We pulled into a small car park and my first impression of the big rectangle building was; this is bloody awesome. There has to be a lot of work done to the outside the bluestone bricks needed repointing in places and a vine had grown all over the roof that looked like it was sagging in the centre.
Inside we were greeted by dark wood panelling and high ceilings it still smelt like a bank. The big heavy safe was still in tact, Susan had no idea if there was a key to fit the lock. The cellar was damp and mouldy but would make a wonderful wine cellar. There were four bedrooms on the next story which you accessed by a winding teak staircase that needed a good drink of oil and a polish.
In a nutshell the interior was wonderfully gorgeous. I listened to Susan’s ideas and told her to get Tony involved before she signed off on anything, he has a good eye for these things. She agreed and showed us the one bathroom on that floor, I think a family of possums had taken up residence a while ago it stunk to high heaven.
At the back there was a ladies and gent's toilet and a very large kitchen, a leftover of the pubs glory days. I saw a big bread oven and noted that they could sell all sorts of breads too. It was solid and dry the floorboards didn’t squeak when we moved around, they built these things to last in the old days. I didn’t think it would take much to bring this place into the twenty first century.
"What do you think Den?"
"Its magnificent Sue, there’s so much you can do with this place, stick a big veranda across the back so people can dine out in the fresh air that would give you a huge dining room."
"Good idea maybe we could have some sort of local goods in that part over there, behind the tellers counter, like bread pies maybe some cakes just local fare."
"Well the only local fare I can come up with is Rita's home made stuff." I smiled at her.
"No! No more work for nanny Rita I beg you. This is your gig and anyway Pat is an excellent cook he will be able to do those simple things."
"He can’t make your wonderful pies Rita."
"He can if I give him my recipes." she grinned.
"But you will miss out on business."
"I don't care I have enough to do, I'm going to be busy with the food court at the new shopping centre anyway. Have you given more thought about taking one of the shops Sue?"
"We will come and talk to you about it, but at the moment its a no from us. We want to travel not be tied down with businesses. Pats father is a good cook too he was asking about the shops. I think he might just put his hand up for one my love."
"What does he specialise in Susan?" I asked.
"He's a baker." She laughed.
"So he can do the shopping centre and supply the small shop here." I said.
"Yes maybe, there’s so much to work out at the moment. Lets just leave it for awhile they haven’t even started on the shops yet and that will take a year or so to do."
"Okay honey I'll pencil Roberts name in and maybe one day he can come and have a talk to me." Rita offered.
"Yes do that, we will have too much to do getting this old place in shape."
I had another thought and walked back upstairs. I was right there was a one eighty degree view of the ocean over the trees. When the girls caught up I offered my opinion.
"A flat roof with a bar and tables would be awesome, look at the views. It means you will have to add a sort of third story."
"Thank you Den, something else to worry about." Poor Susan was loaded up with suggestions. She followed us to Kate’s shop I wanted to get a small tube of disinfectant for Ayden’s mouth, just in case.
Rita bought him a small toy for being so brave and paid Mavis at the counter.
"Good morning Mavis how is it all going?"
"As you damn well know Mr Curtis everything is going just fine and dandy." What did I do?
She started laughing and said Cynthia talks too much and gives away all her secrets.
"Well I'm glad Mavis, I had you tagged as the local fence,"
She giggled then gave me a slight nod. I'm so right she has been handling stolen goods, that story about Antique shops is just a ruse to throw Cyn off the track. I couldn’t help a little chuckle myself.
"I have braised steak and onion with vegetables on for tonight Katie, don’t be late otherwise the boys will eat it all up." Rita called out.
"Thank you Rita we will be there around six." Kate's smile lit the shop up.
"How much have you got Rita, is there enough for my family too, its been ages since we have had a steak night." Mavis enquired.
"Plenty love I got it on the black market and have to shift it pronto, so there's heaps." She grinned at me and took her purchases from a shocked Mavis. I laughed all the way out to the car, then Susan followed us home.
"What are we going to do about his tooth?" Evan asked later in the day.
"Find a two-dollar gold coin and replace it bub, no need to go overboard with it." Horse looked at us then took his wallet out and handed Evan twenty dollars.
"I never got any money for my teeth when I was small, I still feel the disappointment, put this in its place."
