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Alan Burdett

Invite The Drop

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

There was no such thing as a sleep-in in the Burdett house. Alan was habitually an early-riser, and so too were the children. As Audrey got closer and closer to her due date, the family had also started pitching in more---Tavi had spent the night with her grandparents on a special sleepover, while Cam and Sarah had gone across the property early to help Steve and Baz with chores for the morning. This was all designed so that Alan and Audrey could have a little alone time together before the baby arrived, but relaxation was not something that he nor Audrey did well. They were both chronic nesters, and so the house had been turned around and perfected ready for the new arrival.

And Alan was admiring his latest work, a change table he'd built himself without any use of magic, while eating second breakfast. He'd come a long way with his carpentry over the years. It was proving to be a more practical, and less destructive, hobby than his potion experiments that routinely destroyed his makeshift lab in the back paddock. No, this was actually useable. It even looked decent. Some might even say it was good. He had it set up in the kitchen, ready to surprise Audrey. 

They hadn't heard from Rachel since her late night visit, though a set of signed divorce papers had found their way to the lawyers. Alan hadn't expected the official dissolution of his marriage to be such a weight off his shoulders, and yet it was. No longer legally tied to Rachel, the future was theirs for the taking. Everything seemed to have fallen nicely into place, his life back on track, albeit many years after he'd hoped. You couldn't take back that time though, only make the most of what came next.

His eye caught movement through the screen door, figures advancing down the long drive. Squinting, Alan picked up his gigantic bowl of cereal, carrying it with him to the porch as he tried to identify the group. Stuart was one, and the woman looked like Del---but not like her. He frowned. Did Stu have a new girlfriend he hadn't told anyone about? Why the heck would anyone date Adele's stunt double?

Alan shrugged to himself. He'd find out soon enough.

"Ey, Auds," he called back into the house. "Stu's bringin' us visitors."

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

Not quite a month left to go, and Audrey was still about as active as she'd ever been. Sure, she got a little tired now and then, occasionally caught a brief mini nap in the middle of the day, and looked and felt like a beach ball in general, but she was never very good at sitting still for a long time. And early mornings were just a habitual part of her day. So she'd got up early, gone for a small walk, had breakfast, and then had decided to finish painting the last wall in the nursery and decorating the others while Alan worked on what he was making - she knew he was making something from the sounds, but hadn't been allowed to know what. She would be taking a look at it once he was done, and testing to make sure it was completely safe, sturdy, and splinter-proof.

Hearing the door, the young woman hadn't paid it much mind, figuring Alan was probably taking a small break for second breakfast, though as he called inside, she paused and set down the wall stickers she had been about to put up, grunting as she pushed herself to her feet and wiped her hands on her already paint-covered short overalls. They'd proven much more comfortable to wear than a lot of other clothes this past month or so.

The young woman walked on through to the porch and stepped out to take a peek at the group. Yep, that was Stuart. And a woman who looked a lot like Adele, as well as what looked like a teenager, and then Cecil beside Stu's legs of course. Glancing at Alan, the young woman huffed softly.

"Hurry up and finish that," Audrey said of the cereal that the man was still eating, before she moved down the steps to greet the arrivals, a wide smile on her face as she did so, and arms opening up to give Stu a hug as she met with them, "Hey Stu! What brings you here? And who are these lovelies?" She beamed as she gave him a squeeze before stepping back to look over the others. There was something very Adele like about the woman, but even in the teen as well, strangely. Though, was surprised her the most were the girl's eyes. She felt like she'd seen them and knew this girl. And even that aside, there was a feeling of dread that suddenly began to well up when she looked properly at Stu. What had happened?

 

As soon as he'd seen Audrey come down to meet them, the happy smile on her face, Stuart's stomach dropped. She didn't know. No one would have told Audrey what had happened yet, which meant that he was going to have to be the messenger. Well shit, he hadn't counted on having to give Alan and Auds a double-whammy today, and steeled himself even as he offered her a mild smile and hug, though soon after she seemed to pick up that this wasn't a simple friendly visit and meet-n-greet.

"Hey Auds, you're looking almost ready to burst," The man said with a small huff of a half-chuckle, his gaze watching for Alan as well, unsure of how this was all even going to be explained. Mostly, he was hoping that Alan would see Lauren and recognise her, at least that would break the ice a little over what felt like was going to be a very awkward conversation. "Some things have happened. You might wanna sit down for it though, so let's head to the porch at least and I can introduce you all." He said mildly. Audrey was only weeks from having the baby, the news he was here to give wasn't going to be easy on her or Alan, but Stuart didn't want to risk Audrey falling over or anything, so he gestured for the group to continue to the house, giving Alan a small salute as they arrived.

