The chess of my life

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Chapter 10 - Maddie

“Wow.” I said looking at Maria in a dress. Her mom sipping the wine we had been given. “I don’t know Maria it just doesn’t feel right.” Her mom told her. Maria looked in the mirror. “Mom I told you I want a modern dress.” Maria told her mom. “What do you think Madeliene would you wear it.” She asked me. “I don’t have Marias body she looks amazing in it.” I said. not answering that question mostly because ive never ever thought about my wedding. Addie and I used to play weddings when we were little before Jessicas and after for a while. But I was always the groom. “wouldn’t you like to feel like a princess?” Her mom asked. “I already feel like a princess.” She told her mom. “do you think you could dance in that.” Her mom asked. “try the knee length one on next.” I told her. Maria gave me a smile. I was enjoying watching her try on the dresses taking pictures. I took another sip of my wine. “its not the nicest of wine.” Marias mom commented. I looked at Maria, we both like Mojitos we were judging the wine. I took another sip of my wine. “its not the nicest of wine.” Marias mom commented. I looked at Maria, we both like Mojitos we weren’t judging the wine. “is it not mother?” Maria said. “I will go try the next dress on.” Maria said. she disappeared back into the changing room with the staff. “Shes to young.” Marias mom said. “shes 25.” I pointed out. Maria was 2 years older than me after all. “That’s still to young. Your not thinking of marriage and kids. Your sensible you know what your doing with your life.” She said. um did she not know what I was doing. I tried not to laugh by swallowing a sip of my wine. Maria came out in another dress. Omg she was gorgous. “Your beautiful.” I said. she grinned at me. “its to short.” Her mother said. Maria gave me a look and rolled her eyes. It was our prom dress all over again. I knew that. Maria would eventually choose her own. I was just there to say what one didn’t suit her and girlie time more than to give my opionion I knew my bestfriend. She knew what she wanted. She just hadn’t seen it yet. “Maria your so young. Look at Maddie shes singal and happy and sensible.” Marias mom said. I gave Maria a look. “my last boyfriends in jail.” I said. that really shut up marias mom. “I need another drink.” Marias mom said. Maria and I grinned at each other. “James gets out soon don’t he?” Maria asked. “Yeah but I promised Jessica I would never have anything to do with him again. I also cant ever forgive everything he did.” I admitted. “I just like teasing Nathan with him.” I admitted. “also he had a big dick.” Maria said in her mothers direction. I burst out laughing. “Actully out of all the guys ive slept with now, he had the smallest.” I assured her. Maria burst out laughing. “Alex is quiet big, not the biggest ive been with.” Maria started. I giggled we were acting as imuture as we did the day we got our prom dresses. “I need another drink.” Marias mom said. Maria went and tried on another dress. “Wow.” I said, when she came out Marias mom was teared up. “this is the one.” Maria said with a smile. I nodded. She was grogous in a deep v back soft net wedding dress that went all the way to the floor. “id marry you.” I told Maria. “aww id marry you too.” She assured me. I laughed and drunk another sip of my wine. “what colour do you want your bridesmaids?” her mom asked her. “Maddie and Lousia look great in anything. There both gorgous.” Maria said. “aww thanks Maria.” I said. “Maria your little sister really suits dark blues. But I would make sure Madeline has a dress with sleeves.” Her mom said. Her mom had a huge issue with my tattoos. “I want Maddies tattoos on display Louisa is going to get one to.” Maria said calmly. “I would myself but im not good with pain.” Maria said. I giggled. “Honestly you two are a nightmare when your together.” Her mom moaned. “and when we are apart.” Maria assured her. I giggled. “Now where is your sister.” Marias mom asked. “Fucking her boyfriend running late.” Maria told her mom. Her mom started choking. “You two have been impossible since middle school.” Her mom groined. “Maddie go try the dresses on.” Maria said ignoring her mom. She was good at that. “Dark blue first then the dark red.” She said. I nodded and went in the other changing room. when I came out Maria was back in her jeans and a tshirt. She looked at me in the dark blue dress. It was sleeveless. “I don’t know, blue doesn’t really go with my flower choice.” She told me. “its your big day, you go for what you and Alex want. Not anyone else.” I told her. “Try the red one.” She told me. “Is it just me and Louisa?” I asked her. “No you Louisa Alicia and Jaqueline.” She told me. “So what ever you don’t outshine me in they wont.” She told me. I chuckled. “there I thought we were getting married.” I told her. she chuckled. “Red one.” She said. I went in the changing room and came out, in a knee length of the shoulder on one side dark red dress. “you look gorgous.” She told me. “this dress is avalible in a few different sleeve options.” The lady told Maria. “any that cover the arms?” Marias mom asked. “I like Maddies arms showing.” Maria said. “Is it long enough?” Marias mom asked weakly. “yeah with some cowgirl boots.” Maria said. “Anything you want.” I assured her. “It’s a country wedding in decemeber they will be cold.” Marias mom warned. “they have the groomsmen to warm them up. two are single and I havent tried to hook Maddie up with them. Ones a doctor. The other is apparently a lawyer.” She told me. “hmm Nathan would approve.” I told her. “so that’s a no?” she asked me. “hmmm im getting old now. ill think about it.” I told her. she