A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

A Period Of Adjustment

Chapter One

Charlotte was 18 years. She had a 12-year-old brother called Harry. For many years it had just been her, Harry and their dad Peter. Sure Peter had had women in his life over the years since he and his wife had divorced, but none that he felt were important enough to introduce his children to. So when Peter had taken Charlotte and Harry out for dinner with Gwen, Charlotte realised that Gwen was very important. This had proved to be true 10 months later when Peter told Charlotte and Harry that they were going to be moving in together.

Zoë was 17 years old. She had an 18-year-old brother called Jack and an 11-year-old brother called Mitchell. Like Charlotte’s family, they had been alone with their mum for many years after Zoë’s father died shortly after Mitchell was born. Over the years Zoë’s mum Gwen had not had many serious boyfriends. There was one about one year after Zoë’s father had died. It had got as far as engagement, before both Gwen and the man had mutually agreed to call it off. The man’s wife had died at around the same time as Gwen’ husband, and they both realised that they were not ready for something so serious yet.

As Zoë was the younger one of the two girls, she looked up to Charlotte and wanted to be friends with her. For her, finding out that Peter was going to be moving in with his kids provided Zoë with an opportunity to be friends with Charlotte.

Charlotte on the other hand, was not too impressed on finding out that she was going to have to move house. She was especially annoyed when she found out that after having her own room for 18 years, she was going to have to share with Zoë. The only good thing that Charlotte could think about living with Gwen and her kids was that she would probably get to see a whole lot more of Jack. She had a bit of a crush on him, and had done for some time. They had been in the same year at school. Charlotte knew that it was probably going to be tough adjusting to sharing her private space with someone else. She knew that there were things that she would not be able to do, like those times when she woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so ended up reading or watching TV. Those things couldn’t be done without risking waking up Zoë.

After all of the kids had been told about the move, it was only a couple of weeks before Peter’s house was on the market, and there were suddenly a lot of boxes around the house waiting to be filled with stuff. Charlotte had to start packing all her things away. She tried to leave it for as long as possible, almost as if she wanted to prolong the move by dragging out the packing. Unfortunately for Charlotte, the fact that there was no chain on the house made it very appealing to potential buyers. Within two weeks of it going on the market, Peter had accepted an offer.

Whilst all the packing was going on at Peter’s house, at Gwen’s house they had to make room for three more people and the stuff belonging to the three more people. Zoë and Mitchell both had to move their things around in order to fit in Charlotte and Harry and their furniture.

On the day of the move Charlotte was woken up early. There were a few last minute things to be done before the movers arrived. As Charlotte packed away the few last minute things in her room, which was basically the things she had needed the previous evening and that morning, she savoured the peace and quiet. It wasn’t that Zoë was going to be loud, but Charlotte knew from past experience that Zoë was quite chatty.

Zoë was also up early. She made sure that her room was completely tidy and that everything was put away, as that would make it easier for the movers to get all of Charlotte’s things in there. And it would make it easier to rearrange the furniture later on that evening.

After breakfast, Zoë, her mum Gwen and her brothers had nothing else to do but wait around the house until Peter showed up with Charlotte and Harry. Zoë went to her room and switched on the TV. She wasn’t really bothered about watching anything on TV, but instead wanted to make full use of the last couple of hours of having her room to herself. She sat on her bed. It had used to be in the middle of the room, but was now pushed into a corner. Zoë looked around her room and wondered what it would be like that evening.

When the movers arrived Charlotte had nothing really to do. They were taking some things over in the car, so the three of them got those things in the car. Peter decided that Charlotte should drive over to Gwen’s house and unload those things then come back and pick him up when the movers had finished. Harry decided to go along with Charlotte.

Zoë was surprised when she looked out of her window and saw Peter’s car pulling up in the driveway. She knew that they weren’t supposed to be getting there for another couple of hours. She watched as Charlotte and Harry got out of the front seats. Peter wasn’t there. Harry went up to the front door where Gwen met him. Zoë went downstairs and was roped in to help get the stuff into the house.

Charlotte climbed out of the car and looked up at the house. She had been there many times before, but this time it was different as Charlotte knew that she wouldn’t be going back to her house and her room. She looked towards the window that was in Zoë’s room, and saw Zoë looking out at the car. Harry was already halfway to the door with a little box by this point. It was the one he had been carrying on his knee. Charlotte opened up the boot and grabbed something from it. Gwen had let Harry into the house, and then come out to help. Charlotte walked into the house. She was expecting it to feel slightly different than all the other times she had been there because this time, it was her house as well, rather than her been a guest.

Zoë carried something into the kitchen and dropped it onto the counter. She didn’t know where it was supposed to go so she just left it on the counter figuring that someone would put it in the proper place later on. She then went upstairs and found her brother Jack. He was heading downstairs to get a drink. The fact that he was getting to keep his room to himself when Zoë had to share was a sore point between the two of them.

“Mum needs some help. Charlotte and Harry have brought some stuff over and they need to get it out of the car so they can go back and get Peter” Zoë said.

“What sort of things is it?”

“I don’t know. Just random stuff” Zoë said. “Mum is down there and so are Charlotte and Harry. I think Mitchell is helping as well”

“Ok fine” Jack said. “But I’ve already arranged to go out later, so I can’t help when the movers actually arrive”

“Fine whatever. I don’t care” Zoë said.

They both went their separate ways. Jack went downstairs to help unload the car. Zoë went into the bathroom to go to the toilet.

Charlotte carried a couple of carrier bags through the front door. She passed Jack on the stairs and headed up to the landing. She then went into her and Zoë’s room. She was still having to try and adjust to calling it her room as well, rather than just Zoë’s room. She dropped the carrier bags onto Zoë’s bed. They were filled with random things that Charlotte had found whilst doing the last check of her room. Most of the things were probably just junk, but she hadn’t had much time to go through it, so ended up bringing it all.

On Charlotte’s way back downstairs, she almost ran into Zoë who was coming out of the bathroom.

“Hiya again” Zoë said.

“Hey. Um, I just put some stuff on your bed. I hope that’s ok”

“Yeah that’s cool” Zoë replied. Charlotte went downstairs whilst Zoë stayed stood by the top of the stairs. Once Zoë heard Charlotte heading out of the front door she began to wonder what it would be like having Charlotte around full time. “She is going to end up thinking I’m an idiot or something. And I know that she hates having to share a room. All I want is to be friends with her, but I don’t think that is going to happen. At least not any time soon” she finished. Zoë then heard someone coming into the house. She ran down the stairs to finish unloading the car.

Chapter Two

When the car was fully unloaded Charlotte and Harry went back to their old house to wait for the movers to finish and then bring their dad back over. They had only been gone about ten minutes before Jack announced that he was going out. Gwen didn’t really have any objection to it since the movers weren’t even going to need to go in his room at all. In fact both Zoë and Mitchell had to spend most of the previous day tidying their rooms whilst Jack was allowed to leave his in a mess.

Jack was out of the door within ten minutes of being told that it was ok to go out. Gwen then told Zoë and Mitchell that it would be all right if they went out as well, so long as they were both back by the time the movers had finished to help get their rooms organized, or at least organized enough for everyone to be able to sleep that night. Both of them decided to wait until Charlotte and Harry got back to see what they wanted to do.

Gwen rang Peter just after Charlotte and Harry had left, and asked whether he wanted her to come over after the movers had finished to help do the little last minute jobs like vacuuming and making sure that the house was clean for the new people that were going to be moving in later that day. Peter took her up on her offer and she said she would set off once she was ready.

Charlotte drove back to her old house. On the way she stopped at the village shop. Charlotte remembered going in there as a little girl with her mum and dad, and even now she was older, she still went in a couple of times a week. Harry wanted some sweets, so they both stood in front of the sweets shelves.

Harry eventually managed to pick out a packet of munchies. He was just about to walk to the counter when he picked up another packet.

“For Mitchell” he quickly explained to Charlotte. “Are you getting anything?”

Charlotte and Harry walked up to the counter. Charlotte quickly grabbed a bottle of cherry coke on the way. She figured that she would be able to drink it whilst the movers were doing their work.

“Hiya Pam” Harry said. Pam had been working at the shop for as long as Charlotte and Harry could remember, and because of this knew practically everyone in the village.

“Harry, Charlotte. Hello” Pam replied. “I thought you two were moving house”.

“Yep today. We have just been to Gwen’s house to drop some stuff off” Charlotte replied.

“So does that mean that I won’t be seeing you in here again?” Pam asked. She scanned Harry’s sweets. “£1 please”. Harry looked down at the change in his hand whilst Charlotte replied.

“I hope not. But it is a bit far away”. Although Charlotte and Harry were at the same school as Zoë and Mitchell, they lived at opposite ends of the catchment area. It would be a forty-minute journey each way between Gwen’s house and the shop. “Especially when I only get the car sometimes”. Harry handed his money over. Pam put it in the till and then scanned Charlotte’s drink.

“That’s a shame,” Pam said. “80p please”. Charlotte handed over a pound coin.

“Yep”

“I hope you enjoy the new house,” Pam said handing Charlotte a 20 pence piece. Charlotte and Harry thanked her and said goodbye. Charlotte was glad that she had gotten to say goodbye to Pam.

As Charlotte drove the couple more minutes back home, she thought about moving house and the driving issue. Charlotte had passed her driving test a couple of months ago, but couldn’t afford her own car. She got to use Peter’s car whenever he didn’t need it. This meant that she couldn’t use it to go to school in. Once they were living with Gwen, she would also be able to use Gwen’s car. Jack had his own car and Zoë hadn’t yet passed her test, which would mean that it would only be Charlotte wanting the cars. That, along with the fact that Charlotte would get to see Jack more often, were two of the good points of having to move. Of course, for Charlotte the list of bad points about having to move seemed endless.

Zoë decided to go on the Internet whilst waiting for Peter, Charlotte and Harry to arrive. Zoë had her own laptop after her Grandpa had died about a year and a half before and had left her, Jack and Mitchell some money each. Zoë had bought a laptop with some of her money, Jack had bought his car and Mitchell had bought a games console. The house had wireless Internet so Zoë was able to go on the Internet without other people walking past and seeing what she was doing.

Zoë first checked her email and then she signed on to MSN. One of her friends from school was online. They started chatting. The topic quickly got round to Charlotte moving into Zoë’s bedroom. The girl that Zoë was chatting to, Molly, also knew Charlotte since they were all at school together. Charlotte was in her final year doing A Levels. Zoë and Molly were in year 12 doing AS Levels. As all three were in sixth form, they shared the common room and study areas. Zoë told Molly about just wanting to be friends with Charlotte, and how she thought that Charlotte didn’t really like her.

When Charlotte and Harry got home, the movers had almost finished putting the stuff in their lorry.

“Charlotte, Harry, over here” Peter called. He was stood by the front door. Charlotte and Harry walked over to him. “Did you drop all that stuff off?”

“Yep it’s done” Charlotte replied.

“Good. The guys are almost done now. So Gwen should be coming in a bit”

“Gwen is coming here. What for?” Charlotte asked.

“Well, I need to vacuum the rooms now that they are empty. But I don’t have a vacuum cleaner anymore. Gwen’s going to bring hers over”

“Why do you need to vacuum? It’s not as if it is going to make any difference to you” Harry pointed out.

“No I suppose it isn’t, but it is just nice to do for the couple that are moving in later. It means all their stuff is going into a clean house,” Peter explained. Peter and his wife had moved into that house when Charlotte was a baby so neither Charlotte nor Harry had any experience of moving house.

“Oh ok” Harry said.

“We’ve got everything in the van now” said one of the movers. He was the one that was in charge.

“Thank you” Peter said.

“I’ve just got my guys doing a last check and then we should be able to set off,” the mover added.

Zoë had finished talking to Molly, and was randomly browsing the Internet. She decided to search for information on sharing a bedroom. She soon realised that most of the information on the Internet about sharing bedrooms was geared towards younger children, or older ones that had shared a bedroom for most of their lives. She then looked up information about stepfamilies. Even though Peter and her mum weren’t married, Zoë was sure that it wouldn’t be long before they were engaged.

She found a bit of information on what to do when stepfamilies move in together. Most sites suggested moving to a new house so that neither set of kids feels like they are losing out on something.

“Well they got that wrong” Zoë said to herself. She knew Peter and her mum had plans to buy a new house together, but as Jack, Charlotte and Zoë were all approaching the age where they would be wanting to move out, Gwen and Peter had thought that it made more sense to wait a while rather than moving to a big house with rooms for everyone, which they could not really afford and then having it half empty in a couple of years.

When Gwen arrived. Harry went over to help lift the vacuum out of the car. When it was on the ground, Gwen pushed it over to Peter.

“Do you two want to go to Gwen’s house now. Then I can go back in Gwen’s car” Peter said to Charlotte and Harry. “There’s no need for you to stick around any longer,” he added.

