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Loving Family
by Fiona Lambert

“Where’s this lovely new boyfriend of yours then?” Stacey asked her sister, Alice.

“He couldn’t make it, some work thing, apparently,” Alice replied.

They sat together on Aunt Mary’s sofa, a glass of wine each in their hands. The reunion had been organised weeks ago and everyone in the family was turning up.

“It’s going well though?” Stacey asked.

“Yeah, Tom’s lovely. It’s refreshing how laid back he is. Totally different to me.”

“This whole family’s uptight. I’m not surprised you’ve kept him away from us. Have you noticed that’s the third gin Aunt Mary’s knocked back since we arrived,” Stacey said.

“She’s been acting stressed lately. I think Uncle Dave’s ill,” Alice replied.

“He doesn’t look ill,” Stacey said, pointing him out as he walked into the room. He was laughing loudly at a crass joke their Dad had just made.

Alice took a sip of her wine and watched her Dad and his brother-in-law trying to out-joke each other. As she watched, their cousin, John, came to sit with them.

“Looks like my Dad and your Dad are enjoying themselves. I think they’re the only ones,” he said.

“They both look very drunk,” Alice commented.

“Yeah, which is annoying Mum, who wanted Dad sober today. Apparently she’s invited an extra person to the reunion and wanted him on his best behaviour. They’re a bit late, though.”

“Really,” Stacey said, leaning forward. “Who?”

“Well, everyone knows she gave up her first child…”

Alice interrupted John in mid-flow by standing up suddenly.

“Tom, what are you doing here?” She couldn’t believe her boyfriend had just walked into the room.

“Alice, what are you doing here?” Tom replied.

Aunt Mary had followed Tom into the room. “John, ladies. I’d like you to meet Tom. We recently found each other on-line. He’s my long-lost son.”

Alice felt herself go very warm as John shook hands with his new brother.

“Not that different after all,” Stacey said before bursting out with laughter.