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Coming Home

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126 Re: Coming Home on Sat 29 Aug 2015, 11:05 am

The summer holidays were over, and it was exactly what Lorelai had been dreading. She’d lose two of her boys at once. Well, in her eyes she felt like she was losing them. Henry, her baby, would start school, which was hard to imagine because Henry would always remain her baby, but the worst was Dan leaving for university. It was unfair. She’d only got to be his mother for two years, she only got to have him around for two years. She felt robbed. Other mothers had eighteen years with their sons before they would go to university. She only had two. And even though it had only been two years, it felt like Dan had always been her son. He was just as much of a son to her as her biological children Edward and Henry. Dan was her boy, and nobody could take that away from her. Not even that damn university that tried to take him away!
On the day they would drive to Chelmsford, one of the many campuses the university was located, and the city Dan would be living for the next years, Lorelai still seemed to be in denial while Dan was experiencing a mixture of excitement and sadness. He had just gained a wonderful family and already had to let go off them so quickly, but at the same time he had worked so hard in school and was incredibly grateful for this opportunity. He would work towards becoming a teacher. He had greatest respect for Mr Liam, Mrs Jo and Mr James, they were sort of his role models, and he really wanted to be like them once he had received the proper education. His Mutti was so proud of him, especially since he was the one who had given the speech at graduation, but he also knew that she had a much harder time letting him go than she cared to admit. He would also miss Ricky, whom he was looking up to as well. Ricky had been there for him from day one, and he also admired how someone so quiet and shy as Ricky, and who also came from a very poor background, managed to become a professor at one of the best universities in the world. Dan would definitely stay in contact with him and give him updates. He owed so much to him, Ricky had no idea.

While they had breakfast, John and Henry kept talking excitedly with Dan, but Lorelai and Edward sat quietly at the table, staring at their food without touching it.

“You will be so smart when you go to university!” Henry exclaimed. “And you need to find a new boyfriend!”

Dan tried not to blush.

“There are so many boys at university, I bet you will like it there!”

“Henry…”

“Maybe you’ll have a husband soon.”

That made John and Dan laugh.

“Oh, I always love to think of my time at university,” John said with a smile. “It’s the best time of your life, trust me. There’s no doubt in my mind that you will love it there.”

Dan nodded but his eyes moved back to Lorelai and Edward, who looked like they were attending a funeral.
“And it’s only two hours away from Oxford,” Dan said quickly. “So that means I can visit all the time.”

“Yes, you have to!” Henry only knew one volume: loud! Every time he said something it was more shouting than anything else.

“He will be busy,” Edward mumbled.

“Sorry?” Dan turned towards his brother.

The little boy pressed his lips together. “When you are at university you won’t have time anymore.”

“Oh, Edward…” Dan shook his head. “Of course I’ll be busy now and then, but nothing will keep me away from visiting my family. I promise.”

Edward didn’t seem very convinced. He was generally a very serious boy who tended to think more negatively than Henry, the eternal optimist. Edward was too realistic for his own good, and he had never really been a ‘child’ to begin with. He acted too grown up, which worried his family at times.
Dan smiled encouragingly at his little brother. “You, and Henry, and Dad and Mutti are the most important thing in my life. You are more important than my education-“

“Don’t say that, Dan,” John said. “You worked so hard to achieve this.”

“I know, but it’s true. You and Mutti…,” he glanced over to Lorelai, who was still staring at her plate, “you saved my life. I think that fact is a lot more important than any education in the world. And of course I’ll do my best to succeed and I am extremely fortunate that I’ll be able to attend university, but I am even more fortunate to have you, all of you, as my family.”

That was too much for Lorelai. She got up and stormed out of the dining room. Everyone looked a little surprised but then John cleared his throat, regarding Dan with a kind smile.
“Well, my boy,” he said, “she just loves you too damn much. I’m nearly jealous.”


_________________


SPN: Georgina (Georgie) Gilmore
SG: The Kid
LaL: Willow
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127 Re: Coming Home on Sun 13 Sep 2015, 5:46 pm

All four Von Gruensee boys let Lorelai hide in the parental bedroom. Minutes before they had to leave, Dan knocked at the bedroom door. “Mutti? May I come in?” He asked in nearly flawless German. Lorelai didn’t object, but she looked rather sad while she was sitting in the armchair at the window.

“Mutti? I am sorry I had to grow up.”

“It is not just that Dan.” Lorelai whispered. “I am scared… scared that you get hurt… that somebody breaks your heart or worse your face… that you take on too much and forget to enjoy being a student… that you forget us…”
Dan wrapped his arms around Lorelai. “I could never forget you. Never, ever! And I promise I come back to do the spring clean every year.”

Lorelai chuckled. “You read too much.”

“I can’t help it I had to read Peter Pan to Henry all summer over and over.” Dan laughed.

Lorelai looked at her oldest son. “Why did the Lord wait so long for me to find you?”

“I don’t know, but He showed me the way here it just took a long time. Mutti just because I go to university and I said that it just doesn’t feel right to go to an elite university as Oxford doesn’t mean that you lose me. We will talk on the phone and write letters and I visit. I said that before and I will say it again. I will come home at least once a month. I have to come home, or I will believe you were just a wonderful dream. I am going to miss you so much that I can’t put it into words. When he started beating me, I thought I am going to die. I think he left me there to die slowly bleeding out and somehow I managed to get to Ricky… an angel from heaven and this angel brought me here. He could have taken me to so many places but he chose here. I spoke to Ricky and he said it was him that suggested for me to come here. Missis Jo suggested for me to become a boarding student and the Children’s Hope Foundation would adopt me, there was also the thought that I could go and live in Neverland but then I never really belong there, but Ricky thought the right place for me was here. He didn’t know why but when I was broken, he saw me whole here and Three Lakes. And he was right. This is my home and it always will be.” Dan was still holding Lorelai. “Please Mutti I need you to stand behind me. I can’t do this if you hate me doing it.”

Lorelai looked at her son for a while. “I am standing behind you, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. Waterfall Downs Academy is this safe haven, I just worry that you got too outgoing and meet the wrong people that don’t understand the true meaning of love. There are still so many people out there, which think it is wrong when a man loves another man.”


“Don’t worry. I know I have to be careful, but the times are changing people all over the world protest to love and not to hate.”

“You are too smart for your own good.” Lorelai laughed and hugged her son. “Come on lets go I can’t let my son be late to arrive at university, and don’t worry I got you everything you need.”

Dan grinned nervous. “Now I’m worried that I look like a spoilt brat in front of new people.” Lorelai shook her head.
Lorelai had insisted that Dan’s small car was on a trailer and the family was driving together. The closer they came to Chelmsford the more nervous Dan got.

“What if they don’t like me?” Dan whispered.

Edward looked at him for a while. “If they don’t like you then they are stupid. They should be glad to be your friend in the first place.”

Everyone looked at the little boy no one expected such a sudden outburst of confidence and determination from him. Dan wrapped his arm around Edward. “I know right?”

Henry laughed. “Of course they will all love Dan and then they want to go to bed with him and then they make babies and get married and live happily ever after and have every Easter an orgy.”

“Where in three devil’s name did you hear that Henry?” John laughed nervous.

“Jill’s husband Fi told us. He said they duck, but I’m not sure how you can duck. I mean how can you duck? I don’t think Dan is quaking like ducks. That is just weird. And what is an orgy? Is that like chocolate or the carp we eat? Can we have an orgy next Easter?”

Edward was starring around Dan at Henry. “Just why would you repeat anything this man says? Mutti says he has a foul mouth.”

“But I think ducking and orgy sounds like fun.” Henry argued but Edward shook his head. “A foul mouth.”

“Yeah Henry I have to agree with Edward, I don’t think you should repeat what he says.” Dan said. “I know I am for sure not interested in an orgy.”

“So what is an orgy then?” Henry urged Dan.

“It is a group activity like… rugby but for grownups.” Dan tried.

“Fine, so when I am grownup I will have an orgy, a really big one in the mud like a good match of rugby.” Henry nodded when he suddenly jumped up and hung half out of the window. “We are here! Look at this! Danny, Danny your school. Oh look so many pretty men. I’m sure they like going to bed with you.”

“Henry!” Lorelai turned around with sparkling eyes.

“I’m sorry.” Henry sat back down and looked guilty at his knees.

“You better be, but you are right we are here. This is your hall. Let’s register you.” Lorelai tried really hard not to break down but she also knew how much this meant to Dan that she was here it would break his heart if Lorelai were not here. As much as Dan seemed to be excited about his start at university, just as nervous he was. It scared him to start university, to leave home, to leave his brothers, he was scared they would forget him, they would stop needing him. What if the family he loved so much was glad that he was gone and they finally felt free of him, again?

“Oh look there are loads of other boys living on this floor.” Henry got all excited as they walked onto Dan’s floor. The hall had four floors. On the ground floor where common rooms such a TV room, a sitting room and some small study rooms on the first floor were some offices  and also some boys bedrooms, the third had just boys bedrooms and then the fourth floor was the girls floor. It was locked from the outside so that no boy could get up. Dan was living on the third floor at the south corner not far from the bathroom.

“Henry stop this.” Dan hissed angry. Lorelai was inspecting every detail of the house and the floor, she would make an exact plan of the house and made sure that Dan knew all exits, all hazards and he knew where people could break in.

“Dan please remember you manners.” Lorelai said calmly.

“Sorry. Henry stop this, please.”

“Thanks here we are room 312. Dan do you want to unlock it yourself?” John handed his oldest son the key. John was emotional but he knew how important this was for Dan, and John was just very proud how far his son got. He loved to call Dan his son.

Dan’s hand was shaking so hard he couldn’t put the key in hole. “Let me help.” Edward whispered, took Dan’s hand and guided it to unlock the door. Dan’s room had two windows since he was at the corner, a nice sized wardrobe, a book shelf and some more other shelves, a desk and a nice armchair. It was sparse but it was all rather new furniture and roomy enough.

“This is nice. I like that I have two windows and I get all my clothes in the wardrobe.” Dan stepped in the room and opened both windows.

“I got you a new mattress I will not let you sleep on a used mattress. The delivery should be here any minute. I also got you a small single hob so in case you miss a meal in the dining hall you can still eat more than just a sandwich. Ah there we go.” Lorelai greeted the two men carrying the new mattress. Dan sighed he would be marked as the rich boy… but when he poked out of his room he noticed that all other thirty-nine rooms got deliveries similar to his. I guess we all are rich boys in this house. I knew Mutti would book me into the most expensive hall. Dan chuckled to himself and let the men fill the room with his boxes.

“Mutti there is an introduction meeting I hoped I could attend. I made you a plan of things you could do.”

“Oh we are fine here setting up your room.” Lorelai was busy unpacking the bed linen, for a moment he felt bad leaving her doing all the work but she looked the happiest she had in days. Dan nodded and went to the stairs when sudden small steps made him turn around.

“Edward, is everything alright?” Dan kneeled down to have a better look at his little brother.

“Yes everything is alright. I was wondering, I mean I know I am too young but maybe I could come along? I… I would like to spend some more time with you.”

Dan thought about it for a moment and then pulled Edward in a tight hug. “Did you ask Mutti?”

“She said it is alright with her if I don’t bother you. I really don’t want to bother you. I can just go back to Mutti and sort your books in alphabetical order.”

“I would like it very much if you come along. Come on I don’t want to be late.” Dan took Edward’s hand and together they went to one of the lecture buildings. Edward was very shy and he preferred sitting on Dan’s lap while a professor spoke about the time at university. Dan was listening and took some notes. Not long after all fresher’s went into the big foyer and had some tea and biscuits.

“Is this your son, young man?” An older lady with blonde hair asked Dan, who was holding Edward’s hand nearly too tight to be bearable for the young boy.

“No he is my little brother, Edward and I am Daniel von Gruensee.” Dan introduced himself and his little brother to the lady.

“Daniel von Gruensee? That is a surprise. I am Professor Davids, your supervisor. We have an appointment tomorrow morning at ten, do not be late I hate people that are late.” Professor Davids smiled curious at Dan.

“Yes I know. And I will be there on time. Edward is a little bit sad, well we all are. I am adopted and will miss my family very much.”

“Adopted, I see. So you are a chosen child. So Edward will you go to university too?”

“But I am not old enough.” Edward whispered shy.

“In a few years you will be.”

“That is true and then I will go and study music.” Edward whispered. “Maybe in London, not too far from home though.”

“Music, that is nice. Are you learning an instrument?”

Now Edward chuckled. “One? I am playing by now about eighteen. I just started to learn the play the oboe. But my favourite is the piano. The great Graham Hart is teaching me.” Edward was glowing with pride that such a well-known pianist as Graham Hart was teaching him.

“Graham Hart? I didn’t know he gives music lessons.” Professor Davids looked interested at Edward.

“I think I should explain that Professor. Graham Hart is the father of our uncle, well he is sort of our uncle. His wife and our Mutti are cousins but it feels more like sisters.” Dan tried to explain.

Professor Davids smiled. “I see. We will talk about this by a good cup of tea and some cake. But for now go and mingle and make some friends.”

“Thank you, I will see you tomorrow Professor.” Dan smiled at the older lady when he took Edwards hand and went back to meet some students, some of them living in his house so he would see them again in the morning at breakfast.

“Come on Edward lets go and meet Mutti, Dad and Henry for dinner.” Dan held on tightly to his little brother’s hand, he was worried that he would lose Edward in this crowd.

“Dan could we go to the loo first, please?” Edward looked shy at his brother. “Did you mind me being here?”

“No I loved it, come on I think the loo is over here. I gonna miss you so much and I will miss doing everyday things with you. But we will write. I will send you every week a letter of what I am doing and you gonna write me everything thats happing at home.” Dan led Edward into the toilet and was not surprised by Edward’s question.

“Can you watch the door I don’t want to lock the cube?”

“Not a problem.”

It didn’t take them long to get back to the hall and to find Dan’s room fully unpacked. And John took his family for a nice meal out.

“Dan isn’t it? It’s Charles, we just met at the introduction event and I am living down the corridor.” Charles smiled when he came to the table to take the orders. Dan grinned at Charles, clearly interested.

“Yes it is. This is my family. Are you going to have breakfast in the dining hall?”

“Yes, let’s go together and check out what is on the menu for us.” Charles laughed and winked.

“Sounds good.” Dan grinned back. Henry was watching his brother.

“Do you like boys?” He blurred out. Everyone looked at the little boy, and Charles actually looked scared. “It’s okay Danny likes them too. If you hurt him I gonna cut you.”

“Okay Henry that is enough!” Lorelai said strict. “Let’s order.”


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128 Re: Coming Home on Sun 27 Sep 2015, 6:18 pm

It was early September but luckily the summer had decided to return for a few days, making it seem like autumn was still far away. Even Ricky, who normally wore at least ten layers of clothes, only wore a shirt and cardigan today, no warm jacket needed. He was babysitting the twins today, as Jo and Liam were extremely busy with their ‘Welcome back to Waterfall Downs Academy’-Week, where all the new students got tours around the campus, and the teachers, staff and parents met up and chatted. Ricky had Jane and Jill for the day and would return them in the early evening.
Right now they were on a little outing in Oxford because he had to run a few errands in town. Jill was super excited but Jane was a bit more timid, that’s why she held on to Ricky’s hand tightly, not letting him go for a second. Ricky also had to make sure not to lose Jill, so he was holding her with his other hand, and it sure was difficult because Jill pulled him like a 5-month old, hyper puppy.

“Sweetie, slow down a bit, okay?”

“Did you see the hat shop, Auntie Ricky?” Jill kept pulling his arm. “Those hats look silly!”

“I know.”

“Can we go in there?” She pointed at the drugstore.

“What do you want in the drugstore, Jill?”

“I don’t know,” she giggled. “I just want to go inside.”

“Well, as a matter of fact I need to go there as well. I need some new body lotion.”

“Me too!”

“Do you even know what that is, Jill?” Ricky laughed.

The little girl shook her head. “But I still want it!”

“Okay, okay.” Ricky turned to Jane and smiled gently at her. “Are you alright, darling? Do you want anything to drink? Do you need to use the bathroom?”

She shook her head. “No, thank you, Auntie Ricky. And I’m fine, don’t worry.”

“Good, just double-checking. You seem a bit nervous.”

“She’s always nervous when we go somewhere, especially when there are people,” her sister explained matter-of-factly.

“You don’t need to be nervous, Jane,” Ricky replied calmly. “I’ll take care of you.”

She just stared at him for a moment but then nodded. She trusted Auntie Ricky, and she knew she would be okay as long as she kept holding his hand.
As they entered the drugstore Ricky had a hard time holding Jill back from running through the aisles. She was almost as excited as if she had entered a toy store. Ricky had to smirk. How easily Jill was entertained. Just going to a simple drugstore made her happy.
While Ricky and Jane walked towards the soaps, Jill let go off his hand to look around.

“Don’t run off, Jill,” he reminded her.

“I’m just looking.” She blinked innocently at him. Man, she had her father’s eyes! Looking so innocently with those blue eyes when in fact there was a little cheeky devil hiding behind them.

“You can, but don’t open anything, and stay close.”

“Okay!” The drugstore wasn’t very big so she couldn’t get lost and Ricky could still keep an eye on her if he was looking over the shelves. Of course Jane didn’t leave Ricky’s side.
Jill was exploring the aisles of the shop as if she were in the garden of Waterfall Downs. She got down on her knees and crawled to the next aisle, pretending she was a dangerous tiger or lioness – she liked both, she and Henry often played Lion and Tiger- when she suddenly noticed something familiar.
A mark.
Someone was standing there in same aisle, only she didn’t look up, she only looked at the mark on the ankle of that person. She knew that mark very well. It had to be…

“Fi?!” Jill looked up, expecting to see her beloved Fi - but then her smile vanished. There was a tall man stocking up shelves, and he knew that man too, only that man was certainly not her husband Fi. She couldn’t remember what his name was but he had scared her once in Waterfall Downs. He was an evil man and had grabbed her arm until it hurt. And then Fi had come to her rescue and saved her.
The evil man had noticed her and looked very displeased when he saw that little ginger brat.

