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       Twin Tales, p.1

           Jacqueline Wilson
 
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Twin Tales


  Twin Trouble first published in Great Britain 1994 Connie and the Water Babies first published in Great Britain 1996

  by Egmont UK Limited

  239 Kensington High Street

  London W8 6SA

  This edition published 2010

  Text copyright © 1994 and 1996 Jacqueline Wilson Illustrations copyright © 2006 Catherine Vase

  The moral rights of the author and illustrator have been asserted

  ISBN 978 1 4052 5460 1

  eBook ISBN 978 1 7803 1166 1

  1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

  A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library

  Printed and bound in Great Britain by the CPI Group

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner.

  Egmont is passionate about helping to preserve the world’s remaining ancient forests. We only use paper from legal and sustainable forest sources, so we know where every single tree comes from that goes into every paper that makes up every book.

  This book is made from paper certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), an organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of forest resources. For more information on the FSC, please visit www.fsc.org. To learn more about Egmont’s sustainable paper policy, please visit www.egmont.co.uk/ethical.

  Contents

  1 Double Shock

  2 Name Games

  3 Wailing Whimpers

  4 Blue Beads

  5 New Grannies

  6 Purple Puddles

  7 Fun Mums

  8 Best Friends

  9 Growly Bears

  10 Baby Blue-Eyes

  1. Double Shock

  ‘We’ve got something wonderful to tell you, Connie,’ said Mum.

  ‘You’re going to be so thrilled,’ said Dad.

  Connie blinked at them both. Their faces were pink. Their eyes were shining. They weren’t teasing.

  ‘What? What, Mum? What, Dad? Tell me!’ said Connie.

  ‘Can’t you guess?’ said Mum.

  ‘It’s what we’ve always wanted,’ said Dad.

  Connie’s heart started thumping inside her T-shirt.

  ‘Oh, Mum! Oh, Dad! Are we going to Disneyland?’ she said.

  Mum and Dad blinked back at her.

  ‘What?’ said Mum. ‘Oh, Connie, this is better than a trip to Disneyland.’

  ‘Better than seeing Mickey Mouse?’ said Connie, doubtfully.

  ‘Mickey Mouse is only pretend. This is real,’ said Dad.

  ‘Am I getting a real mouse?’ said Connie, perking up. ‘Can I have a white one, please? And a black one too? And then they could maybe have babies, and they might come out in black and white stripes like very weeny zebras.’

  ‘Do stop burbling, Connie,’ said Dad. ‘We’re not talking about mice having babies. It’s Mum.’

  ‘Mum?’ said Connie. ‘Mum’s having baby mice?’

  ‘Oh, Connie,’ said Mum. ‘I’m having baby babies.’

  ‘Baby babies?’ said Connie. She didn’t just sound doubtful now. She looked it too.

  ‘Don’t look so worried,’ said Mum, laughing. ‘I’m not having lots and lots. Just two. Twins.’

  ‘Isn’t it marvellous?’ said Dad, and he gave Connie a little nudge so that she’d say yes.

  Connie didn’t say anything. She was thinking. She wasn’t sure she liked babies very much. Connie’s best friend Karen had a baby sister called Susie. Susie looked sweet enough, but when Connie had picked her up to give her a cuddle Susie had been sick all down the front of Connie’s best teddy bear jumper. Connie had never been very keen on Susie after that. Come to think of it, Karen wasn’t very keen on Susie either. She screamed a lot. That was just one baby. Two would be twice as bad.

  ‘Hey, Connie!’ said Dad, giving her another nudge. ‘You know how we’ve always longed for more children.’

  ‘Have we?’ said Connie.

  ‘That’s why I had all that special treatment at the doctor’s,’ said Mum. ‘So I could give you a baby brother or a baby sister, Connie. And now I can give you both all in one go.’

  ‘It’s going to get a bit crowded round here then,’ said Connie. ‘Where are they going to sleep, these twin babies?’

  Mum and Dad looked at each other. Connie started to get suspicious.

  ‘They’re not going to come in with me, are they?’ she said. ‘There won’t be room for three of us.’

  ‘That’s right,’ said Dad. ‘So Mum and I have had this really good idea.’

  ‘What?’ said Connie. She wasn’t so sure about Mum and Dad and their ideas now.

  ‘We thought we could make you a special new big girl’s bedroom,’ said Mum. ‘Then the twins could have your old room.’

  ‘A new big girl’s bedroom?’ said Connie slowly. She thought about the extension at the back of her friend Karen’s house. ‘Ooh, are we going to build an extension?’ she said hopefully, imagining a huge glass room jutting right out into the garden.

