Just as she was about to put the last tray of treats in the oven, Pippa heard a knock on door. She looked at the wall clock, who can it be she wondered and looked out the window trying to see who the untimely visitor could be. She was very dirty,covered with flour and icing, almost from head to toe.
When the unknown visitor knocked for a third time, Pippa went to the door and opened it with a sigh, hoping it is not someone too important. Maybe it was just someone selling something.
She couldn't believe her eyes when she opened the door. It was her niece (also foster sister) Dorothy Patches.
Pippa (exclaiming): Dorothy! What on earthy are you doing here, I wasn't expecting you for at-least another two weeks. Come in come in! How are you?
Dorothy: Hey Sis. I assume you didn't get my letter then. I'm so tired of France and their inefficiency. Sorry to show up unannounced at your door then.
Pippa: No no no, don't worry. I'm just really surprised, but in a good way. Come in, you must be exhausted!
Dorothy: I would just like to see Kyle, I can rest later. I'm so glad to just be with him again, my poor poor baby.
Pippa: They are at daycare, I usually take him and the twins there in the mornings, just so that they can interact a little with some other babies. Delia is real good with them. I'm fetching them at around noon again.
Dorothy: Oh that is a pity, but I understand. Thanks so much for everything you've done for him, how can I ever repay you.
Pippa: Don't worry about that, he was no hassle at all, and he is such a sweet boy. Lets clear the table and have some tea. I have freshly baked scones too.
While Pippa cleared the table, Dorothy got the cups and the teapot.
Dorothy: So you say Kyle was a good boy? Any illnesses I should know about?
Pippa: Oh D he was so good and terribly cute, I never had any trouble with him, but he did miss you alot. Sometimes he will sit and play and then just start to cry, but luckily not inconsolably.
Dorothy: Poor baby, I still can't believe I did this to him and to myself too, but we did survive. And I'll never leave him again.
Pippa: You were very brave to leave him, but we took good care of him. It will be hard to let him go again. He feels like my own now and I think that sometimes Sarah loves him more than the twins.
Dorothy: Well, maybe we will be around, so you can still see him and I will be grateful if Sarah would want to babysit sometimes.
Pippa: So you are still planning on moving to Sugarbush Valley and to open the hairdresser? That will be wonderful and Sarah will be so happy.
Finally the tea was ready and Pippa could sit down too.
Dorothy: Yes we are definitely moving here, I'm going to start looking for a house tomorrow, but today I'm taking a break. I'm just not sure when Antonio will be joining me.
Pippa: What do you mean? What is going on D, I can sense something is not right?
Dorothy: Oh Pippa, it was an absolute nightmare. Firstly we were done in by the representative that booked the package deal for us. When we arrived in Paris, we had to find out that the whole thing was a scam! There was no representative, no accommodation organised, no hairdressing course booked and obviously we had no money. We were lucky to convince a manager at one of the hotels to let us stay in advance and pay for the room on a daily basis. It helped that Antonio could speak french. Obviously we had to look for work immediately. Again he got lucky at a barber shop, but the wage was minimal and barely covered our accommodation.
After a few days I managed to get work as a lunch lady at a private school. They pay was really good and the job was easy and not to tiresome. Before and after work I search the whole city for a place to do a hairdressing course. After two weeks I finally found what I was looking for. By then we have saved up enough money to attend the one month course they offered. We completed the course and both got apprenticeships easily.
I worked for a wonderful flamboyant woman who taught me alot, but poor Antonio wasn't so lucky. When the apprenticeship month was up and it was time to leave, his boss refused to let him leave or pay him. I couldn't take it anymore, my heart was aching for Kyle and everything was becoming too much for me. Hard as it was for him, Antonio begged me to go home and don't worry about him. So here I am. It still feels like I'm dreaming and I'm really worried about my husband!
Pippa was quietly listening to Dorothy's story, she couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her heart went out to this woman, who has already went through so much in her young life. Pippa got up and went to give her a hug.
Pippa: Don't worry D, I'm sure everything will work out eventually. Let's try to stay positive.
Dorothy: I've been positive for so long , I don't know if I'm able to stay positive for much longer.
Pippa: We will work something out with the accommodation and people will always need haircuts. I think you need some rest before you see Kyle. It is almost time for me to go and fetch them.
Dorothy: Thanks Pippa, I knew you will be there for me.
Pippa: Lets go upstairs, so that you can take a nap.
Dorothy: I guess that is a good idea, but first I have something for you.
