From the Roman and Ella series.
Lily is the most troublesome of all Roman and Ella’s children. Sometimes Roman thinks she’s a fairy child, spirited into their family to raise. Armed with an extra amount of energy she is enrolled into ballet classes in the hope that something might take. When the renovations on their house were complete, some of the kids changed bedrooms giving Liam the chance to bunk in with Marcus, their foster child. Liam is, of course, Lily’s adorable younger brother (and minion). Removed from Lily’s influence Liam just may get a chance to plot his own campaign for world domination but first Roman and Ella have to intervene to get Lily to agree to their plan.
“I no no understand,” Lily sniffed again.
Roman glanced at a for once frazzled Ella before he gave a large sigh, “I got this,” he murmured.
Ella barely glanced back at him but he knew she was raising an eyebrow in sarcastic query as she said, “you sure?”
“Yeah,” he confirmed although like always he was never as confident as Ella when it came to the children.
Leading Lily by her hand up the stairs and to her bedroom he sighed as she hung back and scuffed her shoe on the floor before stomping over to her bed. He watched as her eyes immediately went to where Liam’s bed used to be and she sniffed again, even louder.
“Okay Lils, girls and boys are different.” He began.
“Boys have pee-pees.” She muttered folding her arms at him as she sat on her bed.
“Yes, and when they start growing up they want privacy,” Roman said softly sitting on the floor in front of her so she would have no choice but to look at him as he explained.
“But he’s only got a small one,” she pouted.
Roman hurriedly bit his lip to stop himself from laughing. “Well anyway, sometimes boys need to do boy stuff and play rough, like play fights. I know,” he held up his hand when she was about to protest. “And sometimes girls like to be girly,” he murmured. “Marcus and Liam can be rough boys together. You can start being girly. It doesn’t mean that you ..”
“Are you being sexist there?”
Roman flinched at Ella’s comment from the doorway before he turned his head and glared at her.
“It doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to join in with boy games Lil’s, we know that but as you are growing up you might like your privacy too. “
“But Liam’s seen my vee pee,” Lily muttered clearly not buying his reasoning.
“Vee pee?” Roman choked on the word.
“Lils,” Ella began.
“No El, I’ve got this,” Roman said again. “Lily you like reading,” his daughter nodded. “And maybe Liam doesn’t.”
She tilted her head to one side and looked at him her lips parted on a pout. “He does…”
“But not big books like you,” Roman pointed out.
“No but he’s not as many years as me,” she muttered her arms still folded.
“And if he were still here in the bedroom would you want him to like books?”
“He woulds if he was here…” Lily muttered her eyebrows emphasising her fierceness.
“But what if Liam wanted to like playing on Marcus’s DS?”
“Well…” her mouth parted in an ‘o’ shape. “He could borrows it?”
“But if you were here reading would you like it if he kept talking about the DS game and stopping you reading?”
She gave him that look. The one her mother had down so well and used on him on many, many occasions. The one which said if Liam even thought about doing anything like that he’d pay dearly for it. Roman had to stop himself from smiling.
“He wouldn’ts…” she muttered eventually.
“And what about if you wanted to tell him about your book but he was playing on the DS?”
“He would listen,” Lily insisted.
“But would it be fair that he has to listen to you but you don’t want him to interrupt your reading?”
“That would be fairs,” Lily insisted.
He waited a moment, “Really Lils?”
“Uh huh,” Lily muttered obviously picking that up from her mother too.
“And you know how you like your toys and clothes,” Roman continued. “This way with Liam moving in with Marcus you won’t have to put up with his clothes and toys too,” he added softly.
“I so can,” Lily muttered sniffing again.
“And,” Roman started again, “You can decorate your room how you want it.”
“Liam and Marcus can have boy stuff. You can have your girl stuff. “
Lily muttered something under her breath before fixing him with a glare, “I no nos want pink!”
“I was thinking a nice purple like upstairs in Meggy and Sophie’s room,” Roman said softly.
Lily had to lean forward to catch his words and before she could stop herself she nodded as she thought about having a room like her elder sisters. Then she got that sneaky look on her face again. Just like her mother, Roman thought waiting to see what ‘demand’ Lily was going to come up with.
“I go to Karate,” she announced.
“You go to ballet,” Roman said quietly.
“No nos, if you make me have room by myself then I go’s to karate. I wants to learn to kick.”
He looked down so she wouldn’t see the admiration in his eyes and forced himself not to smile.
“I don’t know, I mean…” Roman paused deliberately, “ If you can’t go to ballet when we tell you how will we know that you can go to karate…”
“Buts I will… “
“You might decide you don’t like it and by then we will have paid for lessons. Just like ballet.”
Lily frowned and glared and screwed up her face all at the same time.
“I no nos like you anymore,” she declared.
“So you’ll have your room purple and go to ballet and we’ll see about karate,” he murmured.
She nodded in agreement. “Buts I still no like you!”
“I think you need to stop giving Marcus a hard time, he hasn’t ‘stolen’ Liam from you. We decided to put them in together.” He told her quietly.
Lily sighed one of her comically big sighs as she looked at him with her blue eyes. “I say sorrys.” She announced.
“Thank you,” Roman murmured.
“And maybe sorry to your Mum for being a pain to her today. “
Lily gave him a look that said ‘don’t push your luck’ before she huffed a breath through her lips. “I is sorry,” she muttered sounding not in the least bit sorry.
“Thank you Lily,” Ella murmured from the doorway.
“So are you ready to go see Liam now?”
Lily nodded but the expression on her face showed that she was still plotting something. She laboriously climbed off her bed and turning she looked at it. “If I’s can decorate cans I’s have a princess bed?”
“Like your sisters?” Roman asked thinking of the four poster beds he’d installed up in the attic for his daughters when Lily had been born. They had flimsy lace curtains around the beds and although he hadn’t seen the appeal he knew his daughters had loved them.
“I think we can do something like that. You’ll have to draw how you want your room.”
He caught Ella smiling at him and felt himself choking on emotion. He’d tackled a dad thing and from that proud smile she was giving him he’d done good.
“I’s going to marry Marcus and then he can see my vee pee,” Lily announced as she left the room.
“Don’t even go there,” Ella murmured to him as he was about to vault after his daughter. “You know how stubborn she is. “
“Go there… no, no… I was just going to see if she was trying on one of your wedding dresses.”
Ella glared at him before turning to flounce out of the room.
“That is not funny.” She announced.
“Which part? Lily actually wearing a dress without moaning about it or…” he paused, feeling suddenly depressed as he continued, “the fact that you have more than one wedding dress?”
“Perhaps if you weren’t…” Ella began.
“Weren’t?” Roman prompted.
“This conversation is over. There is no point dragging things up again.”
He stood still and watched as Ella moved away from him before glancing back into Lily’s room. Only days before they had moved bedrooms for everyone. Sammy had gone into the attic bedroom spending ages moving his books and things. He had loved every moment of organising his desk. The others had laughed at him before organising drinks and snacks to be taken upstairs so they could have a welcome party for him.
They’d re-organised Mia’s room to include an area for her baby, Callie. Marcus had been thrilled when they’d asked his opinion about Liam moving into the bedroom with him. Anything that included him seemed to make the little boy blossom, although marrying him off to Lily seemed a bit much!
He found himself chuckling before catching up with Ella and reaching for her hand.
“Should we warn Marcus?”
“Not to make any plans to escape of course, now that Lily has decided.”
Ella glared at him for a second before her lips twitched.
“I don’t know what was making me giggle more, your reaction to vee pee or the fact that Lily has now blackmailed her way into getting her room decorated.”