Philip, lounging at his desk with a volume of zoological anatomy, stared unseeing at the pages. Stretching back in his chair, his listened to the sounds of Lucy-Ann happily unpacking her trunk with the help of his mother, and allowed his mind to wander to the young girl with whom he had shared so many adventures. Always his favourite, but never quite a sister, though Jack was unquestionably the brother he had never had. Lucy-Ann, vulnerable, impractical, often afraid, but always pluck to the backbone in a crisis. Philip sighed and shook his head, a faint smile gracing his lips at the absurdity of his thoughts. Snapping his university text shut, he tossed the volume onto the desk, rumpled his already-dishevelled hair, and went downstairs.
Strolling into the parlour, he found Bill, reading the London papers with some concentration, a frown gracing his already lined brow.
"Anything amiss, old fellow?" questioned Philip, leaning casually on the back of a chair.
"Hmm? Oh, nothing particular," said Bill absently, with a vague, distracted smile as he glanced up at Philip "At least, nothing I'd be involved in these days." Strictly desk work now, Bill had given up the more active aspects of his job recently, pushed out, as he amiably put it, by the younger fellows. "Would you mind dreadfully going to ask your mother when supper might be? There's a good chap."
By way of an answer, Philip glanced out the window at the setting sun, shot his stepfather a grin, and straightened up. Turning to leave the room, Philip heard a giggle from above. His grin softened into something altogether more caressing, and his step quickened on the stairs. Walking to Lucy-Ann's open door, he saw her spin, laughing, a dress held with one hand to her breast and the other to her waist.