AN: Bonjour, mon amis! I am back withanotherstory idea, so just bear with me. First of all, this is a Penderwicks FF, so if you haven't readThe Penderwicks, orThe Penderwicks on Gardam Street(Nothing here about Point Mouette, so if you tell me what happens, I'll kill you. ), all by Jeanne Birdsall, a lot of this might not make sense.
This story takes place about 5 years afterThe Penderwicks on Gardam Street. Rosalind is 18, Skye 17, Jane 16 and Batty 10. Their father and Iantha and Ben, who is about 5-6, are all featured in this story, as well as Hound and Asimov. Enjoy!
*Hold on, my cat just sat on the manuscript.*
Five years, Skye thought, as she zipped her suitcase shut. It had been five years since they—"they" being the Penderwick family—had visited Arundel Cottage. Their family was definitely bigger than it had been five years ago. Their father had married Iantha, who brought not only her son, and Skye's stepbrother Ben, but Asimov, the large orange cat, who had taken an unfortunate liking to both her and Hound. Skye brushed cat hair off of her suitcase where Asimov had been lying on it and pulled it off the bed. She looked around the floor of her bedroom, and instead of rolling her suitcase out; she picked it up and delicately stepped over Jane's mess to get to the door. That was one thing that definitely hadn't changed in five years. Skye had gotten so irritated with the mess when she came home after a weekend at Genevieve's last fall that she had volunteered to clean Jane's side of the room herself, but Jane wouldn't let her. Skye poked her head back in from the hallway. Jane was sitting at her violet and mahogany desk, writing feverishly in a brand-new blue notebook, her suitcase sitting half-packed on the floor.
"Jane, hurry up! We're leaving for Arundel in less than an hour and you're not even packed yet!" Skye exclaimed.
Jane looked up with the stars of inspiration shining in her eyes. "Give me a minute, Skye. I've come up with a new idea—"
"—for a Sabrina Starr book, okay, whatever. Don't blame me when we leave without you," Skye finished as she walked down the stairs, but Jane wasn't listening.
A visit to Arundel! It was luck fit for leprechauns, a fantasy fit for fairies, Jane had shouted when the notice arrived. She was growing a bit old for fairies, but as a last crack at her childhood, she decided to write a Sabrina Starr book in which some elemental faeries and magick creatures played a big part. Jeffrey's mother's gardens were the perfect inspiration for the setting of where Sabrina Starr would fall prey to the tiny, evil goblins. Jane scratched down a few more notes and closed the notebook, then turned to her messy suitcase. What should she pack? She had already put in five books, not to mention two notebooks—one for writing, the other for sketching—and her toothbrush and toothpaste. She threw in some more clothes and toiletries, then zipped the suitcase shut. Jane then reached under her bed and pulled out Dexter, their soccer ball that had been christened after Jeffery's horrible stepfather. She managed to pull her suitcase through the abyss and downstairs into the kitchen, where Skye and Batty were sitting and eating breakfast. Hound was galumphing around the kitchen and eating between sniffing Ben's high chair, where Iantha was feeding him breakfast.
"Good morning, Jane. Your father's out packing the car, you can take your suitcase out," Iantha said. "And Rosalind is really sure she can't come?"
"Yeah," Jane sighed. Rosalind had gone off to college last September and couldn't afford to miss any time now that her finals were coming up. Jane grabbed a granola bar and a juice box and pulled her suitcase out the front door.
"Hi, Daddy!" Jane called brightly, pulling her suitcase up to the back of the car.
"Hey, Jane-O," Mr. Penderwick grunted as he pushed a suitcase to the far side of the trunk, which now had more than enough room for Hound and Asimov.
"I've started a new Sabrina Starr book," she said, as her father stepped back and surveyed his Tetris-like packing.
"Fantastic. I can't wait to read it," he said. They walked back into the house, where Iantha was carrying Ben out to his car seat and Skye was cramming her blonde hair under her camouflage hat. Batty was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's Batty?" Jane asked as she put her breakfast into a plastic bag.
"Out back, taking a last look at the backyard with Hound," Iantha answered as she returned for a moment to collect Asimov. "Could you go get her while we finish packing?"
Jane nodded and walked out back. Batty was sitting near the hedge that blocked their house and Iantha's old house.
"Hey Battikins. Come on, it's time to go," Jane called. Hound bounced up from where he had been lying, as did Batty, and they ran up to Jane.
"Got all of your stuffed animals?"
"Yup. And Yaz," Batty replied. "Read the letter again, Jane, please," Batty asked, holding it up.
Batty loved it when Jane read. Not as much as Rosalind, but Jane had something her father called "character."
Batty sat on the back steps with Hound as Jane struck a pose.
"Dear Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty, Hound, Mr. and Mrs. Penderwick, Ben and Asimov,
How have you been? It's been dreadfully lonesome for a while. Mother and Dexter have decided to vacation in Majorca this summer, and one can only spend so much time with school friends. Therefore—"Jane paused fantastically here,"—I cordially invite you to spend a month at Arundel Cottage, no rent required…or at least until Mother returns. Please be down by June 5th at the earliest and latest.
Sincerely, Jeffrey Tifton"
Batty clapped and Hound barked jovially as Jane bowed with exaggerated delight.
"Jane! Batty! Time to go!" Iantha called. Jane grabbed her breakfast and the letter, and the girls and dog raced through the house to the front door, where their father was waiting with the trunk open for Hound. They all climbed into the car, pulled out of the driveway, and were on their way to what they thought was to be the second perfect summer.