Chapter 1. Frenchie's Return
Book One - Chapter One
“Mum!” Marty yelled out as he legged it down the stairs two at a time. “Frenchie’s just got back! I’m popping round now......, so see you later.”
“You’re not staying over tonight then?” His mother replied from a room at the back of the house.
“Oh! No Mum....... Can’t now, can I?” Marty whinged as he entered the kitchen. “He’ll be sharing his room with Sun, won’t he?”
He saw her standing at the sink, and went up behind her and put his arms around her waist, giving her a tight squeeze. “Going to be a bit of a pain now, isn’t it?” He said, quietly in her ear before resting his chin on her shoulder. “It’s just not going to be the same anymore.”
His mother laughed. “You’ll get used to it. Anyway, you sleep around there far too often as it is. Guessing you will be wanting to pre-order pizzas then, as usual?”
“No thanks, Mum. Frenchie said Auntie Anne was bringing something in, and was sort of expecting me to be there anyway. It sounds like a Thai takeaway from what he was saying.” He gave her another squeeze. “I wonder what the twins are like? I hope it’s not going to be too much like hard work settling them in here.”
“Well you won’t find out by standing here. Off with you now, but don’t be late home. I want you back by Nine! Okay?”
“Awwwwww Muuummm!” He whined. “That’s way too early...., we got so much to catch up on. Please, please, please,” he begged.
“Okay, Okay, Okay...., be back by Ten then, but not a minute later...., you hear?”
“Thanks Mum.... Love you.” He kissed her on the cheek.
Marty knew he was lucky to get any ‘be home by’ time extension. His parents had always been strict with his three older brothers, especially regarding curfew times when they were around his age. The extra hour was a real bonus for him. With a big grin lighting up his handsome face, he was running out of the kitchen, into the breakfast room, and out of the back door.
Alice Webberley watched her youngest son grab his bike, which was laying on the ground in the back garden where he had unceremoniously dumped it earlier. She smiled as he jumped astride and started pedalling madly past her at the kitchen window and around the corner down onto their driveway. She heard the screech of brakes as he slid to a halt so he could use his key fob to open the side gate to let himself out onto the road.
Despite having had children and just turning 50, Alice was still blessed with a trim figure. Her light brown hair hung loosely down to her shoulders and the delicate makeup she wore hid the ever increasing age lines on her face.
Her boys were her life and they all meant everything to her, but Marty was her youngest and, although he was nearly 16, to her he was still her baby. She was closer to him than she had ever been with his brothers, Jack 22, Mark 20, and Lewis 18.
They were typical boys, loud, sporty and boisterous, but with a rebellious, and sometimes over competitive streak. A streak that had caused many a worrying moment for her, and her husband George.
Marty was far more studious than the others had ever been and had a far more sensitive and compassionate nature. He was good at sports, but ballroom dancing was his passion. He was growing up, and was changing fast. She was fearful of the problems that they had with Lewis repeating themselves with Marty. Lewis had fallen in with a bad crowd and had been drinking heavily and taking drugs. He had skipped college too. It had been eight months of sheer hell in getting him clean, and back on track.
Over the past six weeks Marty had not been his usual self. She knew that the summer had been a little tough for him, as his best friend, Olivier ‘Frenchie’ DuBois, had been away abroad for almost the whole of the holidays. It was quite obvious to her that Marty had missed him, more than he would ever admit, and she had seen the effect that the prolonged separation had caused to her usually carefree son. There had been times when a melancholy aura had engulfed him. He had other friends of course, but none that he was as close to as Olivier.
She was delighted to see that Marty was growing into a very handsome and good looking boy. With his blond hair, blue eyes, and the splattering of freckles on his face, she was surprised that there was not a particular girl that could be classed as a girlfriend yet. Still, it was good to see him happy again, but she had an unnerving feeling. The two boys were very close, and with the changes that were already happening round at the DuBois household, she wondered just how her youngest boy would cope with not being able to be around Olivier as much as before.
It was around 4:30pm that afternoon when Marty left his house. He decided to take his usual route when it was dry, across the local Country Park to Olivier’s. It cut out a few busy main roads which, because it was approaching rush hour, would be even busier at this time.
