Author's Note: Oh, wow. This update is long overdue. But I just got so stuck on it, I pretty much gave up. But I forced myself to rewrite all that I had written and update for you. So, here it is. I'm a little excervous to hear what you think. I kind of took so long writing this during the day that I had to rush it in the end to get it up before I fell asleep. Hopefully you like Wally's family. You'll be learning a lot about them as the story progresses. On another note, I like making Beatles references. Did you see them? Oh, and there really is a Tupper St. in Esperance. I checked.
Disclaimer: Wally, Joey and his parents belong to Mr. Warburton. Uncle Owen, Aunt Mary, all of Wally's cousins, and the dog belong to me.
"...and Kristen and her husband have got their own place, not too far from here." My uncle Owen explained to us.
You might be wondering who Kristen is. She's my uncle Owen's oldest daughter, and my cousin. She just got married recently to some guy whose name has escaped my mind. From what I hear, they're having a baby. And soon. I know my uncle Owen just said when exactly, but to be honest I stopped listening a while ago. It's not that I don't care or anything, because I really do like my cousin Kristen, but the window's got me a little distracted. My parents were right. This place is small, at least compared to Cleveland.
The beaches are looking pretty cool, I admit. But I haven't really seen anything else too spectacular. What exactly my cousins do here is anyone's guess. I hear people like to fish a lot, but that's not really how I pictured spending my summer. And you can just forget about surfing. I can't swim. I'm not even gonna try it.
At least the weather's nice. I can seriously see myself getting used to that part. But the rest...? Well, I don't know what it was my parents were (or maybe weren't) thinking, dragging me here! I mean, yeah, I know nothing about this place yet, so who am I to judge? But I'll run out of new things to do eventually, and with my cousins away at school during the day...uh, that doesn't sound so fun. Cruddy 'vacation'.
I wonder what my friends are doing...
My mum said I could give them a call every now and then, as long as my aunt Mary says it's alright. Oh, I think you're going to love her, by the way. My aunt Mary's probably one of the nicest ladies that ever existed in the History of Nice Ladies, (from what I remember, anyway). When we lived back in Adelaide, she would always get me and my cousins icecream from the corner store. She used to take care of me afterschool, or when my parents went out. It was always fun playing with my cousins. Especially since back then I was an only child. And for some reason, I'm really sorta nervous to see them all again. They probably changed a whole lot. Do you know what I told my cousin Jude when I first moved away? I said that I'd be taller than everyone else the next time he saw me. I could have sworn I was due for a growth spurt. And I'm still waiting for it. Does that make me a liar?
In case you're wondering, I have five cousins. (Yeah, I know. It's kind of a big family). Kristen (the one I told you about) is the oldest. Baby Jack (who's a tiny bit younger than Joey) is the youngest. Talk about an age difference! Can you imagine having a brother who's only a couple years older than your baby? If I remember correctly, Kristen is like twenty years old, or something. She was born when my aunt was really young. And anyway, she doesn't live with them anymore. Her and her new husband (whatever the crud his name is) got their own place nearby, just like my uncle Owen said.
My cousin Jude, who I lied to (by accident), has got to be something like fifteen now. He was always pretty cool, but you know how teenagers get...And then there's my cousin Drew (that's short for Andrew) who's a little older than me. He's twelve now. I know so because his birthday just passed. Mine's in a few weeks. Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm spending my birthday here? Yeah. Isn't that sad? I know. I feel bad for me, too. But before I totally get off topic here, there's more you need to know. My cousin Cassandra (or Cassie, as we call her) is...well, I don't even know how old she is. She can't be anymore than seven-ish, though. And Jackson...I've never met before in my life. Like I said, he's a little younger than Joey is.
They also got a dog, I think. But I have no idea what its name is, and there's no time to worry about that right now...
I looked up at the street sign. "Tupper St.", it read. Doesn't that just remind you of Tupperware?
"And here we are." Uncle Owen said, pulling into the driveway of their two-story house. Hmm. Not too bad lookin'. I have to say I'm really glad we're here, now. Better to be here than on another flight. Besides, I kinda have to pee.
I pushed the car door open and stepped out into the fresh, Australian air.
"Well," my uncle began, stepping around the car to get the luggage from out of the trunk. "What do ya think?"
I looked at him for a second, then at the house. "Ah like it." Well, what was I supposed to say? Lie to him and tell him that it looks like the funnest, coolest place on Earth and that I can't wait to spend the next couple months cooped up inside? Yeah, right.