“Ok” Charlotte said. She wanted to go up to her bedroom one last time before she left.

“Jack’s gone out, but Zoë and Mitchell are still in. They wanted to wait and see what you two were doing this afternoon”

“I thought we were just gonna stay around your house whilst the movers were doing stuff” Harry said.

“You can do if you want. But you can go as well. Just as long as you are back by the time the movers have left to help organise your bedrooms” Gwen explained. “And Harry, it is your house as well now”

“Oh ok”

"We will go over in a few minutes, " Charlotte said. She then went past her dad and into the house.

Chapter Three

Charlotte went into her bedroom. She had had that room since Harry was born. In that time it had been decorated twice. The first time it was painted a light pink colour. That had lasted until she was 14 and felt had she was a bit old for pink walls. It had then been painted a light blue on two walls and a light red on the other two. Some of Charlotte’s friends had thought it was weird, but Charlotte liked it.

Charlotte ran her fingers through her long blonde hair as she slowly sat down on the carpet of her old bedroom. Although Charlotte wasn’t really vain, certainly no more than your average teenage girl, she spent a long time making sure that her hair looked good. Usually she left it down, but because of its length she could do lots of things with it if she wanted to. Because she liked to make sure that her hair was nice, Charlotte often got up early to ensure she would have enough time before school to make sure it looked good.

Once Charlotte had sat in her empty room for a few minutes she got up and walked to the door. As she walked out of the room she softly closed the door behind her and headed down the stairs.

The phone rang so Zoë quickly put her laptop to one side and ran into her mums room to answer the phone that was in there. It was Gwen ringing to say that Charlotte and Harry would be heading back over there soon. Once the phone call was over, Zoë hung up and then looked around her mum’s bedroom. She remembered been little, just after her father had died, when she and Jack would sleep in their mum’s bedroom with her. Mitchell would be in his cot at the end of the bed. Sometimes Jack would sleep in his sleeping bag at the side of the bed, and other times he would get into the bed with Zoë and Gwen.

Zoë brushed through her hair with her finger. Her hair was short and choppy and was a dark brown colour with light brown highlights. It suited her fine as it didn’t require much care or looking after to make it look all right for school. Of course when she went out in the evening or at the weekend she would usually spend time with the straighteners getting it to flick out slightly at the sides.

Just as Zoë was thinking about them all sleeping in the one room and other stuff that had been going on at that time, Mitchell pushed open the door and came into the room.

“Zo, who was on the phone?” he asked.

“Mum. She said that Charlotte and Harry are setting off in a bit. She and Peter are will be back later on”

“Oh ok” Mitchell said. “What are you still doing in mum’s room?” he asked.

“Nothing really. I was just thinking about something” Zoë replied. She followed her younger brother out of the room.

“Oh right ok” Mitchell said. “I’m gonna go downstairs and watch TV until Harry gets here” he said.

“Ok. Call me when they arrive”

“Will do” Mitchell said heading down the stairs. Zoë went back into her room and to her laptop. She didn’t really have anything else she needed to do so after a couple of minutes Zoë put her laptop down and laid down on her bed listening to her music.

Charlotte drove back to Gwen’s house with Harry in the passenger seat. They had both had to leave their house keys with their dad so that their dad would be able to drop them off at the estate agents for the new people to pick up.

As she drove, Charlotte began to wonder whether or not she and Harry would be given keys to Gwen’s house. She knew that Jack and Zoë had their own keys, but wasn’t sure whether Mitchell had a key. Peter of course already had a key.

When Charlotte got to Gwen’s house, Harry went up to the door first and opened it. Charlotte felt relieved that Harry had been the first up to the door, because she wasn’t sure whether or not to ring the doorbell or just walk in since it was now technically her home as well.

Mitchell came out into the hallway when he heard the door, then called Zoë downstairs from her room. Whilst they were waiting for Zoë, Harry handed over the munchies he had bought for Mitchell and they talked about what they wanted to do.

Zoë had her eyes closed when she heard Mitchell shouting from the bottom of the stairs. She opened them then went out of the room to the top of the stairs.

“Zoë, Harry and Charlotte are here” Mitchell called. Zoë walked down the stairs.

“Hiya” Charlotte said to Zoë.

“Hi” Zoë replied.

“Zo, since mum said it was ok if we went out, me and Harry are going to call for a couple of friends then go play football in the park” Mitchell said. He grabbed his trainers and then sat down on the stairs to put them on.

As soon as Mitchell was ready, he and Harry walked out of the front door, leaving Zoë and Charlotte stood there, neither of them not really knowing what to say.

“So do you have any plans for the rest of the day then?” Charlotte eventually said.

“Well yeah kinda. I was going to go round to one of my friends houses” Zoë replied. “I mean, if you don’t have any plans or anything then you could come too”.

“No, you’re alright. One of my friends from school lives near here, so I might give her a ring” Charlotte said quickly. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to hang out with Zoë and her friend all afternoon, even though that was part of it. But another part of it was because Charlotte didn’t really want Zoë to think that the two of them had to be friends just because they had to share a bedroom.

“Ok that’s cool” Zoë said.

“I might just get myself a drink. Is that ok?” Charlotte said.

“Yeah of course” Zoë said. Charlotte walked down the hallway, leaving Zoë stood in the hallway.

As Zoë watched Charlotte walk away, she felt a little disappointed that her offer, as half hearted as it may of sounded at the time, was turned down. Zoë wanted the two of them to become friends.

“Charlotte, I might head over to my friends house now if you don’t mind” Zoë called.

“Oh ok then” Charlotte called back from the kitchen.

“Has mum given you a key? Because if not I can leave you mine if you want to go out somewhere”

“No she hasn’t yet. But I am fine staying in until they get here. I will just watch TV or something,” Charlotte said. She came out into the hallway with a glass of water in her hand.

“Right, well I guess I will see you later then” Zoë said. Her phone and purse were already in her pockets, so she just pulled her trainers on and headed out of the door. She left her keys on the side just in case Charlotte changed her mind.

After wondering around the downstairs of the house for a bit, Charlotte decided to head upstairs. She went into the bathroom, and wondered how everyone was going to manage with only that bathroom, and en-suite in her dad and Gwen’s room and a toilet downstairs. Especially when they all wanted to be out of the house at similar times in the morning. Charlotte then looked through the next door. The décor of the room pointed towards the fact that it was Mitchell’s room.

The next room Charlotte went to was the room that would be Gwen and her dad’s room. She quickly left that room, not really wanting to think about Gwen and her dad together in their bedroom. There was only two doors left and Charlotte already knew which one Zoë’s was, so she headed towards the other one, which was of course Jack’s.

Jack kept his bedroom door closed all of the time, and he seemed to really value his privacy, so Charlotte was reluctant to open the door. She eventually opened it and standing in the doorway, she looked in.

Charlotte spent a couple of minutes stood in that doorway, not daring to go in any further. She liked being able to see where Jack spent his time.

Once Charlotte had finished in that room she carefully closed the door and headed to Zoë’s room. She opened the door, went inside and immediately realised that Zoë had left her laptop switched on, because of the music that was still playing from it.

Charlotte went over to the bed to move the computer so that it wouldn’t get damaged when the movers were coming in and out of the room bringing Charlotte’s stuff in. She couldn’t decide whether or not to switch of the computer as she wasn’t sure if Zoë had left it on for a particular reason, or had just forgotten to switch it off before she went out.

A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

Chapter Four

Zoë walked over to her friend’s house. On the way, she rang up her friend whose name was Jenny. Zoë needed to let her know that she was coming over, since Zoë hadn’t been sure whether or not she would be able to go out.

Unfortunately for Zoë, Jenny’s aunt, uncle and cousins had come over unexpectedly, meaning that Jenny couldn’t have anyone over, and also could not leave the house. After hearing that news, Zoë hung up and put her mobile phone back into her pocket. She didn’t want to go back to the house because she knew that it would probably be uncomfortable to spend the afternoon with Charlotte, so she carried on walking, not really having a destination in mind.

When Charlotte set the computer down on the desk, she accidentally pressed something on the keyboard. As she set it down she noticed the title at the top of the page. It referred to step families. With interest, Charlotte quickly scanned the page and felt kind of hurt when she realised Zoë must have been looking up information about how to cope when other people come into your family. Charlotte was quite surprised to realise that this hurt her especially because she felt exactly the same way about Zoë, her brothers and Gwen.

“I guess she hates this whole thing as much as me,” Charlotte said. “I wonder why dad never mentioned it to me”

Charlotte walked away from the computer and was about to leave the room to head downstairs when she decided to look at what else Zoë had left open on her computer. She went back to the computer and was about to see what else there was when she heard voices coming from downstairs. She assumed that it was Gwen and her dad. Charlotte didn’t want to be caught looking at Zoë’s computer so leaving it switched on, on the desk she went downstairs.

Zoë had ended up walking to the next village. She had gone to the village shop and bought herself a drink of water. Zoë had then found herself walking further along the road to find an overgrown graveyard. She went inside and sat down at a bench that was next to the gate.

Once Zoë had taken a few sips of water she got up and began looking at some of the gravestones. They were all quite old. The newest one Zoë was able to find had been there since 1913.

The gravestones reminded Zoë of her dad and his funeral. She had only been six. Her grandparents had been reluctant to let her and her brother Jack go along. They felt that it would be too traumatic for such young children. However, their mother had insisted that this was something they both needed to be at. At the time Jack was trying to be the strong man of the house, and had tried his hardest not to let any tears fall at the funeral. Zoë on the other hand had spent most of the church service in her grandmother’s lap.

When Charlotte was at the bottom of the stairs, she was able to see her dad and Gwen in the hallway.

“Hiya Charlotte. Where’s everyone else?” Gwen said.

“Harry and Mitchell went out. I think they were going to call for a couple of friends and then go play football in the park. And Zoë has gone round to one of her friends houses I think”

“Ok. Do they all know to be back later on?” Peter checked.

“Yep”

“Good. We are here now, so you can go out if you want to as well,” Gwen said.

“And you can take my car if you want to” Peter added.

“I don’t really have anywhere to go, so if it’s ok with you two, can I just stick around here whilst the movers are doing their job?”

“Yeah of course” Gwen said. “Did you want a sandwich or anything? I’m just about to make one for me and your dad”

“No, I’m all right thanks” Charlotte said. “I think I’m just going to go back upstairs. I was watching a film in Zoë’s, I mean mine and Zoë’s room” Charlotte lied. She really wanted to get back upstairs to have another look at Zoë’s computer.

To Zoë’s surprise she felt her face getting wet as she started to sob. She quickly checked in her pockets to see if she had any tissues and on finding none, she began to dry up her face with her sleeve.

Zoë had been thinking quite a bit about her father recently. She was worried that Peter was going to try and replace him. Although for her and Jack, their father couldn’t really be replaced, Zoë knew that Mitchell was beginning to see Peter as a father figure. Zoë suspected that it was because he had no memories of his real father beyond pictures and things that he had been told by other people.

Charlotte went back up to the bedroom and straight over to the computer. Zoë had left another screen open. It was something Zoë had written. It had no title, so Charlotte started to quickly read though it, feeling that if it was a diary or some other type of secret thing, then Zoë would have been more careful about making sure that it wasn’t left open.

Once Charlotte had read the writing she made sure that it looked the same as it had done before. She was surprised at what Zoë had written. Zoë had written about how she didn’t want things to be awkward between her and Charlotte and how much she actually wanted to be friends with Charlotte.
Charlotte wasn’t quite sure what to do with the new information that she now possessed. If she suddenly changed the way that she acted towards Zoë, then it was possible that Zoë would get suspicious.

After thinking about it, Charlotte decided to carry on acting the same way towards Zoë. She wasn’t even sure if she wanted a proper friendship with Zoë, despite how Zoë obviously felt.

Charlotte looked at the shelves above Zoë’s desk and astonished when she realised that Zoë actually had a book that Charlotte had been meaning to read. She picked it up and went out into the back garden, intending to try and keep out of the way of everyone for the afternoon.

Zoë spent the rest of the time sitting on the bench. At one point, she walked back to the shop and got herself something to eat.

After a couple of hours Zoë looked at the time on her phone and realised that she should really be getting back home. She stood up from the bench and then started walking. She had about a mile to walk home.

Once Zoë had arrived home she and Charlotte went up to their bedroom. Zoë went over to her laptop and quickly switched it off and closed it. The movers had finished and had left the room strewn with furniture and boxes.

“Girls” said Gwen coming into the room. “The most important thing is that you can both sleep in your beds tonight. The unpacking of the boxes can wait until later”

“Why? Do we not have much time tonight?”

