Early Sunday morning I find myself heading for the pool once more. I don't want to see anyone right now and I certainly can't talk to dad at the moment. I know I need to face him and speak, to talk things through with him and apologise but now and again I find it so hard. As usual he'll give me space to approach him in my own time, he's so considerate to my feelings and never pressurises me.
I pound out my frustrations with length after length of determined swimming. After two hours I'm more relaxed and calm within myself. I shower and then grab a smoothie from the local deli before taking a slow stroll home along the coast road.
I walk down the driveway and approach the front door with trepidation. The words are jumbling around in my head but they need to come out. I head straight to the kitchen; mom is preparing lunch and looks up almost warily as I enter. I go to her and envelope her in a big bear hug. When I apologise for my behaviour last night she looks so relieved that I've actually spoken that she tells me not to worry about it and that dads in his study if I want to speak to him before lunch is ready.
I stand outside his study, plucking up the courage to knock on the door because once I've done it there's no going back. I won't revert to being the 7 year old stood in front of him with no words. If I go in now I've got to be sure I will speak. Here goes, I knock, enter and walk across the room to stand in front of him. He looks up, almost surprised to see me there. I immediately apologise for leaving the dinner table, showing him disrespect by ignoring him and slamming the door. He graciously accepts the apology and tells me to sit down. We then have a discussion as to what I think my punishment should be. I come up with a few scenarios:-not working for Christian, grounded for the summer, not going to California. Dad pauses me, then actually surprises me when he tells me there will be no punishment; he thinks I've probably had a tough enough 12hours or so with my thoughts. He wants me to get through tonight's dinner with no drama. He also expects me to apologise to my siblings as I knew he would, this has to be done face to face, no cheating by texting! In a way I think this is his version of a punishment because he knows the next time I see Elliot and Christian they will be arriving with their girlfriends so my first introduction to them will be amusing for my brothers.
We leave the study together and mom is delighted to see us happily chatting away. She sends me off to find Mia for lunch, knowing that I'll apologise straight away. Mia is ecstatic when I catch up with her, hugging and kissing me and hugely relieved I'm talking. Lunch is the light hearted affair it should be, everyone's in a good mood in almost a euphoric way. I suppose I'm guilty of making them feel like this due to last night's antics.
After lunch I help mom prepare the dinner for tonight. We have a long conersation about last night's events. I admit to her that I'm scared about all the dynamics of the family changing and worried about meeting the two girls. I want to hate them before I've met them because I feel like they're taking my brothers away from me. I also mention my jealousy, as much as Christian and Elliot have always included me in things given the age gap between us, this time I feel totally excluded and left out. All of a sudden they've become a four and I feel as if I'm on my own. Mom smiles fondly, telling me to stay relaxed and see what happens and to try and enjoy the evening. She's also going to have a word with dad so that if I'm finding it difficult during the meal later then I can excuse myself and take time out. Wow, mom and dad are being so understanding with all my problems at the moment it's no wonder I love them so much.
I stare at my reflection in the mirror as I get ready for dinner. The intense grey blue eyes look out from the slightly tanned skin of my face, my unruly light copper colored hair that's a tangle of curls shines under the light with a hint of blonde at the tips where the sun has bleached it. When I stand next to Elliot and Christian we could all be mistaken as having the same birth mother and father, as it looks like they've been pushed together and I'm the result.
I feel sick with nervous anticipation; Mia is the total opposite to me. She's bubbling away with excitement. She can't wait to meet the girls and won't stop talking about how they can hang out at the mall together, and when we all go on vacation she'll have girls to keep her company rather than three brothers who can be annoying! Oh well here goes, I hear Elliot's car pull up on the drive and dad goes to open the front door.