Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

The next day, Jordy wasn’t at dance practice, even the teacher, Miss Clark raised a dainty eyebrow, he had not missed a single lesson in the four years he had been there. Karen had to go with someone else and that was ok, she was put with Persephone who was really very nice but more than half her steps were out and unfortunately Deborah Clark noticed. After the dance class, Karen and Eva said to Holmes, the driver “To Ted Malpass’ house please”

“Right ‘o’ miss” replied Holmes with a nod of his head.

Five minutes later they arrived at the tiny cottage and saw a face at the window as Jordy looked to see who it was. Ted flung open the door with his usual hearty “Come on in misses” accompanied today with a small bow. Eva and Karen stepped over the ‘Welcome’ door mat and stopped. In the middle of the rug by the fireside sat Jordy with his arm stretched out to Lewis who was staring into the fire with an absent minded look of misery on his face. Ted whispered to the girls “His mother died this morning and he’s been sat here for four hours not moving, do you think you could try and comfort him?”

"Of course we’ll try Mr Malpass” Karen assured him. She perched herself on the armchair while Eva positioned herself between the fire and Lewis.

“Um, hey” Eva tried, no answer. She looked at his face, so full of pain and loss, gave up trying to talk to him and flung one of his arms around his shoulders, keeping one hand on the mat to stop her and Lewis toppling over!

Jordy reached out and patted Lewis on the knee and received a weak smile for his efforts. “I’ll go and get the bread out of the oven shall I?” asked Ted walking into the kitchen. Karen and Jordy followed him.

A silence followed, warmed only by the fire.

“I know what it feels like not to have any parents” ventured Eva.

“Yeah but your aunt and uncle were prepared to take you in”

“Lewis, you know Ted already thinks of you as a son and Karen and I would be more than pleased if you came to stay with us.”

“Really?”

“You didn’t know that?” questioned Eva.

“No” said Lewis hanging his head, “I didn’t”. This time, Eva put both her arms around Lewis and he hugged her back, then Eva stood, ruffled his hair and said “Let’s eat, I is starved!” Even Lewis managed a normal smile at that. “That’s not very ladylike English milady”.

Eva laughed and modestly said, “Well I’m not a lady am I,” but ruined the truthfulness of this statement, following it up with, ”but you don’t speak too badly.”

They walked into the kitchen just as Ted was setting the still steaming bread onto the well-worn, stained, oaken table. Karen, Ted and Jordy all looked up with worried expressions but relaxed when they saw that Lewis’ mouth was still in a half smile from Eva’s, not-even-very-funny joke. They all sat down and ate the squishy home baked bread, Ted occasionally shooting furtive glances at Lewis to see if he was ok. Eva suddenly remembered Holmes in the car outside and burst out “Oh gosh! I’m so sorry but we’ve got to go but the bread was lovely and we’ll see you soon. Byee”

They dropped Karen off and on the way back to Stonygates (Eva’s home) Eva briefed Holmes about Lewis and it was tipping it down by the time they got there. Eva jumped out and raced (which wasn’t easy in her long skirts!) to the front door which Emma, her nanny flung open with a flourish.

Handing her coat and gloves to Emma, Eva drooped up the stairs. She shoved open her bedroom door then as she slammed it behind her the wall shook. Eva shuffled over to her bed, slowly lay down and buried her face in her pillow and wept. It wasn’t for herself she was crying or even Lewis’ mother but his forlorn and grieving face popped up in her head again and her whole body shook. It was only about half an hour later when Eva had remembered her promise to Lewis that she dried her eyes. She was one of the few people who had the power to make Lewis feel better, to feel wanted.

At dinner that night, Eva decided to breach the subject of Lewis. “You know Lewis, Jordy’s friend....” she began

“You mean the one you keep talking about? Why yes, I believe I do!” answered Hannah, Eva’s aunt, teasing her.

"Yeah, well”

“Not yeah dear” interrupted Henry kindly.

“Yes, sorry, well, um his mum passed away and he’s really upset, understandably.”

“Oh, love, is he OK?” asked a concerned Hannah

“I think we cheered him up a little but he’s worried that no one wants him so I told him we’d be happy to have him here, would that be okay? It would only be for a few days and not for a little while but please?”

“We’ll talk about that later.” Said Henry sternly, but Eva recognised his tone of voice and thought she already knew the answer. She grinned her Cheshire cat grin across the dinner table at her aunt and uncle.

                        *                       *                       *

That evening, as Eva was getting ready for bed, Hannah walked into her room and eased the door shut behind her.”Eva dear” she began “your uncle and I have had a discussion your friend Lewis and we have decided that he can stay...” at this point, Eva flung her arms around her aunt “but there’s to be no funny business, do you understand?”

“Erm, no. What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.” Hannah remonstrated.

"Good gracious auntie Hannah! I’d never dream of it! He is a gentleman and will feel incredibly self conscious so make him feel welcome won’t you.”

“Goodnight Eva”

“Thank you Auntie Hannah, I love you”

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