"And this." Nut's handed over a note also.
It snowballed from there Evan held seventy dollars in his hand by the time they all put in.
"This is silly guys he's only a little kid, he would be more than happy with a dollar coin, we should buy Lotto tickets with this money."
Evan said quite earnestly, the guys groaned as he handed their money back to them.
"Horse have you got a dollar coin on you?"
Horse fished around and found one so did the other three then Evan and me put one in each. There six dollars he will have a ball with that. I collected the money and placed it in our bedroom at the ready for this very momentous night.
Mike Jack Mavis and Anne along with Donk and Kate arrived and room was made at the big table. Mel and Trip came also then Cyn Abs Tony even Birdy and his family, so we had to extend the seating with a couple of Rita’s tables. The boys bought down plenty of rolls and vegetables, the meat was all drenched in a gravy mix it was bloody delicious. Mike ate like a teenager and my one tooth less son had a fair bit too, after his pa had cut it up for him. There was plenty to go around like Rita said she must have got it on special from her butcher. Mavis was checking it all out I suppose she's trying to figure out when Rita moved over to the dark side.
Of course most of the talk was about the new baby, and Cyn got weepy a few times. Ali and Spud were already planning his arrival by handing over some fluffy toys they went out to buy today, I was looking at Mel and Trip they were smiling and I wished they were pregnant too. Little Andy will have some awesome mates to play with, he was very content tonight laying back in Alex's arms just watching everyone.
Birdy was telling us he got another ten in his sums today at school and he had been asked to do a project on his country of birth. He didn’t look too excited about it and I understood why. His big bother Ali said he would help him with it. I overheard him saying to Birdie that there were many wonderful things about his country, not just the awful side and he would walk him through some of it. Birdy smiled then his eyes locked on mine, he was almost shaking with pleasure.
The night was a big success for Rita, she even had a bite to eat with us after her dinner crowd died down. Mike Spud and Ali disappeared just after dinner, they were talking in their room. Jack was talking business with Horse and I was getting excited about the tooth fairy. I had wondered if she was real or not but decided not, in the end.
It was a momentous night in our house tonight, bubby was put to bed and received his many kisses and hugs, he was excited to see the tooth fairy. I explained she only appears when the kids are asleep like Santa. He accepted my excuse this time and closed his eyes. I guessed he was faking so I put him to sleep.
We showered and climbed into bed I thought I would do the tooth exchange when Evan got up to go surfing, he can help me.
In the early hours I heard Evan stir so I followed him to do the old switcheroo, which went off without a hitch: except. The tooth had disappeared and there was a stack of gold coins under his pillow, stuff me what do we do with them? I placed the dollar coins next to the others then went back to our bedroom closing the door.
"What the hell do we do with that extra gold?"
"Buggered if I know Den, its more puzzling the tooth disappeared, maybe your father took it for a souvenir."
"Sounds like something he would do bub, why are you up so early?"
"I couldn't sleep so thought I would get an early start, is there any coffee on?"
We told Horse what we thought happened he was very happy there was a tooth fairy, even though she never visited him when he was small.
We saw Blue head down to the beach and my boys left shortly after, he will be going to Bells soon I will have to stock the van. I wondered where they were going to put Andy's stuff and where he was going to sleep, the van isn’t that big. He ran out to the porch and threw his arms around my neck and made his big announcement.
"Dah, she come."
"Oh did she? was there any gold for your tooth?"
"Yes dah, plentys for Ayden's she was beautisill."
"Did you see her?"
"Yes dah, she took my tooth and told me she had a parties to go to."
"Good, but she's a naughty girl for leaving all that fairy gold, we don’t know what to do with it."
"Sells some and gives to charity dah, lots kids to look after. Maybe Hilly wants sum." He smiled, and he was quite correct we should be doing more of that sort of thing. I might get Cyn to sell maybe two coins just to see what they will fetch. Although in the human world there’s no such thing as fairy gold, there are still some wealthy people out there that would buy them, just to own something that is possibly linked to the folk.
Mum had sold one and got a fortune for it maybe it attracts money, but I do know she got a pretty penny for it. There was enough for her to live on for the rest of her life. I will talk to Evan about it maybe he will come up with a good idea. I hugged him and told him he did well for his first tooth but not to expect it all the time.
