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Luke's life is rudely interrupted when his mum, Pat, collapses at the hospital where she works. Thoughtful Luke, nearly 15, and his accident-prone younger brother Jesse each cope in their own ways. As time goes on it is clear Pat is not going to recover, and Luke's world rearranges itself, while friends and family rally round.
That’s the best way to help your mum get better, quicker.’ There’s a huge crash from outside. Sister stands up and looks over my shoulder through the glass panel in the door. ‘Ah, talk of the devil,’ she says. ‘Here’s your brother now. Does he like baked beans?’ she asks me. ‘Not much. Why?’ ‘He’s had a small collision with the supper trolley,’ says Sister Calder as she opens the door. ‘Seems he’s been bathing in them.’ chapter seven That’s how Mrs McLafferty comes into our world. The next
Uncle Stu says, ‘Get yourself shaved and showered, Jesse, and we’ll get back home to celebrate.’ That’s when I realise that it is our home again. We’ve squeezed the McLafferty cuckoo out of the nest, even if it is only temporarily – and I don’t want her back. chapter eighteen The rest of Saturday melts into a kind of crazy fondue of chocolate, champagne and celebration. Uncle Stu nips into an off-licence on the way home saying he’s ‘seeing a man about a dog’ and emerges with a big bag of
of sozzled witches. Jesse and I can’t help but join in, and soon we’re all helpless with laughter and playing musical wigs. By the time Uncle Stu gets home, laden down with bags, the wigs are back in the boxes ready to be returned to Holt Bros and Mia’s messing around with Mum’s thin hair. ‘I think I’m more of a hat person than a wig person,’ says Mum. ‘Definitely,’ says Mia. ‘I’ll have a look in the hat department when I take this lot back.’ ‘Any of that champagne left?’ says Uncle Stu.
and trying to tear them apart with her fingernails. ‘He’s not taking over the role of “dad” in my life anyway,’ I point out. ‘I have a dad. You saw him, remember?’ Freya raises her eyebrows in mock surprise as if to say, ‘You’ve changed your tune.’ ‘Oh, and how many times has your darling dad called since the funeral?’ says Freya. She starts counting up on her fingers, gets to ten and then counts back down again. ‘I’d make that once. Not exactly ringing the phone off the hook, is he? Look,
Are the Champions’ completely off-key at the top of their voices with the rest of the Joan of Arc supporters, who are all on their feet and swaying. The volume is turned to MAX, and everyone’s grabbing each other and kissing. They’d be doing a Mexican wave if there were enough supporters in the crowd. I notice that Luiz and Stu are having the kind of embrace you don’t normally see on the football field, but no one else seems to notice or care. The presentation takes place a few minutes later.