Oh God he said again He had hardly ever spoken to her in such a rough and

Oh god he said again he had hardly ever spoken to her

This preview shows page 139 - 141 out of 230 pages.

“Oh God,” he said again. He had hardly ever spoken to her in such a rough and exasperated way. He looked around as if there might have been somebody watching them and clapped his hands on his trousers. “Sorry,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting you to pick that up.” He put his elbows on the top of the filing cabinet and leaned his forehead on his hands. “Now,” he said. “Now, Lauren. I could make up some kind of a lie to tell you, but I am going to tell you the truth. Because I believe that children should be told the truth. At least by the time they’re your age, they should be. But in this case it has got to be a secret. Okay?” Lauren said, “Okay.” Something made her wish, already, that he wouldn’t do this. “There’s ashes in there,” Harry said. His voice dropped in a peculiar way when he said ashes. “Not ordinary ashes. Cremated ashes of a baby. This baby died before you were born. Okay? Sit down.” She sat on a pile of hardcover notebooks that contained Harry’s writing. He raised his head and looked at her. “See—what I’m telling you is very upsetting to Eileen and that’s why it has got to be a secret.
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That’s why you never were told about it, because Eileen cannot stand to be reminded. So now you understand?” She said what she had to say. Yes. “Okay now—what happened was, we had this baby before we had you. A baby girl, and when the baby was just very tiny Eileen got pregnant. And this was a terrible shock to her because she was just finding out what a terrible lot of work a new baby is and here she was, not getting any sleep and throwing up because she had morning sickness. It wasn’t just morning, it was morning noon and night sickness, and she just did not know how she could face it. Being pregnant. So one night when she was just beside herself she somehow got the idea that she had to get out. And she got in the car and the baby in with her in its cot and it was after dark, raining, and she was driving too fast and she missed a curve. So. The baby wasn’t fixed in properly and it bounced out of the cot. And Eileen had broken ribs and concussion and it looked for a while as if we were going to lose both babies.” He took a deep breath. “I mean, we had lost the one already. When it bounced out of its cot it was killed. But we didn’t lose the one Eileen was carrying. Because. That was you. You understand? You.” Lauren nodded, minimally. “So the reason we didn’t tell you this—besides the state of Eileen’s emotions—is that it might not make you feel very welcome. Not in the first circumstances. But you just have to believe me you were. Oh, Lauren. You were. You are.” He removed his arm from the filing cabinet and came and hugged her. He smelled of sweat and the wine he and Eileen had drunk at dinner and Lauren felt very uncomfortable and embarrassed. The story didn’t upset her, although the ashes were a little ghoulish. But she took his word for it that it did upset Eileen.
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