laughed. “I like it on Maddie.” She admitted. I didn’t mind it, I thought I looked pretty. “a red haired in a red dress is a bit much.” Her mother pointed out. “Maddie is too pale, it makes her look like mrs claus.” Her mom said. Maria actually seemed to think. “Maddie try on the dark green.” She said. I went in the changing room and changed dress. When I went out Maria shook her hear. “no.” she said. thankgod. I went back in and tried on a different blue dress and went out. “Maddies strawberry blonde not a red haired, she looked more fuck me in the red dress than horrible.” Maria said. “I need more wine.” I said. Maria giggled. I tried on 4 different dresses until Maria found the one she liked on me. She would have to bring the others another day as they weren’t avalible today and I wasn’t when they were. They joys of my life. “Are you sure?” Marias mom asked her. “yes im sure.” Maria said. “same as im sure on my flower choice. Same as im sure on my husband.” She said. I grinned at her. Her mother sighed. “your so young Maria.” She said. “Im fine mom.” Maria assured her mom. “Maddie and I are going to go have dinner did you wish to join us?” Maria asked her mom. “no that’s fine I need to meet your father.” Marias mom said. “step father.” Maria said. “he isn’t my dad and never will be.” Maria said firmly. Her mom sighed. Maria was a daddys girl and she loves her daddy. He has a younger version of her mom now. both of us know it but he seems happier with her than he did Marias mom. “Fine tell your father.” Marias mom started I zoned her out. “Well all done.” Maria said when her dress was paid for and ours on hold. “Yeah dinner?” I asked her. “Of course.” She said.

I looked at Maria asleep in the bed next to me. I had to smile. We were in her dorm room and I had to go. “Maria I got to go.” I told her. “you sound like a guy sneaking out.” she groined. I giggled. I kissed her head. “we need to do this again.” I told her. “Deffently a guy sneaking out my head hurts.” She told me. “think that’s the tequila.” I told her. my head hurts too and im over the limit still I think but I caught a taxi anyway my car was at home. “I ordered my taxi. I will see you soon okay?” I asked. “okay love you.” She said. “Hope your hangover fades.” I told her. “me too.” She groined. “Love you.” I told her. I kissed her head and left. When I got home the house was so loud and my head was pounding still. “Auntie Maddie.” Tamsin said running and hugging me like something big and scary was happening. “whats going on?” I asked I could hear Avery yelling that she hated someone and I was to hungover to deal with this. “Daddys girlfriends coming round on our Sunday.” She said. “Oh.” I said. I understood what the kids were upset about. Sundays was theres with there daddy and some want to be daddys new girlfriend was getting in the way of that. “When is she coming?” I asked. “she’s already here.” She told me. I groined my head hurt to much for this. I went into the house. “where are you going auntie Maddie?” Tamsin asked me. “to get some asprin.” I said. “Maddie.” Nathan greeted me in the kitchen. His girlfriend was sat at the counter looking uncomfortable. “You look hungover.” Nathan said. “Don’t judge my head hurts.” I told him. “Can you hurry up and get changed we have to be at the event within the next 2 hours.” Nathan told me. that was when I realised he was in a suit and the woman was in a dress that looked well still like the dress she wore the otherday but a different colour. “get dressed for what?” I asked confused. “I swore I told you Maddie. Adams retirement party.” He said. “That’s today?” I asked him. “yes Madeline that’s today.” He said. “You got 1 hour at most go.” he said. “Tamsin sweetheart come on.” I said grabbing the little girls hand. I run her upstairs. I helped her get changed into a party dress and did her hair. Oliva came in and I did her hair too. Then I got changed into the dark blue maxi dress and shoes I brought for the event a few weeks back. I put everything I would need to distract the kids in my handbag. Then I run a brush through my hair and straighterend it. When I got down everyone was ready. I bent down and started tieing Dereks tie and did Greg a bowtie. “You all scrub up nice.” Nathan assured us. “Am I driving us?” I asked him, slightly wanting to admit I was over the limit. “No the car is picking us up.” Nathan told me. He looked at us all. “Best behaviour.” He told us all. “Daddy.” Oliva asked sweetly. “what sweetpea?” Nathan asked going down to her level. “Can you retire soon?” she asked. “Oliva dads to young you have to be old to retire.” Ethan told her. “but dad is old.” She said. “Hes like 50.” She said. I laughed I couldn’t help it. “hes 40.” Avery said but she was laughing. “that’s still old.” Tamsin said. “Yeah dad what were the dinosuars like.” Derek asked. “Okay get all your insults out now before we go.” Nathan said with a smile. “Did tv exist when you were a kid?” Greg asked. “did colour exist?” Ethan asked. Nathans girlfriend stood back looking worried. Nathan kissed Olivas head. “sweetpea daddys not that old.” He told Oliva. “Daddy next weekend can you teach me and Tamsin to ride our bikes without stablizers?” Oliva asked him. “if its not raining im sure we can go and learn to ride your bikes.” He said. “At the lake where everyone else learnt?” Oliva asked. Nathan looked nervous. “Baby it might not be the lake.” I said worried. Hell we hadn’t been there since Jess was alive. “Why not?” Tamsin asked, “everyone else learnt to ride there bikes there.” Oliva said. “If its not raining daddy will take you both to the lake if anyone else wants to come they can. If they don’t I understand.” Nathan said looking at all the kids, he was teared up.