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"What?" Alan protested through a mouthful of milk and cereal. "Ain't my fault they decided to come here during my breakfast!" he kept the bowl with him, still eating as he moved out onto the porch with Audrey and watched the group advanced. He wasn't ready for what was to come. How could he be? He found himself staring at the women who accompanied Stuart, eye bouncing from one to the other as he tried to figure out where he had seen them before. The elder was clearly related to Adele in some way, and perhaps that was why she looked so familiar, but the teenager... he just couldn't quite grasp it.

Still, Stuart seemed serious about whatever business they were here on. He nodded and held the door open with his not-cereal-holding hand, allowing the group to pass through and into the house where the rest of his second breakfast lay out on the table. And the change table as well, a dumb grin floating to his lips as he saw it. Yeah, he'd done good with this one. The lounge was probably a better place to relax though, and that was where they headed. Through the myriad of toys scattered across the thin carpet, to hand-me-down couches that probably needed replacing but were too comfortable for anyone to go through with it. They had belonged to Alan's grandmother at one point, and still had the faded frilly floral coverings on them.

Now settled in the modest, but very comfortable, room, Alan had a chance to look at the young girl more closely. There was something about her. Something that his heart knew, that his brain refused to put into words. He knew without knowing, and soon he was staring. The bowl of cereal was all-but forgotten, still in his hand, and the girl looked away whenever his eyes tried to meet hers. Unsure of what else to do, he reached across to take Audrey's hand. 

"Sorry 'bout the mess," Alan said sheepishly. "So um... you had news, I guess?"

All the while, that feeling was building. Deflecting it with a light tone and apologies wasn't making it go away. Alan knew his life was about to change. He just... couldn't quite figure out how yet.

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Audrey allowed herself to be herded back into the house, taking a peek at what was in the kitchen as they passed through, before moving on through to the living room, shifting toys out of the way with her feet as she did so. She usually had the place tidier than this - when she wasn't too fat to bend over easily - but it always ended up with more toys strewn about. But she also felt like she should be offering to get something. Coffee. Cookies. Something. There was that dread within her though, and something else which said that she should stay right at the moment, that she needed to stay.

Glancing across at the others though, she caught the younger girl's eyes once again, and then almost instantly her gaze moved to a group of framed picture, of which one was an infant with stormy grey eyes, and for some reason she couldn't stop staring at it for a moment, until Alan squeezed her hand and she looked over toward their guests, suddenly a deeper nausea rolling around her stomach.

Stuart, himself, glanced around as they entered, holding the door open for Lillian and Lauren, before then moving through the rooms. He noticed Alan had been doing some carpentry, and the state of the living room was pretty usual for anyone with young kids, the man waving off the apology lightly.

"You know my place has been just as bad - still gets that way when I have Jez's triplets," Stuart said easily, and gestured for the girls to take a seat if they wanted, though he wasn't certain if either would. He then inhaled deeply and gave a single slow nod to Alan's question about news, "Yeah. I won't lie, it's... gonna be a lot." He then looked to Lillian for a moment, before then deciding he'd start with the introductions. This was going to be... interesting.

"Alan, Audrey, I'd like you to meet Adele's mother, Lillian. She was the one who left Jez with me after she'd been born, and who saved Lorelei before she was born, when Jezebel was caught under that house..." It seemed the best way to start off. Remind Alan of the strange things that had occurred with himself, and let him know that this woman had been involved with that. It would perhaps make it easier to believe that if Lorelei could have been saved before she'd been born, and only returned to Jez when she was about a year old, then other miraculous or strange things could have occurred with Adele's other progeny.

"And this young lady," Stuart then looked toward the teenager, "I think you probably already know who she is. Even if your head says otherwise." His voice softened as he watched her, "Are you going to say hello to your dad, Lauren?"

Audrey froze beside Alan at the words, and she stared at the girl again, before then looking at the picture of the infant, reaching over to pick it up and stare before then looking back at the girl. But... how? Lauren should have only been around ten. How could this teenager be her? There was no denying the eyes were exactly the same. But... did this Lillian have something to do with this? Had she done something like with Lorelei? She'd heard that there were strange tales that revolved around Adele's children and grandchildren, but this was... something else. She looked to Alan, he would know if it was her, right? Could it really be true?