He was happy with his real money anyway and stacked it up with his other loose change he had been saving. Then he headed for his potty and to check his other teeth out.
I went back to the porch; this is a good time to start painting Cyn's baby. I had decided to put her and Abs in it just so questions wont be asked. Only I Ayden and Evan will know the truth of the painting. I went to get it while Ayden was telling his nanny how beautisill his tooth fairy was. She had made him some toasted cheese sandwiches this morning, he likes them. I sat for the first hour doing the outlines then some of the fairy folk, then I felt hungry so I went to get some of those cheese sandwiches for myself.
"Is it true Den?"
"Yep go have a look, more gold for the safe. He thinks we should donate some of it to charity, to help the kids."
"A great idea Den, and a tax write off, Evan will be pleased." She smiled.
"Well I will try one on Cyn's site first, that will gauge their worth."
"You had better start looking for charities, the Never Give Up foundation could use some of it, I'm sure Cody and Dan would be happy to take some off your hands. They do a lot with homeless kids you know." I had forgotten that, Cody only touched on it when we were there, yes what a good idea Rita.
I went back to work with my sandwich and sat down again. I was thinking about Susan and Patricks Tapas bar, and wondered how I could get some money into their accounts without them knowing. I added that question onto my, ask Evan list then I went back to work.
Ayden was creeping up on me, I think he was going to try and scare me so I sat quietly until he let out a big boo. I jumped and turned, then caught his t-shirt and pulled him in tickling him to the floor. He was begging me to let him go and I did because all that tickling hurts after awhile.
"Is there anything you want to do today son, apart from surfing?"
"I don’t know dah, lets me thinks bout it." He was deep in thought for about ten minutes, just enough time for me to clean up and return the painting to the store room.
"Well what are we up to?"
"Cans we go to games room?"
"Okay, lets head off now got any money?"
He ran into the bedroom and got his stash. I noticed when he bought some tokens Hulk gave him his money and a bit more back in change. He was actually making money, but what does he know it all looks the same to him. The surfing machine was occupied today so he sat at the racing car one. I watched him broom broom through four games, and when I looked his name was all I saw on the list of high scores. It's going to take the other kids years to knock him off the top.
I talked to Hulk for awhile then said bye bye to my son and went back to the shack. Hulk will watch him and ring me when he's ready to come home. Taking Horses painting I went out the back to place it on his wall. His big chair that had been smashed had been replaced by a porch swing, of course Ayden claimed that as soon as he saw it. A couple of times I found him sleeping on it just rocking back and forth in the breeze.
I let myself in and no one was home, so I mounted the painting in its spot, it looked awesome against Horses General one.
With that out of the way I went to the beach, immediately I was handed Andy to mind and Alex ran off to see Blue. I guess I can look after him, he was so cute. I heard my phone ring it was Hulk telling me he had dropped Ayden off at Rita's. I made some sign language to Alex then took Andy and his bags up to see him.
He and bubs played cars on the porch, Andy was washing them in his mouth then throwing them towards the cafe.
I had my sketch book in hand and was remembering Ayden's baby years, just a nappy and singlet in this heat and Ayden had his jocks and singlet on. A relaxing day with really not much to do. I went to get another canvas I may as well be doing something constructive. I noticed customers pull up at Tony's place they must be picking something up because they had a trailer.
Flipping through the sketchbook I decided to paint the tooth fairy even though I hadn’t seen her. I wondered if Ayden could help me out.
"Bubs can you send me an image of the tooth fairy?" He thought about it for a minute then I got it, he was right she was beautiful and of course surfing. I immediately put pencil to pad and drew her in all her glory. I did put her on a surfboard, her golden coins were falling out of her hands and she was on tippy toe. I chuckled to myself as I put Ayden in the foreground with a missing tooth, his hand was outstretched and had his broken one in it. Every picture tells a story and this one had a big one, there is such a thing as the tooth fairy.
I showed my son the drawing and he nodded his approval, her hair wasn’t red it was blonde and her eyes were pale blue like her flimsy dress. I will add his fairy folk when I do the canvas one, and I suppose there’s no time like the present. I started copying it onto the canvas and was having a ball with it, my insides were laughing and I felt happiness.