I was sat at a table talking to a guy who seemed friendly enough but was sooo wrong about his theory behind an equation. “Your wrong.” I said. “I am not wrong ive put.” He started. “Show me your workings.” I said. “there in my office.” He told me. “so show me.” I said. “fine come on.” He said. I looked at Ethan who was sat at the table. He rolled his eyes. He had zoned out into his book the moment I corrected the guy knowing I wasn’t going to back down when I was right. I followed the guy upstairs to his office. The guy showed me his papers. I looked at them. “you didn’t move your decimal and didn’t carry the 1.” I told him. “I did see.” He said pointing it out to me. “no you wrote it but you didn’t actually do it.” I said. “also theres the wrong point.” I said. “you should of done it.” I started. “Are you two working when theres a good party going on downstairs?” a males voice asked. Shit it had to be him didn’t it. “I was explaining what I am currently working on to Miss Prescott when she accused me of having my math wrong. I am just proving to her I am not wrong.” The guy said. “and failing.” I said. “You also didn’t carry the 0.7 here and it makes a huge difference. Why are you adding it at the end?” I asked him. “its right.” He said. “its not.” I said. “Can I have a look?” Dominic asked. I handed it over to him. he looked it over. “John can you show me where the 0.7 came from in the first place?” Dominic asked. John wrote his figures on a white board. Dominic watched him looking at it. “why aren’t you carrying it then?” Dominic asked when John went to his next part. “because the next step.” John started. “no it needs to be carried now or it doesn’t make the right result.” I said. “its 0.7 it doesn’t make any difference. Its not even a full.” He started. “but when you add it to the 0.5 you missed the last round.” I said. “it makes a huge difference. 1.2 to be exact. Then you’ve missed.” I started. “In fact when you add them all at the correct points.” I said. doing the math on the board for him. “Oh.” He said. “It makes a huge difference.” I said. “I agree.” Dominic said. “Im sorry.” John said looking at the math. “Its still in the early.” He started. “Well now you both have this sorted. There is a party downstairs your both kind of required at.” Dominic said. Yeah like anyone was missing me unless the kids were misbehaving. “prehabs work could wait for Monday.” Dominic said firmly. “Then prehabs you could go over the rest of these figures before you show them to me next Friday John.” Dominic said. “get your team to triple check them all.” Dominic said. “Ofcourse.” John told him. “Now party.” Dominic said. I went to leave. “not you Miss prescott I wish to talk to you briefly.” He said. “to me?” I asked confused. He nodded. “your excused John but have the numbers on my desk by Friday.” Dominic said. “ofcourse.” He said. “Miss Prescott my office please.” Dominic said. I followed him. “I was just proving your staff wrong. I helped im sorry if you feel in intervieriend.” I said as we walked to his office. “im glad you did, it saved me a weeks delay.” Dominic said calmly as he opened the door. I didn’t know how I felt going into a room alone with Dominic. His body in his suit looked like it had been painted on. It was amazing. Dominic sat behind his desk and indicated the seat infront of his desk. I nervously sat in it. He pushed a file infront of me. “whats this?” I asked. “a job that’s just become avalible in my offices.” He said. “Why are you showing me?” I asked without looking at it. “I have to in branch advertise before I can advertise outside into the college.” He said. “And what?” I asked confused. “And I have a feeling it may suit you.” He said. I looked at him confused. “your trying to give me a job?” I asked confused. He looked at me like it had crossed his mind. I looked at it confused. I read it. “it’s a starting postion. Miss Prescott.” He said. “The person who gets the job would have to earn there way up the ladder.” He said. “I am not in the place that I can work.” I started. “correct me if im wrong Miss Prescott but young Miss Reid attends pre-k 3 days a week.” He said. “yes your correct.” I started. “So 2 days a week.” He started. I looked at it taken aback again. It really was only two days a week. Not even that. “10am until 1?” I asked confused. “it is meant to get a last year student into the doors.” He said. “I have 4 postions with the same job hours avalible in different departments.” He said. I looked at it. “why are you showing me this?” I asked confused. “because I showed it to your brother in law and he believed it would suit you.” He said. “Nathan knows about this?” I asked. “two of the 4 jobs are in his own