I cringed at mum’s tone. She was right to be confused. “Yes, I think.”
Mum frowned and folded her arms as she watched me slip more clothes into a suitcase. A single suitcase was all I was taking with only enough clothes for the summer season. “Lori,” she began.
“I know, I know. But I don’t want to take everything I own down there right this moment, I need to rip the place apart.”
“Then why not just stay here?”
Hmm, good question. It would mean that I could sleep comfortably, have running water and a toilet that wasn’t pink, and a modern and functioning kitchen. However, “There will be power tools left on site and I don’t want to run the risk of one weekend having punk kids breaking in and wrecking everything.” There, all packed. I zipped up the suitcase and hauled it off of my bed walking it out to the hallway.
“Anyway mum, I’m not leaving that much stuff behind.” Which was true. Only the furniture in my old bedroom would be coming with me once the house was ready. After that I would have to save up to buy a lounge, dining table, and various kitchen stuff.
“That isn’t why I’m worried.”
I didn’t have to turn around and see her to know that she was sad. The last of her children to fly away, didn’t matter it was only three streets away and I would be back home every other day to see mum. I forced a smile and said cheerfully, “It will be fine, mum. The first few months will be the busiest as I’m ripping things down and rebuilding and having trades in to do the work I’m not able to. After that, I can plod along doing the smaller stuff.”
At the front door I finally turned and showed mum my grin. Don’t let it fall, please. I need mum to believe that I am not scarred to be leaving home and living alone. I need her not to worry that I was going to be lonely or scarred as I rattled around in a house with no other human beings inside it.
The door swung open behind me and smacked into my spine. “Hey! What the fuck did you do that for?” I screeched.
“Oh, haven’t you moved out yet?” Shane stepped into the house and held the door wide open. “Hurry up, little sister.”
I glared at him.
Mum sighed. “And this is the reason why I was looking forward to having my children all out of the house; no more bickering or swearing.”
“Sorry mum,” Shane bumped me out of the way with his shoulder and went over to mum to give her a kiss on the cheek. “Swearing is a hazard of the job.”
“At least it is in my profession, what’s your excuse Lori?”
“I have annoying brothers.” I snapped. Lifting the suitcase up again I stepped backwards through the open doorway. “Anyway, I’m just going to go home and get to work on the house.”
Don’t look at mum, don’t look at mum. Shit, I just did. Just don’t break the smile and get out. If she sees me wobble she will worry and then everything will become a huge fucking mess. Ahhh.
Shane reached out and grabbed the door. “Don’t come back,” he said as he slammed the door.
I blinked. What. The. Fuck? Did my brother slam the door on me? “Asshole!” I yelled back and could hear the cackle in response followed by mum’s words of telling him to shut up.
The door opened again and this time mum was stepping through. Without waiting she wrapped her arms around me and gripped me tight. “You’re not fooling me, Lori. Just know that you can come home at any time,” she whispered into my ear.
And then relaxed.
Everything was going to be fine. “I love you mum.”
“I love you too, sweetheart.”
“But I’ll always be her favourite,” Shane taunted.
I glared at him over mum’s shoulder.
She chuckled. “I love all of my children equally. Though, if you don’t help each other out,” she released me and turned her gaze to my brother. “I think my love for you will diminish.”
“Huh?” He finally lost his shit eating grin.
And I felt amazing. Keep going mum, guilt him into replacing my pink toilet. Why pay for a plumber when there is one already in the family?
“You heard me Shane.” Back to me mum gave me her boss look. “I expect you home for dinner more than once a week young lady.”
I had to bite my tongue. Shane may think he was the favourite child, but it was so damn clear that I was. No one else received the same order when they had been standing where I was; they were all told to call in once a week. Suckers. “Yes mum.”
And with that I lugged my suitcase up the driveway to my car and jumped in. The excitement was back and there was a great deal of satisfaction. I was really doing it. Purchasing the house was one thing, packing up stuff and moving into it was something else. Ripping out that damn toilet and having my brother replace it was going to be very sweet.
All I need now is for mum to hassle my other brothers into helping me for free and I will be living in a palace in no time.
Thinking I was being clever I jabbed the key into the ignition and started the car. That’s when I realised what I was doing by driving away. “Fuck!” I was leaving my bed behind. That night, I would have nothing to sleep on other than carpet. “How the fuck could I be so stupid to think that taking one fucking suitcase of clothes was all I was going to need?” Biting hard on my lip I considered going back into the house and telling mum that I would have to take the bed with me.
But Shane was there and I had only just won because mum had ordered him to help me out. No way was I using that favour up on him moving my bed in the back of his ute.
“Then what the fuck am I going to sleep on?” I groaned and face planted on the steering wheel.