Ayden read every book from cover to cover on the way home; well I think he looked at the pictures. When we finally got home to our porch, he ran up and ordered a burger then carefully stacked his books up to start on them again. He insisted I unroll one of the posters and hang it on the wall so he could look at it, and the other he will put in his room. I don’t know where, but he was very adamant about doing just that. It amused me to think about poor Vincent cleaning up his shop, and it shocked me that Ayden could even do that sort of thing.
He had placed his burger to the side so he doesn’t spill any sauce on his mags and was moving back and forth turning pages and taking a bite, he coordinated it all very well.
The poster was a shot of Blue at the Portugal surf carnival, it was a great shot but I won’t paint it. I already have enough of Blue’s images around and really I can always look at the real thing anytime I want.
Evan was being very quiet; I think his mind is churning over something.
"What’s on your mind bub?"
"Nothing much Den. I was thinking you should buy the art supply shop, put someone in to run it then you wouldn’t have that two-hour drive to the city."
"I really don’t know much about that side of the art world bub, and Millie did say it wasn’t a viable business. I wish I knew someone who knew about that stuff, I suppose it wouldn’t cost a bomb to buy either."
"Let’s just leave it to Millie bub, if she's any good at the cake decorating Patrick would know, I will give Susan her card next time she's here."
"Okay Den, I suppose you can't help everyone, maybe we should look at sourcing your canvases from China."
"What, like buy in bulk?"
"Yes Den, I will ask the agent to price some for you, we can store them in one of the containers out back."
"Good idea and maybe he can source some paints and brushes while he's at it?"
"You could buy out Millie’s shop and open a small one down here."
"Bub you think too much, I will go into town and get my stuff, you do shop, me do paint, or did we forget that?"
"No Den, I was only trying to help Millie out, she's a good old stick, a bit slow but nice and did you see her eyes Den?"
"I agree bub but let’s leave it for now, and yes azure blue, she's family I think."
Horse came up to the shack for lunch then he and Evan were going back for a surf, he looked at the poster and sighed. Ayden kept his eye on his magazines and when Horse grabbed one he gave him the Ayden death stare.
"Don't crinkle Hoth."
"I won’t, keep your shirt on, Horse will look after them."
I don't think Ayden believed him but he let him look at them anyway. When he finished flipping through the pages his lunch had arrived so Ayden gathered up his books and went to his room to read.
I poked my head in and he had fallen asleep, he was surrounded by Blue’s images. I once again looked at his walls and decided there just wasn’t any room for his poster, then it hit me. I looked behind the door and of course the perfect spot for it was found.
I left him to sleep and when I got back to the porch the men were gone so I returned to his bedroom and gathered up the mags, then I laid down with my son to have a nap with him.
I dreamt of falling greeting cards and magazines, and Ayden being covered in them laughing his head off. I sometimes wonder who's the biggest kid because I felt myself chuckling all through the dream.
He was up and about when I woke and I found him in the kitchen talking to Rita about the newsagency and how he had bought six magazines. He grabbed me as I walked in and squeezed my legs then started emptying his pockets of loose change.
"Is enough dah?" I guess he wants to pay me back.
I counted out his coins and put three dollars of small change aside, then pushed the rest back to him.
"Yes son, plenty enough." I will put the change in the big tin he uses for his real savings. A regular banker, our son is just like his dad.
His veggie burger was ready and I felt a little hungry myself so I grabbed one too. We sat at one of Rita’s tables and had them while watching the flow of customers flitting from shop to shop then eventually ending up here. Tush gave me a little bum dance as he passed by and Bubble, not to be outdone, did the same. I prayed Apple didn’t wobble past, that would be far too much.
My son wanted to drown his burger in tomato sauce but I stopped him, then gave him a talk about actually tasting the good food his nanny made for him. His eyes were big today, and bluer than ever, whatever happened in that shop in Warragul has almost made them shine. He was thinking about something when we moved back to our regular seat. His flipping through the magazines had come to a stop and he suddenly jumped up and moved into the sun.
He was shadow dancing and his arms and legs were making all sorts of different shadows on the porch wall. I smiled because I could remember doing that even as a teen. When I skimmed through his book there was Blue in a photo taken at sunset, his shadow was big behind his awesome butt.
He played shadows for about twenty minutes that was until Andy arrived with Alex and was placed on the porch with him.
"Everything okay Alex?" I asked as he brought another coffee pot down.
