'Mum,' Amelia dashed into the kitchen, 'I just had a text from Ami - she can come as well!'
'That's nice, sweetie.' Annette said absently, moving around the small table, laying out breakfast bowls and utensils. 'Could you let your dad know that breakfast won't be long please?'
'Sure.' Amelia reversed her course, and thrust her head through the doorway. 'Dad! Breakfast!'
Annette winced at the yell, and frowned. 'Such a lady,' she told her daughter. Amelia grinned, but didn't answer. 'So - when are they coming?'
'They're coming by train tomorrow - in the afternoon.' Amelia tone was suddenly beseeching. 'I told Ami that we would meet them at the station - is that okay?'
'Tomorrow?' Amelia nodded. 'But you only saw them a couple of days ago.'
'I miss them.' Amelia said, as that explained everything. 'Mum? Please?'
Annette sighed. 'Then, I suppose, it will just have to be, won't it?' Annette's voice was mock-stern. 'but, did it really have to be so soon? Your room's not really ready for visitors yet.'
'We'll be fine mum.' Amelia assured her, eager again. 'They're bringing sleeping bags, and we'll camp out.' She threw her arms around her mother in a hug. 'Thanks, mum - it's gonna be so much fun.' She squeezed, then released Annette. She looked up at her mother, as if to say something.
'Mum,' Annette glanced at her daughters face and paused. Amelia's excitement faded. Her suddenly still features had reddened slightly. 'Remember that talk we had, a while back, about..,' she waved her hands vaguely, around her midriff,' lady's things?'
For a moment, Annette was confused, wondering what Amelia was referring to. Then she recalled the conversation, and her puzzled look faded, to be replaced by one of understanding. 'Oh..,' her eyebrows rose a notch, 'you mean..?' she indicated her own stomach, then Amelia's.
Amelia nodded. 'Yeah.' She smiled, a little gingerly. 'Mum; my tummy really hurts. And..,' the blush deepened, her nose wrinkled in slight disgust, 'my sheets...'
'Ah.' Thoughts of breakfast were banished, as Annette knelt in front of her daughter. 'Sweetie,' she held out her arms, 'oh sweetheart; there's nothing to be ashamed of.' She crooned, stroking Amelia's long hair. 'And your tummy will only hurt for a little while; I promise.'
Amelia sniffed, fighting her tears. 'Is it like this every time, mummy? The hurt, I mean.'
Annette blinked; she couldn't remember the last time Amelia had called her, 'mummy.' She caressed her daughters cheek; soothing the heat. 'No, sweetie. Well; sometimes,' she corrected herself, 'but not often - and you get used to it - I promise.'
'Okay.' Amelia sniffed, and gave her mother a weak smile. 'Sorry about the sheets.'
'Nothing to be sorry for.' Annette pulled Amelia into a tight hug. After a few moments, they separated. 'Let's have some breakfast, then we'll go find you some new ones.' Annette cocked her head slightly. 'Your dad's coming; we'll talk about this some more later?'
'Sure.' Amelia disengaged herself from her mother's arms, and moved around the table. 'I'll help get breakfast ready.'
By the time Mathew appeared, disheveled and still more than half-asleep, both women were seated, and pulling toast from the rack.
'Morning,' Annette smiled fondly, 'and what time did you finish last night?'
Mathew summoned a weary wink for Amelia, as he kissed Annette's proffered cheek. 'Dunno,' he slid into his seat and reached for the coffee jug, 'sometime past three, I think.'
Annette looked concerned. 'You need to slow down a little,' she frowned. 'At this rate, you'll kill yourself well before you start the new job.'
'It's not that bad.' Mathew replied, through a mouthful of coffee and toast. 'I'm almost done. Anyway,' he added, 'the removal guys are here today, so I had to get what I could finished.'
'The flooring in the front room looks really nice.' Annette told him with a smile. 'You've done a great job in there.'
'Look better when there's furniture,' Mathew mumbled. 'I'll get your room finished today, princess.' He told Amelia.
'Great.' Amelia glanced towards her mother, 'Ami and Jo are coming tomorrow.' She told her father.
'Huh?' Mathew blinked. 'But didn't you-' He looked at Annette, who shrugged wordlessly. Amelia was waiting expectantly. 'Right,' he sighed, and smiled, 'I'll definitely make sure your room's ready.'
'Thanks dad.' Amelia resumed her breakfast with a grin.
Annette and Amelia were clearing the breakfast things by the time Mathew gulped down the last of his coffee and stood, pushing his chair back.
'Right,' he pressed his knuckles into the small of his back, and stretched, twisting. 'I suppose I'd better make a start.' He looked at Annette. 'Any plans for today?'
'Apart from keeping you supplied with coffee?'
Mathew barked a laugh, 'yeah; apart from that.'
'Well, I'll need to get to the shops; I have some extra mouths to feed, it seems.' Amelia pretended to be suddenly too busy to catch the pointed look thrown in her direction. 'Then, I thought I might spend an hour or so in the garden.' She nodded towards the wildness of the garden, through the cracked, but freshly cleaned kitchen window. 'I seem to recall that there was a shed, or something like it, somewhere at the bottom of the garden. I thought I might hire some Sherpa's and mount an expedition; see if I can find it.'
'If you're not back by dinner, shall I alert the emergency services?' Mathew suggested with a grin.
Annett's smile matched his. 'Just the police,' she told him, 'I doubt that there'd be much left to recover. There are probably lost tribes of cannibalistic pygmies out there.'
'What does cannibalistic mean?'
Amelia's question reminded both of them of the girl's presence. Annette and Mathew stared for a second, before they both broke into helpless laughter.
'What?' Amelia frowned.
'I'll tell you later, sweetie.' Annette laughed. 'Let's go sort out your sheets, while I'm thinking about it. I'll tell you about that later as well,' she said to Mathew, who looked suddenly puzzled. She turned back to Amelia. 'Then you and I can go shopping.'
'Kay.' The girl finished stacking dishes, and disappeared upstairs. Annette waited a moment, for the sound of her daughter's footstep's to fade, then told her husband about the mornings events.
'Her period?' Mathew queried, when she had finished, 'that's a little early, isn't it?'
Annette shrugged. 'Maybe; I'm not sure. I think I was maybe about her age, maybe even younger, when I began.'
'Wow,' Mathew whistled, 'but-,' he stopped, then began again, 'my little girl.., wow.'
'Try not to think about it too much, love.' Annette advised, smiling. 'It'll only give you a headache.'
Mathew grimaced. 'Thanks. I think I'll just go do some painting.'
'Probably safer.' Annette agreed, leaning, and placing a kiss upon her husband's brow. 'I'll help Amelia sort the sheets out.'