eleven || leslie's excitement

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The sun seemed to be shining brighter than usual on Saturday morning. The sky was blue and a yellow glow was cast down over Leslie's street, seeping in through her window so that when she awoke beside her sleeping sister, the irritation at having to get out of bed was somewhat ameliorated by the fact that it was bright. It felt like summer, with a slightly more chilly breeze, and for once she had woken up on a Saturday without having to rely on her it-really-is-too-late alarm that went off at eleven. 

Instead, it was quarter past eight and she was on the phone to her mother as she wandered round the kitchen, halfway through making a bowl of cereal before she realised that there was no milk. 

"Yes, Clo's fine," she said, rolling her eyes at her mother's fussing. "She's staying with me." 

"Can I speak to her?" 

"Mum, it's eight o'clock on a Saturday. She's flat out. I'll get her to ring you back." 

"Oh, ok," her mother said. "Thank you, Les. And again, I'm so sorry I forgot to mention we were going away. Clo said she was fine so it slipped my mind." 

"Don't mention it, Mum, I don't mind," Leslie said, searching through the freezer just in case she had left some milk in there. None. It would have to be dry cereal or toast. Neither were particularly appealing. "Pop over when you're back, will you?" 

"Absolutely, of course. Anyway, have a nice weekend, darling." 

"You too, Mum. Send my love to Dad." 

"Will do. Look after Cloe, won't you?" 

"Like she's my own," Leslie said, the answer her mother always wanted. 

"That's my girl." 

The search for milk resumed, but the fridge was entirely dairy free with the cheese and butter on the counter, and the freezer seemed to only contain fish fingers and chips. In her search, Leslie managed to pull out one of the drawers, dropping it on her foot and shouting a string of expletives. 

"What on earth is going on in here?" Cloe asked, rubbing her eyes in the bedroom doorway. 

"Dropped the fucking freezer thing on my toe." Leslie groaned and held her foot, rubbing her big toe. 

"Oh, thank God. I thought Greg had come over for take two." 

"God, no. Not with you in the house. In the bed, even." 

"Ok, enough," Cloe said with a grimace. "What's for breakfast?" 

"Uh, anything that doesn't need milk." 

"So no cereal?" 


"And no tea?" She looked crestfallen. Tea was a big part of Cloe's morning ritual, a sweet mug every morning with a bowl of cornflakes and a slice of toast and jam. 

"I'm afraid not." 

"Have you got any powdered milk?" 

"I have Coffee Mate," Leslie said, taking out a tub of powdered coffee creamer. 

"That'll do." Cloe took it from her, tipping a few spoonfuls into a jug and filling it with water, mixing it to create an odd-coloured liquid. "Instant milk." 

"That looks disgusting," Leslie said, staring as Cloe poured it over a bowl of cereal and began to chow down. "What does it taste like?" 

"Just ... watery milk. I've done it before when Mum was sick and I didn't have any milk. She didn't seem to notice the difference." 

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