After dinner I played a game of cards with the two kids but they were being silly and giggled all the way through my cheating ways. Jay and Hulk came by and had moved into Ab's place. Hulk pulled Birdy onto his knee and Jay sat next to me. I heard him giggle some more when Hulk threw him over his shoulder and marched him up to the cafe.
"He's giving us a few moments Den.”
“His nightmares are not as bad as when he first came to us, it's getting better and better every day so when he stays with you for a week, I’m hoping some of that magic wears off on him and his nightmares disappear. I will come over every morning and night to see him and of course I will watch over him during the day when he's at work."
"Your going to miss him badly aren't you?" He lowered his head and said,
"Yes Den, he's become my life, and Hulk’s obsession." He laughed.
"Okay you know you can trust us. He won’t be harmed here, and Jay, I won’t forget to give him back." I made a joke but it was a bit flat.
"I have to tell you Den, he loves your smell and thinks you have his father’s scent about you."
"I thought something like that was happening and he's welcome to smell me anytime he wants."
"Thank you Den." He waved to Hulk who brought the laughing kid back to the table, they both waited until it was almost time for Birdy and my son to hit the sack, then they kissed him goodnight and left. But I spied Jay looking back a few times.
"Okay now you two, I need to measure you both." Birdy gave me a quizzical look but Ayden knew what we were doing and I thought I might add Birdy to the kitchen wall. He took Birdy's hand and we three went through the shop as Evan looked up from the counter.
"Measurement time bub, forgot to do it on his birthday."
"Okay." He followed us to our little kitchen and on the wall were marks where I had measured Ayden's height over the past two years. I found my felt pen and made Ayden stand against the wall and with my pen I put a mark and the date. I then measured it and congratulated my boy for growing two inches.
It was Birdy's turn and he giggled as Evan placed him against the wall.
"I have to start a new one for you my little prince and we can do it again in a month’s time just to see how tall you are getting."
He nodded his understanding. After marking the wall, I then told them to get ready for bed so they both ran off as I kissed my man.
We followed the boys to the bathroom where Ayden was actually brushing his teeth and Birdy was standing next to him doing the same.
"Do I shower papa Den?" his little voice asked.
I replied with a lump in my throat,
"Only if you think you stink, let’s find out."
I pretended to smell him all over and deemed him okay, he had already had one when we came up from the beach. I filled the hand basin with warm water and proceeded to wash his face and arms with a washcloth, then I did Ayden who wouldn’t stop making faces at me.
"Now jump into bed. Do you need a story?"
"Yes please pa," Ayden screamed for Evan to come read his story. They were both tired and Birdy had put down his plastic bag next to the bed, it contained a pocket knife and a piece of wood. That's it for the day, his work’s done.
Evan started reading them a story about a tree full of mischievous monkeys but I don’t think Birdy was impressed.
"Okay guys how about a write up on dad?" Evan asked.
"Yay," they both yelled.
Evan went and got the magazine that had my write-up in it and they were both listening intently. After about eight minutes I kissed them both goodnight because they were fast asleep.
Nothing happened that night, I didn’t hear anything coming from the boy's bedroom, but I did hear someone get up very early.
I looked at Evan and said,
"I'll get it."
I walked out to the porch, it was still dark and there was Birdy sitting at the table carving away.
"Good morning baby, did you sleep well?"
"Yes thank you."
I could tell he was forcing himself to stay awake, which is not good for him so I gently took his knife and wood and placed them on the table, then picked him up and placed him on my knees.
"Have another ten minutes’ son," I whispered into his ear.
He was asleep almost instantly. After a few minutes Evan poked his head out and said he was heading for the beach with Horse. I nodded then went back to my charge making sure he was comfortable.
About an hour later Rita appeared with some well needed coffee.
"Early morning Den?"
'Yes my friend, that prison has given him some nasty habits which hopefully I will break. One of them is getting up at the crack of dawn."
She gasped and her hand went to Birdy's head to stroke him.