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

There it was. The truth Alan knew, didn't dare believe. Didn't dare even think. The bowl of cereal tumbled out of his frozen hand, crashed to the worn carpet and spilled out among the toys. He stared. And stared. And when his lungs began to protest, he remembered to breathe. Alan wasn't sure when his heart had started racing like this, but now it was thumping at top speed. He felt dizzy, confused, like his chest was about to break open and his heart burst out of its cage like a frightened bird. The lump in his throat grew, and he stared at Lauren still more.

"Sorry I've been away, Daddy," Lauren said after a long moment. "Lillian says I must stay with you and attend Tallygarunga. Is that acceptable? I would like to be in Lorelei's class. Perhaps on weekends you could teach me to really ride a bike?" she referenced the dreams with such ease, when no one other than Audrey knew what he dreamed of. All this time, it had been truly her? Alan tried to find words. 

"You.. you had blue eyes." he managed weakly. Lauren merely shrugged.

"When I was an infant, yes. They were blue. Now they are grey." her tone was so certain Alan could only nod. That made sense, didn't it? Like puppies or kittens, born with blue eyes only for them to change as they grew older. That... must have happened here. He didn't question further, and Lauren didn't explain either. 

"Of course you can live---Audrey, she can, can't she?" Alan doubted that Audrey would refuse, but he had to check. He wasn't sure of anything right now. Alan stood, his knees shaking slightly and he walked straight through the milk-sodden carpet, on top of the toys and soggy cereal bits. Both hands reached for Lauren, trembling fingers hovered either side of her cheeks and he wondered how he could not have known the instant he saw her. His baby girl was here, looking back at him, perfectly whole and healthy. It didn't even matter how it had happened or how she looked so much older than she should. 

She was alive.

With a strangled sob, he pulled her in to a tight hug. Lauren, apparently unsure of how to respond to this, stared over his shoulder and allowed it to happen. Alan's face was red, his breathing was ragged and laboured, and---yes, he was crying. Lauren felt tears drip into her hair, and she worried a moment that perhaps Adele had been right about the news being too much for Alan. 

"Perhaps you best sit down before your body gives out," she said, at the same time a little desperate to escape this intense physical affection. 

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

Audrey remained still as the girl confirmed it, and stunned as she also was, she didn't even catch the cereal with a spell or something before it could hit the carpet. She didn't even instantly clean it up as she normally would a spill. She was still gripping onto the picture of the infant Lauren whilst staring at the teenager that was there in front of them. And Alan seemed to know, to be as certain as the girl sounded, that this was her. But what kind of magic did this? There were so many questions running through the young woman's head that she didn't even know where to begin. She barely heard Alan's question, but then blinked her eyes a few times to try and push herself from her stupor and then nodded a few times.

"U-uh... well, of course... I mean, why wouldn't she be able to...?" Audrey said quietly, stumbling around her words for a moment as a hand moved to her belly. Her mind didn't stop, it continued it's whirlwind of thoughts. They would need to make another extension on the house. There was no time to build it the old way, but she could probably magic something up. And then they would need furniture. And the girl didn't have a bag with her. Did she need clothes? Was she alright living in such a full house?

"Clothes..." Was the first thought that seemed to voice itself, and then Audrey blinked a couple of times and then shook her head a little, "I mean, is there luggage? I've got plenty of things if you need to borrow some clothes, Lauren. And then I'll be happy to take you shopping if you want." She would need to get her a mobile phone as well. And a few other things. Even as she was thinking of these things, she wanted to cry as well. She knew how much this meant to Alan, the dreams, the years of missing a daughter he believed he'd lost. She stepped over as well and also wrapped her arms around Lauren and Alan, "Welcome home, it's so wonderful to have you here." She said quietly to the girl, giving a small squeeze before letting them go.

"Goodness, I feel like a terrible hostess, did you want drinks or anything?" Audrey wiped at her face as she looked to Stuart and Lillian, though then paused and furrowed her brow, "Hangon..." Something finally caught up to her still whirling head, "Lorelei's class?"

"Like, I said, there's a few things. Lorelei's, well, awake. She's aged around the same as Lauren as well," Stuart explained with a small nod. Audrey wanted to ask more, like what had happened exactly, where had Lorelei even been, and why the girls were older than they should be, but there was a grim expression on his features which kept her from saying anything else, waiting because that small uneasy feeling had returned and she suddenly wished that she was already on her way to get some things for them to eat or drink or something. Anything to have to face what more there was.

