Ms Gibbons carried the bundle of blankets and the baby in her arms as she marched to the large house on the corner.
“Julian?” She banged on the grand wooden door.
“Hello?” The door opened a small way and a little boy stood in front of Ms Gibbons shyly in the doorway.
“Hello. Is Julian in?” She leant down to the little boy she believed to be called Mitchell. Ms Gibbons looked at him disapprovingly, hating the way he was shy. She had sworn if she had had needed to raise a child past the baby stage, she would raise them to be brave and outgoing.
Mitchell turned slowly away from the door and bellowed into the house.
“JULIAN!” He screamed.
“Calm down, Mitch!” Ms Gibbons heard a smooth voice from inside and seconds later the door opened fully.
“Ms Gibbons! Hello. How are you?” Julian greeted her. They had met several times and each time Julian got friendlier to her, which worried her slightly.
“I have a baby here. Do you have any food he could have?” Ms Gibbons go straight to the point.
Julian looked inside the bundle and beckoned for her to come inside with him; he looked slightly downcast that she didn’t greet him as he greeted her. He shook it off quickly as they made their way to the kitchen.
“You can put him in here. I saved it from when Eleanor was here.” Julian got out a buggy from a huge cupboard which looked like another room in the corner of the kitchen and he clicked the belt across Fergus as Ms Gibbons placed him in.
“His name’s Fergus. I don’t know where he came from. He was on my doorstep this morning. A note came with him saying I should look after him.” She explained, answering all of Julian’s questions.
“Julian?” A quiet voice came from the doorway. Julian turned.
“Yes, Bonnie. What is it?” Julian said kindly.
“Mitchell stole my dolly.” She looked up at Ms Gibbons and shied away quickly when Ms Gibbons had glared down at her.
Julian held her hand as he stood up straight. He held up a finger to show he’d be back in a minute. She nodded once.
“Now, Mitchell. It wasn’t very nice of you to steal Bonnie’s dolly, was it?” Ms Gibbons heard Julian’s deep voice.
She looked around the kitchen as she listened to Mitchell apologizing to Bonnie. She was surprised to find it was bigger than her kitchen, with two islands, surrounded by stools. There was also a bar in the far corner; she could see where the booze might have been piled high at some point, but, because of the children, she guessed, Julian had cleared all the alcohol to a different place.
She sighed loudly, wishing she had a bigger house.
“Okay. Now you can play nicely, okay? Good boy, Mitch.” Ms Gibbons heard Julian wrap up the talk.
“Sorry about that.” He strode back into the room, beaming. “Mitchells such a little tyke.” He chuckled as he looked through the crowded cupboards.
“Do you know how to stop him crying?” Ms Gibbons asked Julian, annoyed at the noise Fergus was making. She knelt down to his level. “I wonder what colour his eyes are.” She wondered aloud.
“Maybe he’ll like this. Why haven’t you seen his eyes? Its always the first thing I look for when I meet someone.” Julian opened a peach yoghurt and got out a spoon from one of the many drawers.
“No. He’s either been asleep or crying loudly since I found him.” She answered as Fergus swallowed the yoghurt, slowing his cries, but he still didn’t open his eyes.
“Where did you say you found him?”
“On my doorstep this morning. Look.” She handed him the note which had been tucked in her purse.
“So, Fergus Lopez. Hmm...” Julian looked Fergus up and down after he finished reading the newly folded letter. The little boy was asleep now in the buggy.
“Why do you think she didn’t want him coming here? I can’t see why she wanted me to have him. I hate children.” That wasn’t entirely true. But ever since her own child died at two she had hated every child she saw. She pushed the thoughts of her son out of her head.
“Well, I don’t know... Why don’t... Why don’t I keep him here? I don’t see why the mother or whoever wrote this didn’t want him here.” Julian said, suddenly shy.
“Maybe it would be better...” Ms Gibbons juggled the thought her head and she leaned her overly heavy body on one of the stools around the nearest island. The letter had said not to put him with Julian, but she could see no reason why not.
Fergus sighed loudly; Julian looked at him and cocked his head.
“He’s got blue eyes.” He smiled as the baby awoke from a deep sleep. Ms Gibbons looked for herself and tears almost came to her eyes. She blinked them away before Julian turned back to her.
“So, do you want me to have him? I promise I’ll look after him. I’ll love him like my own.” Julian turned back to the buggy and gazed at Fergus.
“Can you look after him for now? And I may let you have him, but if he’s not looked after from today until tomorrow, then I'm taking him back.” She talked as if he were an object.
“Sure.” Julian said sadly.
“I’ll be back.” Ms Gibbons strode quickly out of the grand house. She didn’t look back as she slammed her front door behind her.