Contemporary Sad Teens & Young Adult

               “I’m getting so excited about the marvelous Anniversary Party I’m organizing for my dear sister Kate, and for Fred. You’ll come too won’t you Selina? We‘ve invited all her friends and our entire family, minus kids. Fred’s parents Andy and Ally will be there as well. It’ll be grand. It’s at the new Crown Plaza. We’ve booked a suite on the top floor. Fantastic view. The lounge is massive and has its own bar. The gorgeous bedroom and en suite we’ve reserved for them to stay the night, is right down the hallway. Fantastic view from there too. “

               “You’re doing great, Maree. Just look at you. You don’t look too pregnant right now but please don’t overdo it.”

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ve got family to call on to help. My brother and Trev are going to make sure the room is set up properly. My older sister Lara can help out at the bar. She’s from down South and won’t know many of the guests, anyway. She’s staying with Mum. Trev and me as well as my sisters Lara and Leah, not Kate of course, will go up the next day to make sure it’s all clean and tidy again. Get rid of the empties.”

               “I don’t know what’s with Mum these days, Fred. She said ‘no’ to me visiting, doesn’t want to visit here. There is something real fishy going on. You’d think she’d want to catch up with your Mum and Dad. They’ve been here a week, are over their jet lag, and I’ve had to tell them that Mum won’t see them until our Anniversary this Saturday. She’s been too busy for Maree as well. My oldest sister arrives tomorrow and Mum will pick her up from the airport and apparently, she’s staying at Mum’s. I’m not sure about her husband. I’m hoping Tom can make it too.”

               “Hello, darling. So good to see you. So glad you could make it up here for Kate and Fred’s Anniversary. There’s been a change of plans, though . . . You’re staying with Maree and Trev.”

               “Oh, what’s happened? Am I staying with you afterwards?”

               “No because on the Tuesday I’m leaving and going down South on a sightseeing holiday.”

               “What? Why didn’t you tell me? I came up here to stay with you. Will I be at Maree and Trev’s for the whole week?”

               “Well, that depends on you, dear. You can arrange your flight to leave earlier if you want. If it costs more, I’ll pay the difference. If you leave earlier, you’ll be home for me to stay with you on my travels and we can catch up then.”

               “Mum, I never just stay for a family Wedding or Anniversary. I always stay for at least a week. You know that. I insist I at least come over to yours on Monday before you leave.”

               “We’ll see. I’m rather busy.”

               “I can’t understand why you didn’t tell me all this before I arrived!”

               “Well, here we are, at Maree and Trev’s. “ . . .

               “Hi, Sis’, great to see you. What a surprise, Mum. Kate said you’ve been too busy for anything. Yet here you are. I’m rather caught up at the moment but you can visit briefly. Come on in.’

“Oh, I’m not staying. Way too busy. I’m just dropping Lara off.”

“What? And picking her up when?”

“She’s staying with you. You have a spare room. . . Well, bye now. See you on Saturday at the Anniversary.”

“Come back here, Mum! She’s not staying. Don’t you dare just leave her here!”

“I’m so sorry about this. I had no idea you didn’t know. What can I do?”

“I guess you’ll have to stay. Sorry to make you feel so awful. It’s just Mum. Don’t know what’s up with her these days. So weird and mysterious. Weirder than usual. Too busy to see us. Too busy to talk on the phone. Brasses me off.”

“I wish I hadn’t come here. I’ve booked for a week and I can’t stay with Mum after the Anniversary either.”

‘What? So, you’re here for a week? What on earth is she playing at?”

“Mum told me she’s going down South on a road trip next week. She suggested I rebook my flight and leave earlier.”

“That’s rich! Only thinks of herself. A road trip though? All that driving? Doesn’t sound like Mum at all.”

“She offered to pay the extra cost of changing the flight. I guess there must be a very important reason she’s being like this and not telling us anything.”

“This not telling is beyond a joke. Dropping you off like a piece of baggage on the doorstep is outrageous. Please excuse me, you can stay, but Mum has a nerve.”

“Well, who is this? You look like one of the family. Can you open this bottle of Bubbly please?”

“Sure thing. I’m Lara, Kate’s older sister. I’m the official bar-maid. I don’t know all of the guests so this is a great way to meet the drinking ones, at least.”

“Thanks for that. My name is Gordon.”

“Oh yes. Gordon Bellamy. She’s spoken of you. . . and they have finally arrived . . .Welcome, Kate and Fred! Great to see you and congratulations.”

“Hi Lara. Where’s Tom?”

“It’s just me. Someone had to mind the children---”

“Oh, what a huge surprise! I can’t believe my eyes. Aunt Marijke, Auntie Nell and Uncle Jan-Dirk. How fabulous to see you. When on earth did you arrive in New Zealand?”

