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‘What are you doing here?’
There were a lot of things JJ expected when she walked into her home after a long day at the shop; dinner either cooked by Rocco or their chef, excited children as normal or quiet ones as they did their homework, some friends over, Rocco watching a basketball game, at the rarest of times, her siblings who loved to surprise her, JJ’s family members who stopped by for a visit. Never, never in a million years did she expect to see her mother in the living room with her children.
‘Mummy, your mummy came to visit.’ Roma accosts her mother almost as soon she walks out of the elevator into the hallway. She is excited at seeing her grandmother for the first time ever.
‘Your mummy brought us treats from London and lots of presents.’ On Bella’s head sits a fuzzy Mickey Mouse hat.
The entire living room is covered with gift wrapping paper and toys, lots of toys; she probably raided the whole of Hamley’s.
‘Roma taken your sister upstairs to you room please, I’ll come up and say good night.’ Rocco sees the fire in JJ’s eyes, she is livid.
‘Will grandma say goodnight before she leaves?’
‘No.’ JJ answers before her mother can.
The girls hug their grandmother good night instead before retreating upstairs to their bedrooms.
Rocco stays just in case he had to stop the death match about the ensue between mother and daughter.
‘What are you doing here?’ JJ asks her mother again.
‘You wouldn’t take my calls.’
‘So you thought showing up was a great idea? How did you get in here?’ She spares Rocco a look. ‘How did she get in here?’
‘I let her in.’ He knows JJ will tear him several new ones, but he’ll deal. He just got home from picking the girls from school after practise, when he walked into the building and the concierge informed him of the guest that was waiting on them for about 5 hours. She was sat in the waiting room.
When Rocco walked into the private waiting room, he’d stopped short staring at the woman who was unmistakably waiting for them. The splitting image of JJ without question; they could easily pass for twins. They look so much alike that if you shut one eye, you’d think she was JJ.
Gyll rises to meeting Rocco, ‘please call me Gyll, I haven’t gone by that name in decades. You’re Rocco, I would know you from the pictures and the sport.’
Rocco smiles faintly, ‘you’re a baseball fan?’
‘I follow it closely because of you, I figured it’s a good way for me to know my daughter’s husband.’
He doesn’t correct her that they are not married. ‘Does JJ know you’re here?’
Gyll laughed, ‘oh no. the NYPD would be pulling up right now if she knew I was coming. I’m sorry to show up unannounced, but she won’t take my calls and… I’m sorry.’
‘That’s okay. Come upstairs.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘We’re not going to do this down here.’ No they are not going to have their first meeting with each other down in the waiting room of their apartment building like strangers, like it or not, they are family..
In the reception the girls are chatting animatedly with the concerige telling him everything about school.
‘Yes daddy.’ Both answer in unison.
‘This is your grandma, mummy’s mummy.’
The girls stood still for a moment, gaping at the woman whom they’d never met but suddenly feels so familiar.
‘You look just like mummy.’ Roma says.
Bella holds her father’s hand, shyer of the two.
‘Thank you. I’m Gyll. What’s your name?’
‘I’m Roma and I’m seven years old. Bella is five.’
‘Such beautiful names. Such beautiful darlings you are.’
‘Bells go say hello to your grandmama.’
‘Hello.’ Bella wouldn’t leave her father’s side offering a shy smile.
‘May I have a hug?’ Gyll asks her grandchildren, she’d waited her whole life for this moment it seems.
Here both girls look at their father, and he gives nod.
Gyll has tears in her eyes, hugging both girls for the first time ever. She’d hardly ever hugged JJ, it was a rare thing between them, she struggled with her as a baby, so the nurse did the bulk of the care for baby Jorja. Never breastfed her, could never get her to stop crying. But this feels so good.
‘I brought some presents for them. I hope you don’t mind.’
‘Not at all, we love presents. Right girls?’
‘Right!’ Both girls chorus with laughs.
The concierge wheels out four suitcases, all filled with presents which accompanies them up to their penthouse apartment.
The girls spend time getting to know their grandmother. Gyll’s love for her grandchildren is absolute. Bella warmed up having seen Roma take easily to her, and Rocco has sheer joy watching them. The girls are animated talking ten to a thousand about everything as he expected, school, birthdays, best friends, mummy this and daddy that.
Roma was just showing her grandmother her favourite book when JJ walked in and the mood instantly shifted as if she pulled the pin from the grenade.
It was about to go boom.