"Could you do me a favour and go check on Ayden? I haven’t been able to move for the past hour." I smiled at her.
She left to go check her grandson out while I sipped on my lovely and welcome coffee.
"He's in your bed Den, fast asleep, half in his wet suit." She almost giggled.
"He must have wanted to follow Evan but was too tired I suppose."
"Are you good with it Den?"
"Yes Rita, I just worry he's going to get a lung full of water and choke, or get eaten by sharks or get washed up on a desert island and we never see him again until he's fifty." I laughed. Birdy stirred and his eyes partly opened, then he smiled and went back for ten minutes more. In the meantime, Rita cooked some toast and eggs for us. Ayden must have smelt them because he appeared not long after and Birdy had woken up for the second time.
We hugged and he wrestled with the chair next to me.
"I hope so son, I think he's just tired."
"Yes daddy, not tired like Shan, just tired, he okay now."
"Good, I thought you would get him fixed." I kissed him once more then he got a plate of eggs and toast put in front of him.
Birdy had moved back to his chair to eat and he still had that big smile on his face. We three tucked into our breakfast. Ali and Spud were on-board this morning and they both made the effort to come up and say good morning to us. Ali went so far as to bow to Birdie before he kissed his cheek and Birdie giggled some more at his display. I had asked Ali if the adoption was real, he said it was in Dubai but not legal here, he also said Jay would have been upset if that had happened.
I suspect Jay was taken by Birdy, hook line and sinker, like he is with Hulk. He's a much different young man nowadays since he bonded with Hulk.
Evan was on the phone when he and Horse came back, it was Trip on the other end. He had called to tell him that he and Mel had gone on to the US for a couple of weeks and will be home as soon as they have had enough. They were in Las Vegas and send their love to everybody.
He related this after he hung up, I had a really funny feeling and looked at Horse.
"You know, don't you?"
"Know what Den?"
"That Mel and Trip got married in Vegas."
"Shush Den, no one’s supposed to know." He grinned.
"Why not, that's silly." I whined.
"Because they want to surprise everyone when they get back, and they don't want Mel's mum to find out"
"When did they tell you Horse?" Evan asked.
"Yesterday when he rang. He was so happy he had to tell someone." He pulled Ayden onto his lap and helped him finish his now cold eggs. I was so happy for them and couldn’t wait to throw a party when they got back.
Well I wasn’t really surprised, as it turned out with our little house guest. On the second day of Birdy's holiday he slept in, on the third day he did the same and was very quiet around everyone all day, like he was thinking about something important. On the fourth day I found him sitting on the porch steps with his bag next to him.
"Where are you off to son?"
"I miss Jay and Hulk Papa Den; can I go home now?"
"Of course you can, I bet they miss you too." He grinned as I sat with him putting my arm around his shoulders.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes, just home missing."
"Just homesick," He repeated.
I took my phone out and rang Jay.
"I think we have eradicated the problem, how would you and Hulk like a house guest for a few years?"
He ran down with Hulk and swooped Birdy up then gave him lots of kisses.
"God I missed you," he said as Hulk sat and ordered breakfast for them all. Birdy sat on Jay’s lap soaking up the love, I could actually see it in his eyes. Even though they saw each other every day Birdy was with us, there’s nothing like real family and their own bed to make a little kid feel wanted and safe. I think he's going to be all right.
"Okay now dads, okay," Ayden said as he pulled himself up on my knees. I hope your right bubs but I have no reason not to believe you. The magic was still with us and before Birdy left I gave him one of my miniature fairy folk paintings to put on his wall. I had mailed one off to Flip and Ian and received a really lovely thank you card from them.
The next thing was Jack. It was coming up to a long weekend and he rang to say they will be down for a few days, he thought he had business to talk to me about. I reassured him that we did have business and we couldn’t wait to see them all. He asked if Mavis could come and I told him Mavis's room is always ready for her.
