Chapter 46 - The 'Abandoned' Cottage

Night passed in a blur, and I found myself fidgeting about, looking for something to do; anything at all…

I went up to Joe’s room and vacuum-cleaned, dusted and rearranged his ornaments and CDs.

I then went into Finty’s bedroom, dusted vacuumed the floor, and did the same to Emily’s and Freya’s rooms.

“Okay, something’s wrong – tell me.” Finty demanded.

“Nothing’s wrong.” I bluffed.

“Yes there is – do I have to go and get Freya to charm it out of you? You know I could always pin you to the ground…” She smiled to herself.

“Ugh, you are so pushy! Darn your dumb powers. Maybe I could just get Dougie to bit your ankles.” I muttered, smirking to myself, but she tapped her foot impatiently, pretending that she hadn’t heard that.

“Just exam stress” I shrugged, but she didn’t seem convinced.

“Fine; I’m anxious…” I murmured and my hands floated absently to my stomach.

“Oh…” She realised, flitted to my side, and hugged me tightly.

 

I had no idea why I was feeling the way that I was but perhaps it was just nothing – perhaps I was just nervous about the exam after all… Because I wasn’t actually nervous about the exam until I had brought it up as an excuse for my fidgetiness. Or maybe I was just attention seeking… I’d never been like that in my entire life, or at least, I’d never tried to seek attention. It was just something that I dismissed as bad. My life’s equation was klutziness + attention=bad idea!

 

When it got to 8:00 am, I got changed, and climbed into my Jaguar, then sped off to school, but when I arrived, I had the feeling that I’d forgotten something. I realised, as I sat in my car, waiting for the bell to go, in the pouring rain, what I had forgotten: Joe.

But all was not lost, as I saw a Jaguar, the same model as min, pulled into the space next to mine, and Joe’s thoughts were sarcastic.

 

‘What happened to waiting for me?’ He thought.

‘Sorry; just nervous.’ I thought back.

‘But about what? Hmm…’ He wondered, confused.

“The exam” I thought back, and he climbed in my car.

 

He hugged me, and told me not to be silly – that I would ace the exam, and walk away with straight ‘A*s’, but I thought that he was cheering me up, more than seeing the future.

“What? Oh right, like that’s ever going to happen.” I sighed, trying to imagine myself holding a diploma, but couldn’t.

“It will – I can guarantee it.” He winked, chuckling at my failed attempts at imagining myself in a graduation gown and mortar board.

“Oh, we’re going to be late!” I cried, as I looked at the clock on the dashboard.

“No we’re not – that clock is three minutes fast, so we’ll be in time if we go now, and the only thing that we will be, is wet.” He laughed, glancing out of the window at the rain pelting down on the windscreen.

“We’d better go then…” I murmured, putting my hood up, and we both opened our doors simultaneously.

We ran together, hand in hand through the rain, and into the school, though unfortunately it was at a brisk human pace as there were humans about.

 

The teacher marked us off on the register and we went to the big assembly hall and sat in our allocated seats, wrote our names, form, and school on the top of the exam, then waited for Miss Moon, the youthful examiner to tell us to start the exam.

 

Joe had said hat I would walk away with ‘A*s’; we would see about that.

I found the exam easy, handed the exam in Miss Moon, and walked out of the room, with a huge smile on my face.

“How did you find it?” Joe asked when he saw me; naturally he had finished first.

“Surprisingly easy” I admitted, beaming at him.

“Good – you’ve got straight ‘A*s’ across the board.” He winked, and I was starting to appreciate his little talent after all.

 

We ran flat out to our cars, at an extremely fast human speed as it was pelting down, and sped off back to the house to hang out with the rest of the McIvor's’ (the rest of them had the day off school).

Me and Joe had a game of cat and mouse on the dirt track, in our cars, on the way up to the McIvor's house, but it was completely safe because we were more careful [and had more advantages] than most silly humans…

 

When we got back, Charlie, Emily, Finty and Freya were in the hallway, ready to tell us something that had been forgotten in the madness of yesterday.

As I walked in the front door, Emily all but pounced on me with enthusiasm, which made me nervous all the more. Joe squeezed my hand, and then he helped me out of my coat, just in time to be told off by Emily.

“Don’t do that! We want to take you both somewhere to show you something.” Emily grinned, and I shrugged my soggy waterproof back on.

“Where are you taking us?” Joe asked, and sighed exasperatedly.

“Now that would be telling.” Jordan winked.

Joe’s eyes went all distant then, like what happens when he sees into the future, so I knew he must be seeing what they wanted to show us, and they all called him a cheater because I had to wait, but he just goes and looks straight away. I could just pick each of their brains to see what it was and not go out and get wet, but they were just so insistent.

 

We didn’t bother with the cars; we ran all the way there – to the abandoned cottage, not-so-far from the McIvor residence; the one that I hadn’t noticed on the way back to the McIvor's’ household – there had been a huge bolder in front of it, blocking the sight of it. Finty was really good at her job!

 

Though it didn’t actually look that abandoned now; somebody had done it up: there was now an archway, entwined with roses, a yellow painted gate and picket fence, a gravel pathway, rows and rows of flower beds (chrysanthemums, geraniums, pansies, daisies, lavender, carnations, tulips…), and the cottage was painted too, now a pale blue shade, with the door painted lilac, and the window sills and frames.

 

“You brought us all the way out here in the pouring rain to show us that the cottage isn’t abandoned anymore?” I asked, sceptically.

“No, duh, go inside – Sally and Dougie are in there already.” Finty urged.

“Okay…” I said, raising my eyebrows, and lifting the hook on the gate, and walked up the gravel pathway.

“Don’t bother knocking.” Charlie said from behind me, lifting the latch on the door, for me.

I walked inside, closely followed by Charlie, then Joe, who was flanked by Finty, Freya and Emily.

 

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the smell (something between roast chestnut and cinnamon), and I then saw that it was very much like the McIvor's house – small on the outside but massive on the inside.

I walked over to where Sally and Dougie were standing talking, and leaned against the fire – mantel-piece, where Joe slid his arm around my waist.

“Hi” I smiled at them.

“Hello dears, sorry, we meant to show you yesterday, but I suppose it got forgotten.” Sally smiled back at us.

“Yeah, erm, nice place you got here.” I said, and Joe squeezed me gently in agreement.

“You like it? Oh good” She sounded pleased.

“It’s for you and Joe.” Dougie smiled at me.

The End

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