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The Long Way Home: Chapter Two
“Hey, Mom! Do you know where I put my trainers? I was thinking of going for a jog before school.”
“You always kick them under the dining room table. Have you tried there?”
Kris grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl, dodged around Bea and ruffled little Alec’s hair as he crouched under the table and retrieved his trainers. His mother walked into the kitchen, hitching her handbag up onto her shoulder.
“I’m going to be late again!” she muttered to herself shakily. “Where are my car keys? I’m sure I left them-” Kris handed her the car keys and her lunch. “What would I do without you?” she laughed.
“Be late for work,” he replied. “And you still will be if you carry on standing there marvelling over how you have the best son in the world! Go on, get out of here!”
His mom laughed. “You sure are. Bye honey. Bye kids! I love you!” She blew kisses to them all as she ran out to her car. Kris chuckled and turned back to face the kitchen. Alec and his twin sister Eliza were sat with their own bowls of cereal but instead choosing to pinch from the other’s bowl, spilling milk and Cheerio’s everywhere. Their German Shepherd, Czar, was having a great time, eating bits of toast, jam and cereal off the tiled floor, and baby Ivan hadn’t yet been fed.
“I don’t think you’re gonna have much chance of meeting your boyfriend for a morning’s jog today.” Bea murmured in his ear. Kris sighed.
“He’s not my boyfriend!” he snapped.
They were quiet for just over a minute, watching the state of the kitchen worsen by the second. The two sighed in despair at the scene playing out before them. Bea glanced at her watch, and realising the time started gathering papers and other things into a briefcase, and searching for her bag.
“No,” she interrupted quickly. “You know I don’t do kids. You’re good with them – they love their big brother. Meanwhile, their big sister has some really important things to be doing now.” She started to walk out the front door but Kris called her back.
“Whoa, whoa, wait. What important things?”
Turning to face her brother, she smoothed her hands down the front of her suit, smirking. “You’re looking at the potential candidate to take over the steel corporation.” she replied, straightening up proudly.
“Wow! That’s just... Wow! Bea!” Kris hugged her tight and they both laughed excitedly. “Let me know how it goes!”
“Well it won’t go at all if you don’t let me leave you with the kids until Dad comes back,” she laughed.
Kris groaned. “But I’ll be late for school!”
“Oh come on, you’ll work something out. You’re gonna be an author one day after all. You make stuff up, yes? Come on, please, please, please?”
Kris sighed. “Alright,” he said. “Only because it’s you though.”
Bea squealed and kissed him on the nose. “You’re the best! You know that?”
“Oh I so know it! Now go on, good luck!” But she was already out the door and halfway down the drive. Kris chuckled wryly and again turned to face the chaos in the kitchen. He sighed and then reached for the phone; quickly dialling a number of the very person whom he was sure would know what to do in this situation.
“Grandma, hey. Erm, I was wondering if you could help me out a bit...”
“Hey, Kris! What happened to our jog?” Daniel asked, nudging Kris playfully as Kris caught up to him.
“Sorry, chaos at my house.” Kris replied. “Ever since my mom got that accountancy job, mornings have been hectic! And what with Dad being on night shifts...”
“Man, sounds pretty rough.”
“Yeah, luckily my Grandma was able to help out today; otherwise I would’ve been late for school.”
“Dude, haven’t you seen the time? It’s ten o’clock, you’ve missed first lesson!”
“What? I could swear it was a quarter to nine when I set off!” Kris spluttered, looking at his watch. Then something clicked in his head and at the same time Daniel slapped him hard on the back, laughing.
“Gotcha! I’m just messing with you.” Daniel chuckled.
“You swine!” Kris laughed back, hitting his friend around the head.
“Well you shouldn’t be so gullible then!” Daniel chuckled, rubbing the side of his head in feigned pain.
Kris shrugged. “Yeah yeah. Hey, what lesson have you got?”
“Ugh, Chemistry. You?”
“Film and media. Probably comparing books to their films again.”
“Fun. Well, I’ll catch you at break, yeah?”
“Sure. Then I can talk you though that Literature assignment.”
Daniel sighed. “Can’t wait,” he replied sarcastically, hitting Kris when he laughed at his friend’s lack of enthusiasm.
The two of them split, walking to their separate lessons. Before Daniel disappeared from view, Kris found himself staring longingly after him. He'd never noticed how positively Daniel held himself. His posture was perfect, something he couldn't say for the other boys in their year. He wasn't as well built as the rest of the rugby team, but he wasn't exactly scrawny either, and he definitely wasn't the weak one on the team. Kris couldn't help but imagine those strong arms holding him, emerald eyes smiling at him, shining with-
He shook himself out of his thoughts and continued walking to class. He needed to get a grip.