“Well, we are all going out for tea in a bit. I’m just going to give Jack a ring and see when he is going to be home”

“Ok” Zoë said. Charlotte walked over to a couple of boxes and looked at the writing on the top of them. She wasn’t really interested in what they said, but she just wanted to look busy so that she wouldn’t have to talk to Zoë.

Zoë looked over at Charlotte. She wanted to say something to her, but wasn’t sure what to say. Eventually Zoë realised that they both needed to get on with sorting to room out. “So where do you want your bed?” she said. Charlotte turned round in surprise.

“I don’t know. I guess we should figure it out together. I mean, is your furniture staying where it is?”

“I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it”

A couple of hours later they had moved around the furniture and both had their beds in places that they liked. They both needed to shower before they went out for tea. Zoë went first. On her way out she switched her computer on, so that it would be ready for when she got out of the shower.

Once Charlotte heard the shower going, she went over to Zoë’s computer. Charlotte never thought she would be the type of person to go looking through what someone else had on their computer. Especially when she thought about what she had on her computer that she would hate for other people to find out. Despite Charlotte feeling this way, she opened up Word to see if Zoë had written anything else about her. She opened up a document that Zoë had titled ‘Random’. As Charlotte scanned through it, she realised that it was some random thoughts by Zoë.

One sentence that caught Charlotte’s eye was ‘I am pretty sure I am a DL, but now I am starting to think that I am an AB or TB I guess’.

“What are DL’s, AB’s and TB’s?” Charlotte said to herself. “I’ve never heard of DL or AB. And I’ve only heard of TB standing for tuberculosis”

Chapter Five

Zoë stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. She wrapped it around her body, and then walked over to the mirror. Zoë wiped away the steam from the mirror then grabbed her hairbrush and roughly brushed through her wet hair. She was hoping that she would have some time to go on the Internet before they all went out for dinner.

Charlotte moved away from the computer. She had been staring at the words Zoë had written for quite a while, and was beginning to get worried that Zoë would come back and catch her. Charlotte didn’t want to look up what DL, AB and TB meant on Zoë’s computer in case Zoë noticed it.

Charlotte cleared the word document from Zoë’s computer and then went to her bed. She picked up a magazine and sat on her unmade bed reading it. She had decided to go for a shower as soon as Zoë was finished, then try and look up the words once she was showered.

“If I don’t have time I can always do it when we get back or tomorrow. It’s not like there is any real rush,” said Charlotte. As she said that, she began to feel a little bit guilty at what she had done. “That stuff could have been Zoë’s deepest secret. If I look up those words and find out what they mean, then I am going to know. What if it is something I don’t want to know? It’s not as if I could just forget it afterwards. Or what if it is something that I want to know more about. It’s not as if I could go and ask Zoë. At least not without admitting that I was looking at stuff on her computer”

“Who were you talking to?” Zoë said coming into the room. She was wrapped in a towel and her hair was combed back.

“No one. I was just thinking aloud,” Charlotte said. She immediately regretted saying that. She didn’t want Zoë to think she was the type of person who talked to herself all the time.

“Oh ok. The bathroom is free if you want to get a shower,” Zoë said.

“Thanks” Charlotte replied, smiling at Zoë. She put the magazine aside then left the room.

Zoë picked up her computer, and sat on her bed in her towel, she was quickly on the Internet. She wanted to go on her favourite forum before Charlotte came back. Zoë went into her favourites list and near the bottom was a link entitled bus timetable. Zoë clicked on it and was immediately greeted with the ABDL Story Forum. She quickly signed in and then looked to see where there had been new posts. She was pleased to see that a couple of the stories she was following had been updated.

“I will get dressed and then read the stories,” Zoë said to herself. She was glad that Charlotte wasn’t around to hear her. She put her laptop to one side and started to get dressed.

Zoë wasn’t sure how everyone else was going to be dressed. She knew it was a meal to celebrate them all moving in together, but didn’t know how formal it was going to be. She eventually decided on jeans and a nice top. Leaving her hair, she sat back down on her bed and started to read the new posts on the forum.

When Charlotte stepped out of the shower she grabbed a towel. In much the same way as Zoë had done previously, Charlotte wiped away the condensation from the mirror. She looked at her reflection in the mirror for quite a while, before drying her body and then sorting out her hair. She intended to dry and straighten her hair properly before they all went out. But for the moment, she just brushed it and then left it falling over her shoulders.

She then walked out of the bathroom. She had a towel wrapped round her, and was carrying her clothes in her arms. Although she was used to walking around like that before with her dad and brother Harry around, she didn’t really feel comfortable doing it at the house. Charlotte was worried about running into someone on the landing.

Fortunately for Charlotte, she managed to make it back to the bedroom without anyone seeing her. When she got there, Zoë was sat on her bed leaning against the wall, with her laptop on her knee. She looked slightly startled when Charlotte entered, but Charlotte didn’t even notice this.

Charlotte dropped her clothes on the floor and then, clutching onto her towel, she went over to a suitcase of her clothes and opened it. She turned round to see what Zoë was wearing then managed to find a pair of nice jeans and a smart top in the bag. She also got out a bra, knickers and socks. Once Charlotte had all of them, she put them on her bed, and then looked at them.

It wasn’t that Charlotte was uncomfortable with her body. It was that she didn’t know how she and Zoë were going to handle getting changed whilst sharing a room. She didn’t know how Zoë would react if she suddenly started getting changed right in front of her.

Charlotte looked over at Zoë, but she seemed to be quite involved in her computer screen.

“Um, Zoë” she said to try and get Zoë’s attention.

“Yeah” Zoë said looking up.

“I have to get changed” Charlotte said.

“Oh. Do you want me to leave, or turn round or something?”

“Um, yeah. Which ever one you want is fine by me” Charlotte said.

“Ok. I’m just gonna go get a drink. Do you want one?”

“No. I’m good” Charlotte said. Zoë moved her laptop off her knee and then climbed off the bed.

As soon as Zoë was out of the door, Charlotte started getting ready. She wasn’t sure how long Zoë was going to be. She undid her towel and then grabbed her knickers and pulled them on. Then Charlotte went to quickly grab her bra. As she did that, her socks rolled off the bed and onto the floor. Charlotte put on her bra and fastened it, then went to grab her socks.

When she stood up, Charlotte was able to see Zoë’s computer screen. She was somewhat disappointed to see that there were no screens left up. Instead it was just showing the icons and Zoë’s wallpaper.

Zoë went over to one of the cupboards in the kitchen. She quickly reached in and took one of the glasses, before going over to the tap and filling it up with water.

“Hmm, how long do I wait down here?” she said to the empty room.

“Who are you talking to?” Gwen said, coming into the room.

“Mum,” Zoë said. She was a little startled. “Um, no one I guess” she finished.

“How come you are down here?”

“Charlotte’s getting changed for when we all go out” Zoë explained.

“So you came down to give her some privacy?”

“Yep”

“We are going out in about an hour. Jack should be back soon, and the boys are in their room” Gwen said. She went over to put the kettle on. Zoë stayed downstairs for a few more minutes, just sipping at her water. She gave Charlotte 10 minutes before heading back upstairs.

Charlotte had just managed to find her hair dryer when Zoë came back.

“Hey Charlotte. Mum just told me that we have about an hour until we are leaving” Zoë said as she walked over to her bed.

“Oh. Thanks for telling me” said Charlotte. She plugged her hair dryer in and then switched it on.

Zoë put her hand to her own hair, and realised that it was practically dry. ‘I could never have hair that took up that much time’ she thought as she turned her attentions from Charlotte and back to the laptop.

For the next hour, Zoë watched in amazement at the amount of stuff that Charlotte seemed to do. First it was the hair drying, then the straightening. Then the make up. For Zoë, who hardly ever wore make up, it did seem a little crazy. Especially since it was only a meal with the family.

When there was only about ten minutes left, Zoë switched off her computer and brushed through her hair again. She applied a bit of lip-gloss and then slipped on her shoes. She was ready to go with five minutes to spare.

Chapter Six

As there was so many of them, they couldn’t all fit into the same car. Jack volunteered to drive his car, so that Peter and Gwen would be able to travel in the same car. They both immediately took him up on his offer. And Gwen was doubly pleased that he had volunteered, because it meant that he wouldn’t be drinking alcohol at the restaurant. She didn’t mind him drinking alcohol normally, but wanted the evening to go well.

It was decided that Jack would take both Harry and Mitchell in his car, whilst Zoë and Charlotte rode with Peter and Gwen. They were all already outside, so it wasn’t long before everyone was in the right car, and they were on their way.

In the car, Zoë sat slumped against the side. She would have rather gone in Jack’s car, because she knew that he would at least have some music on which would have made the silence seem less obvious. But as it was, Zoë and Charlotte weren’t saying anything, and there was the occasional comment between Gwen and Peter. But other than that it was silence, which to Zoë seemed to be quite deafening. She wanted to say something, but wasn’t sure what to say, or even who to say it to.

Charlotte was sat with her hands in her lap. She hadn’t realised how quiet it could be without the boys around. She wished that she could have got to go in the other car. Partly because she would have got to spend time with Jack and partly because the atmosphere would probably have been friendlier. Charlotte flexed her hands and thought about the stuff that she had read on Zoë’s computer. Her mind quickly went back to thinking what AB, DL and TB could mean.

‘Always Brown, Don’t Listen, Tank Blown’ Charlotte thought. She knew that none of those made sense. ‘Besides, they were all used in the same sentence. So really they have to all be interlinked somehow’. Charlotte quickly glanced over at Zoë, who was sat with her head pushed against the window. It looked as if she were looking down at the road underneath the car.

Peter managed to beat Jack to the restaurant, so after the four of them had got out of the car, they just stood next to it, waiting for Jack to arrive with Harry and Mitchell. They turned up a couple of minutes later so everyone was able to go into the restaurant. The table they were shown to had three seats on each side, then one on the end. Mitchell and Harry sat down on one of the sides. Charlotte didn’t want to be stuck sitting next to Zoë, so she quickly claimed the seat next to Harry. Peter sat on the end, with Gwen next to him opposite Charlotte. Jack sat next to her, then Zoë next to him.

For a while the only talking was who was having what to eat and drink. About five minutes after they had sat down Peter went to the bar with Jack to get drinks for everyone. Whilst they were doing that, everyone decided on what they wanted to eat.

When everyone had finished eating, and the plates had been cleared away, Gwen reached down and grabbed her handbag.

“Ok you kids. Jack, Zo and Mitch, you all already have your own set of keys to the house. And of course I have keys. And Peter has had keys for a while now. It seemed that there are two people without them,” Gwen said. Because of where she was sat she could clearly see both Charlotte and Harry.

“Charlotte and Harry” Mitchell said.

“Yep. Here you go you two” Gwen said getting out two sets of keys out of her bag. One had a football key ring hanging from it. The other had a flower key ring hanging from it. She handed them over.

“Thanks” Charlotte said.

“Yeah thanks” Harry repeated.

“That’s ok. You both had keys for your old house, so it only fair that you both have keys here” Gwen said.

“Yep” Harry said.

“So are we getting a pudding?” Mitchell asked.

“You can do if you want to Mitch” Gwen answered. “What about anyone else?”

“I will if other people are” Zoë said.

“Yeah me too” Charlotte said.

“I’m getting one” Harry said.

“Me too” Mitchell agreed.

“Jack, how about you?” Gwen asked realising that Jack hadn’t answered.

“Yeah, ok”

“Peter?”

“No actually I am full”

“And I don’t want one” Gwen said. “So it’s just you lot,” she said, indicating everyone else with her arm. They all looked at the dessert menu. Charlotte quickly changed her mind, deciding to go without a pudding. Zoë settled on a chocolate fudge cake. Jack had the same. Harry and Mitchell decided to share a large ice cream sundae.

When they left the restaurant, Harry and Mitchell ran out and over to Jack’s car. Jack followed them, telling the others that he would see them at home. Zoë and Charlotte followed their parents to the other car then both got in.

“So do either of you have plans for the rest of the evening?” Gwen asked once they were all in the car.

“Nope not really. I will probably go on the internet” Charlotte said. “Talk to a few friends online”

“Yeah, I will probably do the same” Zoë said. She realised that this meant that the two of them would probably be spending the rest of the evening together.

When they all got back, Jack announced that he was going out to meet a few friends for a couple of drinks in the local pub. He was going to walk there and back. Charlotte went to the toilet, then to the bedroom. By the time she got there Zoë was already sat on her own bed with her laptop on her knee.

“You were fast,” Charlotte said.

“I have an internet addiction” Zoë joked.

“Yeah, I should think I do as well” Charlotte said. She grabbed her laptop. It needed to be set up onto the wireless network, so Zoë helped her to do that. Then they each sat on their separate beds. Zoë wanted to make sure that Charlotte didn’t see her screen. And Charlotte didn’t want Zoë to see that she was looking up what AB, DL and TB meant.

