Ellie and Lucy shuffled apart, creating a space for Jack to join them on the sofa, with Ellie patting the vacant seat encouragingly and smiling as she said “Feeling a bit better now mister? Come on, park ya bum, Lucy was just telling me some funny stories from school, I bet you’ve had some laughs too haven’t you?”
Jack looked warily towards the much older girl, remembering how kind she’d been to him and Tom yesterday but really not feeling up to small talk, and the last thing he wanted was her to start asking awkward questions about the way he was dressed! Instinctively he took a couple of steps towards the gap on the sofa, and then his fight or flight instinct kicked in and he instead dove the other side of Lucy, squeezing himself into the tiniest of spaces and almost knocking himself out on the arm in the process with a loud “crack”.
“Oooh, ouch! Careful Jack, that must’ve hurt” Lucy sympathised, shuffling back to her original position to give him a little more room and extending a protective arm around him as he buried his face into her side with a whimper. “Come on now mate, why so shy? You know Ellie…heck, after yesterday you must know her better than I do.”
Ellie leant over Lucy’s lap, placing her lips next to Jack’s ear as she whispered quietly so that even his big sister couldn’t hear “Don’t worry Jack, accidents can happen to anybody – even me! At least you didn’t do it on a rollercoaster in front of thousands of people. If I can get over that, and your Lucy here can still smile after what happened to her last week, then I’m sure it’s not the end of the world is it?”
Jack shrugged his shoulders, but made no effort to move. He was listening intently, however, slowly coming around to the idea that worse things could and did happen and that he was lucky really that nobody else knew. It wasn’t often he got a cuddle off his sister though, so he was going to make the most of it whilst he could, and hopefully the girls would carry on chatting and he may even learn a bit of gossip if he was really lucky.
“Well, if you’re not going to share any funny stories from your school, and Lucy’s just taken her turn, it must be my go again. What d’ya both say, you’re both going to end up going to my school – and you in just a few weeks Luce, wanna hear a bit more about it? I won’t lie, I still miss my primary – it was loadsa fun there, and even your Mum was always pretty cool, but high school is great. And I’d love to tell you more about it.”
Lucy nodded eagerly, wide eyed with expectation, she couldn’t wait to get to “big school” and had spent most of the last year wishing her final junior school days away, but at the same time she was really apprehensive, it’s a big change and a much, much bigger school. In year 6 she was one of the oldest and most mature, most trusted kids, but it’ll be like starting all over again when she starts in year 7, so anything that would help her would be really great. Even Jack’s ears pricked up, he still had a few years to go yet and he knew that everything would probably change by then, but he was really going to miss his sister when she left primary school and he was excited to hear more about where she was going to be going and what she’d be doing there. He tentatively lifted his head and glanced furtively towards Ellie, who’s warm smile reassured him enough to sit back upright and pay attention to what she had to say.1
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