I found a couple of minutes to talk quietly with my man, he understood Birdy's homesickness and he agreed that maybe he's turned the corner with his nightmares as we didn’t hear anything on the last three nights he was with us. He also said Trip didn’t want a fuss when they returned, he was going to move into Mel’s house and life will go on as usual. I have to get the other three organized too. I wondered if Tiny could go back to med school, the local doctor was getting on so there would be a good job there for him. I honestly think Nuts will stay single for some time and Donk, I'm about to kick his ass if he doesn’t make a move on Kate again soon.
"Pa, pa, me, me baby, me come." I looked up at Evan who was grinning across the table at me, our son had run out with his wet suit and fairy dress on. I nearly fell on the porch laughing and had to take a photograph. Rita and the kids heard the commotion and came to see what the deal was, they also made a big fuss.
"Blue won’t like that dress bubs." He looked at Alex and said,
"Suck it up." So I guess the skirt stays.
When he was fully decked out with his life jacket he looked so awesome, like a piece of Lego. So I took his hand and led him out the back door to the beach while Evan grabbed their boards.
Blue couldn't help himself and laughed like crazy.
"Take the skirt off bubs, it will get wet," I suggested.
"No, that it, no." He stood his ground. Well the dress got wet and he got wet, and I also got wet as I sat in the surf just watching my son have a ball with his other dad and friends. He was never on his board alone, he always had someone holding him. But by God he was good, I could almost see his fairy folk helping him stand. But realistically I put it down to the surf machine at Spud’s parlour.
He did his best to actually stand on his own but it was easier if Evan knelt behind him holding him up and steady, he would hold the back of his life jacket. He screamed and bent his knees and generally did the basic moves but he couldn’t control the board as yet, we will have to give him time for his little legs to get bigger. He was knackered by the time his pa called time out yet didn’t want to leave the water, but he had promised pa he would do as he was told. He didn’t argue as I peeled the now saturated skirt off him. Blue had promised he would get the jet ski out tomorrow so I think that might have stopped him from creating a big scene today.
I lifted him up then took him over to our tree to dry him off. Birdy was there whittling away again, that’s until Ali spotted him and ran up and kidnapped him for a ride. He took him right out and they both screamed as they rode those waves into the shore. Horse had been sitting on the sand watching every move while the kids were out there, and when Birdy came in he grabbed him and brought him back up to me. I dried his hair and kissed him while Horse helped Ayden out of his wet suit and put his red shorts on. Birdy didn’t have a change of clothes so I wrapped a towel around him while he dropped his wet shorts.
Jay arrived with a dry pair, he must have heard his screams from Tony's.
"How's he sleeping now Jay?" I asked.
"Good Den, I haven’t heard him during the night and he's sleeping in longer too thanks to God and the fairy folk. Thank you very much too from the bottom of my heart." He was genuine.
He made sure Birdie was dressed properly, then it was time for their lunch. They didn't have lunch with us often because Hulk was a bit of a health nut. Ab's told me that ever since he was tortured he's been eating healthier, like he got a second chance in life and doesn’t want to stuff it up. Jay had fortunately fallen into that group and it looks like Birdy will be a very healthy boy too. Apart from his work tools he also carried a bag of nuts and dates which he would chew on sometimes. I didn't have to worry about my boy, Rita had that covered.
Well I guess the guys will be coming in soon but I don't have any lunch for them today. I packed up my boy and walked him back, he wanted to shower, then he had to hang his fairy dress and wet suit on the railing. After all that he was back to being a toddler again, he climbed up onto the table and played cars. I ordered a hamburger and a small one for him as he brum brummed his way through another grand prix race. A little later I felt a beautiful pair of lips on my neck then two azure blue eyes were staring at me. I couldn’t help myself so kissed him back deeply as my butterflies went crazy.
He got the shop ready and then ordered lunch and Spud came and sat with us. He told us three more of the guys had left this morning and that in another couple of weeks he could get his house back, but didn’t sound too enthusiastic about it.
"We have no idea when the next lot will arrive Den so it seems pointless to move back in, just to move out again."