“What the fuck are you doing here? Did the zoo let out the monkeys now?”

Jill, who normally was never at loss for words, looked at him and then back at the strange mark on his ankle. It looked exactly like Fi’s, she was so sure about this.

“Hey, get up! You can’t just stay there on the floor!” he growled at her.

“Jill?” Ricky appeared behind her, holding his breath when he saw Sebastian. Apparently he was working here now. Great, now Ricky couldn’t go into the drugstore anymore- and he needed the drugstore! He needed all his creams and lotions and soaps! But he certainly didn’t want to run into Sebastian every time.
“Jill, come here,” Ricky said quickly, holding his hand out for her.

Sebastian was careful around Ricky these days. He’d got beaten up twice by that damn Jackson guy, once because of Ricky and once because of this stupid little brat that was on the floor, staring at him right now. Still, he couldn’t resist making a comment whenever he saw Ricky. There was something about this boy that provoked him every time, even when Ricky wasn’t saying anything, and still, Ricky was really getting to him. He always had, even back in secondary school.
“All alone?” Sebastian let out a dry laugh. “Did your maniac boyfriend dump your sorry ass?”

Ricky bit his lip and tried to ignore him. He remembered too well how it felt being shoved into the wall by Sebastian almost every single day, or being locked up in the toilet stalls or thrown into the garbage containers behind the school. Even though Ricky had never said or done anything in school to offend him, Sebastian was always out for him.

“Jill, please.” Ricky’s voice sounded stern, and the little girl finally got up and walked to him.

“Auntie Ricky, Auntie Ricky!” she hissed, pulling his hand. “He has Fi’s scar!”

“Sorry?” Ricky didn’t understand her at first.

“That man,” she said in a low voice. “He has Fi’s scar!”

“What are you talking about?” Ricky was looking in Sebastian’s direction, obviously scanning his face for the scar Jill was referring to but she shook her head.

“At his ankle,” she explained. “He has the same scar as Fi!”

Ricky couldn’t hide the shock in his face but then he cleared his throat. Surely Jill must be mistaken. She was just a three-year old, of course wasn’t –
Oh God. She was right.
Ricky’s eyes fell on the other boy’s ankle. He hadn’t seen it before, or at least not that he could recall. There, on his ankle, right at the very same spot that Alfie had his birthmark, Sebastian had the exact same mark.
The mark of the Jackson curse.
After that one conversation he had with Colin months ago in the café, when the older man had told him about the Jackson curse, Ricky had been reading everything about this ‘curse’, and in a few articles he found not only the mentioning of that mark but also pictures of it. Only one of Jackson blood, a male Jackson heir, the ones who carried the curse, were marked by it. Always at the same spot, on the ankle. And that mark always looked the same. Sebastian’s mark was identical to Alfie’s, there was no doubt about it. Even little Jill had noticed it.
That must mean…
Ricky looked up at Sebastian, growing paler by the second. He remembered how, back in school, Sebastian was often teased by older boys because he didn’t have a father. Not even Sebastian knew who his father was, and he often had to listen to older boys calling his mother a tramp. Ricky always felt sorry for him, no matter how much he tortured him, he always felt a certain pity for Sebastian, who grew up in a broken home, never knowing who his father was.
He carried the Jackson mark…His father was a Jackson.
Sebastian, the boy who had made school insufferable at times, who had tormented him through all of his school days, that same boy could possibly be related to Alfie. In fact, there was a great chance that Alfie’s father, Lord Broderick Jackson, was also Sebastian’s father.
That meant Alfie and Sebastian were…brothers.

“Oh God…” Ricky didn’t realise he was saying that out loud, and now everyone was looking at him.

“What the fuck is your problem?” Sebastian asked coldly.

Ricky’s eyes wandered up, from the mark right to Sebastian’s eyes. The Jackson eyes… Why had he never seen it before? Why had he never noticed the similarities between Sebastian and Alfie? It was so clear now. Those two were definitely related.
Ricky’s heart had stopped beating for a second. The boy he loved so much was related to the boy who had made his life a living hell during his school times.
Brothers.
No…no, let it all be a stupid coincidence! He was just imaging it! Yes, Sebastian couldn’t be a…
Yes, he could. He could be a Jackson. In fact, it fit perfectly. He fit perfectly into that family.
Sebastian was not just a bully like Victor Gray. No, there was always something clever about him too, something cunning.
Cunning. The thing the Jacksons were infamous for. Jacksons were not just bullies, they were cunning too, some extremely smart on top of that. Sebastian had always been more than a simple bully. Now even if Sebastian didn’t possess Alfie’s intelligence, both of them had that same cunning glimmer in their eyes…
Ricky started to feel sick.

“Stop checking me out, you disgusting fag!” Sebastian’s voice pulled him back into the present.

Ricky looked one last time at him, then he quickly turned around, holding both girls tightly. “Let’s get out of here, girls.”

“Auntie Ricky?” Jane asked as they walked out of the shop without buying anything. “Are you okay?”

“I…I am…” He was so bad at lying. He was trembling. “I think I…ehm…need to sit down for a moment. I’m a little woozy.”
They sat down on a bench, and Ricky quickly handed the girls their sandwiches so that they had something that would distract them. However, Jane was still watching him closely.

“He is a bad man, isn’t he?”

Ricky took a deep breath and forced a smile. “Don’t worry about him, Jane. Let’s just enjoy the sunny day, okay?”

“I told you,” Jill said while munching her sandwich, “he has Fi’s scar…”


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SPN: Georgina (Georgie) Gilmore
SG: The Kid
LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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129 Re: Coming Home on Fri 09 Oct 2015, 11:21 pm

“What in Saint Patrick’s name is this?” Liam said following the odd jingle coming closer up the long driveway of Waterfall Downs Academy. Usually the gate was closed and locked. Visitors had to ring the intercom and then it was connected to kitchen’s telephone. Normally someone from the kitchen staff then came to tell them that a visitor was coming. Liam came out of his lab he had just finished with his last class of the day.

“Liam it is here!” Jo yelled as excited as all the other children around her are.

“DAAADDYYYYY! He is here!” Jill yelled and ran outside clutching something in her hand, dragging her poor sisters along.

“Okay, Jo I love you but why is everyone crazy? What did I miss?” Liam took his excited wife’s hand. Jo looked shy at Liam.

“Well I made this arrangement and I know I should have talked to you but it is nothing bad and it cost us close to nothing. I promise.” Jo looked innocently with her doe eyes at Liam.

“Fine how can I resist those eyes?” Liam grinned and kissed her. “So what is this?”

“Come on I’ll show you.” Jo grinned and dragged her husband along to the front entrance of Waterfall Downs Academy. And there it was all pupils along with their two twins lined up in front of a ice cream van. “As a little girl I once saw one in town but I was with mother and she was so disgusted by the idea of me eating anything from a filthy place like this. I never stopped dreaming of an ice cream van coming once a week to Waterfall Downs, but it never came. Last week I saw one in town again and I had a long conversation about the sanitary procedures. And I think the idea of having once a week the ice cream van here and the pupils buy under supervision ice cream and we now they all get one and not unlimited amounts.” Jo said getting in line for ice cream herself.

Liam grinned at his wife. “Are you trying to convince me or the parents?”

“You don’t think I’m crazy?”

“Totally, but I love you anyway. So once a week you all go crazy because of a man in a van?”

“Yes!” Jo grinned. “One double soft whippy with chocolate sauce and a flake, please.”

Liam laughed kissed his wife and looked around the pupils that hadn’t enough cash got help from the ones that had. Funny how a bit of ice cream taught the pupils a lesson in caring for each other.


One day you will leave this school and go out into a world that can be scary at times. We at Waterfall Downs Academy think that young women and men should have eager minds, kind hearts, and a will to help. You should have a good understanding of many things, and a willingness to accept responsibility and show yourselves to be loved and trusted. You will be able to learn at Waterfall Downs Academy all these things —if you want to. You all are very smart and you will win scholarships and pass exams excellently. However, we do not count those as our successes; nevertheless these are good things to achieve. Our successes are those of you who learn to be good-hearted and kind, sensible and trustable, good, sound people the world can count on. Those who cannot learn these things in the years they are here are our failures and it hurts us so much more to know that we failed you to teach you to become a good person.

Liam loved watching his wife give this speech to the new pupils in the dining hall. Not just the teachers were eavesdropping at the doors all old pupils were too. Not one wanted to miss out to hear it again, and she was right. Jo had done it she had created a school in which academically success was not at the first interest. And Liam say it right here all pupils and staff having ice cream.

“Daddy! Sarah forgot her money inside I bought her an ice cream.” Jill beamed proudly. “Look!” Jill pointed with her little ice cream covered finger at her favourite pupil in school. “Do you think she likes it?”

“I think she does, but do you remember when we spoke about pointing at people?” Liam crouched down and licked at the side of his daughter’s ice cream. “That side was running away.” He quicly said before she could protest.

“Oh good that you got it we don’t want to make a mess.” Jill still grinned at her father the mess was already done. Liam was very sure that Jill wore more of her ice cream that she had eaten. Jane offered her dad a lick of her ice cream -something the little girl had troubles with sharing food but she did it knowing it was the right thing to do-.

“I’ve got you one as well.” Jo grinned at Liam as she handed him the ice cream. “So you think this is alright as weekly activity?”

“Totally!” Liam laughed and followed his wife inside. Waterfall Downs Academy was in so many ways an unusual school but in so many ways the perfect school.

 
8.25 - 8.30         Registration and Assembly
8.50                  Lessons 1, 2 & 3
10.35 - 11.00      Bun Break
11.00                 Lessons 4 & 5
12.10                 Lunchtime
1.00 - 1.35         Quiet time, reading, form time
1.40                  Registration in classrooms
2.50 - 4.15         Lessons 6 & 7
 
Henry had his third day in primary school year 1, his third day he was out of the house until afternoon. Edward was in year two, and often finished school at 4.15 not like his brother who finished an hour earlier. Both boys took the bus home. Lorelai always encouraged the boys to be independent. Dan was away in Chelmsford, he wasn’t coming home that weekend because he just started and wanted to stay over the weekend, which made sense to everyone. Well everyone than Lorelai, she saw her beloved boys leave and even though she was proud of them, she was not ready for them to be that independent.  

“John? Have you seen Charlie?” Lorelai went in the living room.

“No. Actually I’m not sure when I last seen him.” John looked at his wife, he was concerned to see his strong wife so… broken. He didn’t like seeing his Lory like this. Lorelai sighed dramatically and left the house to find Charlie. It was unusual for Charlie not to come right away. He was such a well-trained dog, a true spy but he didn’t come. After a while of searching Lorelai got John to help. It took them a long time not after dinnertime Lorelai was still out when John had found him. It was odd, Charlie hated John and he didn’t let John touch him but here he was letting John pick him up. Charlie was shivering and seemed dehydrated and not himself at all. “Fuck.” John was a gentleman and for him to swear meant something. John hurried home; the stud farm had their own personal veterinarian. “I’m sorry but I don’t think there is much we can do John. Where is Lorelai she should be here with him?”

“She is still out looking for him.” John mumbled. He looked confused at Charlie, the dog that hated him was tightly snuggled against his side. The vet left the two, he had given Charlie an injection against pain but there was nothing she could for him. John watched the dogs chest rise and lower and rise and lower. Over and over again but it seemed to slow down, he seemed to slip away. Suddenly Charlie looked up right into John’s eyes, nudged his side made a gruffly sound and lay his head down. A last breath, a last climb, a last moment of life before Charlie left the house. John had no idea what to do now, Lorelai’s best friend had died and she wasn’t there and he knew that would eat her up.

“John? You found him? Where is he? How is he?” Lorelai went in the room and saw her dog lying in her husband’s arms, dead. “No! No! NO!” Lorelai yelled, picked up her dog shaking him demanding him to open his eyes again. John got up, wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly. He knew he couldn’t make her loss any less tragic but he could be there for her, as Charlie asked him to. “They are all leaving and I can’t protect them anymore. They are all gone! And now Charlie too.”

“Our boys are not gone, they are growing up and you know that and Charlie died the way he lived, protecting you. He told me so, in his last moment he chose me to do his job now, he died in my arms, I never thought he would accept me but he did and he chose ma and now I need to pick you up. Let me pick you up. Talk to me. The boys are in bed, lets wash Charlie a last time, wrap him in his blanket and then tomorrow before school we give him a burial.”

“I want Dan to be here.” Lorelai whispered.

“Alright, I will call him tomorrow morning and ask him to come home this weekend.” John whispered. He felt Lorelai nod into his chest. It took them a while to wash Charlie, to dry him, and to wrap him into the softest blanket and the vet came to take him into a safe place until the burial. John was worried how quiet she was. They were in bed and Lorelai was just lying there in his arm. “You are not running off now are you?”

“I did not come back for Charlie. If you remember he hated me.”

“Answer the question.”

“I will not run off. Lory talk to me. What is this about?”

“Dan is at university, he got beaten up from the man that was supposed to protect him how can we protect him now? Edward is in year two and he is so busy with school and his music classes. He is so ambitious and I worry that he forgets to be a child. And then Henry he is in year one and he might not love school as much for learning but he loves being at school for his friends and I am scared that they don’t need me anymore and what I then supposed to do? I was an amazing spy and I settle to be a mother and wife and breed excellent horses but the one thing that gives me pleasure the most are my sons to see them grow, but if I let them grow too much they will outgrow me and see that I am nothing.”

“You my darling are not nothing. You are this strong woman that loves her sons so much that she is teaching them to live so well and independent that they can stand on they own two feet in the worst storm humanly possible to think of and if everything fails they know that you are there right behind them. Ready to patch them up and send them back out because you know they can.”

Lorelai held on tightly  to her husband. “Just promise me that you don’t leave me.”

“I left you once and I hurt you so much on that day I didn’t show up. I will never ever hurt you like that again! I love you so much that I turned my live around and look at it now I have a good live I love our live! I will not leave you or forsake you, in sickness and in health I will be by your side until the day we day. Jo once said something I actually like. She said it is mean to die for someone because when you are dead you go to heaven and no one is unhappy in heaven, its heaven the real sacrifice is to let the person you love die first. Because that way that person is happy while you are grieving on earth. Charlie is with your mother and your brother Edward in heaven, playing on a field telling them what a wonderful person you are and they will take him in their arms and will thank him that he made sure I was the man that deserved to call you my wife.”

Lorelai was so calm she finally had stopped crying. “We have to call Jo and Liam, I want them to be there.”

Now it was John who nodded. “I will call them tomorrow. We will give him a wonderful farewell from this world.”

“Liam? Charlie died.” John said too early for Jo to be awake even though it was a school day. John had already called Dan who said he would be coming home on Friday afternoon and now it was the O’Dohertys. “Lory would like to have a burial this Saturday. I don’t think he had suffered. He had an inject with pain killer and seemed peaceful when he died in my arms.”


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130 Re: Coming Home on Tue 27 Oct 2015, 10:07 pm

Liam was unusually quiet that morning, and Jo could tell that something was up the moment she opened her eyes. He sat next to her on the bed and clasped her hand.

“What is it?” She grew pale.

“John just called…” Liam bit his lip. “Charlie died.”

“Oh no…” Jo squeezed his hand tightly. “That’s so sad. He was such a wonderful dog.”

“Tell me about it,” Liam mumbled.

“You really liked him.” His wife smiled sadly at him. “And he loved you, it was always cute to watch how he followed you around.”

“I mean, it had to happen eventually. He was ancient in human years, and in dog years for that matter, but he was…it just…it really…”

“I know,” Jo said gently and kissed him on the forehead.

“It feels like I just met him yesterday.” Liam sighed. “I know he was just a dog but…but at the same time he was sort of family. I know it sounds stupid-“

“It doesn’t sound stupid.” She pulled him into a hug and kissed him again. “Let me fix you a nice breakfast.”

“I’m not very hungry.”

“I know how that feels, but regardless, you need to eat something, Liam. You still have the whole day ahead of you. How about French toast? I know you normally can’t resist.”

Liam smiled weakly. “Okay.”

When they left the bedroom he was greeted by Jane, who was already awake and looking forward to her time with Daddy, as she did every morning. Since Jane and Liam were the early birds, they often prepared breakfast and waited for Mummy and Jill to wake up – or had to wake them up themselves, if the two ladies were still not committed to get up.

“Daddy!” She stretched out her little arms, something she had always done when she wanted to be lifted up by her dad, and even now she still wanted to be carried around by him as much as possible. Even though Liam was always happy to see his girls, this morning he was indescribably thankful for them; all three of them.

“Princess.” He lifted her up and kissed her on the top of her head.

“Oh, Mummy is up.” Jane was a bit surprised to see her mother up this early in the morning.

“Yes, Munchkin.”

“Daddy, what is wrong?” Jane noticed that her dad seemed a bit sad. Liam exchanged a brief glance with Jo, not sure how to explain this to Jane. He was too honest sometimes and didn’t know how to bring the news to the girls, so Jo jumped in.

“Jane, darling, we have a bit of sad news.”

“Sad news?”

“You know that Lorelai’s Charlie was a very, very old dog…,” she started carefully.

