Officer Ryan Valentine Spends Time With Family During Rare Day Off From Duty!
Autumn, Year 3
Ryan was grumpy. He never liked going back home to visit family if he could help it. Being summoned back by his father was even worse. He was a grown adult and a high ranking officer in the military – he shouldn’t have to still be at his father’s beck and call. Yet he found himself shrugging on his jacket to go over to Brindleton Bay to visit his family.
“Anybody home?” He called as he pushed the door open. Stepping into the hallway, he looked around and smiled in spite of himself. It didn’t really look all that different. A few more knick-knacks and a new rug but the hall still had the same familiar smell of the sea. “It’s me, Ryan!”
The house seemed eerily silent until Ryan remembered it was highly likely his siblings were all out. After all, it was William who wanted to see him.
“Ryan! I’m in the den!” Maggie called out when she heard her eldest son’s voice.
“Mum!” Ryan walked into the den and sat beside his mother. “Lovely to see you.”
“Lovely to see you too, Ryan. It’s been far too long!” She scolded. Maggie always wished her son wasn’t so distant.
Ryan smiled politely. “I get busy. So do you know what Dad wants?”
“Your Dad didn’t summon you, Ryan. He asked if you could find time to come round since Elliot will be leaving for University this weekend. It’s the last chance to get the family together.” Maggie sighed. “He does have a favour to ask you later, though.”
“Ryan! You old bastard, there you are! I’d nearly forgotten what you looked like!”
“Elliot.” Ryan stood up and walked into the kitchen, catching his brother in a rare hug. “You little arse, what have you been up to then?”
Maggie shook her head and smiled. She wished the boys weren’t so awful to each other but she supposed it was their way of saying ‘I Love You’.
There was something about hanging out with Elliot that brought out the teenager in Ryan. He had to admit he missed it and his brother. He’d been so busy forging his career, he’d neglected his family – much the way his father always had. It was a sobering thought.
“So what’s Foxbury like?” Elliot asked.
Ryan shrugged. “It wasn’t bad. I preferred Britechester but Foxbury was okay. I hear they’ve virtually rebuilt the commons over there.”
“Yeah, I was there a few weeks ago.” Elliot grinned. “It’s going to be so fun!”
“So where’s Dad?” Ryan asked. He’d been dragged back into the den by Elliot and found himself playing some mad game on the television with him. “Mum said he wanted to ask a favour.”
“Not sure. I think he went out for some air.” Elliot pounded the controls. “He said he wanted to speak to both of us.”
The front door slammed and footsteps could be heard in the hall. “I think The Beast has returned,” Elliot said mildly. He put his controller down. “Come on, might as well get it over with.”
“I’m glad I’ve got you both at last,” William began. The three men were sitting in the lounge and Ryan felt the dread knotting his stomach, the way it always used to. He thought he’d got over that but apparently not. “Ryan, I need to ask you a favour. Once Elliot goes to University, we’ll be changing his room into a room for the baby. So what I want to ask is if Elliot could move in with you?”
“What? Dad, my apartment only has one bedroom. I don’t have the space for another person!” Ryan stared at his father in disbelief.
William raised an eyebrow. “Ryan, it will only be during the holidays. Elliot will sort his own place out when he graduates.” He turned his eyes to his younger son. “Won’t you?”
Elliot gulped. “Yes, sir.” He said, quietly.
“Good.” William stood up. “That’s settled then.” He strode out of the room before either of his sons could object.
“Well!” Ryan blinked and shook his head. “You could have warned me.”
Elliot bit his lip. “It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I didn’t know they were turning my room into a room for the baby.”
“I didn’t know Mum was having a baby in the first place!” Ryan ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “Nobody tells me anything.”
Elliot chuckled. “You didn’t notice her bump? Berk.”
Ryan stuck his tongue out at his younger brother.
Thankfully, Ryan had a distraction waiting for him when he got back to the city. Hayley Bolton had recently moved into his neighbourhood. In spite of having been at University with her, Ryan had never taken too much notice of Hayley until she became famous. The fact that she’d chosen to move to the Arts Quarter was rather good and he’d fancied her for a while.
Lately though, they’d kicked things up a notch.
It was a lovely end to a stressful day. Ryan still couldn’t work out how he was going to accommodate his brother but he’d agreed with Elliot that he’d sort something out before Christmas. He just had no idea what.