Having ended her call with Ellie, and taken a few minutes to digest everything she’d just heard, Lucy was standing out in Lisa’s back garden absolutely astounded! She couldn’t believe that her Mum had asked some strange man and his family to stay overnight, after only meeting them property a few hours earlier. Ellie had sounded just as lovely as shed expected though, and even though they’d yet to meet she already loved her for sparing her blushes over the waterproof sheet. It was really odd, because Lucy was such a private person generally, and would probably only ever speak that freely and openly around her family, and probably Becky, yet she’d felt so at ease chatting too Ellie. Maybe that’s what had happened with her Mum, perhaps Ellie’s dad was the same?
Her immediate worries laid to rest, although her curiosity definitely piqued, Lucy headed back into the kitchen to join her friends and finish picking at the breakfast leftovers. As she had expected, all heads immediately turned to her as she entered the patio doors, and both Becky and Em shouted over to her in unison “Everything ok Luce?”
Smiling broadly, she assured them that everything was indeed absolutely fine, panic over, and then briefly explained that it looked like her Mum had found herself a new boyfriend.
“What?” They all exclaimed, clamouring for more juicy gossip! They all knew that Lucy’s Mum was a teacher, so it was quite the scandal when a teacher met a man and took him, plus his family, home with her the same night. They count picture any of their teachers doing that, after all, what man would want to sleep with old grumpy Mrs Moss?
“Yeah, that’s what I was so shocked about, although I didn’t now the details then. Well, I still don’t really, but I’ve got a vague idea at least. You know that girl who added me yesterday, Ellie Peters? Well, turns out that she’s this fella’s daughter – and, to make it even more complicated, his younger kids go to my Mum’s school. Weird, eh? That’s who I was on the phone to, Ellie, she told me that she’d ended up stating at mine lsat night, and I wanted to know what had been going on, haha.”
Nobody quite knew what to say, they were all just as amazed as Lucy had been by this news, although Lucy seemed to be happy, so they were too. From what they knew of Lucy’s Mum, she was a lovely lady (for a teacher!) and deserved to be happy.
Deciding that a change of subject was needed, because poor Lucy was starting to look a little uncomfortable at being the centre of attention, Dan quickly stepped in. “So, what’s the plan for the rest of today then? Are you all sticking around for a while, or heading off home? I don’t think Mum is coming to get me until teatime, but I’m guessing you’ll mostly have gone home by then?”
“I’ll still be here Dan.” Em offered, with a giggle.
Em grabbed a conveniently placed banana, and launched it at her cousin, find its target squarely on the end of his nose, the perfect shot but unfortunately timed just as Lisa walked through the door.
“Emily Rose! What do you think you are playing at, throwing food around! Honestly, you’re supposed to be 11, not a 3 year old toddler!”
Blushing from being chastised in front of her friends, Em retrieved the wayward fruit, apologising to Dan as she knew that her Mum would expect her to, an then having the good grace to look a little contrite, if only for a second whilst Lisa was watching, before doing her best to stifle a giggle as her Mum turned away to begin tacking the washing up.
“I’ve washed and dried all of your clothes and swimming things from yesterday, and laid them out on Emily’s bed, so make sure you pick up whatever’s yours and pack it back into your bags please, I don’t want your parents complaining that you’ve left half of your clothes here, and honestly I wouldn’t know where to begin working out what belongs to who, so it’s over to you guys to make some sense of it all. If there’s anything that’s Danielle’s, can you leave it to one side for me please? Hopefully she’ll be feeling a little better today, and I can arrange getting anything she’s left behind back over to her Mum at some point.”
Everybody made a point of thanking Lisa for taking care of their laundry, especially Lucy and Becky who had contributed more than their fair share to the pile, and had been spared the mortification of taking weed in clothes home for their Mum’s to deal with, no doubt leading to awkward questions and embarrassing conversations about using the toilet like the big kids they were supposed to be. They all agreed that Lisa was a really cool Mum, and Em was lucky to have her, causing the girl to roll her eyes, although deep down she knew how right they were.
Having finished their breakfast, and helped Lisa to dry and put away the dishes – mostly in completely the wrong places, so she’d have to sort them all out again, but the thought was there – the group made their way back upstairs to sort through the washed clothes. Remembering the wet leggings and pants she’d found, Lisa made a point of following them up, on the presence of collecting bedding for the wash, and busied herself on the landing while they were sorting though the various plies and claiming what was theirs. She noticed it was Becky who claimed the leggings she’d found, which surprised her a little as the girl had come across as quite mature and ‘grown up’ to her so far, although even as an adult she knew that sometimes a full bladder could catch you unawares, and it only took an unexpected cough, sneeze or laugh to result in an embarrassing puddle and a change of clothing being needed. Had it been one of the other girls who she’d noticed becoming desperate, she may have said something, but in the end she decided against embarrassing Becky, figuring that wetting her pants in front of her friends would almost certainly be enough to ensure that she didn’t leave it too late again in the future!
Once the rabble had taken what was there’s, only Danielle’s outfit from the previous afternoon, and her bikini remained, which Lisa scooped up and moved into her own bedroom for safekeeping, making a mental note to get in touch with the girls Dad later on to see how she was bearing up, and also to find out what he wanted doing with the clothes – either he could collect if he was local, or she could pass them on to him when doing the school drop off the following day, depending on whether anything was urgently needed, although not being school uniform she doubted this would be the case.
Before long, there came a ‘ding-dong’ from the front doorbell, echoing through the house, and all of the kids sat hoping that t wasn’t their lift home arriving. All, perhaps, except for Lucy, who really didn’t want to leave Dan any sooner than she needed to, but who was also desperate to talk to her Mum about what had been going on, and also to finally see the elusive Ellie, and her Dad naturally.
“Emily, Laura’s Mum is here to collect her. Do you want to hep her bring her things down, and them come and say goodbye?”3
Audio Version of Chapter