“We arrived two weeks ago, ‘Katia’.”

“Two . . . weeks . . . ago?”

“Your Mother planned to surprise you. I can see it worked. Don’t cry. We’re really here.”

“I’m just astounded. Happy to see you, but shocked. Two . . .weeks . . .ago?”

“We’ve finally found out what Mum’s been up to. She’s kept her siblings all to herself for two whole weeks. So selfish of her.”

“It is a lovely surprise though, Kate. Fancy pulling it off without us suspecting. Don’t be too mad at her.”

“I’m so happy they are here but no time for a proper catch up. Just heard that next Tuesday they’re all off sightseeing down South! So thoughtless of Mum.”

“I knew there must have been a huge reason to drop Lara off at our place to stay. Poor thing had no idea about any of it. Mum, suggested that she change her tickets and go home after the Anniversary. I’ve told her to stay with us for the week, until next Sunday afternoon when her flight’s booked.”

“Well, I’m going to fix this situation. If Mum can go away, so can we. Leave it to me. I’m going to find out if I can book the holiday home up North from my friend.”

“Thank you so much for letting me come over to spend the day with you, Mum. So lovely to spend the morning with you all in town. Maree and Trev are happy for me to spend the week, so it’s all going to work out anyway. But when I arrive home, we had plans to go to Lake Wanaka for a week with the kids. I’m not sure if we will be at home when you plan to stay.”

“It’ll be fine. Just tell us the dates you are away and we’ll go to the West Coast first. So much to see and we can stay at my friend Julia’s while we are over there. We’ll come back over after you return.”

“That’ll be just lovely.”

“There is another problem though.”

“Yes, I know. Maree has had to take it easy because she’s been spotting blood. The midwife told her it’s all the stress. So, she’s been staying home and things have settled down. I’ve been helping round the place.”

“Mm, is that right? That’s not the problem though. Kate rang me before and she’s organized to go up to the holiday home and is going to ask Maree and Trev to go up with her on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She’s still very angry with me for keeping her from her Aunties and Uncle. I thought it was such a fantastic surprise, . . You ought to rebook your flight back home to save the family anymore hassle?”

“Actually, I’m not sure that Maree should go away to the countryside under the circumstances. What if the problem becomes worse and she needs to go to hospital?”

“But you said, things have settled down. So, you need to change your tickets. I’ll pay the balance. I said I’d do that. You’ve got to understand that it’s only right for Kate to have her way. Don’t be selfish.”

“Mum . . .sniff, sob . . . I’m sorry I’ve tried every possible way to get home, at any time, on any of the days right up to Friday. . . sob, sniff . . . and because of the America’s Cup Race which is on at the moment. I’m afraid I’m stuck. . . sniff, sob . . . There is nothing available and nothing I can do either. I wish I hadn’t come at all.”

“Thank you so much for coming over, Trev, to pick up Lara and take her back. You can understand I simply haven’t the room. Please don’t take any notice her. She’s rather upset for some reason.”

“Hi. Trev. Thanks for picking me up.”

“No problemo. I quite understand your being upset about having to say goodbye to Aunties and Uncle after such a short time with them.”

“Yes, that’s it. I’m ok. Thank you for letting me stay.”

“Hi guys. Howz your day been? I’m so much better now. Kate has rung and invited us up to the Bach up North. So sorry about you, Lara. You can’t come because you leave on Sunday before we get back. But you’ll be ok here on your own for the weekend. You can catch a taxi to the airport. I’m so excited.”

“But Maree, you shouldn’t be getting excited. And all that travel in the car up there and back. I just don’t think its right to leave Lara here on her own either.”

“You don’t mind staying here on your own, do you Lara. You’ll be fine to catch a taxi to the airport on Sunday.”

“I’ll manage.”

“It’s not right, Maree. I think we should stay home.”

“Well, hello. What a lovely surprise, Kate and Fred! And you’ve brought your parents. Hi there Andy and Ally. Come in for a cuppa.”

“We were out for a walk and thought we’d drop in.”

“You’re very welcome. Great to see you. Come on through.”

“Now that we’re all together, you’ve got all our drinks, and you’re finally sitting with us, Lara, I thought you’d like to say to Maree that you don’t mind her and Trev coming with us for the weekend.”

“No, I can’t say that. I’m worried about Maree going away so far away in case she ends up needing to go to hospital.”

“I will take such good care of you, Maree. You can relax all weekend. You won’t have to do a thing. You want to come, don’t you?”

“Of course, I do. You don’t mind me going away with Kate and Fred, do you, Lara?”

