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Alan Burdett

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Alan Burdett last won the day on May 10

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    Alan Laurence Burdett
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    Nathan Fillion

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  1. How is England colder in summer than Australia is in winter?

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Alan Burdett

      Alan Burdett

      Yeah... aren't Steve and Baz being terrible?

    3. Geraldine Richter
    4. Susan Summers

      Susan Summers

      Oh of course they are! But it's always more fun when you're around. 

  2. If Audrey hadn't dropped the news when she did, there was a fair chance Tavi would have done it for her---Alan knew there was never going to be a nice, well-calculated moment to make that announcement. Nor should there be, it was a baby and Alan didn't have time for people who felt like they needed to be in the right frame of mind to hear about it. That he and Audrey were officially a couple now? Well, that was different. He coughed as Edmund's sharp gaze went straight to him, followed by a similar look from Ammeleine. They were clearly thrilled to see Audrey and the kids, but he felt like he was a little... less welcome? It was very probably all in his head. "A baby?" Meri was the first to speak. "With him?" "Yeah I'm still tryin' to figure out why she'd bother with me too," Alan laughed wryly. Meri wasn't amused by that, she just frowned. Edmund didn't appear entirely shocked by the news, smiling quietly before reaching out to Audrey again. He pulled her in tight, kissed her forehead. "That's wonderful news, princess," he said softly. Ammeleine let out a long breath. "It is, but are you sure about this?" here it came. Alan braced himself. "New relationships are wonderful, but a baby so soon? What if this doesn't work out for you? You're not married, I wouldn't... well, I wouldn't want you to ruin any future like that..." "A baby ain't gonna ruin any future," Alan did his best not to snap Amy's head off, but he had strong feelings. "Even if things don't work out between me and Auds, we'll do our best for the kids. The three we've got, and the one coming." it was very important to Alan that Edmund and Ammeleine understand how integral Audrey already was in their family unit. This wasn't something he could, or would, walk away from easily. Even if there was no baby, he would always do right by Audrey because he would never let his own situations hurt the kids. They loved her. That was everything. "Aren't you already married, Alan?" Edmund's question was surprisingly gentle. Alan nodded, his expression grim. "Technically, yes. Rachel should be getting the papers around about now, it's been over for a long time." he waited for follow up questions, but Edmund seemed happy with that. He offered Alan his hand, shaking it with a wide grin. "Well, congratulations you two." he said, kneeling to be on the same level as the kids. "And to you three! What do you think you're going to get, a brother or a sister?" It was the most heavily debated question in the Burdett household, and Edmund soon found himself under an avalanche of arguments as to what it should be and why. Alan relaxed a little, hiding a smile. Meri frowned, watching her sister with a look of disappointment.
  3. Well now this was actual hell. Had Audrey poisoned him? Put something in his stomach that meant he couldn't have a beer? That basically was poisoning him, he was sure of it, especially when the next week would be spent in England where they didn't even see the point of cooling their beers. Alan's stomach did three consecutive flips. Was he ever going to have a cold beer again? Maybe he should just go and get one now. In case... well, in case the worst happened. But---they were being called. Alan swallowed and tried not to look as anxious as he felt. The kids, in contrast, were pure excitement. Alan was worried for them as much as he was for himself. If this went wrong his entire little family could be wiped out in the blink of an eye. It happened to people. What were they thinking taking all the kids along with them, and Audrey pregnant, and... Audrey's kiss only soothed his worry a tiny bit. Sarah took his left hand, and Cam took the right. Both kids beamed up him with big smiles. Alan wanted to run. This could be the very last time they ever did that. And then... his guts flew forward, and everything got very suddenly colder. "Oh, f..." dizzied from the journey, Alan bolted awkwardly for the nearest bin. He felt drunk, light-headed. A little sleepy from whatever Audrey had given him. Fast travel was always hell on his stomach, and though the nausea was not so bad as he'd feared, it was still enough to leave him dry-retching over a bin. Marie had, of course, told the kids all about their family trips and wasn't it so funny that Dad couldn't handle the trip, so... yes, the kids were stifling giggles. Which was better than them worrying about him. "Not a happy traveller, then," Edmund was also amused. As instructed, the kids rushed to the sound of his voice, clamoring around Audrey's parents for cuddles and to show off Tavi's prized green suitcase. Alan waited until he felt a little stronger in the knees before letting go of the bin. "Never been real good at it," he mumbled, stumbling over to the group. Meri stood a little off to the side, as though she wasn't part of the group. "Nice to see you again Edmund, Ammeleine. Meri." "And you too, Alan," Edmund reached forward through the kids, to shake Alan's hand. Ammeleine, on the other hand, was eyeing Audrey critically. "You're looking well, sweetheart," she said. "It is lovely to see you over here again, and to have the kids... and Alan... here with you." At this last she sounded less convinced, as if she was unsure of why Audrey had brought her boss and his children all this way.
