The Surprise

Not All Surprises Are Nice Surprises…

Spring, Year 6
Bill is 51, Eve is 49, Cadmium is 19, Saffron is 18, Catarina is 18, Emilio is 18, Christopher is 18, Luca is 17, Indigo is 15, Rose is 10

Eve stood still in her workshop as she waited for the nausea to subside. She was guiltily aware of the cause and began to wonder if it was worth saying something to the rest of the family. They must have noticed her changing shape and moods lately.
Sighing heavily as the nausea eased, she turned and walked out of the shed.

She found Bill in the house and made her announcement as calmly as possible. Bill was stunned. He hadn’t really been home all that much lately and had to admit, he’d barely noticed Eve’s bump. He was even more stunned to find that Eve was actually in her second trimester and they didn’t have any kind of preparations yet for the new baby.
Bill could hardly believe it. The family was chaotic enough with four children and Bill himself was hardly home these days.

After a difficult conversation with her husband, Eve went back outside and stretched out on the grass. As she gazed at the clouds, she wondered idly what the future was going to hold. Both she and Bill were distraught about the baby but neither wanted to end the pregnancy; Eve was a firm believer that things happened for a reason and this would be one of them. While they couldn’t decide exactly what that reason might be, they were both in agreement to go ahead.
Moreover, it was a bit late to really make that decision.

Eve and Bill agreed to tell their family about the impending arrival. Saffron, while surprised to have another sibling, was upset to see how both her parents had taken the news so badly. She understood why, however. Eve was very dreamy and, since she spent most of her time in the shed at the end of the garden, she wasn’t quite what you’d call a hands-on mother and she never had been. This had never really been a problem, since Caddy, Saffron and Indigo were capable of looking after themselves and Rose preferred it that way.
Another baby was definitely going to be more of a strain though, since Caddy and Saffy were hoping to be at University this year.

Indigo had been the only member of the family to not vocalise his feelings about the baby. Instead he took to his room to practice the drums. He was due to meet with Luca later in the week for a rehearsal.
Rose sat in her brother’s room to listen to his music before going to bed. She was angry; she’d always enjoyed being the baby of the family and a new, literal baby was the very last thing she wanted. She was also angry with Indigo for not saying anything to their parents about this.
She waited until he’d gone out of the room to the bathroom and crouched down under his bed where she found what she’d been looking for; his journal.

She made off with it and disappeared downstairs to the dining room before her brother got back. There was nobody about so she flipped the book open.
Finally, she could get inside Indigo’s head…and it was fascinating. All his secrets; his crushes on Rosie and Elena, his thoughts on their parents and their obsession with work. Even his secret ambitions for his band. It was all in there and Rose was delighted to have this material.
Giggling, she flipped through the pages some more.

Saffron had been finishing cleaning the kitchen when she heard Rose giggling in the dining room. Suspiciously, she tip-toed across the room and her eyes widened when she realised what her younger sister was doing.
“Is that Indigo’s journal?” Saffy asked, loud enough for the whole household to hear. “Rose, why are you reading Indy’s journal?”
Rose jumped and slammed the book shut. She didn’t have time to hide it; Saffy had already seen it. She heard a scuffle from upstairs and knew that at any moment, Indigo would appear in the doorway.

Sure enough, he arrived and snatched the journal back. Not one to make a fuss, he sat down next to his sister.
“Rose, why did you steal this?” He bit his lip. “Did you read any of it?”
“She had her nose buried in it when I walked in,” Saffron said.
Rose decided that attack was the best form of defence. “Are you supposed to fancy two girls at once? Do Rosie and Elena know about each other?” Indigo was mortified but Rose continued relentlessly. “And you actually think you’re going to be a famous band member one day?” She gave a childish laugh. “You’re too scared to be famous, Indy. Scaredy-cat, scaredy-cat,” she taunted.
“That’s enough, Rose!” Saffy shouted but Indigo had heard enough. He was crushed.

The next morning, Indigo awoke early and listened to the rain outside. His heart felt heavy as the jeers and taunts from his sister came back to him.
He’d always been a quiet thinker. He very rarely expressed an opinion he hadn’t been asked for and he never expressed his feelings publicly. Everything went into the journal. He was too shy to ever talk to Rosie, or Elena, about his crushes on them. He especially didn’t want Luca to know he had a crush on his sister.
All his secrets, exposed to the one sister he’d never wanted to find out about them.