"Maybe you should stay put kid, until it's all over."
"Maybe, I will miss being here."
"I can't make the decision for you Spud but Ali has his paintings and you have your works over there, it makes sense you move back in."
"But it’s so big," he whined.
"Spud you need your street kids to come and stay,"
He looked hopeful, I think he's just having a moment and will bounce back soon.
The hamburgers arrived just as my boys did. Ayden was moved off the table and was fed by Horse. Evan and Horse talked about next door and it was just about finished, then they will start on the shops.
Hulk and Jay’s place would be a breeze, I could see they already had the footings in and the frame started.
Tiny was telling us that he had done his job as medical liaison, he wasn’t expecting it but the king paid him generously for his work. I thought to myself, this was my chance.
"You should finish your medical training Tiny, the local doctor should be ready to retire soon I would think. You could take over his practice."
"Den, I don't need to, Evan keeps me in cash by buying all my worthless properties." He looked at Evan and laughed.
"I love your worthless properties, unlike lazy you I get good money for them." That shut Tiny up for a minute or two.
"Seriously Den, I could finish in a year or less what I have to do but I don’t see the need for it now. My gran left me a shitload of money and properties."
"Your self esteem Tiny, you do it for your self worth, and its unfinished business you have to attend to. When it's over you can laze around all day with the feeling you have accomplished something," I replied.
He stared at me so maybe he's thinking about it.
I heard the creaky old red caravan turn into the foreshore and my boy was sitting on our steps. He had been waiting since seven this morning for Mike and his family to arrive. He jumped down then looked each way, up and down the road then ran across to greet them as Jack with Anne helping, manoeuvred the van into its regular spot. Ayden showed Mike and his gran the way to our place.
"It's so good to see you both, welcome back, and where's Emma?"
"Sleeping Den, good to see you too." I hugged Mavis then Mike while Ayden was jumping up and down trying to tell Mike about his surf board. Rita was on board with the coffees and Bubble and Tush hugged Mavis several times, but I think she may have been touching them inappropriately because Tush let out a yelp.
Jack, Anne and Emma arrived and the boys will help them set up later. I immediately went to the not so small baby and gave her a big hug. She smelt beautiful and looked gorgeous in her little pink dress, but I almost cried when she spewed her milky tummy onto my t-shirt and the memories came flooding back. Anne wiped me and smiled, she looked beautiful. Her hair had been cut and she had a new confidence about her, something she didn't have before.
"She's just been fed Den, sorry about that."
"It's okay, she's bringing back some wonderful memories.” I tried not to jiggle her about and Ayden was wanting a nurse. I told him to sit quietly next to me; which he did, then I gently passed her over. He sat looking into her big green eyes, she started with a big smile then giggled, her arms and legs going everywhere. When I looked across the table, three sets of eyes were lovingly watching her.
Mike got Mavis settled then he went to find his mates. He didn't have to go far because they were having a nap in their bedroom. He said he banged on the door and told them to stop what they were doing and come out and greet their guests. Ali and Spud turned up not long after with fresh coffee and Rita. The small party started after the food was demolished and Jack and the boys had the caravan set up in a flash. Anne had gone over to set up her beds and the boys grabbed their boards and went surfing. Jack took his fishing gear down to the foreshore.
Ayden didn’t make a fuss because he was having words with Emma. We had placed her in a bean bag and Ayden knelt beside her and talked. He didn’t notice the guys leave, which I was thankful for.
"She will be crawling soon," I wistfully said.
"Not long to go Den, you should have another one." Mavis chuckled making light of my gloomy mood.
"Are you offering Mavis?" I grinned at her.
"I wish." She laughed.
I couldn’t help myself and was compelled to say it,
"How would you like to live here permanently?"
She stared at me then laughed.
"I don’t know what you have in mind Den but my birthing days are definitely over." She laughed harder.
