Prelude 33

“Happy Birthday, Daddy!” squealed Jojo as she leaped on to the bed and knocked most of the wind out Aaron. Liesel followed, more reserved, behaviour becoming a young 14 year old woman acutely aware of her burgeoning femininity.

Fiona clattered downstairs, no doubt preparing breakfast in bed.

They had allowed him a little lie-in as it was Saturday but when Jojo could no longer contain herself she bounded in and plopped a present on his lap.

“Open it, Daddy!”

Aaron feigned mock surprise. “For me? I wonder what it could be.”

He felt the package, it felt like another mug to add to his collection of “Best Dad” mugs.

“Is it a tooth brush?”

Jojo rolled her eyes, scarcely able to suppress the answer.

He unwrapped the present, a mug as he had predicted.

“Its beautiful, Jojo” and hugged her.

Liesel came forward and gently profered her gift.

It was a little package and Aaron wasn't able to guess what was in it. He looked at Liesel for clues but she looked back at him with serious, mysterious eyes that gave nothing away.

Cuff links. A woman's gift. Aaron suppressed a tear, and thanked Liesel with a kiss.

Then he leapt forward and tackled the both of them - it was time for a tickle.

The squealing continued until Fiona brought breakfast: bacon and eggs, grilled tomato, a steaming cup of coffee, and a single rose in a vase with a note: "You'll get my present later on. XXX"