office. He was going to suggest.” Dominic started he pulled the file and changed the page. “this one to you.” He said it was red marked. I read it, wow. “but I belive the top one would be better for you, also hearing you talk to John I belive working in his office may help you both come to more protential.” He said. “But the other 2 may appeal to you as well. But the days aren’t right ive been informed.” He told me. I looked at the other two and yeah the days were wrong. “its 2 days a week part time. the pay for your level is $17.57 an hour. I know that doesn’t sound much and 6 hours a week.” He started. “$105.42 a week.” I said. “before tax.” He admitted. “it is not much at all.” He started. “but its not like im someone who needs the money.” I said, looking at the papers. “exactly.” He said. “I will let you think about it, I am in no rush for your response as like I said I and your brother in law need to advertise them before hand.” Dominic said. “Please take the copys, discuss them with Nathan.” He started. I nodded, I would. “Why are you?” I started. “Because miss Prescott you are an extremely bright young lady. You just corrected.” He started. So it had nothing to do with sleeping together? I didn’t ask that though. “I believe you would be an assist.” He said. “Its also the kind of job Nathan informed me, that you were looking to apply before your sister got sick.” He said. “it’s a few levels below.” I admitted. “yes well like I said you would have to prove yourself and work your way up.” he said. “What could I work myself up too?” I asked, I was going to see where these jobs could get me. “im glad you asked.” he said. “eventually you could earn yourself up to Johns level.” He started. “but the hours may not suit you.” He admitted. “but by the time you’ve worked yourself to that level the kids may not need you as much.” He said. “what does that mean?” I asked worried. “it could take years, Mr Reids youngest maybe starting highschool.” He admitted. “so it’s a slow progress?” I asked interested. “its 6 hours a week, im afraid it would be very slow. Its more to give college seniors a foot into the business.” He started. I must admit I was interested. I read it again. “Talk to mr Reid about it.” He said. “is he aware you were going to?” I asked him. “Hes aware I want you part of my math team.” He admitted. “why?” I asked. “Miss Prescott you answered an extremely complicated math equation that no one had been able to answer when you were 16 years old.” He said. “I had a lot of help.” I told him. “That maybe but you still could do that kind of math, math even my head mathmatician cant do.” He said. “You need a new head mathmatician.” I said. “Yes well Johns been after his job for years now.” he admitted. “Johns extremely well suited he was just making a small error.” I pointed out. he gave me a small smile. I bit my bottom lip looking at the piece of paper. “Talk to Mr Reid about it. But I do belive it would be the perfect position and hours for you.” He said. “it would be.” I admitted. “it also still gives you one day free without children for a few hours to relax.” He said. “The snake was found.” I said weakly. “im aware I was there when Nathan found it.” He said I could tell he was trying not to laugh. “So I would be doing the math I did with John a few miniutes ago?” I asked. “yes for the next school term.” He said. I looked at it. Reading it in more details. “So I would work one term with Johns team, the next with Alexis?” I said reading it. “Like I said it is designed for a student to give them a picture of the jobs they could achive here.” He admitted. I looked at it. Alexis was a really nice lady about Nathans age. “Please give it some serious thought.” He said. “I wouldn’t just be on a constant coffee run?” I asked. “I have to admit you maybe asked to get the odd coffee.” He admitted. “it is a internship miss Prescott.” He said. I bit my lip. “But I would still be helping them with the math?” I asked. “Yes you would be a part of the team.” He said. “when do you need my answer?” I asked. “Like I said I have to advertise it.” He admitted. “so I might not get it?” I asked. “there are 4 postions.” He said calmly. I looked at him. “unless someone with more potential than yourself comes along the chances is you would achive one of the postions.” He said calmly. “You have your masters after all.” He said. “But if someone came in there last year of a Phd I am afraid I would offer them the job before you.” He admitted. I nodded I got that. But like a phd last year would apply for a low level internship to get there foot in. “I would always make it to school pick up?” I asked. “Well you should. Sometimes the team may require you to stay