Chloe and Nigel
As Nick, Simon and Mr Pennington worked at the publishing company but they all wanted to spend time with the family, they took it in turns to go to work, but all went at least a few days a week, but there was always at least one of them at home.
On the first Saturday of the holidays, Mr Pennington and Simon were on a very strange mission. Nick had gone into work, but even though Simon and Mr Pennington weren’t working they had left straight after breakfast, and had told Mark and Anthony not to go out.
Mark was very annoyed because it was a Saturday, but he had been forbidden from going into the stage school because there was apparently something important going on that he needed to be there for.
Mark was moping about in his room listening to records at top volume, and Anthony was playing with Niki in the sitting room.
They were having a teddy bears tea party, but Niki had insisted on inviting Anthony. So Anthony was knelt in the sitting room having a pretend tea party with Niki who was in a party dress and her three teddy bears.
Niki had even managed to convince Anthony into wearing one of Celia’s flowery hats. Niki had a miniature tea set with little flowers painted on the china and was carefully pouring Anthony a cup of tea.
Celia hadn’t come to the tea party, as she was far too busy taking pictures on Anthony’s camera of Anthony drinking from a doll’s teacup in one of her hats.
“Smile for the camera Tony!”
Anthony just ignored her and blew on his hot tea exaggeratedly.
“Perfect,” beamed Celia, “you’ve got to send that one to Athene.”
“And what would Princess Nicole like to do this afternoon?” asked Anthony after taking a pretend sip from his tea.
“Hobbitses!” beamed Niki.
“We finished The Hobbit yesterday,” Anthony told her gently.
“Hobbitses!” she insisted.
“We could start The Fellowship of the Ring if you want. That’s got Hobbits.”
Niki nodded enthusiastically.
“Jolly good, but as for now would you like a slice of cake?” he asked offering her an empty plate.
“Always chocky,” he nodded.
“All the best cakes are.”
“Yes,” she nodded taking an imaginary slice of cake and taking a huge bite of it.
“Only a real man can join in in a teddy bears tea party in that hat,” smirked Simon from the doorway.
“Oh hi Simon,” said Anthony smiling somewhat foolishly and taking off the pink floppy hat.
“Oh don’t take it off Tony,” said Simon laughing, “it suited you.”
“Shut up,” said Anthony through clenched teeth.
“There you are Tony,” said Mr Pennington.
“Can you and Mark come outside with me please?”
“Um sure,” shrugged Anthony getting up.
“Uncle Tony!” cried Niki as Anthony got up.
“It’s ok princess,” said Anthony kneeling down, “we’ll read about some Hobbits later, why don’t you finish your tea party?”
“Ok,” said Niki slightly upset but no longer crying.
“There’s a good girl,” he beamed kissing her on the forehead before going outside with Mark, Simon and his Dad.
In the driveway, was the old range rover and the cream two-seater that was now Nick’s, and the navy family car that belonged to Simon and Celia.
There were now two brand new cars also parked on the driveway. One was a bright red sports car that had two seats and currently had the roof down, and the other one was racing green and had a backseat, unlike the red car.
“They’re all yours,” beamed Mr Pennington.
“They’re what?” stammered Mark.
“They’re yours, one each, take your pick.”
“You’re joking right?” asked Anthony looking between his Dad and Simon.
“Nope,” said Simon leaning against the bonnet of the red car, “you two are nearly seventeen. So high time you learnt how to drive!”
Anthony didn’t really have a preference, but he felt like he would feel much safer in the green car. It probably didn’t go as fast as it wasn’t a sports car, so less chance of accidents. Mark though had already fallen in love with the red sports car and was caressing the leather of the seats.
“You’re a beauty aren’t you,” he muttered.
“She’s really mine?”
“It’s a she?” asked Simon.
“Well of course she’s a she!” said Mark offended that Simon could ever refer to his beautiful car as an it.
“You alright with the green one Tony?” asked Mr Pennington.
“I prefer it,” chuckled Anthony, “it looks safer!”
“I thought you might,” beamed Mr Pennington
“Do you two want some lessons then?” asked Mr Pennington.
“Dibs I get Simon!” called Mark hopping into the driving seat of his brand new car.
“Why you so keen to get Simon?” laughed Mr Pennington.
“Because he’s cooler, it’ll be more fun!”
Simon shrugged as he hopped into the car next to Mark and handed him the keys and they pulled away from the driveway at a faster speed than they probably should have.
“Simon might be the cooler one,” said Mr Pennington as they got into the other car.
“But he hasn’t had experience teaching someone to drive before, and that takes patience.”
“And our Simon doesn’t have the best of tempers,” he chuckled passing Anthony the keys.
“Right peddle’s. Accelerator on your right, breaks on the left.”
“What’s in the middle?” asked Anthony as he adjusted the seat for his tall legs.
“The clutch,” he explained, “that’s how you change gears.”
“Cool,” beamed Anthony as he carefully turned on the car and slowly went in first gear
Anthony had a very slow and careful first lesson. The only reason they left the driveway was to drive into a filed they owned across the road. The field was much safer to practise on than an actual road. They hardly went over ten miles an hour, but nobody got hurt, and that was the speed that Anthony was comfortable at.
Mark’s first lesson was a lot less calm and collected than Anthony’s. they were driving at top speed down the road, but Simon did teach Mark how to do an emergency stop. They had to break in the middle of the road and narrowly avoided running over some of the Fforbes Hamilton’s cows who had escaped.
All in all, though the first driving lessons went better than any of them had expected, none of the four of them were in the hospital and neither Mark nor Anthony had crashed into anything.
As Mark parked his car in the driveway, a very relieved Simon got shakily back to his feet.
“Next time it’s Nicks turn,” he mumbled before going to go and find himself a cup of tea.
“You’re a beauty aren’t you Chloe?” said Mark stroking the bonnet of the cherry red car.
“Chloe?” asked Anthony, “you’ve called her Chloe?”
“Yeah,” he shrugged, “Chloe the car!”
“What’s yours called?”
“I think it needs a good sturdy name, for a safe sturdy car.”
“How about Nigel?
“You’re bloody boring!” said Mark shaking his head and heading inside, “and so’s Nigel!”
“Don’t listen to him Nig,” said Anthony softly, “you’re not boring, you’re just reliable.”