One look from her mother stopped her words right in their tracks. Peter smirked but stopped himself from smiling. They went on talking for a few more minutes, until he felt better about school, and then they all headed off to bed. Down in her room, Cerys spent a few minutes reading before she gave in to exhaustion and fell asleep.
The next morning was another uneventful breakfast. Eggs (some scrambled, some poached, some hard-boiled), toast, milk, and even some sausages. Her sisters insisted on cereal, and the contented himself with a bottle while their mother cooked. The kitchen table was its usual mess of children either wanting more food or refusing to finish what they had, but Cerys’s mother and father were used to it; they even seemed to like it. Cerys herself wasn’t so sure she ever wanted to be in charge of such a large brood, but at least her parents were happy.
The door bell rang at a quarter till eight, as it always did. Both of the little girls ran to get the door, and came back a few minutes later with Himeko in tow. One was gripping her hand while the other orbited her excitedly.
“Good morning, Mister Westminster,” Himeko said when Cerys’s father looked over at her.
“And a very good morning to you, Himeko,” he replied with a warm smile. “You seem popular with the girls this morning.”
Himeko was basically a friend to everyone in the family. All of Cerys’s siblings liked her; she could even get the baby to laugh when he was in the middle of crying. Fortunately, she seemed happy to have that kind of attention, so nobody made a fuss about needing to calm down.
Now that she was there, it meant that everyone had to get breakfast cleaned up, put their plates in the dishwasher, pull on some shoes, and don their backpacks. Mister and missus Westminster met their children at the door, doling out hugs and kisses and admonitions to behave at school. Within just a few minutes, five children were out the door and headed down the sidewalk. It was another typical morning, to be sure.
The elementary school that the girls attended was just a few blocks down the road, with the high school just a short way beyond that. Cerys had the duty of walk the girls down to the entrance gate and waving to the teachers as they went in. She used to drop her brother off there, too, but now he walked with them the rest of the way to the high school.
‘With,’ of course, was a very loose term for what really went on. Sometimes he would take off ahead, other times he would lag behind, but either way it was rarely evident that he had left the house with the girls, or the he took the same path as them. If he was really grumpy, he might even walk on the other side of the street. Cerys and Himeko did not mind it, though. They liked being able to talk together and not have a boy barging in.
The was about the extent of the normal that that morning was. As the girls crossed the road to the row of houses across from the elementary school, Himeko pointed to the monstrosity parked in front of that street’s only three-story house. Cerys gasped when she saw it; the moving truck had to be the largest that any company made available, a rightful eighteen-wheeler. Several men were unloading furniture from it, and Cerys could not help but marvel as she though of how much it would have suited even the king of the highest realm.