a bit later but then it will go onto overtime pay.” He said. I blinked at him, I was more worried I wouldn’t make it to pick the kids up. “it would be rare.” He said calmly. “It would be something you have to discuss with Mr Reid.” He said calmly. “So it would be a school term with yours a school term with Nathans and I would get the school holidays off?” I asked. “like I said it’s a postion for students.” He said calmly. I nodded. “Talk to mr Reid about it Miss Prescott.” He said calmly. I nodded I would. “Please tell him your answer by thanksgiving. So we can arrange for you to start after winterbreak.” He said. I nodded. “If you are the successful aplicatent that is.” He said. “thankyou I really will think about it.” I said. “I can tell.” He said. I looked up at him away from the page. He had a look that was way to smug, like he knew he had taken me to a candystore and given me no boundrys and no price limit. Although come to think of it when Nathan and Jess did that with me and Addie they wore a face of fear. But he looked like he got me where he wanted me. maybe it was the wrong analogy. We both looked at each other like we were sizing each other up, well that’s how I think I was looking at him, I was more wondering why he was doing this. “Miss presscot.” He said. “Maddie.” I corrected. “Maddie.” He said looking at me. “If a postion comes avalible for your skills.” He started “and I belive I can fast track you and still offer you the hours you can work.” He said. I blinked at him, did he really want me to work for him that much? Why me? was it because we had slept together? Or because of who Nathan was to me? or was it really my skills? Or was it my daddy? “You would be a real assist.” He said calmly. “thankyou I will talk to Nathan about it.” I said truthfully. He nodded. “Prehabs we should get back to the party.” He said calmly. I nodded. “Maddie.” He said I looked at him. “This has nothing to do with the other month.” He said. I looked at him. “when you say that it makes me think it does.” I admitted. “Prehabs more the conversation on the way to the hotel and the conversation at your brother in laws.” He said calmly. I thought about it. “I cant really remember our conversation on the way to the hotel.” I admitted. “8 Mojitos does that.” He said calmly. “Are you hungover currently?” he asked me suspicious. “Tequlia is evil.” I admitted. He shook his head. “Do you often drink?” he asked me. “no of course not. Coffee is my lifesaver normaly but my best friend and I went to find her wedding dress yesterday and then went out for a few drinks and to dance after.” I admitted. “isn’t she a bit young.” He said. “you sound like her mother.” I told him. he chuckled. “that’s the first time someones told me I sound like someones mother.” He told me, I had to smile. “We should be going back to the party.” Dominic said looking at me. “Okay.” I said. he reached his hand out for me to shake? I looked at it. But then I shook it, fucking butterflys. Its not like you don’t know how good he is in bed. He looked at my lips. “Maddie.” He said. “Yes?” I asked. “No games.” He said. “Games?” I asked confused, hell what did he mean. No chess with the staff? “Don’t worry.” He said seeing my confusion. “Please go back to the party I will be down in a bit.” He said. “it was lovely talking to you.” I said. I left him then, I went in the elevator back down to the party. Thinking about last time I was in an elevator with Dominic how his hands were wondering over my body. When I got down I realised I was clinging to the folder. Derek and Greg ran and cuddled me, to have Greg hug me something big was wrong. “whats up baby boys?” I asked. “Daddys girlfriend told us she was going to marry daddy.” Greg said into my dress, he had tears running down his face and Derek was sobbing. Who cared about my dress. I pressed the elevator button. It straight away opened. I took a step into it the elevator taking both boys with me. The doors shut when we were in there. “what exactly happened?” I asked bending to there level. The elevator started going up. Who cared as long as Nathan himself didn’t discover his boys in pieces I didn’t mind. But maybe that would show Nathan none of us were ready. Its been 3 years, they’ve just started dating. Nathan wouldn’t be thinking about marriage yet. Would he? “We were playing 3d chess with Alexis.” Greg said. I really did like Alexis. Shes always nice to all of us. “And?” I said. “She sat with us.” Greg said. “who sat with you?” I asked. “Eliza.” Derek said. “Okay and she said she was marrying daddy?” I asked them both. The elevator doors opened. Shit Dominic came in, obviously going back down to the party. He looked at the 3 of us. The