The next day, he saw the girl again; she was sitting on the wall in front of his house. He was hungry, again. After asking his mum, he grabbed two apples, and headed out front to the wall.
“Here, have an apple,” he said shoving the apple into her hand, before sitting down next to her on the wall. It was made out of the same stuff as the footpath, but it was in blocks, like large lego. It came up to his knees.
“I’m Nash, by the way,” he said, promptly taking a bite out of the apple, not asking her name, he was content to just sit and eat. He could feel the girl’s eyes watching him, but he resisted looking at her. Instead, he looked down the street to where his good friend Casper lived with his older brother Judd. He sighed when they weren’t out in the yard.
He relaxed a little when she started to crunch on her apple as well. As he ate, he kicked his feet back and forth against the wall. If his mum saw him, she would tell him off for scuffing his shoes.
“Ivy,” a soft voice spoke from beside him, followed by some more crunching.
“Pardon?” he asked, remembering to use his manners, not sure what she was referring to.
“My name, it’s Ivy,” she said shyly looking down at her feet.
“Oh, cool,” he responded, and then they fell back into silences as they finished their apples.
“Do you only live with that lady?” she asked suddenly, her own feet kicking.
“Yeah,” he answered. “She’s my mum, she’s pretty cool.”
“I live with my aunt and uncle and cousin,” she says, she seems to hold her breath, waiting.
“So you guys going to live there long?” he asked, and by her surprised laugh, it wasn’t the question she was expecting.
“I think so, Uncle Jon just got a job here, a pro, pro, promotion,” she struggled on pronouncing promotion.
They were interrupted by his friends yelling from down the road. “Nash!”
Nash waved them over before introducing the brothers. When the brothers reached them, the boys all did the handclasp backslap thing that boys did. Then Nash moved to introduce the girl.
“Guy’s this is Ivy, she’s from next door, she’s cool,” Nash introduced her. “The tall one is Judd, the small one is Casper. They live in that house there.” The brothers nodded at her, and she shyly did the same.
“You got a bike?” Judd asked Ivy.
“It’s not unpacked yet... Miles,” she called out and waved her cousin over. He looked surprised and then happy when she hailed him.
“How’s it Ivy?” he seemed to want to touch her shoulder, but refrained himself.
“Guy’s this is Miles. Nash, he’s the boy from next door, and the brothers are Casper and Judd and they live over there.”
And once again all of the boys did the hand slap, but not the back slap.
“Ask if you can come for a bike ride for us, we are going to the park, and Judd is fourteen?” Casper said.
“Umm, Miles?” Ivy looked uncertainly at Miles.
“If you ask, I am positive we can go,” smiles smiled sadly at his cousin.
“Nash, you know where the park is?” she turned to him.
“Can you come with me, so that if we are allowed aunty and uncle, know where we are going?” she looked uncertain.
“Kay, I just need to let mum know where I am going to be, if she can’t see me she freaks,” Nash gave a reassuring smile, zooming into the house yelling.
“MUM, CAN I GO TO THE PARK?”
“Nashville, please don’t yell in the house,” his mum came out of her office.
“Sorry Mum, may I please go to the park with the X Brothers, and the cousins from next door?” he walked right up to her wrapping his skinny arms around her waist and giving her a squeezing hug that she liked.
“So, you have met the people that live next door?” she asked as she kissed the top of his head.
“Yeah, and she wants me to go with her when she asks if she and her cousin can go to the park, so that I can tell them where it is. Is that okay if I do that to Mum?” he talks into her chest, avoiding her boobs, gross.
“Would it be better if I came with you?” she asked, kissing my head again. In answer he pulled back and grabbed his mums hand, and dragged her to where his friends were.
“Mum, this is Ivy and her cousin Miles, guys this is Mum,” he introduced the two new kids.
“Hey Casper and Judd, nice to meet you Ivy, Miles?” she smiled down at them.
“I thought that your parent’s might be reassured if I came with Nash, while you asked. In case they have any questions.”
“Mum, they’re Miles parents, and Ivy’s aunt and uncle,” he rolled his eyes like this was normal.
“Well, all the same, should I come over too?” she brushed a hand over Nash’s hair.
“Yes please Ma’am,” Ivy’s shy voice replied.
That is how Nash met Ivy’s aunt and uncle for the first time. The brothers stayed outside while the four of them went in search of the adults. As they went into the house, which was similar design to his, Ivy poked her head into the rooms, uncertainly.
“Aunty or Uncle?” she called out. There was a crash and then running footsteps.
“Yes baby girl?” the adults spoke at the same time, as they rushed into the hallway.
“Everything’s okay,” Ivy took a deep breath, holding up her hands. “Umm, Nash here and his friends have invited me and Miles to the park. The older boy is fourteen and they were wondering if we have bikes!”
“And, is this what you would like Ivy?” Uncle asked. She bit her lip, and then looked at Nash, and shyly up to his mother, who smiled at her.
“Umm, yes I think so, but I told them the bikes where still packed,” Ivy seemed to think about this.
“The brothers have spare bikes, that will fit Miles and Ivy,” Nash spoke up.
“Do you want me to call them in so you can meet them. They live just down the street at 29.”
“I can draw you a map to the park if you like?” Nash’s mum volunteered.
“Yes please young man, can you call your friends over so we can meet them,” Uncle agreed.
I walked to the door, and yelled. “Yo come on!”
“Nashville Kensington, do I have to ground you young man. No yelling in the house,” Mum said sternly to me. I grinned at her and walked up to her and tip toeing so I could kiss her check.
“Sorry mum, sorry Mrs and Mr,” he smiled his beautiful smile at them all. But he was saved by the brothers entering puffed, they had run from the footpath.
“We all make mistakes, and please call me Jon and this is Marla,” Jon introduced himself and his wife.
“This is Casper and Judd, Judd is a mature young man, and he looks after the younger boys very well,” Mum introduced the brothers, and made Judd blush with the praise.
“Very good, very good, Ivy, this is really what you would like?” Aunt Marla asked.
“I want to swing on a swing,” she said simply. “Please Aunt, and it would be cool if Miles came too.”
“Alright then, Judd, can you bring them back in half an hour?” Marla asked, tears springing to her eyes. I looked at the girl knowingly, bad things had happened to her too he was guessing.
“Of course sir, half an hour from now, or half an hour from the park? Does the half hour include biking, or we can walk if you prefer that? I just want to know so I can set my alarm,” he held up his watch that he had got for his fourteenth birthday, it was a man’s watch, and I was envious of it.
“It will take them about five minutes on their bikes or about ten if they are walking,” Mum told them.
“Alright, alright, sixty minutes,” Uncle Jon laughed, holding up his hands in surrender. All the kids hooted in delight and took off out the door, after Ivy had shocked her Aunt and Uncle with a quick fierce hug. Then she too was out the door. Nash stayed behind a moment, watching and making sure they were not in hearing.
“I will make sure the others don’t nag her to answer questions,” when the adults looked at him questionly he continued. “About her sad eyes, we don’t have to talk about the bad stuff. Or the bad people.”
Totally embarrassed I raced out of the house, not caring if I would get in trouble.