Pippa: What is it?
Dorothy: You know the new french brand, Croûte, you love so much?
Pippa: No! Don't tell me...! That is just too much, those things are unaffordable!
Dorothy: Nonsense, and by the way they are really cheap in Paris. Here you go, I knew you've wanted this since the day it was launched!
Pippa: Oh wow, I can't believe you got me the pink strawberry toaster, I've wanted this for so long, I'm actually saving for it in secret. Dorothy, thank you so much.
Dorothy: It is a great pleasure and just a small token of my appreciation for looking after Kyle. And here is just a small jar of that Strawberry jam that has made the headlines recently.
Pippa: You have really spoiled me, thank you, thank you, thank you!
The two sisters went upstairs. Pippa showed Dorothy where to put her bag and to make her comfortable in Sarah's bed.
Pippa: I'm going out now. See you when you wake up.
Dorothy: Thanks for everything, Sis.
Dorothy fell asleep almost immediately. Pippa was relieved as she knew that Dorothy needed the rest. Her mind was already working overtime how to help her sister. She had an idea, but she'll first have to discuss it with Ben. That will, however, have to wait till later.
Pippa quickly did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. Time have snuck up on her so she rushed out of the house, taking one last quick glance at her new toaster, she was already a bit late.
Pippa arrived just in time, many kids was leaving already, luckily Delia is one of her best friends and will never leave the babies. Zac and Sarah was saying good bye to their friends too.
Delia: Hi Pippa, I was just beginning to worry. Although only a minute, you are never late. Everything ok?
Pippa: Yes, I guess. Dorothy arrived this morning. Unannounced, so that took me by surprise, but I'm so glad that she is finally home. They are thinking of staying in Sugarbush Valley.
Delia: Oh really! Kyle will be glad to see his mother. Is Antonio with her?
Pippa: And she will be glad to see him. No he isn't, long story, but he will soon be. Delia, I have to run, so sorry I can't stay for a chat. See you tomorrow!
Delia: Of course, see you tomorrow.
When Pippa and the kids arrived home, Pippa quickly prepared the babies' bottles and sliced some of the fresh bread for Zac and Sarah.
Sarah: Mommy, is it true that Auntie D is here? I've overheard you speaking to Mrs Chiffon.
Pippa: Yes dear, she is here, she is actully taking a nap in your bed. Hope you don't mind. I'm sure she will be up soon.
Sarah: No I don't mind. I can't wait till she wakes up, I'm sure she has lovely stories to tell.
Pippa: I'm sure she does, do ask her when she wakes up.
Zac: Oh mom, freshly baked bread, my favorite. Thanks! Can I have another slice?
Pippa: It is my pleasure, Zac and of course you can have some more.
After a short but revitalising nap, Dorothy was awaken by the voices downstairs, she quickly got up and ran downstairs. She was very eager to see her beautiful baby boy after so many months!
Pippa: Dorothy, you are up! There is Kyle, sitting on the floor.
Dorothy: Oh my beautiful boy, come to mommy. You are such a cute beautiful little baby boy!
Kyle: ma ma ma ma
Dorothy: That is my clever boy, yes mommy.
Sarah: Auntie D, I'm so glad to see you. Will you be staying long?
Pippa: Sarah, Auntie D will stay as long as she needs to. Have your lunch and then you can have a nice long chat with her. Mommy quickly has to go to daddy, but I will be back soon. Is that ok Dorothy?
Dorothy (still fiercely hugging and kissing Kyle): Yes of course, I guess the babies need to go to bed, I'll give them there milk. And Sarah, yes I'm staying.
Pippa: Wendy can hold her own bottle but Tom is a bit lazy, so just keep an eye on him. I guess you will want to hold Kyle while feeding him. Ok, I'm off then. See you later.
Pippa quickly left. Dorothy was more than happy to stay with the kids. Sometimes she wondered if she shouldn't have rather studied for a kindergarten teacher, like her best friend Delia. Speaking of Delia, she will have to go and say hi soon. Maybe tomorrow, she just want to clear her head first.
It was days like these that Pippa was glad that they lived in the center of the Village and close to everything. Ben's fishmonger was literally only a short walk away from their house. She found him and Elmar Mulberry fixing the plumbing of the shop.
Pippa: Hi Ben, hello Elmar. Hard at work?
Ben: Hello Pumpkin, this is a surprise. Yes, Elmar is fixing the plumbing. I'm starting to regret buying this shop, it is literally falling apart.