"Yes Den, he's getting more teeth I think but it’s not disturbing his sleep. I am looking forward to going to Bells with him, maybe to show him off a little bit." He blushed,
"Well I think the boys are going too so he will have plenty of sitters for company."
"He will Den, is Evan going?"
"I don’t know Alex; he hasn’t said anything yet."
"Well we apparently don’t need the camper now, Arras has organised a bigger motorhome for us to stay in and he is having it delivered straight to the caravan park. All we have to do is drive down in our car."
"That was nice of him, a bit more room for you will be good."
"Well he said it was a welcome present for Andy. I'm not going to refuse it though, the camper is small, but I would have made do."
"Nah, it’s good, and you might think about taking Apple or Tush with you to cook and clean."
"Already organised with Ali Den, I feel like a spoilt princess." He chuckled.
I had one of my better ideas and will run it past Evan when he gets home. Bubs would be over the moon to go watch his buddy Blue surf, it’s a big three-hour trip but at least it’s not to another country.
Andy had got bored with the shadow chasing and headed off to see his nanny in the kitchen. I could hear him yelling his orders at her and I also could hear her laughter, no one could understand his jabbering.
Alex smiled at me and thanked me for the umpteenth time for talking her into coming down here.
"As I have said before Alex, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. There was no way we would have left her in that house alone." His head dropped, I guess he was feeling a little guilty for leaving her. I didn’t go on about it, I just left it where it was.
The showers were going and my men started coming in for the afternoon. Patrick was with them and I handed Millie’s card to him and told him he should go see her about cakes and things. He put the card in his pocket and looked quite excited about the new venture. Evan kissed my neck as usual then sat next to me and we watched Ayden shadow dance for a few minutes. Well that's until he noticed Trip flicking through his book and he was up by his side in no time, scrutinising how he handled it.
"I won’t tear it bubby, just looking that's all."
"Wells just look, no damage my Blue."
"Are you going to Bells bub?"
"I would like too Den, the shops not that busy so I'm thinking about it."
"Well I'm taking Ayden in the camper if you want to tag along." He again looked sideways at me.
"I was thinking that, but didn’t want to pressure you into it."
"No problem bub, he needs to go see his mate compete and we can close down for a week or two and have a holiday." I smiled back at him.
"Good, I had better clean it out then."
"Already done, all we have to do is stock it. I would like to stay in the caravan park though and not on the foreshore, just so we have hot water for his showers and electricity for cooking."
"I'm in, we close down here for two weeks and maybe we can take our time coming back."
"What about Rita?"
"She can get her own van and come with us."
"Do you think she would bub?"
"Of course, she doesn’t need to be open and if she did she’s got the boys to run the cafe."
"True bub, we can talk to her later on."
Ayden was still watching Trip who had decided to read one of the write ups to him. I leant in and whispered,
"He still hasn’t told us if Blue’s going to win yet."
I instantly got an image from him, Blue was surrounded by cameras and was holding up a big silver cup.
"Oh rewind, he's going to win." Evan laughed, I suppose he will be betting on him again.
Again I was stunned when Ayden struggled off Trip’s knees and ran into the shop. He was gone only seconds then he returned and emptied his pockets, and coins went everywhere so he yelled at his pa.
"One hundreds on Blue win pa." Evan couldn’t help but laugh as he counted out the money. He pushed the bulk of it back to his son then put the rest in his pocket.
"One hundred it is bubby; I hope he wins for you."
That death stare was out again, how dare his pa have so little faith in his Blue’s abilities? I got another image of Evan wiping out again, it tickled my funny bone so I laughed louder.
Horse arrived with a big bag in his hands and sat next to Trip then emptied it on the table, it was full of surf magazines. He had been to town and bought them. Ayden eyed them off and slowly he moved over to Horse’s lap, his hands were under the table but I was certain they were at the ready to start opening the books.
"Don’t crumple them bubs." Horse half laughed.
Pages started flying everywhere as Ayden’s fingers flipped through the goldmine of surfing information, the ones Horse had bought were different to Ayden's. It had been a funny day and as tired as I was, I still managed to give my man a thorough, up against the bathroom wall seeing to later that night.
"Do you really want to go to Bell's Den, you’re not just doing it for me are you?"
"Yes and no bub, Ayden's old enough to travel now and I want to go watch Blue surf anyway, and I'm sure our boy does. Having you there is a bonus."
"It's going to be great Den, it’s a bit dull when you’re not around."
"Well tomorrow I'll plan a trip around the area but I insist we stay in a park, if only for the security side of it."