The little girl tilted he head, watching her mum with her big blue eyes. “Is he gone?”

Liam and Jo were equally surprised by how quickly Jane caught up.

“Well, yes, darling,” Jo said carefully. “When dogs get very old like Charlie was, they go to a place called Dog Heaven.” She quickly glanced into Liam’s direction, signalling him to please not say anything like ‘there is no such thing’, which he normally did. Luckily Liam remained quiet and looked over Jane’s head to the hallway. There wasn’t any sound from Jill’s room, she still seemed to be asleep.
“Anyway,” Jo continued. “Charlie had a very long, adventurous, fantastic life, but it was time for him to go, and Dog Heaven is a beautiful place where all the great dogs go, and from there he will watch us and protect other dogs like Teddy.”

Jane looked at her quietly for a moment, then nodded. “He was a very, very good dog. I will miss him.”

“Oh yes, he was, so he will have a wonderful spot in Dog Heaven.”

The little girl turned her head back to her dad now. “Daddy, you’re sad.”

He forced a smile. “I just miss him, Princess. But your mum is right, he will be fine in Dog Heaven.”

Jo was surprised that he was able to bring himself to say ‘Dog Heaven’ but he did, and he seemed a bit calmer now. She squeezed his shoulder gently, kissed both him and Jane on the cheek, then walked into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for her family.


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LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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131 Re: Coming Home on Tue 03 Nov 2015, 5:12 pm

Saturday came far too quickly, Lorelai had not left her office until they all gather in the little garden behind the main house. It shocked Liam and everyone to see her, no makeup, the hair just plainly hanging over her shoulders and no heels just a simple pair of boots.

“Daddy Tante Lor looks… so sad.” Jill whispered. Jo had bought them black ribbons for their hair and dressed them in their simple white dresses, while she was wearing her black dress and Liam wore a nice pair of black trousers and a white shirt everything was rather informal. Liam nodded and picked up Jill.

“She is because her best friend died.”

“Daddy tell us the story again, please.” Jill whispered.

“I will in a little bit alright?” Liam whispered back. “Mina. I am so sorry for your loss.”

Lorelai nodded and pulled Liam and Jill -who was still on Liam’s arm- and held him tightly. “He really loved you Liam. He did.”

“I loved him too.”

Everyone said something nice about Charlie while Lorelai was holding her friend wrapped in his favourite blanket. She was quietly crying until it was time to lower him into the ground. Jane had been quietly holding her mother’s hand. “Mommy? May I say something?”

Lorelai looked up at Jane.

“Oh course munchkin, you remember why we are here?” Jo said calmly.

“Yes I do.” Jane let go of her mother’s hand, stepped to Lorelai and took her aunt’s hand. “Today is the day we mourn our dear friend Charlie. He was the royal companion of Tante. He knew lots of tricks and earlier this week God called him to come home to him. We are so sad that he is gone but heaven is the most wonderful place so we don’t need to be sad that he is gone we just need to be sad that he is not with us anymore.” Jane said with a surprisingly strong voice, he sister went over and pulled her in a tight hug before she turned around and said. “Charlie went to heaven, because Oma Lauren, Grandmother Cathy and Onkel Edward were so alone that God called Charlie to be with them. They are now sitting together and cheer him up because he misses us still so much. They are good people, they will take good care of him until one day we are all united again.”

Lorelai was crying loudly while the two little girls were helping her to lower the small dog into his grave. “It is alright now Tante Lor, Charlie is in heaven with God and very good people he is happy miss you dearly but happy.” Jill said and hugged Lorelai.

“I am sure he is and he will tell m brother and Mutti everything about us.”

Jill giggled. “He doesn’t need to they already know. They watch Heaven TV.” Jill said smiling at Lorelai.

A little bit later at the gathering to celebrate the passing of Charlie Von Gruensee the most royal dog and companion of Lorelai. “The house is empty without you Dan, and this professor of yours I don’t like her.”

Dan chuckled and wrapped his arms around Lorelai. “Professor Davids is a very good teacher and you are not alone. Edward and Henry are just in primary school and I will be home every second weekend.”

“I know but it is not the same and now with Charlie.”

“Mutti, I know Charlie cannot be replaced but one day you will meet a little one and you will know that Charlie send him to you.” Dan was giving her a glass of water. “You don’t look well and I don’t mean because if the lack of makeup and the different way to dress.”

“I don’t like the house so empty.” Lorelai said. “And there better not anyone hurt you.”

“No there is not.” Dan kissed her on the cheek. “Drink the water.”

“Fuechschen.” Lorelai hugged Liam.

“I will miss Charlie, he was an amazing dog.” Liam said. “You looked tired.”

“That puts it nicely.” Lorelai chuckled. “You have quite some daughters there. You alright with them talking about your mum?”

“It would have made me crazy a few years ago but I like that even though they never met her she is so vividly in their heads.” Liam said calmly.

“It is good that you talk about her, even when they are gone you need to talk about them so that they are gone but not forgotten.” Lorelai hugged him tightly. “If just everyone knew that.”


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132 Re: Coming Home on Mon 30 Nov 2015, 3:06 pm

Scotty stared long and hard at the phone until he finally picked it up and dialled the number he had written down on a little piece of paper. He got that number from Marge, which was sad because he didn’t even know his own sister’s phone number anymore. To be fair, he hadn’t spoken to her in nineteen years, and so he didn’t even know if she still had the same number. Marge had stayed in contact with Hannah, Scotty’s youngest sister, who was now 64 years old – and Scotty was sure she wasn’t even close to retiring anytime soon. Hannah had worked towards being a journalist her whole life, even against all odds, since she grew up in a time where women had little chance of getting proper jobs, especially when they came from poor background. Hannah, however, just like her brother had defied the odds, and followed her goal. Meanwhile Scotty’s other sisters Judy and Penny became the typical housewives and mothers. They had both married young, had children, and that was it. He barely had contact with them before Arthur’s death, Hannah was the only family member he remained close to through all his life until Arthur died and Scotty disappeared.
She must hate him, that’s for sure. He left her, just like he left everyone else. And that wasn’t just it. He never contacted her. He never wrote her and let her know he was okay. And when he returned to Oxford after all these years he still hadn’t contacted her, until Marge literally made him. He had to jump over his shadow, he knew that, and he missed his sister so much but he was also scared of her, because Hannah could be merciless once someone hurt her.

He took a deep breath while listening to the beeping sound.

“Who is this?” a young female voice answered. “I was just in the middle of eating.”

“Um…sorry…eh…is Hannah there?” He started to get nervous.

“Depends on who’s asking.”

“Ehm, who are you?” Scotty knew that Hannah’s daughter Scotia, his goddaughter, had moved in with her after Scotia separated from her husband (Marge had given him all the updates) but that voice sounded too young to be Scotia’s.

“It’s May.”

“May?”

“Yeah. What do you want from my grandmother? Are you a stalker?”

“Oh…May! Scotia’s kid…Yeah, Marge told me…um…I’m…I’m not a stalker. I’m her brother actually.”

It grew silent on the other side of the phone. “Her brother, huh?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“So you’re the moron who just left for almost two decades and never called or wrote letters even though Gran still has so many pictures of you standing around here like you bloody died! It’s like a damn shrine in here.”

“What?”

“And now you’re calling, after all this time?”

“Ehm…how old are you?”

“Fifteen. Why? You’ve got a problem with that?”

“May, who is this?” a voice shouted in the background. “I’ve told you a thousand times not to be so rude on the phone.”

“It’s your brother.”

Silence.
Then a weird rustling sound.
“Scotty?”

“Hannah?” Scotty felt his heart racing. “How are –“

“Burn in hell!” She banged the phone so loudly down on the hook that Scotty actually flinched on the other side.

“That didn’t go so well,” Scotty remarked dryly. The same moment the phone rang again, and he almost jumped up. He was actually scared to answer it.
“Yes…?” he asked nervously.

“You better be home and have the tea ready!”

“What?”

She banged down the phone again. Scotty needed a moment to snap back into presence, then he quickly got up and prepared the tea, because it sounded like a serious threat and he knew not to mess with Hannah.
About twenty minutes later the doorbell rang. In that time he had managed to clean up everything that was lying around, set the living room table for tea, and even cut a few flowers from the garden and placed them in a vase onto the table as well.
God, he was nervous, even though it was just his sister. Well, after that phone call everyone had to a right to be nervous, and besides, Hannah was incredibly feisty.
He carefully opened the door and there she was, his baby sister, still looking the same, with her dark blonde hair that had now grey streaks in them, nicely braided, and her brown eyes still as curious and watchful as ever.
A smile crossed his face but before he got to say anything she smacked him.
“You’re an arsehole!”

“Ow.” He pressed his hand onto his burning cheek. Man, that woman could hit! “Nice to see you too, sis.”
Hannah bit her lip, ready to throw more insults at him but then she became someone she hadn’t been for a very long time…Scotty’s baby sister.
“I hate you,” she said, wrapping her arms around him like she used to when she was younger and burying her face into his shoulder. “You stupid ass.” She cried into his shirt, releasing so many emotions at once.

“I missed you too, little mouse.”  He planted a kiss on her head. She still smelled the same she did when she was little; a mixture of paper, ink and a touch of cinnamon. He couldn’t really explain where the cinnamon smell came from but Hannah had always smelled like that.

They spent the entire afternoon talking and catching up on everything. Hannah told him everything that happened since he went away, about Scotia getting married and having a daughter, but then getting separated from her husband and the two moving in with Hannah, and also about Hannah’s husband Jacob, who had died a few years ago. It was hard for Hannah since she had cared a lot about him and he had been nothing but kind to her. Scotty remembered Jacob- whom Hannah called Jack-very well, and he was a great man. He was (what a surprise) a lot like Arthur in some ways, very quiet, reserved, smart and incredibly kind, and he fit perfectly to wild, loud, cocky Hannah.  Even though Hannah would always have this undying crush on Arthur, she at least found someone she loved and who loved her. A few months after Jacob’s death, Scotia got separated from her husband and that’s when they decided that Scotia and May would move in with Hannah who had plenty of room in her house now. Scotty didn’t even want to imagine how crazy it was in Hannah’s house, since Scotia was just like her mum, a firecracker, and from the sounds of it, May certainly took after her mother and grandmother as well. Pure madness under one roof.
Hannah asked about Scotty’s time abroad but her brother didn’t completely open up about it. Not because he didn’t want to share it with her but they were memories of the sad kind, nothing he proudly wanted to share, but he told Hannah about the time he’s been back in Oxford, his re-union with Colin and Marge, and the new friends he had won.  

“About that,” Hannah said, raising her eyebrow at him. “What did I hear about you and a certain Ricky Butcher…?”

“What?”

“It has come to my attention that you’ve grown quite fond of Alfie’s little boy toy.”

“First of all, I didn’t ‘grow fond of him’, we just hang out. He doesn’t have many people to talk to and we like each other’s company…”

“Aha.”

“And secondly, he’s not Alfie’s boy toy. He’s way too good for that. He’s…he’s a very special…um…young man. He’s nobody’s toy.”

Hannah smirked. “You’re blushing.”

“I’m not.”

“You totally are. And no worries, I know all about Ricky. I know that he’s the first one who got Alfie to commit to a relationship, even though Alfie’s definition of a relationship is very different from Ricky’s.”

“Yeah, you can say that,” Scotty grumbled. It bothered him immensely how little Alfie respected Ricky. “Anyway, there is nothing going on between us. That’s just silly. He could be my grandson.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Hannah grinned. “I just know what kind of person Ricky is.”

“And what kind is that?”

“The kind you like.”

“Oh, shut up!”

She laughed. “I just like teasing you.”

“Yeah, I’m aware of that.”

“So…” Hannah cleared her throat. “What do you think about young Lord Jackson? Must have been a shock when you came back and saw him so…well, grown up, to say the least.”

“I don’t really want to talk about him.”

“I knew you’d say that,” she remarked. “I knew if you’d come back, you’d get the shock of a lifetime, seeing him so changed.”

“Well…” Scotty shrugged his shoulders. “We all change, I guess.” He wanted to change the subject because talking about Alfie only upset him. It made him realise how much he failed Arthur every single time he saw what had become of Alfie.
“So, May…she’s something, heh?”

“Well, she takes after you, actually,” Hannah laughed. “She’s the spitting image of you.”

“She’s a girl.”

“She looks like you, just in female form. I swear Scotty, she could be your daughter! When you see her you know what I mean. And when she talks it sounds like my dear brother is talking to me.”

“Really?”

“Oh yes.” Hannah nodded. “I’d say you ‘ll visit me in the next days. Scotia wants to see her godfather again, and trust me, you definitely want to meet May…”


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133 Re: Coming Home on Tue 22 Dec 2015, 7:49 pm

“Are you coming?” Frida was standing in James’s doorframe.

Both of them lived in the teacher’s house of Waterfall Downs Academy. It was the old servants’ house converted into small apartments; each apartment had a tiny kitchen in a closet in the small living room area, its two doors were the pantry. In the same room behind a screen was the bedroom, the only separate room was the small bathroom. It was small but cosy. On the ground floor of the house was a large dining kitchen that covered most of the floor, with wonderful couches, a fireplace, a large dining table and another WC. On each floor was another bathroom with a tub. This house was more than a house of servants, even a hundred years ago. It all was modernised when Jo and Liam turned Waterfall Downs into a school but the general floor plan stayed the same. The house always had been more than this house, this roof over the heads of the servants; it was and is a community. Each servant and now teacher and staff member that preferred staying close WDA got a its own apartment for privacy but had the community rooms for company. Jo always worried that the staff felt trapped in the house but everyone loved the house, the family they were.

“I am coming.” James grinned as he took his satchel and put his arm around Frida to lead her out to his tiny car. “Sarah is so excited she said the girl’s lacrosse team is the best they ever had been.”

“Do you ever leave the children behind?” Frida laughed not that she was any different. She came like James from a large family, she missed her family dearly but she loved her job. She was many years ago in London on vacation when she saw the advertisement about a new school opening. She was intrigued called and had a lovely conversation with Lady Josephine Williams, the heiress of the Williams estate. But more the school made Frida turn her vacation into a permanent stay and even though she missed them dearly she loved every minute of her life at Waterfall Downs Academy.

“No never. I love every one of them. I got a good letter from Dan he said he loves university, his advisor is a brilliant Lady Professor, it is hard to believe that he is the shy boy from a few years ago.” James laughed as he opened the car door for her.

“Tack. I spoke to my mamma, she said she sent a parcel with goodies. I hope she sent some chocolate.” Frida smiled.
James chuckled, he played with one of her locks that had fallen out of her braid. “That is normally me always thinking about food. I was thinking we could get fish and chip on the way into town.”

“Sounds good to me.” Frida pushed the loose lock back into her braid and checked that it was just a lock and not her whole braid falling down.

“How do you do this, to have time in the morning to braid your hair every day so lovely?” James asked gentle.

“I’m not sleeping until five minutes before breakfast.” Frida laughed.

“Hey neither do I, I run at 6AM.” James tried to defend himself. “And then I sleep again after I showered.”

Both laugh loudly while James drove into town.

“Thanks you look nice too underneath all of this.” Frida teased him. Whenever she spoke to her family she told them that she loved England because she truly loved her work and the friends she made and James was her best friend, even when growing up her best friends were close but James is so much more. He is her home.

“Hey you just point and everything of me.”

“Well what can I say, you did look better when I met you. I might even call you handsome back then.”

“Tack älskling.[url=#_ftn1][1][/url]”


”Your Swedish is getting better, at least something positive.”

James loved to spend time with Frida, he missed his sisters so much in fact he missed his family so much but somehow work and she made it okay to be away from them, to have found a home in Oxford.

“You know as an art teacher I love this… shirt but as a woman. I mean come on this are pineapples on a flamingo.” Frida laughed they had reached the cinema; James had gotten the sweets while she got the tickets.

“You don’t like it?” James looked past the popcorn, drinks and pick n’ mix.

“Not like? How can I say his nicely? Oh yes it hurts my eyes.” Frida took the pick n’ mix from him. “And thanks for these, don’t expect me to share any. Oh you got lickerish, I love you.”

James gave her one of the drink cups and led her into the screen. “You know I always wonder in which screen Jo’s water broke.”

“Ew James! You are gross.”

“Nah just a boy.”

“Hey pretty girl wanna sit with me and not this dwarf? I can be your prince, Snow-white.” A large not so friendly princelike guy called over.

“No thanks I prefer my men friendly and a gentlemen not a shouting cattle men.” Frida said loudly back and sat next to James.

“You know if you’d rather sit with him, I don’t mind.” James offered.

“Why is your hot date coming?”

“No she is already here.”

“Then I sit right where I am.” Frida said and leaned against her best friend.

 
“Liam did you notice that Frida and James get very close?” Jo mumbled, she was snuggled into Liam’s arm as they watched TV.

“Well they are working together, I guess they are close?” Liam said he was reading a book Jo didn’t even understand the title.

Jo laughed and shook her head. “You are so smart but so blind sometimes.”

“What?” Liam looked up at his wife.

“Nothing.” Jo laughed and kissed him. “Nothing my dear, you will one day see. I’m telling you there is more to it.”

Liam looked confused at his wife. “I don’t get it of course they are close they are friends and colleagues, they live in the same house. What do you mean there is more?”

Liam’s confused and clueless face throw his wife in a laughter fit, Jo was laughing so hard it made her cry.

“Mommy? I dreamed there was no cupcakes anymore anywhere on the world.” Jill showed up in the doorframe.

“Come here Munchkin, I hope you mean the ones to eat and not yourself.” Jo wrapped her arms around the little nodding ginger girl. Her hair was sticking out into every direction and she had the imprint of her pillow on her cheek.