"But, David's gone," The man said, his expression apologetic, tired, and pained. Watching Audrey closely in case the news was a bit much for her, especially on top of the discovery of Lauren. The heavily pregnant woman already looked thrown. "He was murdered, the body was found late yesterday evening," Stuart's expression became a mixture of solemn and heavy, a hint of anger within as well, "The belief is that Sollozzo struck."

"David's...?" Audrey choked out the name. Big brother David? The man who had spoiled her when she'd been much younger, who had made her laugh so much over the years, looked out for her when she'd come to Australia, who she had still remained close to for years, even after Meri and Adrian fell out a second time. She didn't want to believe that. A trembling hand lifted to her lips as the other latched onto the arm of Alan's shirt. This was a lot, and though she'd been reasonably in control of how emotional she was due to hormones, she suddenly felt like she was going to topple over simply because she didn't know how she was supposed to feel right now? She was elated for Alan, but felt like she'd been shot in the stomach with the news of David.

"You should sit down, Auds," Stuart was already moving before her legs could begin to give out, offering to help Audrey from one side to sit down on a chair, figuring Alan would have the other side easily. "It's a lot, I know," He said to the both of them. "Alex and Cass stayed with Adele overnight, they're taking care of her at the moment, so that Lillian and I could bring Lauren here."

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

To Lauren's relief, the news of David's murder was enough for Alan to break away and let her breathe again. Even when Adrian and Meri went their separate ways, Dave had stayed to be with Adele---and through Audrey Alan had got to know him better. Liked him, even. Certainly admired the change in Adele while he was around. Now he was gone, and not just from yet another lover's spat, he was really gone. Violently, permanently gone. And the threat of Sollozzo was back and stronger than ever.

"Yeah, c'mon babe," alongside his cousin, Alan helped Audrey back to a chair. Eager to push his own confused emotions to the side for later processing, he wrapped his arms around Audrey and held her tight. Dave was as much part of the family to her as his own brothers. "If you see Del before I get a chance to contact her, make sure she knows to take all the time she needs. Library books will still be overdue when she's ready to come back," he tried to make a joke. It didn't work very well.

"Want me to get you anything, Auds?" he murmured, slipping fast into what he did best: looking after others. 

Lauren in the meantime took a seat herself, opposite her father and his girlfriend. She watched them with a sharp and critical eye, the levels of emotion here were beyond intense. Not something she dealt with well. Lillian simply sat quiet and let it all unfold. Though her part in this had been critical, it was better that the most of this came from Stuart, who both Audrey and Alan knew and trusted.

"I don't have any clothes suited to this climate," Lauren said lightly, carrying the previous conversation back from lack of anything else to say. "I should be very interested to see what there is to purchase, whenever is convenient. Obviously Adele is in no condition to assist in these matters, but if we are being honest she was always rather terrible at the mother thing. Which is why I am here with you, Daddy." she smiled so brightly, while Lillian pursed her lips. This was precisely the reason Lauren was here.

Not because Adele was a terrible mother. She had been, she was always making mistakes but she tried and she learned and Lillian knew that her daughter was a better parent than she had ever been. No doubt Adele's daughters would improve on that too, and so on down the line. Lauren was so stuck in what Adele had been she couldn't see who she was now. But no, this controlling and commanding nature had to be curbed. Lillian could already see how Lauren was plotting ways to make this life more suited to herself, and she was terrible at taking no for an answer.

Nothing a bit of time within a proper family unit wouldn't fix, though. 

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"I'm really sorry Auds," Stuart's apology carried the weight of his own concern and grief. True to their promise, he and Adele had kept with their drinkies evenings, and now and then David had joined them, Rheldor as well. The man had been good to his word in wanting to make up for leaving her, and Stu had to admit that at least he was able to admit to his own errors and take responsibility for it. But he also knew how close the man had been with Audrey, how often he mentioned how proud he was that the girl had made her own path in life and did what made her happy. He'd been looking forward to being 'Uncle Dave'. And now he was gone.

The young woman herself seemed unable to respond as her hand continued to cover her mouth, the tears having begun to fall as she tried to process the very idea of David not being around anymore, at all. She leaned in against Alan as he held her, not wanting to believe it. Who would sneak her chocolate during playdates at the park while the kids were distracted? Merlin, how was Adrian dealing? Did Meri even know? Or Arti? Torn between wanting to just break down completely, and wanting to distract herself by falling into organisation mode and making sure that everyone and everything was sorted and seeing if there was anything she could do or help with, Audrey only blinked when Lauren spoke so plainly, as though the news of the death could have been someone talking about the weather.