Olivier used to live just up the street from him, but since his parents divorced a few years ago, he now lived with his Mum, Anne, and his older sister, Eloise, just a few miles away. They had only moved because his Mum could no longer afford the mortgage on her own. Although their new house is not that far away he often stayed over, partly so they could carry on playing video games uninterrupted and partly because he shared a room with his brother Lewis.
Total opposites the two siblings constantly rubbed each other up the wrong way, so for Marty it was so much easier to stay at Olivier’s whenever the opportunity arose giving him a much needed break from his dork of a brother, Lewis.
Fortunately, because of the two boys’ friendship, their Mums had become firm friends too, with both boys calling each other’s Mum, ‘Auntie’, even though they were not related. Neither seemed to mind or object though to him staying over as often as he did.
Marty’s phone buzzed. A message from Olivier had dropped in asking where he was and suggesting, rudely of course, that he had forgotten the way, which made Marty laugh. He just quickly messaged back that he would see him in five minutes, and put the phone away. It reaffirmed just how much he had missed being able to contact him so easily.
He really liked Olivier and liked hanging around with him. Olivier was a little smaller than him, not as muscular defined, but was still a very good looking boy. He had an elfin type face, blue green eyes, and fairish light brown hair. Girls thought he was cute and attractive. Marty had always found him easy to hang around with and they had always got on well together. They rarely argued, or fell out. They always had so much fun together. They were in the same school, similar classes, and had the same circle of friends.
With Olivier being away, firstly in Thailand with his mother, and then in France visiting his Dad, Claude, who had moved back there with his new girlfriend after he divorced, it had been difficult, to say the least, actually chatting like they normally did. Getting through to each other had been a challenge, mainly due to time differences and poor Wi-Fi connections.
Their conversations had been all too brief and short. Neither of them used social media sites, so communicating was either by text or actual telephone calls. They had not really been able to discuss in any detail as to what was happening, but all Marty knew was that Olivier’s twin cousins were definitely coming over here to stay with them for good.
He started wondering again just what they would be like when he met them. He already knew a lot about them. He knew that Olivier’s mother’s younger sister had married a Thai doctor, and had emigrated out to Thailand around eighteen years ago. He knew the twins, a boy called Sun and a girl called Ice, were of a similar age to him and Olivier and, although they had visited here one summer about five years ago, he had never actually met them as he had been away on a family holiday at that time. He knew all about the really bad coach crash, about a year ago now, that had killed the twins’ parents and that Sun had been very badly injured, losing a leg. In July he had been round at Olivier’s house when Auntie Anne took that telephone call from Ice which had her, and Olivier, rushing out to Thailand just a few days later.
Marty swung into Olivier’s driveway. He quickly dismounted and opened the side gate leading to the garden, and propped his bike up against the back of the garage out of sight. Olivier came rushing out of the back door, grinning from ear to ear.
They both ran towards each other, crashing together, and performing a double high five. They then hugged each other tightly, as they bounced up and down on the spot, going round and round, laughing their heads off.
“Boy, Frenchie! You’ve got a good colour again!” Marty exclaimed, immediately noticing the suntan. “Really good to have you back though. Been so bored since you went. Kinda missed you too.”
Olivier laughed. “Didn’t have time to miss you though, Webbers, you soppy git. It has been all go for the whole of the holidays.”
“So Thailand was good, right?” Marty asked as he followed Olivier in through the back door.
“Amazing! Absolutely loved it...., but bloody hot and wet. Food was good but could be too spicy if you’re not careful. Very different of course, but it seemed like every meal had rice in it, even for breakfast!”
Olivier carried on through the kitchen heading for the stairs. “Talk about rain though, never seen anything like it. We had wet feet most of the time and looked like drowned rats. It was really basic in the twins’ village. Mum hated it, especially the bugs and leeches.”
“Where’s Auntie?” Marty inquired, as he looked around for her and not seeing her.
“Still out with Sun and Ice. They got held up at the doctors, but are on their way now,” Olivier answered as they headed straight upstairs towards his bedroom, as they always did.
“Doctors?” Marty queried, as he was following him up. “What’s happened now?”
“Nothing serious, just Sun’s new leg was playing up and it needed a few minor adjustments,” Olivier answered as he opened the door to his bedroom, walked in, and dived on to his double bed. “Apparently his stump is still adjusting to the climate here.”