The first place Charlotte looked at was the online dictionary. She typed in the letters AB. One of the first definitions it came up with was ‘Able Seaman’. Charlotte looked over at Zoë, leaning against the wall with her legs crossed and her laptop on her knee. She knew that the ‘Able Seaman’ definition wasn’t what Zoë had been talking about. Charlotte looked down the list. ‘About’, ‘At bat’, ‘Abs’. Charlotte looked over at Zoë. ‘I don’t think any of these are what Zoë was talking about. They make no sense’ she thought. Zoë was staring at her computer screen and seemed to be chewing on the tip of her thumb.

“Are you alright Zo?” Charlotte asked. “You seem really distracted”

Zoë looked up in surprise. “Hmm, yeah I’m fine,” she said, turning her attentions back to the computer. She wasn’t even really doing anything on the computer. She was thinking. ‘To think I used to be scared of doing anything like that if there were other people in the house. The house is never going to be completely empty. Not with Peter, Charlotte and Harry here too’. Suddenly someone messaged Zoë and the noise caused her to jump. It was one of her friends online. Zoë smiled as she realised her friend Chrissie was asking her how her day had gone. Chrissie knew that today was the day that Charlotte, Harry and Peter were moving in. Zoë quickly typed a reply. As she was talking, Zoë was still thinking how she could get everyone out of the house at the same time.

A few hours later Charlotte was getting tired. She wanted to go to bed. She looked over at Zoë then yawned. She switched her laptop off, and then got off the bed to put the laptop on the desk.

“I think I’m gonna go to bed now” she said to Zoë. She grabbed her pyjamas and decided to get changed in the bathroom.

“Ok” Zoë said. Charlotte left the room. In the bathroom Charlotte quickly did what she needed to do. She was normally in bed at that time.

Carrying her clothes in her arms, Charlotte went back to the bedroom. She dropped the clothes in a pile on the floor then went over to her bed.

“Do you want the light off or something?” she heard from Zoë.

“No, I’m good. I can sleep in the light”

“Oh ok cool” Zoë said. Charlotte turned to face the wall and closed her eyes. As she fell asleep she was thinking about what she had found out online. It was making her think of Zoë very differently. She was asleep very quickly.

Zoë went to bed about an hour after Charlotte. She was quiet as she moved around the room, as she didn’t really want to wake Charlotte up.

Just as Zoë was about to climb into bed she heard Charlotte murmur something in her sleep. Zoë’s ears pricked up, but she couldn’t make out what Charlotte was saying.

A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

Chapter Seven

Charlotte was the first to wake up the next morning. She hadn’t been able to sleep well and had woken up feeling confused about where she was. She looked over at Zoë, who’s head was to the side with her thumb just touching her lips. Charlotte quietly got dressed, wondering whether the fact that Zoë had obviously been sucking her thumb at some point in the night had anything to do with the whole AB DL TB thing.

Once Charlotte was dressed, she left Zoë to sleep in peace, noticing as she walked out that Zoë’s thumb was now properly in her mouth. As Charlotte was in the bathroom she wondered whether or not to talk to Zoë about what she had found out. This had been running though her head ever since she had finally decided to type AB DL and TB into google at the same time.

“Good morning Charlotte” Gwen said when Charlotte walked into the kitchen. “You’re up early”.

“She usually is” Peter said. He noticed that she was already dressed. “Although being dressed at this time is fairly unusual”

“Morning dad. Morning Gwen” Charlotte said. Gwen stood up from the table and Charlotte noticed that she had tiger slippers on. She smiled, but Gwen missed it.

“What do you want for breakfast?” Gwen asked. “What do you normally have?”

“I normally have coffee. That’s usually it”. Gwen was momentarily stunned. To just have coffee for breakfast seemed odd to her. She couldn’t help but compare it to what she knew Zoë would be having for breakfast in an hour or so, orange juice and cereal. It would probably be coco pops.

“One coffee coming up” Gwen managed to say. Charlotte sat down at the table, feeling as if she were on holiday, and next week she would be going back home. Of course she knew this wouldn’t happen, but she did wonder how long Gwen would be acting in that way to her, rather than just letting Charlotte get things for herself. “Milk and sugar?” Gwen asked, turning round from the kettle.

“No thanks. I take it black”

“Ok” Gwen replied. She sat back at the table whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

Upstairs, Zoë was just starting to wake up. It took her a couple of minutes to realise that her thumb was in her mouth. She quickly moved it and looked over at Charlotte’s bed. When Zoë realised that Charlotte wasn’t in the room, she hoped that either Charlotte hadn’t seen that Zoë was sucking her thumb, or that she hadn’t been sucking her thumb when Charlotte had woken up.

Zoë slowly stretched out in bed to try and wake up a bit. Once that was done she slowly crawled out of bed. Pulling on her dressing gown Zoë headed to the bathroom. She didn’t normally get dressed as soon as she got up on a morning and she wasn’t going to change that for anyone. After going to the bathroom, Zoë made her way down the stairs and straight to the kitchen.

“Morning sweetie” Gwen said when she saw Zoë. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes thanks mum” said Zoë. She looked over at Charlotte who was sat at the table nursing her cup of coffee. As Zoë was looking at Charlotte she was trying to work out whether or not Charlotte knew that she sucked her thumb. Unfortunately for Zoë, Charlotte kept her head down and gave no indication of what she did, or didn’t know.

“Good. Are you having some breakfast?” Gwen asked.

“Yeah, I can get it though” Zoë said, going to the cupboard where the bowls were kept.

“Ok” Gwen said. She hadn’t got up anyway.

Whilst Zoë poured herself a glass of orange juice and a bowl of coco pops, Mitchell and Harry came downstairs. They were both still in their pyjamas.

“Hello boys. Do you want some breakfast?”

“Yeah, I’ll have coco pops” Mitchell said, as he looked over and saw Zoë with the coco pops.

“Oh me too” Harry said.

“Mitchell, you know where everything is. I’m sure you can get breakfast yourself for you and Harry” Gwen said smiling at Mitchell. Mitchell went to get a couple of bowls out.

“Why’d you ask what we wanted if you knew I was going to make it myself anyway?” he asked as he poured the cereal into the bowls. Zoë sat down at the table opposite Charlotte.

“In case you didn’t just want cereal”

“You mean there was another option besides cereal,” Mitchell said looking surprised.

“Yep. But it’s too late now because you have poured the cereal out now” Gwen said with a smile. Gwen stood up from the table. “I’m going to go get a shower and get dressed. Oh, but before I forget, I was wondering if you two girls would do me a favour today”

“Sure mum, what is it?” Zoë asked. Charlotte looked up.

“Well, I wondered if you could pick me up a few things from tesco. I will write a list and give you the money”

“Why do you need both of us to go?” Charlotte asked.

“Because the tesco is on this side of town. So I don’t think you will have been there before”

“No I haven’t” Charlotte said.

“And I wanted you to drive. And Zoë to get the stuff, because she has been there before”

“I can do that,” Zoë said.

“Charlotte?” Gwen said looking at Charlotte.

“Yeah sure” Charlotte said.

After lunch, Gwen handed the shopping list and the money to Zoë and the two of them set off for Tesco. Charlotte turned the radio on as soon as they were in the car. She wanted some noise, as she wasn’t sure what to say to Zoë in a conversation.

Zoë was glad when Charlotte put the radio on. She didn’t want to have to talk to Charlotte when she didn’t know whether or not Charlotte knew about her thumb sucking.

‘I would be embarrassed if she came out and said that she had seen me sucking my thumb this morning, but then again, not knowing either way is bad as well’ Zoë thought as Charlotte drove along.

“Which way do I go at this roundabout?” Charlotte suddenly said, pulling Zoë out of her train of thought.

“Um” said Zoë, looking round to see where they were. “Right at the roundabout”

“Thanks” Charlotte going back to concentrating on the road.

“That’s ok. That’s why I came along really. To give directions and because I know where everything is in the shop”

“Yeah, I guess so” Charlotte said. “I’m only here because you can’t drive” Charlotte said, changing gears.

“I don’t know. I mean mum could have just asked Jack. He knows where tesco is and he can drive too. Do you think maybe mum specifically asked us two so that we would have to spend some time together?” Zoë said. She put her thumb to her mouth, but at the last minute, she realised what she was about to do, and instead she just started to chew on the tip of her thumb.

Charlotte looked over at Zoë once she had finished talking, and noticed that Zoë’s thumb looked like it was practically in her mouth.

“I don’t know. You know her better than I do. Does that sound like something she would do?”

“Actually yeah, it really does. When we were younger and me and Jack would fall out or something she would write a shopping list and then say we would both have to go to the village shop because what she wanted was too much for just one of us to carry. Usually on the walk there we would still be mad at each other. But by the time we got home we were friends again” Zoë explained.

“But we haven’t argued or anything like that” Charlotte said, scrunching her face up in confusion.

“Nope. But I guess mum thinks that we aren’t exactly talking or anything. I mean last night we hardly said a word to each other even though we were in the same room,” Zoë said. She had wanted to mention that to Charlotte, so was glad Gwen had provided her with the opportunity to do so.

“Hmm, I guess you are right,” said Charlotte. She turned on the indicator and drove into the big car park in front of tesco. “We are here,” she said. Zoë looked up and moved her thumb.

“Oh yeah” Zoë said. She lent forward and switched the radio off before undoing her seatbelt. Charlotte switched off the engine and undid her own seatbelt. Neither of them made any move to get out of the car.

Chapter Eight

After a couple of minutes of silence Zoë eventually opened up the passenger door. Charlotte quickly did the same with the driver’s side door. Charlotte locked the car and they both walked up to the shop.

“How much stuff is on that list?” Charlotte asked as they walked towards the trolleys.

“Um, four things” Zoë said looking at the list.

“So we can probably manage with a basket then” Charlotte said.

“I guess so. But a little trolley would be easier. We could just push it around rather than carrying a basket,” Zoë reasoned. Charlotte quickly agreed and Zoë grabbed one of the trolleys. She pushed it over to Charlotte and then they walked into the shop together.

“Do you want to go look at the clothes?” Zoë said. She normally took some time to look at the clothes every time she came to tesco.

“I guess” Charlotte said. She didn’t really buy clothes from supermarkets. Zoë pushed `the trolley towards the clothes. Charlotte slowly followed. Zoë slowly made her way thought the clothes, but didn’t really see anything that she liked. When they got back to the main area of the supermarket, Zoë took out the list that her mum had given her.

“I’m not really sure where these are, so we can just walk down the middle and see what is on each aisle,” Zoë said. She put the list back in her pocket.

“We might as well just go up and down each aisle. Then we don’t miss anything,” Charlotte said. Walking up and down each aisle was something Charlotte remembered her mum doing. And it was a habit that Charlotte had picked up.

“Alright” Zoë said. They started to walk down the first aisle.

Nothing that they needed to get was in the first couple of aisles. So they quickly made their way through them. Then they turned the corner into a new aisle. This was the aisle that Zoë knew had baby things in it. On the other side it had shampoo, tampons and towels for periods, as well as the small range of bladder weakness products that the supermarket carried. This was Zoë’s favourite aisle to stroll down when she was on her own. But her least favourite one to walk down when she was with other people. Zoë clasped hold of the trolley and got ready to quickly walk down the aisle with her head down. She started to walk and was halfway down the aisle when she heard Charlotte calling her back.

“Zoë, where are you going?”

“We don’t need anything from this aisle,” Zoë explained.

“Yeah, but I need some more shampoo, so I want to take a look at what they have here” Charlotte said turning her attentions back towards the shelves of shampoo. Zoë pulled the trolley over to her. Then she pretended to be looking at the shampoo. She didn’t want to have to look at any of the baby related things opposite.

Zoë looked at each brand of shampoo, even looking at some of them twice. Even after that time Charlotte still seemed fairly absorbed in the shampoo. Zoë sighed and looked at Charlotte’s hair. It still looked perfect even though it was windy outside. Zoë put a hand up to her own hair. She ran her fingers though it and knew that it would probably look messy.

“Excuse me dear” Zoë heard someone say. It was a woman who wanted to get at the shampoo that Zoë and her trolley were blocking.

“Sorry” she said moving out of the way. Zoë was now stood right in front of the bladder weakness products. She pretended to be staring into space, as she quickly took glances at them. Zoë was already quite familiarised with what they had. She even had some of their pull-ups at home.

Zoë quickly turned round. She was now facing the baby things. The Pampers and Huggies were on her right and straight in front of her were baby wipes and baby powder.

Charlotte looked over at Zoë. She had been glad when she had seen that the shampoos were in the same aisle as the baby things as she wanted to see how Zoë reacted in that aisle.

“Zo, are you ok?” Charlotte asked. Zoë looked fairly uncomfortable.

“Hmm” Zoë said turning round. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?” Zoë said. She looked slightly confused at the question.

