It didn’t take long for Jack to come back down stairs, ashamed of the way he had behaved, and apologising to both Lucy and his Mum. He was always bit tired and cranky after school, but sports day had made him worse!
“It’s ok squirt, just don’t do it again yeah.” Lucy cuffed him gently, but smiled as she did so, reassuring him that it was forgotten about. “C’mon, jump back on here next to me whilst Mum’s fixing dinner, and I’ll even let you pick what we’re going to watch.”
Grinning, Jack curled back up next to Lucy and willingly took the TV remote, flicking through loads of kids channels before finally settling on a cute animal cartoon. It wasn’t a new one, in fact it was something Lucy remembered watching years ago when she was tiny, and she still secretly loved it just as much now as she had back then.
Within moments they were both transfixed, completely engrossed in the story, and even jumping at the ‘scary’ bits and shouting out too. Lesley heard this excitement from the kitchen where she was busy cooking, and popped a head around the door, laughing to herself as she saw her two young children clearly enjoying themselves, the previous rift all but forgotten.
By the time there dinner of sausages and mash was ready, the cartoon was almost finished, and not wanting to interrupt Lesley didn’t call them through to the kitchen to eat, but instead stood again in the doorway and watched the last couple of minutes along with them. It was a bit of a sad ending, and she was amazed to see that Lucy had her face buried in Jack’s top by the end, not wanting to watch what was happening. Jack, being a typical boy, didn’t show much emotion but she could see he had taken it all in.
“Wow, that was a bit of a tough ending, wasn’t it guys.” Lesley called from behind them. “Are you both ok?”
Jack nodded, but didn’t smile, deep in thought. And Lucy had clearly been quite moved by what she’d just seen unfolding on the screen. “That was sad, mummy” she answered in a small voice “I don’t like unhappy endings.” A they stood to walk into the kitchen to eat, Jack surreptitiously slipped an arm around Lucy’s waist, and Lesley felt a lump rising in her throat as she witnessed this. They really were good, kind hearted kids, and she was proud of them both.
The prospect of sausages and mash, followed by a secret pudding, soon lightened the mood, and by the time they were seated at the table everybody was laughing and smiling again, excited for the weekend and their big plans. Well, both children were excited at any rate, Lesley was admittedly a little apprehensive about the prospect of 2 hugely overexcitable 7 year olds bouncing around her house all weekend, but then the weather forecast was looking good, so with a bit of luck they’d be outside a lot of the time. She’d even thought about trying to plan a trip somewhere too, although it was a bit last minute. She’d have a look later when things calmed down a bit.
“So, what’s the plan for tomorrow then Lucy, do you need dropping off over at Emily’s?”
“No Mum, don’t worry, Becky’s mum is going to pick me up on the way, they’ve got to drive past here anyway, and it means you haven’t got to worry about getting Jack and Tom into the car too.”
Lesley nodded, seeing that even with practicalities like this Lucy was always thinking of others, and it warmed her heart. “Thanks love, that’s really thoughtful of you. Do you know what time they’re coming?”
“Not a clue, but I’ll text Becks now and find out. Then I really need to go and get my stuff packed, I haven’t even thought about what I’m going to take!”
“Okie doke, let me know what she says, just so I can make plans. And before you start packing, can you do your reading homework please? You don’t want to be rushing it on Sunday night when you get home, tired and cranky.”
Rolling her eyes, Lucy quickly retorted “I’m not Jack, Mum! I don’t get ‘tired and cranky’. But yeah I’ll do my reading, don’t want to have to worry about it at the end of the weekend.”
“That sounded pretty cranky to me young lady, for somebody who doesn’t do ‘tired and cranky’ anyway.” This was delivered deadpan, but with a twinkle in the eye, reassuring Lucy that her Mum was just winding her up.
Trudging off upstairs, Lucy first dropped her bestie a quick message to confirm the plans for the following day, and then settled down on her bed with the school reading book she was currently working through. Homework bored her, but she had always loved to read, so it wasn’t really a chore as far as she was concerned. She knew that there were only a few chapters left, and she was hoping to finish the story before the end of the school year. Within minutes she was lost in the fantasy world, flicking pages completely oblivious to the ‘real world’ around her, until a loud ting from her bedside table pulled her back to reality, Becky had replied.
‘Hey Luce, Mum said can we come get you early? She’s spoke to Em’s mum and we can be dropped off before lunch x’
Lucy could resist breaking into a wide smile, her sleepover had just turned into a full day adventure. Plus there would probably only be the 3 of them there until later on in the afternoon, so they could have load of fun before the others arrived.
‘Yay! That’s great, thanks Becks. I’ll tell mum now. Can’t wait x x’
Setting her reading book aside on her bed, Lucy jumped from her bed and ran out onto the landing, nearly tripping over a toy that Jack had left spread out everywhere, and stubbing her toe painfully in the process.
“Oooooow! Jack, can’t you ever put anything away, that really hurt!” Before realising the irony of her comments, as she turned to close her bedroom door behind her and saw all of her possessions spread across every inch of the floor.
“Mum, mum! Mummmmmmy! Becky’s picking me up after breakfast in the morning, so we can spend all day with Emily before the sleepover. Yaaaaaaay! I can’t wait.”
Lesley was relaxing in the lounge with her feet up and a glass of wine on the table next to her. Knowing that she had Tom to look after the following night, she wouldn’t drink then, so thought she’d treat herself tonight before the chaos of the weekend. She’d just been starting to nod off when she heard her daughters excited squeals from upstairs, followed by elephant like thundering down the stairs.
“Woah, woah, calm it down. That’s great, thanks love, I’ll be able to plan something to keep Jack and Tom out of mischief now. Have you done your reading?”
“Yes Mum, I’ve read 4 more chapters, and there are only 6 left in the book. I’ll easily finish it next week. Maybe even later, t’s a really good story and I can’t wait to find out how it ends.”
Lesley was so glad that her kids both had a love of books, she felt this was so very important, and as a teacher knew just how much it would help their future learning. “Well done. Go on then, go and get your things together and packed into a bag to take with you, before it gets too late. You need to have a bath or a shower too before bed, as there probably won’t be time in the morning.
Back in her bedroom Lucy found a pink wheelie case which she thought would be perfect for the weekend. Then came an hour long fashion parade, as she tried on just about every item of clothing in her wardrobe. Eventually she settled on a summer dress, shorts and a sparkly top, a pair of really cool skinny jeans and her favourite t-shirt, her swimming costume, and both a nightie and a pair of purple unicorn pyjamas, just because she didn’t know which the others would be wearing, and the last thing she wanted was to be uncool with the wrong thing. She also threw in some fancy hair clips and her makeup, as there was sure to be a makeover session involved. And, embarrassed though she’d be if any of her friends saw, she snuck her teddy bear inside the sleeping bag which she was packing on top. She’d be able to cuddle him under the covers without anybody seeing.
As an afterthought, she picked up some sandals which would go with her shorts and her dress, a couple of pairs of socks and a pair of undies for the Sunday. Then, blushing slightly at the memories of the past week, she hastily shoved two more pairs of undies into her bag. She knew there was no way they’d be needed. She’d die of shame if anything like that happened, but ‘just in case’.
END OF PART 14
Audio Version of Chapter