  4. Alan nodded, satisfied for the moment. He worried about her, just as he worried about all his siblings. At the mention of a celebration, though, he shook his head. "Not yet, Moo," he said. The divorce situation was making him nervous, he really didn't know what to expect. Rachel was horrible like that, there was nothing she wouldn't do to get what she felt she deserved. Worse, Rachel believed that it was worth whatever she had to do. Even if it meant hurting the children, Rachel would do it. There was only so much their hearts could take, and Rachel's mastery of guilt was supreme. "She's getting the papers the same day we leave," he said. "Hopefully by the time we get back, she'll be in a more rational place. You remember what happened last time---Cam still worries that he should have gone with her so that she doesn't get too sad." there was an edge in Alan's voice, a protective anger for his son. How dare Rachel ever put that on the kids, how dare she cry and beg, make Cameron feel that the only way for her to be okay was for him to be with her. That her life was not worth living without him, when she was the one who had ran out. Remembering that night, and so many others too similar, made Alan's blood boil. "Once she hears I'm with Audrey of all people, it's going to get ugly," Alan sighed, releasing the tension from his shoulders. "Let alone the fact there's a baby on the way, I mean---I hope she doesn't try anything, but... I really can't say I believe she won't." His frown was deep, and even a little annoyed at himself. He'd loved her, still did to a point. How had he been this stupid? How had he not seen her for the manipulative demon she was? "Besides, Audrey's family will be the last to find out about the baby---our family has the ability to be there, know things as they happen. I'd like to make this happen over there, include them. So... don't breathe a word to Mum, or it'll be through Narrie in a split second." Alan laughed. Marie had a big mouth. Convincing her not to tell every person she knew about the baby had been a challenge. Alan dug around in his pocket, before passing a small box over to Susan. Inside, the engagement ring he'd bought in the days after conference. "Reckon she'll like it?" he asked with a grin.
  5. "You guess? Doesn't sound convincing, Moo," Alan pressed gently, a concerned frown on his face. University was hard. He remembered that much. One of the benefits of getting older was that people judged you by where you were, they forgot how much you struggled to get there. No one remembered anymore the classes he'd failed because he hated the city and kept coming back to Narrie instead of studying, or how he'd paid Kate to stay up all night to write an essay he couldn't wrap his head around. They forgot how at risk he'd been of not passing Sixth Year at Tally, how his parents had to intervene to make sure he wasn't put in the same class as Steve, and the long hours he'd had to put in to catch up. And his first years teaching were lost. He was the headmaster now, a Tally institution---no one looked at him and saw the man who'd turned up to class with hangovers, been less than responsible, put his efforts into being cool and liked by the students more than he had into being a teacher. Failure had been a big part of his success, and over the years he'd honed his knack for spotting others in trouble. "We're very happy. You know me... no such thing as too many kids, and Audrey's..." a wide grin spread over his face without Alan even being conscious of it. Which always happened when he thought about Audrey, it was disgusting. "She's everything. There will be people who don't approve, but... I don't care anymore. The kids love her, and so do I." Being happy again was a weird feeling. Like the first time he'd taken his wedding ring off, and his hand felt naked. A good weird, though. "Got all the paperwork set to finalise things with Rachel, and... if I survive this trip to England," Alan took a deep breath. "I'm gonna ask Audrey to marry me. Get permission from her father, or not... actually don't care if he says no, but I think she'd appreciate that I asked him? Did that right? At least then they'll know how serious I am about this, and... it's not just the baby. That's a nice bonus, but I can't imagine my life without her." Scary new steps, but he had so much hope again. Things were finally coming back his way.
