Sugar and Spice

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Chapter 25: Uncle K

“Penny?” I heard someone at the door, making me look up from the book I was focusing on for the assignment I had to complete.

“Come in.” I said, going back to reading the book. I sighed, trying to find my class notes from the mess of papers on the table.

“Honey, can we please talk?” I heard the soft voice of my uncle. I paused for a second before continuing my search for my notes.

“I am not sure if we have anything to talk about.” I told him in a flat tone, not even turning to look at him.

When I came back to the house this morning after the sleepover at Damien’s place, my aunt told me how she knew what all happened in school and what all the perfect Principal Hughes said to me.

My aunt told me to talk about it but I didn’t want to. I didn’t have the courage to talk about it all right now when the wound was still fresh. So, I have been locked up in my room, completing my school work.

Heck, I even completed the assignments due three months from now!

“You and I both know that we need to talk.” Uncle K sighed as he sat down on the couch in my room. I rolled my eyes, ignoring him. “Penny, I know that you are angry at me.” He said.

“Why would I be angry? You did nothing wrong. It was Principal Hughes who said all those things.” I snapped. I heard him sighing tiredly.

“Honey, please at least turn around and look at me.” He said, his tired voice full of worry. I gritted my teeth, gripping the pencil in my hand a little too forcefully.

“I have to complete this assignment. Otherwise who knows what punishment I will receive from the cruel principal.” I grumbled.

He sighed behind me. I didn’t even want to see his face. I was too angry to be civil or understanding.

“Penny, I thought we made the pact of never bringing school problems to home.” He said. I didn’t realise how tightly I was holding onto the pencil until it broke in my hand.

I took a deep breath before putting the broken pencil on the table and turning around to face my uncle. I put on a sickly sweet smile on my face as I look at him.

“You know what? You are right!” I told him as I got up from my seat. “We did make that pact.” I added. He smiled as he stood up.

“So, we’re good?” He asked me. I mentally rolled my eyes at him.

How can he even think that we’re gonna be okay after everything?

“We should be.” I shrugged, the sickly sweet smile still on my face. He didn’t notice the anger in my words as he gave me a quick hug.

“Good. Now come downstairs and have lunch with me and your aunt. Your aunt is really worried.” He told me.

Is he really that naïve?

“Actually, since everything is okay, I was thinking about going on a date with a classmate.” I thought out loud. Uncle K smiled brightly at that.

“That would be good for you, honey. Maybe this boy will make you forget about the troublemakers you have started hanging out with.” He cheered.

I chuckled darkly at that, still smiling at him.

“I’ll call Damien and let him know that I will go out with him then.” I said in an overly-sweet voice. Uncle K narrowed his eyes on me.

“Penny.” He warned.

“What? No school issues at home, remember?” I shot back. Uncle K rolled his eyes at my words.

“Penny, this is not about him.” He sighed as he sat down on the couch again. “I know that I shouldn’t have said what I did. I know that whatever I said was wrong but will you let me explain?” He spoke in a tired and broken voice.

I sighed as I sat down next to him.

“Okay. Talk. You have exactly five minutes before I go out with Damien.” I told him in a serious tone.

My uncle is a very sneaky person. He knows how I can never say no to him when he acts sad. He has used that trick on me like a thousand times and I still let him fool me. But that’s only because I love him a lot.

And also because I get my sneaky genes from my grandma just like him…

“I know how you might feel after I called you a troublemaker.” He started.

“You were the only one who didn’t think that I was just a troublemaker. I thought that you believed in me.” I mumbled. He wrapped an arm around my shoulder.

I don’t want them to start seeing me as just a wild kid like my parents do…

“And that’s true, Penny. I do believe in you. I do think that you aren’t just a troublemaker.” He told me in a soft voice. “But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think you are a troublemaker.” He added with a shrug, making me laugh a little.

“Are you saying that as my Uncle K or the cruel, mean and old Principal Hughes?” I asked him with a smirk. He rolled his eyes at me but I could see the small smile that he was trying to hide.

“I am saying that as Kaiden Hughes. The person who is your uncle and works as the principal in the school where his favourite niece studies.” He stated.

I wish I could have recorded that so that I could send it to Livvy…

Damn! Where is the recorder when you need it?

But then again, would she even care?

“Don’t let Liv hear you saying that!” A voice said from the door. We turned to see my dearest aunt, Athena Hughes, standing there, smiling at us.

