The three girls plus Daniel were hungrily tucking into the BBQ which Emily’s mum had prepared, sat around in a circle on the lawn chatting as they did, whilst the two adults were on the patio keeping an eye on the grill and enjoying a naughty, early afternoon glass of wine in the sun. By some strange coincidence, Dan and Lucy had ended up sat next to each other again, and as the conversation flowed they kept stealing quick, furtive glances at each other, both trying to get their heads around how they were feeling and the little exchange that had taken place in Em’s bedroom earlier.
Their sidelong, puppy dog looks didn’t go unnoticed, with both Emily and Becky rolling their eyes and exchanging their own private smirks. They had to admit, it was really quite cute to watch.
Once lunch had been eaten, and keen to keep in Lisa’s good books, hoping to be allowed to stay up extra late that night and, maybe, even to set up and play in her inflatable hot tub, they immediately offered to deal with the dishes, leaving the two ladies to finish their drinks.
“Thanks for inviting me over Lise, it’s been lovely to have a couple of hours of proper, adult company – and the food and wine are much appreciated too!”
“Oh don’t mention it, as you say it’s been great, you soon go mad when your only daily conversation outside of work is with an 11 year old, don’t you, haha.” Lisa chuckled, picking up the wine bottle and waving it invitingly at Val. “Fancy a top-up?”
“Oh, don’t tempt me! I’d love nothing more, but I’ve got to drive home, and really should think about getting a shift on if I’m going to achieve anything with my child-free day. I shouldn’t have had the one, knowing I’ve got work to do, but who knows it may even help the creative cogs to start turning.
I wonder whether Daniel has told them what has been playing on his mind? They all seemed to laid back and carefree when they came down that I find it hard to believe that he has. Not that I think the girls will be anything other than supportive, of course, but I was expecting him to be in bits.”
Lisa looked pensive as she glanced towards the open kitchen door. “I’m not sure either. Em looked quite distracted, and did keep looking at Daniel, but not only at him, at young Lucy too. And then them pair spent practically the whole time they were out here gazing into each others eyes. So who knows, maybe he has told them and it’s just become the non-issue that it should be, or perhaps he’s been too busy flirting to get around to it yet.
Both women burst out laughing at that, oh what it must be to be young and carefree, they thought.
Val filled her sister in on the steps her and Daniel had taken to hopefully help keep his bedwetting a secret, if he was unfortunate enough to have an accident, although they both agreed that very little sleeping would probably take place, so the chances are he wouldn’t have anything to worry about. And Lisa also suggested that, in the unlikely event that they did all end up asleep, she’d try to wake him up early just in case he needed to shower and change before the others surfaced.
The 4 kids soon rejoined them in the garden, and both women noticed that Daniel and Lucy had come back out holding hands. How sweet! Emily came over and asked whether they were allowed in the hot tub, but Lisa quickly pointed out that she needed to fill it up first, so it would be better if they waited until later on when the other girls had all arrived. Instead, why didn’t she show Daniel, Becky and Lucy the new play park which had been built at the end of their estate only a couple of months previously. The park was only a 10 minute walk away, so she trusted her daughter to visit on her own, without supervision.
Emily’s eyes lit up at this suggestion, and even more so when her Mum pulled out a £5 note and suggested that she treat her friends to a big bottle of pop to share whilst they played.
“Thanks Mum, you’re the best! Come on, let’s go, TO THE PARK!”
Whilst the girls went inside to put on shoes, Val called Daniel over.
“I’m going to have to go now love, is that ok? I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon, have a good night.” And she hugged him close, taking the opportunity as she did so to whisper into his ear, aware that he’d probably be very self-conscious if she asked him out loud in front of his aunt “Did you manage to tell them, did it go ok?”
Daniel nodded I answer to the whispered question, and then made point of giving his mum a kiss on the cheek. “You go Mum, I’ll be fine.” And with that he turned and ran off inside shouting as he did so “Wait for me. Oi, Lucy, Becky, Em, don’t go without me!”4
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