Taye smiled as she watched Neo stumble in through the front door. Only 12 already he’s started working at the lake house for his uncle. They had never pushed him into working it was something he’d chosen to do.
Heading towards her he smiled exhausted and pushed a penny into her hand. “Neo I’ve told you well enough, to keep yer money” she protested knowing full well it would do no good. Forrest said he was suborn like his mother but for every tupance he earned he gave a penny to her and when she didn’t accept it he just spent it on food for the cupboards or gifts for the younger ones.
He was a fine lad, she decided her heart swelling with pride a hard worker that would one day make a girl a fine husband.
“What are you doing with it all anyways” she asked, “I never see you spend a penny”
Neo grinned, “None of your nose ma”
“That is all you ever say!” she huffed, “You must be saving for something, so why don’t you put your poor old mother out of her misery and tell her what? Is it a girl?”
“No!” he exclaimed, blushing vigorously whenever girls where mentioned, he was old enough now to appreciate them but she suspect too shy to chase them and for that she was very grateful.
“I dunno ma, nothing special”
“Nothing Special… other boys find plenty of things to waste money on. You however just squirrel it away like there’s going to be a famine tomorrow”
“It’s nothing ma!” he insisted, beginning to get defensive.
Deciding not to push it, she chuckled and let him go watching him disappear up the stairs. Turning to Fendrel who sat happily in his chair chewing on a piece of sour bread. “What is your brother upto” she grinned, “He’s far too secretive these days”
“Who is?” Forrest asked walking into the kitchen.
“Neo” she smiled “Do you know what he’s working for? He works every hour he’s not in school… comes home exhausted and disappears off to bed.
“Perhaps he just likes it at the lakehouse” he suggested.
“It’s more than that” she reasoned, “We pay for that fancy school and im worried he’ll let his grades slip besides he always complained about the smell”
“Do you think he’s upto something wrong?”
“No of course not, I just know he’s upto something and it’s a mothers job to wonder what”
“What you mean is, not knowing is killing you” Forrest chuckled.
“You make me sound like my mother!”
Forrest chuckled. “I wouldn’t dare”
“MA MA MA!!!” came the sudden cry as the door to the house came flying open and Clara came tearing in.
The brief panic was suddenly, dismissed as she realised Clara wasn’t hurt but instead had a smile on her face that ran from ear to ear.
“What is it?” she demanded “and what have I told you about coming home after dark”
“Awww MA!” Clara protested “IT AINT THAT DARK”
“Jeeze Clara” Forest complained, “You don’t have to shout”
“Sorry pa” she apologised quickly “But look, I found it out by the river can I keep it?” she giggled.
Taya peered into her daughters out stretched hands to find a small baby mouse. “Heaven forbid child, no you can’t”
“But Ma!” Clara protested “It’s mommy doesn’t want it and It might die”
“Mice aren’t clean” she instructed, “It’s hard enough trying to keep the damn things out of the grain sacks”
“Pleeese ma” she begged her bottom lip beginning to wobble.
“Take it outside and set it down”
“Ma it will die” Clara sobbed, “please it’s just a baby”
“Oh Forrest you deal with her” she decided, picking Fendral up out of his chair grubby fingers and all.
“Clara, mice really aren’t pets” Forrest agreed, kneeling down and scooping up the mouse out of his daughters hands.
“but pa…” she whined.
“but perhaps we could make it a little cage” he grinned.
“Yay!” Clara bounced her tears vanishing almost immediately.
“Forrest” Taye snapped, “I said deal with it”
“I did” he grinned back his replied, Taye shook her head he always was the soft touch.