“She probably won’t care. She is already mom and dad’s favourite.” I rolled my eyes at my own statement.

Living in the shadow of the perfect older sibling is the worst!

“And you are our favourite, Penny.” My aunt said, coming inside the room. “You are our little girl and we love you!” she whispered as she sat down next to me on the couch.

See! This is why I love her!

“But I am a troublemaker.” I muttered, looking down at my hands that rested in my lap.

I don’t deserve such an amazing aunt…

“You might be a troublemaker but you are our troublemaker.” My aunt said, taking one of my hands in hers.

“And you being a troublemaker doesn’t mean that you aren’t a great kid, Penny.” Uncle K said. “It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a treasure for us.” he added in a whisper.

I had tears in my eyes as I looked at my uncle and aunt who had nothing but love and care to give to me. They were more parent-like than the people responsible for my existence.

And I was the luckiest girl on the planet to have them…

“Honey, we both want you to stay here with us for as long as you let us keep you here.” Aunt Athena told me. “You are Penelope Hughes, daughter of Athena and Kaiden Hughes.” She stated.

Her words made me tear up a little. I bit my lip, trying to keep my tears from rolling down my cheeks.

“I love you guys. And I want to stay here with the two of you.” I told them honestly. “But if you expect me to be here without any friends or with the friends you choose for me, then you are controlling my decisions just like mom and dad tried.” I stated.

I can’t get out of one hell just to enter another…

“Oh! Honey, I wasn’t trying to control who you become friends with! I was just trying to keep you away from the bad influence!” Uncle K explained.

“But they are more than just some troublemakers!” I exclaimed. “They are true friends. I’ve seen how they are with each other. I just wanted to be a part of that.” I muttered, looking down at the wooden flooring of my room.

“You have to understand, Penny. I just want what’s best for you. I’ve seen those kids causing more trouble in the past few years than even you have caused.” Uncle K responded.

Hell no! No one can beat me in my own game!

“That’s just because I am good at hiding my tracks!” I laughed. Aunt Athena chuckled at that.

“Is that a confession?” she asked me with amusement clear on her face. I shook my head at that, making her and Uncle K laugh.

“The point is, they are troublemakers like me but they are good people.” I sighed. “The kind of friendship they have is something I would like to be a part of.” I informed them.

“You can be friends with whoever you want till they are good kids, Penny.” Aunt Athena told me. “And if someone says otherwise, just come to me and I’ll deal with them.” She added, shooting an angry look at Uncle K.

“Don’t look at me, I’m not gonna stop her anymore.” Uncle K commented.

What did he just say?

“What?” I questioned, looking at him. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I saw how Damien comforted you in my office. And I have also seen how you have been happier since you became friends with those kids.” He remarked.

Am I dreaming?

“Are you joking?” I asked, not believing my ears.

“I won’t stop you from being their friend anymore because I can see that they are good for you.” He confirmed.

Wow! That was a complete 360…

“That’s…” I trailed off, not knowing what to say.

“But if you want to go out with that boy, Damien, he would have to come and meet me first.” Uncle K ordered.

“I’m not going out with him.” I told them. “And none of them are getting to know that my uncle is the principal. At least not yet.” I insisted.

“Okay.” Uncle K agreed even though I could see that he wanted to argue.

“Thank you.” I sighed.

I just hope that I don’t regret my decision of keeping this a secret later…

Me: I’m early!

Penny: We all are!

Mason: Me too!

Penny: ‘We’ includes you too, dumbo!

Mason: *pouting* *mumbling* I knew that...

Jason: *chuckling* No, you didn’t!

Damien: Anyways, if we can be early, you can be a reader who doesn’t just silently read!

Xander: Comment your views about the chapter!

Me: If you do comment, I might just make it a habit to update early! *shrugs*

Jason: Well, the next update will be up on 20th July 2021. You can read it earlier if you comment!

Damien: So, don’t forget to COMMENT, LIKE/VOTE and SHARE!

Jason: Until next time, stay safe!

Me and Mason: And eat cake!

Me: I wanna go skiing!

Xander: In July?

Mason: We don’t live on earth, dumb creature!

Xander: *mumbling* Oh! I knew that...

Ellie: *chuckling* No, you didn’t!

Curtains close as the author and the characters go off for skiing...

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