Bomp, I heard coming from the timbers and Andy was flat on his face the poor little takker. He had been trying to walk but it ended in a small disaster. There was silence then the screaming started. Ayden immediately went to him and stroked his face and his sore nose. He settled down when Rita flew out of the cafe, but by the time she got to him it was all over rover. Andy was smiling and trying again to pull himself up so he could walk.
Rita stared at me then Ayden she opened her hands.
"Doctor Bubby fixed it my love."
"I don’t want to know Den, there’s too much of that stuff going on around here nowadays. I have better things to do. Oh and by the way, thank you very much grandson." She smiled then kissed Ayden.
I thought I might put the drawing aside for a moment and help Andy so I pulled him over to my chair and checked him out. Nothing broken so I stood him up and held his hands then walked him up and down the porch. He will get it soon and then there will be no stopping the pair of them.
We played for the next hour I was giving Ayden horse back rides and Andy clapped along. Spud helped out by holding him on my back while I did a lap of the porch. Tush and Bubble then got in the act and gave the kids some more rides, we had a lot of fun. It was even funnier when Apple joined in at one stage his balls were firmly planted in my face at one stage as he leant over to take Andy. He wasn’t the best looking tool in the shed, but boy did he have plenty of other assets.
"Come on baby, time for some goat's milk." He put Andy on his hip laughed at me then walked back to the kitchen. Ayden followed to try and score a hamburger for lunch and I was getting a little hungry for some fruit. I followed and grabbed a banana and an apple and ate them at the table.
"Do you want this chart Den?"
It was my colour chart I had given to Rita so she could count the customers who had bright blue or green eyes as they came by.
"Thank you my lovely."
"We only did the people that are on the foreshore Den, the campers, and its very interesting I must say so."
I looked it over there were plenty of bright coloured blues and greens ticked off with a few minor colours. It confirmed to me that mostly the people over the road were fairy or close to it.
"Does it confirm what you were thinking?"
"Yes Rita, it tells me a lot. Most of the people over there are meant to be here, they are family, if you know what I mean." I smiled. She huffed and went back to peeling her spuds.
I will add us to the list and then go to the shops and add the rest of the crowd, which gave me an idea for something different to paint; I did get excited about it. Putting the paper aside I went back to the tooth fairy. A kiss on my neck told me Evan was back, he smelt wonderful.
"Where’s the boys?"
"Up in the kitchen bub, are you hungry?"
"Yes I'll just grab us a pie."
"I had some fruit."
"I'll get you a pie anyway you know how I hate to eat alone." He smiled, he's looking after me again.
"Horse I hung your painting, its back to being like brand new again." He left to go have a look.
His grin was gorgeous as he thanked me for saving it, I told him to thank Tim.
When Evan arrived back Tony also arrived, he looked more than excited and couldn’t wait to tell us about his customers. They bought one of his tables and a set of eight chairs to go with it, he was very happy, maybe because he doesn’t have to give Cyn commission.
"Did you see Abs this morning?"
"No Den, they have gone into the city I think to buy some baby stuff."
"I had better get onto that. Blue and Alex took most of Ayden's baby things, we had better do a shop next week."
"Lets see what they have first Den, then we can make a list, what are you painting?" Evan said as he pushed a pie in front of me.
"The tooth fairy." Horses ears pricked up. he scanned the drawing and gave his nod of approval then went to get a couple of pies. Nut's had the same with tomato sauce on top and Ayden came looking for something else to eat. I broke off some of the pastry and fed it to him. Evan groaned then went and got him a baby sausage roll and one for me too.
"Eat Den, you haven’t had anything all morning."
"How do you know?"
"I have my spies."
"How's Tim Nut's?" I changed the subject, this pie is delicious.
"Good Den, he's hard at work doing the other two paintings then he's got a stack of other stuff to repair. He gets quite busy I believe."
"Well he's good at his job Nut's." Horse offered.
"I'm going over there later to take some lunch to him, then we are going to see his mum and dad."
"Do they live in Warragul too?" I asked.
"No Den, in the city we are going to meet them at a restaurant half way. I haven’t seen them for years." He dropped his head.
"Well it would be something different for you to do." i offered.
"I was told you wanted to talk to me about charity work Den."
