One Friday night their daughter, Simone, had a friend over, Ryan Blackford. It was summertime and they both could stay out past dark on weekends so they went swimming in the pool and Mark took a break from his work to join them.
After Mark walked Ryan home and came back the family enjoyed video games for a while before bedtime. Simone loved Friday and Saturday nights with her little family.
Early Saturday morning Simone woke up and quickly ran out to pick her lemons for the lemonade she always made to sell on weekends. Her mother ran the stand during the week until Simone got home.
"Get in this house, Missy!" Yvette called to her through the kitchen window. She was fuming. When it was hot summer Simone slept in her undies and today she'd run out without thinking about it. She came in and put the fruit she'd collected so far on the counter.
"But I'm in a hurry!"
"You're much too old to run around outdoors like that. Go get dressed quickly and you can still get the rest picked in time."
"Oh, my undies don't show anything more than my swimsuit," Simone complained, but she kept moving, taking the stairs two at a time.
Yvette voice came up the stairs after her,
"I know, I know, but you just can't wear only your underclothes outside the house, honey."
"I'm gonna sleep in my swimsuit from now on," Simone muttered to herself as she put on jeans and a tank top."
It was a busy day for the Wilsons. They sold fresh fruit and veggies and delicious fruit pies and Mark usually had at least two of his freshly restored cars for sale. Of course, Simone had her lemonade stand front and center. She usually did pretty well and her mother let her keep the money providing she put half of it in her savings account. Simone was careful with her money anyway, what didn't go in the bank went in her little piggy bank. From time to time she got a little bit out of it when she wanted something special.
The fruit stand was open all week except Wednesdays and Sundays, but Saturday was their big sales day and the day that Simone helped out the most. On schooldays she came home and sold lemonade in the afternoon as well as helped lug produce out to customer's cars and acted as a gofer for her parents. This was unless one of two things happened. If she had an unusual amount of homework or a special project in school, then she went in the house and concentrated on that. Or if she brought a friend home from school for a pre-arranged playdate, then she was naturally encouraged to go off and have fun. But of course for Mark and Yvette, the produce market on their lawn took precedence over their own social activities.
One morning Simone was talking to Nibbles, her pet hamster.
"Here you go, Nibbles. Eat your breakfast."She had really wanted a dog, but so far she had only conned her parents into this furry little thing, but she loved tiny Nibbles. She kept his cage in her bedroom, the new one her parents had painted and decorated for her. Her birthday would be soon and maybe she could have a puppy for a birthday gift, she mused.
"You wouldn't be sad if I got a puppy, would you, Nibbles? I promise I'll still take very good care of you and Mom says she always checks on you when I'm at school."
His little twitching whiskers suddenly stopped still and to Simone he looked rather shocked. But at least he did not look sad.
But how could she keep a puppy and Nibbles both in her bedroom? Sometimes Nibbles managed to escape his cage and usually hid in her dollhouse. She didn't want her puppy to eat Nibbles or anything.
"Breakfast, Simone!" Yvette called up the stairs.
"I have to go now!" Simone cuddled Nibbles and placed him back in his cage whereupon he immediately began running inside his little wheel like something terrible was on his heels. She couldn't help but wonder if he had understood her and was practicing how to run fast from any hungry little canines she might bring home.
Breakfast was cold cereal and she talked with her mother while they ate until lher Aunt Lalique showed up to help out as cashier. Simone had to get on the school bus just when all the fun was starting, but then it began to rain and she knew they would have to run around and put tarps and sheets of plastic over everything hoping it would not rain long. That was never fun. If it rained all day it could ruin the sales and they'd have to bring in all the pies. So she decided she'd rather be at school after all.
The next day was Wednesday and the business was closed for the day. On Wednesdays after cleaning the house Yvette would usually be doing other errands that took her into town like banking and shopping. Sometimes she visited her mother on Wednesdays and Mark took those days to work on restorations and sometimes went to out of the way places to buy second hand car parts. But on this particular day, after her housework and while Mark worked on a car, Yvette came out to do some fishing. Fish from their pond made up a large portion of what they ate, and Yvette thought it was a beautiful day to be outside.
It was early afternoon and the gardener was working that day when suddenly she fell to her knees, cried out once saying, "Oh, woe!" and fell down dead. Yvette felt terrible that this had happened and what was worse, none of the gardener's family was around to beg the Grim Reaper for another chance for her. So Yvette begged him herself. She hardly knew the woman, but she looked quite young to have had a heart attack and Yvette pointed this out. The black wraith that was the Grim Reaper didn't look or act much impressed. Mark had come over from where he was working.
"It's no use, Yvette," he said sadly, "Look at him, he has no heart. She's bought the barn, I guess."
The unfeeling Reaper nodded in silent agreement and soon departed with the luckless gardener leaving behind only a headstone.
They were just grateful that the whole thing was over before little Simone got home from school, which was only about a half hour later. Especially since they would be celebrating her birthday after supper…
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