“How did Daddy and I produce something as cute as you?” Steph finished coating Luke in suntan lotion.
He laughed. “I think I’m adopted.” And he ran off with his spade.
The sun shone and it warmed Steph’s skin. A day like this at the beach was when she usually remembered why she home educated. She should have been in a good mood, but as she watched Nick investigate the rock pools with Jake she was aware it was already midday and they had yet to have a conversation about the other woman in their lives. Last night the sex had been wonderful and Nick had been loving and attentive but that wasn’t enough. She needed to know where her life was going.
On a rock Ellie sat, sketching and scowling. Despite the scorching day she wore a hoodie and a pair capri pants. The beach wasn’t her thing and she was the only family member who burned to a crisp.
Fed up and with her mind buzzing too much to relax, Steph got up and went to the sea to paddle. Her feet splashed around in the cold water. What she needed was the talk they should have had the night before.
“Hey, Mum. Look at me.” Jake ran past and kicked water at her. He had the boogie board in his arms. “I’m going to surf.”
She smiled like an automaton and she kicked and splashed him back. The almost freezing water of the North Sea didn’t seem to penetrate her like it usually did. There was no need for Jake to suffer because she was being a grumpy old woman.
Nick still hadn’t come anywhere near her. She watched him walking along the sand and there was no sign of the other woman. He strode away from her and she decided she wasn’t going to have this again.
Anger shot adrenaline through her system, pushing her fibromyalgia to the back of her mind. She would pay for this later. Quicker than she had raun in years she chased after him. “Nick.”
He took his bloody time to stop and turn towards her. “Huh?” That annoying look of innocence that didn’t acknowledge her feelings.
“You promised we would talk. I need to talk. Don’t you need to talk?” The adrenaline that had helped her run sapped her strength and she bent over, catching her breath. Her body ached and she knew that walking back to the car was going to be a trial. “Help me.”
Nick seemed a bit too eager to help. His arm went round her and he helped her stay upright, walking her to the edge of the beach and he helped her sit down.
He joined her on the sand and stared out to sea. “I don’t know what to say. Since I came down in the dress… she’s disappeared. I’m not feeling the need to be her.”
“Does that mean you don’t want to be a woman?”
He shook his head. “No she comes and goes. She’ll be back.”
“You’re talking about her like she’s a separate entity. I thought she’d be you in a dress.”
“She is me in a dress.” He buried his head in his hands. “I don’t know. I’m trying to be her and I don’t know how to be her. I just know I need to be her.”
"Best Possible Taste" is very loosely based on real life events.