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The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell Read Online (FREE)

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell Read Online

Read The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell online free.

July 5, 9:00 p.m.

Pip stands behind her mother in the tiny bathroom. She’s not sure what to do. She’s never seen her mother being sick before.

“Urgh, God, Pip. I’m so sorry. I am so sorry.”

“That’s okay, Mum.” Pip tentatively touches her mother’s head, and strokes her fine blond hair just once.

Her mother doubles over and is sick again. She judders afterward and rocks back onto her heels, staring up into the halogens buried in the ceiling.

Pip passes her a beaker of water. “Here,” she says, “drink some.”

Her mother does as she is told.

“Do you think that’s it? Do you think you’ve finished?”

Clare shudders and says, “Yes. I think that’s it.” She rests the beaker of water on the floor by the toilet with shaking hands and unfolds her legs, leaning back against the side of the bath. “Pip,” she says, taking her hand, “I am so so sorry.”

“Honestly, Mum, it doesn’t matter.”

“It does matter!” Her mother’s words are slightly slurred. Her pale skin is waxy, her mascara smudged under her eyes. “It matters because I’m your mother and it is my job to look after you and how can I look after you in this state.” She points at herself. “You shouldn’t have to be looking after me. You shouldn’t have to deal with anything you’ve had to deal with these past few months. You’ve been the best, most amazing girl. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I don’t.”

Her mother pulls Pip to her and holds her tight. Too tight.

“I need to go to bed now. I have to . . .” Clare gets uncertainly to her feet, holding on to the sink for balance. “. . . I have to sleep.”

The back door is still unlocked. All the lights are on. And Grace is still outdoors somewhere, roaming the communal park with her friends. Pip resists the urge to say, “But what about Grace? What about me?” She’s twelve years old. She can handle this.

Her mother stumbles from the bathroom and falls facedown onto her bed. Pip pulls the duvet from under her small body and covers her properly. “Thank you, baby. Thank you. I love you so much. So, so much.”

Pip sits on the edge of her mother’s bed for a while, until she hears her breathing change to a sonorous bass. It is just past nine. She moves to the living room and sits there, perched uncertainly on the edge of the sofa. Beyond the back door, in Virginia Park, the landscaped, two-acre private garden that their house backs onto, the summer party is still going on. She can hear it in snatches of laughter and high-pitched screams of overexcited children out long past their bedtimes. She doesn’t know what to do. She is all alone. And soon it will be dark. She phones Grace, but, unsurprisingly, her call goes straight through to voice mail. Grace has been outdoors since two o’clock and her phone will be out of charge.