"We bought a shop and want Jack to run his operations from down here, it’s got a three-bedroom house attached to it. Also we can get a big sized bungalow for free from the government to put in the backyard for you. Now I've spoilt the surprise, but I had to tell you." I beamed at her. She didn’t say anything for quite some time, then she burst out crying.
"I'm sorry I upset you Mavis, it was stupid of me to say anything."
"No Den, I think you all are the most generous people I know. No one has given my grandson so much, and Jack has never had a break. He's works so hard to keep my daughter happy and will be so grateful even for that thought, but I fear stubborn too." She added,
"Don’t go to any trouble Den, I really think he will refuse the offer, he’s too proud."
"Well he’s been doing it all on his own Mavis so it’s about time the bay helped him step up a rung or two on the ladder."
I thought about Rita's resistance when we first brought her here, it didn't take us long to convince her and I think Evan can convince Jack too.
"Don't resist it Mavis, Den and Evan have you all organized." Rita smiled. She knew what I was thinking.
"What plans have you got for my grandson Den?"
"Just one, he's going to live in my apartment in Southbank, he can rent out the two spare bedrooms to his college mates which will give him some pocket money. Of course he won’t be paying any rent, but he will be paying the outgoings, he's got to learn things like that too." I smiled then went on,
"You can't fight it Mavis, it’s all just about organized. Horse is starting on the renovations of the shop and there’s plenty of work for Jack down here, look at the hundreds of tired old holiday homes here and in Longford, they all need new kitchens." I laughed again.
"What the hell am I going to do down here?"
I looked at Rita and she burst out laughing, and I laughed with her. I think we had this conversation two years ago.
"Do what you always do, come here for coffee, have you still got a car licence?"
"Yes Den, I still have it."
"Well get yourself a little car, you can go to bingo in Longford or better still start one up here. I'll give you my car, I never drive it anyway."
She hit my arm.
"Stop being so silly Den." I tried to talk to her some more but she was thinking. She also had a spring in her step as she walked the empty cups back to the cafe.
"I think I let the cat out of the bag bub, sorry."
"What do you mean?"
"I told Mavis our plans for Jack, sorry." My puppy eyes were out.
"It's okay Den, she won’t say anything, I trust her."
"Good, because that's what I thought too. When are you going to tell them baby?"
"Soon I suppose, Jack will have to give notice on his warehouse, maybe we can spring it on them tonight."
"We should do a Rita on them and take them to the shop and let them see for themselves."
"Good idea Den, we can do that tomorrow."
We watched as Mavis walked up our driveway and headed for Cynthia's place. No scooter, no walker, just her legs, it was good to see.
I watched as Evan served a couple of kids as Rita was wiping down tables, and the red caravan was sitting under a tree looking like it had always been there. I remembered I should tell Anne if she wanted to sell her painting then Cynthia would do it for her. I can also paint her a different one so that will put some more cash in the pot for Mike’s schooling. My son was moping around but his head would shoot up every time Evan walked out to do something. He's waiting to see if his pa is going for a surf or not so in the meantime, he's sort of looking at Blue’s photos in his magazine. Eventually Evan poked his head out and said,
"Get your wetsuit on Bub." He took off like the wind, he didn’t need to be asked a second time.
"Don't forget the life jacket," I yelled after him.
It was hot today so I thought I might go for a dip myself, that way I get to rinse off in the shower with my gorgeous man.
I followed Evan down with the towels and Ayden was already on the shore jumping up and down. I kissed him and wished him good luck then Evan took his board and they both jumped on. Ayden didn't need any help, he did it so beautifully. It’s so unusual for little tackers to do this kind of sport while they are so young. But these aren't ordinary circumstances, it’s the magic of the bay on display. He was as light as a feather but looked solid on his board. Evan knelt behind him and they both paddled out beyond the waves. I watched them turn to face the shore and Evan was giving him his last minute tips. Mike had come over to watch, he had a big grin on his face.
"Is he really going to surf Den?"
"Yes Mike, he's been doing it for the past three weeks now."
"That's so cool."