"That’s fine Den, are you finished?"
I pumped once more and then it was all over. Evan sighed as I went soft and he rolled over to look at me.
"I love you eternally and internally." I felt so wonderful and fully spent as Evan laughed.
In the morning I blue tacked the poster to the back of Ayden's bedroom door and he was very happy as he sat on his potty to stare at it. I washed him and he shot off to the cafe once again to place his order.
He wasn’t in a burger mood today and was sitting at Rita's kitchen table with a boiled egg and some toasted soldiers.
"What have you planned for Bells my lovely?"
"What do you mean Den?"
"Are you going to come with us or stay here and be bored shitless?"
"I haven’t really thought about it Den, I suppose it would be good to get away for a few days."
"You’re coming with us mum, Ali has it all organised, we just haven’t told you yet," Spud said as he started making his curry.
"So what are my plans then Spudley?"
"Ali's having his motorhome delivered to the site along with Alex and Blue’s, all you have to do is pack enough clothes for a week's holiday and leave the rest to us. And Den there will be a third one delivered for you, bubs and Evan. Nuts might like to take the camper and maybe Tim could share with him?" He grinned.
"That's not necessary Spud, we can use the camper."
"Yes it is Den, we can’t have our little prince sleeping in squalor can we?" I felt grateful but had been looking forward to snuggling up to our son in our small camper.
"So what do I have to take then?" I relented.
"Your clothes Den, the homes will be fully stocked and I think Apple is going to look after you all while Alex and Blue will have Bubble. I asked Samson to do ours Rita, he can't speak English yet but we will get by with Ali's help."
Samson?" I lifted my eyebrow.
"Have you seen him on the beach Den, he has muscles for miles." Spud giggled.
"What about Tush?"
"He's going to stay here and with Hulk and with Ab's help they will secure the shop and cafe; I think they are getting a couple of the guys from Longford to sleep here too."
"So it’s all organised then Spud?" Rita smiled at me.
"Yes mum, the boys will set up a camp kitchen, we don’t want to stink the vans out and they will share the cooking and cleaning so you can have a good break." He kissed her cheek then threw some tomatoes into his giant pot.
Ayden had finished his eggs and was looking at the food warmers for something else to eat. He picked a small burger then ran off to our table. I followed with my coffee and toast thinking about what I had to pack. I didn’t think I would get any painting done but I will take a couple of canvasses and some paints. I do know my son will have a terrible time choosing what clothes to take but his mouth was full of burger when I turned to talk to him, but then I had another thought. I went back into the kitchen to talk to Spud.
"What are we going to do about the surfing crowd that come here to watch it?"
"All taken care of Den, we will make a few hundred burgers and the boys will have a barbeque for anyone that comes to watch it."
"Okay." I then walked back to my coffee and a very rosy cheeked Cynthia. We said our good mornings and she poured herself some hot water then dunked a tea bag into it.
"No more wine and no more coffee Den, this is what I have to put up with now." She giggled.
"Well thank god you don’t smoke, that would be even harder to give up."
"Too right, are you going to see the surfing Den?" Ayden's head popped up and he looked at me, maybe for confirmation.
"Yes Cyn, bubs will have to maybe give him tips and things."
Ayden's smile got bigger, he gave me a thumbs up then sent me an image of him competing in the carnival, and of course winning.
"You’re too young baby." I looked at him.
He ran off and brought his magazine back to show me one of the ads for the carnival.
The little wave chasers under twelve competitions were listed.
"Bubs your too young for that one, maybe in three years’ time?"
"Not!" Here we go again.
"Not! Donts be sillies dah, mes under twelves."
"Well in truth you are under, but I don’t think they will let you compete, anyway it’s just not the done thing, you’re a baby."
"Not baby!" I give up, if he competes the papers will have a field day with him.
"It might not be such a good idea bubs, you will attract unwanted attention, you might bring news reporters here to spoil your bay."
"Doing anyway and donts try and stop mes." Did my son just threaten me? He left to go into the shop, I guess he needs to check he's got everything for his competition, I will have to talk to Evan about it.
"Do you think he will do it anyway Den?"
"Yes Cyn, I have no control over him when it comes to his surfing." I laughed.
"Well from what Abs told me he had a good time destroying the newsagency in Warragul the other day."
"He did my lovely, but we won’t take him there again." I chuckled.
She picked up her phone and read the message that came through.
"He's finished the table Den, want to come and have a look?"
