Max Bramble has been living in Sugarbush Valley for almost two weeks now and he can honestly say that he was enjoying every moment of it. He loved the fact that he and his mother lived in a tent. "How cool was it to be permanently camping." This morning Max was feeling especially happy and proud. He wanted to surprise his mother with coffee and porridge in bed... and he managed to make a fire all by himself.
As he was about to pour the maize into the pot, he noticed someone approaching, a beautiful cat lady.
"Good morning, you must be Max?" the cat lady said. Max was astonished that she new his name, "Yes, that is me, but how did you know my name?" Cecilia smiled, "I'm sorry, I'm Cecilia Teak, a good friend of your mother's and she has talked about you so many times, and how excited she was to have you finally come and live with her."
"Oh, you are THAT cat lady!" as soon as he spoken the words, Max turned scarlet red and in the hope to cover up his boldness, he quickly asked, "I'm making porridge for my mom, would you like some?" The mere idea, send the bile rising up Cecilia's throat immediately, but then she felt instantly ashamed. 'Am I too good for porridge, is this what I have become', she thought to herself..."Of course I want some porridge, I would love to taste it." she redeemed herself.
"Cecilia! Good morning! What are you doing here?" Livvy was awaken by the voices outside and decided to investigate. "Good morning, Livvy. I had the pleasure to meet your boy and he is making por...! Oh sorry, I almost spoiled the surprise, go on Max ..."
"Morning mommy, I making coffee and porridge for breakfast. I managed to make a fire on my own, and Miss Cecilia here said she wanted to join us." Max rambled.
"Oh Max, well done, I'm so proud of you and thanks for making breakfast." Livvy hugged her boy, feeling extremely happy and content.
While Max finished the porridge, Cecilia and Livvy caught up. Livvy told her all about Max's arrival and apologised for not visiting with her sooner. "That is fine, I understand completely, you two needed to settle in and get used to each other. How is that going? Cecilia inquired.
"Cecilia it is so great to have him with me. Though I have not much, I have my boy and that is all that I ever wanted." Livvy sad brightly.
After breakfast Livvy indicated that she needed to go into the village, first to inquire about a place for Max at the school and then she need to go to the Supermarket, "I didn't realise that a six year old can eat this much." she giggled. Cecilia indicated that she will accompany them, she couldn't help but notice the brown shopping bag that Livvy used as her purse.
Cecilia kept her distance while Livvy went up to talk to Mr Chiffon. Livvy felt quite nervous and wondered if she would be up to home schooling if they don't have a spot for Max. "Good morning, Mr Chiffon, I'm Livvy and this here is my son Max, I was wondering if you have a minute or two for me?" Livvy greeted.
"Good morning, of course. Hey Max. How can I help you, Livvy?" Gordon was his friendly inviting self and Livvy found it easy to talk to him.
She quickly explained her problem to Gordon, and without hesitation he confirmed that there is indeed a spot for Max and that he can start the next day, "The sooner, the better, you know!" he winked at Livvy. The relief washed over Livvy, she thanked Gordon for his kindness and promised to see him again the following day.
While Livvy and Cecilia decided where to go next, Max was hit by a something, it turned out to be a soccer ball. "Hey!" Max yelled in surprise.
"It's my ball! Sorry for hitting you. I never have someone to play with, and sometimes when I kick it back to myself, I'm not quick enough!" the little mole boy explained.
"That is ok, I will play with you. I'm Max." Max introduced himself. "Really you will? That will be great! I'm Muddy by the way, see you tomorrow!" and the little mole boy disappeared just as quickly as he appeared.
After the stop at the school, the threesome headed for the village center where the Supermarket was situated. On their way they passed the Boutique. "Livvy, let's go in here, I love staring at the exquisite items they sell." Cecilia suggested.
"Are you serious, I don't belong in a shop like that, remember I'm a common Gypsy." Livvy replied shakily. "Oh nonsense, and the proprietors of the shop, the Hunter-Smyths, are not snobbish. They love all customers." Cecilia explained.
Max decided to wait outside while his mother and her friend went inside. Livvy surely felt out of place and regretted letting Cecilia talk her into coming in. "Good morning Cecilia!" A friendly looking dog greeted them. "And I see you brought a friend, wonderful! I love new customers." Charles clapped happily. Marqaux Bercher was also shopping for something pretty and greeted Livvy and Cecilia too, "Good morning ladies, enjoy the shopping, Charles has some wonderful items."
"Yes Charles, this is my friend Livvy and we are here to buy her a handbag!" Cecilia winked. "Wait! What?" Livvy exclaimed, totally confused.
Charles instinctively realised that he needed to give the two friends a minute and moved away. "Cecilia what do you mean? I barely have money for food, how can you expect me to buy a handbag?" Livvy was furious. "Oh calm down," Cecilia interrupted, "I will pay, I want to spoil you and I think a handbag is the perfect gift." Livvy turned red and Cecilia was unsure if it was due to anger or shyness. "Livvy, listen, you have been my rock these last few months, I know you don't realise it, but without you I would have had a hard time adjusting in this village, and the talks about the passing of my son, you gave me hope again, please, P L E A S E, let me do something for you now." Cecilia was desperate for Livvy to understand.
Still not being 100% convinced and still feeling a bit angry by being tricked, Livvy turned to the shelf with handbags. They were quite exquisite and she wont mind owning one.
"Found anything ladies?" Charles ventured over. "I don't know. Cecilia, what do you think of that one." and Livvy pointed at a bag with green trimmings and flower embellishments, hoping it was the cheapest one in the shop.
Charles quickly took it down from the shelf, "This one? I think it will suit you perfectly, Miss Livvy. Do you agree Cecilia?" Cecilia looked at the bag and then at Livvy, as if she was trying to pair the two. "Yes! Perfect!" she yelled as she clapped her hands.
The ladies left the shop, after thanking Charles for his help. "Thank you, Cecilia, for this surprise, but it really wasn't necessary. I helped you through your grief because I wanted to, not because I wanted something in return." Livvy said. "I know that, my friend, but after everything you went through you also needed to be spoiled, so please enjoy your handbag and don't mention it again." Livvy nodded and the two friend said their goodbyes.
Just outside the Supermarket Livvy bumped into Shirley Darwin. "Hello Livvy, and this must be Max. Welcome to the village Max." Shirley greeted friendly. "Oh and a what a lovely handbag you have!" Shirley exclaimed. "Thank you Shirley, how are you doing?" The two ladies chatted some more before they went their separate ways. Livvy desperately wanted to do her shopping at the Supermarket now.
"Thanks for coming Livvy and do call me if you need any more advise on how to keep that boy's tummy full." Wilbur laughed as he waved Livvy off. "Thank you Wilbur, Fliss, always a pleasure to shop at the Supermarket." Livvy was relieved that the shopping was finally done. Now she just wanted to go home.
As they arrived at the campsite, that they called home, a peacefulness washed over Livvy. She has a home, even though some might disagree, her son is finally with her, they have food to eat and she made a friend that she can trust and looks beyond her eccentricity. Life is good.