On Saturday night, it soon became clear exactly why my mother had invited me. As I stood in the kitchen, up to my elbows in washing-up water, Father Riley sidled over to me. I wondered if he was hoping to coax me back into the choir. I’d left in disgrace, twelve years ago, owing to an incident involving spiked cider. ‘Camilla,’ he began. ‘Have you met my nephew, Aubrey?’
I turned to face a heavy-set, had-seen-better-days man who bore a horrifying resemblance to his uncle. If Father Riley was fifty-seven, this chap wasn’t far behind.
‘No, I don’t think so,’ I smiled, clocking my mother who was hovering in the background.
‘He’s over from Cork. We wondered if you and your mother would like to join us for dinner, next week?’
I didn’t have to look at the old-witch-who-is-my-mother to know she was nodding her head enthusiastically. ‘Erm…’
‘Any night. You choose. We’re very flexible.’
I found myself agreeing to the following evening at seven-thirty. Aubrey was to treat us to his Irish Salmon and Crab fishcakes. ‘Best you’ll ever taste,’ his uncle assured me, while the benign and silent nephew oozed sweat from his brow.
Was that what my life had come to? Was it so far out of whack I was agreeing to dates arranged by my mother and her string-pulling priest?
Things were going to change. But only if I took control…
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