boys both crying and me bent to there levels. Did he just look down my dress? No that was in my head, hed been professional the whole time. Derek buried himself deeper into my arms I wrapped my arm around him tight. “Are you all okay?” Dominic asked taking in the boys. Greg tried to pull away from me, he didn’t show his feelings infront of people who weren’t family. “What did she mean Maddie?” Greg asked me. “I don’t know Greg sweetheart. Why don’t you tell me what she said?” I asked them. “She said about how when she was married to daddy.” Derek started but he stoped to many tears. “Did she threaten something?” I asked trying to get answers. “She said we would all learn how to behave.” Greg said. “what does that mean?” I asked confused. “were you two misbehaving?” I asked slightly suspicious. “we were just playing 3d chess honest auntie Maddie.” Greg said. I looked at them confused. “what does she mean when she marrys daddy? Is he going to marry her?” Greg asked. “is she going to be our new mommy. I don’t like her, I don’t want her.” Derek said. “She said that there were fine boarding schools that would be great for us. That daddy has been looking at them.” Greg said. hell that made me angry Nathan was anti boarding school, if he was changing his mind we needed to talk about that! “your dad has no plans on marriage or boarding schools.” Dominic said calmly. I looked at him, he was looking at the boys and he actually got down to Gregs level, when greg turned to face him. “Your father is extremely anti boarding school.” Dominic said. I knew that. “He wants you all at home when he gets home everyday. Hes trying to get it so he can finish work at 4 everyday in future so hes home for you all more.” Dominic said. “Hell hes even hoping Ethan and Avery decide on a local college so they stay at home, or at least come home every weekend.” Dominic said to them both. “your father has none of these plans.” Dominic said. “but.” Dominic said. “but?” Greg asked scared. “but you need to talk to him about what Eliza said to you both.” He said. I looked at Dominic so unsure, why was he helping? “because I know your dad well enough to know he would not be happy to hear that anyone has said anything like that to you both.” He said. “Now why don’t the two of you go play in my office for a few miniutes and calm down. Then come join the party again. I have a few games you might like.” Dominic said. “Like what?” Derek asked rubbing his eyes. “well I have a chess board in there.” Dominic admitted both boys eyes lit up. “I also have battleships, small world, Acquire,” Dominic started. “can we really play in your office?” Greg asked excited. “Yes offcourse. Just don’t touch any of my paperwork.” Dominic said. Both boys eyes lit up. “what do you say?” I asked them. “thankyou Mr Rubin.” The boys said, ahh that was his last name! “I will show you to my office or we could grab the game and set it up in an empty one.” Dominic said thoughtful. “that would be great.” I said, knowing the boys wouldn’t be able to keep there hands to themselves. Dominic pressed the elevator and then he showed the boys to the stack of his games the boys grabbed 3 games and then he showed us to an empty room. “Thankyou.” I said meaning it. “No problem, I understand these things are rather boring for kids.” He said. “im just happy these games appeal to them.” He said, as the boys set up Equire. “We used to play this with Pawpaw.” Derek admitted. “when we were 5.” Greg admitted. “when you were 5?” Dominic asked. “Ofcourse, he said it was best to learn everything whilst we were young.” Derek said. Dominic blinked. His cell went off. “I best be getting back downstairs.” He said. “I should too to check on the others. You two going to be okay?” I asked them worried. “yeah we got so many games.” Greg said excited. “ill get you both a drink.” I said. “don’t leave this room unless fire alarms or.” I started. “we get it unless theres an emergency.” Derek said shrugging me off. Dominic was talking on his cell. “Be good.” I told both the boys. “no.” Greg said. I smiled. “Okay.” I said. “Okay?” Dominic asked. I looked at him and realised it was me he was saying that too. “at least hes being honest.” I told Dominic. He shook his head. “alright I will be downstairs in a miniute.” Dominic said into his cell. My own cell rung, I looked at it. Ethan. I answered the phone. “hey Ethan you alright?” I asked worried. “where are you?” Ethan asked. “upstairs with Derek and Greg in an office.” I said. “Can Oliva and Tamsin come join?” he asked. “yeah top floor. Office 7.” I told him. “Okay see you in a miniute.” He said hanging up. I shrugged since the kids got cellphones they were easyer to keep an eye on. I should