Best Different Ever
The tension we felt after the funeral honestly didn't go away after we came home from the funeral, though I can't blame mother for being as tense as she was when there was no word about my uncles kids and their whereabouts. Rumors do spread around town and my own brother didn't help. Actually, this time around I think he was the source of the rumors as mother specifically said not to tell anyone that her nephews and nieces were missing, but Charlie really can't keep his mouth shut.
Alice wouldn't stop about how my cousins were bad kids for running away like they did, what with a nice grandfather being there to take care of them. The other kids settled down after I explained that they didn't know grandfather was a nice person, but she kept at it. According to her they were as bad as the Herdman kids. She said this without being able to meet them. Of course, Charlie's perception of them was effected by his fear of the Herdman kids.
Then mom got a call. The look on her face made both Charlie and me think that she had gotten bad news again, but it turns out that my cousins had been found. She was on the phone for a long time and by the end she was laughing. Charlie told me that he found this to be confusing. The only thing mother told us was that they had been found and not why she was laughing.
Mrs. Bradley was speaking on the phone as her two kids worked on their end of the year homework. When she got off she turned to look at the two. "Guess what. Your cousins are going to be visiting over the summer."
Charlie's mouth dropped open in horror while Beth looked up at him with a frown on her face. The girl shook her head and went back to the school assignment. "But... aren't... aren't they as bad as the Herdman family?"
Their mother stared at him for a few minutes. "Where would you get that idea from?"
"Alice Wendelkin said that only the Herdmans would run off like that!"
"Now listen here, you shouldn't listen to everything that Alice says." Mrs. Bradley.
"So they're nothing like the Herdmans?" Charlie looked at her with a rather hopeful look on his face.
"Well... my brothers kids are very self sufficient, but beyond that... no, nothing like the Herdmans."
"What does self sufficient mean?" The boy frowned.
Beth piped up. "That means that they can take care of themselves."
"But isn't that..." Charlie scrunched his face up as he tried to think about it. "Isn't that why the Herdmans always get into trouble."
"No..." Mrs. Bradley frowned. "They get in trouble because they're not supervised by adults."
"But our cousins weren't either." The boy continued to frown. "How are they different from the Herdmans then?"
"They're well behaved children Charlie."
"But they ran away."
"Charlie, please." Mrs. Bradley turned to Beth. "Your cousins will be here the day after the last day of school. Please. I want to the two of you to treat them politely and as if they're family."
"I'm going outside."
"What about your homework Charlie?"
"Beth... could you go out and make sure your brother doesn't get into trouble?"
Beth rolled her eyes. "I'm not finished with my homework though."
Letting out a deep sigh the older female stood up and went outside as well. Her brother of course headed straight towards his friends place. "Do you have to follow me Beth?"
"Mom told me to keep an eye on you Charlie."
"Yeah... but she's never done that before." The boy went and knocked on the door to his friends house.
The door opened and Cecil's mother looked out. "Ah... Beth and Charlie. I'll go and get Cecil."
A few minutes later Cecil came out. "Hi! What's going on!"
"Mom just told us that..."
"Charlie..." Beth shook her head at her brother.
"But why can't I tell people that our cousins are coming to visit for the summer?"
"You mean your cousins who are like the Herdmans?"
"No. They're not like the Herdmans. Mom said..."
"That's right. They're like the Herdmans."
"Mom said they're not."
"But their self suffisaint."
"You forgot the word already? It's sufficient." Beth let out a deep sigh. "Mom said that had nothing to do with them being like the Herdmans and even said that our cousins are well behaved."
Cecil's eyes however went wide. "But Beth! How does she know that they're well behaved. Your mom and you guys have never met them!"
"Yeah! Mom could very well be wrong!"
"Charlie... if that's true then its also true that we can't tell that they're bad as we haven't met them. You guys are assuming there is something wrong with them."
"They did run away."
"There were issues between their dad and our grandfather. Even our mom wasn't speaking to grandfather for a long time. They didn't know that grandfather had changed and thought he was a bad guy. Mom's already explained this to you Charlie many times."
"Yeah... but..." Charlie frowned. "Alice says..."
"Alice is one of the last people you should listen to. She says a lot of things that aren't true that she believes to be true simply because she herself says it."
"Like..." Beth couldn't think of anything off the top of her head.
"See. Alice is likely right."
"Alice isn't always right. For example, she insists that she is the best person in the world."
"Well, it might not be the best person in the world, but she is the best person in town." Charlie frowned.
"Where do you get that idea?"
"Simlple!" Cecil's eyes were wide. "Alice gets the best grades. She plays the piano perfectly and her dresses are always perfect. At least until the Herdmans get to her and do things."
Beth rolled her eyes again. "Honestly, she isn't always right."