Who: Stephen and Leticia Cornfoot
Where: Leeds, England
When: 26 December 2001, morning
Waking up in his childhood room was peculiar on several levels. For Stephen, returning home didn’t happen all that often and it made a nice change. At the same time, it reminded him how small his studio flat in Helga’s Hill really was. He had never intended to stay in the village this long; had things turned out differently, the Calliope Heights project would have been well underway by now, if not partially completed.
He had reasons to stay now. Mandy, obviously, and his other friends. But also the new plans for Calliope Heights. Less bold and brash than Orpington’s ideas, Stephen wanted the development to be much more in keeping with the aesthetics of the village.
As he made his way downstairs, Stephen could hear his brother snoring through the bedroom door. At least when he was asleep he wasn’t talking constantly about how great the Capper-Harper wedding had been and whatever else he had been up to. He found his mother in the kitchen, pottering around and making coffee. “Morning, Mum.”
“Good morning sweetheart.” She turned to kiss him on the cheek, but then swatted his hand away when he reached for the coffee pot. “I’ll get that. Do you want some toast?”
“Yeah.” Stephen yawned and slumped into a seat at the kitchen table. “Dad up yet?”
“Gone to take the dog for a walk. He should be back soon.”
“Think he’ll be up for another game of Scrabble later?”
Leticia chuckled. “I think he might need a while to recover from yesterday’s trouncing.” More softly she added, “He’s glad you’re here, you know.”
Sighing, Stephen nodded. “I’m glad to be here.” His stepfather, Paul, had been practically erased from existence by the media since the truth of Stephen’s paternity had been revealed. Paul had raised him, so for Stephen it had also been painful. But the darkness was starting to lift slowly but surely.
“I’m not saying you should visit more often, but…”
“But I’ll try to put in more of an effort, Mum.”
“Good boy.” Leticia kissed the top of his head, putting down a cup of coffee. “And maybe you should bring Mandy next time.”