It was another glorious Mitchell family road trip, Julie and Granddad in the front, kids buzzing in the back. Even before they hit the motorway they’d sung three times through Wrecking Ball, Julie doing a passable job of joining in despite her gritted teeth. They were on their way to an extra special last-minute gig Miley Cyrus had added to the UK leg of her Bangerz tour.
But here was the thing: Julie hadn’t actually lied. At no point had she actually used any combination of the words tickets, last minute gig, that radio contest, hooray, or I’ve won.
All she needed was to utter the first syllable of the word Bangerz and the kids were high fiving and screaming and her Dad was wearing that same dreamy smile that came to his face every time he watched the video for Wrecking Ball.
All of them dozing by the time they hit the A55. Radio off, blessed peace for an hour, and even when Dad was blinking sleepily at the sign that said Bangor he didn’t make the connection.
He said, ‘She will do it though, won’t she?’
His face was wearing its dreamy smile again.
He said, ‘If I was forty years younger, and without my gammy leg, I’d be on that beauty like a shot.’
‘You know what I’m like. Thirty years in the demolition industry, never even seen an X-56 Alpha wrecking ball. God, the riveting on that beauty! I tell you, she better have the X-56 on this tour, or I’ll be my own wrecking ball, via complaint letter, of course.’
She drove them down to the front and parked near the pier.
Rather more brightly than she felt, she said, ‘Cuppa?’
‘We have time?’
They left the kids dozing in the back. Julie led them down the front, checking off coffee shop names on the scrap of paper in her hand. She stopped when they reached The Hearty Pot.
‘How about this one?’
Dad held the door and she went in first. Her Uncle John was sitting near the door, another grey haired old man, the spit of her Dad. He mumbled hello through a mouthful of scone.
Her Dad jiggled the door closed and turned. He gaped at his brother.
Julie said, ‘Dad. There’s no tour. There’s just him, and you. I’ve tracked him down. Don’t you think it’s time you two made peace?’