and began to cry his eyes out.He was completely heartbroken and was now coming to terms with the shocking consequences of losing Jan forever as he curled himself up on the sofa.

A taxi had been ordered for 8pm which was now 20 minutes away.Leo had decided to lay on his bed and was staring at the ceiling.

Abbi was calling home to inform her mum that she would be out late due to unforeseen circumstances namely Jan's impending demise.

It was just before 8pm when Leo noticed that a white mist had began to descend within his bedroom.

It appeared first as a bright orb of light which enveloped his room.The bedroom door was slightly ajar as he gazed up towards the pale moonlight then suddenly he noticed that a shape was developing with familiar outlines.

He quickly realised that the features which had unfolded and manifested themselves right before his eyes were of his mum.

She was smiling down at him and pointing a ghostly finger towards her mouth and then placed her left transparent hand upon his face and then blew a kiss towards him.

The spectre and visitation had only lasted a few seconds but it seemed to last an eternity for Leo.He was now aware that his mum had passed over to the other side.Relief was mixed with sadness as he broke down in to a flood of tears.


Submitted: September 06, 2019

© Copyright 2020 Buffershaker. All rights reserved.


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