“Don’t worry Cupcake there are still cupcakes in the world.” Liam smiled and brushed some of his daughters hair out of her eyes.

“Can we make some?”

“Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow. You can stay here for a little bit and then you go back to bed alright?” Jo whispered holding her daughter that she couldn’t see the TV they were watching a crime movie and she didn’t want her to see the victim.

“Can daddy carry me? He is so strong it’s like flying.” Jill whispered already falling back asleep.

“Sure, but no more stories you go right to bed.” Liam kissed Jo on top of her head while his hand was resting on Jill back, he truly wished he could always fix her problems that easily but he knew one day daddy carrying her back to bed was not enough anymore.

“I love you.” Jill said sleepy.

“I love you too.” Her parents answered her back.









[url=#_ftnref1][1][/url] Thanks darling.


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134 Re: Coming Home on Sun 03 Jan 2016, 5:39 pm

Ricky had a long day at university and since it was autumn and started to get dark quite early, it felt like late at night when he came home. He wanted nothing more but to light candles, soak in a nice hot bath and read a bit. He didn’t know if Alfie would be home or not. These days Alfie just left without saying where, just like he did in the old days. He often came home at three or four in the morning, which always woke Ricky up, and Ricky missed the nights when he could fall asleep next to Alfie. Most of the times Alfie was either not at home at night or when he was at home he was completely unapproachable.
Just like this evening. Ricky got home and found Alfie on the couch, so still that it almost seemed like he was frozen. The whole flat was dark except the tiny lamp he had switched on and he had a book on his lap but his eyes stared into empty space. He was completely absent all the time, which worried Ricky. Of course he had noticed that Alfie was mostly in a bad mood, and often quite rude, also to him, but what concerned Ricky the most was Alfie’s absence even though he was right there with him. His mind was somewhere else, all the time, and Ricky couldn’t reach him anymore. And Alfie barely paid attention to him. He also barely showed the little gestures that Ricky loved so much; the brief kisses on his forehead, gently pulling him to his chest when they were sitting on the couch… Alfie barely did this anymore. Ricky felt like there was an invisible wall between them, indestructible and harsh. Only Alfie didn’t seem to care… That was probably what Ricky worried the most. Not Alfie’s rudeness or his bad moods, but indifference. He was actually scared of Alfie’s indifference.

“Hey…” Ricky tried to put on a smile when he got home and even though Alfie was looking up to him he seemed absent again. His face was completely blank and Ricky couldn’t tell what mood he was in now, but he didn’t seem happy. Ricky actually couldn’t remember the last time Alfie seemed ‘happy’. Alfie had generally never been anyone who displayed happy emotions, he might occasionally laugh when he saw someone falling down the stairs or walk into a lamppost, but he wasn’t like Liam or James who showed ‘normal human emotions’ on a daily basis. But these days he seemed absent of any emotions except the occasional anger, which was something he could never really get rid of. Ricky had noticed how easily Alfie grew angry. Yes, Alfie had always had an issue with his temper but the past months it definitely got worse. The tiniest things could change his mood drastically for the rest of the day, and then he would just storm off and wouldn’t come back until four in the morning while Ricky spent all night alone in bed, worrying about him.

Ricky hung up his coat and took off his shoes because he knew that one spot of dirt on the carpet would get Alfie really mad again, and Ricky just couldn’t deal with that tonight.
“Did you have a nice day?” he asked carefully.

Alfie grumbled something that Ricky didn’t understand, but the younger man tried to remain friendly.
“I thought I’d cook a chicken dinner tonight, if that’s okay?”

Alfie focused on his book.

“Is that okay for you?”

“I’m not hungry.”

Ricky sighed. “Did you eat anything today?”

“I don’t see how that is any of your business.”

He bit his lip. “Sorry that I asked.” He knew that Alfie hadn’t eaten anything all day. Instead he just chucked down one drink after the next, just like the old days… Again.
Ricky walked to the table next to the couch to pick up the whisky glass when Alfie grabbed his wrist harshly.

“I’m not done with that yet,” he hissed, not looking up to Ricky.

“Alfie, you need to eat something. You can’t just live off alcohol all day.”

“Says who?”

Ricky pulled his arm away and shook his head. “Fine. I’ll have a bath now.”
There were times when Ricky wasn’t able to have a bath alone because Alfie just joined him literally every single time but these days Ricky could be in the bathtub for three hours and Alfie wouldn’t even peak in.
Indifference. One word that seemed so harmless but was quite literally Ricky’s worst nightmare.
Ricky tried to relax while he had his bath but he felt this horrible lump in his throat that felt like two massive hands strangling him. He just didn’t understand why Alfie was acting so weirdly for months, why he couldn’t show anymore that he cared… Ricky couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this lonely. He sometimes just wanted to pick up the phone and call Jo but she was so busy with her work and her own family that he didn’t want to bother her. He wanted to call his mum but he didn’t want to worry her. He often called Scotty when he needed to feel less lonely but he was always worried that it got too much if he called him every day. It looked needy and pathetic, and he hated the thought of being a burden to Scotty, too.
His thoughts suddenly drifted to Sebastian, and he almost felt guilty thinking of him but he remembered how, when he was a young boy, often saw that it was actually Sebastian who was lonely, not him. Ricky never had friends in school but he had loving parents and the neighbours all liked him. Sebastian, however, really had nobody. Ricky didn’t know how his situation was these days but back in school Sebastian’s ‘friends’ only spent time with him because they were bullies too, and bullies kind of stuck together like glue, but it had nothing to do with friendship. And then Sebastian would go home and would find his mother drunk again, while his father was only one of the worst people in the country…which nobody knew. Ricky had kept his discovery to himself since a few weeks now but every time he saw Alfie he felt like it would burst out of him.
After Ricky was done with his bath, he got dressed again, dried his hair and went downstairs where Alfie was still sitting at the exact same spot. Ricky took a deep breath and sat down next to him, smiling at him.

“I have a day off next Friday, so I’ll have a long weekend,” he said. “What do you think of going on a little trip? We could go to Brighton, or Cornwall, or…or Bath…” He tried not to blush. “We haven’t been there in a while.”

Alfie’s eyes were still on the book. “Why?”

“Sorry?”

“Why do we need to go anywhere?”

“Um…I just thought it would be nice,” Ricky replied. “We used to do those little trips quite a lot. You know, just a little change of scenery…”

“It’s perfectly fine here,” Alfie grumbled. “I don’t need to go where all the dumb tourists go and then waste three days having to endure conversations that lower my IQ just by being in the same room with those retards.”

Ricky bit his lip. “It was just a suggestion,” he mumbled. “And we don’t have to go to those tourist places, we could go somewhere else. I could use a little getaway, and I think you could use one, too.”

Alfie finally looked up, his eyes so cold that Ricky had the urge to look away. That was the other thing Ricky missed so desperately; that sweet, gentle way Alfie used to look at him…
“Do I look like I need holidays?”

Ricky didn’t reply.

“I don’t.” He reached for his whisky glass.

“Okay,” the younger boy whispered and got up. “It was just an idea.”
He walked into the kitchen to get something to eat but he realised that he wasn’t hungry at all. And there was something else inside him that made him restless.
“Alfie…” Ricky came back into the living room. “I’ll go to my parents. I promised my mum to visit her last week but I didn’t, so I think I’ll drop by now.”

He was still reading.

“Did you hear what I said?”

“Do I look like I’m deaf?”

“Well, is it okay if I stay at my mum’s tonight?”

“You’re old enough to decide that on your own.”

Ricky felt the lump in his throat again. “See you tomorrow,” he said, grabbed his coat and car keys and left. He hadn’t been honest to Alfie. Well, at least not completely. He did plan to stay at his parents’ house for the night but only because he needed to drive to that neighbourhood to pay someone else a brief visit.
This shabby part of the city was certainly something Ricky didn’t miss, and as he stopped in front of the ugly grey house he suddenly felt like he was 10 again, on Christmas Eve, trying to help another boy who was always alone on Christmas Eve, a boy who had always been horrible to him, but Ricky knew that this horrible boy was also horribly lonely.
His heart raced heavy against his chest as he knocked on the door. He wasn’t actually sure what he would say, but now that he found out that Sebastian was Alfie’s brother, many things made sense. Having Jackson genes shouldn’t justify why someone was a bully, but Ricky believed in a lot of things, and Ricky did believe in curses. The sons born to that family, sons like Alfie and Sebastian, were the victims of something far darker than they would care to admit, and while Alfie, stubborn as he was, refused to let anyone help him even though he did have people around him who loved him, Sebastian, on the other hand, didn’t have anyone who remotely cared about him.
The door swung open and Ricky almost expected Sebastian’s drunk mess of a mother to stand in front of him but it was in fact Sebastian himself who looked like he had seen a ghost when he locked eyes with Ricky.  

“What…what the fuck…?!” He glanced from Ricky over his head to check if nobody else was there, nobody like Ricky’s crazy boyfriend who would beat the shit out of him.

“I’m sorry I just came here,” Ricky said carefully, his heart still racing. “I thought…um…you and I…we never really got to talk…well, you were quite busy making my life a living hell but I’m not mad at you for that. I don’t know what made you hate me so much, and if I’ve ever done anything to offend you then I’m sorry, I just hope that one day you and I run into each other without you wanting to throw me in a dumpster.” He took a deep breath, not even noticing the way Sebastian was staring at him. “I’m sure we will cross paths in the future over and over again. I mean, my parents live just five minutes away from your house, and it’s easy to run into each other in town, so I…I just hope that one day it will be okay. I’m not saying we should be friends, I would never expect you to even remotely care, but I just want you to know that I…I don’t hate you. I never have. Hate is a horrible thing and I could not possibly feel such a thing towards you just because you were mean to me all through school. I know you had it hard as well, so I would never-“

“Shut up.”

“What?”

Sebastian took a deep breath. “You need to shut up.”

Ricky looked confused. “Look, I wasn’t trying to get you upset, I just wanted to-“

“Please.”

Ricky’s eyes widened. Sebastian had never asked him for anything. Ricky noticed that he looked awfully pale.
“Are you alright?” He sounded worried and had no idea that this made it worse for the other boy.

“Just piss off already!”

Ricky looked sad. It seemed like there was no point in talking to him after all…
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. He was about to turn away when he was suddenly pushed against the wall of the house, and Ricky was sure Sebastian would threaten him again like he used to in school, but as he grabbed Ricky’s wrists and pressed them against the wall with a similar kind of strength that Alfie often displayed, he also pressed his lips on Ricky’s. Ricky was so shocked that he forgot to breathe, but the harshness of Sebastian’s lips started to grow into a proper, real kiss. A hungry one, yes, but not a forceful one anymore. And for the split of a second Ricky closed his eyes, because for that brief moment he finally felt less alone. And even worse…Sebastian’s way of kissing felt awfully familiar, awfully much like Alfie’s, which made Ricky feel more comfortable than he should feel in that particular situation.
As he opened his eyes again, the other boy pulled so quickly away from him as if Ricky was poisonous. Sebastian looked more freaked out than Ricky.

“Fuck!!!” he shouted, and before Ricky had the chance to say anything he stormed into the house and shut the door so loudly that the other boy flinched.
Ricky was still leaning against the wall, his heartbeat uncontrollable. He needed a moment to catch his breath. Now it really made sense why Sebastian had always been out for him, even though Ricky had never done anything. But what disturbed him even more than that was the fact that he didn’t hate it. He didn’t hate the kiss. Maybe because it had felt so much like Alfie kissing him, or maybe because he was so lonely that being kissed made him feel better about it…he didn’t know why exactly, he just knew he didn’t hate it.
And he hated that he didn’t hate to be kissed by Alfie’s brother.


_________________


SPN: Georgina (Georgie) Gilmore
SG: The Kid
LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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135 Re: Coming Home on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 5:24 pm

„Okay, we’re leaving in ten minutes.“ Ricky walked down the stairs, buttoning up his shirt. He peaked into the living room where Alfie was reading. “Alfie?”
No reaction.
“Are you purposely ignoring me or are you actually getting old and your hearing is going bad?”

That made him look up. “Going where?”

“Huh?”

“Where are we going?”

Ricky sighed. “I mentioned to you early this week that my mum invited us over today.”

“Not in the mood.”

“Seriously? Alfie, please! When was the last time I made you go anywhere with me? It’s been ages that you’ve been at my parents’ house, and my father won’t even be at home, so it’s just my mum.”

“And I’m sure she doesn’t care if I come along or not.”

Ricky rolled his eyes. “Well, she invited us, and she especially wants to see you again.”

Alfie’s face was blank.

“Please, Alfie, I’m begging you. This is really important to me, please. It won’t be more than two hours, it’s just for lunch.”

“Fantastic. My afternoons look like those of an old hag now.” He put the book aside and got up. “Fine. Let’s get this over with.”

Ricky bit his lip. “Thanks,” he mumbled, getting his scarf. “And don’t even think about calling your driver, we’ll take my car. We’re not showing up in a Rolls Royce in front of my parents’ house.”

“Yeah, but instead I get claustrophobia in that car of yours.”

Ricky rolled his eyes once more and ignored him for the quiet drive. As he reached this poor part of the town he was immediately taken back to the evening a few days ago, when Sebastian kissed him. That was certainly something Ricky couldn’t just forget and at the same time he wished he could talk to him, because he was sure that Sebastian really needed someone to talk to. He was going through a lot right now, and Ricky knew only too well how it felt to come to terms with that, only the difference was that he always had people who loved him, which was something Sebastian didn’t have. On the other hand he was worried he would bother him if he showed up there again.
Ricky had almost passed his parents’ house because he was so lost in thoughts.

“Better tie your car to the fence,” Alfie grumbled as they got out. “Don’t want thugs to steal it…”

Ricky shot him an annoyed look. “I happen to know all of these neighbours, and they might not have much money but they aren’t criminals, okay? I did not grow up between drug addicts and gun shots.”

“You sure?” Alfie didn’t even bother hiding the sarcasm in his voice.

Ricky decided to ignore him once more as he knocked on the door.

“I don’t get why your parents still live in this dump.”

“Alfie-“

“You’re here!” Emily opened the door and pulled her son into a tight embrace. She hugged Alfie as well, although very carefully, out of respect. “It’s so nice seeing you, Alfred…ehm, Alfie.” She smiled friendly at him but a frown settled on her forehead, and Ricky knew that look in her eyes only too well. It was that overly maternal, ‘I’m very concerned about you’-Emily look as she took a closer glance at her son’s boyfriend. “Have you lost weight?”

“Mum-“

“You do look quite pale, Alfie. Are you ill?”

“Nope,” was his only answer.

“I don’t know... I remember you very healthy looking,” Emily said.

Ricky didn’t want to explain to her that Alfie looked that way because his diet these days mainly consisted of cigarettes and alcohol, so he quickly changed the subject and tried to distract her from scrutinising Alfie too intensely with her all-knowing mother eyes.

“The food looks great, Mum,” Ricky said as they sat down at the table.

“Thanks, darling.” Her focus was an Alfie though. “So how are you doing, Alfie?”

“Fine.” Alfie didn’t even bother showing any effort of getting involved in a conversation, and he successfully ignored Ricky’s warning glance.

“Very busy with work these days?” Emily remained friendly, regardless of Alfie’s attitude. “I read the other day that more and more people send their manuscripts to publishing houses. Is that true?”

There wasn’t any expression on Alfie’s face. “I wouldn’t know.”

Ricky tried really hard not to say something to him. He took a deep breath and asked his mum something about their neighbours, to distract her from Alfie’s obvious grumpiness.
Alfie picked at his food like a 3-year old who didn’t want to eat spinach. Ricky knew that Alfie always liked what Emily cooked, so that wasn’t an excuse.
Ricky did most of the talking during lunch, simply because he didn’t want his mum to notice in what kind of mood Alfie was.
After lunch she told the boys to sit down on the couches, she would bring them tea and coffee, but Ricky helped her cleaning up the dishes while Alfie made his way to the couch. Before he sat down, however, his glance fell onto the calendar that hung on the wall. He looked completely frozen when Ricky returned.

“Today is the 10th?” His voice was so quiet, Ricky could barely hear him.

“Yes.”

“Fuck.”

“Is something wrong?” Ricky asked worried, his eyes following him to the calendar. “Did you have something to do today?”

Alfie shook his head and sat down on the armchair, looking pale.

“There you go.” Emily handed him a cup of coffee- she knew Alfie preferred coffee to tea, but she and Ricky were having very sweet tea with milk, as always.

“Alfie, what’s wrong?” Ricky asked carefully. “Did you have something planned on the 10th?”

He didn’t reply, he seemed completely absent.

“Oh, the 10th is always a special day,” Emily said, a gentle smile on her face. “I always call it Ricky’s second birthday.”
Alfie looked up at her, clearly irritated.

“Mum, Alfie doesn’t need to-“

“Oh, of course he should know. I can’t believe you haven’t told him, Ricky.”

Her son glanced awkwardly to Alfie, who looked tense.

“After all, it’s the day you almost died- but then came back to us.”

