Mal was typing at her kitchen table when the car pulled up. She heard the tires on gravel and got up, heading to the window. smiling, she hurried to the door.
"Well damn Mal, this place is right out of a fairytale." Her friend grinned, pushing his black hair from his face. He was wearing black jeans and a black t-shirt, tight to his muscled chest, and the wing tips of the giant raven tattoo he had could be seen on his arms. He hugged her and gave one of her sharp cheekbones a kiss.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" Mal smiled. "I'm so glad you've come."
"Well I had to see you before you started work! You know I love the city life; I was intrigued by your desire for the countryside."
"Di, you have no idea. It's so peaceful here. No car horns, no street sellers, no rude people on phones..."
"... Just quaint country people ploughing the fields and going to market..." Di teased her.
"I'm on the edge of the suburbs Di, not in the deepest parts of the country."
"Alright alright, come on, show me around."
Mal showed her friend around the house; her large kitchen, the comfy living room and the spacious rooms upstairs.
"So?" She asked as she poured a glass of wine for him before they made their way on to the garden. Di laid out the blanket Mal kept handy for the garden, and they sat down, enjoying the heat of the afternoon sunshine.
"I think it's beautiful. Much too nice for an evil witch like you."
"Shut up. I'm only evil at work."
"I swear I've never seen people move out of the way faster than when you're marching down a hallway wearing all black."
"Fear is a powerful tool." Mal smirked at her friend. "Here I can be... nicer."
"I shall have to visit more often; see the softer side of the evil witch in black."
"I'm going to enjoy working together again Di. Just as long as you don't let slip that I'm nice I think we'll have fun."
"Oh please. You know I enjoy being the only one able to tame the dragon. The amount of people who ask me to talk to you on their behalf..."
"Well it gets rid of the idiots and their useless questions." She smirked again and Di laughed, only stopping when something behind Mal caught his eye. He stopped and stared.
"There is a child in your garden Mal. Something you haven't told me?"
Mal peered over her shoulder and saw Phillip appearing. He waved at her and began to make his way over.
"He lives next door." Mal explained before Phillip joined them. "Hello Phillip. Have you been good today?"
"Yes." Phillip nodded his head very hard, and Mal could see Di trying not to laugh at the situation. "Ra is happy with me today."
"Good. This is my friend Di. Di, this is Phillip."
"Nice to meet you Phillip." Di said, grinning at the small boy.
"Hello." The boy grabbed his own feet and smiled toothily at his new acquaintance. "Ra is happy."
"Who is Ra?" Di asked, raising an eyebrow at Mal.
"Rora's my sister." The boy replied. "Haf sister."
"Your half sister." Di said, smirking at Mal. "And where is Rora today?"
"She cleaning. Daddy having a party."
"A party? What kind of party?" Di asked, interested. He loved a good party.
"Diaval, shush. Stop questioning the boy." Mal scowled.
"Barbie party." Phillip answered.
Diaval burst out laughing and clapped a little.
"A barbecue party?" He asked the boy.
"Yes, thas what I said." The boy scowled and stood up. "I hide now."
"Don't go too far! Mal called as the boy disappeared round the back of the house. Diaval was staring at her. "What?"
"You. With a kid. Who isn't scared of you. Weird."
"Shut up, you look like the spawn of Satan. You're just missing horns."
"I remember Halloween at University darling. You're the one with horns."
Mal chuckled and sipped at her wine.
"He's a sweet boy. His sister is lovely too."
"Oh yes?" Diaval raised an eyebrow, but didn't get to question his friend any further before blonde hair and blue eyes at the gate caught his eyes. "Oh... the sister I presume?"
Mal looked over and smiled. Rory waved a little and then came in to the garden, smiling innocently at Diaval.
"Hello." She murmured as she reached the pair on the blanket.
"Well hello dear." Diaval hopped up and stuck out his hand. "You must be Rora? Interesting name."
"Oh... it's Aurora actually, but thank you." She smiled sweetly and shook his hand.
"This crazed goth looking weirdo is my friend Diaval." Mal explained from the floor. Aurora shot her a smile that barely concealed a giggle and then turned back to Di.
"Nice to meet you."
"And you too dear. I was expecting someone older when Phillip said you were cleaning."
"I'm twenty, coming up to twenty one." Aurora said. Mal was surprised. The girl looked eighteen.
"Ah. Well then, I guess you could join us for a glass of wine then." Diaval motioned to the rug.
"Oh, no, thank you. I just realised that it's almost four and Stephen will be back just after five... we are having a barbecue with some of his work friends. I only came to get Phillip."
"He went around the back of the house." Mal said.
Aurora thanked her and smiled sweetly at them both before disappearing in the direction Phillip had gone.
"She is adorable." Diaval said.
"Sweet." Mal replied.
"Entirely not your type."
"Oh come on. I'm just saying. She wouldn't say boo to a goose. So stop smiling at her like that."
"All... happy like."
"Di, this may surprise you, but I'm not the evil witch that everyone seems to think I am. I can be happy. I'm happy here."
"Jeez, the country changes people."
Mal swiped at him and then lay down, laughing.
"I love it here Di. I love the peace."
The sounds of running feet on grass made her glance behind her. Rory appeared, looking frantic.
"I can't find him Mal. Phillip is gone!"