Today, in my chat studio, I have a policeman! Nothing to do with me and the law, though I can say, he his very arresting! Do joins us, I promise you Mark from Somebody to Love, will have your sirens blaring!
Peggy: Perusing him over her glasses as Mark walks in the studio. ‘I see you’re in uniform. And if I might be so bold, looking rather delectable and perfectly gift-wrapped in blue, have you any idea what that does to me?’
Mark: Smiling a twinkly-eyed smile, removing his cap. ‘Uh, oh. You’re not going to ravish me, are you Peggy? Not that I’d mind, of course. It’s just that I’ve already been ravished three times this morning and I’m a bit worn out, to be honest.’
Peggy: Smiling knowingly. ‘Don’t tempt me PC, Evans. I might be old but I’m certainly not past it. There’s more than sherry runs through these veins, hot blood for starters! So why a policeman?’
Mark: ‘Good question. May I?’ Indicating to the comfy chair opposite Peggy. ‘I suppose I’ve always wanted to be a policeman…’
Peggy: Sighing and settling back in her chair. ‘Sorry I’ve made you lose your thread, but do carry on constable!’
Mark: Biting his lip to stop laughing out loud. ‘You known how to distract a man, now back to being a policeman, I’ve wanted to be one ever since I was involved in a road accident…’
Peggy: Sitting forward. ‘A road accident?!’
Mark: ‘No, not me physically, Peggy, don’t worry. I witnessed an accident as a child: Two lads, younger than me - a couple of years below me in school. They were engrossed in swapping cards or something, chatting away, as kids do, and they stepped into the road without looking. I could see they were going to. See the accident even before it happened. The kid nearest the car went over the bonnet and…’
Peggy: Grimacing. ‘Oh, how awful!’
Mark: Holding his hands up and smiling. ‘No worries, he was OK. Well, that is, he made a full recovery. Turned out his ribs were cracked, though, and he obviously didn’t know what day it was. Anyway, long story short, I supported his back, yelled at someone to call an ambulance; kind of knew I had to keep him talking, so I got him to tell me his telephone number and then got someone else to support him while I ran over the newsagents to ring his mum.’
Peggy: Admiration making her face glow. ‘What a lovely thing to do. How very thoughtful. I could tell as soon as you had stepped into my studio, you were a kind, decent young man.’
Mark: Blushing. ‘Nah, more instinctive, really. I was pretty sure his mum would want to get to him asap, and I was absolutely sure he would want his mum, so…’
Peggy: Blinking emotionally. ‘You’re a saint. One in blue of course.’
Mark: Laughing. ‘Yeah, not sure Donna would see me in quite that light. I, er, lied to her, you see. I mean, we’re OK now, but… Well, I wasn’t very straight with her. Not something I’m proud of.’ Running his hand over his neck, looking thoroughly ashamed.
Peggy: Sighing again, wistfully. ‘A saint, definitely. But before we go down the Donna route, let’s finish this part of the interview. So weren’t you destined to be a paramedic, then, rather than a policeman?’
Mark: Puckering his brow. ‘I did quite fancy the idea, I must admit, until the police attending the accident gave me a ride home in the patrol car. I was late by then. My dad worked away a lot and I knew my mum would be on her own worrying about where I was, so the police gave me a ride in the passenger seat and that was it. I was like, wow, this is what I want to do: Protect and serve – and drive a patrol car.’
Peggy: ‘I can tell you you’d certainly turn my head if you were to take me home in a patrol car. Now now, you’ve got me being silly, you naughty boy, let’s get back to the script.’ Checking her notes. ‘I see your wife ran off and left you? Sounds to me she’s need her bumps checking. You’re a good looking man, and obviously caring, so why did she pack her bags?’
Mark: Raking a hand through his hair. ‘It seems I simply was not caring enough according to my now ex-wife. My son, Karl, he’s autistic – we hadn’t had the official ‘diagnosis’ then, of course, that alone was an uphill struggle, but his behaviour was becoming more challenging, and instead of being there for my wife… To be honest, I couldn’t wait to get out of the door, to bury myself in my work and my head in the sand, I guess. Kate couldn’t do that. She couldn’t walk away, physically or emotionally. She was on her own with it – and she was lonely. I realised that, too late, as it happened. She couldn’t cope, and… Well, eventually, she did walk away. I don’t blame her, not really.’
Peggy: ‘Mmm not sure about your thoughts there, but we’ll run our of time if we argue about whose to blame, but this little chap of yours, Karl, spelt with a K, you modern folk with names and spelling… Ahem…’ Pausing, ferrets for her hankie and gives her nose a dainty blow. ‘Tell me a little about him. How’s he getting on?’
Mark: Smiling brightly. ‘Yeah, good. Excellent, actually. I mean he’ll always need support, caring for a child with autism is for life, you know, but he’s made real progress. He still throws a wobbly when he gets spooked, but the repetitive behaviours are less obvious.’
Peggy: ‘Repetitive behaviours?’
Mark: ‘Hand-flapping when he gets stressed, that sort of thing. Then there are the daily rituals you live your life by.’