“Mum-“

“See, when Ricky was a little boy, he got really sick,” Emily explained, her eyes on Alfie now. “He had pneumonia and was so ill that the doctor prepared Thomas and me to say goodbye to our little boy… Of course I couldn’t, I was so heartbroken and couldn’t bear the thought of losing my only child but his condition didn’t get better, in only got worse. He was just so little and weak…” She sighed quietly, smiling briefly at her grown, healthy son. “And I would have given my life to save his, but we all know that’s not how it works. I prayed, oh, I prayed night and day and barely slept but it just wouldn’t get better… until that one day…that very special day that I will always treasure in my heart. The day my little boy came back to us.” She looked like she was close to tears. She was certainly the emotional type, just like her son. “It was the early morning of the 10th, and just the night before I tried to come to terms with the fact that he wouldn’t live for much longer… it was just…God, just thinking about it…Anyway…it was in the morning when I heard a weak knock on the door, so I jumped up and there was Ricky, so small and weak, but he was there, on his feet. Of course he still looked ill but it was the first day in weeks that he was actually standing up again, and he said ‘Mummy, I’m thirsty.’ And I just hugged him and didn’t want to let him go, and after that he did get better. Of course he was still incredibly weak but he slowly recovered. The doctors told me it was a miracle my boy survived, but I always believed in miracles. My little boy was a miracle, right there…” Her kind smile wouldn’t leave her face the entire time she told the story. “And do you remember what you told me, Ricky?”

Ricky blushed. “Well, Alfie doesn’t care-“

“Oh, nonsense! It’s lovely,” she said, turning her head to Alfie. “He said he felt like someone hugged him that day while he was in bed, someone hugged him tightly, and he suddenly stopped freezing and instead felt warm and safe.”

Her son cleared his throat. “Well, I was eight years old, and ill, so I could have imagined a lot of things…” He knew how little Alfie believed in ‘these things’, and how much he would tease him for believing in them. And still, Ricky remembered it like yesterday, the feeling of…light. It was like light itself had pulled him into an embrace that day, and when he woke up, his heart was no longer heavy.

“So yes, in my eyes that day is like a second birthday,” Emily continued. “The day we almost lost you, but you survived, against all odds. That was on this very day, nineteen years ago…”

“Nineteen years?” Alfie repeated, his first words in ages.

“Yes, October 10th, 1955.”

A long silence settled in the room, then Alfie got up so abruptly that the other two startled.
“I need to go,” he said coldly.

Emily frowned. “Is something the matter?”

“I…Whatever! I just need to go.”

“Alfie!” Ricky jumped up but Alfie was already out the door, getting out a cigarette.

Ricky turned to his mother who looked confused. “I’m so sorry, Mum. Don’t take it personally, but Alfie is…he’s not himself these days…”
Or maybe he is exactly himself…, he thought bitter.

“Don’t worry, darling.” She touched his cheek gently. “I could see it.”

“Yeah, he is really moody and-“

She shook her head. “No, he is sad.”

“What?”

“I saw it in his eyes the moment I looked closer at him,” she said quietly. “I don’t know what it is, but that boy is incredibly sad.”

“Mum...”

“Just look after him, okay?” She planted a kiss on his head. “Those Jackson men have a history of sadness in their family, and most of them break apart eventually…”

Ricky was sometimes surprised how much his mum knew. She was never the most academically gifted person and seemed like a simple housewife, but she did know a lot more than people gave her credit for.
He hugged her and thanked her again, then he left the house, finding Alfie smoking next to the car.

“I hope you’re proud of yourself,” he mumbled. “I know you treat me like shit sometimes, but I never thought you’d be like that to my mum.”
They sat in silence during the drive home, and the moment they got into the flat, Alfie went to the bar. Ricky didn’t even bother following him and trying to make up, he was still too upset and he didn’t want to be the only one constantly apologising for something he didn’t do.
Ricky was about to go upstairs to draw himself a bath and lock himself away for the rest of the day when the main door behind him unlocked and James walked in as if he was owning the place, slamming the door loudly behind him. He, Jo and Liam were the only ones with spare keys to the flat.
“Oh, hi James, what are you-“

“Hi, Ricky,” he said briefly, glancing over the other boy’s hand. “Where is he?”

“Alfie? He’s in the bar-“ He couldn’t finish his sentence because James already turned away and walked directly to the bar.

“You have exactly an hour, asshole.” James crossed his arms, shooting Alfie an impatient look.

Alfie took a sip of his whiskey, not looking like he was going to move anytime soon. “Do they ever award people for the worst taste in clothing?” he asked dryly. “If they do, well, you would be the winner by far-”

“Shut up and get your damn jacket!” James interrupted him. “The cemetery closes in an hour.”

Alfie stared into his whiskey glass.

“Well, they probably keep it open longer, like they always do on the 10th, since they know how many people come to honour the greatest man they have ever met.”

“It is unusually cold for this time of the year, isn’t it?” Alfie took another sip. “There might even be snow soon.”

James just looked at him, speechless. “You’re not coming, are you?”

Alfie’s silence was an answer itself.

“Fuck you, Alfred.” James turned away from him but before he left the room he looked at him one last time. “I hope when you die, nobody ever comes to visit your grave.” He walked towards the door but then stopped when he noticed Ricky still standing at the same spot. “Do you want to come along? I know you never met Arthur but I’m sure-“

“Oh God, today is the day he…”

“Yes.”

Ricky’s eyes fell on Alfie, who had his face turned away from them. For a moment Ricky wanted to stay and keep Alfie company but he knew Alfie would only push him away and be incredibly mean to him, so he changed his mind. “Of course I’m coming. I just…ehm…I don’t have any flowers…”

“Don’t worry about that,” James chuckled briefly. “There are so many flowers, candles and cards that nobody knows where to put them anymore. You’ll see, it’s incredibly beautiful…”

“Okay.” Ricky smiled and grabbed his coat. He looked one last time in Alfie’s direction, then he followed James, the words of his mother echoing through his head again.
Those Jackson men have a history of sadness in their family, and most of them break apart eventually…


_________________


SPN: Georgina (Georgie) Gilmore
SG: The Kid
LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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136 Re: Coming Home on Sat 23 Jan 2016, 9:18 pm

John was worried he had seen his wife sad before, he saw her hurt when he didn’t show up the first time at the altar. The years after he saw her again he saw how much she was in pain, but nothing came close to this. Lorelai got up at four and was out all day, she tried to be there when her sons came home from school but often she wasn’t. Most of the time she came home late at night. She was out with the horses and most of the time she was well moping. The last time she mourned like this was when her mother passed away. Jo watched her from the distance, saw her when she rides her stallion or when she took the girls for a riding class. Jo worried, she worried a lot about her cousin but she didn’t know how to fix it.

Lorelai was sitting on one of the horses, it was a mare and a good one. Her new owner would pick up the pretty brown mare the next week. Lorelai had been training her and it was a good horse. Lorelai was out on one if the fields looking over the fields, the sun was setting and it was getting dark. She had an appointment at the vet clinic, she had to pick up dewormer and also he vaccination. The mare neighed and it brought Lorelai back into the present, she let out a short whistle and then she went quiet realising that he wasn’t there. Her best friend Charlie wasn’t there anymore. The darkness that started to surround her suddenly seemed to consume her. Her tears blinded her and it was the mare that found it’s way safely along the path. Charlie was always there when something happened and now she needed him the most but that was the reason he wasn’t there. How do you grief your best friend’s death? Normally when you grief your best friend is there to help you through it, but what if the grief is because your best friend has died? Who is there then?

“Daddy is Mutti coming home today?” Henry looked at his father with expecting eyes. John looked at his sons, and then at the empty place at the table. It was a rule in the house to be home for dinner, but since Charlie died Lorelai preferred to be everywhere but at home.

“I don’t know buddy. I think she is busy at work.” John answered back.

“Dad I think I’m not hungry can I please go to bed?” Edward looked at his father, Edward never talked about his feelings and even now he didn’t say what he thought. To see his Mutti’s chair empty broke his heart, Edward understood that his Mutti was grieving but he didn’t understand what he did wrong. His blue eyes were a darker shade and John knew he wanted to go to his room to cry and compose until he fell asleep.

“Yes you may.” John sighed. “Go on Henry you can watch some TV.” Neither of his sons were very hungry so where was the point in forcing them to eat?

Lorelai looked through the kitchen window and for a moment she wanted to go inside, but she looked down at her feed and the empty space made her not to go in. “I know what you want me to do Charlie but I can’t. I can’t go on without you. I just can’t, I don’t know how to go on without you.”

Lorelai drove in silence to the vet. It was closing time but the vet clinic was expecting her. “Hello anybody here?”
No one answered, but something in the corner of her eye made her jump. “Who are you?” Lorelai smiled one of those rare smiles she nowadays only saved for animals but not for humans anymore. Lorelai picked up the tiny puppy and looked at him… her. Lorelai noticed right away that it was a girl. She sat down next to the water bowl and dipped her finger in just and offered it to the puppy.

“That is the first time this puppy looks remotely happy and is drinking bravely.” The vet said calmly. “She was meant to stay over the weekend at the nurse’s but her child got the chickenpox.”

Lorelai looked up at the vet. “I’m sorry to hear that. Is my order ready?” She put the dog on the floor and walked away. The little girl puppy sat down and her head hung down. All spark she had was gone.

“Yes. It’s just here. She hasn’t drunk in a week. She is just about six weeks old. If she is not drinking soon she won’t make it.”

“That’s live.” Lorelai said took her things and walked to the door, a gentle sigh from the puppy was all you could hear in the room. It was a sigh you expect before someone gives up. Lorelai looked up and saw her own reflection in the glass of the door, her eyes  fell back on the spot Charlie used to stand. However, there in the distance was this tiny girl. Lorelai knew she was a jack but not a pure one, there was a touch of Chihuahua. “I can take her for the weekend. Just the weekend.”
The vet nearly grinned from ear to ear but hid it quickly. “Just the weekend.”

Lorelai walked back picked up the little girl and walked out of the clinic. “Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. But my heart belongs to another one, he left me. He left. And I can’t love another dog.” The puppy was a skinny but beautiful, mainly black with a small white line on her chest. She was sitting on the passenger seat, her head slightly tilted, listening attentively to Lorelai. “You can stay but I bring you back Monday.”

“What is this?” John asked it was late when Lorelai walked in with this tiny puppy following her not even for a second looking at John. The puppy was fully fixated on Lorelai.

“The vet said she needs to drink and the nurse that was meant to look after her can’t. The puppy will stay till Monday.” Lorelai said. “Don’t!” Lorelai pushed the puppy away from Charlie’s bed that was still standing in the kitchen and every other room. John looked at Lorelai but let her handle the puppy. It was late and he wanted to get to bed. Lorelai took one of the boxes, put some milk in a bowl and go a blanket. The puppy would stay in there for the night. “Stay here.”

Lorelai left the dog in her office in the box and went to bed herself.

It didn’t take long until Lorelai heard the distance crying of the puppy. She sighed and hid her head under the pillow. John looked at his wife, shook his head and went downstairs. The puppy didn’t seem as excited as she would have been to see Lorelai but she was still glad that she wasn’t alone. He stayed with her a while in silent. “You know she doesn’t mean anything bad but she loved Charlie so much. She doesn’t know yet that she can love another dog. That she needs another dog.” The puppy looked at him and licked John’s chin. “You are a cute.”

John chuckled. John picked up the small pillow Charlie used to lie on in the office. And that when the little puppy got excited, like really. “Oh you like this?” The puppy started rubbing herself against the pillow looking at John as if she tried to tell him something, but John didn’t understand what. He was not the animal person in the house. He put the pillow away and put the puppy back in the box.

Lorelai hid so John wouldn’t see her. The puppy was barely alone when she started crying again. Lorelai looked at the large picture of Charlie. He was in his prime time and now she had this tiny puppy in a box. “What am I supposed to do with her Charlie?” Of course the picture didn’t answer her, but the puppy did. She looked down at the puppy her eyes on Lorelai waiting. Waiting to be told what to do. The puppy nodded towards the picture. Suddenly it hit Lorelai. “You sly dog! How dare you to send me this tiny girl. I’m a boys girl and you send me a girl, a tiny girl!” Lorelai looked at the picture one last time, picked up the pillow and the puppy and curled up with her on the chair. “I can’t believe a tiny girl. I’m telling you now you better toughen up none of this crying at night.” Lorelai said calmly petting the tiny puppy in her arms. “You got to be strong Bailey, you might be tiny but you can’t let the others see you as needy or weak.”

“Daddy? Mutti is asleep in her office.” Edward said walking into his parents’ bedroom after knocking.

“She is?”

“Yes on the chair and she is holding something.” Edward said calmly.

“She is?” John starred at his son, but he starred even more when his wife came in followed by the little black puppy. The puppy seemed different, she seemed more confident and in a way she seemed to have grown five foot over night.

“There is fresh buns.” Lorelai said. “I wanted to let you know Bailey is going to stay anyone having any objections, there is the door. Bailey come here, listen this is your place where you wait while we eat, no begging. Here chew on this carrot.” Lorelai looked stern at the puppy and Bailey looked back, tilting her head again and without anyone expecting it she nearly nodded took the carrot and started playing with it staying nicely in the small basket. “I will go to the store and order her some coats she is too small and skinny to be warm in this weather. And boys remember you don’t feed her ever anything!”

“Ja Mutti.” Edward and Henry said, Henry was still half asleep at the table while Edward for the first time in months finished his mueslie bowl.

“What made you change your mind?” John hugged his wife later from behind in the office.

“You. She showed her Charlie’s pillow and she responded to it as if she knew him. You made her see that she is at the right house, the house she was meant to be. She is smaller than Charlie, I have to see how she reacts to the horses she maybe has to stay in here-“

“I think as long as you are with her she would fight a tiger.” John kissed his wife. “Look at her she is completely ready to jump wherever you go. If I wouldn’t know it any better I would swear she is Charlie’s daughter.”

“Maybe.” Lorelai  looked at the little dog in the basket, half asleep but as soon she would see her new master rush out she would be right behind her. Nothing was stopping Bailey from being with her human, nothing.


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137 Re: Coming Home on Sat 30 Apr 2016, 8:49 pm

Alfie was sitting in the flat, Ricky was at university and he didn’t know what to do with himself. He just thought about getting this one special bottle of whiskey he saved when the telephone rang. “Who the fuck is bothering me now? Just fuck off!” But even though Alfie was more than annoyed he answered the telephone.

“What the fuck do you want?” He barked.

“Heathcliff is that you? Oh my Heathcliff.” Nana murmured in the phone. She was sitting in the post office telephone box of Fowey. “I haven’t heard from you in so long. Have you got the books I send you?”

Alfie really didn’t want to, and he didn’t understand why but a small smile appeared on his face. His entire family was well awful and there were those peasants that… were not and more. He loved them, no that is ridiculous he didn’t love people and still here he was sitting down smiling because this old confused hag of Ricky’s grandmother called him.

“Yes Nana it is me. Are you sitting in this hideous tiny telephone box at the post office?” Alfie snarled, he remembered her showing them the telephone box like a magnificent painting in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

“Yes I am.”

“I told you I would pay for you to get a telephone into your house.”

“Oh I will let you do no such thing; this devil’s trap of machinery will not come into my house.”
Alfie laughed he knew how she felt when he looked at all the weird devil’s trap machinery Ricky got into the house. “I see. So how is it going, my old hag?”

“Ethel is sleeping with the reverend that whore, I wanted to climb that tree. He is such a handsome young man and only sixty.”

“What a cunt, sixty huh. Nana you are taking them younger and younger. Next you want the choir boys.”

Nana laughed in her lovely creepy old lady voice. “Heathcliff. I’ve got a new book for you, here let me read this paragraph. It gets my juices flowing all the time. He felt so dirty but he was so lustful and needed to touch him. Just once he wanted to hold his cock, just once he wanted to rub him so hard until he came right into his hand, he wanted to feel him push his cock deep into his arse. Just once did he want him say Sir in a completely different way not as respectful but full of passion. He wanted him to fuck him so hard that he could meet his maker. Oh Heathcliff I want to get fuck that I know I’ve done it all and can meet the Lord.”


Fuck, my old hag you done it again you got me hard! “I am sure you will have that. I mean you said Mr Nana was a good fuck.”

“Oh yes Mr Nana was the most amazing fuck you can imagine. His cock had the size of a good sized butternut squash. I was sore for days afterwards but the orgasms he gave me were not from this world. How is my Ricky, is he enjoying school? Is the big boy still bullying him? I think someone has to seriously kick this boy, maybe a good fuck up his arse will stop him.”

Alfie laughed. “Yeah I bet he would like that.” A part of him wished he had seen Mr Nana naked. He sure sounds like a looker. The thought of Sebastian isn’t as good though. “So Nana this book you read to me, will you get me a copy?”

“Of course Heathcliff. You can read it to Ricky, I’m sure he will enjoy this. I think you should read it to him naked cuddled up so you can feel each other better.”

Alfie sighed. “Nana I think I got to go. I don’t want you to pay all your retirement on this phone call next time let me pay the call.”

“I will do that. I got to go now I picked up my new toy, you would like it. Nine inch. Alfie? I love you, you know that right?” Nana chuckled and hung up she didn’t wait for him to reply. Alfie sighed again when he went into his bar unsure what to drink. This was so irritating, why did it make him always feel so… good when Nana phone or Emily for that matter of fact even Thomas, they all made him feel good and…

“Fuck!” Alfie got up and didn’t even bother to use a glass he just drank straight from the bottle. “This is shit!”


