Side Story 2
The first weekend that Matthias got home to the house he had bought for Sonia and the kids â€“ through a large number of intermediaries â€“ he found her digging up a large chunk of the lawn while the kids ran riot on a swing set and slide which had appeared since he moved them in.
“Daddy!” Karen spotted him first and ran across the garden towards him with the other three in her wake. Pretty soon he had four toddlers attached to him like limpets.
He gathered them into a group hug and then gently nudged them back towards their play. “I’ll play with you later,” he promised. “I want to talk to mummy.” He watched them run off, then headed over to Sonia. She had looked around at the kids exclamations. His stomach twisted at the fact she hadn’t sensed him before that, but her smile looked more like her than anything since the Lavernes tried to kill her.
“Ma-Mike!” He supposed it would be a while before she stopped stumbling over his assumed name. “You’re here!”
“Of course I am. I told you I’d get here this weekend come hell or high water, didn’t I?” He looked at the area of lawn she was destroying. “What are you doing?”
“Getting ready for next spring,” she said as if that explained everything.
“What?” He gave her a puzzled look.
“If I’ve got to live if in this place I want a vegetable garden, so I’m putting in beds. A few apple trees as well. Over there, I think.” She pointed to the end of the garden. â€œAt least the garden is big. This won’t be a home without one.â€
“I did the best I could, Sonia,” he sighed. “Non-astrals just don’t need as much space as we do. It’s not like the rest of the family will be here.” The house wasn’t that small, really. It hadÂ five bedrooms, a large kitchen, a dining room and an admittedly small lounge. But he had to admit it was smaller than the sprawling homes most astral families preferred in the crowded modern era. The large garden was crucial, though. Sonia needed the space.
“I know,” she said. “And it’s not that bad, I guess. At least we’ll have separate rooms for the kids when they grow up. But adding a conservatory and doing the up garden would help.” She paused thoughtfully, “Hmm…. and maybe a loft conversion. That tiny sitting room will get unbearably crowded once they’re bigger.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” he said. “So you’re digging vegetable beds?”
She nodded. “It takes my mind off what I can’t do. At least I’m still physically capable and the exercise makes my head ache less.”
“Oh, well I’m all in favour of it then.” He wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the top of
her head, before glancing at the swing set. “You’ve been shopping?”
“Well I needed to buy food and there was an Argos in town, so I ordered some stuff for the kids. It arrived yesterday.” She gave a shudder. “Buses are horrible.”
“You used the bus?” he asked incredulously.
“Well, I can’t drive in this state,” she said. “And the Lavernes won’t be looking for me on a bus.” She twisted around to look up at him. “Don’t worry I’ll keep a low profile.”
“I know. It’s just the thought of you on a bus with those four when you can’t even nudge them.” He shook his head again. “I’ll leave you some more money so you can use taxis when I’m not here.” He looked at the corner of the garden where she wanted to plant the apple trees. “It’s a good time of year to plant fruit trees. Let’s go to the garden centre this weekend.”