A/N: Okay then. Sorry for the delay people...I had this crazy hiatus and an incident which involved a rubber ducky, a picnic basket, a very viscous man-eating plant, and a set of rainy clothes. But...all my toes and fingers are intact...so that's okay. Ahem. Yes, I'm sorry for the typos but I was stuck using a computer with WordPad (which doesn't have spellcheck) and I was sharing the computer with three other aunts and cousin in a low-tech province somewhere in the mountains...er...you didn't need to know that. Anyway, I am BACK to be your typing slave. And here's....the CHAPTAH!!!
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Oh...my...god. It's...the...British boy. He looks at me strangely through intensely swirled pools under dark lashes. "Âllo...?" What? That's French? I ogle his face with what is probably the most perplexed look on my face. "Aren't you British?" I blurt out, instantly feeling the color taint my cheeks as my mind catches up too late with my mouth. Great, this is all the poor guy needs. First, my mum thinks he's a child rapist and slaps him to death. Then, I throw up on him. And now a stranger wearing Bugs Bunny fuzzy slippers and a ridiculous bathrobe that says Princess is asking for his nationality.
French-British-Fellow opens his mouth and then closes it, as if wondering whether to say another word to this crazy psychotic teen. Thus passes the longest most uncomfortable nanosecond in my life. "Ah...my name is Armaund..." His voice trails off so awkwardly, but for some reason it's very nice on him.
The name pounds me so hard on the head, I feel like I am hammered right into the fake wood paneling floor. Oh god. Armaund Delacroix. I start and step aside, fuzzy slippers padding gently on the floor. "Right! Hi! Come in." He's wearing a sweater now and has the mandarin collar up. It gives a really sweet windswept look...wait, why do I know what a mandarin collar is? Would that be a conversation starter? 'Oh, I like your mandarin collar'. NO.
He's looking at our living room with great interest, and I suddenly wish I had cleaned up a bit. Forced mum to redecorate. Hire an interior designer. Live in a different house? Our living room isn't so bad, actually, it has matelasse floral printed couches, mellow gold walls, fake wood floors, white trimming, and a decorative coffee table. Actually, it's much better than most peoples' houses. It's just that...on top of the piano are family pictures. Large framed family pictures. With me.
Me in braces, me in a bathing suit, me in braces, me as a...dear god...me as a naked baby. Large un-photogenic pictures with red eyes, the odd blemish, rumpled hair, ugly clothes that make me look even ganglier, and me grinning toothily at the camera with a desperate look on my face. And I have nothing against God...but there is a huge terrifying cross hanging above the camera. It's one of those crucifixes with painted blood that would make a pimp tremble in fear of hell and damnation. And...oh god. Whose socks are those?
I use this distracting moment to inconspicuously shove the socks under a sofa, only to find that they are being blocked by...someone's shoe. His shoes. I can tell Armaund is pretending not to notice this...but a slight tremor is fluttering on his cheeks. Just beautiful. My life is a sit-com.
"Honey, I'll just drive you over to the doctor to check your boo..." I cringe immediately as Mum rounds the corner, also resplendent in fluffy bathrobe and with her hair wrapped in a towel. She stands there, stock-still for just a few seconds, and I can count the seconds it takes her mouth to open wide and then elongate into...she's going to scream!!!
Instead, harsh and cold words exit her lips. "Christelle, what is he doing here?!" Obviously, she doesn't wait for me to answer and suddenly - as is natural in situations such as these - lunges forward, cranes her neck backwards and yells, "David! David! The mugger is here!" Oh great. Not only is he a rapist, he's a mugger too!
"Wait!" Oh my freaking god. I can see what she's doing now. She's grabbing something behind the couch. I try to shove Armaund out of the way - slippers were never built for this - because a rampaging mother is stampeding quickly across the living room with a baseball bat in her hands! "Get out of my house this instant and leave my daughter alone!!!"
He suddenly looks surprised, as if realizing for the first time that my mother means business. Well, I couldn't blame him, because you couldn't take anyone walking around in a bathrobe and towel seriously, could you? Yelping, he turns around and heads for the door, and I am caught between chasing him (outside? wearing this?!?) and stopping Mum when behind me I hear an "Oof!" and I turn around to see Dad clinging onto the poor fellow in an armlock.
I didn't know Dad that could do that. Wait, why am I thinking this? Dad's going to kill Armaund! "Stop that!" I charge and try to loosen Dad's mighty Death Touch Grip from Armaund's neck, alarmed by the sudden change of his face colors which wouldn't look so out of place in any of my chemistry classes.
Dad looks confused. "What? He's the mugger!" How is it when people who preach about forgiveness suddenly turn into beasts when people look like they're raping/mugging/killing/harassing their daughters? Mum is whacking the baseball bat around their legs, with resounding plaintive complaints from the floor and one of Dad's toes. "Get out of the way! David!" "Meredith! You're going to kill him!" "That's the point!" "STOP IT!!!!"
All movement stops because I've frantically grabbed a flashlight, shining it wildly in everyone's eyes, and I must look terrifiying in my outfit and Bugs Bunny slippers. "He's the exchange student! Armaund Delacroix!" All movement really stops. I remember clearly now, but I might as well explain before my headache comes back. My family signed up to be the foster family for this year's exchange student for France. Part of Mum and Dads' good will crap.
Mum's mouth widens in a small 'o' and she looks from me, to Dad, and then sheepishly at Armaund with a very perplexed look in her eyes. "Oh dear." She suddenly smiles at Armaund, revealing her signature dazzling teeth. "Welcome to the family, honey."