He pauses at top of the stairs and takes a deep breath before descending. As usual, he has forgotten something, but if he is quick, retrieves the stool from the kitchen without delay, his nerve should hold. But then Abbie appears, holding up her stripy wellies in plaintive request for a tramp through the dead leaves in the woods. The freckles that cover her nose are fading as the days shorten.
‘Perhaps later,’ he lies as he walks past her, but the damage is done, her stare acting like jump leads to his heart, and he puts the stool down.