Charlotte refused to play chess, hating how Eliza won every time; she slumped in the chair pouting; arms folded. The game finish with the younger sister swiping the pieces as Eliza reset them. She chose to play doctor; the spoilt brat routine Charlotte performed when losing was tiresome. Speaking of things boring her, the school offered a limited challenge, Eliza’s birthday was in a couple of months and the waiting, tough. Eliza had so many thoughts, Newcrest High could open doors, opportunities, potential careers she should consider. Her interest had flitted, musician, doctor, Eliza excelled in creative, social and mental subjects, the physical she lagged as her peers excelled; Emilie assured her it may change with time. It worried her, exercise, neither parent seemed keen, since having children, Emilie lost interest, no longer priding herself, or bothered to maintain her slender figure, as for Rylan, Eliza was certain he was allergic to the thought.
Some things Eliza knew she would miss; the pirate ship heralded the adventures for her Social Butterflies, leading their fight against the landowners laying claim on the oceans they protected. To Eliza and her friends, as pirates they fought against the simple thieving reputation, they kept the balance upon the high seas, with Robin Hood tendencies, she believed it made the game interesting, although it was good to play bad guys. The dreaded Kraken, their darkest foe, came to light when Aunt Eliza and Vicky came to visit, they took the role of the monster, of course, Charlotte insisted she was captain, but Eliza found the most fun was on the cannons, oversized bubble blowers. Emilie wished Eliza would enjoy being a child, a while longer, embrace the freedom, indulge imagination and innocence childhood afforded her, but after the visit to Newcrest High, Eliza was ready for the next step.
As a big sister, Eliza knew responsibility for her siblings was part of the gig, and something she took pride in. Charlotte had a stubborn streak, much like Rylan, it was difficult to help her, throwing a tantrum regardless, refusing to ask despite needing it. The shy boy routine Patrick had got old, without friendships to support him, she worried he would continue to stand in her shadow when he joined the high school. Eliza wanted to make him her second in command, push him to lead the Social Butterflies. Patrick shook his head, she grabbed his arm determined he would say “Hello”, she whispered instructions, Patrick cringed, staring at the ground he reiterated the plan for their Pirate game. He expected everyone to ignore him, but they cheered and ran to their positions, Eliza nudged him, next time he should shout.
Emilie showed a talent for programming, Ziva’s lessons paid dividends as she became a freelancer, she had regular clients and her pick of jobs. The extra work meant Aunt Vicky spent a couple of hours a week assisting the children with homework and cooking delicious meals. Patrick struggled, his parents and sisters were fine, although Charlotte could be annoying, he knew what to expect, Vicky’s visits were a revelation, she let him practice conversation, unjudged, and her critique positive. Emilie joined them for dinner, her son sat proud, his feet tapped nervous against the chair, his knuckles white as he clutched the cutlery; a whole sentence without stammering, he beamed, hoping no one expected anything else.