‘Ouch!’ I hissed, bringing my bruised thumb to my mouth and dropping the hammer.

‘Everything okay?’ Laura asked, sticking her head into my workshop.

‘Totally fine,’ I incoherently mumbled around my injured digit. She laughed and stepped into the shop properly, walking over to my bench and picking the hammer up off the floor.

‘I told you, you get too focused,’ she smiled, kissing me on the top of the head.

‘The worst part is I can’t blame anybody,’ I frowned, assessing the damage to my thumb. ‘Oooh, wait, I heard you coming up the path. You distracted me!’

‘Nice try,’ she rolled her eyes.

‘C’mon, let me have it,’ I batted my eyes at her, holding up my limp hand. ‘I’m injured.’

‘What are you making, anyway?’ she asked, ignoring me.

‘Nothing, if I don’t make it to that hardware store located near Cheltenham,’ I realised with a start, glancing at the clock above my bench. ‘What time do they close again?’

‘How should I know?’ Laura frowned. ‘What do you need that’s so important?’

‘Oh, you know,’ I shrugged. ‘Just some screws, few planks of wood, enough drywall to build a moderate-sized dwelling at the edge of the property line—’

‘Excuse me?’

‘You’re right,’ I nodded. ‘Gonna need some nails too. Silly of me to forget.’

‘You’re putting a house up in our backyard?’

‘Not a house,’ I grinned sheepishly. ‘Just more of a granny flat. For my mother. Who needs to live with us. Please.’

If looks could kill, I never would have made it to that Cheltenham store for building supplies. I never would have made it out the door.

‘Your mother wants to live with us?’ Laura repeated, almost just to herself.

‘Only temporarily!’ I defended myself.

How temporarily?’

I frowned slightly.

‘What’s the average life expectancy these days?’

I ducked under the hammer as it sailed through the air.