“So Millie threw the ball to Celia, then Celia to Soph, and she passed it to me and I scored the winning net! You should have seen it, mom!” Ashley burbled as Helen drove them back from her netball game. “Hey, isn’t that where you said that griffin kid lived?” she asked, pointing down an alley.
“I think a building down there is on fire.”
Helen’s eyes widened. “Hang on.” Checking her mirrors, she did a U-turn, going back to the street. There was indeed a fire, but a small one, in a garbage can.
“Huh, sorry mom, I thought there was a fire.” Ashley pouted slightly.
Helen patted her hand. “There is, if you look.” Looking around again, she started off again for home. It was a short drive from the netball pitch to the Sanctuary, but a nice one, lined with manicured hedges and cherry blossom trees. Helen almost yearned for the spring, but the blue skies and warmth of the summer sun bulldozed the feeling away. “Anything important on your phone, darling?”
She shook her head. “Nah, just Henry telling me he’s fixed my lappy.”
“You broke your laptop?”
“Only a little bit… And Henry’s fixed it, see?” she added, holding up her phone for a second.
Helen shook her head indulgently, turning into the Sanctuary grounds. Minutes later the two were walking into the kitchen, Ashley a few steps ahead of her mother. Helen herself walked into a wall of sound, to joyful voices yelling, “Happy birthday!”
Unable to say anything, she accepted the teacup gently thrust into her hands. It had been a busy day, but not the worst way to end her birthday.