One morning, Rose came down the stairs of her foster family’s house to find Stuart sitting on a step, deep in thought. While this wasn’t really a surprise—Stuart is a very introspective little boy—the curious expression on his face made her pause.
Not knowing what else to say, she asked,
“Oh…she had to g-go film a scene. She just left.” Stuart said.
Rose wondered if that explained the curious expression—and decided it did not. She waited.
“Where’s Lucy? I-I’m supposed to t-tell you both something,” he continued.
Rose soon returned with Lucy, who, as it was only 7:30 on a summer Saturday morning, had still been asleep.
“What’s going on? Lucy mumbled sleepily.
“Charlotte s-said to s-say that Corbin is coming this morning.” Stuart said.
That woke Lucy up.
“Corbin!?! Why?” she asked.
“I dunno. It’s C-corbin. He d-doesn’t exactly a-ask.”
“Umm…can you guys tell me what’s going on? Who’s Corbin?” Rose said.
“H-he’s a California d-dude. He thinks he’s really cool. But Corbin’s not intentionally unk-kind, I don’t think.” Stuart answered. Good ol’ Stuart always wants to believe the best of everyone.
“Oh.” said Rose, unimpressed. “Does he have a skateboard?” She asked. Rose liked skateboards.
“He’s not allowed to h-have it here. H-he left it in the way a lot and Charlotte and L-lucy both fell over it.”
“Oh,” said Rose, even less impressed.
When she’d lived with her old foster parents (who had willingly bought her all the sports equipment she wanted) she’d known better than to leave things in the way. And even now, living as a foster kid with Charlotte and her family, she kept her few things in order.
A little later a figure could be seen strutting up the path. Stuart opened the door and stepped out.
A boy with an incredible resemblance to Charlotte stood there.
“Hey! Stu, you’re wearing my shoes. And those are my pants, aren’t they?”
“Hi Corbin. Nice to see you too. It’s Stuart,” Stuart replied quietly, speaking slowly to keep from stuttering. “You left your things here even after Charlotte reminded you. And those are my shorts you’ve got on.” Corbin said nothing, but looked past Stuart to Rose.
“Who’s that?” he said. “And why is she wearing my Italian jeans?”
“I’m Rose,” Rose interpolated firmly. “And you left them here. If you really want, you can wash them tonight after I’m done wearing ‘em.”
“D-did you bring any luggage?” Stuart though it’d be better to change the subject.
“Yeah, dude, I did. But the airplane lost it. It’s supposed to be here tomorrow.” Corbin said irritably.
“Oh, o-okay,” said Stuart awkwardly.
“Hey Corbin!” Stuart and Rose didn’t move. They knew it was Lucy, who was, of course, wearing her favorite play dress.
“Hey. So where’s Charlotte?” Corbin asked.
“She had a scene to shoot this morning.” Lucy said cheerfully. “But she left me this pretty hair clip to wear.”
“Oh,” said Corbin, bored. He walked toward them. “I’m just gonna play a game on my laptop.”
“No electronics,” said Lucy and Stuart at exactly the same moment. Corbin glared.
“I just realized that I don’t even have it. So…I’ll sleep. Am I allowed to do that?”
“You can use my bed,’ Stuart said generously. “It’s up—”
“Yeah, I know.” Corbin said, brushing by him. Stuart said nothing until he heard the door to his bedroom shut behind Corbin. Then he turned to Lucy and Rose:
“It’s not his fault. Charlotte said h-he took the red-eye p-plane trip. Corbin p-probably hasn’t slept since y-yesterday.”
“Where’s Becca?” Rose asked, quickly changing the subject. Although Becca was very dramatic, it was nice to have someone closer to her age, besides two 8-year-olds. Rose didn’t think Corbin was real companionable.
“Charlotte took Becca with her. Becca wants to be an actress, you know, and Charlotte thought it’d be a good experience.” Lucy said
Rose sighed. “I think I’ll go see what treasures are lying in your garage, then.” She’d had to leave most of her sports equipment at her last foster home and her newest family’s garage was chock full from all their moves.
“K,” Stuart said.
“Stuart and I are gonna play in the backyard.” Lucy informed her.
Well—now you’ve met Corbin!
Do you have any annoying cousins? Are you ever an annoying cousin? 😉