"Rita's a pet isn’t she, and yes it was Ayden's idea to give money to charity. But I don’t want to give it to one that’s top heavy with greedy board members, how about the Never Give Up foundation, Cody and Dan run that one."
"Well we do need a decent tax write off so I agree why not do something like that. I will give Cody a call tonight." He grinned.
"I thought we could have a go at selling some of that fairy gold in the safe, the tooth fairy left lots last night, that’s where Ayden got his brilliant idea from."
"You talk to Cyn when she gets back, in the mean time I can research some charities."
Blue and Alex were on board for lunch and they both had a couple of pies each with sauce. Andy was captured and held close by his granddad, he did squirm a bit but gave up the fight when his warm milk was shoved in his mouth, then he wanted to play with his toes.
The conversation turned to Susan and Patricks bar and how Horse was going to fit it all in his busy business. He said he was going to get a local man who knows how to repoint stones to start on the outside restoration, it will take ages to do, but well worth the wait. He will be starting to fit out Blue and Alex's house soon and wanted then to go into Warragul to pick out their whitegoods and fittings.
Blue was starting his campaign to win at Bells so he will be onto his training full time starting soon. Although I have no idea what he would be doing, he's out on those waves every day.
He is already doing some interviews for the surf magazines and every now and then his image flashes up on the TV.
Ayden wants to go into town today. I have no idea what he's up to but he's insisting we go. He has put his best clothes on and sitting having his toasted sandwich with his smock on so he doesn’t get dirty. His red shorts and tank top with Blue on it looked so familiar but very sweet, he had even put some new flip flops on. I noticed he had put his money into his pocket I suppose he wants to buy something. Maybe for the new baby, maybe for himself. We bundled him into his seat and Evan drove us, we wanted to buy Cyn something from the toy shop.
"What shop do you want to go to bub?"
No answer coming from the back seat.
"Where should I park?" Evan tried to guess Ayden's destination.
Still no answer, he's being very secretive today.
We got his stroller out after Evan parked in the back of the shops. We headed through an arcade then we took a right hand turn up the street. He looked in every window, even went into some of them but nothing was brought. I was enjoying my time with my boyfriend, we got more than a few lingering stares as we walked by a busy sidewalk coffee shop.
"What are you looking for bub tell dads?"
Was his answer, then he screamed. I stopped the stroller to see what was the matter was, he jumped out and started running up the street.
"Ayden wait up." Evan yelled at him. A lady who was coming the other way headed him off and he was caught in her arms. I don’t think he was too happy about that as I thanked her and took his hand. I was going to berate him, but in the end I just couldn’t do it.
"Thank you so much, sometimes he gets a little excited and rushes off without us." I smiled.
"That's okay son, just keep an eye on this magical baby."
"You know him?"
"Yes Mr Curtis, it's me Millie from the Warragul Art supplies shop." I think she just curtsied.
"Oh of course you are, sorry I didn’t recognise you with your hat on." I giggled.
"Are you heading for my shop today? because I wont be open for about fifteen minutes, I have an appointment at the bank."
"Yes and no, I do need some more brushes I can wait in the coffee shop and Ayden here has some important shopping to do."
"Good, see you again soon then." She scuttled off probably thinking how much to increase her prices to today.
Evan had knelt down and was talking to Ayden about not running off, he wasn’t listening much because he spotted the shop he wanted to go to.
He took my hand this time and dragged me towards the newsagents, now what does he want from here.
Of course, now I know what he's up to. He rushed through the door and headed for the magazines. He screamed I'm sure he pissed himself at he same time when he saw them.
Surfing magazines were lined up on the display with a very hunky man on the covers, Blue.
"My Blu dah look its my Blu."
He started pulling them off the shelf I think he wanted them all for his collection. The manager came over to see what the fuss was all about, when he saw Ayden flicking through the pages he wasn’t too happy. I leant in and said.
"Its okay he will buy them all probably, he's a kind of surf nut."
He gave me a stare like I was insane then Evan took over. He pulled the guy aside as I helped my baby stack six different magazines onto his stroller. He was still trying to find the write ups on Blue his fingers flipped those pages like a pro.
"Looks dah, myes Blu I seed on TV lots of magazines hab him in them I buys these ones dah."
