I stared at Eddie, while Emma showed him her drawing of him and Abby. I was watching his face, and his body language.
“That’s you!” Emma exclaimed, touching the Eddie-figure on the paper. “See? You and Abby are holding hands!” Something in Eddie’s face changed. It tightened slightly. Abby missed it; the stupid girl was looking at me instead.
“Why are we holding hands Emma?” Eddie asked, sounding curious.
“Because you like each other,” she said simply, taking her drawing out of his hands. Again I kept a close watch on Eddie’s face and saw it and his shoulders tense slightly. He laughed though.
“Okay then.” He knew it was pointless to argue with a five-year-old. And again, Abby had missed his reaction, she had turned to the mirror and was pinning her fringe back. She turned around when Emma tugged at her skirt.
“Here,” she said, holding out the drawing.
“Thank you Sunshine,” Abby said, taking the picture and kissing Emma on the top of her head. Emma wrapped her arms around Abby’s neck, so Abby picked her up and propped the picture up on her dressing table. “Look, everyone can see it when they come in,” she told Emma who crowed with delight.
“Oh,” I said, suddenly remembering that the boys had indeed been signed today. “I forgot… Congratulations!” Eddie and Jed laughed as I stepped forward to hug them. As I hugged him I pulled off Eddie’s beanie.
“I wear knit hats when it’s cold out, you wear knit hats because of Coldplay,” I said, chucking the beanie over my shoulder. Abby started laughing.
“Brilliant use of that line Rachel, I commend you,” she said. I knew if she hadn’t been holding Emma she would have clapped.
“Television show I’ve never watched?” he asked, walking over to his beanie and picked it up while I hugged Jed.
“Two Broke Girls. Best show ever,” Abby clarified.
“I feel like the odd one out,” I said, looking down at my clothes. “Why are you all still in your uniforms?”
“Who can be bothered getting changed after school? Why put in the effort?” Eddie shrugged, pulling on the beanie. Abby raised an eyebrow and grimaced at the hat. “What?”
“To be completely honest it sort of looks like you’re wearing a condom on your head.” My eyes flicked to Emma, who was playing with Abby’s necklace and seemed to have missed the conversation.
“What! No!” Eddie said, looking in the mirror and pushing his fringe to one side. He paused and frowned. “Does it really?” He looked at me appealingly.
“Yeah, it does,” I confirmed. He looked back at Abby who shrugged and then pulled it off his head.
“Fine.” He walked sadly out of the room his beanie in his hand. Abby rolled her eyes, and shifted Emma’s weight before following him out. Jed and I stood awkwardly for a moment before he signalled for me to go first. I ducked my head, blushing slightly, as I walked out the door. He pulled it closed behind him and followed me down the hallway.
In the lounge-room Eddie flopped onto the couch, Abby sat a space away from him, Emma on her lap. I sat next to her and Jed sat on my other side. Abby took Emma’s hair out of the little ponytail it was in and started braiding it expertly. I stared at her with envy. I wished I could braid. I could plait, but braiding was different. Abby complained that I could simply tie my hair with a ribbon, but I couldn’t braid, so we were even. She had even tried to teach me how to braid hair, but my fingers just wouldn’t comply. I noticed Eddie staring at Abby’s fingers as they nimbly pulled at Emma’s blonde locks. He glanced up and saw me looking at him, so he flicked his eyes away quickly. I smiled. Oh yes. I knew exactly what was going on here. Even if Abby didn’t.
I used Emma’s hair tie to tie off the end of her braid. I glanced at Rachel who was smirking slightly. I raised an eyebrow curiously and she shook her head looking amused. Jed and Eddie were watching the television, the sound of the six o’clock news drifting out of the speakers. I hugged Emma who then squirmed on my lap and climbed over to Eddie, preferring to snuggle with him rather than me. I pouted at her back for a moment, and then turned to see Mum walk round the corner from the kitchen with a mixing spoon in hand.
“Abby,” she said, trying to catch my attention, even though I was already looking at her. I gave her a look. “Do you know where Gerard is?”
“How would I know where he is?” I asked, frowning. Gerard never told me where he was going, unless he didn’t want me there at all. And that normally came with a threat. He hadn’t threatened me in a bit over a day now, so I had no idea where he was.
Mum shrugged. “He tells you more than he tells me,” she said.
“I dunno where he is, sorry.” Mum assumed a cranky expression and returned to the kitchen muttering darkly.
“Someone’s in trouble,” Jed observed.
“Nah,” I said, waving a hand dismissively. “Mum’ll forget she was angry when he gets home.” As I spoke I heard his ute pull up on the curb. “Speak of the devil and he doth appear.” I stood up and went to the front door. Stepping outside I raised a hand in front of my eyes to shield them from the sun.
Thinking I was waving, Gerard raised a hand in greeting. “Hey there Babbs!” he called. This time I waved as I walked towards him. He was pulling stuff out of the tray of his ute.
“Mum’s cranky at you,” I said, leaning my elbows on the edge of the tray. He looked up and smiled crookedly, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
“When is she not?” he asked. I shrugged.
“You were meant to be home early today, did work keep you back?” I asked, putting my hands on the lip of the tray and leaning back. I reached into the tray and hauled a bag out.
“I got off work at three,” Gerard informed me, lifting a box out of the ute with a grunt. “Come on, let’s get this stuff inside…”
“Well, where have you been?” I asked curiously. “And what’s in the box?” I nodded at the box he was carrying, as I shouldered his bag.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” he asked, grinning cheekily.
“I suppose that answers both questions?”
