Jack couldn’t contain his excitement, and bounced up and down on his bed whilst whooping with joy. He’d nagged his Mum for months, but she’d never taken him seriously. Now, all of a sudden, it seemed she’d given in, and he had no idea why. Not that he was going to complain of course, in fact he couldn’t wait to share the news of his good fortune.
Lucy meanwhile sat and sobbed, hardly believing this was happening. She was devastated. The spare clothes for school were bad enough, but how could her Mum do this to her? Didn’t she realise that last night was a one off, it was NEVER EVER going to happen again. It had never happened before, and she still couldn’t quite believe it had happened even once, but there was no way it could possibly happen again. Never. As she sat and cried, she could hear Jack practically wetting himself with excitement in the next room, and was wondering what on earth had gotten into him. The last thing she needed was to hear him laughing and whooping, didn’t he realise her world was ending? Actually, no, he didn’t, and she fully intended to keep it that way!
“Jack, keep it down will you? And hurry up and get changed, Mum will be home soon.”
There was no answer, but the bouncing did stop, so she presumed he’d heard her and was getting himself sorted. Taking the opportunity, she slid off her bed and pulled back the corner of the sheets, just to make sure she was right. She immediately wished she hadn’t, as she was right, and seeing it for herself just made her feel even worse.
Without warning, there was a shout from behind her “Did’ya call me sis?”
Jumping almost out of her skin, and in a panic trying to cover up her bed but only succeeding in drawing more attention to it, Lucy bellowed “Out! Get out!” As she spun around to face the bedroom door, but it was too late.
“Hahahahahaha!! Why have you got a plastic sheet on your bed Lucy, are you a baby now? Hahahaha! Guess what, Mum has taken mine off because I don’t wet the bed anymore. Why’ve you got one, you don’t…”
Lucy blushed furiously, her entire face turning scarlet, and the tears which seemed to be ever-present over the past couple of days began to fall once more. She just knew she was never, ever going to hear the end of this. And if what Jack had said was true, and his had been taken off, then that really did make her the baby in the house, didn’t it? She just couldn’t bare to think about it, everything had gone wrong, and it all just kept getting worse.
“Wait a minute.” Jack was grinning mischievously now. “It’s all starting to make sense. The screaming, the bath running in the middle of the night, your bed being stripped and you sleeping in with Mum. You did, you wet the bed didn’t you Luce? Wow! Even I’m not a little baby that does that any more…and you’re 11!”
He may only be 7, but Jack knew exactly which buttons to press and exactly what to say. Lucy was crushed. She was such a proud girl, and being seen as ‘grown up’ was everything to her. Now even her own baby brother was more grown up than she was, and both of them knew it.
“I said GET OUT NOW!” This time the bellow was tinged with a menacing scream, and even fearless Jack didn’t dare stick around to find out what she’d do to him if he didn’t comply. Turning tail and running for the safety of his bedroom, he left behind an inconsolable Lucy, who could no nothing more than lie on her bed and cry, tears of anger, tears of frustration, tears of absolute mortification.
When she eventually calmed down and her sobs subsided, Lucy realised that she was still lying in her school uniform. Pulling herself up to her feet, she quickly undressed and, heading for her wardrobe, made a point of selecting the most ‘grown up’ outfit she owned, determined to make a point that she wasn’t a baby, whatever Jack and even her Mum thought. Tightening her belt, she glanced in the mirror. Perfect, she easily looked a year or two older than her real age, exactly what she was after. Not that she was going anywhere, but she had a point to prove.
The next couple of hours passed without further incident, with Jack playing in his bedroom, beaming from ear to ear and genuinely feeling that all of his Christmas’s had come at one, and Lucy moping about in her room, totally downcast and struggling even to engage with her friends as they gossiped by text. Her heart just wasn’t in it. Before long she heard her Mum’s car sweeping into the driveway outside their house, and steeled herself for a particularly awkward conversation.
“Hi Lucy, Hi Jack. I’m home, sorry I’m so late.”3
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