  6. "Yes!" the chorus of excited Burdett children shouted back at Audrey, making Alan at least crack a nervous smile. Whatever she'd given him had settled his stomach, but he also felt a touch drowsy. Or drunk in the not-fun way. Whatever got him through this... maybe... maybe beer was the answer? Surely they had time to chug down a beer or six before their appointed departure slot? Alan looked around, there had to be a bar here somewhere... "Yeah, yeah..." Alan nodded, swallowing down another big lump of impending doom. The kids were very excited about this. About all of this. Sarah had tried to pack dolls' clothes in her suitcase just in case the baby arrived early. Tavi was telling anyone who got past her bright green suitcase demonstrations that she was going to be a big sister, and Cam was quietly (but desperately) hoping for a brother. It didn't bother them at all that the baby was with Audrey and not their biological mother, but why would it? Audrey was more a mother to them than Rachel was these days. "Reckon there's anywhere I can get a beer around here?" he asked, looking around again. It sounded like a very good way to prepare for the travel, and then for facing Audrey's family. Meri was going to be meeting them on the other side. No amount of gentle "you don't have to!" would persuade her otherwise. Alan had hoped they could tell Edmund and Amy first, get them past the shock and whatever came next before they faced Meri. At least that way, they wouldn't be frozen and unable to act if Meri decided to stab them. Or something. Alan really wasn't sure what Meri was capable of anymore. The world had broken her. Alan felt broken too. His appetite was gone, only the desire for beer was still there. He hadn't even been able to face bacon and eggs for breakfast. He was also wearing a collared shirt, and jeans that weren't mostly destroyed. He was neat, clean-shaven, presentable. He had shoes on that weren't also farm boots, and Audrey had put something in his hair to make it sit right. How did she know what was "right"? Hair just... did what it did. "It's gonna be colder when we get there," he said to the kids. "You all got your jackets ready?" He knew they did, he could see all three jackets. He was trying not to think, and still trying to locate a bar.
  7. This had all come up way too fast. Alan stood in the lobby, bags packed at his feet. Tavi was very proud of her bright green suitcase, wheeling it behind her and asking random strangers to admire it. They did, because Tavi was adorable, and it was very hard to say no to her. This was going to be his longest Floo trip by far, and for all Audrey's reassurances, Alan couldn't shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong. They were going to get reassembled the wrong way at the other end, or something. Was this really safe for Audrey while she was pregnant? They had done all the research (mostly to shut him up) but in spite of hundreds of pages of proof that Floo travel was absolutely safe for pregnant women, Alan had read one article about a possible defect that had come about probably not because of Floo travel, but maybe it had. After all, how much did it really matter that there was a genetic mutation in the family that had caused the same defect in the child's father and grandfather, it was clearly and probably the Floo travel! This wasn't the only source of his worry. In about two hours, Rachel would be getting the divorce papers. That wasn't going to resolve itself quickly and quietly, when they came back (assuming they survived) there would be a fight to be had. Maybe death by Floo travel wasn't the worst-case scenario here? Alan really didn't want to face his estranged wife. That always got complicated. Didn't want to leave, sure didn't want to stay. Alan found in these situations it was just better to do as Audrey wanted---which in this case was going to a very cold place to talk to her parents (who probably didn't like him much) about a baby they probably wouldn't approve of. Fun.
  8. "Yeah, but you didn't tell anyone you were coming up today. Else Mum'd be here making you dinner," Alan pointed out, lumbering into the room and dropping himself heavily onto Samantha's bed. It was the only bed he was really game to sit on, Sam was the least volatile of his sisters. Even if neither Liz nor Emily lived here, they always seemed to know when he'd done something. It was weird. It was probably weird enough that most of the bedrooms were still set up the same way they were when they were still kids. Alan chalked that up to laziness of the part of Steve and Barry, who had gone as far as to turn Laurie and Marie's room into Steve's room... and Barry had taken over the boys' room. "Sarah's in the front room," Alan nodded. "I'm sure she'll come up in a minute, but... prepare yourself. She's pretty excited about the baby, she's got... plans." So far Sarah had decided that the baby's name would be Rebecca (obviously it was going to be a girl, Sarah wouldn't accept the possibility of another brother), that it would sleep in the small dolls' crib in her room, and go to school with her so that Alan and Audrey could keep going to work. Also, every day the family would eat chocolate waffles for breakfast once the baby arrived, because babies only liked waffles and only chocolate flavour. Alan wasn't sure where Sarah was getting this information, he suspected Liam may have played a part. And Alan had plans of his own. First, he would survive the trip to England. That was key. Just thinking about it made him nervous, and Steve and Barry had capitalised on that. The Floo jokes had been thick and fast, along with reminders about Alan's other miserable attempts at long-distance travel. Family holidays were often impeded by Alan's "sensitive travel stomach". "You doing okay, Susie-moo?" he asked, ever the big brother. It had been weird while she was still in school, and a student under his care. Now it was no different to his blood sisters, he teased and loved her the same way. "Do I need to get Mum out here to interrogate you?"
