Once she was back downstairs and out of Daniel’s earshot, Val reached for her mobile phone, and, having reassured herself that it was now approaching 9am and therefore no longer too-early to disturb people on a Sunday morning she dialled her sister Lisa’s number, and waited for her to answer.
“Good Morning Val, what a lovely surprise this sunny Saturday morning.”
“Hiya Lise, yeah beautiful isn’t it. How’s things with you, all ready for the onslaught this evening? Haha”
“Ah, you’ve heard then? Yeah, all good apart from that! I must be mental, allowing 8 eleven year old girls to run riot in my house for the weekend. Absolutely crackers.”
Val laughed, but couldn’t resist adding her own little twist. “Don’t you mean 8 girls and one 11 year old boy?”
Spluttering on the coffee she was trying to drink, Lisa nearly dropped the phone. “WHAT?!? When did that happen? Emily hasn’t mentioned anything about BOYFRIENDS coming!” The word boyfriends was deliberately amplified, in case her daughter was listening.
“Haha, sorry Lise, didn’t mean to give you a heart attack. No, that’s why I’m ringing about actually. Somehow your Emily and a couple of her friends have managed to convince Daniel to join them. Well, actually, I think it’s more one of the friends, a girl called Lucy. And you may not be too far off the mark I reckon.”
“Oh, wow. Now that’s a turn-up for the books. I didn’t think Dan would stay away from home, because of, well, you know…”
‘Yeah, I was more than a little surprised too. From wha I can gather, your Emily did ask him but he declined as usual. This Lucy’s turned up on the scene though, and I don’t know what it is about her, but she seems to have really brought him out of his shell. Next thing I know, he’s agreed to go, and asking me to help him just in case anything should happen. Look, I’ve not got long as he’s just finishing packing, but I wanted to give you a quick heads up, and to make sure you were ok with him staying too?”
“Of course he can stay Val, you know that’s no problem at all. He’d have been welcome any time, Emily’s always asking as she loves having somebody around. How’s he going to get around it thought?”
Val quickly listened to make sure Daniel was still upstairs, before quickly recounting his plan to his aunt. She explained about the spare PJ’s, the airbed and sleeping bag and, the biggest part of the plan, that Daniel was intending to confide his secret in Emily, Lucy and Becky that afternoon, before the others arrived.
“Such a brave and mature young man, you’ve done well there Val. Give yourself a pat on the back. And thanks for the heads up, I’m sure everything will be absolutely fine, but I’ll keep an ear out for any trouble. And, please tell Daniel that if he needs anything at all then just to come to me.”
“Thanks Lisa. You’re not wrong, I’m so proud of him. This is a massive step, but I really think that getting over this hurdle will be the making of him. He’s been getting so much better lately that I’m sure he won’t even have a problem, but I think having his closest friends onside will be a big help. He must really like this Lucy to be thinking of telling her his big secret, I actually can’t wait to meet her myself.”
“That’s why I was so taken by surprise! Emily is his cousin, and they’ve known each other all their lives, yet he’s always been so private about it that so far as I know she hasn’t got a clue. Tell you what, Lucy and Becky are due here sometime before lunch, so why don’t you bring Daniel over about midday and stay for a spot of lunch? It’ll give you a chance to meet the new lady in his life, and may give him a bit of reassurance having you close to hand whilst he ‘does the deed’ so to speak.”
Val smiled “That’s actually a great idea, thanks Lise. I’ve nothing planned this afternoon, so I’d love to. Although I’m afraid I’ll be leaving you too it before the chaos kicks in later, hahah.”
“Thanks for that, sister dearest! Haha. But no problem at all, you’re very welcome. Catch you later.”4
Audio Version of Chapter