Elmar: Hi Pippa, don't listen to Ben he is exaggerating. I'll have it fixed in no time.
Pippa (giggling): Don't worry Elmar, I'm used to Ben's dramas. Ben can I quickly discuss something with you?
Ben: Sure Pumpkin, what is the matter.
Pippa: It is nothing serious, but it is a decision we need to make together.
Ben: Now you have me worried.
Pippa: Dorothy is here, she showed up at around 10:00. The poor woman is in state.
Pippa quickly relayed the whole story to Ben.
Ben: Oh dear, that is terrible. Glad that she is here now, we will look after her. Did you offer that she can stay as long as she wants to?
Pippa: I was thinking about it, but didn't want to without talking to you first. So you are alright with her staying?
Ben: Of course I am, you know I adore your sister and even Antonio is not too bad. So until they have sorted things out she can stay with us and when Antonio shows up our house will be open to him too.
Pippa: I'm glad that you are so open minded and kindhearted, but I was wondering... May I offer her the attic bedroom?
Ben: You mean our bedroom?
Pippa: Yes. I was thinking that maybe we can move the kids all into one room, we take either the nursery or the kids room and then they can have some privacy of their own. Dorothy will be more than happy to pay rent. I just don't want to put her out on the street, and with the scarcity of housing in this village I would rather make it permanent now, then to do it in a month's time.
Ben: I guess you have a point. I'm fine with the idea, and I'm sure you have already sorted everything out in your head. With regards to the rent paying. I think that is unnecessary for now. We can review that when Antonio arrives and when they have jobs. For now she will be a guest in our home.
Pippa: Oh Ben, thank you so much. Thank you for understanding. We can inform her of the great news tonight after dinner.
Ben: We are so blessed with everything we want and need, it just makes sense to help family in need!
Pippa: You are so wise, my old husband. I have to go home then, Dorothy is alone with the 5 children and I'm sure Zac and Sarah is laden with homework. See you later.
Ben: Bye Pumpkin, see you later.
Elmar: See you again Pippa.
Pippa: Bye Elmar, give my best to Mae, I'm in a bit of a hurry I will stop for a chat later in the week.
On arrival at Cedar Terrace, Pippa was relieved to see that Dorothy was doing the dishes and that the kids were busy doing their homework.
Pippa: Dorothy, you are such an angel for cleaning up and doing the dishes. Thank you.
Dorothy: No problem, I must repay my accommodation in some way, as I have no money.
Pippa: Nonsense! Did the babies go to bed easily for their nap. Kyle and Tom passed out quickly, but Wendy just didn't want to close her eyes. I think she wasn't totally comfortable with me.
Pippa: Don't worry, she does that with me too. So glad they are taking a nap, it just makes the rest of the day a bit easier. And these two how did you get them to start on their homework.
Dorothy: Oh no that wasn't me, they started on their own.
Pippa thanked her older children for being so good and promised them a treat when they have finished their homework.
Later that evening when the kids were in bed, dinner was finished and all chores was done the adults sat down to have a talk about the living arrangements.
Pippa: Dorothy, Ben and I had a chat this afternoon and we would like to offer the attic bedroom to you and Kyle, and Antonio of course when he arrives. If you so wish it can be a permanent arrangement until the three of you find something more suitable.
Dorothy (jumping out of her chair): Really? Are you serious? But I have no money to rent a room from you, how will I ever repay you?
Pippa: No one said anything about paying rent. For now you will be a guest in our house. I do, however, expect you to help me in the delicatessen and with the children, things can get quite hectic, especially in the afternoons when the older children have to do their homework and have extra mural commitments.
Dorothy: Of course of course, but I was planning on starting to look for a suitable space to start our hair-saloon and maybe I can start to do haircuts at people's homes. I really don't want to stay for free.
Pippa: That is a great idea, I'm sure some of the female villagers would love to have someone attend to their needs in the privacy of their own homes.
Dorothy (hugging Pippa): Thank you once more for opening your hearts and house to me and little Kyle. I'm writing to Antonio tonight. He will appreciate it too, now he doesn't have to worry about us anymore.
Pippa: It is our pleasure. We will work everything out and this weekend we will move everything around, and get you and Kyle settled in your own room.
Just a quick thanks form me to Lisa Luna who sent me Dorothy, and a mommy for Kyle. And a special thanks to Jane Cherié for the rement gift that incluede the toaster and the jam. Without you guys this story wouldn't have been possible and boring.