Coffee Break Read – The Twins

It was a beautiful May morning, but my life was currently being rendered hideous by my five-year-old twins throwing simultaneous epic tantrums. I wasn’t even sure what the screaming was about. I had been feeding the dogs when Ali started to whine, and I turned around just in time to see Roz slap her sister quite hard. Then they both began to scream. The dogs looked at me with deeply reproachful eyes, so I put their food out on the back patio. They went in evident relief, which only left me with two red-faced and hysterical children to deal with. I looked at them for a moment then came to a decision. ​
I filled a large jug with icy cold water. I was just lifting it out of the sink, when a masculine hand came over my shoulder.
​“Allow me.” ​My beloved, and normally wholly even-tempered, husband walked quietly over to where two of the loves of his life were screaming like demented banshees. He poured the water over their blonde heads. Miraculously the screaming stopped. Ben waited a beat then spoke very quietly.
​“People who behave as badly as that the moment their Daddy’s back is turned should be very grateful he isn’t a spanking sort of a man.” ​
Then he turned on his heel and left.
​The twins sat as if turned to stone and I let the enormity of what had just happened sink in. ​
It was Ali who found her voice first.
​“Is Daddy very cross?” she breathed.
“Sounds like it to me,” I said briskly. “Now is somebody going to tell me what all that was about?”
​But of course they couldn’t. It had come over them and they could no more explain than they could fly. They just shook their heads and looked at me with round eyes. Roz even went so far as to stick her thumb in her mouth, even thought she hadn’t sucked it for months. I tried to keep my own expression sober as I looked at their woebegone faces, but I wasn’t proof against the pleading in those big eyes. I held out my arms and scooped the two wet little girls into a hug.
​“We’re sorry Mummy.”
​“Never mind sweethearts. Let’s get you dry and calm.”
​Half an hour later, we were at the breakfast table and the twins were eating porridge. The dogs were in their baskets and peace and quiet reigned. Ben walked back into the room on soft feet and two spoons stopped moving in two bowls. He crouched down between them.
​“You two all better now?”
​They nodded and he put an arm around each. ​
“You still cross, Daddy?” Roz quavered.
​Ben smiled and kissed each rosy cheek.
​“No I’m not cross. Don’t worry my loves. I know you didn’t mean to be naughty.” ​
Ali clutched his tee shirt in one small hand. ​“We didn’t. We wasn’t meaning to be bad, but once we started we couldn’t stop.”
​“I don’t expect you could. But there’s a lesson for you both. Don’t be silly. Because it is very hard to stop once you start.”
​The twins studied his face carefully and he winked at them. They hurled themselves on his chest and he stood up with one little girl on each arm.
​“Have you said sorry to Mummy.”
​“We have.” ​
“Then let’s forget all about it. You two finish your breakfasts.”
​He put them back in their chairs and they picked up their spoons. At a quirk of his eyebrows I got up and walked into his embrace. As I leaned in he bent and whispered in my ear.
​“Fancy a day off? We can keep the brats out of school and take them for a good walk in the forest.” ​
“Yeah. I was going to suggest keeping them home anyway. There’s something not right about them. Even before the screaming fit I was concerned. They are unusually clingy, and when I went to wake them this morning Roz was in Ali’s bed.” ​
“I thought it was just me being fussy Daddy.” He watched the two blonde heads with a worried frown.

The opening of Who Pulled Her Out? from Jane Jago

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