"Oh Ben, look at the state of you, what did I say?" said Margaret, as Ben and Amy came into the kitchen. Ben looked down at his muddy clothes and winced.
"The bathroom's still not finished, and I'm not sending you to that horrible woman's house again so you'd better just get those clothes off right now and get out in the back garden. It's the hose for you my boy!" said Margaret, drying her hands on a tea-towel.
"I've had a shower mum" said Ben "I did it at Victoria's house just now."
"He has mum" said Amy "His clothes might be dirty but he is clean underneath."
Margaret stared at Ben suspiciously "You go and get changed then and put those dirty clothes in the laundry basket, don't you dare leave them on your bedroom floor."
Ben hurried across the kitchen before his mother changed her mind.
"On second thoughts" said Margaret, as Ben reached the door "Just get undressed and put your clothes in the laundry basket. I'll be up to deal with you in a minute when I've checked on the shepherd's pie."
"Mum, I'm clean I promise" said Ben.
"I told you not to get dirty didn't I? And what did I say would happen if you came home filthy again?" asked Margaret.
"You didn't say anything about spanking me" said Ben.
"Don't argue, go on, get upstairs!" said Margaret.
Ben bolted from the room and thundered upstairs like a First World War artillery barrage. Margaret turned to Amy "Are you alright darling? You look like you've been crying."
"I fell over and hurt my knee" said Amy "I'm alright now."
"Let me have a look" said Margaret.
"I'm okay, honest" said Amy, heading out of the kitchen speedily. Margaret shook her head and turned to the oven; she opened the door and peered in.
When Paul and Angela entered the kitchen Felicity and Lizzie were sat at the table with cups of tea. Paul looked round, puzzled, the familiar smell of cooking was absent.
"What's for tea?" he asked, hoping he wasn't going to have to wait for ages for it to be cooked.
"It's all he thinks about, his stomach" said Felicity "He hasn't even said hello."
Lizzie smiled at him "Boys that age are always hungry for something" she said.
"We've been waiting for you" said Felicity "You can go and get fish and chips, we haven't had time to cook."
Paul nodded. Fish and chips were fine, he assumed that his mother and aunt had spent all day gossiping and he was slightly uneasy in case he had been the topic of conversation.
"But sit down first, there's something we want to tell you" said Felicity.
Paul sat. This sounded ominous and he didn't like it at all. Angela pulled out a chair from the kitchen table and sat down as well.
"We thought we'd be better telling you both at the same time, rather than taking you aside separately" said Lizzie.
Paul nodded slowly, wondering what bombshell was about to land and explode in their faces.
"Your Aunt Lizzie has decided" said Felicity "That she isn't going back to your Uncle Harold."
"Mum!" said Angela looking distraught.
"Sorry, darling" said Lizzie looking very uncomfortable "It's not... you're too young to understand, but sometimes, it's best if people aren't together."
"But you can't spilt up mum!" said Angela, and she began crying.
"Oh don't, darling, please" said Lizzie, beginning to tear up herself "It's for the best, I promise. You'll still see your dad, and things will be better. There won't be the rows anymore, these past few months... they've not been nice for any of us."
Paul looked at Angela, slightly shocked, then at his mother and Aunt Lizzie.
"So your Aunt Lizzie and Angela are going to be staying with us for a bit longer than we thought" said Felicity "And they're going to find a house here in the village. We'll get Angela registered with the school, and hopefully she can start next week with you."
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
A MrDouble Production:
Changes last made on: Sunday, June 24, 2018