“What’s it look like? Is it gruesome,” Marty followed him into the room, casting his eye over looking for the changes and not seeing any. He flopped down on the bed beside Olivier.
Olivier clocked the quick scan of the room Marty had made and knew the reason why. “What’s gruesome?”
“His stump! You’ve seen it? Does it look weird?”
“No I ain’t........! You’re sad Webbers! Really sad.”
“Just wondered what it was like that’s all…, just asking like. Must look odd though?” Marty scanned the room again. “What are they like then?”
“They are okay! Actually, they are both really nice. Ice is really pretty and cute now. Much prettier than I remembered her being. They have both got some strange ways of course, but I think you will like them. I’m looking forward to seeing them again.” A knowing smirk almost filled Olivier’s face. “You are looking a wee bit puzzled ’mon petit ami?”
Marty looked around the room again. “Yeah! Where are his things, then? Nothing seems to have changed. Don’t tell me you’ve got him sleeping on the sofa?”
Olivier smiled and shook his head. “No, he’s sleeping in Eloise’s room.”
Marty’s eyes widened in disbelief. “What! You’re kidding me? He’s shacked up with your sister?”
“You think Mum would allow that? Course not, you dingbat. Eloise moved out and is living with Jake now.”
“When did that happen?”
“While we were in Thailand.”
“Oh! I see..... So where’s Ice sleeping then?”
“In Eloise’s room.”
Again Marty’s eyes widened at the realisation of what was just said. “What! They are sleeping together?”
“They are doing what we usually do when you stay over.”
“But they are boy and girl! They shouldn’t be doing that!”
“We are boy and boy! So what’s the difference?”
Marty tried to think of an answer, and couldn’t. There was a long pause, and raising his eyebrows as if questioning its authenticity. “So, are they actually sleeping in the same bed?”
“No!” A smirk spread across Olivier’s face. “There was only a single bed in there so they are sleeping on a thick duvet on the floor together. So technically, yes, they are!”
Marty drew in a deep breath. “Jeezzzz It’s so not right. They could ..., you know......, errrrr...., get up to something they shouldn’t.”
“They are brother and sister!”
“I know, and it’s called incest.”
“You share a bed with me when you stay over.”
“So! But we don’t get up to....,” he started stuttering, “y-y-you know ....., er... d-d-doing .... y-y-you know..., anything er...., well er...., that!”
“The guys at school might think we do if they knew we slept together in the same bed.”
“But we are mates, it’s something we have always done. There’s nothing wrong with it....., and I wish you wouldn’t say we sleep together. Gives totally the wrong impression. We just share a bed....., period.”
“What about the times you cuddle up to me then, Webbers?” Olivier asked, with a big grin on his face.
“I don’t mean anything by it, so there’s nothing to get you worried…, and you bloody well know it!” Marty replied, slightly embarrassed and rising to the bait. “Anyways, you sometimes do the same to me, so don’t give me that.”
Olivier chuckled and playfully ruffled Marty’s hair. “They have always shared a room apparently.” He placed a strong emphasis on the word shared. “They didn’t want to be separated and asked Mum if they could stay together for now. We saw that they slept together in Thailand anyway. Mum said then that she thought they were a little too old to be doing it, but obviously said nothing to them. She thought it might be just a cultural thing and the lack of space.”
“But still it is not right.”
“You share with Lewis.”
“He’s my dork of a brother, knob head......., plus, I don’t sleep in the same bed.”
“So! Sun and Ice are siblings too. As I said before, what’s the difference?” Olivier whacked Marty smartly on the top of his head. “Look on the bright side, pea brain, you can still stay over now, can’t you?”
As Olivier’s words sunk in and the penny dropped, Marty’s face lit up. Frenchie was right. That was something that had worried him since he had learnt that the twins were staying permanently. If Sun was in the room he would not be able to stay over. Now he could. Nothing had changed.
They heard the sound of a car pulling up on the drive.
“Come on,” Olivier said as he jumped up off the bed. He grabbed Marty’s hand and pulled him to his feet and, putting his arm around Marty’s shoulders, steered him towards the door. “I’ll introduce you, but leave it out with the twenty questions... okay?”