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138 Re: Coming Home on Tue 07 Jun 2016, 7:28 pm

It was finally time. After he had met up with his sister Hannah again, so many years, decades, after they’d last seen each other, Scotty was now standing in front of Hannah’s small, red-brick townhouse to meet her again, and also the remaining ladies of her family. Behind the dark green door lived three very loud, very energetic and very stubborn ladies, three generations. After Hannah’s husband Jack had passed away a few years ago, her only daughter Scotia moved back in, together with her only daughter, May. Scotia had been divorced around the time her father died, so she decided that living alone for both her mother and herself was not an option, so Scotia packed all her bags, grabbed her little daughter and moved out of the house she still shared with her ex-husband, right back to her mother Hannah.
And Hannah loved it. Even though each one of them was loud and hectic and a bit on the chaotic side, they couldn’t imagine life without the other one. Hannah’s granddaughter May had grown into a 15-year old sassy teenager, who was very much a tomboy with good grades in school but constantly got into trouble because she was quite the hothead, just like Scotia had been, and Hannah, and most importantly; ‘Uncle Scotty’.
In fact, May, who had never met Scotty, took a lot after him. Her grandmother always said that looking at May, she felt like looking at her brother Scotty. May could have been his daughter, that’s how similar they were. And Scotty had yet to discover how much May also resembled him in terms of looks…
He had yet to discover a lot…

Scotty knocked on the door and waited. It took a moment until it was opened, and instead of seeing his sister or niece or the teenage girl May, he had to look all the way up to a person he knew very well.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Scotty asked when Colin opened the door, already stuffing his face with the famous Chadwick blueberry scones.

“I was invited.” Colin grinned cheeky.

“By who?”

“Your sister.”

Scotty rolled his eyes. “Typical.”

“Hey, I was really happy to be invited! I haven’t seen Hannah in ages.”

“You just wanted the scones,” Scotty replied dryly.

“Well, they’re a bonus.” Colin grinned and made room for his friend to come in. “Wait until you see May…”

“You’ve met her already?”

“Indeed I have.”

“I only spoke with her on the phone once,” he said. “She sounded pretty scary.”

Colin laughed. “Oh, you will like her. She reminds me so much of someone…”

“Yeah?”

“Uncle Scotty!” Scotia appeared in the hallway, followed by Hannah. Scotia hadn’t changed much, her dark-blonde hair, now starting to show a few strands of grey in between, was still a wild mop on her head, and her eyes had the same kind of mischievous twinkle they always had. She worked for the police and was therefore very busy, and a pretty tough cookie, which was also one of the reasons her marriage with her husband hadn’t worked out. He hadn’t been able to handle a bossy firecracker like Scotia. Hannah’s husband Jack was very different, though. Yes, her first and biggest love would always be Arthur Jackson, but she had picked a man who was quite similar in terms of his gentle personality and quiet kindness. Jack had always treated Hannah with a lot of kindness and let her be who she wanted to be. He admired her strength and intelligence, and she appreciated that about him. And, of course, since Hannah had a type, her Jack was quite handsome, blonde-haired and blue-eyed, with a certain elegance about him, just the way she liked it. She definitely had a type when it came to men…

“Scotia!” Scotty smiled widely at her, and she was about to hug him when she slapped him teasingly.

“That’s for running off and abandoning us for almost two decades, you selfish bastard!”

“I’m sorry, I-“

“Yeah, you better be.” She gave him one hard look, then she hugged him. “Idiot.”

“I missed you too, sweetheart,” he replied, chuckling.

“Hold on a sec…” Scotia turned towards the wooden steps that led upstairs. “May! You better move your lazy butt down here, we’re about to have lunch!” She turned back to Scotty and took a deep breath. “Teenagers!”

He looked surprised. “So that’s how you guys are talking in this house?” He exchanged a glance with his sister, who shrugged her shoulders innocently. Colin kept having this massive grin on his face; he was clearly amused about all of this.

“Let’s go and eat!” Hannah said, waving the two men into the living room. Scotty heard Scotia yell up the stairs one more time, then his niece followed them into the bright, cosy living room, which was painted in a warm yellow and decorated nicely.

“That smells really good, sis,” he said as he sat down next to Colin at the table. “I didn’t know you can actually cook.”

Hannah arched her eyebrows. “Do you really think I cooked?”

“Um, so Scotia cooked?” He glanced at his niece, who broke out into laughter.

“Yeah, right!”

“Okay, so, who cooked?”

“That place at the end of my street. They make traditional food, so roast beef, vegetables and that kind of stuff. You can actually order food from there and I just had to pick it up,” Hannah said matter-of-factly.

“How very non-traditional of you,” her brother replied.

“Well, we’re a non-traditional family.”

Colin took a sip of his drink. “I’ll say.”

That moment a girl entered the room. The first thing Scotty noticed was her height. She was pretty short, maybe 5’1 or 5’2, but not taller than that. Her face, which was completely covered with freckles, almost identically to his, was framed by wild, dark hair, almost identically to his, too. Her eyes were the same dark brown he and Hannah had. She literally looked like a female version of Scotty, when he was young. That was crazy! Everything about her, the way she walked, the way she acted…and especially the way she looked…Scotty felt like staring at his reflection, only as a girl! This was so damn irritating!
Everyone watched him as he watched May taking a seat across from him. The grin on Colin’s face grew even bigger, and so did Hannah’s.

“So…,” Scotty said after he finally got his speech back, “you’re the famous May, I assume?”

The girl looked at him with the same kind of attitude that Scotty always had when he was young.
“So, you’re the guy who just ran off?”

“Excuse me?”

“Gran always got into shitty moods whenever your name was mentioned.”

“May!” Scotia shot her a warning look, but her daughter just shrugged her shoulders.

“I’m right, am I not?” She glanced back at Scotty. “Man, it’s your fault I got all those damn freckles.”

“Um…sorry?” Scotty clearly didn’t know how to talk to this sassy teenage girl, who, shockingly, was too damn much like him.  

“Yeah, too late now.” She tilted her head, scrutinising him for a moment. “You still look good for an old dude, though.”

That was the first and would probably the only nice thing May said to him.

“Thanks, I guess.”

“Whatever.” She turned to her mother. “Gabriella is coming.”

Scotia sighed. “Could you tell me that a bit earlier the next time?”

“No worries, we have enough food for everyone,” Hannah said.

“Who’s Gabriella?” Scotty asked.

“My girlfriend,” Scotia replied flatly.

“Your…” Scotty couldn’t hide the surprise in his voice. “Your girl...friend…?”

“What? You’ve got a problem with that?”

“No, no, of course not!” He cleared his throat. “I…I’m just…um…it’s good to see how open everyone is about…eh…this.”

The teenager eyed him warily. “Why shouldn’t they?”

“Ehm…”

“It’s the 70s, dude. You know?”

“Yeah...” Scotty’s eyes met with Colin, who certainly seemed to have the time of his life right now. “It really is different to the times I grew up…”

“No shit.”

“May…” Scotia said strictly. “Watch your attitude, young lady.

God, Scotty thought. This is one crazy deja-vu! I’ve heard exactly the same kind of things from my mother…

That same moment they heard someone on the door, so May jumped up and ran into the hallway. Colin started to laugh for no apparent reason.

“What’s up with you now?” Scotty looked confused at him.

“Oh, nothing.”

“It’s not nothing! Why are you laughing like an idiot?”

“You’ll see…”

And Scotty did see…
May came back into the living room, followed by a girl much taller than her.

“What the…?!” Scotty’s jaw dropped the second he saw that girl. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Hannah and Colin couldn’t hold it in any longer, they just burst out laughing while Scotty stared at the two teenage girls in front of him.
Scotia’s girlfriend was so breathtakingly beautiful, she could have seriously been a model or a ballerina or a god-damn princess! She was tall, very slim, had a fine, pale face that looked like porcelain, and stunning blue eyes. Her very long hair that framed her pretty face perfectly was naturally blonde and slightly wavy, curling right at the tips.
If Arthur Jackson would have been a girl, that’s what he would have looked like.
And next to this graceful, elegant, stunning, gorgeous young lady was short, freckled, sassy May, the female version of Scotty.

“Hello,” Gabriella said politely, definitely having that posh upper-class accent that Scotty knew too well from Arthur. God, she even sounded like him!
“I’m very sorry for the intrusion, I hope it’s not too inconvenient for you.”

“Oh, nonsense, Gabriella!” Hannah greeted her with a warm smile. “You know you’re always welcome in this house.”

“Thank you.” She smiled gently, then her eyes met with Scotty who still stared at her in disbelief. “And you must be Hannah’s older brother Scotty? It is remarkable how much May resembles you!”

Scotty finally dragged his eyes away from her and looked directly at Colin and Hannah.
“You did this, right?”

“Did what?”

“You hired actresses. These two are actresses, right? Come on, you guys! Who came up with that idea? You are joking, right? You hired actresses!”

Colin looked like he was close to tears from all the laughing, and Hannah had to take a deep breath because she also had the greatest difficulties to act normal.
Gabriella seemed a bit confused why everyone was laughing so much but she sat down next to May, the polite smile still resting on her lips.

“You have to excuse us, sweetheart,” Hannah said, turning her head towards the pretty girl. “Me, Colin and Scotty are just taking a trip down memory lane and catching up on stuff.”

“Oh, that is quite alright.”

Scotty just shook his head, still completely bewildered and unable to cope right now. God, that girl was the spitting image of Arthur, how could that even be? How could there be this girl, this breathtakingly beautiful girl, sitting across from him and sounding so much like Arthur?  
And next to her May, who was the spitting image of Scotty. And sure as hell talked like him, too…

Scotty glanced at Colin again, shaking his head over and over again.
“You’re messing with me,” he mumbled. “You’re all just messing with me here, right?”

But Colin and Hannah just smiled and shrugged their shoulders.

“There are some things that just can’t be explained,” Colin said, reaching for another blueberry scone.



Last edited by MissAusten on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total


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139 Re: Coming Home on Tue 28 Jun 2016, 9:25 pm

James had packed his little car and just strapped the two car seats into the back seat. He was all set for a day with two lovely little girls and an older gentleman he pretty much saw as a grandfather.


“Okay James I have packed a few spare clothes for both girls, also the girls stuffed toys and some other supplies. I tried not to overdo it, it’s just a day and they are back for bedtime.” Jo smiled shy at James when she handed him the rather large bag. “The twins are with Liam they wanted him to help them get dressed.”

James smiled at Jo and pulled her in a tight hug, any other man would make Jo feel uncomfortable and awkward because he was hugging her. She knew Liam was quickly jealous and James was very flirty but since James worked at Waterfall Downs Academy, he became a brother to Jo. He was still flirty but not even Liam minded when James hugged Jo tightly after he told her that she is gorgeous. “You and Liam are hopefully doing something nice without the children.”

“Yes we are going out I have a whole day for us planned. I also packed a few things to eat for Jane in case she gets difficult.”

“Jo listen Jane is fine and so will be Jill, she told me yesterday that she wanted to play outside nevertheless the weather. So I packed her lacrosse stick and we have a football and Scotty prepared a little seat that she will be warm even if she doesn’t want to play with us.” James looked at Jo for a while. “Jo are you alright? You seem off.”

Jo smiled uncertain. “Mother is getting a little bit nervous this time of the year again. I think because she can’t go outside that much. I’m just worried about her.”

“And?” James saw that Jo had another thought.

“I had this argument with one of the pupil’s parents, they are rather unhappy with some things for a while now and I try to fix things but they seem not to be willing to help me find a compromise. It is hard on me. I’m not sleeping that well.”

“Jo if you need me to do something tell me! Don’t try to carry burdens like this by yourself.” James looked concerned at Jo.

Jo sighed. “Yes I know. Liam is now with me on the ball and we are having an appointment with them next week. This day out will help me to calm down a little bit. I think I just feel very how much Dan helped me with the twins. It is an adjustment and Betty is again helping more.”

“Well in that is the case, every Thursday afternoon the headmasters of the school I work for gave me off and I know that the twins are not in nursery so I will make that my day with the girls from now on.” James grinned and kissed Jo on the cheek. “It will be good for them to be around a real Scotsman.”

Jo laughed and nodded. “I’m sorry I just have an off week.”

“MUMMY! Look Daddy helped me with my hair, isn’t it pretty?” Jill screamed from several yards away. Jo looked closely and noticed that Jill’s hair was tied with freezer bag ties.

“That is quite interesting.” Jo answer and hugged her younger daughter, Jane’s hand was twitching wanting to straighten her sisters hair.

“It wasn’t my idea she brought them to me, she liked the colours.” Liam said grinning as he pulled his wife into his arms.

James laughed loudly. “I think you look stunning Jill, very disco. Jane you just look lovely, like a little Scottish princess.”

Jane blushed while she hugged her mum and dad, Jill was already climbing in the car seat and shouted. “Daddy! I need you tug me in!”

“Jill we talked about this, we don’t need to yell like this.” Liam said while Jo lifted Jane in the car seat.

“Sowwy. I forgot.” Jill grinned. “I hope James and Scoddy have loads of games to play.”

“I am sure they do, remember what we talked about? You have to listen to James and Scotty and behave.”

“I know and I promise you that I will try my very best.” Jill scratched her head which got her hair tangled even more.

“Mummy, what if James and Uncle Scotty have only food that touches?” Jane whispered. Jo looked at her three year old daughter’s little troubled face.

“I am sure it will be fine. Scotty and James know how to look after you and you promised to try.” Jo whispered back. Jane nodded and snuggled her Duckling close.

“Okay girls are you ready for a day of fun?” James said looking in the review mirror while he drove off.

“It’s a little bit messy.” Jane whispered, and to be fair James car was not new car clean. Jill leaned out of her child seat and took Jane’s hand.

“It’s alright, Mummy says a little mess adds character. Not sure what it means but she says it’s good.”

Jane looked at her for a moment and then nodded. “You drive nicely.”

James laughed and took a deep breath, he was never scared to look after the O’Doherty twins but he did know that Jill was well never tired and Jane had her little issues and he wanted them both to have a good time.

“About time you are late. I made cookies.” Scotty grinned widely wearing the apron Jill bought for him last time she went into town with her mummy -pink with purple flowers and yellow ruffles- he wore it with pride.

“SCODDY!” Jill screamed and struggled against her seatbelt. “Quick! Jamesy you gotta let me out. I gotta see Scoddy!” James just lifted Jane out of the seat, not surprisingly she dozed off.

“Scotty do you might getting the little Monster out?” James whispered. Scotty nodded and opened the door for Jill.

“SCODDY! I have waited for a century here where have you been?” Jill looked with her serious face at her friend Scotty. Scotty had to bite his tongue or he would have burst out into laughter.

“I am very sorry I made you wait, come on I need someone to check the cookies I’m not sure if they are good. Hannah gave me a magazine and it had this American cookies recipe, chocolate chip and peanut butter they seem a bit gooey though.”

“That sounds interesting, let me have a try can I have a glass milk with it?” Jill was carrying her small backpack, her kangaroo and her most treasured possession her lacrosse stick. “I know it’s cold and raining but can we play lacrosse after we had those cookies?” Jill walked into Scotty’s house as if she owned it herself.

“We’ll see. Come inside it is cold.” Scotty grinned widely, he liked his house but he loved it when it was full with people especially those he cared for. He loved his house -now at least twenty years ago it killed him- but he loved it even more with Jill shouted of the top of her lungs from the kitchen. “These are really good biscuits Scoddy! Can I have a milk?”


How did she get that fast into the kitchen? She just walked in through the front door. Scotty thought as he followed her.

“Jill don’t shout so loud Jane is sleeping.” James said laughing he got her a glass of milk alongside a coffee for himself and Scotty.

“It’s okay Uncle Jamesy, Janey can sleep through anything I shout. It calms her down. She’d be scared if I am quiet now. Here have a biscuit they are not bad, I think you should add a pinch of salt that brings the chocolate flavour more out.” Jill was dunking the cookie into her milk, of course she let it soak too long and it broke off.
“Whoopsy daisy, Scoddy do you have a fishing rod? I got to angel my biscuit.”

“No but I can offer you a spoon.” Scotty looked amused at Jill. “Here this will work like a net.”

“Oh good thinking, James can we have a race?”

“No it started raining but…” James blue eyes sparkled mischievous at Scotty.

“Oh dear what do you have in mind?” Scotty looked worried at James now, because suddenly the toddler girl’s ideas didn’t sound so bad anymore.

“A fort, in the living room, a blanket fort.”

Scotty laughed loudly, he had built plenty of forts with Marge and later with little Alfie and James.  “Okay, I’ll get the blankets and the pillows, James you are responsible for supplies, Jill your job is to look after Jane, she is our Princess in the fort.” Scotty grinned now just as excited as he hurried off. Jane was sleeping watched by her sister for nearly half an hour when she opened her eyes she saw something beautiful. “Jilley, what is this?”

“Oh our Princess she has awoken by our love, she has awoken. Look Janey we got a Ford.”

Both men laughed, “It’s a fort with a t. Not a Ford with a d.”

“That’s what I said. It’s a Ford. Look we have snacks, I’ll saved you cheese cubes and crackers and they don’t touch.” Jill grinned eating a cold sausage herself. “Come on we are reading books in our Ford, look it has a little oven, we are close to the fire place it’s nice toasty in here. Come we can get grilled like sausages and Jamesy reads to us. I’ve made you a crown.” Jill held up a self made crown of coloured paper, it clearly looked artistic but rather messy though it was pretty. Scotty had bought some pearls and feather for the girls to tinker with. Half of the feathers got stuck to Jill -she looked like a plucked chicken- while she had glued them on the crown. Scotty expected Jane to deny wearing it but she smiled sleepy took the crown and put it on her head, still holding her Duckling tightly.

“This is nice, it’s like camping, like in the books but in the clean inside.” She smiled and took the cheese and crackers from Jill. “What are you reading?”

Five Run Away Together it’s the famous five they run away together, it’s good. Maybe we run away soon too.”


“Why? I love mummy and daddy.”


“Yeah. Maybe we take them along? We need Mummy to make us food and Daddy to tell us stuff.”


“And to protect us, our Daddy keeps us safe.” Jane explained to the men.


