Lining up the bottles of baby formula, I thank God for the respite of when she’s asleep. An adult’s company is a bonus, even if he’s only come to fix the boiler. Alex raps his knuckles on the kitchen counter. The back of his hand is smattered with freckles and his skin has the honey shade of a light tan.
‘I’ll be back to do the service next year. Thanks for the cuppa.’ He counts the notes that I offer and folds them.
‘You mean I’ve got twelve months to wait until I see you again?’ Tilting my head I notice his red hair is streaked with grey, rather more silver than gold. He smiles, making the dimples appear. I bite my lip, resisting the urge to smile back and Alex lingers, the silence holding us. Moving closer, he angles his head to reach my lips. His bristles scrape as he works his tongue and I wrap my arms around his neck. When saliva seeps onto my chin, I nudge his elbow and step away. Studying the lines of laminate on the floor, I straighten my blouse.
‘I can drop by one day next week.’ Alex arranges the tools in his belt.
‘That isn’t a good idea, there’s the baby to think about.’
‘And your husband, or is he a boyfriend?’
‘She’s my partner, actually.’
‘You mean I just kissed a dyke?’
He tosses the spanner in his hand and aims it at the window. Stepping back as the glass shatters, his blood speckles the paintwork. My shoulders cinch and I’m frozen in place. Slamming the door as he leaves, air seeps through the broken glass. I force my limbs to work, tiptoeing to avoid the shards and I stare through the jagged hole. Alex is on the pavement. He swings his head from side to side, as if he’s checking for witnesses and a few moments later, the van drives away. I’m left wondering how to explain the damage but the baby’s still asleep, so I have time to plan.