“It isn’t up to me.”

“Go on, Lara. Just say you’ll be alright.”

“What? Did she just walk out? She didn’t even answer.”

“Lara, I’m so sorry about what happened. It just isn’t right. I’ve told them we’re not going. Maree isn’t happy and she’s stormed off to the bedroom. But in case you’re blaming yourself. Don’t. I looked at Fred’s face and decided we wouldn’t go. My decision.”

“None of this is any of my business but thanks for reassuring me. I still feel embarrassed though.”

“Mum, I’m so upset with Lara. Because of her, Maree and Trev aren’t coming. It’s going to be so hard coping with my Mum-in-law Ally. Maree and Trev being with us would have made it so much easier and a lot more fun. She really wanted to come.”

“Yes, it’s really nor fair of Lara. I told her to think of you, not herself. Such a nuisance she couldn’t have just gone home.”

“Now that there is just the two of us here, Lara, I want to have a word about something.”

“Yes Mum.”

“Before we left for our holiday, Kate told me why Maree and Trev never went away with them to the Bach. It was so selfish of you to not let them go.”

“I wasn’t selfish. I did everything I could to leave for home as early as possible. It was impossible.”

“Kate was so upset. It turns out she was worried about going away with just Fred, Andy and Ally. She thought Ally would be easier to manage with Trev and Maree along as well. I guess we were all selfish in our own way.”

“Mum, it had nothing to do with me. I definitely wasn’t selfish. Kate tried to manipulate me in front of everyone. It was embarrassing.”

“It had everything to do with you staying there.”

“Trev made the decision. He said he looked at Fred and made his decision not to go. It had nothing to do with me.”

“Are you telling me Fred didn’t want them to go?”

“I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. You’ll have to ask Trev why they didn’t go.”

“Oh, Hi Mum. You’ve arrived safely back home. Hope you four had a lovely time.”

“Lara, I rang because you lied to me. I asked Fred if he hadn’t wanted Trev and Maree to go up North with them and he didn’t know what I was talking about. Said he never said anything.”

“Mum, it has nothing to do with me. It was Trev’s decision to make and he decided when he looked at Fred’s face. I have no idea what his face looked like. I wasn’t there. You needed to ask Trev.”

”As far as I’m concerned, you’re just making up stories. What’s the point in asking anymore questions. It’s clearly your fault.”

“Sniff, sob . . . I really wish I hadn’t gone up North at all.”

“Darling Lara, whatever is the matter?”

“Just more of the blame game after the secret surprise thing Mum did. Went off without a hitch but Princess Kate wasn’t amused. Yet, I had been the one dumped on Maree’s doorstep to stay, uninvited. So awkward. Found out Mum couldn’t have me at her place as we arranged. Then I ended up stuck there when I couldn’t change my tickets to come home. With only Fred on my side, Kate and Maree went out of their way, resorting to emotional blackmail to get my blessing on Maree and Trev going away with them for the weekend. Neither of them discussed the viability of their plan with either Fred or Trev. I’d have been left behind and then have to catch a taxi to the airport on Sunday. Obviously, I’m a grownup lady and can manage something like that. But that’s not the point. They really couldn’t have cared if I went to the party or not. Oh, wait! They needed me as a bar-maid. After that, I quickly became an inconvenience. It’s like Kate and my Mum don’t actually get on and when they disagree about something, they gang up and find a scape goat to blame. If it isn’t my sister Leah, it’s me. I’m over it.”

“Tell you what love, I’ll make sure we both go up to see them all the next time.”

“Hopefully that’ll make it easier. They behave when you are around. Families? Who would have them!”

February 23, 2023 09:03

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Tim Frater
04:38 Mar 04, 2023

Hello there, Kaitlyn Wadsworth [I'm guessing from Aotearoa]. Laura, content writer @ Reedsy has invited me to critique your submission. I should say at the outset that I was born and raised in Nelson, NZ, spending my first memories in Thorpe and Dovedale, where Wadsworth's school buses would pass by our home weekdays. Their depot was in Nelson city itself. I now live in Dawesville, south of Perth, Western Australia. My first cousin, Jocelyn Fowler married a Wadsworth. They live in Richmond. Any relation? Now to your story [I sincerely hope t...


22:21 Mar 31, 2023

Thank you so much for taking your time to do this. Shame on me. It comes from sometimes having little time and then submitting before running through Grammarly. Naturally, I like to do this for the obvious reason of being blind it ones own writing errors. We use more commas than other lands so I like to err on the side of caution and leave them out, sometimes when it is conventional to add them in. Grammarly could have sorted it. It was such a novel type of writing with only speech throughout! I did my best to meet the challenge in a short t...


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