Saffy was still furious with Rose, too. The news of this baby had really thrown the family for a loop and Saffy desperately needed to get out of the house.
Pulling out her phone, she sent a group message to her friends, requesting an urgent meet-up in the city.

Saffy arrived at the Spice District and stopped short. Christopher, Catarina and Emilio were already there but there was something about Chris that made her heart flutter. She’d always fancied him but he was looking particularly hot today and suddenly, Saffy didn’t notice the evening chill in the air.

The group were keen to sample some of the spicy delights of the festival.
“This certainly takes the chill off!” Saffy said. She tried to ignore the fact that she was already feeling hot before she’d even taken a bite. She couldn’t take her eyes off Christopher.
“You okay?” Catarina asked, frowning. “You look a bit…dazed.”
“Oh, I’m fine,” Saffy replied. Mentally shaking herself, she glanced down at her plate. “Just waiting for the, um, fire in my mouth to subside.”
Catarina glanced over to where Christopher and Emilio were talking and her eyes narrowed. “Of course,” she replied but said nothing more.

Saffy had a sudden panic. She was debating whether or not to say something to Christopher but stopped herself. What if he didn’t feel the same? She’d have to see him in school every day until the end of the year. The humiliation would be too much if he, and everyone else, knew how she felt. She’d look such a fool.

Meanwhile, under the bright lights of the Spice festival, Christopher was having a crisis of his own.
“Oh Watcher, I really want to say something.” He glanced at Emilio. “Do you think I should? I should, shouldn’t I? But what if she doesn’t feel the same? I mean, I never really realised until tonight and maybe it’s just the festival atmosphere. Should I wait a bit and see if the feeling goes away?”
Emilio blinked rapidly. “What in the Watcher’s name are you talking about?”
Leaning over to whisper in Emilio’s ear, Christopher told him about the girl he was crushing on.
“Oh.” Emilio smiled. He was about to add something when they heard Catarina and Saffy calling to them. The girls were heading into the community centre’s market and inviting the boys to join them.

“You were going to say something?” Christopher asked, once they were inside and shed their jackets.
“Yeah.” Emilio shrugged. “Why don’t you just go up to her and tell her? What’s the worst that can happen?”
“Uh, hello? She could say no and humiliate me in front of everyone. I could have the whole school laughing at me for telling the most beautiful girl I’ve seen that I fancy her and everyone could watch me getting my heart stamped on.”
Emilio blinked again. “That’s a bit melodramatic, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not. You KNOW what they’re like at school, Emilio.” Christopher shuddered at the thought.
“Okay, so tell her here. Now. Tell her now.”
Christopher widened his eyes. “You’re kidding.”
“I’m not. Go and tell her now before I tell her.”
Christopher spun round to find her.

Christopher found her standing under the stairs, looking a bit panicked.
“Saffy?” He started. “Um, I need to tell you something.” He felt mildly faint as he took a deep breath. The fizzy juice he’d downed on the way over was starting to take effect and suddenly, he plucked up the courage from somewhere. “Saffy, I’d had a crush on you for a while, and I was just wondering…”
“Oh my Watcher!” Saffy started to smile. “I wanted to tell you earlier. I have a bit of a crush on you, too.”
Christopher could hardly believe what he was hearing.

For the next few days, Saffy felt like she was on top of the world. While there was nothing serious between her and Christopher yet, just knowing he hadn’t laughed at her was an incredible feeling.
So incredible that, for a while, she wanted to forget about the problems at home and instead got on the phone to get some friends over later. It was party time!

Indigo had invited Luca over for a rehearsal. He was still feeling fragile after Rose had revealed the secrets of his diary and had been keeping to his room for the majority of the week. Music was soothing for his nerves and Luca was fast becoming a good friend. Even if Saffy was going to fill the house with teenagers that evening, at least he still had his music to escape to.

Eve and Bill were still finding it difficult to adjust to the idea of another baby and were arguing a lot. The atmosphere in the house was incredibly tense.

The vibes at home were the main reason Saffy wanted to loosen everyone up. Shortly before her guests arrived, she sat down at the table in hers and Caddy’s room and started putting on her makeup. She really wanted to have some fun tonight.

As her friends arrived, she began to relax. Maybe everything would be okay. She smiled across the hall at Christopher dancing to the music on the stereo. Suddenly, the future looked a lot brighter for her.
It was just a shame nobody else in the household felt the same.

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