He smiled broadly at me. “I had the time and I thought I’d stop by and see what you’ve done. Pretty impressive. Your dad would be happy.”
“Thanks,” that was the best compliment in the world. As I came around and into the kitchen I nodded to my brother. “Since Andrew and Kent moved in, things have been progressing quickly.”
Andrew chuckled. “We’re making do with what we’ve got. Now we have to focus on getting a working bathroom before we have to move back in with mum.”
Doug laughed also. “Like she would complain.”
I shared a look with Andrew. There had always been a little something sweet between Doug and my mum, nothing had ever come of it, but it was there. And I was exploiting it to get my plumbing done. Greatest daughter in the world.
“I had a quick look at your handy work, young lady. Not bad. Are you sure you still don’t want an apprenticeship?”
Maybe. Fuck it, plumbers were getting paid more than I was shuffling paperwork in an office. “Don’t tempt me.”
“How can you take on another apprentice, when you have your nephew?” Kent ducked his head through the back door.
Doug shrugged. “Why are you working in a bakery when you have the skills to go into any job on a building site.”
“Touché.” Kent disappeared.
I inhaled deeply. “Has Andrew shown you what has to be done?”
“Sure has. Sink here with a breather on the outside wall, to be done once the cladding has been replaced. A new laundry, once the extension has been built. And the copper in the bathroom. Oh, and I’ve patched your work into the sewer pipe so you didn’t have to.”
I wanted to hug him.
“Knock knock.” Mum came through the back door and stopped. “What happened to the house?”
“What do you mean?” I looked around. Everything was fine structurally, the open plan for the lounge, dining, and kitchen and no hallway anymore was going to be amazing (going to be), and it would take only a week once the electrician had been to do the walls.
“I thought you were going slow.” She marched through the site with practiced ease, her purse clutched tight to her chest. When she came to the bathroom, she screamed. “That’s it, young lady. Pack your bags, you’re going home with me. You too Andrew. This is not a place you can live in.”
“Mum, it’s fine.”
“No. This is barbaric.”
I bristled. This was my home; I couldn’t abandon it just because it didn’t have comforts. “It’s temporary.”
“For how long?”
“Until the job is finished. What’s with the inquisition?” Fuck. I fucking didn’t need this at all.
Mum straightened her shoulders. “I am your mother and I am worried. Come home for a week to live while the bathroom is getting done. How are you showing up for work without a shower in the morning?”
Andrew stepped in between us. “Mum, how about I show you and Doug where our extension will be and how it’s going to…” The went out the back door, leaving me alone.
Fuck me. I was trying my hardest and sacrificing everything I could so I could have a nice home at the end. Why did everyone try to push me to do things they thought was best? Andrew and Kent wanted to power through the renovations, which meant I had to fork out more money than I expected to keep up. Mum wanted us to move back in with her, which meant that I wouldn’t be near my house at all.
“Hey,” Kent slipped in and waved his hand in front of my face. “Earth to Lori.”
I swiped his hand out of the way. Now? My hormones decide to settle down now, after my flash in the pants moment last night with a stranger? “What?”
“A week with running water and a toilet would be nice. We go there for only a week, get this place smashed with the basics and then come back.”
“Not you too.” I groaned.
Andrew came back in. “Lori, mum makes a good point. It might be better for everyone if we go.”
“You’re leaving? But you have the caravan.”
Andrew shook his head. “No, we as a group are going. Then we’re all coming back once it’s safe to do so. Actually this would be a good time to get the extension built at the same time.”
I cringed. Oh, my bank account was going to disappear again if I had to buy the tin for the roof right away. Kent hadn’t mentioned any spare sheets from his dad.
“We’ll flip it.” Kent dug out a coin from his pocket. “Heads we go, because that’s logical. Tails we stay, because we’re assholes who say no to nice old ladies.”
The three of us standing around in the bare kitchen watched this coin leap into the air, tumble and race back down to the floor. It smacked the floor.
“Pack your bags,” Kent clapped his hands together and rubbed them enthusiastically. “We’re moving out.”
“I’ll tell mum and the girls,” Andrew grinned and disappeared back out the door.
I stared at the coin. “Fuck.”
“What’s so wrong with it?”
“I’m going to be working every weekday to make the money for renovations I’m not going to have a part in or see in the process when I come home. This really isn’t how I fucking wanted to go.”
Kent bumped his shoulder into mine. “Stop complaining and get on with it.”
Get on with it. “You’re right. And since you’re right we’re getting on with it right now and going to start that extension.”
“What the fuck?” he gaped.
“Come on,” I grinned and pulled him outside. “While I help Doug do the plumbing, you and Andrew can get started with digging holes for the piers.” I could push it as far as I could with what I had, nothing else. The roof would have to wait and be bodged up when we got to it.