This is the opening to my WIP novel, Close To Home.
It was a bright day, sun like a kid’s drawing, smiling down on the grassy lawns and bright flowerbeds behind the 6-feet high walls and fences that surrounded them. It was a day for ice creams, garden sprinklers and barbeques for dinner. It was a day for kids to be out, playing in the streets, splashing in the burst mains and riding their bikes with no t-shirts on, but Joey Baxter was in his garden, kicking a football into a net. His mum had been watching him from the kitchen window until the phone had rung. Joey could tell from the way she laughed and ran her fingers through her hair that it was him calling. When she saw Joey watching, his mum had waved before turning her back to him and perching on the edge of the sink.
Joey kicked his ball, hard, and watched with satisfaction as it hit the wall through the back of the net. He didn’t like Frank. He didn’t like how his mum behaved when Frank was around. His mum acted all strange and girly when Frank was there, twirling her hair and touching him when she laughed. It made Joey feel all tight inside, like a shaken bottle of pop that might explode at any moment.
He kicked at a lonely daisy in the grass and went to retrieve his ball. He was hot and thirsty and angry. He was just bending down to pick up the ball when the gate at the end of the garden opened and a hand holding a can of fizzy orange appeared around it. It was obviously cold ‘cos there were little drops of water running down the sides and Joey licked his lips, tasting the salt his sweat had deposited there. Then the can of orange was joined by another hand, this one containing his favourite football magazine. A smiling face poked around the gate and Joey smiled back. He looked over his shoulder at the kitchen window where his mum was laughing into the phone, still sat on the sink. She had told him to stay in the garden, but why should he listen to her? She obviously preferred Frank to him.
Joey took the can and drank deeply, burping as he took the cold adult hand in his small hot one and allowed himself to be led out the garden.