Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Four Stars Chapter Four

Previous chapter: Later That First Week.

Chapter Four: Babysitting at Dinner.

"Surely something will crop up soon." ~The Watcher.

While Francesca was playing about in the park, Hera decided to trim herself on the treadmill. It would have gone well if it wasn't for one thing, clumsy feet.

Hera fell down.

She fell and knocked her head on the floor, along with her elbows and knees.

She got up awkwardly.
"Gosh, I shouldn't have set the treadmill so high," Hera muttered as she hopped back on. She continued running until Francesca came back.

"Hi Hera," Francesca said when she saw Hera run. "How's your day?"

"Good," the skinny woman replied. "How did your park outing go?"

"I introduced myself to a young mother, and her kid. Ouellettes."

"Oo- what?" Hera asked, trying to watch Gordon Ramsay as he stuffed a chicken with mashed chestnuts on television. "What kind of name is Ouef?"

"French, I guess. They're not named after food."

"Alright. When will the Lions be back, Fran?"

"Attie will be back soon, Isabel's not back till five. Did you make anything for dinner?"

"I made a salad, I had trimming on the brain instead of Broadway," Hera explained, as Francesca made a face. "Look, I don't cook as well as I conduct," Hera continued. "Deal with it, bub."

"No wonder you're watching Gordon Ramsay's show. When's your job starting?"

"Ten o'clock tomorrow morning, game tester at the local computer club," Hera said tersely. "I'll be back after sundown."


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After the meager dinner of vegetables and honey mustard dressing, Francesca went up to her room. She settled down to play Puzzle Cove when her phone rang. It blared, "Bring on the men, let the fun begin!" until she picked up the call. She said, "Hello?"

The other voice replied, "Hi miss. Can I come over to your place tomorrow? My parents are heading out and I need to hang out somewhere after school."

"Who is this?"

"Ana," the voice said. "The little kid you played pirate ship with earlier today," she clarified.

"Oh, yes. I met your mother, too. Let me check my schedule," Fran said into the phone, as she glanced at the calendar on her desk. "You can come over in the evening, my housemates should be in at that time."

The kid replied, "Thanks, miss Fran," and ended the call.

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The next day, Hera squeezed out of bed and stretched. "Got a job as a game tester," she muttered as she sent a text message to her parents. "Might as well do something else you love to bits," she said as she walked upstairs to the balcony. "I'll tune my brain on the side."

She passed through the Lions' room after knocking, but nobody was inside as Attie had rushed off to work early in the morning again. Isabel was downstairs clearing up the plates.

When Hera got to the balcony, she settled down to admire the chess set that the Lion Twins had ordered a few days ago. She stared at the chess pieces and groaned in boredom. "I'm going to sleep in this nice sunshine," she thought, and flopped over in the chair.She didn't notice Isabel strut past to Francesca's room.

Isabel remarked, "Someone's very tired," as she walked by. Hera's reply was a loud snore. "Well, I'm off to work at the museum," Isabel said, "Take care of yourself."

Hera snored again as Isabel left the balcony and entered Francesca's room. "Fran, wake Hera up before you go to work, ok?" Isabel said to her cousin, who was reading how to proofread texts. "She's snoozing on the balcony."

"Huh, alright," Francesca replied. "See you later," she added as Isabel went downstairs. When it was time for Hera to go to work, Francesca woke her up and saw her off.

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That evening, when Attie came back from work, she saw a little girl standing by the doorstep. "What do you want?" she asked the kid.

"Miss Fran," the kid replied. "You know her?"

"Yep, my housemate. Come in, she'll be back from work soon, along with my twin," Attie said and let the child in. Soon, Francesca came back, and rushed upstairs. Before Attie could call out to the kid, she rushed up after Francesca!

The brown-haired woman sighed contentedly as she answered nature's call in the bathroom. She then saw a little face look around the door.

"Shoo! Go away!" Francesca yelled loudly. Ana yelled in embarrassment because she saw Francesca doing her personal business there. The little girl scurried downstairs, staring at the ground all the while.

Attie looked at the broken stereo and grumbled, "Speakers blown out again. Stupid Fran, always wanting to hear Goth metal at max volume, not to mention Hera putting ethnic music on the same."

Ana looked around the living room and fidgeted. The red woman was engrossed in repairing the stereo. Ana glanced around and saw a woman in white strut by daintily.

"Kim Kardashian!" Ana said when Isabel went to get her dinner from the fridge. Isabel took out a plate of sandwiches and fries, then sat down at the table. She gestured to Ana to sit.

"Now, see here, kid! My name is Isabel Lion, not Kim Kardashian!" Isabel said after Ana sat down opposite her. "It's very bad manners to assume someone's name just because they resemble a celebrity."

"I didn't know," Ana squeaked in fright.

"I may look like Kim K, have the same long face, jutting chin, and curly hair, but that doesn't make me Kim K, understand? I don't even want to be associated with reality television."

Ana shifted around uncomfortably.

"And another thing, you shouldn't barge in when somebody's in the washroom. How dare you disturb miss Fran on the can?" Isabel continued admonishing the kid.

"S-sorry, miss Isabel."

"Well, you'd better mind your manners if you want to get ahead in life," Isabel said and nibbled her sandwich.

Francesca came down and greeted Attie, "Hi, rubbish!"

"Hallo yourself," Attie said, watching the evening news. "One day, you'll call me Amelia Bonn instead of rubbish," she quipped.

"Why did miss Fran say rubbish?" Ana asked.

"Ok, we slip up sometimes, but that shouldn't be your main excuse to behave rudely."

"Yes miss," said Ana.

"You hungry, kid?" Francesca asked.

Ana shook her head. "I had a snack after school, thanks," she said.

Isabel then decided to ask Ana how school was. When Ana said that school was dull, Attie snorted, "Wait till you get to high school and realize that it's nothing like the movies!"

"You mean there aren't popular students picking on the nerds?" Ana asked, bewildered.

"No, they don't go out of their way to pick on lone Goths either. Ask Fran, she's a nerdy Goth girl and hardly anyone gave a hoot about her unless they needed her way with the written word," Attie remarked.

"I wish I had a way with the spoken word instead," Francesca said with a frown. "I keep getting criticized for not speaking up outside of academia, then when I do try, I get laughed at. Damned if I do, damned if I don't."

"You don't want to wish for that alone," said Isabel, "The written word lasts longer, and you can find work with that." The housemates continued to talk, almost forgetting that their remarks sailed over Ana's head. The little girl decided she should make her way home before the grownups continued their overgrown references.

"I'm leaving, but thanks for letting me hang out," Ana said and made a beeline for the front door.

Attie replied, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" as the kid left. Isabel made a disapproving face at her twin.

Next chapter: Childminding Again.

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