Audrey stared across at Lauren through her tears, while Stuart gave the girl a stern look, clearly unimpressed with the attitude that she was already displaying.

"That's not exactly the reason that you're here, Lauren, and you know it," The man said gruffly, and then turned his gaze toward Audrey and Alan, the former was shaking her head in response to the question of whether there was anything she wanted. Truth be told, she didn't look like she'd be able to keep down anything right at the moment, and the way her other hand clung to her belly meant that she was feeling stressed. That wasn't good for the baby, and he sighed and wished he could have taken back the truth of the news. Instead, he could only deal with what they could control.

"Don't let the sweet 'Daddy' talk fool you, Alan. Lauren's been absent of a... functional family environment over the years, which has made her somewhat detached from the world and has left her quite socially unaware and lacking in proper discipline," Stuart's tone was apologetic as he explained. No one wanted to tell a man that the daughter he thought had been dead had grown up to be - for lack of a better phrase - a little shit. "With the revelation of her survival and all overnight, it was Lillian's idea that living with you guys would help Lauren to learn how to be a part of a family. She's got no fondness for Adele, as you can guess from how she speaks about her, but she's shown favour toward you. And well, I guess with us growing up the way we did, and me raising Jez, we're the best folks to learn how to be family around, eh? But yeah, she needs to be... brought down to earth a little, for lack of a better phrase. She's smart, and she'll try to get her way if she can."

The man turned his gaze back toward Lauren, and there may have been a hint of a smirk in his expression. After all the years of having to keep quiet about her, be damned if he wasn't going to make sure that Alan knew what he was getting into. The girl was going to be living around their family? Then she was going to have to live by their rules, and unfortunately for her, Stu had enough experience with her to be able to warn his cousin and the rest of the family of her ways. Gotcha.

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Sturt Guest

Lauren's lips pursed as Stuart spoke. Why was he defending Adele? And why was everyone looking at her like she was some sort of villain? She had only spoken the truth after all, and it wasn't like she could do anything about David being dead. Were these people really going to sit here and feel sorry for something they couldn't change? Besides, what did it matter why Lillian had decided to place her here, and not with Adele? If she had to come back, Lauren didn't want to be with Adele anyway. Therefore, she had won, and the rest of it didn't matter.

"She will require some... managing," Lillian added her support. "But from what I have seen, you are the best placed to do it. Already she has played on Adele's guilt to manipulate her, you do not carry that same weakness. If you've any troubles, Stuart knows how I can be reached." though Lillian was not entirely sure how much help she could be in this either. She had attempted to raise Lauren, and this was the result. The girl wouldn't even acknowledge their family connection.

"Well, I am excited to be home," said Lauren, dismissing the barbs thrown at her. "It will be such fun to have siblings, and to do all of the things we did in your dreams, Daddy. Perhaps I could have a pet, too? Lillian would not allow me to have a horse. I've always wanted one. And when will I get to see Lorelei?"

Alan stared. Blinked. Stared. It was clear that she had no concept of just how big all of this news was, and how their whole world had just shifted onto an entirely new track. Was that such a bad thing, though? 

"I---well, we'll see," he stammered. "But you can call me 'Dad'. You're a bit old for 'Daddy' now, and the other kids only use it when they're in trouble or want something. Dunno about a horse though, and you'll see Lei when things calm down a bit and when her parents say it's okay. She's been through a lot. You've been through a lot. We've all been through a lot, and we're gonna need some time to adjust to how things are now," Alan's voice went from shaky to firm as he found his rhythm. He stroked Audrey's hair, helpless against the grief she felt.

Lauren pouted, in the disturbingly sweet way that she could. Alan felt his resolve begin to break, but no---no this was exactly what Stuart had just warned him about. Gods, maybe it would have been better to send her for a few nights with his parents first. They knew how to straighten the worst children out. How had his little girl become like this? Surely she wouldn't have, if he'd been there. If whatever happened to her, hadn't happened. And that he still felt was his fault for not protecting her well enough.

