Easter Blossoms In Oasis Springs As The De Luca Family Celebrate This Wonderful Spring Holiday!
Spring, Year 3
“Aren’t you three supposed to be going to school?” Marie called from the kitchen. She could hear her youngest three giggling in the hallway.
“We’re going, we’re going!” Tara called back. “Alex and Che are my bodyguards!”
“Bodyguards?” Marie laughed. “Are you expecting trouble?”
“No more than usual!” Alex shot back. The three children grinned and clattered noisily out of the front door.
With everyone out of the house, Riccardo relished the peace. He worked a few hours very early in the morning in the coffee shop and the house usually fell silent shortly after he returned. He lounged in his bedroom and played with Basil, the hamster he and Emilio shared. Basil knew all of Riccardo’s secrets and probably more than a few of Emilio’s, too. He was that kind of pet and friend.
Riccardo sighed. He was feeling a bit low and had been for some time. All the people he’d been at school with were graduating university this summer and he’d been on a gap year for the last three years. It was time he did something about it.
Riccardo shared his melancholy thoughts with Emilio when his younger brother returned from school. Emilio had had a pretty lousy day and the two brothers were close.
“Have you chatted to Andrea and Jared?” Emilio asked.
“Yeah, I have. I had dinner with them a couple of weeks ago.” Riccardo answered. “Andrea was thinking about Biology. See, she works for a conservation group in Sulani and she said there’s plenty of opportunities for a Marine Biologist. If I could get into the Biology course at Foxbury, I could do really well.”
“So what’s stopping you?” Emilio asked. “It sounds like you’ve got that part sorted. Why not just get the application in?”
Good question. Riccardo stopped for a moment and frowned. “I think it’ll be weird.”
Emilio laughed. “Why would it be weird? Because the other students will be younger than you? So what? You finally know what you really want to do. There’s no set age to suss that out, Ricky. It’s different for everyone.”
Easter Saturday arrived. Magnus set the breakfast table ready for the family. He was quite proud of himself; he’d remembered everyone’s favourite toast toppings without needing to be reminded by Marie. The table decorations Marie had put out last night were looking wonderful and the fresh smell of flowers took over his senses. It was already shaping up to be a bright and beautiful day.
After breakfast, Tara went out into the garden with Alex and Che to search for hidden eggs. Magnus had insisted there were plenty hidden in the garden.
When the Flower Bunny arrived at the house, Tara in particular went into overdrive. She loved rabbits and flowers and this particular house guest combined them both. Marie was particularly pleased with the flowers left behind as a present; she’d been wanting to take up flower arranging for quite a while!
“What’s the matter with you two today?” The day after Easter was off to a poor start. Marie had found Alex pouring paint inexplicably over the kitchen floor and Tara had come downstairs dressed as a bright red bear. “Alex, you stay right there until I tell you to move. I don’t want backchat, I want you to sit silently. Tara, get that costume off. You’re eleven years old. Santa Maria, what is the matter today?”
“I’m a Strawberry Bear!” Tara exclaimed, her voice muffled inside her costume. “I’m going to cheer people up!”
“You’re not coming to the park dressed like that,” Marie warned. “You take the costume off first, or you don’t come.”
Meanwhile, Riccardo was in Windenburg at the café, meeting Jared and Andrea for coffee.
“I really wouldn’t worry about it, Ricky.” Jared said as he pulled up a chair beside his brother. “Lots of people start University later. Nobody’s going to think you’re lazy.”
“Not everyone knows what they want to do by the age of 18, Riccardo.” Andrea added. “For some people, they don’t find out until much later. Some are older than you.”
Riccardo nodded. “Thanks, guys. I’m just so nervous. What if Foxbury won’t take me?”
“Then apply for Britechester. The distinguished degree is at Foxbury but UBrite run just as good a course. If Foxbury won’t accept you, then UBrite are bound to.” Jared replied. “Just send an application to both and see what happens!”
Emilio watched his youngest brother kicking the football. “You’re getting good at this,” he said. The family had gone to The People’s Park in Brindleton Bay. The weather wasn’t anywhere near as good as Oasis Springs but beggers couldn’t be choosers.
Che blushed and grinned self consciously. “Thanks. I’ve been practicing at home.”
Che was by far the quietest of the family and Emilio smiled to see his youngest brother having some fun.
Later, Emilio went over to the basketball hoops to practice some shots and generally show off a bit.
“You’re good,” said a voice behind him. He looked round to see a pretty red-head watching him from the side of the court. “Thank you. And you are?”
“Lilly. Lilly Head.” The girl smiled. “You?”
“Emilio De Luca.” Emilio came over to sit with Lilly. “You like basketball?”
Lilly shrugged. “I’ve never really played before.”
“Well, I’m just shooting some hoops. You want to try?”
Giggling, Lilly stood up. “Why not?”
Watching her walk towards the court, Emilio lost the power of speech.