Every Friendship has a Beginning

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Today was a very important day, it was the first Sunday since Athene had come to the Pennington’s.

She had been staying with them for nearly a week now, but she could still hardly believe how huge and comfy her bed was.

She pulled herself out of bed and put on a fresh clean dress with her school shoes for church, before heading downstairs.

She could hear a small argument coming from Mark and Anthony’s room.

“What do you not understand about Sunday Tony!” Mark was grumbling.

“It is God’s day of rest, ergo, let me sleep!”

“Don’t try and use Latin on me to get your way,” muttered Anthony.

“Bugger, I thought that might have worked,” sighed Mark before shutting his eyes and getting a few more minutes shut-eye.

“Hey Athene,” beamed Anthony bumping into Athene in the corridor.

Anthony had just finished getting dressed for the day and was wearing his Sunday suit.

“Will I do?” muttered Athene.

She didn’t have a lot of nice clothes; her old Sunday dress was now far too short and had had to be cut up for quilting material. There hadn’t been any ration coupons left for a new dress. She was wearing a plain blue striped summer dress and was worried that next to all the Pennington’s in their Sunday suits she would stick out like a sore pin.

“You look perfect,” said Anthony shaking his head, “you always do.”

“You’re neat and clean,” said Mrs Brown as they got down to the kitchen, “which is more than enough. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness!”

“Yes Mrs Brown,” they both nodded as they ate their boiled eggs and toast.

“Morning kids!” called Mr Pennington as he sat down to his paper.

“Morning Dad!” beamed Anthony.

“Got enough hair gel in Simon?” asked Mark as Simon showed up for breakfast late as usual.

“Shut it you!” muttered Simon.

“Now then, I want you all to be on your best behaviour today,” said Simon.

“Or else,” he said ominously.

“Or else what?” asked Mark curiously a smirk on his face.

“Or else you won’t get to meet her,” said Mr Pennington from behind his paper.

Mark shut up very quickly at this point.

Simon and Celia had been going out for eight months now, but Celia had still not met the family. It wasn’t that Simon was ashamed of his family, but Celia was an only child and the house was so chaotic, he hadn’t wanted to scare her off.

But today after church, Celia was coming for Sunday lunch with family and staying for tea, and then Simon would walk her home that evening.

Anthony put his hand in the air.

“Yes?” said Simon through seethed teeth.

“Would it be behaving myself if I got my camera out later?”

“She probably won’t mind as long as she gets a copy of the photos,” said Simon, “but don’t jump out and scare her!”

“Message received and understood,” said Anthony giving his brother a brief salute.

“Right hats and coats gang, time for church!”

“Can I drive?” asked Simon.

Mr Pennington had been teaching Nick and Simon how to drive, and Simon had been seeming to get the hang of it. It was only a few minutes to church; how bad could it go?

“No going out of first gear,” said Mr Pennington firmly.

If there was going to be an accident with the whole family in the car, he didn’t want them to be going fast enough for anyone to get hurt.

“You’ve got a deal,” chuckled Simon shaking his Dad’s hand.

It turned out that Mr Pennington had no reason to worry, Simon managed everyone to the church in one piece and drove very safely.

At the end of church, a very glamorous girl with blonde permed hair came over to them, she had cornflower blue eyes, and was wearing a neat navy and cream two-piece matching skirt and shirt with a matching hat and blazer. She was only seventeen, but she was very sophisticated and fashionable.

“Everyone, this is Celia Bell,” said Simon with his arm around Celia.

“Celia, this is everyone.”

“Well hello everyone,” laughed Celia earnestly.

“Now let me see,” she muttered.

“You’re Mr Pennington of course,” said Celia holding out her hand.

“It is an honour to meet you,” said Mr Pennington shaking her hand.

“You’re Mrs Brown who according to Simon makes the best apple pie in the county.”

Mrs Brown blushed slightly as she smiled.

“You must be Nick the prefect and the brains in the older Pennington brothers.”

Nick laughed slightly.

“You two are clearly Fred and Ginger,” said Celia smiling at Mark and Julie who had come over to get a look at Simon’s girlfriend.

“What gave it away?” asked Mark his eyes lit up like stars.

“Because you were whispering to each other all the way through the service, Anthony’s far well behaved to do such a thing!”

Mark laughed, what she was saying was true.

“Which means that you two are Anthony and Athene, the two bookworms and scholars in the outfit.”

“Full marks,” said Nick impressed.

“Welcome to the family,” said Mark holding out his hand.

They all went back to the house and had an amazing afternoon, Mark and Anthony, showed Celia around the grounds, and the house.

Celia was rightly impressed with their colour television, and she had even brought her old film magazines with her which she gave to Mark, who warmed up to her instantly.

Anthony recorded the whole afternoon on his camera for posterity.

The afternoon was a great success, and somehow, they hadn’t scared Celia away, and she was looking forward to coming back another day.

Celia was warmly welcomed into the family and spent many more days hanging out with them, helping Julie and Mark with their practising or helping Athene with her sewing.

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