Peggy: Crossing her legs and leaning forward. ‘Could you tell me a little more about that, Mark?’
Mark: Looking straight at Peggy. ‘Well, it’s complicated but, simplistically, Karl has to do things in a certain order, or not all if he finds the situation too stressful, so we have to make sure his daily routine isn’t distracted from before he’s ready. A shopping trip, for instance, can be a complete nightmare. Or it used to be. He was scared of traffic, of crowds, of shops, the noise seeming to close in on him and cause a total meltdown sometimes. Even background noises — noises most people couldn’t even hear – could drive Karl to distraction. But now…’ Pausing to draw breath, ‘Now, he’s interacting with people more, verbally and socially. It’s bloody… ahem, sorry. It’s amazing. And it’s all down to Starbuck, his Autism Assistance Dog, and to Donna.’
Peggy: ‘Sitting back. Ah, yes, Donna. I’d heard you had your eye on a new woman. From what I’ve learnt, she’s a bit scatty with a three legged dog and a rabbit that lives in the house. How do you manage to find them?’
Mark: Laughing: ‘Finding Donna was nothing short of a miracle. I hardly dared hope there’d be a woman out there with a heart big enough to love me and my son. To be honest, I’d almost given up looking. Better to have no dates, I decided, than short-term dates. Karl needed stability, you know, and I’d have done pretty much anything to protect him at that stage…’
Peggy: Screwing her eyes up. ‘Even lie to protect him?’
Mark: Sighing heavily. ‘Yeah, that. I can’t believe I almost blew it. Donna might be scatty, totally crackers sometimes, but she cares, you know? Really cares. Some people say they do, think they do, but when push comes to shove… Donna’s doesn’t just talk the talk. She’s special, in the best possible way and would pretty much forgive anybody anything, so long as they didn’t mess with her son or her three-legged dog – or step on her rabbit. I’m happy with the whole package. The rabbit chewing its way through ten pairs of bootlaces a week I could with do without…’ Mark crosses his legs. One highly-polished shoe flops a bit loose ‘…but it’s definitely a case of love me, love my dog, my son, my rabbit with Donna, so I guess I can live with it.’
Peggy: Checking her notes. ‘Tell me about the woman in the park who talks to dogs. Have I read this right?’
Mark: Rolling his eyes. ‘Ah, Agnes, the befriender of dogs and bequeather of balls. She lives at the care home adjoining the park. She’s a bit senile, but harmless – unless she thinks you’ve cheated on your girlfriend, in which case she’s capable of GBH with a deadly weapon.’
Peggy: Laughing. ‘Her ball bag? Hardly a deadly weapon.’
Mark: ‘Have you ever had one of those things swung at you full force by an angry woman? She was out for blood, I swear.’
Peggy: Eyes travelling suggestively downwards. ‘Thank God, she missed her aim.’
Flushing. ‘Ahem, yes. As for whether she talks to the animals… Well, she does, obviously. Lonely, like I say. But whether the dogs answer back or not? If you’d asked me that pre-Donna’s three-legged dog and Starbuck, I’d have said, uh-uh, no way. Loony idea. Now, I’m not so sure they don’t.’
Peggy: Tapping her fingers on her note pad. ‘Your father is a bit senile, too, isn’t he? Or is it he’s trying to appear that way because of the old biddies who are his neighbours?
Mark: Laughing. ‘And after his body, you mean? A bit of both I reckon. He’s on his own, too, after Mum died, as you know, and I think a mixture of loneliness and guilt – he cheated on her, Mum, I mean – led to him becoming a bit depressed. I don’t think your mind’s as sharp as it should be when you feel that way. He is getting older, though, and definitely more forgetful. I’m going to have to keep an eye on that. Truthfully, I think he does play on it, yes, when he wants to keep the ‘biddies’ at bay.’
Peggy: ‘I was going to ask you about Starbuck, because that part of your life made me cry, but I’m not going to let my visitors see me crying, they can find out all about him in the book. So let’s focus on something less emotional, tell me is this new woman in your life the real thing?’
Mark: Pausing for thought, then looking levelly at Peggy: ‘I love her. All of her. She makes my life complete. I simply wouldn’t know how to be without her. I wouldn’t want to be.’
Somebody to Love
How do you tell her?After that idiot of a husband ran off with that broomstick of a girl, single-mom Donna thinks there's no sunshine in her future. What she needs now is a hunk of a guy who loves her and her three-legged dog with no complications.
Mark is a single dad with two big worries – protect and serve, and his autistic son Karl. Desperately he wants someone who'll love him and his son without question and with no complications. He's been hurt before and Karl needs stability – not short dates. So he'll do anything for his kid – even lie to protect him.
Can these two get it together and get together? Is Mark the hunk Donna needs? Is Donna the rock Mark can lean on? If they look hard enough, can they find Somebody to Love?
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Somebody to Love has been made with love... love of animals.
You can learn more about Sheryl Browne and her books:
Amazon Links: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Somebody-Love-Sheryl-Browne/dp/1908208112/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339421531&sr=1-1
LoveaHappyEnding Author Page: http://loveahappyending.com/sheryl-browne/