“Here, take Dug out for some ice cream and whatever. Take full responsibility for him. Make sure he returns back in the same condition as he leaves. Would you need some more?” Peter handed me some cash without counting lowering his tone in a private conversation style which sounded delightful.
“I am sure this will be enough.” I counted it and put it in my pocket.
“Here, take a little more in case he asks you to buy something for him. We are all off to see Nan. You both return before the evening falls. How’s that? Do you want to change before leaving?” Peter was changing into jeans and a t-shirt.
“No. I can just take the card and will withdraw more cash if I need it.” I stood so close that Peter was having difficulty in putting his belt on as he had to twist sideways from the shoulders. He took one step backwards.
“No, the machine is out of order. I don’t know if the next nearest machine is working either. You best just take this.” Peter emptied his wallet and handed me all the cash. As if Dug was going to ask me to buy him a tennis club membership. Like, I was going to buy it for him, even if he begged. Like, it would be any good for him. He needs some massive improvement.
“What will you do if you need to buy petrol or something. Don’t you need to keep some.” I held the cash on my hand.
“I am sure Della has some. Don’t worry. I will manage. Aren’t you moving?”
I didn’t want to move. As a matter of fact, I wanted to stay here with him. Why can’t all the other people go leaving us here for a short while, and they can take Dug with them. He will sleep in the car anyway, or say things like, how far are we going? Are we almost there? I know how long it will take.
“Can we not just go with you wherever it is that you are going?” But this didn’t seem likely as before I even opened my mouth Peter hurriedly got dressed and went out of the room. I followed.
“Let’s go Dug. We are going to get some ice cream.”
“Our school shop does a new flavour every week. Have you tried the combined chocolate and strawberry flavour with a custard pie at the bottom? It is super delicious. I do hope I can find a similar one over here. Otherwise I can eat just tons of vanilla with chocolate syrup.” Dug got up from his mother’s side and started walking with me to the door. Heavens. I wish Dug would stop talking like he knows about everything and has tried the whole thing.
“Just don’t spill any on your clothes or shoes.” Dug looked at me as if he had never done such a thing. I just smiled, and looked back at Peter.
“Back before dinner.” Peter didn’t forget to repeat himself. I do like his voice and the way he speaks to me as if requesting, as if I was his senior and he not mine. I stepped out of the house with great reluctance.
We arrived back just before the evening fall and luckily Dug still in the same condition as when left relatively speaking. Also luckily he didn’t ask me to buy him anything big otherwise who knows if I would have been able to return him in the same condition.
“You enjoyed yourself it seems. You both need a good wash.” Aunt Cynthia was the first to greet us back home. Her hair still puffed up and tons of makeup on her face. Yeah, Dug needs a total wash as he did manage to spill ice cream on his clothes and shoes in both the shops, despite my repeat warning. I didn’t say it as they were just about to leave, and I thought it would take them longer to leave if aunt was to take Dug to the bathroom. They would be ages. Peter says its best to think and speak, or better still think and not speak, but never the other way round.
“Jack my darling, thank you for looking after Dug today. Lovely boy you are. I won’t forget to send you that present that I have just promised with Della. We are all tired, and now just this final drive back home. Here, give me a hug.”
“Don’t mention it aunt. We did have a great time. Food, games, and all. What do you say Dug?”
“Oh yeah Della, I had the same flavour twice because I loved it so much. I will write a suggestion to our canteen mistress.”
“Bye kiddo!” Both Della and Peter went out of the house to bid them farewell.
I went into my room and slumped on the bed. I wonder if Peter will come in. My imaginations got hold of me once again. I just wanted to be ready right now, but best wait for Peter. Or, shall I get myself ready before he comes in? No wait, Della is here. Damn it. But Peter’s presence is essential for what I want to do. I think we will just shut the door as he steps in. I will say to Della I need to discuss a project or something with Peter. She will be watching telly in the living room. All set then. Wait, they are returning back to the house. Talking. Some crockery noise – perhaps clearing the tea table. Peter’s footsteps in the corridor.
He went past my room without looking in. I quickly got up and followed him into his room.