The Baudin House sits in an old land where time remains still. The trees around the garden keep the property out of sight, creating shade with their tall bodies. Emma likes to spend her summer there, in the perfect shadows of her garden.
She leans back to rest against the linden tree, inhaling the warm and sweet scent lingering in the air.
She squints, one of her eyes open as she sees the silhouettes of her brothers against the Sun.
“Good morning, Edgar. Good morning, Elliott.”
They bow to her in jest.
“Whatcha doing?” Edgar sits across from her.
“I was in the middle of having a peaceful moment by myself, thanks for asking.”
Elliott laughs, leaning on his hands and sits with his legs straight out.
“Come on, read us something.”
Emma smiles. “Are you bored, Elliott?”
“We just want to spend some time with our sister,” Edgar says.
“I appreciate that.” Emma reaches for her diary.
“Would you like to hear some of my favorite entries?”
“I regret my former request,” Elliott frowns.
“That’s what I thought. Alas, I have no books with me. Maybe I’ll read to you this evening.”
“Or you can just grab a book and read to us now.” Edgar lies down on the grass.
“A book? Alright then.” Emma takes a deep breath and stands, knowing they won’t leave her alone. “If I must.”
“Really? You’ll go all the way back to the house, get your book and come all this way back to read to your no-good brothers?
Emma sighs. “Will you two get over it already?”
“I don’t know,” says Elliott turning to Edgar. “What else she called us again?”
“Don’t recall… was it ill-behaved?” Edgar says, rubbing his eyes.
“Yes, something like that… unmanageable, perhaps?”
“I said you were difficult,” Emma corrects.
Elliott gasps with mock offense, speaking with the highest-pitched voice Emma has ever heard from him: “How dare you? We’re angels.”
Emma nods. “I’m going in now. I’ll return with my book and lemonade,” she looks pointedly at her brothers, “as I would’ve expected from you.”
“I was wrong,” says Elliott, touched. “You’re the angel.”
Edgard throws his head back, laughing at his brother’s antics, then tears up some grass and throws at him. “Let her go. I’m parched.”
“You literally just came out of the house,” Emma says with a frown. “You sound like you were rescued from the Sahara.”
“Well dear sister, I was already on my way to being parched, indoors,” Edgard explains. “Now that I am outdoors, I have achieved ultimate parched-ness. No desert required.”
Emma starts walking away as Elliott laughs and the brothers congratulate each other on their banter.
She finds her book on the kitchen table, where she doesn’t remember leaving. Then she opens the fridge and fills three glasses of lemonade.
Elliott and Edgar walk in from the garden, chuckling.
“Have you opened the book?” Elliott picks up a glass and starts drinking. No ceremony or thank-you, at all.
“Shut up.” Edgar says to his brother.
“What’re you talking about?” Emma reaches for her book.
Elliott snickers. Edgar rolls his eyes. “Okay, open it.”
Emma looks at them warily. Have they infested it with bugs?
She opens the book and something drops to the kitchen floor.
“See for yourself,” says Edgar.
Emma picks up the piece of paper. “Train ticket? Are you guys sending me away for good?”
Elliott laughs, spitting lemonade.
“It’s for the summer,” he says, wiping his mouth with his sleeve, which Emma notices with disapproval.
“Le tour d’Europe,” Edgar adds.
“You can visit all those places in your books, museums and all,” says Elliott.
Emma holds the ticket in her hand.
“Does mom know?”
The brothers nod.
“She gave permission?”
“Yes, heavens, be happy!” Elliott says.
“A trip on my own?” Emma looks up.
They look at each other. “If you want,” Edgar says.
“But, we insist on coming with you,” Elliott sits, placing his chin in his hand.
Emma laughs. “You’re the best.”
“Another word for difficult, I guess?” Elliott turns to Edgar.
Edgar nods. “Possibly, something like ‘unmanageable’?”
“Shut up.” Emma kisses Elliott on his cheekbone, then hugs Edgar. “I’ll start packing,” She says, leaving the room.
“It’s at least a month away!” Elliot says, wiping his cheek.
“Three weeks,” Emma shouts back.
Edgar laughs and sits next to his brother.
Elliott places his glass on the table and turns to him.
“I’ve so many pranks planned, I might actually cry from excitement.”