  ‘Come off it, Connie, you know we couldn’t afford it,’ said Dad, and he sounded a bit grumpy. ‘First it’s Disneyland, then it’s extensions. We’re not made of money, you know. And when we’re a family of five we’ll have to be really careful with our money.’

  Connie wasn’t at all sure she wanted them to be a family of five. They’d managed beautifully in the past being a family of three.

  ‘We thought the junk room would make you a lovely new big girl’s bedroom,’ said Mum.

  ‘The junk room!’ shrieked Connie. (She didn’t actually say it. She shrieked it.)

  There were three rooms upstairs, not counting the bathroom. There was Mum and Dad’s bedroom. There was Connie’s bedroom. And there was the little junk room at the front of the house. It was called the junk room because it was jammed up with junk; suitcases and an old broken sofa; cardboard boxes of books and an old bike; and heaps of toys that Connie didn’t want to play with any more. Connie was starting to feel like one of the tired old teddies or droopy dolls. Mum and Dad seemed to have got fed up playing with her. They wanted a shiny new set of twins now. It was time to shove Connie in the junk room.

  2. Name Games

  Connie thought she might have to balance her bed on top of all the junk in the junk room and sleep crammed against the ceiling. But Mum and Dad sifted through all the junk and threw a lot of it out. When the room was bare they painted it deep blue and stuck shiny stars up on the ceiling. Mum made Connie a new pink and blue patchwork quilt to go on her bed and Dad made shelves all the way up one wall for Connie’s books and games and videos. By the time they were finished it certainly wasn’t a junk room. It was a beautiful big girl’s bedroom.

  Connie couldn’t help but be pleased, but she still didn’t like seeing her old bedroom turned into a nursery for the twins. They didn’t just have new paint and a new quilt and new shelves. They had new everything. Twin cots. Twin prams. Twin baby chairs. The twins weren’t even here yet and already they seemed to be crowding Connie out.

  Mum was getting big and tired and needed lots of rest. She couldn’t dance to pop videos with Connie any more and sometimes when she was reading a bedtime story she nodded right off to sleep as she was speaking.

  Dad was getting worried about money and kept doing sums on bits of paper and sighing. He didn’t often feel like having a tickling match with Connie nowadays and didn’t go swimming with her on Saturday mornings because he was working overtime.

  ‘It’s not any fun round here any more,’ Connie said darkly. ‘It’s all because of those boring babies. Who wants to have twitty old
twins anyway?’

  ‘We do,’ said Mum, firmly. ‘Come and give me a cuddle, Connie.’

  Mum was very big indeed now but Connie managed to squash into a corner of the sofa beside her.

  ‘You’ll like your baby brother and sister when they’re here,’ said Mum.

  ‘Will I?’ said Connie.

  ‘And you’re going to be a super big sister and help Mum look after the babies, aren’t you, Connie?’ said Dad.

  ‘Am I?’ said Connie.

  ‘What are we going to call these twins, eh?’ said Mum. ‘Have you got any good ideas, Connie?’

  Connie had called the babies all sorts of names to herself. They were generally rather rude names. It wasn’t a good idea to announce these to Mum and Dad, so she simply shrugged.

  ‘Come on, Connie, you choose,’ said Dad. ‘Think of two names that go together.’

  ‘Mickey and Minnie,’ said Connie.

  Mum and Dad didn’t think a lot of this suggestion.

  ‘Chip and Dale? Laurel and Hardy? Marks and Spencer?’ said Connie. ‘Stop being silly, sausage,’ said Mum, tweaking Connie’s nose. ‘How about two names that go with your name?’

  Connie thought hard. ‘Bonnie and Ronnie?’ She thought this a brilliant idea. She wasn’t being silly at all. But Mum and Dad were not keen. They decided on Claire and Charles. Connie thought these very boring names. But then she thought these were very boring babies.

  Weeks and weeks went by and Connie was fed up waiting for the babies to arrive. But then one night Granny came to stay and Dad took Mum to the hospital. Dad didn’t get back until breakfast and then he gave Connie a big hug, Granny a big hug and, when the postman knocked at the door, he very nearly gave him a big hug, too.

  ‘It’s twins!’ he said, as if it was a big surprise. ‘A lovely little boy and a lovely little girl. Charles and Claire – a perfect pair!’

  ‘I’m Connie alone. One on my own,’ Connie muttered.

  ‘What’s that, Connie?’ said Dad. ‘You want to see your little brother and sister, eh? Granny will meet you after school and take you to the hospital.’