“Yup.” And we said no more. Gerard was really quite mysterious when he wanted to be. I rolled my eyes and opened the door for him.
“Dad!” he called immediately.
“He’s in the study,” I said, pointing in the general direction. “Is that for him?”
“No,” said Gerard, walking hurriedly up the hall and to the study, the door of which he pushed open and closed with his foot. I stared at the door suspiciously, frowning for a moment before ambling up the hallway and opening the door to Gerard’s room. I tossed the bag in the direction of the bed and closed the door again, turning around and making my way back to the lounge.
As I sat down, Mum popped in again and looked at me.
“Did Gerard just get home?” she asked.
“Yeah, he went to see Dad.”
“He didn’t even say ‘hello’,” Mum said sadly as she walked back into the kitchen.
I sat down on the couch and smiled at everyone else, making idle conversation for ten minutes before Dad and Gerard emerged from the study after Mum had yelled that dinner was nearly ready. They were carrying the box, except now it was wrapped up in birthday wrapping. I sat up straighter and peered at the box.
“What is that? Who is it for?” I asked, swapping my stares between Dad and Gerard. In the meantime Emma scrambled off of Eddie’s lap and ran over to Gerard, hugging his knees.
“Uh, a present, and, um, not you,” said Gerard in a sarcastic tone. I gave him a look as he placed the box on the floor, before picking up Emma.
“Mandy!” Dad called to Mum.
“What?” She sounded cranky.
“Can you come here dear?”
“Dinner is almost done!”
“Mandy, can you just come here please, there’s a surprise for you!” I heard a spoon or something be thrown down onto the counter and then Mum came around to the lounge, pulling her apron off and looking enraged.
“What do you want David?” she demanded, before catching sight of the box. “What’s that?”
“Happy Birthday Mandy!” “Happy Birthday Mum!” Dad and Gerard said at the same time. For a moment I had a slight heart attack, then I remembered her actual birthday wasn’t until the weekend, and this must be an early present. I stood up and inconspicuously approached the other four members of my family to see what was in the box. Gerard grinned at me though, so I supposed I hadn’t been that inconspicuous.
“It’s kind of a present for everyone,” said Gerard. I bounced forward.
“I volunteer to unwrap it then!” I exclaimed, raising a hand. Gerard stuck out an arm and pushed me backwards, nearly causing me to fall over.
“Abuse!” I yelled. “And he has an unfair advantage! I can’t hit him, because he’s using Emma as a shield!” Gerard laughed.
“Shush, Abby, Mummy is going to open the big present!” Emma scolded. Everyone laughed, and then Mum pulled the wrapping off the box.
“Why are there holes-” Gerard clamped a hand over my mouth while I stared at the box. I heard the others shifting on the couch behind me as Mum opened the flaps of the box. She squealed.
“IT’S A PUPPY!” I ripped Gerard’s hand off of my face and ran forward to look into the box. An adorable Dalmatian puppy with a red ribbon tied round it’s neck looked up at us with massive eyes. Then it stood and started bouncing around excitedly, yapping.
“Oh my God! It’s adorable!” I cried, reaching into the box. Mum stood to one side, clapping excitedly, Dad and Gerard were grinning excitedly and Emma was squealing excitedly. I picked up the little dog and pulled it out of the box. “Is it a girl or a boy?” I asked, as I cuddled it.
“A boy,” Dad said.
“He’s so cute!” Rachel said, standing up to come pat him.
“What are you gonna name him?” Jed asked, standing up and looking at Mum. I opened my mouth to make suggestions, then closed it again, remembering that this was Mum’s present, not mine, so I handed the puppy to her and looked at her expectantly.
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, catching my eyes. “I think I’ll let Abby make a few suggestions…” I grinned and fist pumped. Gerard groaned.
“Mum, it’ll end up name Harry-Potter-Lumos-Protego-Weasley, or something similar.” I put my hands on my hips and glared at him.
“I was going to go for a Harry Potter name though…” I said, slowly. Gerard rolled his eyes, so I shot him another look and Emma even told him off. At least my five-year-old sister had faith in my name-choosing skills, even when my 19-year-old brother didn’t. Well, they should all have faith in me; I named Emma, didn’t I? “I was thinking either Prongs, or Kingsley.”
Gerard opened his mouth to say something smart obviously, then shut it again.
“Hm,” Mum said, thoughtfully, looking at the little puppy. “I like both. Nice choices Abby.” Dad nodded in agreement and I heard noises from the others that sounded like the too agreed.
After musing over the names for a few minutes, Mum handed me the pup and raced back to the kitchen to serve dinner.
“I guess we’ll wait until after dinner to decide then…” Gerard said. I nodded and put the puppy down for the first time since we picked it up out of the box. It followed me into dinner and sat at my feet throughout.
“He seems to have taken a liking to you,” Eddie said across the table.
“He’s not the only one it seems,” Rachel muttered so only I could hear.
“What?” I asked. I had no idea what she was on about and I gave her the evil-eyes as she picked at the food on her plate, smiling innocently. I would wring the truth out of her, whether she liked it or not.
Oh my God guys! I’m so sorry that I uploaded this way later than I said. I just got busy and sidetracked all day long.
Anyway, here it is the fourth chapter!
And what I really want is your opinion on which name they should choose for the puppy. He’s a little spotty Dalmatian, who will be a little cheeky bugger and cause havoc, but is a big sweetie. He loves Azure Fox (well, that’s what Abby believes anyway) and he is taken to gigs and such. So yes. Please give your opinion on his name, if would be brilliant.
Thanks so much for reading! Flick me a message any time, they make me smile. :D