Fit For A Prince

Mar­garet Skip­worth’s lively com­plete story sees the ar­rival of a new fam­ily mem­ber.

The People's Friend Special - - CONTENTS -

An up­lift­ing story by Mar­garet Skip­worth

WHAT do you think?” Doreen did a twirl as she en­tered the room. Bill folded the news­pa­per he’d been read­ing and placed it on the cof­fee ta­ble, stalling for time. When­ever Doreen asked his opin­ion about her ap­pear­ance he al­ways man­aged to say the wrong thing and put his foot in it. If there was one thing he’d learned dur­ing 35 years of mar­riage it was when to keep his mouth shut.

The dress Doreen was wear­ing was one of Bill’s favourites. It was salmon pink, the same colour she’d worn on their first date when they were both eigh­teen. He re­mem­bered feel­ing proud that he was tak­ing the pret­ti­est girl in the neigh­bour­hood to the pic­tures.

Of course, Doreen hadn’t worn a dress that evening. She’d sported bell-bot­tomed trousers and a cowl neck sweater.

Bill chuck­led. Sev­en­ties’ fash­ions had been so out­ra­geous! He’d thought he looked the bee’s knees in his plat­form shoes and wide-col­lared flo­ral shirt. And had he re­ally had a gold medal­lion hang­ing round his neck?

“What are you smil­ing at?” Doreen asked, drag­ging Bill’s mind back to the present. With­out wait­ing for a re­ply she shook her head. “This dress is a bit over the top, isn’t it?” She headed back to the bed­room. Pleased to have been let off the hook, Bill let out a deep sigh. Doreen would be back in a jiffy, he knew, wear­ing a dif­fer­ent out­fit.

When she re­turned Bill could tell from her ex­pres­sion that she was pleased with her choice – a turquoise blouse and navy trousers.

“You look beau­ti­ful, love,” Bill re­marked, think­ing how the colour of the blouse matched her eyes which were shim­mer­ing with ex­cite­ment and hap­pi­ness. “Of course,” he went on, grin­ning mis­chie­vously, “Wil­liam won’t care what you’re wear­ing. As long as he’s well fed.” Doreen rolled her eyes. “Typ­i­cal male, then,” she re­torted. “Talk­ing of food, I’d bet­ter make a start on din­ner. Laura and Wil­liam will be here soon.” “Can I help?” “No, ev­ery­thing’s un­der con­trol. Although you could choose some wine to go with the fish.” Look­ing Bill up and down, she frowned. “Surely you’re go­ing to smarten your­self up be­fore they ar­rive? That’s your old gar­den­ing jumper.”

“But I al­ways wear this jumper round the house,” Bill mur­mured de­fen­sively. “It’s comfy and warm.”

He couldn’t blame Doreen for fuss­ing and for want­ing ev­ery­thing to be per­fect, Bill thought, as he pulled the bot­tle of ex­pen­sive wine from the wine rack. Af­ter all, it wasn’t ev­ery day you got to meet your first grand­child.

It was hard to be­lieve that Wil­liam was al­ready a month old and they hadn’t seen him yet. That had been his fault, Bill re­minded him­self, a wave of guilt sweep through him.

Their daugh­ter, Laura, and her hus­band, Peter, had asked them to stay with them for a week or so af­ter Wil­liam was born. But a few days be­fore Wil­liam ar­rived Bill had been taken ill with flu. Doreen wouldn’t leave him while he was so poorly, nor did she want to make the 100-mile trip to Laura’s house on her own.

“Be­sides, I don’t want to risk pass­ing any germs on to Wil­liam,” she’d said very firmly.

So Peter’s mother had stepped in at the last minute to help the new par­ents. Bill knew that had been for the best, but he couldn’t help feel­ing dis­ap­pointed, for Doreen’s sake, that she’d missed those pre­cious first days with her grand­son.

Now, Laura and Wil­liam were com­ing to visit for a few days. Bill had splashed out on a good wine to toast Wil­liam’s safe ar­rival but he drew the line at get­ting dressed up in his own house!

It was a very spe­cial day, but was all this fuss about dress­ing up re­ally nec­es­sary?

HE was set­ting the ta­ble in the din­ing-room when Doreen an­swered the door to their daugh­ter and grand­son. Bill heard them go into the lounge and then there were lots of oohs and aahs. He stopped him­self from dash­ing into the lounge. This was a spe­cial mo­ment for Doreen and he wasn’t go­ing to spoil it for her.

“Come and look at Wil­liam,” Doreen called even­tu­ally.

As soon as Bill stepped into the lounge Laura en­veloped him in a hug. Then he crossed the room to the sofa where Doreen held Wil­liam in her arms.

“Look at him, Bill, isn’t he gor­geous?” she said, her face wreathed in smiles. “He’s a lit­tle prince!”

Bill felt a lump in his throat as Wil­liam gazed up at him with bright blue eyes. He grinned. Wil­liam def­i­nitely had his ears and Doreen’s nose and . . .

“You hold him, Bill, while I go and check on the din­ner,” Doreen in­ter­rupted his thoughts.

“Yes, come on, Dad, your turn,” Laura said chirpily. “You and Wil­liam can get to know each other while I help Mum in the kitchen.”

Bill’s eyes misted over as he reached out his hand and stroked Wil­liam’s cheek. It was a long time since he’d held a month-old baby. He’d for­got­ten how frag­ile they were and what fine skin they had. Far too del­i­cate to be scratched by the wool of an old jumper, he thought sud­denly. “I’ll go and change first,” he said. Doreen glanced at Laura, a stunned ex­pres­sion on her face. Laura gig­gled. “Dress­ing for din­ner? That must be a first for you, Dad.”

Ig­nor­ing Laura’s com­ment, Bill men­tally scanned his wardrobe. Did he have any­thing suit­able?

An idea struck him. There was that olive green shirt that Doreen had bought him last Christ­mas. He wasn’t keen on the colour, so he’d al­ways made an ex­cuse not to wear it. But, he seemed to re­mem­ber it was a silky ma­te­rial.

Yes, that would be nice and soft for a baby to rest his head against.

Mind you, ba­bies could be messy, Bill thought with a wry smile. If Wil­liam ru­ined his new shirt, well, he was pre­pared to make some sac­ri­fices for his name­sake!

“So, Dad, what are you go­ing to put on in­stead of that old jumper?” Laura per­sisted.

“Some­thing that’s fit for a prince,” he said, wink­ing at his grand­son.

The End.

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