put one on Tamsin and Oliva. Dominic carried on talking on his cell it turned into talking work and I didn’t think he was going to make a move anytime soon. Ethan appeared with two kids, Oliva walking next to him Tamsin in his arms. “Oh my god Acquire, we havent played Acquire in years.” Ethan said. “Join us.” Derek said with a grin. Tamsin wrapped her arms around me. “why have you been crying?” I asked her. “couldn’t find you, no where and when I asked Eliza. She.” She sniffed. “She said, she was going to be my mommy and I didn’t need you I had her and I didn’t need you.” Tamsin said. I blinked, I didn’t have a clue what to say to that. I bit bottom lip. “Tamsin princess you always have me no matter what.” I said calmly as I could. I look at Derek and Greg. “Anything goes?” Greg asked me hopefully. “Anything but no fire or anything dangerous and no animals.” I said. “No big fires?” Derek said. “No big fires.” I said. “no grounding?” Ethan asked. I bit my lip trying not to smile or laugh. “Might be a bit of grounding but sneaked mccdonolds and pizzas.” I said. “Sold.” Greg said. “can we have it in writing?” Ethan asked suspicious. “no evidence and I know nothing.” I said. “We have a witness.” Oliva said motioning Dominic. “he hasn’t a clue whats going on, if anything happens he never heard or saw anything so hes not guilty by associsation.” I said with a smile. “Same as you have nothing to do with it?” Ethan asked. “I might suggest to Eliza that she messes with my kids she can deal with the fire.” I said calmly. “but no big fires?” Derek checked. “no big fires.” I said. Derek put his hand in the middle Tamsin straight away put her hand on. “You could always try talk to your father.” Dominic suggested looking at us like he feared us. “wheres the fun in that.” Derek asked with a grin. “Okay now play your game nicely, who wants a drink?” I asked. Derek and Greg and Tamsin put up there hands. I count the kids. “wait isn’t there 6 of you?” I asked with a smile. “Avery snuck out shes gone the movies with Chantel.” Ethan said. “She texted in and will make sure shes back before dads ready to go.” he assured me. “Okay.” I said putting Tamsin down. Fuck she pulled my boob slightly out my dress as I did “Will you tell daddy?” Tamsin asked Dominic worried. He bent to her level. “I fear you, just don’t destroy my office.” He told her roughling her hair. I sorted out my dress. Aware of Dominics eyes on me. Shit. “I need to get back down to the party.” Dominic said calmly. I nodded. “Ill be back in a bit, nothing here understood?” I said. “that’s fine Auntie Maddie we need time to sort it out.” Derek assured me. I left with Dominic. We walked down the corridor in silence. He pressed the button for the elevator. “I know nothing.” He said as the doors opened to an empty elevator. “Thankyou.” I said. “you could all try talking to him.” He suggested. “he is rather easy to talk to.” He said. “You could talk.” He said giving me a look. “It would save the need for anyone to get in trouble.” He said. “It’s the woman rather than the fact hes dating isn’t it?” he asked me. I nodded. “Jess wanted him to move on, she wanted him happy and we all want that.” I said. “But Eliza isn’t the right woman for that.” He said. “Someone once told me 11 years was exceptable, anything over wasn’t.” I said. “I don’t think that’s what he was trying to say.” He said to me. “You do realise one day youll have to get on with your own life?” he questioned me. “Yeah.” I said. “Youll one day meet the right person.” He started. “It maybe hard to you to see that.” He started. “Why are you acting like you care?” I asked. He blinked at me. “You have no right to judge, because we both were after the same thing that night.” I said. “which was?” he asked me. The doors opened. I steped out, I looked back at him. “you don’t need the answer to that from me.” I said. I went and grabbed a few drinks from a table. Dominic went up and gave a small speech. Loads of clapping. “Madeliene can we talk?” Eliza asked me. “Yes can I help you?” I asked. “Where are all the kids?” she asked me. “Upstiars playing a boardgame.” I admitted. “Well they should be down here. There social skills.” She started. “Eliza can I give you a bit of advice.” I said calmly. “What?” she questioned me. “Mess with my family and your going to get burnt.” I told her. I saw Alexis and gave her a smile. I liked Alexis. “Madeline I understand your father lets you get away.” she started. “My father is dead. Nathan isn’t my father. Hes my brother. (hey he was technically my in law but who cared.) So I warn you again. Mess with my family and youll get burnt.” I said. I took the drinks up for the kids and joined in the next two games.