“No reason. I just wanted to check because I know I am taking a while here” Charlotte said, covering up the real reason why she was asking. Charlotte turned back to the shampoo and wondered how much longer she could possibly stretch it out. ‘They don’t even have my shampoo here, but I’m still stood here waiting to see if Zoë reacts in some way to the other things here’ Charlotte said. Her eyes were fixed on the shampoo.

“How much longer are you going to be?” Zoë said bringing Charlotte out of her thoughts.

“I’m finished” Charlotte said. “They don’t have the shampoo I use so I was looking for something similar” Charlotte lied. Zoë grabbed the trolley and rushed out of the aisle. Charlotte followed with a smile on her face. From the way that Zoë left the aisle, Charlotte knew that it had had an effect on her. Charlotte stored this information in her head.

There was not much conversation between the two girls as the walked around the rest of the supermarket. Zoë silently pushed the trolley, occasionally grabbing items from the shelves. Charlotte followed behind. Zoë was still thinking about the stuff in the baby aisle. She had a baby bottle in her room already. But it wasn’t one that she had bought. She had found it in the back of one of the cupboards at home and had figured that no one was going to miss it. And so far no one had asked about it.

“Zoë there is a free checkout here” Charlotte said. Zoë stopped and turned around. Whilst thinking about baby bottles and other related items Zoë had walked straight past the empty checkout. Charlotte started to get the few things out of the trolley.

“Hello” the guy behind the counter said. He was someone that went to the same school as Charlotte and Zoë, although he was in the year below Zoë so neither of them knew him. Charlotte packed the things into a carrier bag whilst Zoë got the money ready.

As they headed towards the door, Charlotte thought about asking Zoë whether she wanted to get a drink in the café before they went home. She didn’t want there to still be a silence between the two of them, and she didn’t think they would talk very much if they just went straight back home.

“Zoë” she said. Zoë turned round. “I was just wondering if you wanted to go get a drink or something before we go back”. Zoë appeared to be thinking about it.

“Yeah ok” she eventually said. “Although I will have to see how much money I have with me. I didn’t bring much of my own, so I probably only have the change from what mum gave me”

“That’s alright. I have money on me. So I can pay”

“Ok. We might as well go put the bags in the car first, then go to the café” Zoë said.

“Alright” Charlotte said. They both walked out to the car. Each of them carrying one bag. Charlotte did wonder whether the drink was just going to be a big long uncomfortable silence, or whether they would actually find something to chat about.

As Zoë walked along, she was also wondering the same thing as Charlotte.

Chapter Nine

Once the bags were in the car, and it was locked again, they both headed back towards the supermarket.

“So what A levels are you taking?” Charlotte asked Zoë. She wasn’t really bothered about the answer, but she hated the silence and felt as if she had to fill it somehow.

Zoë was completely lost in her thoughts as she walked back towards the supermarket. She was wondering what she was going to be doing for the rest of the day. She had no real plans, but was thinking about calling a friend and seeing if they wanted to hang out for a bit. Zoë hoped that whoever she decided to ring would let Zoë go round to their house so that Zoë didn’t have to spend an uncomfortable afternoon in her room with Charlotte. Because Zoë had been completely lost in her own thoughts, she didn’t hear Charlotte’s question at first. “Sorry, what did you say?”

“What A levels are you doing at school?” Charlotte repeated. She wondered how Zoë could have managed not to hear the question the first time when they were walking right next to each other. She couldn’t imagine not hearing someone walking right next to. Charlotte then wondered if Zoë was slightly deaf, but just hadn’t mentioned it.

“Oh right. Um, Media, English Lit, Psychology and Drama” Zoë said.

“Do you like them?” Charlotte said. She was determined to make an effort with the conversation, even if it was only to avoid the silence.

“Yeah I guess” Zoë replied. Charlotte could tell that Zoë wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic about the conversation, but still Charlotte didn’t want to end it.

“You guess? You mean you don’t really like them?”

“I don’t know if it’s really that I don’t like them. It’s just that I like the classes sometimes and not others. It just depends what we are doing in them at the time” Zoë said. Charlotte turned her head away from Zoë. She pretended that she was brushing the hair from her face, but really she was smiling about the fact that Zoë’s answer was a proper two sentences long.

‘Maybe we will actually be able to do this conversation thing whilst we drink our drinks’ Charlotte thought. She tucked her hair behind her ear then turned back to Zoë. “I know what you mean. I think that sometimes too”

“What courses are you doing?”

“Maths, Sociology and Psychology. So I did your psychology course last year if you ever need any help”

“Thanks. How do you like sociology? I thought about doing that, but I went for drama instead”

“Last year was kinda cool. But this year it has got a lot harder. But not as hard as maths”

“I can’t believe you are doing maths. I could never do that,” Zoë said.

“Thanks I guess” Charlotte said. She was pleased that Zoë seemed to be getting more into the conversation. By this point, they were in the supermarket café. “Why don’t you go get a table and I’ll get the drinks. What did you want?”

“What are you having?” Zoë said. She couldn’t believe that she had just had a proper conversation with Charlotte. And although Zoë was fine with the silence, she hoped that the conversation carried on whilst they were drinking. Zoë had asked because she had wanted to know whether Charlotte was getting a hot drink or a cold drink. Because a hot drink would probably take longer to finish and if one of them got a hot one and the other got cold, then one would be finished long before the other.

“Coffee probably” Charlotte said quickly. Zoë wrinkled her nose. She wasn’t a big fan of coffee.

“Hot chocolate will be fine for me” Zoë said, going with something hot.

“Ok. Hot chocolate it is. Would you be able to get me a thing of brown sugar and a teaspoon on your way to finding a table?” Charlotte asked.

“Yep sure. Consider it done”

“Thanks” Charlotte replied with a smile. Zoë went off in the direction of where the sugar and teaspoons were and Charlotte stayed in line for the drinks.

As Charlotte slowly shuffled forward, she wondered again whether or not to bring up Zoë’s secret with Zoë. She briefly wondered about asking a friend for advice about it, but then dismissed the idea. Most of her friends were from school, or had gone to that school. So even if they weren’t actually friends with Zoë, they would still know who she was, and Charlotte didn’t want it to get public. Even if it was only so that Zoë wouldn’t know that Charlotte had been snooping on her computer.

Eventually Charlotte got to the drinks machine. She grabbed a couple of cups then quickly made the drinks. She then headed towards the till to pay, being careful as she did to not spill anything.

When Charlotte had paid, she quickly scanned the tables, looking for where Zoë was sat. When she eventually saw her, Charlotte walked over and sat down. Zoë got the drinks off the tray and pushed the sugar and teaspoon over to where Charlotte had sat down.

“Thanks” Charlotte said. She moved the empty tray out of the way then opened one of the packets of sugar. She quickly tipped it into the cup then grabbed the spoon to stir it. As she pulled the teaspoon out, and put it on the tray, Charlotte noticed the silence again. It seemed as if the conversation from before was over. Charlotte was desperate to start some form of conversation again.

“So, um…” Charlotte started just as Zoë started to speak.

“I’m just gonna…” Zoë started. She stopped when she realised Charlotte was speaking. “You go first”

“No it’s alright, you go” said Charlotte. She felt really awkward.

“Ok. I’m just going to go to the toilet”

“Alright” Charlotte said. Zoë stood up and walked off in the direction of the bathrooms.

Charlotte was left sitting at the table gently sipping her coffee. Having nothing else to do, she looked around her at the other people sitting in the café. She wasn’t really normally a people watcher, so she found herself getting quite bored as she waited for Zoë to get back.

Zoë pushed open the door to the ladies room. In there was an old lady drying her hands with the hand dryer. And there was a young woman in the corner where there was a changing table for people to change their baby’s nappies. Zoë heard a baby giggling and realised that the young woman was making full use of the changing facilities. When a stall became free, Zoë ducked in there quickly. As she sat down, Zoë thought about how much she would want to be that baby.

‘Well not particularly getting changed in a public place like that, but just, oh I don’t know. Just to be able to wear them like that. Instead of just in my room when I’m alone. And how often is that going to happen now that I’m sharing my room. And what about keeping it secret from Charlotte. It was fairly easy to keep it a secret from mum, Jack and Mitchell. It wasn’t like they were going to be looking round my room. But Charlotte might. What if she is looking for something? Or she decides to unpack her things and put them away and she finds my stuff’ Zoë thought. She stood up and then headed back out to wash her hands. The woman with the baby had gone, as had the hand drying old lady.

Once Zoë’s hands were washed and dried, she headed back out to the table, wondering what sort of conversation Charlotte was going to come up with whilst they finished their drinks.

A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

Chapter Ten

Zoë slid back into her seat. “There was a bit of a queue,” she said before picking up her cup.

“Oh ok” Charlotte replied. They drank in silence for a bit until Charlotte decided to restart the conversation. “Is your hot chocolate nice?”

“Um, yeah I guess” Zoë said. She looked down at her cup and then to Charlotte. “I mean, you can try a bit if you want to”

“No that’s alright. I was just kind of trying to make conversation”

“Oh right” Zoë said, leaning back in her chair. She figured that she should try and make an effort too. “Is your coffee nice?”

Charlotte looked round then said, “I’ve had nicer. Actually I’ve had a lot nicer,” she said. She didn’t really like the coffee and had really just been drinking it so that she would have something to do.

“So you don’t like it then?” Zoë said. Charlotte nodded. “Then why are you carrying on drinking it” Zoë wondered.

“I don’t know really. Because it gave me something to do,” Charlotte admitted. She felt a bit stupid for admitting it.

Zoë bit her lip slightly and started to wonder why Charlotte had wanted to drink something she didn’t like, just so that she would have something to do with herself. “So I’m guess you are as uncomfortable with this as I am?” Zoë said slowly.

Charlotte’s eyes widened slightly. She hadn’t expected Zoë to come out with that. She had thought that Zoë was completely fine with the silence. “You are uncomfortable with this?” Charlotte asked.

“Yeah. I mean it is kinda weird to be spending so much time not talking. I mean we are like practically the same age and go to the same school, so you would think that we would be able to find something to talk about. I mean we are sharing a room. And I don’t know about you, but I do spend quite a bit of time in my room. And if you are going to be there too, then I don’t want it to just be silence” Zoë said.

Charlotte was glad that it was Zoë who had said all that. Even though it wasn’t worded perfectly, Charlotte suspected that it was better than anything that she might have been able to come up with. “That’s how I feel too. Like you said, we should be able to find something to talk about”

“Yep” Zoë said. She drank down the last of her hot chocolate then put the cup on the table.

“You finished now?” Charlotte asked.

“Yep. Do you want to get going then?”

“Yeah, that sounds good” Charlotte said. She stood up and grabbed her bag. Zoë stood up too and they started walking towards the exit.

When they got to the car, Charlotte pulled the keys out of her bag and unlocked it. They both climbed in and Charlotte started the car. She pulled out of the parking space then drove towards the exit. Zoë pulled on her seatbelt, and tried to think of something that she could say. She wanted to make an effort with the conversation.

“Did you hear about that girl at school?” Zoë said.

“What girl? Is she in your year?”

“Nope. She’s in year 11. Cecilia Bloom?”

“I don’t think I know her”

“Apparently her mum is dating one of the teachers,” Zoë revealed. One of her friends had told her about it online last night.

“Really” Charlotte said with her eyes going wide. “Which teacher?”

“Mr Walsh” Zoë said.

“The maths teacher?”

“Yep. That’s the one” Zoë said, nodding as she spoke. She was pleased that she and Charlotte were having a proper conversation. A conversation that could probably lead onto other things.

“How do you know this?”

“It’s all around school apparently. One of my friends told me last night when I was talking to her online”

“That poor girl. What did you say her name was?”

“Cecilia Bloom. And yeah. I would hate something like that to happen to me”

“I guess it is a good thing that my dad and your mum only saw each other at that parents evening. Rather than fancying one of the teachers,” Charlotte said. Zoë thought about it and nodded. She still remembered her mum going to one of Jack’s parent’s evenings a couple of years ago and coming back and confiding in Zoë that she had a date with a man.

“Yep. I think having you and Harry and your dad moving in would be way better than a teacher”

“Although a teacher might be able to help with homework” Charlotte said with a smile.

“But we are both in sixth form now. So only have a few subjects. And, well for psychology or media, there is only the one teacher. So if we wanted to be living with someone who could help on homework, then it would be a teacher that actually taught us” Zoë said. She immediately felt like a bit of an idiot because she thought that what she had said was explained in a weird way. “Sorry if that made no sense” she decided to add in.

“Don’t worry. It did kind of make sense. Well at least I got what you were trying to say. And I wouldn’t want to live with someone that was actually teaching me. Even a teacher who had never taught me would be bad enough. But to see someone around the house and know that she and my dad were, you know. And then seeing her in the classroom teaching me stuff”

“Ew. I did not want to think about that,” Zoë said, scrunching her eyes closed.