"For sure, Ayden come out here, we have to go to see uncle Tony."
He ran out and then ran his magazine back to his room where it was safe and sound, then we followed him up to Tony's.
He was taking photos of it when we arrived, a few spotlights and a dark green velvet fabric backdrop made it look awesome. I took a deep breath as I scrutinised the carvings around the edges and down the legs, the top was like a mirror.
"It’s magnificent Tony, when did he finish it?"
"After school yesterday, I wanted to polish it up and display it for the photos. I have a good mind to keep this one, it’s absolutely perfect."
"That it is my friend, bloody lovely and well balanced."
"When do you want me to advertise it Tony, and more importantly, what price will we start it at?" Cyn asked.
Tony sighed as he took another photo.
"I want to look at it for awhile Cyn, something’s telling me it’s not time to sell it just yet."
"Okay I understand, it's magnificent and I would want to look at it for ages before selling it too."
"I just don’t know what to ask, Birdy put a lot of work in this table so maybe I should store it and give it to him when he buys his first home?"
"Sounds good to me Tony, whatever you decide I will go with that." Cyn was being very adult and agreeable about this.
"Well it's too beautiful to hide away, I will place it in the shop with a not for sale sign on it." Well at least one firm decision was made today.
We took a detour down to the beach where the boys were surfing and I could hear laughter every now and then. Ayden headed for the water, he didn’t have his board today but his pa would take him out on his.
I sat in the cool water and watched the guys act the goat, they are very playful today. Blue was right out with Nuts having a conversation and Evan winked at me and picked Ayden up then they both paddled out to where Blue was. Although not big today the waves were a good size so he gets some practice in before his competition.
Blue then took my boy for some turns and Evan came in to talk with me.
"What are we going to do Den, he can’t enter that competition, he's too young."
"Well according to Ayden he's not!"
He groaned and said he was going to look at the rules and see if there’s a way he could do it.
"You mean you’re happy for him to compete?"
"Of course Den, otherwise he will wreck the place and we don't want that on camera do we?"
I never thought of that, god forbid if he was ever filmed doing magic tricks, there would be no end to it.
"Okay you look and I'll see if I can find some sponsors for him." I laughed.
"Your surf wear will sponsor him Den, he will be wearing it after all."
I thought about collecting dollar coins to hand to him as a sponsorship deposit, after all he doesn’t know the value of money yet.
We went to shower and it was nearly lunchtime. Rita had set up a play pen on the porch and Andy was happily playing with his toys when Ayden got in with him.
"Coffee Den?" she asked.
"Yes please my love."
"That table is magnificent isn’t it?"
"Bloody wonderful, a real piece of art," I mused.
"I wonder what he's going to do with it Den, he seems undecided now. It's not like Tony to knock back money."
"I have no idea baby, but he seems to think he has to hold onto it for now, and I know that feeling all too well."
"What are you going to do about bubby entering the competition?"
"Evan seems to think it’s okay, but I think a lot of father’s pride comes into that. I don’t know, on one hand I think because he's so adamant about it he should, but on the other hand it’s putting him in the spotlight and I don’t think I am ready for that. He's just a baby still."
"Well he's not going to stay that way for long Den, he will be four soon and in no time five." She sighed.
"I don’t want him to grow up too fast, I like him as a toddler, just like I loved him as a baby." I got a bit sad over it all.
"You can’t stop progress Den, he's going to want to do surf competitions all his life, you know that."
"But it’s too soon." The best thing I can do is not think about it, so I changed the subject.
"Are you packing for your holiday yet?"
"No, we’ve got lots of time for that, apparently I am not to lift a finger while I'm there, the boys will do it all." She chuckled.
"Well just lie on the sofa and let them feed you grapes."
Ayden was getting ready for his big surf today, he left early with his pa and Horse. I think Blue is going to give him more tips, which he doesn’t need because he holds the magic. We had a stern word with him last night, he wasn’t to use any magic and he has to wear his floaters. He actually agreed with us, then he went to pack it all into the suitcase I had found him. When he left I looked in it and he had his loose change, his magazines, his floats, his shorts, T-shirts and tank tops plus some fairy dresses. It was full, thank god there were wheels on the bag, he may not be able to move it otherwise.
Susan was on top of the world this morning when she called in, she and Pat had sold the tea rooms to Harry and his mate. Arras had bought it for them and when he comes back he will bring three other guys he wants to save; they could help work it.
