“I will be back soon,” I said when I answered.
“No, it’s fine. I got someone in to cover you. I figured you were concussed, but Zoe isn’t answering, and I am on tonight, and mum has hurt her knee again, so she can’t watch both girls. Can you and Valen please, please, come to get Casey for the night?”
“What do you mean Zoe isn’t answering? Did you knock on the door?”
Macey cleared her throat before speaking in a hushed voice. “I did, but I don’t think she could hear me over all the showering sounds coming from the house,” she hissed. I snorted. Who would have thought?
“They are like damn rabbits. I have been up there twice now, and I swear my ears are bleeding. Anyone would think we are running a brothel with the noises leaving your apartment,”
“What’s a br0thel, Aunty Macey?” I heard Casey asked in the background.
“Ah, a place where people get foot massages,” Macey answers awkwardly. Valen chuckles but turns the car around, hearing her.
“Yep, we are on our way now. Meet us out the front,” I tell her.
“Thank God, but you need to talk to her,”
“Why do I have to talk to her? You’re the eldest?” I told her.
“Because I can’t say anything after what you saw the other day and don’t say you didn’t tell Zoe. I know you did, and you’re the only one not getting la.. foot messages around here,” Macey corrects herself. “Ah no, you talk to her,”
“I will scissor paper rock you for it,”
“Fine deal, but don’t cry when I win, like I always do.” Valen raises an eyebrow at me and shakes his head. I say goodbye and hang up the phone.
“Are you two seriously going to fight over who is giving Zoe the s*x talk?”
“Yes, unless you want to do it?” I asked hopefully. “Not a chance. Wait, what do I get for it if I do?” Valen asked, and I folded my arms. I was not making any more deals with the devil, and I know he would pick his words wisely if I did, so I couldn’t get out of it. We pulled up out the front, and Macey was waiting out front with a bag for Casey.
“I chucked some of Taylor’s spare clothes in it for her, and school was canceled. I just got the notification because of a covid case,” I sighed and nodded. Damn pandemic.
Macey buckled Casey in, before stopping at my window and holding her fist out. I rolled my eyes, and we quickly played rock, paper, scissors while Valen laughed at us.
Macey fist-pumped the air when her scissors cut my paper. “No!” I cried.
“Suck*r, I finally beat you,” she said, doing a victory dance and shaking her as at me. I shook my head in defeat.
“I expect a total reenactment of the cringing Ness of that talk and proper behavior in our hotel,” Macey said triumphantly.
“Fine, but you get the next awkward talk.”
“No, way, the last talk still haunts me when I had to explain to both you girls the importance of pap smears.”
“You could have just told us you didn’t have to diagrams and or reenact on our dining room table. I haven’t looked at the table the same, and you owe me a desk,” I tell her.
“If I have to give you girls awkward talks, I will be thorough. Valarie always said get your facts straight, and I did that,” Macey said.
“We were mortified,”
“Valarie thought it was pretty funny, even help me do the diagram,” Macey laughed. I chuckled.
“D**n, she sounds like a cool old lady,” Valen said, and both Macey and I froze, forgetting entirely about Valen and how casually we spoke of his mother.
“She was. She was a marvelous woman,” Macey said with a sad smile. I nodded before saying goodbye.
“Love you, Casey,” Macey called. Casey waved. “Love you too,” Casey retorted, blowing her a kiss. Valen drove out and back onto the highway, and Casey leaned forward in her seat.
“Look, Uncle Valen, I brought Trolls. Aunty Macey said I could because it is your favorite,” she said, holding up the DVD to show him.
“Uncle Valen?” I asked her.
“Hmm, Aunty Macey said he was your boyfriend and would marry you one day.”
“Did she now?” I asked.
“Yep, so that makes him my uncle, but if he is my uncle, how will I marry Valarian? Wouldn’t that make him my cousin? Though Taylor said she is and that I would have to marry Uncle Fester from the Addams family, I told her na ah, I am,” Casey said. I snickered, and I saw Valen smile as he glanced at her in the mirror.
“My boy is a lady’s man.” I smacked his th!gh, and he grabbed my hand before I could pull it away. He k!ssed the back of it when he lifted it to his lips, before keeping hold of it on his lap.
“So can we watch Trolls when we get to your place?” Casey asked.
“Yes, we can watch it on repeat, if you like,” I told her.
“Yay, Valarian is going to be so excited about our sleepover,”
“Casey, you live with Valarian. Every night is a sleepover,” I chuckle.
“Oh, right? I guess it is,” she said, bouncing happily in the back of the car.
The drive was short, and I was looking forward to lying down. Yawning, I stepped out of the elevator and followed Valen to his apartment. He unlocked the door, and the first thing I could smell was pancakes. My brows furrowed, and I followed Valen in with Casey, who ran ahead.
“Ah, not trolls,” I heard Valarian whine.
“0 h, where did you come from, little one?” I heard Kalen’s voice. Casey pointed to us down the hall, and Kalen walked over and looked at us. “I’m Casey, and I came with them,”
“Oh, you’re back. We were making pancakes,” Kalen said, before rushing back to the kitchen as he plated up.
“Pancakes and ice cream for dinner, dad, really?”
“You never complained when you were a kid,” Kalen told him.
“Want some? I made heaps,” he said, pulling a huge tray off the stove. Valen shook his head.
“Why not, pancakes for dinner, it is then,” Valen laughed.
Kalen was dressed in a suit with a white apron on and chef hat. He looked alien standing in the kitchen.
“And some for Miss Casey,” Kalen said, handing her a plate. Both kids raced excitedly toward the table with their plates. When Kalen shocked me as I walked to the sink, wanting to get a glass of water.
He hugged me and pecked me on the cheek, while I remained stiff and still as a statue. “Everly dear, so happy to see you again,” he chirped. I looked at Valen, who shrugged and tried to steal a pancake from the tray. His father smacked his hand with the egg flip.
“Let me plate it up the way you used to like,” he scolded, and I chuckled while Valen seemed to pout before stealing one. “You rotten little sod,” Kalen barked at him.
“Has no manners, Everly, anyone would think a Neanderthal raised him,” Kalen said, shaking his head, while making Valen’s pancakes with a choc chip smiley face with two blobs of ice-cream for ears.