Lucy could barely contain her glee that Dan would be joining them, although his texts did have her a little worried about just what it was that was bothering him so much. She was glad he’d decided to talk to them about it though, and felt sure that whatever it was could be sorted out.
As she poured herself a second large glass of juice, Lucy glanced at the clock and saw that it was now after 8am, and that meant it was nearly time to go!
Having finished their breakfast of crumpets and hot chocolate, Daniel led his mum up to his bedroom, ready to start packing his things. He felt incredibly apprehensive, it had been probably 4 years since he’d last slept over at a friends house, and that had ended in absolute disaster, something he was keen to avoid at all costs. Plus, because he’d been so much younger last time, Val had taken care of his packing for him, so in truth he didn’t really know where to begin.
“What do I start with Mum?”
“Well, let’s see, you’re going to need some clean clothes for tomorrow, so that’s probably a good place to start. Find yourself some jeans and a top.”
Dan began rummaging through his wardrobe, holding up various combinations before settling on one. Casting an eye over his choice, Val nodded her approval, noting that he’d chosen a particularly smart outfit. My, it seemed he really did want to make a good impression on the young ladies.
Folding his clothes carefully, something he never usually did, Dan placed them gently into the bottom of a holdall, and then looked enquiringly over at his mum.
“Good lad. Ok, now something to sleep in.” This caused Dan to pull a face, his worried look returning and creasing his boyish features.
“Don’t look so worried, it’s only pyjamas mate! That’s one of the ideas I had though…I know you like your football ones, but if I remember rightly you’ve got two pairs the same that you were bought for Christmas, haven’t you? I don’t think you’ve even worn one of them yet.”
Daniel nodded, and delved into his chest of drawers, retrieving two identical pairs of black PJ’s with silly slogans emblazoned across them.
“Perfect, love. There you go, pop both of those in. They’re black, so if you do have a little accident in the night, it should be a lot less obvious than your grey ones. And, because both pairs are the same, if you have to change, nobody will know.”
At this, Daniel blushed a bright red, and lowered his head in embarrassment. He really hated it when his Mum said things like that, she just had such a babyish way of phrasing everything. But, he had to admit, it was a pretty good idea. Not that he’d need the change of PJ’s of course, but ‘just in case’.
“That’s great, Mum.” He managed to whisper “B…but, if it does happen, the bed will get all wet. I can’t take a second bed can I”. This was what had worried him the most, he was used to dealing with wet clothes, but knew that there was no way he could hide a wet bed, and if he made a mess of Emily’s he’d be absolutely horrified. At least his bed at home was protected, but he knew that no other 11 year olds still wet themselves sometimes like he did, so of course she wouldn’t have a plastic sheet.
“Well, love, that’s something else I’d thought of. Look, it’s mostly going to be girls at this sleepover, isn’t it? From what I can gather, you’re going to be the only boy there?”
Dan nodded his confirmation, although this thought didn’t help him to feel any better. Yeah, the only boy there, and the only one to wake up in a puddle too!
“I’d imagine the girls will end up sharing beds, top and tail and the like, but it’s probably not a great idea for you to do that, even without your…ahem…little problem. If it was just you and Emily then fair enough, but you can’t really go sharing beds with strange girls at your age. So, how about you take a sleeping bag and blow-up bed? Then you can still be with the rest, but have your own space too.”
Dan’s eyes lit up, the thought of having an accident in Em’s bed had genuinely mortified him, but that was the answer, he was sure of it. “Thanks Mum, why didn’t I think of that?” And with that he couldn’t help but grab her in a tight hug.
Nearly knocked over by Dan’s enthusiastic embrace, Val steadied herself and chuckled. “Steady now. Go on, you go and pick one of the sleeping bags from the airing cupboard and I’ll dig out the airbed, I’m sure it’s in the spare room somewhere.”
Once both had been found and inspected, they were added to the holdall, which was already nearly full.
“Okay Daniel, socks and pants now. Throw in a couple of each ’just in case’,“ and Daniel absentmindedly grabbed a handful from his underwear draw and threw them into the bag.
Finally, Dan had a brainwave of his own, and returned to the wardrobe to pick up a pair of shorts and a running top. “If I do have to get up early and have a shower, it’s the perfect cover. I can go for a run first thing, can’t I?”
Even Val hadn’t thought of that, and she clapped her Son on the back proudly. “Great thinking, see, you’ve got this! Whatever happens, you’re going to have a great night. Ok, I’ll leave you to get any more bits and pieces you want to pack together, but I think that’s probably the main things taken care of.”
“Thanks Mum, you’re the best!”3
Audio Version of Chapter