“Think about what?” Charlotte said. She quickly looked over at Zoë.

“You sure you want me to say it?” Zoë asked.

“Yep, go ahead. I want to know what is making you go ‘Ew’”

“Just the idea of my mum and your dad” Zoë said. She scrunched her eyes closed again as if having her eyes closed would mean she wouldn’t be thinking about it.

“Thanks for that image” Charlotte said. “I wish I hadn’t asked now”. Charlotte stopped the car and Zoë looked out of her window to see why. She was really surprised when she realised that they were already home.

“Wow, the journey back seemed to take half the time of the journey there” Zoë commented as they both got out of the car.

“Yeah, it did to me too. Even though we were going the exact same way. I guess it was because we were talking rather than sitting in silence,” Charlotte said as she walked round to the boot of the car and opened it.

“Probably” Zoë said. They both grabbed the carrier bags out of the boot and headed towards the house. Zoë was smiling as she walking. She was happy that the trip to the supermarket had helped to progress the friendship between her and Charlotte.

Charlotte was also smiling as she walked, although in the back of her mind she was wondering what to do with the information she knew about Zoë.

Chapter Eleven

“Hello girls” Gwen said as Charlotte and Zoë walked into the kitchen holding the bags from the supermarket. “Did you manage to get everything on the list?”

“Yeah we did mum” Zoë said. She dropped her bag on the counter. Charlotte did the same.

“Zo, can you help me put this stuff away” Gwen said. Zoë nodded.

“I’m just going to go to the toilet,” Charlotte said. “Then I can help if you want”

“That’s ok Charlotte. It will only take a couple of minutes anyway. And it will be easier if Zoë helps since she already knows where everything is” Gwen replied. “Thank you for offering though”. Gwen walked over and opened up the bag that Charlotte had been carrying. Charlotte walked out of the room.

“What do you want me to do with the fridge stuff, mum?” Zoë asked.

“Oh, if you just leave that on the counter above the fridge and I will put it all away” Gwen said. Zoë grabbed the milk out of her bag and pushed it across the counter. “So did you two get on ok?” Gwen asked.

“Um, yeah”

“You were gone quite a while. Longer than it would have taken to get the things on that list”

“Yeah. We went for a drink afterwards. In the little supermarket café thing. Don’t worry. We didn’t use your money. Charlotte had some money with her and she offered to buy me a drink”

“Don’t worry. I wouldn’t have minded if you had used my money. So I take it that the drink helped you two to get along better?”

“Yeah. Well at first it was kinda awkward. Then we just started talking. We weren’t exactly talking about anything important, but talking about none important things is better than not talking at all,” Zoë said.

“Yes it is. And I’m sure that what you talk about will change, and you could become proper friends rather than two people forced together because of their parents” Gwen said.

Meanwhile, Charlotte had gone to the toilet then headed upstairs to her bedroom. She picked her laptop up and switched it on. Since she had already found out what AB, DL and TB knew, she intended to use this little bit of alone time to find out a little bit more about it. She typed the three things into google together, and the first site that it came out with was a foreign one from the Netherlands. She skipped by that one on the basis that she wouldn’t be able to understand it, and clicked on the next one. It was a page at wikipedia. She read that page and then a couple of others that the page linked too. As she was reading, Charlotte was filled with questions. Some questions were about AB or DL things, but most were about Zoë and how she fitted into the AB DL TB thing. Like how much Zoë did it. Charlotte hadn’t seen any nappies or anything at all related to that whilst she had been in the room, but she realised that if there were things like that in the room, then Zoë would have safely hidden them away before Charlotte moved in.

Charlotte went back to google and clicked on the next link. It took her to the home page of a forum. She looked around for a little bit then noticed the ‘Register’ button at the top of the screen.

“Should I do this?” she said to herself.

“Do what?” Zoë said coming into the room. Charlotte quickly deleted the window then put her laptop down on her bed.

“Nothing really. I was just thinking out loud really,” Charlotte said. She was feeling a bit panicked at how close she had come to being caught.

“Oh right ok” Zoë said. She walked over to her desk and picked up her laptop. “Oh, do you want to unpack a bit more today? I can help if you want”

“Yeah that sounds alright,” Charlotte said.

“Ok, I’ll just go on the Internet for a little bit then we can start” Zoë said. She carried her laptop over to her bed and sat down, leaning against the wall.

Once the computer was on, Zoë quickly loaded up the Internet. Before she went to her favourites, Zoë looked up and over at Charlotte. She didn’t want to go online then realise that Charlotte was walking over to her for whatever reason. When Zoë was satisfied that Charlotte was fully absorbed in whatever she was looking at, she headed to the ABDL Story Forum. Although the site didn’t exactly broadcast from the rooftops what it was about, in fact it was rather discreet, Zoë still didn’t quite feel comfortable in the idea of looking at the site when there was a chance that someone else might be able to see her screen.

Charlotte went to her email inbox. She had finished registering for the ABDL site that she had found, and was waiting for them to send out an email to validate her membership. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do once she was a member.

‘It’s not as if I can just start posting or anything, because I don’t really know anything about the whole thing. Hopefully I can just find out stuff from the site’ she thought. She refreshed her inbox again and smiled when she saw the new email. Eagerly she opened it up, and clicked on the link in it. Just as the page was loading up, Charlotte looked up and over at Zoë. She didn’t want to be looking at that website if Zoë was going to be anywhere near her and her laptop.

Chapter Twelve

Half an hour later, Zoë moved the laptop off her knee. In the end she had decided to go to the ABDL Story Forum. She had reasoned with herself, saying that even if Charlotte did get up and walk over to her, she would have plenty of time to minimise the window before Charlotte saw anything. Zoë looked up at Charlotte. She still seemed to be absorbed in whatever she was looking at on the screen. Zoë hoped that if she stood up and walked across the room, Charlotte would see her and they could get on with unpacking some of Charlotte’s things.

Charlotte saw Zoë putting her laptop to one side on her bed and getting up and walking over to her. So she quickly minimised the ABDL site that she had been exploring. So far, in that half an hour, Charlotte had just read some of the threads that had titles that interested her. And she had yet to post. In fact, Charlotte wasn’t even sure that she was going to post at all.

“Do you want to get on with some unpacking?” Charlotte asked as she saw Zoë leaning against the desk. She knew the answer already.

“Yeah. I mean, the sooner your stuff is unpacked, the sooner this room will start looking like a bedroom again and not like a storage area” Zoë said. “But before we start, do you fancy a drink?”

“Yeah. I’ll just switch this off,” she said referring to her laptop. “And I’ll come downstairs with you”

“No, it’s ok. Why don’t you get started whilst I go get the drinks. What do you want?”

“Um, water will be fine thanks” Charlotte answered. Zoë walked out of the room as Charlotte started to switch her computer off.

Once Zoë was gone, Charlotte walked over to Zoë’s computer and quickly looked at the screens that were open. There was something which looked like schoolwork, and that was it.

Charlotte was surprised to realise that she was actually disappointed about this, even though she wouldn’t have known what to do if she had discovered anything. She moved away from the laptop and got started on unpacking, just in case Zoë was quick in getting the drinks.

Downstairs, Zoë stood in front of the sink. One glass had squash in it. Orange and pineapple. That was her favourite. The other was under the tap getting filled up with water. When both glasses were filled, she headed back upstairs. She didn’t particularly want to spend her afternoon unpacking another person’s stuff. But she did want her room back to normal. Or at least as normal as it could be with another person living in there too.

“Zo, are you going upstairs?” Gwen said as she came out of the living room and saw Zoë with one foot on the bottom step.

“Yep. I’m going to help Charlotte unpack. Why?”

“Can you get Mitchell to come downstairs? I need to speak to him about something,” Gwen asked.

“Sure. Is he in his room?”

“Yeah he should be.”

Zoë carried on up the stairs. She took the glasses into her room before going to get Mitchell.

“I think you are in trouble for something,” Zoë said to him. He was playing on his Playstation with Harry.

“What do you mean? For what?”

“I don’t know. Mum asked me to get you to come downstairs”

“So she didn’t say I was in trouble?”

“Nope, I guess not.”

Zoë left the boys in their room. Mitchell was just standing up to go downstairs as she left. She went back into her bedroom. Charlotte had already opened up one of the boxes and was piling up the stuff from it onto her bed.

Zoë started to help.

That evening, after everyone had eaten, Gwen and Peter said that they were going to go to the local pub for a couple of drinks. It was the night for the pub quiz. Mitchell and Harry said that they were going to go as well. Mitchell knew that one of his friends would be there too, having come along with his parents. Jack had no plans for the evening.

So after the others had left, it was Zoë, Charlotte and Jack left in the house. Jack went up to his room. He tended to spend most of his time at home in there. Zoë decided to go for a walk round the village. She did ask if Charlotte wanted to go with her.

Charlotte went up to the bedroom for a bit to decide. She wasn’t really bothered about going for a walk. And knew that if she and Zoë couldn’t find anything to talk about, then the silent walk could be uncomfortable. At least for her. But on the other hand, the house was still new to her. And she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being alone, or practically alone there.

She eventually decided to stay at home, figuring that there was a chance that Jack might come out of his room and she might get a chance to have a proper conversation with him. In the time she had been there, they had only said a couple of words to each other.

Zoë set off on her walk, and Charlotte grabbed her laptop and decided to sit downstairs. She thought that if Jack did come out of his room, then there was more likely to be conversation if she was downstairs, than if she was in her room. She put the TV on and worked on some homework whilst watching it.

Zoë walked out of the house, turning left onto the street. She wasn’t sure where she was heading. But she liked to go for walks when she had things to think about. As she walked, she was relieved that Charlotte had decided not to go with her. She wanted to be able to think properly and there was no way she could have done that if she wasn’t alone.

She didn’t particularly have one specific thing that she wanted to think about, so she just thought about her day as she strolled along. She was glad that she seemed to be getting on better with Charlotte. They had actually had fun during the afternoon, unpacking Charlotte’s things. Zoë was amazed at how open she had seemed to be. Just letting Zoë open the boxes and unpack them. Zoë knew that if her stuff was in boxes, there would be at least a couple of boxes that she would want to keep private, and wouldn’t let anyone else open.

Charlotte flicked through the TV channels for a while before she found something that she wanted to watch. When she found something, she idly surfed the Internet whilst she watched. She wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, so she didn’t sign into MSN.

After about half an hour, her plan paid off, when she heard Jack coming down the stairs. She hoped that he would come into the lounge to talk to her. And after going to the kitchen, he came in, clutching a drink.

“Hiya Jack,” Charlotte said. She moved her laptop off her knee.

“Zo around?” he asked. Charlotte was a bit annoyed that he had apparently ignored her ‘hiya’.

“Nope. She went for a walk.”

“Ok. See you later” Jack said. He was just turning to walk out of the room when, in a desperate attempt to actually have a proper conversation with him, Charlotte spoke again.

“She left over half an hour ago. So she should probably be back soon. Are you going back to your room now? Do you want me to tell her that you were looking for her, when she gets in?”

“No. Don’t worry bout it. It wasn’t important,” he said, finally leaving the room.

‘I guess that was a conversation’ Charlotte thought as she heard him walking back up the stairs. She grabbed her laptop again, and ignoring the TV, went back to the ABDL site she had been looking at earlier on. She started again on reading some more posts.

Thoroughly tired out from the long walk, Zoë walked back up the drive. She had been gone just under an hour. And that time had allowed her to think about quite a few things. Before Peter, Charlotte and Harry had moved in, she had thought that she would be able to carry on with the more private parts of her life, so long as they were kept secret from everyone. But the walk had made her realise that it would be damn near impossible to ensure privacy when there was 6 other people living in the house as well, including one living in her room.

As she walked though the front door, she made up her mind to stop doing the ABDL thing. At least for a while. She knew that she could change her mind if she wanted to in a couple of months when things had settled down a bit. Zoë was about to walk the stairs, when she spotted Charlotte sat in the lounge. So she went in there to sit with Charlotte for a bit.

Charlotte saw Zoë coming in the room out of the corner of her, and hurriedly closed the window that was displaying the ABDL forum. She also quickly moved the laptop, as if she was expecting Zoë to realise what she was looking at, just from the fact that she was using her laptop.

Zoë noticed Charlotte quickly doing something on her computer, and Zoë smiled. ‘It seems as if Charlotte has secrets too. At least then it isn’t just me’ she thought as she sat down and said hi to Charlotte.

A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

Chapter Thirteen

The next morning, Charlotte was the first awake again. And as she had done the previous morning, she looked over at Zoë. And as she had seen the previous morning, Zoë was lying there; fast asleep, with her thumb firmly planted in her mouth. Knowing more about the whole AB/TB thing than she had done the previous day, Charlotte was sure that Zoë’s thumb sucking was something to do with it.

