Detailed plot summary - Part one

Chapters Nine - 12

Marcus is horrified yet amazed that he has killed a duck by throwing a piece of bread at its head. Will tells the keeper that one of the ducks is dead and is outraged when the keeper says that he knows that either Will or Marcus is responsible. The keeper assumes that Marcus is Will’s son. Will goes along with this and tells the keeper that Marcus would never hurt a duck and only threw the bread at the already dead body to try to sink it, as it was upsetting Megan. At this moment, Marcus thinks that he sees his mother standing in front of them in the middle of the path, smiling. He waves and turns to tell Suzie that his mother has decided to join them, but when he turns back his mother has disappeared. Marcus never tells anybody about this. When Suzie takes Marcus home, she insists on coming into the flat with him. He, Suzie (carrying Megan) and Will all walk into the flat and the first thing Marcus sees is his mother lying across the sofa, her head near the floor and a pool of vomit in front of her. Will calls an ambulance and makes black coffee. Fiona begins to come round, making an awful noise.

Suzie goes in the ambulance with Fiona, and Will drives Marcus and the baby, Megan, in Suzie’s car. He asks Marcus how he feels and Marcus replies that he doesn’t know. At the hospital, Suzie is in the waiting room and Fiona has been taken away somewhere. When Will and Marcus arrive they sit down and Suzie tells them that the doctors are pumping Fiona’s stomach at the moment. Will and Suzie sit together through the evening; the baby goes to sleep and Marcus goes back and forth to the vending machine. They watch all the people who come to the Accident and Emergency department, many of them drunk, or on drugs, or mad. Will thinks to himself that people need to look after themselves. He does not really care about anyone else at this stage. A woman comes over to tell them that Fiona will be kept in hospital overnight and arrangements are made for Marcus to stay with Suzie.

Will finds himself thinking about Marcus and Fiona quite a lot, and wonders if they need him. He imagines building a relationship with Marcus, taking him out here and there, possibly to watch Arsenal play football. He considers taking Fiona out to dinner or the theatre as well. Strangely, as he is thinking about this, Marcus telephones him to say that Suzie has told him that Will would like to take him out for the day. He adds that he will come if Will agrees to take Fiona too. It takes Will a few moments to realise that Marcus is afraid to leave his mother alone. They agree to meet the following Saturday and Will makes an excuse for not being able to bring Ned with him.