Every Friendship has a Beginning

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Are You Sure This is the Right House?

Athene was standing out by the car, and Major Richards had been helping her load all the luggage into the car.

Mrs Richards was frantically checking she’d packed everything.

“You packed plenty of quilts? I don’t want you getting cold!”

“Yes Granny,” muttered Athene.

“Your uniforms?”

“Hmm,” she muttered.

“All your books?”

“I’ve packed at least twenty books,” sighed Athene smiling slightly.

“You’ve done your homework? Goodness knows how you’ll get any homework done at the Pennington’s; you’ll be too busy skylarking!”

“Yes Granny, I’ve done and packed all my homework.”

“Where’s your hat and coat?” she mumbled looking around.

Athene shook her head, Granny was a big traditionalist, and she felt it was not proper to leave the house without a hat and coat.

“They’re on the back seat,” chuckled Athene, “my school hat and coat are in my trunk!”

“Wait!” she exclaimed, “have you got your handiwork?”

“Of course, I do,” said Athene, who was hardly going to leave her sewing behind.

She loved sewing almost as much as she did reading.

“Well,” she muttered straightening Athene’s dress, “I suppose you’ll do.”

“She’s fine Glad!” said Major Richards, “and if she has forgotten anything, we can send it on.”

“Oh my God!” gasped Mrs Richards, “your ration book!”

“I never go anywhere without it,” laughed Athene.

“She’ll be asking if you’ve packed your gas mask next,” smirked Major Richards.

At this moment Captain Llewelyn came limping over to the car with his walking stick.

“Hello Athy!” he called.

“Was worried I’d miss you!”

“Stupid leg,” he muttered, glaring down at his gammy leg.

“You alright Davy?” asked Major Richards as he loaded the last of the bags.

“I’m great thanks Morgan thought I was going to miss Athy though.”

“I was never going to leave without saying goodbye to you!” giggled Athene giving him a huge hug and quick kiss on the forehead.

“You’re more like your Mam every day you know,” he beamed brushing a loose lock of hair off of her face.

“Now remember, however much time you spend with those southerner friends of yours, you’re Welsh, you’ve got fire in your blood.”

“We are descended from dragons,” continued Athene, who had heard this speech many times, “and warriors and princes.”

“Right you are Cariad!” said Captain Llewelyn giving her a last hug.

Athene got into the back of the car, and her grandparents got in the front.

She leant out the window of the back of the car, waving goodbye to Captain Llewelyn and the rest of her friends as they drove away.

She always felt slightly strange about leaving Wales, and as they crossed the bridge to England, she felt like she was leaving part of her heart behind with her.

She wasn’t too upset though because she was going to see her friends again.

In the late afternoon, the car pulled into the driveway of The Yews.

It was a huge old house, which was at least four times the size of the Richards’ house

“Are you sure we’ve got the right place?” asked Mrs Richards looking up at the house, and not getting out of the car just in case they had the wrong address.

“I think so,” laughed Athene.

She was looking up at the attic window, where Mark and Julie were hanging out the window waving frantically.

“Athene!” screamed Julie as she waved.

“Hi!” called Athene waving up at her as she got out of the car.

“Athene!” yelled Anthony as he came charging out of the house.

Anthony picked up Athene and threw her in the air.

“Calm down Anthony!” she laughed, “put me down!”

“I’m sorry,” he laughed putting her down and hugging her, “I’ve just missed you so much.”

Nick came out of the house and helped carry the luggage into the house. Mr Pennington was still at work in London and wouldn’t be back for another hour.

“Look after yourself alright sweetheart?” asked Major Richards giving her one last hug.

“We’ll see you at Christmas darling,” said Mrs Richards struggling to hold back tears.

Athene and Anthony waved the car goodbye, chasing the car up the drive as it drove away.

“Come on Athens,” beamed Anthony, “I want to show you around!”

Anthony grabbed Athene by the hand and practically dragged her into the house.

Anthony dragged her past the pile of luggage in the hallway and through to the kitchen where Mrs Brown was making the dinner.

“Hello Athene,' said Mrs Brown, 'good to see you again.'

“It's lovely to see you too, Anthony's told about your wonderful cooking,” said Athene nodding.

'He's exaggerating I'm

“I’ve heard so much about you,” she beamed and taking a proper look at her, “even more beautiful than Mark and Anthony described.”

Athene blushed almost as red as her hair.

“Go on Tony,” said Mrs Brown, “show Athene up to her room.”

Anthony was so excited and his legs were so long, that Athene was having to run to keep up with him.

Every single corridor of all three floors was jampacked with bookcases. Some were filled with manuscripts sometimes stacked three deep. Others were filled with books, some paperback others hardback, fiction and non-fiction, every kind of book imaginable!

They reached the top of the first staircase where there was a landing and two smaller sets of stairs leading off from it, one led to three bedrooms, and the other set led to the other half of the floor including another four bedrooms, two fully fitted bathrooms and Anthony’s linen cupboard and the staircase up to the attic.

“Your house is so huge!” exclaimed Athene.

“You’re up here,” said Anthony going up a smaller set of stairs to the attic.

“Brownie wanted to put you up here, so you could get some privacy, she knows that this house can be a hectic sometimes!”

“That’s the room we use for storage, and Mark and Julie use for practising in,” said Anthony pointing to one of the two rooms in the attic, “this is your room, and that’s your bathroom.”

“I’ve got my own bathroom,” she stammered as she walked into the bedroom.

It was a large room, nearly twice the size of her room at home with a slanted ceiling. There was a large double bed with pale pink floral bed sheets. The walls were painted a light cream, and there was a rose carpet on the floor. The was a desk, wardrobe, chest of drawers, even a vanity table!

Not to mention the fact that there was a bookcase taking up half a wall full of assorted books.

Athene’s mouth had dropped open slightly as she looked around.

“Do you like it?”

Like it? She thought. It was a teenage girl’s dream; it couldn’t have been better if she’d picked everything out herself.

“I love it Anthony!” she exclaimed.

“But why is everything so pink? You don’t have any sisters!'

'For goodness sake! You don’t even have any cousins!”

“Mum really wanted a girl,” chuckled Anthony, “and she seemed to think that they might want to get away from the chaos of all the boys. So, she decorated this room, she died before we could use it.”

“It’s perfect,” breathed Athene as she looked at the rosebud curtains and the window seat looking out over the grounds.

They had a lake she thought as she looked out the window! Of course, they had a ruddy lake! Nothing was going to surprise her now!

She had known that the Pennington’s were rich, but she hadn’t realised to what extent! It made her wonder quite how well off her other friends such as Julie and Harry were.

She wasn’t jealous or anything, she wouldn’t have traded her own family for anything in the world.

“Dinners in five minutes!” called Mark as he and Simon dropped off the trunk.

Athene whipped her head around from where she had been looking out the window.

“I’ll race you,” said Anthony his face splitting into a grin.

“What about no running in the corridors?” called Athene as he sprinted from the room.

“We’re not at school anymore stupid!” called Mark as he overtook his twin brother.

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