She quickly went to the bathroom and got a quick shower. And when she came back, Zoë looked as if she was about to wake up. And the thumb was still in her mouth. Charlotte wanted to know what Zoë would do if she woke up to find her that she was sucking her thumb, and that Charlotte had seen. So because of that, she made sure to get dressed quite slowly.

Sure enough, after a couple of minutes, Zoë was awake, and the thumb was taken out of her mouth. And she had noticed Charlotte in the room.

Zoë remembered that she had woken up the day before with her thumb in her mouth, but Charlotte wasn’t in the room. So she had tried to convince herself that Charlotte hadn’t seen anything. But this time Charlotte was right there, sat on her bed. So there was no chance at all that she could have missed it.

“I er um,” Zoë managed to mumble out. She was still half asleep so couldn’t really think of anything to say.

“I’m going to leave you to wake up properly in peace. I’m gonna go get breakfast” Charlotte said. Zoë was grateful to be left alone. It would give her time to think of, some explanation for the thumb. That was, if Charlotte actually asked for an explanation.

“Ok. I’ll be down in a bit,” Zoë said. Charlotte left the room, and Zoë slowly sat up.

Charlotte walked into the kitchen. Mitchell and Harry were both sat at the table eating cereal. And Gwen was stood next to the kettle, waiting for it to boil.

“Do you want a coffee Charlotte? There is enough water in here for me to make you one,” Gwen asked.

“Um, yeah thanks. That would be great.” Charlotte sat down at the table. She was only sat there a minute or so before Gwen handed her a coffee.

“Is Zoë awake yet?” Gwen asked, as she sat down with her coffee.

“Yeah. She was just getting up as I was coming downstairs,” Charlotte said. Peter walked in the room as she was speaking, and grabbed the coffee that Gwen had left on the counter for him.

Zoë slowly climbed out of bed. She had noticed that Charlotte was dressed, but she knew that she wasn’t going to get dressed before going downstairs for breakfast. Her stomach rumbled as she pulled her dressing gown off the hook and round her body.

“I will feed you soon,” she said to her stomach as she slowly walked out of the room. After going to the bathroom, she headed downstairs.

Mitchell, Harry, Gwen, Peter and Charlotte were all sat around the table. Jack hadn’t surfaced yet. Zoë poured herself a bowl of cereal, and grabbed a glass and a spoon. The juice and milk were already on the table, so she sat down and started to fill her glass with juice. She felt Charlotte looking at her, as she sat down, but deliberately didn’t look towards her. She didn’t want to know what sort of look was on Charlotte’s face.

“Morning sweetie,” Gwen said.

“Morning,” Zoë said. The milk was poured, so Zoë tucked into her cereal. It was only then that she looked over to Charlotte who was sat with her hands round a mug, and no food nearby. Zoë was glad that Charlotte wasn’t looking at her.

As Zoë put the spoon in her mouth, Jack walked into the kitchen. He still looked half asleep, and was definitely suffering from a case of bed-hair. He paused in the doorway to yawn and stretch, and then headed to the bread bin.

As Jack made some toast, Gwen stood up and started to clean up. Mitchell finished his cereal, so he sat there slowly drinking his juice whilst he waited for Harry to finish up. They were planning to meet up with a few of Mitchell’s friends to play football in the park.

When Jack’s toast was made, he sat down at the table next to Zoë. It was the only free seat, so he didn’t have much of a choice. Because of the size of the kitchen, they hadn’t been able to get a bigger table to fit in there. So they had just added the chairs from Peter’s kitchen to it. So although there were enough seats for everyone to sit down at the same time, they were all squished up together. Zoë was glad that she was sat between Jack and Mitchell, and not next to Charlotte. She didn’t particularly want to be squished up next to Charlotte this morning.

Slowly people started to finish eating, and drift off to do other things. Mitchell and Harry went upstairs to get ready to go play football. Peter got up to help Gwen wash up. Jack was going out with some friends, so he drifted off to shower and get ready. Charlotte topped up her coffee and stayed sat at the table drinking it. Zoë was waiting for Jack to finish in the shower before she went upstairs.

Eventually Zoë went upstairs too, leaving Charlotte sat there alone. “Have you finished with your mug Charlotte?” Gwen asked. She had finished washing up everything else and didn’t want to unplug the sink if Charlotte’s mug needed washing too.

“Just a sec,” Charlotte replied. She gulped down the last of the coffee and then stood up to hand the mug over.

“Thank you.” With that done, Charlotte decided to go on the computer for a bit. She was expecting an email from a friend, so she wanted to see if that had arrived, and reply to it.

As Zoë was in the shower, she had the room to herself. So she quickly made her bed, which, in her rush to get out of the room once Zoë woke up earlier on, she had forgotten to do. Once the bed was made, she grabbed her laptop and sat down on the bed.

The first thing she did when the computer had loaded up was to check her email. She knew that at some point she would be looking at the ABDL website, but she wanted to get emailing out of the way first.

When Zoë was in the shower, she was going over the decision she had made the previous night about forgetting about the whole ABDL thing for a month until things had settled down. By the time she was getting dry, Zoë was firm on her decision. She would post on the board, saying that she wasn’t going to be around for a month or so. She was still planning on talking to ABDL friends online. But preferably not about things related to the community, at least whilst there was a risk of someone else looking at her computer.

She knew that after a month things would have settled down. Half term would be over, so people would be back at school and college. And even though she was at school too, the fact that everyone would be out for most of the day meant that it was more likely that she would have some alone time where she could go on the forum without anyone seeing. “Or if it works out, I could even have a few hours alone to actually get out my AB things and have a babyish couple of hours,” she said quietly to the mirror, smiling as she said it.

Dressed in just her dressing gown, Zoë left the bathroom and headed to the bedroom. She didn’t bother to get dressed, but instead just picked up her laptop and switched it on. She knew that if she didn’t post the temporary goodbye message now whilst she was thinking about it, she might back out of it, which could lead to Charlotte or someone else seeing her on there.

Sitting with her back resting against the wall, she began to write out the message. It took her a while, because she wanted to make sure that the wording was alright. And she wanted to make sure that she explained her reasons for leaving. She had seen other people post goodbye messages on there, and people had posted with their doubts. She didn’t want people to think she was leaving because she was trying to give up the AB thing.

Eventually she had the message written out to post. It was titled ‘Temporary Goodbye’

'As some of you might know, there has been changes going on in my life recently. To cut a long story short, my mum, met someone, and he has just moved into our house. Bringing with him his two kids. And I am now sharing a room with one of them. So I don’t really have a lot of privacy at the moment. Certainly not enough to actually have some baby time. And I don’t want to risk coming on here, and having my, I guess, stepsister seeing this site. I don’t want her to find out about this side of me.

So I guess what that rambley paragraph is saying is that I’m not going to be coming on here for a while. I figure that a month will be long enough for things to settle down, and for me to work out how much privacy I’m going to have. And also to work out the times when my stepsister is likely to be out, so I have the room to myself.

I still plan on talking online, so I will still be able to talk to those people that I talk to online. And hopefully I will speak to the rest of you in a month.’

Zoë pressed ‘Post’ and then looked at the message, reading it through before she signed out and exited the forum. She quickly looked at her favourites list. The forum was still there under it’s ‘bus timetable’ pseudonym. Before she could think about it properly, she had pressed delete and it was gone. She still knew the web address, so could go back to it again, but she didn’t want to leave it in her favourites.

She checked her emails, and then switched the computer off. She didn’t want to be on there and not be able to go to the forum.

“I’m going for a walk,” she told Charlotte as she stood up. “I will be back in a bit.”

Chapter Fourteen

Charlotte watched Zoë leave the room. She had finished replying to her emails, so with Zoë gone, she went to the ABDL forum. It had now worked its way into her favourites, under another name of course. Every time she went there she would look at a different sub forum, so today she had worked her way down to the story forum. She idly went through the pages, looking for a title that looked interesting, or one that looked popular. About halfway down the second page, she clicked on a story. She started to read.

Once she had read a couple of the chapters when she got bored of it, and decided to move onto something else. She opened another thread entitled ‘Looking for story’. The poster was looking for a certain story. There was a reply which gave a link to the ABDL Story forum. Wondering what it was, and guessing that it would have a lot more stories, Charlotte clicked the link. Because of the ABDL in the title, she knew it was related to the ABDL thing that Zoë was into.

Charlotte read through the story that the link led her to, and managed to finish it, unlike the one she had tried to read before. Because she had liked that story, she started to explore some of the other stories on there.

When Zoë had walked out of the house, she hadn’t really known where she was walking to; she just wanted to walk to clear her head. Since she knew the area really well, she wasn’t bothered about walking somewhere and not being able to find her way back.

Half an hour after she had left the house, she found herself in the next village. Checking her pockets, she found a bit of money in one, so she started to walk in the direction of the shop.

As she was walking there, she realised that she was doing the same thing that she had done the other day when Charlotte was moving in with Harry and Peter. And on that day she had ended up sitting in an abandoned graveyard thinking about her dad.

When she got to the shop, Zoë slowly walked around figuring out what she wanted. She pulled the money out of her pocket to see how much she had. Zoë smiled as she realised she had enough money for a bottle of coke and a chocolate bar. She grabbed the coke, and then went to look at the chocolate bars to see which one she wanted.

Charlotte looked up at the clock on the wall. For once it came in useful and told her that she had been reading stories for half an hour. Because she had never been to this site before, she decided to look around the rest of it for a bit. She went to the home page and then stood up. She wanted to see if Zoë was back from her walk yet, and likely to be coming into the bedroom. Although this site seemed to be less obvious about what it was, she didn’t want to take the risk that Zoë would see it. Especially because Zoë could have visited the site herself, so would know what it looked like.

When Charlotte got to the kitchen, she got herself a drink. She wanted to have some physical reason for coming downstairs in case she saw someone. With the drink in hand, she walked across the hallway, and past the lounge door. No one was in there. Charlotte knew that Jack, Mitchell and Harry would still be out, but she was surprised to realise that her dad and Gwen weren’t around.

As Charlotte was about to go upstairs, Gwen and Peter started to walk down them. “Charlotte, you’re here,” Peter said. “We just went to your room to look for you and Zoë.”

“How come?”

“We are going to the supermarket. So we didn’t want you two to wonder where we were,” Gwen said.

“Zoë went for a walk. I don’t know when she will be back. It was about half an hour ago when she went,” Charlotte explained.

“Ok. Well, you can tell her if she asks when she gets back,” Peter said.

“And Jack will probably be out most of the day. But Mitchell and Harry might come home before we go out. And I don’t think either of them have their keys with them. So you will have to let them in if they come home,” Gwen added. Peter and Gwen were all ready to go, so within a couple of minutes, they had left Charlotte standing alone in the hallway, still clutching her drink.

Charlotte gulped down half of her drink before heading upstairs. When she was about half way up, she suddenly realised what her dad had said to her. ‘We just went to your room to look for you and Zoë’ Charlotte heard repeated in her head. As she rushed quickly to her room, she tried to remember what she had left on her laptop screen, and where she had left it in her room.

When she opened the bedroom door, there was a sigh of relief as she realised that the laptop screen was facing towards the wall. So for anyone to see whatever was on her screen, they would have to walk over and pick up the laptop, or climb onto the bed.

When Zoë had chosen a chocolate bar, she went up to the counter to pay. “Is that everything dear?” asked the lady behind the counter as she quickly scanned the coke and chocolate bar.

“Yes thank you,” Zoë said politely.

With her things paid for, Zoë left the shop and set off walking up the street. She was aware that she was heading in the direction of the graveyard that she had been to the other day, but she wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to go there. ‘The graveyard will probably make me think about dad again,’ she thought. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to think about her dad today. She tended to think about him every day, even if she wasn’t near a graveyard anyway. But today, she wanted some time alone to think about other things in her life.

As Zoë walked up to the junction, where a left would take her on a direct path to the graveyard, and the right was a road she hadn’t been down before, she took a minute or so to make her decision, then turned right. Whilst she was walking, she opened up her bottle of coke and took a couple of sips.

About ten minutes down the road, Zoë found a park. It had the usual array of park things like slides and swings, as well as several benches. Some of the benches were set near to the play equipment, clearly meant for parents or caretakers. Even though there were no children at the park right now, Zoë was still reluctant to take one of those benches, in case any children did show up. She walked past the slide and swings in order to get to the benches on the other side, which were set further away from everything else. On passing the swings, Zoë looked at them. It didn’t take long for her to decide to swing for a bit, rather than sitting on a bench.

Zoë flew though the sky, her legs outstretched. A big smile was spread across her face. She had practically forgotten about the message she had left on the forum earlier on, and the reason why she had chosen to go for a walk. Instead, she felt almost like a kid inside.