  9. Alan had a sense about these things. That, and Barry had sent a note over the boundary once he saw Susan make her way inside. Sarah had insisted on coming too, so soon as she'd got her farm boots on, the pair made their way over to the main property---taking the shortcut through the side paddock. Steve had moved the cows there for the day, which was annoying. You never really got used to the creepy stare of hundreds of cattle. Sarah just laughed and skipped ahead, daintily avoiding the cow pats and visible mud. Her farm boots were brand new, and she wasn't ready for them to be destroyed yet. Coming up to the property, Alan lifted a hand in greeting to Barry. He had his faults, but Barry was more sensitive than he let on. He also knew that if there was a particular reason that Susan had come home without telling anyone first (not that anyone minded, it was just unusual) he wasn't the person to deal with it. Barry would make her laugh later. Steve would too, but less intentionally. Alan was never sure how Steve survived day to day, he wasn't the most intelligent soul. "Alright, stay here a minute sweetheart," Alan said to Sarah, helping her out of her coat and hanging it on the hook inside the door. "I'll let you know if Aunty Susan wants to play. Okay?" Sarah nodded, and raced for the box of toys kept in the front room. Trucks. The girl loved her trucks and tractors. She also loved princesses, and Princess Truck Driver was a Thing in their house. Alan was so proud. He wandered down to the girls' room, knocking lightly on the door. "Susie-moo," he called through the door, the nickname she'd tried to make him stop using---but he'd refused and just used it more. "You really think you can sneak home like this?" he laughed, it was a joke. If she didn't want to talk, she wouldn't let him in---but he wanted her to know he was here anyway.
  10. Alan really liked the idea of being out of town when Rachel found out. Especially taking the kids with them. Rachel had a horrible habit of turning up when he really didn't want her to, and each time was more painful than the last. She wasn't the same. The Rachel he married wouldn't have turned up at Cam's cricket games, fed him full of fantastic ideas of what living with her would be like---all of them false. Alan very much doubted that Rachel had a tree in her backyard that sprouted Mars Bars. Cam had been so excited to go with her, he'd hated Alan for stopping it. And that had only been because Alan had filed for her visits to be supervised, the last time the kids had been left in her care (the one time in a six week period that she'd actually shown up) Sarah had broken her arm, but Rachel refused to take her to a doctor. Once you told Rachel she couldn't have something, she immediately found a reason to fight it. Alan was fairly certain that she would fight the divorce with the same petty energy. "Yeah, that sounds good." he nodded, trying to block out the enormity of what they were going to do. Travel to England. The baby thing? That was also huge, but he felt prepared for that. He laughed nervously. "I didn't really think I'd leave Australia for anything either." This wasn't just anything though, and that was the difference. Acknowledging his feelings for Audrey had been difficult, the age gap and the fact that she was an employee, and a student at Tally before that---but she'd also been there for him. And for the kids. He didn't know when that had become love, exactly. It just... had. "I'll do it for you, though." he grinned. "No one else, but."
  11. Her faith in him did make it all seem more possible. Alan grinned like the big dumb idiot he was, or a dog being told he was a "good boy". It was much the same thing with Alan. Seeing her happy like this only made him more happy, happy enough that even if the trip was terrible and he did find himself torn apart by the traumatic long-distance Floo travel... well, he got to see Audrey smile like this, so it was worth it. And the kids would be in good hands, he'd make sure that Audrey was ensured legal custody before they went. No way was he letting Rachel get the kids back in the event of his untimely death. "School holidays, yeah..." Alan nodded. He could understand that her parents would be upset if they weren't told almost immediately. He spoke before his brain caught up with the calendar, and... oh no. "So um. Very soon." he said, a crack in his throat. No. Keep it together, Alan. Just... chill, and prepare for the potential death trip as quick as humanly possible. "Got a lot to organise," he mumbled. He had to do it. Audrey's parents needed to know, and he wanted to go on a tour of all of the wonderful places he'd heard about. He wanted this happy, excited Audrey to show him. There were things that needed to be done. "So... a lawyer on Tuesday then, huh? Try and be out of the country when Rachel gets the papers..." he laughed weakly.
  12. He understood, and he would do it---for her---but that didn't make it less frightening. Perhaps in years to come he would at least learn to tolerate the trip, if not enjoy it. He doubted he would ever enjoy it, Alan never did enjoy being out of Narrie for too long. Three years in Melbourne had been about six years too many, he'd hated it. What he did understand, though, was Audrey's desire to show him her life before Australia, and that was important. "I want you to share those with me, yeah," he nodded. Alan had heard a lot of stories, a lot of names and places and adventures he'd not seen for himself. He did very much want to see the backdrop of Audrey's history, he just wished it wasn't so darn far away. Or cold. Alan wasn't a big fan of cold weather either. "Of course I trust you," Alan added with a grin. "And I go where you go, no matter what. Even if it scares the hell out of me, which---it does. We'll find a way to get me there and back, and you'll have plenty of time to tease me about being a scaredy cat." This was a good way to prove to her parents that he was serious, though, right? Rachel had wanted to go overseas for their honeymoon, and he'd flat refused. He wasn't even marrying Audrey (yet) and already they were planning a trip to England. "When... would you like to go?" he asked the dreaded question. Might as well start the doomsday clock.
