Author's Note: While I have not abandoned "How We Spent Our Holidays"-I have another chapter or two to go-I came up with an idea I had to run with. So, without further ado...
Author's Note 09/17/12: I changed "next door" to "down the street." I decided I wanted a little more distance between the houses.
Part I: The Boy Formerly Known as "Stormageddon, Dark-Lord-of-All"
"Somebody just moved in down the street," Sophie Owens said. "Perhaps they'll have a son or daughter your age." The slender woman set a pair of plates on the table.
"So I can stare at them through the window?" Alfie Owens asked. The thirteen-year-old's face brightened. "Or am I not grounded, anymore?"
"Oh, you're grounded." Sophie handed him a crisp bag, which he put on the table. "You're just lucky it isn't for life." She retrieved a pair of aluminum cans from the fridge.
"You write one application to remote-hack digital road signs with your cellular," Alfie muttered.
"Yes," Sophie agreed. She handed him a napkin and sat at the table next to him.
"It was a public service, mum," Alfie said, "to warn people of alien invaders ahead."
"Yes," Sophie agreed. "And then, somebody called it in and UNIT mobilized on the neighborhood."
Alfie grinned. "With guns and everything. That was brilliant!"
Sophie sighed. "Eat your sandwich." She picked up her own. "You're just lucky that nice Martha Jones convinced them not to throw you in a cell and lose the key. She only did it because she found out we know the Doctor."
"I don't," Alfie said, "I've never met him." He took a bite of sandwich. His face fell and he swallowed hard. "Aw, mum, no, veg sammy?" He dropped the sandwich on his plate and caught up the bag of crisps. "And veg crisps? Really?" He released the bag, which Sophie reached for.
"Yes, veg, it's good for us."
Alfie cast a desperate look at the aluminum can. He picked it up and gave the label an intent look, then popped the top and took a long drink. He sighed. "Ah, Crim-Cola, you're my only friend…"
Sophie rolled her eyes. "God forbid I should try to get you to eat healthy. Now, eat."
"Yes, mum," Alfie said with a sigh.
"I'm just saying," Sophie said around her sandwich, "that I would really love you to get through secondary without an ASBO."
Alfie set his sandwich back down and scooted his chair closer to his mother's. She gave him a suspicious look. "I'm sorry, mum," he said. He stared at her with wide, sad eyes.
"Here it comes," Sophie muttered.
He laid his head on her shoulder. "I don't mean to act up," he said. He sniffed. "I just… I just miss dad… so much."
"I could happily have passed over the day you learned to make tears on demand," Sophie said. She took a savage bite of her sandwich.
"It works wonders on uni girls," Alfie said in the same sorrowful voice.
"You realize your dad has been at his business conference for all of two days, yes? And he'll be back from Lanzarote tomorrow."
"It seems so long," Alfie said. Tears welled up in his eyes.
"Oh, God," Sophie said, "go." She pointed in the general direction of outside. "Go, before I start to regret giving birth." Alfie's chair clattered back as he jumped to his feet with a cheer. He was halfway to the door when Sophie's shout of, "Chair!" caused him to dash back and straighten his erstwhile seat at the table.
He dashed back to the door and paused. With a grin, he said, "You don't need health food, mum; you're as pretty as ever."
She pointed. "Outside."