Thursday, May 23, 2019
Part Five Chapter IX
IXThe journey took Krystal back to her childhood. She had made this trip daily to St Thomass, all on her own, on the bus. She knew when the abbey would come into sight, and she pointed it out to Robbie.See the big ruin castling?Robbie was hungry, but slightly distracted by the excitement of being on a bus. Krystal held his hand tightly. She had promised him food when they got off at the other end, but she did non know where she would get it. Perhaps she could borrow money from Fats for a bag of crisps, not to mention the return bus fare.I wen ter school ere, she told Robbie, while he wiped his fingers on the dirty windows, making abstract patterns. An youll go to school ere too.When they rehoused her, because of her pregnancy, they were virtually certain to give her another Fields house nobody wanted to sully them, they were so run hatful. But Krystal power saw this as a good thing, because in spite of their dilapidation it would put Robbie and the baby in the catchment area fo r St Thomass. Anyway, Fats parents would near certainly give her enough money for a washing machine once she had their grandchild. They might level get a television.The bus rolled deck a slope towards Pagford, and Krystal caught a glimpse of the glittering river, briefly visible before the road sank too low. She had been disappointed, when she joined the rowing team, that they did not train on the Orr, but on the dirty old canal in Yarvil.Ere we are, Krystal told Robbie, as the bus turned slowly into the flower-decked square.Fats had forgotten that waiting in front of the colour Canon meant standing opposite Mollison and Lowes and the Copper Kettle. There was more than an hour to go until midday, when the cafe opened on Sundays, but Fats did not know how proterozoic Andrew had to arrive for work. He had no desire to see his oldest friend this morning, so he skulked down the side of the pub out of sight, and only emerged when the bus arrived.It pulled away, unveil Krystal and a small dirty-looking boy.Nonplussed, Fats loped towards them.Es my brother, give tongue to Krystal aggressively, in response to something she had seen in Fats face.Fats made another mental adjustment to what gritty and authentic life meant. He had been fleetingly interpreted with the idea of knocking Krystal up (and showing Cubby what real men were able to achieve casually, without effort) but this little boy clinging to his sisters hand and leg discombobulated him.Fats wished that he had not agreed to meet her. She was making him ridiculous. He would rather have gone back to that stinking, squalid house of hers, now that he saw her in the Square.Ave yeh got any money? Krystal demanded.What? said Fats. His wits were slow with tiredness. He could not remember now why he had wanted to sit up all night his tongue was throbbing with all the cigarettes he had smoked.Money, repeated Krystal. Es ungry an Ive lost a fiver. Pay yeh back.Fats stuck a hand in his jeans pocket and touched(p) a crumpled bank note. Somehow he did not want to look too flush in front of Krystal, so he ferreted deeper for change, and in the end came up with a small amount of silver and coppers.They went to the tiny newsagents two streets from the Square, and Fats hung around outside while Krystal bought Robbie crisps and a packet of Rolos. None of them said a word, not even Robbie, who seemed fearful of Fats. At last, when Krystal had handed her brother the crisps, she said to Fats, Wherell we go?Surely, he thought, she could not mean that they were going to shag. Not with the boy there. He had had some idea of taking her to the Cubby Hole it was private, and it would be a final desecration of his and Andrews friendship he owed nothing to anyone, any more. But he baulked at the idea of fucking in front of a three-year-old.Ell be all right, said Krystal. Es got chocolates now. No, later, she said to Robbie, who was whining for the Rolos still in her hand. When youve ad the crisps.They walke d off down the road in the direction of the old stone bridge.Ell be all right, Krystal repeated. E does as es told. Dontcha? she said loudly to Robbie.Wan chocolates, he said.Yeah, in a minute.She could suppose that Fats needed cajoling today. She had known, on the bus, that bringing Robbie, how forever necessary, would be difficult.Whatcha bin up ter? she asked.Party last night, said Fats.Yeah? Who wuz there?He yawned widely, and she had to wait for an answer.Arf Price. Sukhvinder Jawanda. atomic number 32 Bawden.Does she live in Pagford? asked Krystal sharply.Yeah, in Hope Street, said Fats.He knew, because Andrew had let it slip, where she lived. Andrew had never said that he liked her, but Fats had watched him watching Gaia almost constantly in the few classes they shared. He had noticed Andrews extreme self-consciousness around her, and whenever she was mentioned.Krystal, though, was thinking about Gaias mother the only social worker she had ever liked, the only one who had g ot through to her mother. She lived in Hope Street, the same as Nana Cath. She was probably there right now. What if But Kay had left them. Mattie was their social worker again. Anyway, you werent suppositional to bother them at home. Shane Tully had once followed his social worker to her house, and hed got a restraining order for his pains. But then, Shane had earlier tried to heave a brick through the womans car window And, Krystal reasoned, squinting as the road turned, and the river dazzled her eyes with thousands of blinding white spots of light, Kay was still the coverer of folders, the score-keeper and the judge. She had seemed all right, but none of her solutions would keep Krystal and Robbie unneurotic We could go down there, she suggested to Fats, pointing at the overgrown stretch of bank, a little way along from the bridge. An Robbie could wait up there, on the bench.She would be able to keep an eye on him from there, she thought, and she would make sure he didnt see a nything. Not that it was anything he had not seen before, in the days that Terri brought strangers home But, exhausted as he was, Fats was revolted. He could not do it in the grass, under the eye of a small boy.Nah, he said, trying to sound offhand.E won bother, said Krystal. Es got is Rolos. E won even know, she said, although she thought that was a lie. Robbie knew too much. There had been trouble at nursery when hed mimicked doing it doggy-style on another child.Krystals mother, Fats remembered, was a prostitute. He hated the idea of what she was suggesting, but was that not inauthenticity?Whassamatter? Krystal asked him aggressively.Nothing, he said.Dane Tully would do it. Pikey Pritchard would do it. Cubby, not in a million years.Krystal walked Robbie to the bench. Fats bent to peer over the back of it, down to the overgrown patch of widows weeds and bushes, and thought that the kid might not see anything, but that he would be as quick as he could, in any case.Ere yare, Krystal told Robbie, wrench out the long tube of Rolos while he reached for them excitedly. Yeh can ave all of em if yeh jus sit ere fer a minute, all righ? Yeh jus sit ere, Robbie, an Ill be in them bushes. Dyeh understand, Robbie?Yeah, he said happily, his cheeks already full of chocolate and toffee.Krystal slipped and slid down the bank towards the patch of undergrowth, hoping that Fats was not going to make any difficulties about doing it without a condom.