The Miss Fisher Mysteries – an Australian indulgence – Inspector Jack Robinson was worth an hour or two of Steph’s time. She needed to spend time with a man that was all man, a man that combined the kindly, woman supporting qualities she needed but without actually wanting to become a woman. She still didn’t know where she stood with the other woman but she had realised that Nick didn’t know where he stood with her either.
She lay on the sofa, stuffing her face with tortilla chips and hummus whilst trying to pretend she was eating a chocolate fondue. Steph liked feeling well and this new everything free diet had given her more energy than she had in twenty years but she was feeling down today and craved sweet gooey treats.
Ellie stuck her head round the door. “The Eggsecuteor is here.”
Steph licked her fingers. She guessed it was a Pokemon they’d found in the house somewhere. “Did you catch it?”
The response from Ellie was a laugh. “I mean Grandmother. She’s in the kitchen. Jake’s making her a coffee.”
“I didn’t hear a knock.”
“When does Grandmother ever knock?” Ellie held out an incredibly racy blue silky lingerie set. “She says I need to start feeling attractive or I’ll never get a man. I told her I was a lesbian and she just winked at me.”
“You didn’t by any chance tell her you were thirteen? And way too young for girls or boys?” Steph turned off the darling Jack and hauled herself off the sofa.
“Oh and she hates my hair. Says it’s ugly.” Unconcerned Ellie fluffed the new beach hair she’d had done the previous week to celebrate her cast coming off.
“You didn’t tell about your dad. You know?” She picked up the chips and hummus. “I really don’t think...”
“I’m not totally stupid. But I can’t promise that Jake and Luke have a brain between them.”
Out in the hallway Steph hung back, postponing entering the kitchen.
“I’m going to try this one. It feels kind of nice.” Ellie winked. “Maybe my girlfriends online…” She laughed at Steph’s raised eyebrows. “I’m not that dumb, mother.” And without looking back she hobbled upstairs. Each day her leg got a little stronger and she hobbled a little less.
Steph took a deep breath. And entered the kitchen.
Her mother sat at the table, lost in conversation with Jake. She regaled him with tales of her exploits at a night club. Yet again, it was filled with stories a nine year old probably shouldn’t be listening to but he lapped it up. Jake and her mother had a particularly strong bond. He adored her and she adored him. She hadn’t managed to connect in quite the same way with Ellie and Luke.
Steph put the hummus in the fridge and the chips back in the cupboard.
“Mother.” She kissed her cheek. “How are you?”
“Fabulous. Jake here has been keeping me company. I did shout out when I came in. You going deaf again? You’ve put on a bit of weight.” She sipped her coffee. “Maybe you need to go on a diet. There’s a new one our Edwina was telling me about. You know how your aunt has your troubles with her waistline.”
“Actually I’ve lost a stone in two months. Not bad for a woman that can’t exercise all the time.” Usually Steph rose above it and managed to enjoy her mother’s company but her hackles were up today and her emotions a little raw. Her prayer was she could get through this without a screaming match.
“How’s the waste of space?”
“I’m going outside to play.” Jake got up and took himself out the back door.
And it had started. Today, the cow couldn’t even manage ten minutes without bringing up Nick. Following the revelations, Steph had become protective of Nick even when she wanted to strangle him herself she wasn’t going to let anyone else hurt him. “He’s at work making money so your daughter and grandchildren can live.”
"Best Possible Taste" is very loosely based on real life events.