It was 11pm and I had a sleeping Tamsin and Oliva. Avery was back and she and Ethan were playing chess. When Nathan finally came to sort us out. He was with Dominic. “I’m so sorry kids.” Nathan said. “About?” Derek asked weakly from where he was laid on the floor. “Making you wait so long, is there something else I should be apoligising for?” he asked us all. “Daddy I don’t like Eliza.” Tamsin said waking slightly. “She told me that if I didn’t behave there was really nice boarding schools for next year.” Tamsin said. “She said what?!” I asked peed off. Nathan blinked he was as taken aback as I was. “She said the same to me and Greg.” Derek admitted to his dad. Nathan got down down to there hights. “Okay then kids, you wont ever be seeing her again. Is that okay?” he asked them. They all nodded. Well that saved them all from being grounded. Nathan looked peed off. “Kids.” He said. “We do want you to date daddy and be happy.” Oliva said waking. “but not her.” Greg said. “Can we help you choose who you date.” Derek said. “We want her to be fun.” Greg said. “Black haired.” Greg said. “Glasses.” Oliva said. “Why do I feel like your all describing an actul person.” Nathan asked. “Smart.” Ethan said. “Big heart.” Avery said. “Knows us apart.” Greg said. “Really smart and likes us.” Oliva said. “knows what my teddys called.” Tamsin said. “I don’t even know who there all describing.” I said to Nathan who gave me a look putting my hands up as a mercy sign. “Should we get a move home, you all have school in the mornig.” Nathan said realising. “Do we have to go?” Avery asked. “I have plans.” Ethan said. “Ethan has a girlfriend.” Oliva said in a sing song voice. “No he has a crush on a girl she doesn’t realise hes alive.” Avery told her sister. “Avery apoligise.” Nathan started. “im sorry she doesn’t realise your alive.” Avery said. “who is it?” She asked him. I rolled my eyes. This was up to Nathan. “Dad.” Ethan said. “Avery apoligigse to your brother properly.” Nathan said. “im sorry.” Avery said. there was something missing. “come on then kids lets go home.” Nathan said. I picked Tamsin up, he picked Oliva up she put her head on his shoulder and we made our way to the elevator. When out of her dads hearing Avery added. “So who is the girl maybe I could help, if you just tell me who your crushing on. I can put in a good word for you.” Avery said. “she aint one of your friends.” Ethan said. “Then she aint someone daddy would be happy with.” Avery told her brother. “that’s the whole fun in dating and liking someone, I thought you knew that.” Ethan said. “The ones unsuitable are always the most fun.” Ethan said. “uh who told you that?” I asked. “You did.” He told me. “I did?” I asked when the hell did I say that. “when?” I asked confused. Aware of Dominic with us, even if he wasn’t listening. “when we were 11 and you were dating James.” Ethan said. “I said a lot of things to jusify James.” I told him. “don’t I know it.” Nathan mumbled. “private Nathan.” I told him. “Your not allowed to give dating advice you know that.” He pointed out “I wasn’t.” I said. I rolled my eyes at the back of Nathans head as we went in the elevator. I looked at Ethan. “the ones daddy don’t approve of are the fun ones.” I whispered. “Madeliene.” Nathan said as a warning. “I didn’t say anything.” I said. “Go for it.” I whispered to Ethan. “Madeline.” Nathan said. “Daddy you broke your own dating rules you set for us.” Avery said sweetly, we all faced the door rather than Nathan, I tried not to laugh, technically it was true. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you sneak out Avery. Your grounded by the way.” Nathan said. Avery groined “But dad.” She groined. “In fact.” Nathan started. “Greg.” Nathan started. “what I do?” Greg asked confused. “your actually the only one who isn’t grounded.” Nathan said. “How you work that?” I asked. “Derek ate a oyster took a bit spat it back into the shell and put it back.” Nathan started. “I thought I told you they were disgusting and only eat the ham sandwiches.” I told Derek. “you did but everyone was eating them I wanted to try.” Derek told me. “Should of put it in the bin instead.” I said. “yep the whole tray.” Derek said. I smiled at him. “Oliva.” Nathan said about the sleeping kid on his shoulder. “Spat out food and put it back on the buffet.” Nathan said. “are all the grounding crimes to do with food?” I asked interested. Nathan seemed to think. “except Ethans and Averys yes.” Nathan said. “Ethans?” I asked interested. “Knowing his sister snuck out and covering for her when I asked where she went. Having a glass of champagne.” Nathan said. “Yeah okay I agree to the grounding.” I said. “Good because your grounded to.” He said. “well that’s obivious when all the kids are stuck in, that I am.” I pointed out. “Glad that’s sorted.” Nathan said. “how long?” I asked. “2 weeks.” He said. “I got to go to the venue on Friday with Maria we have to work out how shes doing the seating plans, because her dads assisisting she invites a lot of stick in the muds.” I said. “oh by the way you need to clear your diary for the 22nd of decemember.” I said. Avery laughed. “Watch it or I will make it 3.” Nathan said, but I saw he was smiling. “why is auntie Maddie grounded?” Greg asked. “Her little threat to my ex girlfriend for a start.” Nathan said. “I was just warning her to watch her back.” I said. “And rather than coming to me.” Nathan said. I rolled my eyes at the back of his head. “also giving Ethan relationship advice.” Nathan said with a smile looking back at me. “James gets out of jail in 2 weeks.” I said. Nathans face was a picture it was so worth it. So was Dominics I realised.

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