The changeover won’t be for another couple of months then they are going to take a break while the renovations are being done to the old bank.
"Can we borrow the camper Den?"
"Of course you can, it's only sitting there doing nothing."
"How long will you be away Sue?"
"Probably three months Den, we want to see it all." She smiled that gorgeous one of hers.
"Are the boys going to continue the orders with Rita, do you know?"
"Yes Den, and we won’t be making those pies but we will still give her the business. Pat asked around about Millie's cakes and everyone he talked with said she was the best in the world. There are even photos of her works on the net, she has won a lot of prizes Den."
"I will have to have a look then; it all sounds like she’s been hidden away somehow."
"When her husband died she took over his business I think in respect, but her heart was in her cake art."
"Well she should sell off the shop and do it full time, do you think you and Pat could use her?"
"Oh yes, she's perfect for what we want to do, and Robert doing the bread will make it all more like a country kitchen."
"His wife isn’t coming down?"
"No Den, they are going through a sticky divorce at the moment, it has been coming for a long time."
"Sorry to hear that Sue, I guess they have talked it out thoroughly."
"If it was up to Pat’s mum the marriage would have been over years ago, but they stuck it out, they will be happier apart."
I didn’t say anymore, I figured they wanted it to be low key and Robert’s a nice guy, he will do well down here with Millie. My brain was planning ahead again.
She played with Ayden and asked him some school questions then she had to go, the girls were all going shopping to buy something for Cyn and Abs baby this afternoon. I was invited but I said I have to do some painting; I am getting behind.
A cake shop, instantly I forgot the beach because I got an image of a beautiful window full of delicious looking cakes, strawberries, kiwi fruit, cherries, fresh cream and dark chocolate, my son’s face was full of the sugary wonderland. I laughed to myself and started drawing it onto my sketch pad and it felt strange, there were no surfboards in this one. I even had my fairy folk as parts of the decorations on the fifteen or so brightly coloured creamy cakes.
A spotlight will highlight Ayden's eyes and I will paint him as one of the fairy folk dressed in gold leaf, but with his old red shorts on.
I was really excited to put this one onto canvas so I went to grab one, my son had gone to his room to read but had fallen asleep. He looked so angelic like that, my heart skipped a beat as I lay beside him and had a small nap too.
When I woke his arm was resting on my chest and he was looking at me. His eyes, his beautiful blue eyes were radiating into mine, he was showing me how much he loved me, I knew that was what he was doing because I felt it. A tear dropped down my face and landed on the sheet as I leant in and kissed his nose gently.
"Dah, I love you."
"I love you too son, more and more everyday."
He then sat up and everything became human again.
"Come on dah, times a wasting, lunch basket ready."
"Okay son." I was a little disappointed because I wanted to stay in that moment a few more minutes.
He dragged me up to the cafe where Rita handed the basket to me full of chicken schnitzel sandwiches today, and one little veggie hamburger for my son. It was heavier than usual but I managed with my manly muscles to cart it down to my boys. Tim was here again; I suppose he's having a break from work.
"I haven’t finished your other three yet Den, Blue’s surf painting looked the worst but it was actually the better of the three, there are no cuts in them but there are some awfully pinched folds, I am doing each one very slowly."
"Good, that’s okay, just take your time, Blue’s surfing one was the main one, the rest Horse can wait for."
"How was your family get together with Nuts?"
"Excellent, it was a successful reunion on everybody’s side. The family were so happy to see him again and the talk didn’t include Antonia, they felt it better to leave it until he brings it up."
Nuts came in and grabbed a sandwich then he and Tim sat together and talked about nothing. I knew this because I was listening to them, it seems like they are scouting around the elephant in the room.
Evan kissed me then Ayden and then he announced publicly his son had been entered into the junior surf competition at Bells. Ayden jumped up and nearly tripped over everyone to hug his pa as the guys patted his back and cheered him. His tears didn’t go unnoticed and he began to make plans with his dad.
"New outfits for photo?"
"Use your old one, it’s broken in already."
"Your used to that one, if you get a new one for the day you might not be able to manoeuvre it as good as your old one."
"Wipe out todays pa?"
"Needs new board, old ones in berry bads shapes."
Evan stared at him for a minute then asked,
"What colour board do you want son?"
"Pinks pa, likes my fairy."
"Okay, I will get one to match." Ayden’s fists scrunched up and ended up in his lap with excitement written all over his face.
Maybe a new board for his pa is the answer to all Evan’s wipe out troubles.