Continued from yesterday:
“Come in boys and take off your coats, dinner will be ready in twenty minutes.”
Auntie Joan smiled as she waved to Mum and Dad and closed the front door. Luke and Jared sat down quietly in the living room and looked at their hands. Auntie Joan disappeared into the kitchen and nothing happened for three or four minutes until the front door slammed. Uncle Brian was home from work. He burst into the living room loudly.
“Hello boys! I forgot you were coming! Ready for a re-match Jared?”
Jared grinned shyly.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Great. We’ll set up after dinner. Hey, where’s Amelia? She must be in her room. Why don’t you go and see what she’s up to? We’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”
The boys looked at each other uncomfortably and then quietly did as they were told. They knocked on Amelia’s door and entered when she said ‘come in’. Their six year old cousin was dressed in a pink tutu with pink tights and wire-framed white lace wings on her back. She had a pink plastic tiara on her head. She was bent over a colouring book, colouring butterflies.
“Hello,” she said, without looking up.
“Hello,” said Luke.
“Alright?” said Jared.
Jared sat down on the bed and picked up two of Amelia’s soft toys.
“Ah, pink pony! Today you will fight blue dolphin to the death! And whoever wins will fight yellow kitten to the death!” he said in a fake evil voice while making the toys wrestle.
“Stop it! You’ll spoil them,” said Amelia.
Jared laughed and continued tormenting her. Luke shook his head at his brother’s predictably boring behaviour and browsed Amelia’s bookshelves. Colouring books, colouring books, colouring books. He wondered how she hadn’t got tired of them. He took one from the shelf at random and flicked through it. It was full of pictures of sea creatures and shells and seaweed. Under each one was its name and a brief description. Amelia had coloured it in very neatly, Luke had to admit, and she’d ended up with a full colour encyclopedia of the sea. He picked out another one – it was about birds. Every other page had a drawing of a different bird to be coloured in, with the name, description, habits and location of the bird on the opposite page. There was another one about fish, another about wild flowers, another about trees. There was Animals of the British Isles, Jungle Animals, Arctic Animals; Space, Planets, Stars; Fruit and Vegetables; People from History. There were also quite a few with fairies but Luke had seen enough to know that he had misjudged Amelia. Not all colouring books were boring.
So the visit to Auntie Joan’s turned out to be not so bad after all. Luke was given beans on toast with tomatoes and leeks for dinner, which went down very well. And Amelia kindly let him do some colouring in her History colouring book from which he learned that Albert Einstein, who was famous for being a very clever man, was a vegetarian like him. He showed that page to Auntie Joan.
Monday morning Luke sat in awe, watching Joe draw a brilliant picture of Mrs Tebbut. It looked just like her. He was especially impressed with how Joe had captured her eyebrows, the way they each did their own thing when she was angry.
“Joseph Carter put down your pen!” Mrs Tebbut shouted from behind her desk.
Luke looked at her and then at the drawing.
“Amazing!” he breathed.
As she stalked towards them, it dawned on Joe that it would have been better to have drawn it on paper so that he could tear it up. He licked his finger and tried to rub it off but the ink had already sunk into the wood.
“Headmaster’s office! Now!” she boomed when she saw his handiwork.
Joe was already on his feet. He knew the routine. Luke tried not to smile.
“And you, Luke Walker,” Mrs Tebbut still had some rage to vent.
“What did I do?” asked Luke incredulously.
“You two are as bad as each other. Move to the front where I can keep an eye on you!”
“There’s no room at the front,” said Luke with relief.
“Katia, Shania, swap desks with Luke please.”
She had an answer for everything.
“I didn’t do anything,” he said plaintively.
Joe was gone until after playtime and when he did come back he had to stand in the ‘naughty corner’. Luke sat alone in a haze of Lily of the Valley, trying not to make eye contact with his teacher. At least Joe was allowed to sit with him after lunch. Well, sort of.
“Luke and Joe, sit at either end of your desk, facing each other. I’ll have no more whispering and conspiring.”
The boys moved their chairs, turning sideways to the white board.
“Great,” muttered Luke, “now I’ll get a stiff neck twisting round to look at the board.”
“And I’ll have no muttering either,” said Mrs Tebbut, quiet enough to let him know that, at this distance, she could hear everything.
While the class got themselves settled in for afternoon school, Mrs Tebbut directed Miss Shaw, the new classroom assistant, to the photocopier.
“Just make 30 copies – I don’t want spares cluttering up my desk – and then put the Master Copy back in here,” she said, indicating her desk drawer.
Miss Shaw went to the staff room, where the photocopier was stationed, and Mrs Tebbut wrote on the board: The Eatwell Guide
Concludes tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here 😀