Makenzie, Dustin, Florence, and Brett Newell
A family picnic
Sat Jun 24, 2017 00:38

“Brett, would you please pass me the potato salad?”

The youngest Newell at Sonora nodded and obliged, passing the bowl to his cousin, Makenzie. They, along with Dustin and Florence, sat on a square picnic blanket, each occupying a corner with several food items in the center. Having found seasonable weather and combining Brett and Flo’s love of the Gardens with the desire to gather and the delightfulness of a picnic, the Newell children had concocted a fairly comfortable way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

“Thank you,” Makenzie smiled, accepting the potato salad and scooping a serving onto her personal plate. She then sat the bowl back in the middle. “So, how are you liking Sonora?” she posed before taking a bite.

“It’s fun!” Brett grinned, his mouth half-full.

“Don’t talk with food in your mouth, Brett,” Dustin chided. “And,Makenzie, maybe don’t ask him questions while he’s eating. You know he never learns.”

“He’s learned a lot, actually,” interjected Flo. “I can happily report that his grades are looking wonderful so far this term.”

Dustin glared at his sister. “It doesn’t count if you’re doing his homework, Florence.”

“I’m not doing his homework,” Florence insisted. “I’m just helping him! He’s doing all the work himself. Writing everything down-”

“Writing down what you tell him,” Dustin interrupted.

“Hey!” Makenzie’s voice was firm and authoritative, in what Brett could only assume was her Prefect Voice. “No bickering.”

Dustin and Florence, in synchronized disgruntlement, bit into egg salad sandwiches, quietly murmuring their discontentment into their mouthfuls. Brett took a heaping bite of an apple, a crisp crunch echoing through the Garden’s clearing. For a while, they ate in relative silence, until the lack of conversation (and the symphony of chewing sounds) began grating on Makenzie’s nerves. “Okay,” she conceded. “You can bicker a little if you have to. It’s better than this!”

“Dustin’s mean, pretentious, and snooty!” Brett exploded.

“Wow, Brett,” Dustin countered concedingly, “‘Pretentious’! I see you’ve learned a new word. Too bad you don’t know how to use it properly. It’s completely redundant to say ‘pretentious’ and ‘snooty’.”

“I can’t win,” Makenzie sighed. Flo placed her hand on her cousin’s leg in sympathy, and the oldest Newell gave a weak smile.

Brett opened his mouth to shoot back his best retort - which, admittedly, would not have been very clever - when he noticed the moment the girls were having. “Hey, I’m sorry, Makenzie. Sorry, Flo,” he offered with a weak smile.

“What about me?!” cried Dustin. Brett gave a casual shrug, and his brother reeled in horror.

However, before anyone could say anything else, Florence noticed someone approaching them and, being a friendly person, waved to them. “Hi there!” she smiled. “Would you like to join us? I promise my brothers will behave.” The concluding sentence she aimed back at Dustin and Brett, the former of whom nodded with a mortified expression while the latter offered another shrug.

    • IntrudingCleo James, Sun Aug 6 12:46
      Cleo was wandering back through the gardens feeling tired and dirty but happy. She had spent the morning weeding the vegetable patch and gathering any ripe produce she saw, leaving it in a basket for ... more
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