It was Saturday morning, and when I stopped in front of the door, the house was silent. Everyone must still have been asleep.
I went in thanks to my key, looked in the kitchen and my heart leapt: on the breakfast table, neatly placed by my mother (like every night according to a fixed habit) were not three trays as I had feared, but four. Yes guys, four trays.
I rubbed my eyes, not daring to believe it, but there it was: my Lord of the Rings bowl with assorted napkin, spoon and mug. I nearly screamed with joy. My punitive expedition had borne its fruit, everything was back to normal!
I climbed up to the first floor and poked my head into each of the two rooms, my parents’ on the right and my sister’s across the hall: everyone was shamelessly sleeping the sleep of the just.
I was suddenly extremely tired – a drop in adrenaline probably – and instead of waking everyone up with a bang, I stumbled towards my room and collapsed onto the bed.
It was the smell of chocolate that woke me, around ten thirty in the morning.
When I went down into the kitchen, Julie, still in pyjamas, was busy conscientiously chewing her croissant. She paid no attention to me.
I sat down in front of her, vaguely worried. What if nothing had changed after all? After a moment, I tried:
– Uh… Scabbers isn’t with you?
Julie didn’t bother to raise her head, but she eventually answered, her mouth still full of chocolate, scowling:
– I arready tchold you not to call my dog Shcabbers.
I nearly leapt over the table to squeeze her in my arms, my lil’ sis, but between you and me, I don’t think she would have taken it well. I therefore settled, relieved, to silently burst with joy (Julie didn’t notice anything thankfully). I grabbed a croissant and happily bit into it.
I felt a hand go through my hair and I turned around: it was my mum who had just come in. She looked at me with affection:
– You finally decided to get up! You slept like a log.
I didn’t answer and simply smiled back at her.
She ran a finger on the edge of my bowl.
– You know something weird happened to me last night. I completely forgot about you when I set the breakfast table, can you believe it! It’s the first time that’s ever happened.
I nodded and kept on smiling, trying hard to look like the guy who doesn’t understand anything that’s being said to him.
– …And last night I realised my omission. It woke me up. I felt horribly guilty, you can imagine, and I immediately came down to add your place.
I shrugged, deceptively casual.
– It’s not a big deal, Mum.
My mum ran her hand in my hair again.
– But still, my poor dear…
Then she looked down at my feet and her tender expression immediately disappeared, giving way to the expression she saves for the worst of days:
– Good Lord, Gabriel! What on earth did you do to your slippers?
(Go to PART 15)