"Hey, hey," Alan kept his voice soft, calm, reaching up to try and bring Audrey back down to the seat beside him. "If you wanna start sketching, I'll get the book for you, hm? Maybe Lauren has some ideas on what she might like? Colours, shapes, that sort of thing," he turned his head a little to raise an eyebrow at his returned daughter. From what he had heard so far, he had no doubt that Lauren had a nice list of wants. The brow was a warning not to upset Audrey any further. The process of sketching though, he felt, might soothe her. Give her something to focus on, something she could solve.
Once his parents got wind of what was happening, they wouldn't delay in coming over. Alan supposed he should send a note to Steve and Baz too, get all the kids here. Have them meet Lauren. Was that... a good idea, though? All three of them, Sarah especially, were impressionable and easily influenced. And Tavi already had more than enough attitude, she didn't need lessons from Lauren. Cam... well poor Cameron was just going to be devastated that he had a third sister. Alan rubbed at the bridge of his nose, before summoning Audrey's sketchbook with his wand.
No, he had to be more positive about this. Lauren just hadn't had any good role models herself. She wasn't here to corrupt the kids, but learn from them. And him. And Audrey. He wondered how it was that the girl had developed this way at all, but realised that Lillian being Adele's mother too, clearly didn't have any sort of talent for the parenting thing. There was a lot to undo here. Where had she been all this time? And how had she visited his dreams? Those were questions for another day.
True to form, the front door opened and Alan heard the tell-tale sound of his father wiping his boots. The house had belonged to Laurie's parents before Alan, and some habits died hard. Smaller footsteps thundered along the floorboards until Tavi burst into the room, making a beeline for Audrey. Alan couldn't help a smile there. Tavi couldn't fit on Audrey's knee comfortably anymore, but she hugged her shins with gusto.
"Hey Tavi," he said. "Got some exciting news, kiddo. This is your sister Lauren. She's going to be living with us now."
Octavia frowned in confusion, and looked from Lauren to Audrey and back. That made no sense.
"Nan said when I get a sister or brother Audrey won't be fat anymore," she said, tilting her head to one side, and pointing at Audrey's belly. "You're still fat."
Alan winced, and tried not to laugh.
"Pregnant, Tavi. Not fat. And this is a different sister. You still have another sister or brother on the way."