“What's wrong with her?” demanded Felix, the look of surprise on his face genuine.
“Shut up Felix! You big mean.” exclaimed Pippa, immediately ready to defend her sister.
“Come on.” said Cecil grabbing Pippa's arm.
The two left the room in search of their sister, with Marie-claire trotting behind them.
“Really Felix, could you be any less tactful?” said Jo disapprovingly from her end of the table.
“What! What did I do?” he asked cluelessly.
Wisely Jo remained silent, as all the boys looked blankly around at each other, whilst Daphne, momentarily forgotten by Cecil, tried to remain invisible at her place on Jo's right.
“Felicity” called her three little sisters as they mounted the stairs in search of her.
“What do you think is wrong with Fliss?” asked Cecil tentatively, as they methodically opened all the doors on their route down the hallway.
“Embarassed?” asked Pippa. “I would never say it in front of the boys of course, but she is making a silly fuss isn't she?”
Cecil shrugged her shoulders.
Marie-claire sighed loudly.
“You two are so silly!” she moaned.
Cecil and Pippa exchanged glances.
“Excuse me?” asked Pippa, in her most condescending way.
Again Marie-claire sighed. “Don't you see! She likes Seth.”
Her sisters looked blank.
“You goops! I mean she like likes him! Like as a boy!” explained Marie-claire in a motherly way.
“No!” exclaimed Pippa looking disgusted. “She wouldn't be so silly.”
But Cecil looked thoughtful, “Wait a moment Pip, I think little Claire might be right. Have you noticed how long Flissy has been spending in the bathroom since Roddy and Seth arrived? I remember Con telling me once that that was how Len was just before her and Reg got engaged. She said she had always been able to tell since, when her friends liked someone because they always spent more time in the bathroom!” Cecil finished this speech with a grimace at the idea.
“I think both you and Con need to stick your heads under a cold shower.” said Pippa calmly.
“If she does like Seth then we'll deal with that, but I think you are both being stupid. Really Cece, I thought you had more of a brain than that.”
Cecil stuck her tongue out at her sister.
“Come on” moaned Marie-claire tugging on her sister's arms.”Lets go find Fliss.”
“Okay, okay.” said Pippa shrugging off Marie-claire's hand. “I think you're both being idiots though and I bet Fliss will tell you so.”
“Fliss will tell you what?” asked Felicity herself, appearing at the end off the hallway, looking remarkably composed apart from some rather red eyes.
“Fliss!” exclaimed Marie-claire wrapping her arms around her big sister.
“Hey Claire bear” said Felicity affectionately.
“Fliss sure you don't have a crush on Seth?” asked Pippa confidently.
Cecil glared at her sister.
Fliss blushed slightly before replying, “Of course not! What put such a bizarre idea into your head?”
“I told you so” mouthed Pippa triumphantly to Cecil and Marie-claire.
“Are you okay now Fliss?” asked Cecil worriedly, choosing to ignore Pippa.
“Yes of course I am, why wouldn't I be?” asked Fliss quizzically.
Cecil opened her mouth, then thinking better of it, closed it again.
“No reason.” said Pippa quickly.