"Okay you buy them, is there anything else you want?"
"Is the mans got a poster of myes Blu?"
I picked up his stash and placed them on the counter, then I asked the bloke if he had any posters with surfing on them. He said he didn’t he only had the normal rock star ones in stock.
That was it, he wasn’t going to take no for an answer, my boy let fly with a tirade of facts.
"Looks dah, it says I gets free poster of my Blu, look dah on the cover it says I gets one." His finger tapped the front page of the first magazine, and sure enough he was right. It comes with a free poster.
"I'm sorry sonny they didn’t send them with the magazines we don’t have any."
"Do so, liar." He screamed.
"Ayden!" Evan got into it.
"He doesn’t have any baby, maybe we can get one in Sale there’s a newsagency there too." He was trying to calm him down.
I was watching his face and my butterflies were going absolutely insane. I placed the books on the counter and the man totalled them up. I'm sure he was going to have a go at me for having a brat for a son. But my son had other ideas and when he gets ideas he's always right.
"Where my free poster?" He screamed so much he drew a small crowd, he also started crying, my heart broke.
"We didn’t get them in little boy, go to Sale." He curtly answered. I paid for the magazines, I'm sure that sentence was going to be, 'go to hell, not Sale'.
"Daddy, he has sum of my Blu, I knows he has dah." His tears were dripping, then I heard a woman’s voice say.
"Vincent, I told you the posters were out the back, there was no room to put them out. Hang on a bit baby, Nancy will go and get you one, well maybe two." She walked off just as Vincent gave my son a filthy look.
"I take it you don’t have kids Vincent?"
"No, never wanted the brats hanging around my feet." He muffled the answer.
Customers were trying to console Ayden. I thought he was doing a great job at gathering so many followers, and when Nancy came back with two posters he actually thanked her and carefully put them in the carry basket with his books, not taking his eyes off the crabby man.
"Go home now." He was still a little crazy mad at Vincent.
We thanked Nancy and started out the shop as the door closed behind us he yelled out.
"Floor." Then I heard an almighty crashing sound, when I looked back all the greeting card shelves down one side of the shop had collapsed, there were thousands of cards all over the floor. Vincent looked like he was going to tear his non existent hair out. I heard Ayden giggle.
"Have we got time to go and get Cyn and Abs a present Den?"
"Of course bub, I think Ayden's going to just read his books." We both giggled. Ayden had one of the books in hand he was flicking through, and every now and then he would scream out Blues name.
I didn't berate may son for destroying the shop, but I did wonder how he did it. We got Cyn's baby a nice teddy bear with a blue ribbon then we went to the art shop to get me some more brushes.
I looked through them and picked out a dozen or so, and as Millie smiled at me she said,
"That will be seventy dollars with your discount Mr. Curtis."
Wow a discount, maybe Tim has had a word to her about being generous to me sometimes?
"Thank you Millie."
"Well you buy so much stuff off me it’s about time I started giving you a discount. Tim said you were a fine man, and very lucky. He thought your luck might bring in some more business for my dwindling bank balance."
"You’re not doing so well here Millie?"
"No, I'm in the throes of looking to sell, my bank manager said I was not doing so well and I should think about getting out of the business."
"That’s a shame, I will have to go to the city to get my supplies then, and that’s a trip I don’t want to have to do."
"I'm sorry but when my husband passed away everything was left up to me to run and I'm not really a business woman Mr. Curtis."
"Call me Den Millie, that’s what my friends do."
"What are you going to do if you close down?" Evan asked.
"I'm going to go back to what I do best, cake decorating, birthdays, weddings, the lot, I'm more comfortable doing that."
"Umm, I think I might give your card to a couple of friends of mine who are resurrecting that old pub in the bay, they were saying the other day they were going to put a small bakery in it. Hang in here for six months, give it one more try and I will pass your name around," I offered.
"Thank you Den, I don’t need the aggravation, I just love creating beautiful cake art for people, that's my thing."
I collected my brushes and thanked Millie then we headed for the car.
"I wonder how much she wants for her business Den?"
"You should have asked her bub, why are you thinking about buying it?"
"Not really baby, I don’t know much about it, just thought I would make some inquiries anyway." I could feel him smiling.