  13. Alan wasn't so worried about seeing her parents as he was about the travel involved. He didn't know them well, but he knew they were good---if very English---people. He'd once watched with a very perplexed expression as Edmund made his way through a pizza with a knife and fork. Ammeleine may have believed that Audrey was wasting her life tending to an old man and his kids, and Alan suspected that maybe she believed he had Audrey trapped here somehow? But she was still good with the kids, and spoiled them when they came to visit. Heck, the kids already called them Granny and Granddad. "All... in one go?" Alan could feel the nausea sweep through him just contemplating it. A jump that big? There was a reason he made small jumps. Alan didn't even like apparating all that much, why were wizards so insistent on modes of travel that made you feel like your guts were outside of your skin? And muggles with their bloody airborne death traps. Alan shivered. He didn't want to admit to Audrey that the prospect of going to England made him very, very uncomfortable. "That might. Well, you know... the kids. Might not handle it." Alan mumbled. What if they got trapped in England? Got there, and then it was too much and he couldn't come back? He didn't want to live out the rest of his days somewhere cold! And who would look after the property in their absence? Run the school? Feed the dogs? Who would mend the bloody fences! Think of the fences!
  14. "Who can stay bitter when there's a baby?" Alan agreed. He couldn't imagine that at all, babies were good. Babies were the best. Even Meri and Ems would have to agree that this was a good and wonderful thing once they laid their eyes on the newest member of their family. Ems had hated the fact that Adele was Lauren's mother, but she'd loved Lauren without reserve. Meri might be jealous and bitter, but that wasn't something she could hold against a child. And if she did? Alan didn't have time for that. He hoped for Meri's own sake that she didn't allow her own sadness to eclipse Audrey's happiness, because if she dared make this unpleasant for Audrey he was going to do whatever it took to reduce the hurt for Audrey. He wasn't above cutting Meri out of their lives if it came to that. He'd done it with Rachel. But now Alan was beginning to look proper anxious. New babies and revealing their scandalous relationship was all well and good, but international travel? That was something that gave him the real worry. Just going interstate required multiple small jumps for Alan to feel comfortable, and England was very far away. "Yeah that---that would be good," he said, swallowing down the knot that was forming in his throat. It did sound good to go and see what Audrey's life was like before this, and the kids would love it. Alan laughed nervously. "That way... your family can punch me in person if they don't like this whole thing..."
  15. Well you couldn't fault that logic. Although he couldn't fathom why she'd chosen to stay here with him, there was no disputing that she had. In spite of what was probably an ocean of better offers, she was here. And they were going to do this, it was exciting---terrified as Alan was of getting hurt again, could it really be worse than the last dozen times he'd had his heart torn out? What was one more? Better to take the risk and enjoy the good times than run away now. "Mmm... we are going to have to tell a lot of people," he agreed. Already the slightest twinges of guilt were settling in his gut that he hadn't told his Mum yet. He'd only known five minutes but it still felt wrong that she didn't know. His parents would be excited, he knew that---and Liz and Liam, who had lately seemed very interested as to whether he was planning to have more kids. Steve and Baz would be happy to have more little ones around to torment. Ems... well. Alan wasn't sure about that one. Ems was weird when it came to Audrey, she'd once scolded Sarah for accidentally calling Audrey "Mum". But that paled in comparison to having to tell Meri. "Yeah, I don't imagine she's going to take it well." Alan cringed. Meri had a bad habit of making her problems everyone's problem. It had been a relief when she took her misery back to England. Alan's patience with her had run out when she took a story Rachel was telling about her pregnancy cravings and turned it into a spiel about being grateful she could get pregnant at all, and maybe she should just enjoy the experience because some women would never have that. Even Rachel hadn't deserved that. "I wanna be there when you tell them," he said after a moment. No way was he going to let Audrey face that alone, and however she thought it was best to break the news he would simply have to follow. He'd never been out of the country before. Long-distance travel made him anxious. He avoided it whenever he could.