|Len struggled awake, wondering why she felt so tired. Then, as Ge muttered in her sleep and moved slightly, she remembered, and smiled.|
She'd only arrived at Kirren a few hours earlier, after a nightmare 8 hour journey from Oxford. The plan was to snatch today with Ge, then head back to university the following day, to be back for Monday morning. Len was spending any free weekends she had in this way, trekking by several different trains and buses down to Kirren. It was tiring, but she wanted to spend as much time with Ge as she could, so it was worth it.
The older woman stirred, and opened her eyes. She smiled to see Len looking at her, and pulled her closer, still warm from sleep, and not awake enough to talk yet. Len snuggled closer, and tried to doze off again, knowing that this moment of peace was not likely to last that long.
Sure enough, as the light began to peek around the curtains, there were sounds from the animals, needing attention, and Ge had to get up, and begin the morning tasks. A working farmer doesn't get to sleep in any more at weekends than during the week even if they have been up until the early hours. Ge dressed quickly and came over to drop a kiss on Len's cheek, half buried in the bed clothes.
"Get some more rest, love, I'll be back for breakfast in a bit" Ge said in a low tone, and left as quietly as she could. When Len first started her visits to the farm, she had wanted to be involved with everything, followed Ge sleepily around these morning jobs, trying to help. But Ge was someone who worked best alone, and she was so used to her work on the farm that it was obvious that help wasn't needed. So now Len slept a little longer, and had more energy for later in the day, which suited them both very well.
Ge looked briefly in at each twin as she passed, long habit meaning she couldn't pass their doors without checking. The two ten year olds were still fast asleep, bundled up in a mass of covers against the chill of the spring morning. Ge went out of the farmhouse as quietly as possible, and for half an hour there was peace.
Then, as the light became brighter, Josie tipped herself out of her bed, and padded off to her Aunt's bedroom. Len was woken suddenly by the creak of the door, and a little face appearing barely a few inches in front of her own nose.
"You're back again, then" Josie said, almost conversationally. Len shifted back a bit to see her better, and then nodded.
"Morning Len" came a slightly shyer voice from the doorway, and she smiled at John, standing there with hair tousled up at the back, blinking sleep from his eyes.
Meanwhile, Josie was looking at her sternly. Len was wary of Josie by now, for the little girl was not always thrilled with her presence, seeing her as a rival for Ge's attention. Len got on with John far better, but Josie was always an unknown quantity.
"You probably won't want to, will you." stated Josie incomprehensibly. Len frowned, trying to remember if Ge had mentioned any plans.
"What won't I want to do?" she asked warily, pulling the bedclothes around her shoulders. She looked longingly towards her dressing gown on a nearby chair, but she didn't have much on. She didn't feel comfortable about getting out of bed to get it with the twins there, silly though she knew that was, in a way. She didn't think they were old enough yet to think anything of it, or to properly understand Len and Ge's relationship. However she stayed wrapped up in the covers, trapped in the bed for now.
"Go to the lighthouse" Josie said, still looking stern. "You won't want to go, will you?"
Len was stuck. Was this a longstanding plan that she had interrupted? Should she say Yes, she did want to go? Or was Josie trying to tell her not to come, so that she didn't have to share her Aunt Ge with Len?
Len wasn't going to be left behind, so she chose the first course.
"I'm quite happy to go to the lighthouse, if that's where we're going today" she said, and was rewarded by a huge smile. Josie bounced away, intent on getting up and dressed. Len looked at John, slightly puzzled by all this. He just smiled, pulled the door to and went off to get washed and dressed himself.
Len had her answer soon enough. She was sitting at the breakfast table with the Twins, being told all about their week, when Ge returned to the house. As soon as Ge had taken her boots off, Josie was up and holding onto her, saying that Len wanted to go to the lighthouse today.
"She does, does she?" said Ge, looking over at Len herself, who agreed that she was happy to do whatever was planned. She had enough experience with her young siblings to recognise a scam when she saw it. Clearly this trip hadn't been planned already, despite Josie's earlier implication.
However she did want to get to know the twins better, so if they wanted to go to this lighthouse, she wasn't going to get in the way.
"Well, let me get some breakfast, and then we'll see" said Ge "I told you before that I thought it was too short a visit this time. I think Len might be a bit tired for a scramble like that. Grown ups don't always have lots of energy, Josie"
Josie's face fell, as her plan seemed to be falling apart. "But she wants to go..." she started, then stopped at a piercing look from Ge. "Well... She said she didn't mind. She doesn't look tired, even if she is very old... we could help her ..."
Len spluttered into her coffee, and had to mop her face. After checking that Len was ok, Ge sat down at the table, Josie immediately looping her arms around her aunt's neck as if for a piggyback, then leaning against her in ownership. Len hid a smile, seeing the unconscious message 'She's mine, you don't get her' and wondering whether Ge realised that Josie was feeling a bit displaced.
"We will see." Ge said firmly. "For now, I want you to take Timmy for a walk, both of you"
"But he's been walking with you while you do the chores" Josie objected. Ge gently removed the girl's arms from around her neck and pointed her towards the door.
"Go." was all she said, and both twins obeyed, although Josie was slower to move. Timmy gave Ge a bemused look, but followed them out on John whistling to him.
Len waited until the door swung shut and started to speak. Ge, however, put up a hand, then went over to the window. Sure enough, a few minute later, the tops of two small heads could be seen, just visible over the sill. As the twins moved up to peep in, their eyes met hers, and they grinned sheepishly and ran off.
Len had to laugh, they were such a double act of mischief sometimes. Ge grinned and returned to the table and leant in to say a proper good morning to her.
"What's the story with Josie and the light house, then?" Len said, when they surfaced. "I didn't mean to contradict anything. She caught me off guard."
Ge laughed, and explained. "It's my cousin Julian's fault. He mentioned an old lighthouse that we used to stay in. Ever since, both of them have been obsessed with staying away overnight in the lighthouse. I told them that I wouldn't risk it until there was another adult to go with us."
Len began to understand. "Ahhh! So I'm the adult then?"
Ge nodded. "It's in a bit of an out of the way place, only accessible when the sea is calm enough. I made the mistake of saying that the weather looked likely to be good this weekend. We don't have to go, it's not the most romantic of places to be!"
Len was tempted to say no, to stay in the warm cosy farmhouse until she had to return. She knew that Ge would happily do that, and if she was honest, she wasn't thrilled by the idea of a cold trip out to a lighthouse, probably a night with very little privacy, followed shortly by her 8 hour journey home.
However, being Len, she couldn't help but see things from all sides. John and Josie had barely ever had to share Ge before now. Even if they liked her, she was taking up the limited free time Ge had. The farm could not afford to pay for many extra people, but an old friend of Ge's came in on Sundays to help. Len knew that Sunday had always been Ge's chance for uninterrupted time with the twins.
Len was never one to put her own feelings first, and this was no exception.
"Let's go" she said firmly. "A little bit of adventure sounds good to me."
Starts a term or so after Jack and Joey find out about the girls. This is about 3 years before School of Adventure. John and Josie are about 10 years old, the Triplets about 22 ish, Ge is about 30 ish. Will ultimately end up in All Change Reorganised as the linking bit of the story.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Apologies for being a little confusing, this is set 3 years before School of Adventure. Len and Con are still at university. The twins are about 10. It isn't long after Len and Con 'came out' to Jack and Jo.