James smiled, “That is true your daddy is very good in keeping you safe. You are safe in the fort too.”


Jane nodded and ate another cheese cube, she even took slice of orange without bothering to pick the white pits off. Scotty was glad how relaxed the little girl was.


“Uncle Scotty I got to go for little girls.” Jane whispered, this time he was prepared.


“When you go in the bathroom there is a small potty for you and a stool so that you can reach the sink. I got new soap for you too it smells of honey.” Scotty looked at Jane for a while and then she nodded.


“I leave Duckling here, she doesn’t like bathrooms. It’s dirty there.” Jane said wisely and then left. Jill was already making more art pieces.


“She will be alright, won’t she?” Scotty whispered.


“Oh yes, she is very good going to toilet. Jill what are you making there?”


“I make tiras for you two.”


“Uh, do you mean tiaras?” James asked.


“Yes those. The crown for princes.”


“Jill those are not for princes but for a princess.”


“That’s what I said.”


James chuckled this was a battle he would not win. “I admit defeat we will wear the tiaras, sorry Scotty. Let’s just hope we won’t have to wear a dress to match them.”


“Don’t be silly you are my bishops.”


“What?!” Scotty looked confused, but James knew that Liam had started to teach the girls chess.


“A battle strategy.” James laughed.


Jane came back. “I washed my hands three times.”


“Good girl, now come here, can you help me with this sceptre for you. What pearls do you want to have on them?” James asked Jane before she could get into too much detail of her obsession of cleanliness.


“I like those ones, they are green. Can I make a crown for Mummy and one for Daddy?”


“Sure.”


Scotty picked up the book again and read aloud. He remembered a different place when he read to a little girl and once the girl wasn’t little anymore to two little boys; one of them sitting now here in this fort in his living room, while the other was so scared to be abandonment again so he rather pushed the one he loved violently away. Scotty shook his head, he had to trust his little Squirrel that she was right and it would all turn out okay in due time. For now he enjoyed the company of those two lovely ginger girls and a young man he knew for so long.


“Scoddy! I love you!” Jill said smiling, it made her sister look up. “Me too. I like this cheese, it’s nice.”


Mental note always have white cheddar in the house for Jane! Scotty looked at the girls. “I love you too. Did I ever tell you the story when I met this little Scottish boy for the very first time when he was just a wee lad?”


Now he had the full attentions of the two gingers, James grinned he loved to hear those stories just as much. He loved to hear the stories of a man he loved as much as he loved his own grandfather.


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140 Re: Coming Home on Mon 05 Sep 2016, 5:31 pm

It had been a while since the future Duke of Oxford stepped into one of the most haunted mansions in the country. Whitehaven Manor was not haunted in terms of ghosts – though there certainly were many people who believed in their existence and the fact that the souls of the horrible Jackson men of the past were still haunting the rooms of Whitehaven. But to most people it was haunted by a curse. And nobody tried to deny that. Even the most rational thinking politicians in the House of Lords always felt uncomfortable if they had to spend too much time in Whitehaven Manor.
Alfie wasn’t scared of the house he grew up in. He hated it, sure, but he wasn’t scared. As little boy he had his moments where he pulled the blanket over his head and waited desperately for the night to turn into day. But as he grew older there was no fear left in him. Only loathing. Loathing of the place that used to be his ‘home’, loathing of the person who was born into this place, born to be the heir. He hated everything about this place and its history; him included.

The maids looked fearful at him as he made his way to the grand salon. They looked at him the same way they looked at his father, and Alfie was aware of that. People always did, and always would be comparing him to the Duke of Oxford, one of the most unlikeable people in the country. Alfie knew he was smarter than his father, by far. He was superior to him in terms of intellect and cunningness. And yet everyone always thought he was so much like Lord Broderick, so Alfie started to believe it eventually. And as much as he hated being comparted to his father while growing up, he couldn’t care anymore these days. He really didn’t care. He felt hollow inside, so empty that it didn’t even bother him when people said he would turn out just like his father. He felt nothing.

Alfie wouldn’t have gone to Whitehaven Manor if it wasn’t necessary. He avoided the place like the pest – or anything lower-class. However, every couple of years an official portrait of the whole Jackson family was shot, for the history books and newspapers. Sure, he could have blown the whole thing off, like he did everything else related to his family, but he knew that his grandmother would keep nagging him for so long that she would probably show up in his flat eventually, still waiting for him to come to that damn photograph appointment. He wanted this woman to stay out of his life, but at the same time he knew how damn persistent she was so he decided to just get it over with.

The first family member he walked into was his sister. Even though she was married and carried a double name for a while now, Cecilia was still technically considered a Jackson, but nobody gave a damn about her and her brats. She popped out one kid after the next, but they were all girls. A boy could be remotely interesting but all she produced were hideous little beasty girls, just like their mother.

“You got fat,” Alfie greeted his sister flatly.

“I am with child, you imbecile.”

“Still?”

“Again.”

Alfie rolled his eyes. “Jesus. You’ve got nothing better to do?”

“Look who’s talking,” she replied cynically. “The biggest whore in the country.”

“Screw yourself.”

“Isn’t that what you’re doing all day if you don’t get your hands on filthy little boys?” She grinned, revealing her large horse teeth. “You caught any disease yet?”

“Besides being related to you?”

“Fuck you, Alfred.”

The door of the grand salon was opened and Lady Charlotte shot her children an impatient look.
“What are you two doing here?”

“Catching up with my darling sister, Mother.” A fake smiled appeared on his face.

Lady Charlotte scrunched her nose. “You reek of alcohol, Alfred. And you look terrible.”

“Thanks, Mummy.”

She looked very displeased, then shook her head. “Go in now, the photographer is waiting.”

Alfie imagined a thousand places he’d rather be right now but he had to remind himself that this would be over soon, and then he’d have his peace for a while.

“The prodigal son returns.” Broderick arched his eyebrows when Cecilia and Alfie walked into the grand salon.

“Father,” was all Alfie said. He couldn’t be bothered having a proper conversation with this man. It was a waste of time.
Alfie’s grandmother stood close to the photographer, commenting on the man’s apparent lack of brain as he tried to make a few last adjustments. The poor guy was actually so terrified of being in a room with the whole Jackson family that his hands kept shaking.

“Do tell, did your mother drink a whole bucket of bleach while she was pregnant with you? Or were you just born naturally simple-minded?“

“I…I’m sorry, Miss-“

“Miss?” Eleanor repeated. “Do I look like a Miss to you? Where are we? America?”

“Hell,” Alfie said dryly as he showed up next to his grandmother and the photographer. “We’re in hell.”

The older woman turned to face her grandson. She was so tiny next to him, so frail. Though her looks were deceiving. That woman was anything but fragile. Alfie could tell that she had initially meant to say something rude to him at first but when she took a closer look at him, at his unusually pale face, the sunken cheeks, the dark shadows under his eyes, a different emotion flickered in her eyes. Just for a brief moment, a split second, she almost looked concerned, but he didn’t see that.

“You’re still wasting your life, it seems,” she said without any emotion in her voice. Her face was blank, too.

“You’re still not dead, it seems,” he remarked. “I shouldn’t be surprised though. Evil always lives the longest.”

“I guess you will grow very old then.” Eleanor pursed her lips while she scrutinised her grandson. God, he looked bad. She was good at hiding her feelings, so she wouldn’t show how shocked she was when she saw him. He was a proper mess. He actually looked sick.
“Did you get rid off your little lower-class slave? Is that why you look like utter garbage?” she asked sharply.

Alfie felt how he was growing tense. “I wouldn’t bring him up if I were you, Grandmother,” he hissed.

“Or what? Are you going to hit me?” Eleanor looked directly at him. “Do you think I can’t handle you? Don’t be a fool, Alfred. You are a little spoiled boy trapped in a grown man’s body.”

“It is not hard to see why your husband couldn’t stand being alone with you,” Alfie said with a cold tone to his voice. “He rather spent every day with a five-year old kid than one minute with you. I wonder why…”

Eleanor didn’t reply. Her face remained completely blank, which, in Alfie’s eyes, just looked like she didn’t care. He misunderstood her stone-face for being indifferent when in fact it was her way of hiding what was really in her heart. Alfie didn’t even think of her having a heart. Of course she didn’t. Lady Eleanor Jackson never had a heart.

“Well, things have certainly changed,” his grandmother said quietly. “If he’d see you now, see what has become of you, he wouldn’t want to spend one minute with you either.”

Alfie was not as good in holding back his emotions as his grandmother was. Frustration was written all over his face.
“I wish you would have died twenty years ago.”

“You’re not the only one…”

Alfie couldn’t hide the sudden surprise at her words, even though he didn’t want to show it. He just stared at her but she didn’t look at him. Instead, she turned her head towards the photographer.
“Are you going to finish in this life or do I need to haunt you in the afterlife?”

“No, of course not, Miss…Ma’am…Your Grace, Lady…” the photographer stuttered.

Eleanor rolled her eyes. “Peasant!” She faced the rest of the family. “For God’s sake, Broderick, haven’t I taught you to stand straight? And Cecilia, you need to suck your stomach in. Nobody wants to see…that on a portrait.” She raised her eyebrow at the sight of Cecilia’s pregnant belly.

“I can’t suck in my stomach, I-“

“Just do it!” Eleanor took a deep breath. “I’m surrounded by idiots…” she muttered.

Alfie still watched her. It actually freaked him out when he realised that she sometimes sounded just like him. Or worse, he sounded like her…


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141 Re: Coming Home on Fri 16 Sep 2016, 5:38 pm

Dan loved University, he was living in the student hall of residence, having meals with his friends, studied hard and came home at least once a month if not twice. It was nearly Christmas break, he was not going home begin of December because he would be home for two weeks during breaks. This would be the longest time away from home five weeks.

“Hey Dan! Are you coming out with us tonight?” Another boy called from across the dining hall.

“You bet. But I told you that my brother’s are calling me so I can’t go before eight.” Dan called back.

“I come over with some food.” The boy waved and followed the crowed out of the hall while Dan went in. Sometimes he looked around and wondered how he could have such a large group of friends. Everyone on his floor was his friend and the floor above the girls’ floor they all loved him he had two girls he hung out with the most Sandra and Theresa. He knew that they knew he was gay and they didn’t care. But then the girls at the university were very different girls, it was only a small number of girls and they were less flimsy and more open.

“Sandra got us seats at the window, come on Dan.” Theresa pointed towards Sandra at the window, it was raining heavily but all three of them had finished classes for the day and were happy pending the rest of the afternoon in their hall. They would be studying but that always meant they also had fun.

“My Mutti sent me a parcel with some goodies, we can have those for dessert.” Dan said smiling. He looked at his two best friends he had the suspicion that the girls were more than friends but he didn’t ask them and they didn’t say anything.

“I hope it wasn’t her that made them.” Theresa laughed just as she sat down next to Sandra, the girls smiled at each.

“No she said Missis Jo made some biscuits and the other things are shop bought.” Dan grinned and tucked into his shepherds’ pie. “Steve said we should go to the club tonight but my brothers are going to call tonight.”

“I love when those two call, Henry is hilarious and Edward is just adorable. Can we join you?” Sandra grinned, at Dan.

“Okay but if either of them needs me you have to leave.” Dan grinned when he saw the boy he liked, he was living on the top floor in the small apartments, every room consisted of two rooms a living room with a kitchenette, a bedroom and a small private bathroom. Dan didn’t know his name but he knew he was an engineer or studied to be one.

“Stop undressing him with your eyes.” Theresa grinned.

Dan blushed. “I am not.”

Both girls laughed. “Right.”

Dan rolled his eyes, because they were right. He did think about the sexy engineer, he was tall and strong and just very manly, in a way Dan knew that this other boy was not at all like him but here he was picturing the other when he was getting any action at all. Dan was a little bit more careful, but man he really wanted to tap that student.
After lunch the three went upstairs to Dan’s room, funnily the rules did not forbid the girls to be in the boys’ rooms but not the other way. So for him and his girls his bedroom became their living room. He had a record player, snacks and drinks, he even had a small hot plate to make hot water for tea. For a while they truly were studying each of them working on an essay, once in a while one of them asked if a paragraph sounded alright, a synonym for a word or just some encouragement.

“Urgh, I can’t do this anymore! This rain is depressing me and so is this subject. Why do I study psychology again?” Theresa groaned loudly and through her book into the corner. She was in her second year of psychology. Sandra went over and pulled the other girl into a hug.

“Because you want to help people.”

“Screw them! Start drinking.” Of course did Theresa not mean that, but her essay was rather difficult. Dan watched the girls for a moment… he knew that they were sharing a room as most girls did but he suddenly wondered if there was more. His two best friends seemed comfortable in each other’s arms. When suddenly the loud ringing of the phone made them all jump up. “Hello Dan Von Gruensee speaking.”

“DAAAAAANNN!”

Dan had to hold the receiver quite far from his ear to protect his hearing. However, even though he was yelled at on the phone a wide grin crossed his face. For a second he thought about what Sandra and Theresa would say but the he shook his head slightly, who cared this was more important.

“HENNERS!” He screamed back.

“I miss you when are you coming home? I got chickens, Mutti says I have to make sure the fox is not getting them. They poop eggs that we have for breakfast!” Henry was still speaking loudly.

“Chickens that is incredible so when I come home I can have a cooked egg from your chickens every day? I’ll be coming home soon for two weeks.”

“Yes, you can have poop eggs. It’s about time Advent Sunday is not the same without you. I needs someone to play Operations with, Jane is too much of a doctor when she is visiting, Edward says is too much gore and dad… he is just not as silly as you.”

Dan laughed. “I play it with you every day while I’m home for Christmas.” He caught a glimpse of the girls they were polite and still smiled gentle. He took a sheet of paper and wrote. ‘Do you like, like each other?’
Both girls went pale and neither said anything, he gave them time and continued his phone call.

“Wait so Jack put a frog in the chalk box which was meant to jump out when your teacher opened it but for it was dead? Oh Henry. I think the chalk dust in the box dehydrated the frog.”

“What is dehidat?”

“Dehydrated, means a frog that lives in a pond dried out.”

“Oh. So I killed the frong.” Henry suddenly sounded so distressed.

“Well I think it was an accident. You didn’t know better. Next time don’t get a pond frog but a garden frog and put it in the desk of the teacher. Did you get the magic chalk?”

“Okay I will do that. Yes we rubbed it on Mrs Watson’s chair. She always wears a white skirt and the brown stain was so funny.” Henry giggled, glad that the death of the frog was an accident. “Are you playing any tricks on your teachers?”

“No they are all very strict and we are scared to get in trouble. But beginning of the week we played a trick on the lunch ladies. We pretended that one of us was chocking on a chip and they hurried to help him and when they slapped him on the back he pretended to through up cherry juice. Everyone thought he was bleeding. Until he was laughing so hard he had to stop pretending to choke or he would have chocked for real. The lunch ladies are good old sports, once they gave him a mop and a bucket they were laughing at well.”

“Oh I gonna try that once. We never play tricks in lunch break.”

“Now that you had some weeks of school what are your favourite subjects?”

“I love PE and lunch. I’m really good in lunch.”

Dan laughed loudly, the two girls were sitting quite far apart from each other now. ’I think you two are wonderful together’ again pale and shocked faces.

“Dan, Edward wants to talk to you. I love you to the moon and back and around the sun and to my chicken pen. Learn everything quickly I need you back home! Bye!”

Dan had not even a chance to reply when he heard to receiver drop on the floor and a quiet Edward say something to Henry, a Henry that probably was running off. “Hello, Dan is that you?”

“Hello Edward yes it is.”

Silence on the other end.

“Remember when I moved in with you and you gave me a picture of Beethoven because he makes nice music so he must be nice to look at?” Dan smiled he knew that Edward was never sure he liked telephones, you didn’t see the other end, who it really was.

“Yes, and you said you will keep it forever. I miss you so much. I don’t like being the big brother. Henry needs so much guidance but I am still just a little by I don’t know how to help him to become a good man.” Edward sighed deeply.

“I know. I’m here if you need me. I got your letter and I replied right away so you should have received my letter today or will receive it tomorrow. I answered some of your questions and worries in there. How are your lessons with Graham going?”

“Very well, but last week he said that we will not call them lessons anymore. He said he couldn’t teach me anything anymore. So we still meet every week when he is in Oxford or London and we play together. He made sure I got good new teachers. I like them. They are strict and a little stern but they understand that I sometimes can’t make music until I wrote the song down that is playing in my head.”

“That is so great. Does that mean when he is in London that you take the train?”

“Yes, I am very scared to do that. Most of the time Mutti puts me on the train in Oxford and Graham is right there to pick me up. I love when he takes me to the Royal Albert Hall and I can play with the orchestra.”

“One day you will always play there and give great concerts and I am so proud to have seen you grown in your music.”

Edward was quiet, but Dan heard him breathing. He knew that his little brother was struggling to see his own talent. “Edward, I love you.”

It calmed the little boy down. “I love you too and I love that you follow your dream to become a teacher. I wish you could be my teacher. I am so proud of you. I hope one day I am a man like you or dad.”

“One day Edward when the time is right you will be the best man you can be and you will realise that that is enough.”

Silence….

“Dan? It’s me.”

“Hello Dad.” A smiled appeared on Dan’s face, he loved John and he loved John even more when John became his dad.

“Are you good?”

“Yes. Busy but good.”

“I think you embarrassed Edward, or gave him another musical idea. I am never sure with him. Lory is dealing with a small incident with the horses. Well rather one of the stable boys, apparently he was aggressive towards a horse and you know how she hates that. I don’t want to cut you short but I just came home and there seems to be no signs of dinner anywhere and I am sure Henry still needs to do his homework. So stay safe and healthy and we speak next week more detailed or when you are coming home in a few weeks. I love you son!”

