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CHAPTER 4 – School, Clashes, and a Gathering.
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On Friday it was arranged that Hugh and Tyrentia would catch the bus from school to the Redcorn home, where Raine and her parents would join them for supper after Donald got home from work.
After Hugh had let them in and they had freshened up, Hugh checked that the housekeeper had everything under control for the evening, and then Tyrentia demanded, ‘You’d better show me over the place. It looks as though it will probably become my home, too, unless my mother starts seeing some sense.’
Hugh bristled. ‘What’s wrong with my Dad?’
‘He’s a man; **** useless, nasty creatures, all of them,’ she snapped.
Hugh lost his temper. It was something he hardly ever did, and not at all when he had been on meds, but he made up for it now by doing a thorough job. ‘One of the things that nasty, useless creature did for me,’ he raged, ‘was to show me that swearing is a nasty useless habit which shows neglect of imagination and of being too lazy to look for decent words. It’s one of those nasty useless things people do to be different and daring, but which makes them all the same and pathetic. So get this: either you give it up or I’m giving up having anything to do with you. Otherwise I’d be doing some different giving: giving you a good spanking! Trouble is, my nasty useless Dad thinks that’s wrong, too.’ White and shaking, he spun on his heel and stormed off.
Some fifteen minutes later she found him, still in school uniform, crouched down looking beneath a group of petunias, where a group of Greenies were flocked round a Shiny and doing something he couldn’t quite make out. ‘Isn’t it funny the way they often show no signs of knowing they’re being watched, even close up like that?’ she said, in a voice which was trying to be casual but had a slight wobble in it.
Hugh didn’t even look up at her.
She took a deep breath. ‘OK; deal. I’ll stop it with the language if you’re stupid enough to feel that way about it. I bet I make a better job of stopping than you are of not showing that you see what you’re seeing. Now, will you show me round?’
Sighing, Hugh got to his feet. He supposed that was as close to an apology as Tyrentia was ever likely to get, and at least she had shown some manners in not having wandered all over the place on her own as he might have expected her to do.
‘You’ve seen most of the front parts, but there is still what we call the library. It’s more of a study, really, but it does have a lot of bookshelves. Through here.’ She spent some time in looking at the books, and they found that they had some favourite writers in common. Then he showed her the three bedrooms, and two extra junk rooms which could also become bedrooms in need. ‘We’ve certainly got lots of space, ‘ he said. ‘This place was built when people used to entertain a lot of guests, or maybe they just had very big families.’
Next he took her to the change rooms next to the swimming pool, and then the workshop adjoining the garage where he kept his collection of tools. Her eyes went to his mountain bike on a rack, and a tone of more enthusiasm than he had ever heard from her came into her voice. ‘Hey,’ she said, ‘that looks like the same model as mine. Three-chainring; eight-sprocket, giving about eighteen distinct gear ratios, right? No, wait, you’ve also got the fourth oversize chainring for doing the suicide thing downhill! Exactly the same!’
Hugh was amazed. ‘Yours is upcountry?’ he asked. ‘How soon could you get it here?’
‘As a matter of fact,’ she said, ‘it is right here already, in Granddad’s garage. It just wasn’t safe to ride it where we’ve been staying after … lately, so we sent it here. I’ve ridden it quite a lot on visits, since.’
‘Why do I get the feeling some cycling is on the cards?’ Hugh laughed. ‘Have you been along Durban Beachfront to the Stadium? Or, on the trail through …?’
‘Does the garden end down there, below the pool?’ Tyrentia broke in suddenly.
‘No; beyond those shrubs is the wild part leading down to a little stream. Why?’
‘Let’s go down there. Look,’ and she pointed.
‘That certainly is an unusually large group of them,’ Hugh said wonderingly. What can so many be doing there together?’
‘Can’t you see?’ Tyrentia said impatiently. ‘They’re all beckoning – to us!’
© Colonialist July 2013 (WordPress)
(To be continued with Chapter 5 (i)