Simon his patiently in the tree. A moving truck had driven into the driveway a short while a go but the new family were yet to arrive. They were moving into a house similar to Aunt Lucinda's; it was old and musky and looked like many houses stacked on top of each other. Sherbet crawled out of his pocket.
"Sherbet!" exclaimed Simon and grabbed the mouse before it could run away.
A black car with tinted windows, rolled into the driveway. A man in a tuxedo got out quickly and walked around to open the door. A woman, in her early thirties walked out, took off her sunglasses, looked around and sneered. She took a few steps and her high heels got stuck in a mud puddle. Simon chuckled to himself. A man, no older than the woman, crawled out of the car. His jeans were spotless and he didn't wear a shirt. That car rolled away and another car, exactly the same as the first parked directly in front of the car. This time the driver did not get out of the car; instead a chubby man ran out of the house, but he wasn't quick enough. The car door was pushed open and a girl about Simon's age stepped out.
The man seemed to squeal and she ran up to him and gave him a huge hug. They let go and the man walked back inside; the girl walked up to the front step and then sat down. She seemed to smile happily at her surroundings. The moving men came along carrying a couch about the size of two cars. She looked apologetic and held the door for them, then followed the men inside.
Simon shuffled down the tree and shook the autumn leaves from his hair.
"When Mum said tell her if the new neighbours arrive I don't think this is what she means." Simon turned around to face his twin brother.
"I was trying to find Sherbet." Jarrod sighed and walked away, after a few paces he turned around and ushered Simon to come with him; obediently, Simon followed. The boys didn't say much as they walked home. When they arrived back, Mallory was fencing with the unicorn. As usual Mallory was not winning but she was not about to give up, Simon knew that she was taking out all her anger out. Mallory had recently failed her English test and that meant she had to do extra-credit work to stay in the class. Jarrod continued to walk, and eventually headed up the creaking steps.
Mrs Grace was in the kitchen, preparing dinner for them. The smell of lemon and ginger wafted into Simon's face, almost blowing him over with intensity. Mrs Grace was cooking Aunt Lucinda's favourite stir-fry; it was packed with flavour, as were most of the foods Aunt Lucinda liked.
"Where have you been, Simon?" asked his mother
"The new neighbours are here." Jarrod interrupted, Mrs Grace turned around and smiled.
"Really? Let's invite them over then." Simon paled a little.
"But…but they've only just got here, we can't…"
"Simon, it's 6:30, I'm sure they don't want to cook dinner when they've only just arrived."
"Is there enough for all of them?" asked Jarrod.
"What, is there twelve of them?" asked Mrs Grace, Simon shook his head and lifted up four fingers. She smiled, widely.
"Perfect, get Mallory and go ask them to dinner." Simon was about the protest.
"No arguments." Said his mother. Jarrod grabbed Simon's sleeve and pulled him out the door.
"Mallory!" called Jarrod.
"What?" hissed Mallory, through clenched teeth.
"Mum wants us to ask the new neighbours for dinner." Replied Simon sadly. Mallory dropped her fencing sword and stood up. She bowed to the unicorn, who nodded. Mallory, who was excited to avoid her extra-credit work, led the boys along the path. The path was lined with maples, the leaves were golden and the wind would blow them away soon. They walked up the driveway and Jarrod knocked on the door; the knocker was old fashioned, it was obviously brass and was not made in any particular shape.
The fat man, now dressed in a suit, opened the door.
"Hello." He said happily, "May I help you with something." Mallory poked the unhappy Simon, who poked Jarrod. Jarrod grinned and spoke up.
"We're the neighbours, we wondered if you'd like to come to dinner?"
"Well, well, you'll have to ask the boss. Follow me." He merrily turned and walked away, the Grace kids shrugged and followed.
"I'm the butler, Smithers is my name." he said and Jarrod smiled,
"I'm Jarrod Grace and this is my sister Mallory and my brother Simon." Smithers stopped, turned around and shook hands with each of them.
"Pleasure." He said, he had a slight accent but it was impossible to decipher where it was from.
Smithers plodded up one flight of stairs. Simon noticed that, unlike Aunt Lucinda's house, the house look new and you were able to walk everywhere. They stopped at two big wooden doors at the end of the hallway. Smithers straightened his jacket (which didn't fit properly over his stomach) and knocked.
"Come in." came a weak reply. Smithers walked in but indicated for the kids to stay outside.
"Sir, we have an invite to dinner from the neighbours." There was a loud and long sigh and Smithers collected the kids who were nervously walked in.
"So," said the man, "dinner, huh?"
"Yes Sir." Replied Mallory. The man with unimaginable speed jumped up and flicked out his mobile phone; he began texting faster than the average secretary. After a few minutes of stunned silence. He looked up again.
"If you find the sitting room, you're welcome to wait, but I'm afraid I have no clue where it is. My name is Joshua Gunther, my wife will be down in about 10minutes and my adopted daughter, Adrianna will come down soon. Smithers!"
"Yes Sir?" Mr Gunther did not say anything but nodded. Smithers obviously knew that Mr Gunther meant because he ushered the kids out and walked them on the ground floor. The couch that Simon had seen them carried in was dumped in a large room. The room was dark and musky, there seemed to be a layer of dust everywhere but the couch.
"Sorry about the dust, we've only just moved in, you see."
"We know." Said Jarrod, Simon poked Jarrod hard. Smithers just smiled and nodded.
The wooden floors were creaking as footsteps echoed around the house. Smithers jumped up but sat back down when a girl walked through the door.
"Smithers, chill – you're my parent's butler, not mine." Smithers laughed and the girl sat down next to him.
"Hi, I'm Adrianna, but generally I'm called, Ads."