When she was a kid, there was a park just down the road from her house. She and Jack had spent quite a bit of time there, sometimes with each other, and sometimes with different friends. It was demolished when she was 13, and the land now provided space for three houses. At 13, her friends had seemed desperate to grow up and be older, and Zoë had gone along with them, so hadn’t been able to reveal publicly that she would miss the park. At that time, she had envied Mitchell immensely because he, at seven, could reveal that he would miss having a park to play in down the road, and no one thought bad of him for it.

Zoë wondered what Charlotte would think of her, swinging in a park as if she was a kid, and not 17 years old. ‘Charlotte is one of those people who are really grown up’ Zoë thought. ‘I bet she knows exactly what she wants to do when she is older. I have no idea. And I’ve never felt grown up’. As she was thinking, Zoë spotted a couple of kids walking up the road to the park. Even though Zoë felt like more of a kid than a grown up, she wasn’t sure that she wanted to act like a kid in front of other people. So she quickly slowed the swing down until she was able to get off, and make a hasty retreat to the benches.

When she was sat down, she got the bottle of coke out of her pocket, and holding it away from her body, in case it fizzed up, she opened it up. As she drank the coke and ate her chocolate bar, she had a chance to think over her decision to stop visiting the forum. Part of her wanted to, even if it was just to see if anyone replied to her topic, and what they said. But another part of her realised that she had posted that topic because she didn’t want to get caught looking at the forum. And any time that she went back there would just give someone else more of a chance to find out.

After about half an hour, decided she should be starting to walk home. She wished she could have had more time, as sitting on the bench had turned out to be quite relaxing. But she knew that it would take her a while to walk back, and she had already been gone almost a couple of hours.

When Charlotte was settled back on her bed, she went back to the main page of the forum. She was just about to go look at a topic when she heard her mobile phone ringing. It was on the desk, so she climbed off the bed and went to answer it. She was a little surprised when she saw Harry’s name. When she answered it, Harry told her that he and Mitchell were outside the front door waiting to be let in.

“Just a sec,” Charlotte said. She hung up the phone and walked out of the room and down the stairs. She had opened the front door, and let the two boys in. As they were taking their shoes off, she spoke to them. “How come you didn’t just ring the doorbell?”

“We did” Harry said.

“Yeah. We rang it about 5 times. You never came. It was a good job that Harry had his mobile on him, so he could ring you,” Mitchell added.

“Where are dad and Gwen? And Zoë?” Harry asked. His shoes were off, and he was on his way to the kitchen to get a drink.

“Dad and Gwen went to the supermarket. And Zoë went for a walk,” Charlotte said. She looked up at the clock on the wall. “She went almost two hours ago.”

“She’s gone for walks longer than two hours,” Mitchell said. “The longest I’ve ever known was four and a half. It was in the evening, and mum was beginning to get worried.”

“So does she walk for all that time? Constantly walking for hours?”

“I don’t think so. She generally goes for walks to have time to think. So she walks for a bit, then finds somewhere to sit and think. Then she comes home,” Harry said. Both the boys had a drink, so they both wandered upstairs, leaving Charlotte stood in the kitchen alone.

‘I wonder what she has to think about’ Charlotte thought as she went back upstairs to her computer to carry on exploring the forum.

Chapter Fifteen

The first topic that Charlotte read once she had settled herself back on the bed, was the top one in the General Discussion forum. It was about a short story competition that the forum was having. Charlotte just read the first couple of posts, before reading that the competition was in a separate forum that was only open to members. Since Charlotte was a guest, she figured that she would have to content herself with just reading the stories in the main forum.

" I can always sign up to this forum if I decide that I want to read the short stories" she said to herself, although she was reluctant to sign up, because she had already signed up to one ABDL site, and still had yet to post there.

The next topic she opened was a goodbye message. After seeing two goodbye messages on the first forum she looked at, Charlotte was beginning to get the idea that people tended to leave these types of forums regularly. Or at least, if they didn’t do it regularly, they at least let everyone know when they did leave.

Charlotte slowly read through it. She wasn’t exactly sure why she was reading it, as she didn’t know anyone on the forum, so couldn’t care less whether or not they were still there or not. It made no difference to her.

When Charlotte had read through the first post, she scrolled down to look at the replies. Since the topic had only been there for a few hours there was only a couple of replies. As Charlotte read, she wondered if it meant that the person was really popular on the forum, because they’d got two replies in a few hours, or if it meant they were unpopular.

“I guess it depends on how slow or fast this forum is” Charlotte said.

Zoë walked up the driveway. She was surprised to see that Peter’s car wasn’t in the driveway, but assumed that he must have gone out. As Zoë walked up to the door, she checked her pocket for keys, hoping that someone was in. The door was locked when Zoë tried to open it, so she rang the doorbell as she dug around in her pocket, hoping to find her keys.

After she had been stood on the porch for a couple of minutes, she finally heard footsteps on the stairs, which she was relieved about, as she hadn’t been able to find her keys.

It was Mitchell’s footsteps that she had heard. “Hey Mitch, where is everyone else?” she said walking through the door and kicking off her shoes.

Mitchell explained that Gwen and Peter had gone out and that Harry and Charlotte were in the house.

“Me and Harry were upstairs in our room. And I think Charlotte is in your room,” he said as he turned to head back upstairs.

Zoë closed and then locked the front door before heading slowly up the stairs. She thought about what Mitchell had said. ‘He called it ‘our room’, as in him and Harry’s room. And I still call my room, my room. As if Charlotte being there is temporary. Like she is just someone staying over’.

This was still on her mind as she walked into her bedroom, and saw Charlotte lying on her bed looking at her computer. “Hey Charlotte. What you up to?”

Charlotte practically jumped off the bed in surprise. She hadn’t heard the doorbell and hadn’t heard Zoë come into the bedroom. She was still on the ABDL site, so hoped that Zoë couldn’t see her computer screen.

“Sorry. Did I surprise you?” Zoë asked as she walked to her bed.

“Yeah, a bit. I didn’t realise you were back,” Charlotte replied. She closed her laptop, and sat up properly on her bed. “So, did you have a fun walk?”

“It was alright. I walked to the next village,” Zoë said.

Charlotte thought again of the topic she’d read on the forum and then Mitchell’s words about Zoë going for long walks when she had something to think about. “How far away is the next village?” Charlotte asked. She wasn’t really bothered about the answer, but she didn’t want Zoë to think she was ignoring her.

“Not that far. A mile or so I think. And it’s fairly easy to get to. It’s really just a couple of long roads.”

“Do you mind if I go with you at some point?” Charlotte asked. “Just to check it out. I wouldn’t want to go on my own, just in case I got lost or something.”

“Yeah sure. But it is just a village you know. It doesn’t have anything in it apart from a newsagent. Oh and a post office. That’s it really. I tend to walk and think about things. So the long walk down one lane is good, because I can totally drift off and then when I start concentrating I’m still on the same path. But the few times I’ve tried to do that on a route where I have to change roads, or roads with lots of traffic, I can’t really drift off and think about stuff. I have to concentrate on where I’m going,” Zoë said.

Charlotte tried to think of something to say in reply to Zoë.

“Sorry, that was kind of rambley. I guess you didn’t really need to know about all that,” Zoë said. “Anyway, I think I’m going to go get a drink or something. Do you want a drink?” Charlotte didn’t appear to have heard the question. “Charlotte? Did you hear me?”

Charlotte looked towards Zoë, and searched her brain to try and remember what Zoë had just asked her. “Sorry, what did you say?”

“I just asked if you wanted a drink,” Zoë said.

“Um, no thanks, I’m fine,” Charlotte replied. On hearing that, Zoë walked out of the room to get a drink for herself.

The reason that Charlotte had missed Zoë’s question about wanting a drink was because she was too busy thinking about something else that Zoë had said.

‘The word rambley was in that goodbye post on that forum. And Zoë just said it now’ Charlotte thought. She couldn’t really remember much else of the post, and was reluctant to go back onto the site and look to see if anything else in there, indicated that it might be Zoë. She was worried that Zoë would come back into the room. “I’ll look later. As soon as I get the chance” Charlotte said out loud, not thinking about what she would do if she thought that post was from Zoë. “It’s not like I can come out and ask her about it,” Charlotte said quietly to herself as she heard Zoë coming back up the stairs.

Zoë came back into the bedroom carrying a glass of water. She set it down on the desk, and then grabbed her laptop. She switched it on. Because she wasn’t planning to visit anything that was ABDL related, she didn’t see any reason why she had to hide her screen from Charlotte.

Once the Internet was loaded up, she checked her email. It was usually one of the first things she did when she went on the computer. Zoë had totally forgotten about the emails she had gotten from the ABDL forum. She had got an email from them every time she had a PM at the site. And they were all from ‘ABDL Story Forum’. When Zoë saw those old messages in her inbox she panicked slightly, and felt very aware that her screen wasn’t hidden. She didn’t want to turn round and see whereabouts Charlotte was, in case Charlotte then looked over at her. Zoë quickly deleted the ones that were showing on her screen. As she was doing that, she began to stop panicking, and started to realise how unlikely it was that Charlotte would be able to see anything. ‘The writing is small, and it will be hard for Charlotte to read from the other side of the room. And I doubt she would even be trying to read. And even if she was looking, I’m sure that my back would be blocking most of the screen,’ Zoë thought rationally. ‘And besides, even if she was looking, could see the screen, and could read the writing, it’s not like she would even know what ABDL stood for. It’s not as if it is something well known’.

Satisfied that Charlotte hadn’t seen anything, Zoë started to look at her new email. There was one from one of her friends on the story forum, and there was also a message telling her that she had a PM on the site. Not wanting to go on the site with Charlotte there, she didn’t even bother to look at that email. She figured that seeing it in her inbox later would make her remember to go there.

The rest of her emails were things that didn’t require any sort of answer, so she had quickly managed to look through them. Her usual Internet routine then involved going to the story forum. She had already clicked on her favourites out of habit before she remembered. Instead of going there, she went on google, and started searching for things related to some schoolwork she had to do.

Seeing Zoë settling down at her computer, Charlotte pulled hers onto her knee, and went on the Internet. Feeling fairly secure that Zoë wouldn’t be looking at her screen, she found her way back to the forum she had been on before, so she could take another look at the goodbye message.

This time she read it through properly, and the closer she got to the end, the more she realised that it had to be Zoë. ‘Or at least if this isn’t Zoë, then it is freaky how this person’s life is so similar to what has just happened to Zoë. Especially because I’m sure that she is into this stuff,’ Charlotte thought, looking over at Zoë, who was slouched at the desk, and seemed to be quite involved with whatever she was looking at on the computer. She switched her computer off, convinced that Zoë was the one who had written that goodbye message, and confused as to what she should or shouldn’t do about it. Zoë didn’t even turn round as Charlotte stood up and left the room.

Charlotte first went downstairs, but when she reached the kitchen she found that her dad and Gwen were back from the supermarket, and were busy putting the bits of shopping that they had bought. It was only when Charlotte’s stomach rumbled, that she remembered that she hadn’t had any lunch. She looked up at the time on clock on the wall and was surprised to see that it was already half two.

“Char, have you had lunch yet?” Peter asked, when he turned and saw her in the doorway.

“Nope, not yet,” she replied.

“Do you know if anyone else has?” Gwen asked.

“I don’t think Zoë has, but I’m not sure about Mitchell and Harry. And Jack is still out.”

“We’ve already seen the boys, and they said that they hadn’t eaten. So I was just about to come and ask you and Zo. We were thinking that we would make some sandwiches now, because we haven’t eaten either,” Gwen explained.

Charlotte couldn’t help but wonder why Gwen had asked about everyone else, when she had already asked Mitchell and Harry. ‘Why not just ask about Zoë,’ she thought before she replied to Gwen. “Yeah that sounds like a good idea,” she said. She decided to keep her thoughts to herself, because she knew that saying something like that would make her seem childish, and would really annoy her dad.

“Ok. We’ll give you a call when they are ready,” Peter said. “Can you let Zoë know please?”

“Yeah sure,” Charlotte said. She walked out of the room, and back up the stairs. When she walked back into the bedroom, Zoë was leaning back in her chair and the laptop seemed to be switched off.

“Zoë,” Charlotte said to get her attention. Zoë quickly spun round to face her. At that moment Charlotte wanted to say something to her about what she had found out, but couldn’t come up with the words, so instead she passed on the message about the sandwiches and left the room.

A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

Wow, This story is amazing. You are doing a really good job, and I can’t wait for more.

A Period Of Adjustment Chapters 1 - 15 (Repost)

They drink a lot, don’t they?

And also, there are a few little things like how they only bought four items from the supermarket but it’ll take whole minutes to put away etc.

Still, it’s good to see that you have the discipline to keep it progressing slowly and teasingly.