"Here ya go, " Uncle Owen interuppted my stretching, when he offered me my bag. I took it without any remarks, because as much as I hate hauling that thing around, I'm actually kind of excited. And nervous. It's a mixture of both. Isn't there a name for that?....Oh, yeah! Excervous. There's a name for everything.
Since my mum is a woman and all, she doesn't have to take her own bag. My uncle's doing that for her. She only has to worry about getting herself, and Joey, to the front door safely. Sounds difficult right? Pfft, who am I kidding? Girls got it easy! Leaving us to do all the manly work like taking all the bags. These things are really heavy, you know. Like an elephant. Us men, carrying elephants, while she has to carry a cruddy baby. Puh-lease. Must we do all the work? Okay, sorry. I'm getting carried away here. I'm just tired. And a little sore, and I'm not sure why. Riding planes is really exhausting. Thank God there won't be anymore of that for a while.
Uncle Owen led us to the front door and slipped the key into the lock. As soon as he pushed the door open, my nose was attacked by a variety of food-y smells. Like a bunch of delicious fragrances put together in a big smorgasbord, except this time it wasn't just sandwiches. It was like Italian pasta or something, and some sweetness probably from a fresh batch of cookies. Can always count on aunt Mary for that kind of stuff. The woman loves to cook. And bake. And I love it when she does. Especially at times like this. When I'm hungry.
"Welcome to my humble abode," Uncle Owen said, motioning us inside. I followed my mum, dumping my bag alongside the rest in a pile, as my uncle Owen closed the door. "Mary! Kids! Look who's here!" The house smelled just like uncle Owen and aunt Mary's always did. I wouldn't mind making this my home away from home if we got to eat whatever was cooking, every night. I already know it's delicious. Oh, if only I had invited Hoagie to come with me. He would love it here. Besides, uncle Owen and aunt Mary are really iniviting hosts. They're always like 'Mi casa es su casa' or whatever.
"I don't believe it." A voice said out of nowhere. Suddenly my aunt Mary came around the corner, with probably the biggest smile that could fit on any human's face. "That's not my nephew." No, no. Because the nephew she knew wasn't quite as handsome as I am. Right? "The Wallabee I know isn't as handsome as this young man." Ha, what'd I tell you?
"Hi, aunt Mary."
"Well, I'll be! It is little Wally, afterall!" Little? Well, I guess I shouldn't be talking. I've only grown like...well, I haven't really.
"Mary! Oh, it's so good to see you." I heard my mum say, just as my aunt swooped in for a hug and a kiss. I returned the favor with a smile. My mum is right. It really is good to see my aunt Mary again. I didn't realize how much I've missed her until right now.
"It's great to see you all again, too. " She let out a quick squeek, "Oh my goodness! Is this little Joey? Oh, he looks so much like his brother! Let me hold him." My mum gladly passed Joey to aunt Mary, who quickly held him close and smothered him with lots and lots of baby kisses. You know, the kind with the loud smooching noises that babies really seem to like? Yeah, those. Aunt Mary is great with kids. Probably because she's got five of her own, including one that's still just a baby. And a grandkid on the way. Although aunt Mary's way too young to be a grandma. She doesn't look old at all. I thought to qualify to be a grandma you had to at least look old. But she's got the cookie-baking thing down, so I guess that's okay.
"He and Jack are going to be bestfriends." Aunt Mary said. She turned and impatiently called down the hall, "KIDS! Your cousins are here. Come say hello!"
And right on cue, a little girl appeared and made her way over. Her dirty blonde hair just barely reached her shoulder, and it took me a few seconds to recognize her. No way. Is that really her? Cassie was only like three or four years old when I moved away. She looks kind of the same, but totally different. She's gotten a lot bigger, at least. In different ways. She's practically as tall as I am. And she's gotten a tiny bit chunkier, but hardly. I wonder if she remembers me.
She ducked behind her mom, shooting us all a shy smile.
"Well, if it isn't little miss Cassandra Bell." My mum smiled. Bell, just so you know, is their last name. "My, you've surely grown up since last time we've seen you."
"Honey, don't be rude. " Aunt Mary mumbled to her, placing a hand on her shoulder and giving her a gentle push. "Give your aunt and uncle a hug."
Cassie did just that, though she looked a little uncomfortable. I used to play with her all the time, she's got to remember me. I ripped the heads off her Barbies! That's not something you just forget. Although it'd be nice if she knew me by a different memory. One that didn't involve me decapitating her friends. She gave my parents a quick hug, waved at me and then scooted over to her dad's side. He slipped an arm over her shoulder as the boys trudged into the room.
"Finally, there you boys are." Aunt Mary huffed, motioning over to us.
"Sorry." They answered simultaneously. I took a good look at them both. Man, it's been a while. I instantly recognized Drew. He was like my best buddy before I met Hoagie. His hair's the same as he's always had it. Kind of like mine in style. But his is a lot darker blond if you compare it to mine. He's definately gotten taller too, but like average height. He just looks even taller to me because I'm shorter than average. And he's still just as smiley as I remember.
"Hey." He said to me.
"Hey."I said back.
He greeted my parents, and I snuck a peek at Jude. He's taller, too, like I expected. His hair is like a super light brown, but I don't know if he dyed it like that or his hair just darkened in color. His bangs are hanging over his eyes, even more so than mine. He's got braces, now. And he just looks like there's a million other things he'd rather be doing, than this. Bummer. I was hoping he would still be kind of the same. But turning into a teenager sure changes a person. Shame, isn't it? He merely nodded his head at me in a way of greeting, and I nodded back. However, aunt Mary shot him a look and he went and gave my mum and dad a proper hello.
"How was the flight?" Aunt Mary asked, as she led us all down the hall. I wanted to ask her which flight she meant, but my dad answered instead.
After saying our hellos, and making a quick stop to the bathroom, my aunt decided to show us to our rooms to get settled in. She knew just how tired we were. Uncle Owen was somewhere else around the house, with the kids. I don't really know what it is they're doing, and I don't really care. I'm just anxious to get a bed to call my own for the time being. I could use one of those right about now.
My parents are staying in the guest room. I get to bunk with Drew in his room upstairs and Joey's gonna stay in the nursery with Jack. I got to meet him, too. He's almost as big as Joey is. At least Joey's got a buddy for the trip. The only 'person' that I haven't met yet is Rigby. The dog. But we'll save that for later, or tomorrow. He's out in the back yard.
Oh, and I was right about the Italian. Aunt Mary cooked us a nice meal, to celebrate our arrival. Thank God. I can't wait to taste it.
I left my bag on the bed and took a deep breath. Drew's room is a little cramped, but that's because they moved a second bed in here for me. I would totally crash and take like a thirty-hour nap or something but they're waiting for me at the table. And I'm not gonna waste a second getting over there because my stomach is making these weird grumbly noises.
So, that was delicious. I mean like really, really delicious. I see aunt Mary hasn't lost her touch. Score!
While we filled our stomaches with the tastes of Italy, aunt Mary and uncle Owen asked us a bunch of questions. Like how school's going, and stuff like that. And there was a long conversation about Joey and Baby Jack. It was nice to catch up, and me and Drew even got some talking in. And we are right now, since it's getting kind of late and we're already in bed.
As soon as we got into the room, I pulled my bag off the bed and practically fell asleep right then. But I didn't. I grabbed a change of clothes and stumbled into the bathroom, slipped into my pajama pants and made my way back to bed, after saying one last goodnight to my parents.
And now here we are. Laying in the dark because we're really tired and actually want to go to sleep, even though it isn't really as late as it usually is when we go to bed. But we're still talking. The conversation just isn't so lively right now.
"So, you like Cleveland?"
"Yeah." I yawned.
"More than Australia?"
"I don't know." Is there really a fair answer to that question? I lived in Australia for most of my life. And the States for like, almost four years. So, I've had a lot more experiences in this country. But really, "I like them both."
"Do you miss Adelaide?"
"Hmm. " I mused, tiredly. "I guess, sometimes. Do you?"
"Yeah, sometimes. " He responded, "but I like it here."
He laughed. "If you're comparing it to Adelaide, yeah."
"What is there to do around here?" I asked after a short period of silence. From the little I've seen of this place, it doesn't look like there's much to do other than hitting the beaches and basking in the sunlight. Not that I was really expecting a place like Disneyland, or anything. But would it really be too much to ask for a non-boring place to spend summer? I left Ohio for this.
"I take it you're not as excited to be here, as your parents are."
"Well, I just thought I'd be spending summer vacation with my friends."
"It's winter, you know." He joked.
"Here, yeah." I nodded, but I'm not sure if he could see it. How strange to think that my friends are back home enjoying summer without me, while I'm here way across the ocean in a whole different season. It's like I'm in a whole different world. "But not there."
"Yeah, well..." his voice trailed off, as he turned to his side. "I think you'll like it here."
I didn't say anything back to him. I just glanced over, then up at the ceiling. The moonlight was shining through the window, casting shadows all across the walls. I could swear one of them looked like a dinosaur, but before I could point it out, my eyelids grew too heavy to keep open, and the darkness overtook me.