  It was good fun at school showing off about the twins. Connie told Karen and all her friends; then she told the teacher and was allowed to write on the blackboard: CONNIE HAS A NEW BABY SISTER AND BROTHER. She did a picture of them too, with pink chalk and yellow for their curls. She wasn’t sure what they looked like yet but all babies looked more or less the same, didn’t they?

  She got a shock when Granny took her to the hospital. There was Mum lying back in her bed, little again and looking very happy. There were two cots at the end of Mum’s bed and there was a baby in each cot.

  ‘Oh, aren’t they sweet!’ Granny cooed. ‘Oh, what perfect little pets. The pretty little darlings!’

  Connie didn’t think the twins looked sweet or perfect or pretty. They were certainly little. Much smaller than she’d expected. Tiny weeny wizened little creatures. They didn’t look a bit like Karen’s baby sister Susie. They didn’t even have any hair. Not one curl between them. They were as bald as Connie’s grandpa – and much uglier.

  ‘Aren’t you lucky to have such a lovely baby brother and sister, Connie?’ said Granny.

  Connie didn’t feel lucky at all.

  3. Wailing Whimpers

  It got worse when Mum and the twins came home from the hospital. Granny and Grandpa and all sorts of aunties and assorted friends and neighbours came crowding into the house, too. They pushed past Connie, barely giving her a nod. They rushed over to the twins and then they started gurgling and giggling and goo-goo-gooing. (Not the twins. Granny and Grandpa and all the aunties and assorted friends and neighbours gurgled and giggled and goo-goo-gooed.)

  The twins didn’t respond. Sometimes they slept through all this attention. Most of the time they whimpered and wailed. For such tiny little creatures they could make an immensely loud noise.

  ‘Hark at them exercising those little lungs,’ said Granny, knitting busily.

  She was knitting a tiny pink teddy bear jumper for Claire and a tiny blue teddy bear jumper for Charles. She didn’t seem to have time to make a new teddy bear jumper for Connie even though Connie had explained that her old teddy bear jumper had never been the same since the mishap with Karen’s sister, Susie.

  ‘I’d rather like a pink teddy bear jumper,’ said Connie. ‘Or would I like blue better? I know! How about pink and blue striped. With a yellow teddy bear.’

  ‘What’s that, dear?’ said Granny vaguely. ‘I can’t quite hear you.’

  ‘Because the twins are making such a racket,’ Connie said, sourly. ‘They’re giving me a headache.’

  ‘It’s just their way of saying hello,’ said Granny.

  ‘I wish they’d say bye-bye,’ said Connie.

  ‘Ooh dear,’ said Granny, pulling a silly face. ‘Someone’s nose has been put out of joint by the twins. I think our Connie’s gone a bit green-eyed.’

  Granny often used odd expressions that Connie didn’t understand. Connie went upstairs to the bathroom to give her face a quick check. When she came downstairs again Granny was still talking about her.

  ‘It’s just as well the twins have come along. Connie’s a dear little girl but she can be a bit of a madam at times.’

  ‘I suppose we have spoilt her rather,’ said Dad. ‘I’ve noticed just recently she’s becoming very demanding. Always wanting this, wanting that. Trips to Disneyland. House extensions. We’re not made of money. Especially now.’

  ‘I hoped Connie would love the twins once they were born,’ said Mum. ‘I’m going to have to get her to help me more with feeding them and changing and bathing them. That way she’ll feel more involved.’

  ‘No, I won’t,’ Connie muttered. She sat down on the stairs and hunched up small, her head on her knees. It wasn’t fair.

  They’d all turned on her. They didn’t like her any more, now they’d got the twins.

  ‘Connie?’ Mum called. ‘Where are you, dear? Connie, could you go and fetch me a clean bib from the airing cupboard, little Claire’s dribbled all down hers.’

  ‘Fetch it yourself,’ Connie called, crossly.

  She knew that would cause trouble. She decided she didn’t care. Dad came out into the hall and hissed at her that she was showing them up in front of Granny (and Grandpa and the aunties and assorted friends and neighbours).

  ‘I don’t care,’ Connie shouted. Granny came out into the hall then.

  ‘There! Didn’t I say she could be a right little madam at times,’ said Granny, shaking her head.

  ‘I DON’T CARE!’ Connie bawled, louder than both babies together.

  It wasn’t fair at all. When the babies got cross and cried they got cuddled and fed. When Connie got cross and cried she was given a good talking to and sent up to her bedroom.

  Connie lay on her new pink and blue patchwork quilt and wept.

  ‘Connie? Don’t cry, pet.’ Mum came into the new

  bedroom. She’d given one twin to Dad to hold and the other twin to Granny. