Angel 47 (scrap)
Angel could see from her mum’s face that Karen was in huff when she spotted Pizza Face. Karen made a point of cuddling Lisa and kissing her wee face and almost translucent pink ears before handing her back to her daughter and remarking in an overly loud voice, ‘I’m no staying here wae him’.
‘Mum, just stay a wee while longer.’ She rocked Lisa and the baby blinked with dark eyes its wet mouth opened and shut like a fish caught on her pale neck. ‘I’ve no seen you fer ages. We’ve got a lot of catching up to dae…And the nurses will be here soon anyway, to fling everybody oot.’
Pizza Face turned his back on them, enraptured by the scowling face of Adam glaring up at him and his little fists balled, but fingers so small and perfect they seemed unreal and too real at the same time.
Tony tracked sideways and peered over Pizza Face’s shoulder. ‘He’s a wee cracker.’
‘They’re both wee crackers,’ Angel corrected him.
‘That’s whit I meant.’
Tony patted Pizza Face’s shoulder and they shared a conspiratorial smile in the same way they used to share dog-ends of fags when they were boys.
Pizza Face’s smile turned to a scowl as Karen brushed against his back on the way out of the ward.
Karen stood at the door, strap of her bag over her shoulder and hailed her daughter as if she was on a train platform on the other side of the station, ‘I’ll be away then. You take care of yerself’.
But Angel was having none of it, she closed the distance between them and whispered, ‘I need to go to the toilet,’ before handing the baby girl back to her mum.
Karen shoogled the baby behind Pizza Face’s back, but he turned to confront her, holding the other twin.
‘I’ve nae idea whit you’ve got against me. I never did you any harm. And I’ve always went out of my way to be nice to you, even though you did murder my brother, Jaz…I don’t think you can say any fairer than that.’
Karen shrieked, ‘That’s as much as you know.’ Her mocking laughter sounded like an old banger cutting out and turning over for the last time in a way even Bruno would have been proud. ‘I didnae kill him. But I wish I did. He never did a good thing in his whole, entire, life. And if he did, it was an accident. Nae wonder I told my daughter to have nothing to dae wae you. But would she listen…?’
‘Shut up!’ Pizza Face’s birthmark coloured. ‘You don’t know whit you’re talking about.’
Angel wiped the flat of her hands on her gown as she returned from the toilet. She’d wetted her hair and she glowed pink.
Church darted in from the corridor and stood between Pizza Face and Karen. ‘Time you werenae here,’ the guard told Pizza Face.
‘Or whit?’ Pizza Face narrowed his eyes.
‘Or I’ll call the police,’ replied Church.
Angel reached across and prised Adam from his arms, patting the baby’s back as it slept on her chest, but their heads almost banged as he tried to kiss her mouth and he kissed the tip of her nose instead.
Pizza Face ignored the guard and didn’t seem to notice conversations from other visitors dried up and they were gawking at him, gawking at them. He shifted from foot to foot, clenching and unclenching his fist like Adam, his attention was only for Angel.
‘Sorry, for everything, I fucked up and didnae believe in you and I want you and the babies to come hame.’
‘Wish I could,’ cried Angel, but shrugged, standing beside Church and she glanced over at her mum.
‘I’m no saying nothing,’ but Karen’s expression said everything. ‘You make your ain bed and you lie in it.’
A nurse with a Mediterranean complexion moseyed into the ward and declared visiting- time to be almost up. A middle-aged man and frail woman were already leaving and waving at the bed near the window.
‘How did you get here, anyway?’ Tony asked Pizza Face. ‘We could gie you a lift hame?’
‘Nah, I’ve got the car.’
‘Didn’t know you had wan?’
‘Aye, a Jaguar.’
‘Nice,’ Tony looked impressed. ‘We’ll need to meet up and go for a pint.’
‘Aye, that’d be great. I’m no daeing anything the noo. My treat. We could wet the head of the wains.’ Pizza Face glared at Bruno. ‘But you’re no thinking of bring that poofy cunt wae you, are you?’
Bruno stared back at him. ‘Don’t flatter yerself. I’d rather spend time in a mortuary than listening to you ramble on.’
‘Well, that’s alright then.’ Pizza Face shrugged. ‘The feeling’s mutual.’
‘Oh, it’s so far from mutual, I’d need to take a long-distance bus,’ replied Bruno.
‘Bruno!’ cried Angel, in a note of warning.
‘Whit you sticking up for him for?’ Pizza glanced around at the hard faces staring at him and then at Angel.
‘See,’ Karen swerved around Pizza Face and handed back Lisa.
Angel clutched the twins at her breast and went to sit on the side of the bed. Suddenly, tired she looked up at Pizza Face, a lock of blonde hair falling over her face. ‘He’s a friend. A very good friend. That’s ne’er let me doon.’
‘So I have then?’ Pizza Face raised his voice. ‘I’m the bad guy?’
‘Aye,’ Bruno nodded his head. ‘You ur. You already admitted it earlier. I’m assuming you were telling the truth then. You think the world should revolve around you and when it doesnae it pisses you off and noo you’re angry and looking for a victim…I mean I used to be the same when I was a child.’
Pizza Face took a step in his direction. ‘I should put wan on you.’
‘You’ll dae nae such thing.’ Karen stepped between them, her bony chest sticking out of her blouse and velvet jacket. ‘You’ll need to go through me, first.’
‘Shut up,’ said Pizza Face. ‘You can talk? You werenae much of a mother, no much of a role model, yerself.’ He glanced across at Tony. ‘Wis she Tony?’
Church grabbed at his arm. ‘That’s it. I’m phoning the police.’
The Mediterranean nurse came over and stood beside Church her face calm and she smiled, ‘Time to go gentlemen,’ she said. ‘Mumsies need to feed their little babies.’
‘It’s alright.’ Tony kissed Angel on the cheek, his hand hovering above the heads of the twins in benediction. He grabbed Pizza Face’s arm, directing him towards the door.
‘You goin hame wae him?’ Bruno asked.
‘Aye, we’ll go for a pint.’ He looked at Pizza Face, hand on his shoulder, who nodded in agreement.
‘Well,’ huffed Bruno. ‘If the measure of a man is the company he keeps, you’re well down in my estimations.’
‘Shut up, yah poofy bastard,’ said Pizza Face.
Bruno shrilled with laugher. ‘Or whit? And whose army?’
Church added a note of warning, ‘Time you were all away.’
‘I’ll take a lift hame aff you,’ said Karen. ‘We could maybe go for a wee drink ourselves afterwards.’
Angel was knackered, glad to scramble back into bed with only the twins and a prison guard for company.