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Tally Staff ☆ Headmaster's Assistant, Fill-in 'Mum'★ LilyCat
26 year old Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

All of this was a lot, and Audrey pressed a hand to her belly as she felt a tightness there for a brief moment. She was still trying to process all of it, but the knowledge that she would never see David again still felt like a stab to the chest. She leaned her head against Alan's side as she tried not to lose it completely. It wouldn't be good for the baby for her to start getting stressed, though she knew that it was much easily said. Actually keeping calm itself was a struggle. She needed to think of things she could do, something to distract herself with. Watching Lauren was a little unnerving, the way the girl seemed to be completely unaware of the feelings of others and focused on her own interests.

She was going to be a handful.

"Marie..." Audrey mumbled quietly, "Mum Marie, and Dad, they'll want to know. And the rest of the family. We should - I should... call them," The young woman inhaled deeply before she moved to push herself to stand, the action felt like it was taking so much more energy than it ever had before, and she held onto Alan's shoulder until she felt like she could stand alright on her own and wasn't going to lose balance or something. Yes. Inform the family. Get some food ready. Then maybe...  maybe lie down? She didn't really feel like doing that either.

"I can give them a call, if you want, Auds. You really should be taking it easy," Stuart's lips pursed as he watched her, concern etched in his features, before he shifted his gaze to Alan with a look that said that she didn't look so good. At this rate, if she pushed herself too much, she was going to end up having that baby a lot sooner than expected. They were already trying to be careful after everything her sister had gone through years ago.

"But... I need to get some things ready if they're coming over," Audrey paused as she puffed a soft breath and held her belly again, there was that tightness once more. She didn't really have to, she knew that. And Marie was likely to tell her off for worrying so much, but... sitting down with all the confusing thoughts racing around her head wasn't something she wanted to do either. "And I need to get the sketchbook out and plan out the extension we're going to have to magic up for Lauren. We'll need another bathroom as well..." She murmured, not really noticing Stu stepping into the next room to call up Marie. Even if the family could wait to find out, the older woman being here would at least make sure Audrey relaxed.

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Headmaster ★ Sadrienne
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

"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."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
51 year old Pureblood Human ☆ He/Him

Stuart was able to watch through the doorway while he called Marie and let her in on what was going on. Quietly, he was able to briefly give her the gist of the details and the knowledge that Lauren was going to need some proper guidance while Auds could use some help to stay relaxed after the news of David, before the phone was hung up and he knew that it would barely be a minute before she and Laurie arrived. He was then sending a message to Jezebel, to see how she and Lorelei were as he returned to the living room, while Audrey accepted the sketchbook and returned to sitting down beside Alan, still looking somewhat perplexed over everything, and just a little bit stressed out still.

"They're on their way..." The man managed before he heard the door and huffed a half chuckle. He knew it'd be less than a minute. Moving out of the way of the door, Stuart glanced down as Tavi bolted through and straight for Audrey. The pregnant woman smiled as soon as she saw the little girl, and shuffled a little closer to Alan so that she could squeeze Tavi in next to her, wrapping an arm around her to give her a squeeze, Tavi's presence effectively calming her a little while she balanced the book on her lap.

The comment from Octavia, however, brought a soft rush of laughter from Audrey as she looked down at her belly. Yes, indeed she was still 'fat', and she gave Tavi another small squeeze, before reaching for the baby picture of Lauren.

"No, honey. Lauren is this sister," Audrey pointed to the infant in the picture, "She's just... been away for a long time, so she's a lot older now." It seemed the best way to explain it. And it's not like she was wrong. The children would have less of a grasp of how long exactly that the baby photo had been taken, so they'd probably be less shaken by the whole age difference. "The baby's still a couple weeks or so away," Maybe. She felt that tightness in her stomach again and breathed. Nothing was going to happen, she just needed to concentrate on something. To that effect, she glanced over at Lauren.

"Do you have any favourite colours? Animals or flowers or anything? How would you like your room decorated? Maybe some horse themed decorations?" Yes, this was something Audrey could do, and might keep her distracted enough that she didn't start to feel too sick. She didn't even know how she would go calling Adrien, or Meri or Arti.

"Hey Mama and Papa Burdett," Stuart greeted Marie and Laurie as they entered the room, leaning down to give his aunt a kiss on the cheek and uncle a pat on the shoulder. "Welcome to the fun factory," There were few other ways to describe the moment. However, he then gestured toward the girls who'd arrived at the house with him, "This is Adele's mother, Lillian. And the teenager there is little Lauren. She's just... grown a bit." A bit, was an understatement. However, he then glanced around, noticing Audrey looking around and knowing the hostess in her wanted to see to everyone, "Who wants coffee or tea? I'm pretty sure I can beat Auds and Marie to the kettle right now."

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