Ayden waved at everyone while Blue, Donk, Tiny and Nuts were placed at certain points and were at the ready in case he slips.
They began their run as I stood up to watch. Evan let go of him and he stood on that board by himself, screaming his lungs out.
Something else I saw was a stream of gold behind him. It looked awesome as he held his arms out. It was just like my paintings, flecks of gold started covering him, I could see them from where I stood and wondered how Evan was feeling being up so close. The gold kept Ayden steady, at one stage he looked at his hands and laughed. He should have fallen off several times but his fairy folk held him upright.
I won’t paint that picture because I've painted it so much in the past two years, I know how it looks on canvas.
"Wow, did you see that Den?"
"He was doing that on his own, that's incredible."
"Was he?" I gave him a proud father kind of grin.
"Oh no, not the folk again." He laughed.
"I think so kid."
"Well they did good, bub is loving it."
Past Blue, past Donk, past Tiny and into Horse’s arms as Evan jumped off the board. Horse grabbed Ayden who was hugged to bits. Eventually shaking with happiness he came over to me burying his head in my crotch, crying with a big smile on his face.
"God Den, he was beautiful out there, did you see the gold streak?" I looked at Horse and nodded my agreement. He was still thinking about it when Ayden wanted up.
"King, king Hoth, he lubs you." His head flopped onto Horse’s shoulder and his giggles were beautiful. Then,
"More pa more!"
He took all the hugs he could get from the boys who were just as amazed as Horse, but I don't think they saw the folk.
It was time for another run. I didn't want to put a limit on how many times he would do it, I just thought when he looks tired I will then put a stop to it. It was the same set up, the boys guarded their areas and Evan let him go again. He sailed into shore much the same as the first and I heard giggling when I held him, but they weren’t Ayden's giggles, he was hyper by this time.
Blue was standing there in amazement then he found his voice and called to Evan,
"Can you imagine what he could have done in Hawaii dad, he would have blitzed me and anyone else that came near him?" He shook his head. We had gathered a bit of a crowd and the guys from next door were almost bowing to him, I guess they had never seen fairies at work before.
True to his promise that when he felt tired he was to tell me, he ran into my arms and nestled into my neck. I stroked his back and asked him if he wanted more or a ten-minute nap.
He just shook his head no.
"Okay, well let them have some fun on their own."
I thanked the guys for giving up their precious time and headed for the tree. Mike sat with us as Ayden drifted off. I guess it wore him out and the folk are looking after him again, even though they have gone somewhere else to play at the moment. His legs were moving and that smile on his face was back, he was dreaming again.
"God Den, nobody will believe me if I told them."
"The magic of the bay Mike, you have experienced it first hand and you’re about to get another piece of it tomorrow. I grinned at him.
"What do you mean Den?"
"Can't say, I've already said too much, but when your father resists I want you on our side to give him a nudge."
"What are you up to?"
"Can't say, but you will know tomorrow," I replied.
"Now I won’t sleep, thanks Den." Poor Mike.
"You’re welcome." I giggled.
He stood up then grabbed his skim board and went to chase Ali and Spud. They were skimming along the shore while my boys were surfing and the visitors were lying in the shade; and my boy was dreaming. Life's good at the moment, everything had calmed down except Horse. He kept looking at us but I don't have any answers to this one my friend. I only know the folk I saw covering Ayden were so in love him, I felt it and my butterflies confirmed it.
After a half hour I looked again at my baby, his azure blue eyes were watching me and his hand had grabbed a hold of my thumb, he pulled it hard.
"Did you have a good sleep?"
"Yes daddy, me good now, go see nanny."
"Okay we will go see nanny, do you want to shower?"
"No daddy, have to see nanny she sick, make sit down."
"What?" I grabbed our towels and screamed at Horse to get Evan and Tiny up to the cafe. He waved at the guys to come in as I picked up Ayden and ran towards the shop. My feet hurt because I had left my thongs on the beach in the rush to get to Rita's side.