“Yes we speak soon. I love you too dad.” Yes it was uncommon for a son and father to say out loud what they felt but before Dan had left he and John talked a long time and Dan said that it always hurt him that his biological parents never said any positive feelings and since then father and son never parted without saying that they loved each other. Even when they rowed they still said they loved each other to make sure the other one knows it’s the opinion they disagree with not the person.

Dan hung up and looked at the girls. “I know you are scared, I’ve been there. I know you feel weird, I’ve been there but what you feel is wonderful. If you just look closely you see that it is written all over you, the two of you are each others counterpart and that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Don’t walk away from love because it is difficult but fight for it. Enjoy it. Develop it and mostly treasure it. You don’t know when it might suddenly be taken from you.”

“I… We… I need to think.” Sandra got up and half ran out of the room.

“Did I stare to obviously at her body?”

“No, it were the moment of nothingness when I saw you love her. When you watched her eyes shine when she looked at the rain roll down a window. When she came suddenly in a room and she managed to get you a lemon sherbet, when she knew how you like your tea. When you felt alone and she was there. The moments of true love and not lust. The beautiful moments that will keep a love going until old age.”

“I can see why you want to be an English teacher. You have a way for words.” Theresa looked sad away. “She is gone I am sure she is asking to change rooms right this moment.”
Dan wanted to reject but it was not his voice that made her look up. “Actually I was wondering if you would like a cup of tea and we talk, alone. No offence Dan.”

“None taken, I think that is the right way to go. I am here for you if you need me.”

Theresa looked at Dan, collected all their books and followed Sandra. The girls would talk for a long while, and Dan was sure it would be a while until the two girls would come to terms to be more then best friends, to be more then sisters by choice but actually be lovers. Companions for live. He prayed that they would make it, that they had the strength to go this step. Even though he got invited to go out with his friends to the homosexual bar but he decided against it. He got out his idea box, a box in which he collected all his notes and thoughts about ideas. He didn’t know if he really was gifted -if he weren’t he would not have been able to go to Waterfall Downs Academy for Gifted Youngsters- but he knew he enjoyed writing and one day he would like to write books. Well there was one book he truly dreamed to write, a guide book how to establish your own sexual identity and come to term with being homosexual. Instead of going out he was working on this ideas seeing them develop and he loved it.

“… Sometimes you look in the mirror and ask yourself who is looking back, people will quickly offer you an answer but who really looks back at you is a mystery until you are ready to accept that this person is always changing, always moving like the waves at a beach. Never the same but always there. Nobody stands still, everyone moves, but never the same way. People are snowflakes and the beauty in every single one is undeniable…”


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142 Re: Coming Home on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 9:49 pm

It was early December, and while Ricky would normally get into Christmas spirit and decorate the whole flat and listen to Christmas songs and bake Christmas cookies, this year, for the very first time, he was not in the mood. Definitely not because he had suddenly woken up one day and turned into Scrooge or the Grinch. Christmas was still his favourite holiday, but with each passing day Alfie was distancing himself more and more from him, and Ricky couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this utterly alone.
It was Friday evening and he had been in the kitchen for the last hour to cook a nice meal for him and Alfie. He waited, and Alfie didn’t come. After waiting for him for two hours, Ricky finally retreated to the living room and turned on the TV. He was so frustrated and exhausted that he eventually fell asleep on the couch, but was awoken when Alfie came a few minutes past midnight.

“Why the hell are you still awake?” Alfie asked when Ricky walked out of the living room into the hallway.

“I waited for you.” Ricky could smell the booze from the distance. Alfie had turned into a proper alcoholic again, he was just as bad as he was when he first met him. Actually, he was probably worse. At least in their early years, despite Alfie being insensitive and drinking and smoking a lot, he still wanted to touch Ricky – all the time. He didn’t get enough of him, and now he barely even looked at him. Ricky felt like he had done or said something that pushed Alfie away or maybe he was simply no longer attracted to him. That was a horrible thought but it could be very true. Ricky wasn’t the twenty-year old boy Alfie met all those years ago. He was getting older too, and Alfie was surrounded by all those first and second year students running around in Oxford, those 18-year old boys, barely legal, and all so very young. Ricky was not like them anymore. In fact, he was their professor. And it didn’t matter that everyone still thought he was one of the students, he knew he was getting older and with each year probably less attractive to Alfie.
But apart from that Ricky knew Alfie well enough that there was more going on than just that. The getting older and being less attractive part was just what he worried about, but he knew that there was a lot going on behind Alfie’s cold exterior, so much he bottled up inside of him, so much he refused to talk about.

“Why did you wait?” Alfie took off his coat and dropped it on the floor, then made his way to the kitchen.

“We talked about that.” Ricky tried to sound calm, he didn’t want to let on how fed up he was. “I told you I’d make dinner for us tonight, and then we just wanted to have a quiet evening at home.” He collected the coat from the floor and hung it up on the coatrack.

“Quiet evening?” Alfie repeated sarcastically. “How old are we? Eighty?”

“Alfie, I was really counting on you being here tonight.”

“Couldn’t have missed that lame ass dance competition on tv tonight, hm?”

Ricky bit his lip. “I’m going to bed now, I’m tired.”

“Don’t be pissed at me just because I’m not sitting around at home like an old hag, knitting fucking socks.”

“Whatever, Alfie.”

The older boy turned to look at Ricky now, narrowing his eyes. “What now? You think you’re so much better than me, don’t you?”

Ricky sighed. “I don’t know what you’re getting at. It’s late, I’m tired, and I just want to go to bed. I had a long week, and I just wanted to spend a nice evening with you for once. I’m sorry that didn’t fit into your precious drinking time.”

“You think you’re so much better than everyone,” Alfie grumbled. “Just because you’re the fucking pope who feeds fucking orphans and is like Goddamn motherfucking Jesus, you think you’re so much better, don’t you?”

“You’re drunk,” Ricky mumbled. “I think you should go to bed now as well, and drink some water.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.” He stepped closer, and Ricky immediately took a step back. Just a year ago he could have never imagined that one day he would be scared that Alfie was capable of hurting him. He never thought he’d be scared of him… “You’re not a holy fucking saint.”

Ricky frowned. “Why are you saying this? I never claimed to be-“

“Not everyone needs to take in stupid wretched beggars, okay? I don’t need to feed the fucking orphans!”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Ricky said, trying to sound as calm as possible but Alfie’s irrational behaviour made him nervous. “I never took in anyone, and neither have I fed any orphans. Why are you-“

“Not everyone can be you!” Alfie’s voice grew harsher and Ricky tried so hard not to show how terrified he was. “Fucking saint! I’m not like you and you know it! I’ll never be like you! Everyone’s always looking at me and wonder why the fuck I’m nothing like you. Why the fuck I don’t go out there and feed the damn brats and the peasants and the hookers. Why not? Why not?! Because I’m not the fucking saint that you are, so leave me the fuck alone! You knew I would never be anything like you!”

Ricky didn’t move. He didn’t even blink. It felt like he was facing a wild animal and every tiny movement could be his death.
“Alfie…” he said very gently, his heart racing in his chest, “this isn’t about me, is it?”

Alfie just looked at him. For a brief moment he seemed confused, like he didn’t even know where he was and what he was doing here in the first place. Then he snapped out of it and his bewilderment was replaced by anger.
Lucky for Ricky he didn’t let it out on him anymore. He looked at him one last time, as if Ricky was the one responsible for making him feel like crap, then he stormed off and went straight upstairs.
Ricky went to his own bedroom instead. He had been sleeping there since weeks, and he always locked the door behind him.


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LaL: Willow
PA: Skadi
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143 Re: Coming Home on Tue 27 Dec 2016, 5:31 pm

Christmas 1974 was approaching faster every day and Marge Adams was a very busy. She was the Matron of Garden Eden Home for Hurt Girls and the Founder of Neverland Home for Hurt Boys and at this time of the year, she was busy making sure that the children would have a magical time. Despite the busy time, she did not forget a promise she gave someone a very long time ago, she promised a man to help look after a boys heart… but the boy he hid his heart after the tragedy. Marge got a key not surprisingly George was a special man his last name was Adams, when he was a boy he grew up at the Little Hero Orphanage and in a way he was her brother. They both were wardens of the state in the care of Mr Adams.

Marge took out the key as she did the past months so many times and let herself in. “What a mess, Alfie get up!”

“What the fuck do you think you are doing? I told you before stop breaking into my house!” Alfie snapped at the older Lady rather rude and aggressive.

“And I told you before I will come whenever you need me, and today is one of those days again. Ricky is not here?”

“Fuck off!” Alfie shouted but Marge did not even blink. She tidied around him, picked up empty whiskey bottles, dusted and cleaned, always happily chatting about her girls, the boys of Neverland and Waterfall Downs.

“Why the fuck are you here? Just piss off.”

Marge smiled gentle at him, those beautiful blue eyes looked straight into his soul. “Because you are hurting  and the only way for you to deal with it is lash out at the ones you love. No matter how much you lash out at me, I will not go anywhere. I know the day will come when you need me and I will be here and pick you up.” Marge was smart enough not to say that she had promised his Grandfather.

“I don’t need you, you old hag!” Alfie yelled, everyone else would be scared but not Marge. Marge worked with children that got sexually abused and most of them react at some point with anger and threat, and Alfie was just another little boy that got hurt. So she just smiled very gentle and nearly hidden and nodded. She put the basket with food on the table and sat down in a corner with her knitting. For a while both of them were quiet not saying a word, Alfie refused to touch any of the food she brought him while she was there but he also didn’t drink he just read one of his complicated books he liked so much, although he was just pretending to read. Marge knew how the boy looked when he read and even though Alfie did turn from time to time a page he was not reading the book.
It was dark when Marge finally put her knitting away and got up. “I will be going now Alfie. I want you to know that I am here if you need me. I’ll be visit soon and I’ll expect to see you at the Christmas Eve Celebration. You need to make some good memories.”

“Oh just fuck of back to your little whores.” Alfie snarled.

Marge did not reply as she smiled at Alfie before she let herself out of the flat. It was a cold December day and the air smelled of snow but the weak winter sun was shining its brightest. “He is lost Papa. He needs your help, help him to see, help him to find his heart. I am here to catch him but I think only you can make him fall. We will all help him to get up but only can help him to fall.” Marge sighed. “I miss you.”

This time of the year… actually any time of the year was not easy. Every day she missed the man that saved her life that saved the life of so many poor souls in Oxford, her brothers and sisters, the Adams children.

 
Meanwhile on the other side of Oxford

“Mommy, mommy is it Christmas yet?” Jill called loudly into the classroom. The entire class laughed and at other schools that would not have been the case but at Waterfall Downs Academy, life was different.

“Jill, Munchkin I am teaching.” Jo smiled gentle at her youngest daughter.

“Oh sorry.” Jill mumbled, sat down at a table in the classroom and looked expectantly at her mother.

“Okay as I was saying. What do you think Dickens meant with this?”

The class continued it was fast and went deep into ways most English classes did not go. Jo’s pupils were of all ages. As every class in Waterfall Downs Academy a class was not set on a school year but across them pupils that were interested in the topic signed up for the class in different levels. In a way it made teaching a lot more interesting and the pupils loved it, they learned that knowledge and cleverness means nothing if you do not share it.

“Okay so that is the lesson nearly finished, don’t forget this afternoon we are baking Christmas biscuits. Jill you asked if it is Christmas yet, no not yet.” Jo smiled at her daughter. “Did you like the lesson?”

“Oh yes Mommy that Dicky lad is he a brother of Grumpy Uncle?”

Now Jo and some pupils started laughing. “No I don’t think Charles Dickens and Dick are related but good job for recognising the similarity between their names.”

“I like the Dicky lad, he writes good stories. My favourite is a Christmas Carol it reminds us what is important in life. That Tiny Tim lives.”

It was odd, Jill was so young and in her innocent and naïve mind she hit the nail on the head despite her not understanding how he would life but she was right. The bell rang and everyone packed their things away and went for lunch. Jill went to take her Mom’s hand. “So how much longer do we have to wait? I made you presents one for you and Daddy, Granddad and Grandmother, Jamesy, and Grumpy Uncle and Fi and Auntie Ricky, Daideo and Auntie Ellen and Janey! And I have a card for every pupil in the school.”

“That is very kind of you, so very kind. I am very proud of you Jill for doing this. But you have to wait a little bit longer. Now why are you already home, I thought you are in nursery?”

“I was, but I told them Janey and I have to go home for a very important event, they called your office but you didn’t answer so I said it is better to call Auntie Ellen she will pick us up. And then I came to look for you. So it’s just lunch time?”
Jo laughed and looked loving at her daughter. “You are one special girl. Yes it is just lunch time. This afternoon is the big Christmas biscuit baking even Tante Lorelai comes over.”

“HOORAY!” Jill shouted and ran off.

“Let me guess she got out of nursery and forgot about the baking.” James laughed as he wrapped his arm around Jo.

“Yes she did. This girl is really something. I should check where Jane is.”

“Oh don’t worry she is around somewhere.” James laughed. “Your daughters are sure something, Jill sees herself as if she owns WDA.”

Not it was Jo that laughed. “Yes I know though I do not see her become a teacher one day, Jane maybe but not Jill.”
Jo saw Liam sitting at their usual table with both their daughters. Jill was talking none stop while Liam was making a clean sandwich for Jane. It was tomato soup and sandwiches for lunch and bakewell slices and tea for dessert. The food in Waterfall Downs Academy was simple, always very good but it wasn’t fancy anymore as it used to be. Jo smiled adoring at her family and waved. Liam got knocked in the face by Jill who suddenly waved back. Liam looked up and grinned at his wife. It was funny any other man holding Jo like James did would turn Liam into the green rage monster, but James. James was like a brother to the both of them. Eve when he hugged or oh gosh even gave her a kiss on the cheek Liam was calm and never jealous.

“Hey Handsome.” Jo greeted her husband with a kiss and a big smile to her daughters.

“I gonna sit over there make sure the boys are behaving, I took off them the new Playboy, I will talk with them about the value of every person.” James chuckled, threw a charming smile at Frida who was sitting between the boys.

“I just wish he would admit what he is feeling.” Jo mumbled as she sat down across from Liam. “How were your classes this morning? There are a few things we got to look at later.”

Lime leaned forward and kissed his wife. “My classes were good, we build electromagnets. We are trying to build an electromagnetic train, just a small one but it is quite a project…” Liam chuckled, he saw that he had lost Jo about the moment he mentioned electromagnets. “Anything I got to worry about?”

“Oh no just the usual at this time the travel plans for the boarding pupils. Most of them use the bus we booked I know it leaves late but all parents and pupils want to wake up on Christmas Day at home. The bus leaves WDA at midnight on Christmas Eve, so they can all attended the Christmas Eve Celebrations and then leave. Only some leave before the celebration they will go by train.”

“Ellen knows who leaves when and will check that they are packed?” Liam asked while he cut Jill’s sandwich into half.

“Yes. James will also help. And this afternoon we have the big Christmas biscuits baking to give them away.” Jo put another carrot stick on Jane’s plate.

Liam nodded and laughed. “I did remember. My physic class made plans how they can make rather unusual shapes. We do it here in the dining hall right?”

“Yes I thought that would be easiest. The good prepared the ingredients that the pupils can work in groups of eight at one table.”

“Do you two ever stop working, you are having lunch and still talk school.” Ellen laughed at sat down next to Jo. Gracie was now attending a school outside of Oxford for special needs as hers and she loved it. “I organised pupils to look after the twins so that you can enjoy the baking yourself. Also Liam your Dad asked if he could spend the weekend with the twins.”

“Of course he doesn’t have to ask. I’d love a weekend alone with my wife.” Liam grinned cheeky.

“Liam!” Jo chuckled nervous despite her liking of spending the weekend alone with her husband.

“What? I love the girls but I also love spending time alone with you.” Liam grinned still looking like a young teenager.

“Professor? I know we have the baking this afternoon, but I have a problem with my physic presentation. I am stuck. Well sort of I can’t get it to be within the time limit I am ten minutes over.” Sarah looked distressed at Liam, she was head-girl and took school very serious. Her strengths were in science and sports -she was also games captain-.

“I will help you after lunch if that is alright.” Liam looked sober and with his teacher look at Sarah.

“Yes thank you. I did not mean to interrupt your time with your family.” Sarah looked worried at Jo and the twins.

“Oh Sarah you know that we life to be teachers and lunch is not such a special time. Come sit with us.” Jo smiled and pointed at the empty chair next to her.

Lunch in Waterfall Downs Academy was a loud and busy time, not that there weren’t any rules and manners but as many meal times it was the time when friends of different ages got together and talked about their days, thoughts and worries. Jo was sitting smiling in this whirlwind time, she loved it and she knew that another Williams woman would love to see this picture. She looked up in the middle of the large hall was a large fireplace and above was a large portrait, not many of the old portraits had stayed when Waterfall Downs became a school but this did. A young woman with flaming red hair blowing in the wind, dressed in her Scottish dress holding her horse in the grounds of Waterfall Downs. Countess  Josephine Williams the First, Lady Jo the Caring as another little girl named her. Both Jos loved to see the house filled with children, filled with laughter and love. Jo smiled at the portrait of her beloved Grandmother and listened to the story of Sarah’s family that had issues with their Christmas decoration that got used as nesting place for some cheeky weasels during summer.
Jo always thought she had to leave Waterfall Downs maybe even Oxford to find this happiness but she actually found it right here with the ghost of the former Willimas’ walking the halls.


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