Copyright© 2010 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
I gathered the children together, excluding Tom and Stella at this point. I explained what had happened, that I’d been nominated for a very important job which Gramps and Simon would want me to take, and probably Stella, too. Certainly, Gareth Sage had said so.
The problem was, I would be more busy than I am normally am, and would need their cooperation to be able to do it. I’d also need to employ someone to help.
“Why can’t Julie do it?” asked Livvie.
“Perhaps you’d like to answer that, Julie?” As she still didn’t do as much as she’s supposed to, I thought I’d see if the youngsters would possibly prick her conscience—although most teens are psychopaths, having little or no conscience, unless they are working on yours.
“I’m doin’ the salon on Fridays and Saturdays, an’ things.”
“What about, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays Thursdays and Sundays?” Livvie was obviously heading for the bar and continued grilling her witness.
“Well, I help then, don’t I?” Julie looked at me.
“Not as much as you could or even should.”
“Who are you thinking of getting in to help?” Trish entered the arena, if she mentions Kierkegaard, I’m outta here.
“I can’t tell you at the moment because I haven’t asked the person I have in mind.”
“Oh, who is it anyway?” asked Trish.
“I just told you, I can’t tell you, so stop trying to worm it out of me.”
“Is it—?” she continued.
“Trish, don’t keep on—guessing will get us nowhere, so just be patient,” and stop grilling me because you’re likely to work it out, little brainbox.
“Why is you gotta work extwa, Mummy?”
“The job is with the United Nations. Do you know what that is?”
They didn’t, so I explained about the inter-national aspect of the organisation and its responsibilities, most of which seem to be ignored by its member nations—otherwise things like Rwanda and Darfur wouldn’t happen. However appalling such massacres are, my professional interest was in conserving habitats and thus species. So what was good for certain plant species would enable various insects, birds, reptiles and mammals to flourish, and given that the Mammal Society has its offices down the road in Southampton, I suppose I have some incentive to do it to the best of my ability.
I actually had a half written article for them on the mammal survey, the Mammal Society, I mean; for their journal Mammal Review, which is a professional scientific journal on mammals, funnily enough. So it actually does what it says on the cover.
I talked to the children for about fifteen or so minutes, the boys seemed very quiet. I asked them if everything was okay? Billy avoided eye contact with me then began to sniff. I took him outside to try and find out what the problem was.
“You’re gonna get rid of us, aren’t you?”
“If I was, d’you think I’d be paying a solicitor lots of money to adopt you?”
“You said that ages ago.”
“I asked you to be patient, it takes a long time—because we don’t want anything to stop us when the application goes ahead. That bit doesn’t take so long but the solicitor feeling the way and building up a background case can—and is. It took ages for the girls to be adopted and two of them had virtually been suggested by their parents.”
“I thought you was going to be too busy for me an’ Danny. You prefer girls don’tcha?”
“No I don’t. If I hadn’t wanted you to stay here as my children, I’d have sent you back to the home a long time ago. I love both you and Danny very much—just as much as I love the girls.”
“So we don’t have to turn into girls then?”
“Turn into girls?” What was going through his little mind?
“Yeah, Trish an’ Julie used to be boys, me an’ Danny wondered if ‘cos you weren’t turnin’ us into girls, whether you was gonna get rid of us?”
“Wait here.” I went and fetched Danny. “Now what is this about you thinking I turn boys into girls?”
Danny blushed and looked daggers at Billy—“You stupid nit, now she’ll get rid of us.”
“And why would I do that?”
“Because we know what you wanna do.”
“Do you really believe that?” I felt gutted—had I really given that impression to the two boys.
They both nodded.
I felt tears welling up, and couldn’t stop them dribbling down my face.
“Ya stupid git, now you’ve made her cry,” Billy berated his ‘brother’.
“Please, no squabbling.” I couldn’t have stood it—this bombshell completely blew me away. I thought we’d sorted this so long ago—obviously we hadn’t, least not to their understanding.
“Don’t cry, Mummy.” Billy put his arm around me and I felt his body jerk as he tried to hit Danny.
I cuddled them both, “I seem to have failed you both, I’m sorry.”
“No you ‘aven’t, we jus’ don’t wanna be girls, least I don’t, dunno about ‘im,” Billy tormented Danny.
“I don’t wanna be a flippin’ girl, do I, pig breath?”
“Boys please—I don’t want either of you to be girls.”
“You don’t?” they both squeaked.
“No, I thought that was clear from the beginning. I took you on as a favour to the home. So then you were only temporary residents here. They knew you were better off here than in a home, so they conned me into keeping you.” I felt them both droop a little. “However, seeing as you both seemed happy and the girls were happy for you to stay, I negotiated with the home and here you are.
“I haven’t tried to turn anybody into anything they didn’t want to be, Trish and Julie were both wanting to be girls for a long time before I ever met them. All I and the other adults here have done, is to help them be what they wanted. We’ve treated them like girls and allowed them to try living as their preferred gender. So far they seem to be better off than they were.
“In lots of ways having you here as boys has been helpful to them because they’ve learned not all boys want to beat them up, and in fact some boys are really quite nice. I watched you all knit together as a family, as brothers and sisters and I thought all that was sorted. After we got the girls adopted, I asked the solicitor to start doing the preliminaries to try and adopt you two as well. If you remember, I did ask you if you still wanted it. I take it you do, but that is as my sons—I have enough daughters. Having said that, and I’m saying this for completeness, so it isn’t a suggestion or anything else; if you did have some problem of gender or sexuality, then I hope we could accommodate it and help you to grow as a person. I take it at the moment you don’t?”
“No,” they both said in between sniffs.
“You’re really gonna adopt us?” asked Danny.
“I’m trying my best to do that, yes.”
“So you don’t wanna get rid of us?”
“No, most definitely not. I want you to stay as my sons, and I apologise if I ever gave you any other indications. I like having boys here as well as girls, and I know Gramps and Simon do, too.”
“I like Gramps and Daddy,” Billy sniffed.
“I like Mummy, too,” asserted Danny.
“Yeah, an’ me.”
“Right, dry your eyes and come back into the room with the others. I won’t say anything to them about this, whether or not you two do, is entirely up to you, but I hope you now realise that you are loved here and very much wanted—and as yourselves, two boys.”
They both wiped their eyes and holding my hand we went back into speak with the rest of the family about my impending job change.
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