I looked up from my bowl of cereal and smiled at the family.
Don’t grimace. This is for the best.
According to whom?
“I’m going to stop by the house this afternoon.” I said.
Andrew yawned. “You don’t have to do that; I’m going to be there all day watching the electrician. And when Kent gets off work he’s going to help stand the frames up. Have you ordered the roof yet?”
I swallowed. “I haven’t ordered anything yet.”
Jeez, my financial situation was well known in our family, surely I didn’t have to announce it yet again over breakfast? No, of course I must. “I can’t afford it. We’ll have to make do with what we have on hand.”
“But we need a roof on that back area.”
Fuck off, brother. “I know.”
“Do you need money?” Mum was dressed in her dressing gown. “I can give you a loan if that helps.”
For fuck sake! “No, I’m fine. I just need to move at a rate that my bank account can keep up with.” Please, back the fuck up.
“Well, you could always ask for some left over stuff. I’m sure that one of your father’s old friends would let you take it.”
Andrew clapped his hands together. “Perfect. If you call around today and find some, me and Kent will pick it up and put it on the extension. And once you have the money we can order the whole new roof.”
No shit Sherlock. “I’ll do the ring around during my lunch break.” And I left it at that.
This was annoying. But I was grateful to have a complete bathroom to use. And slightly impressed at how quick we had progressed over the weekend. Doug had the plumbing done for the kitchen, the bathroom, laundry, and for an extra toilet in the laundry. We had hooked in to get the piers in and the beams and joists for the floor so we now knew where the extension sat exactly.
Today, the electrician would arrive to do his re-wiring of the place.
At lunch I called everyone of dad’s old mates and found that they had something lying around the sheds but not enough to do the job, unless I sent the boys to every single one and we had a patchwork roof. That gave me a slight feeling of guilt, having to send them off on a wild goose chase for one sheet here and another sheet of tin over there.
Maybe I should go with them and help out.
It would be better if I had two utes.
Or just a trailer for the back of my car.
I smiled and texted my brothers. To Shane I asked for the loan of his ute and for his trailer. Quickly he replied saying I could.
Hmm, that was a little too fast. Why was he being so nice?
I texted Andrew and he was happy to spread the work load.
After work, I headed straight for Shane’s house and snagged the trailer just as Andrew pulled up for the ute. “Hey, did you really find tin all over town?”
“Yep. Prepare for a round trip.”
Shane passed Andrew a can of beer. “You know, sis, I am shocked that you didn’t let me do the plumbing in your home. Shocked and hurt.”
I rolled my eyes. “I wanted to go outside the family.”
“But I would’ve done it for free,” he said in his serious tone this time.
And he would’ve.
And I would’ve felt like I was using someone again. The memory of Kent asking for money still stung. Doing that to yet another family member was not a good thing. “Come on, we’re burning sunlight. I’ll go out to the east side of town, Andrew, you go west.”
Just as I was turning around to head back to my car, something caught my eye in the garage. Actually, someone. Someone female.
I stopped and looked closer. “Shane, there’s a girl in your garage.”
He fucking blushed.
Oh my god. My brother had a girlfriend. “Who is she?”
“Cora.” He forced the one word out of his mouth and then clamped his lips together.
I then ignored him. “Hi.” I called out and started to the garage before she could slip back into the house through the side door. “I’m Lori, Shane’s sister.”
The girl was real pretty, but she blinked at me a little vague. Okay, explains why she’s with my brother. “Hi.” Her eyes flickered to the space over my shoulder.
And I knew my brothers would be right behind me and she would be looking to Shane for some sort of guidance to how to respond.
Quickly, my brother came around and stood beside his new girlfriend. “Cora, this is Andrew, my brother.”
We fell into an awkward silence. What was going on? How could this be happening? My brother had a girlfriend and she was someone who didn’t say much more than “hi”? Great.
“So, when are you going to…” I started.
“You should get going,” Shane interrupted and shot me a look to shut up.
This time, which was rare, I nodded my head and said, “Bye, nice to meet you.” On my way I snatched Andrew’s sleeve and dragged him along back to the cars. “What the fuck?” I whispered.
He chuckled. “I think he’s got a lady friend.”
“And if he hasn’t told mum about it, he’s going to get into so much trouble.”
“I know,” he grinned and got into the ute.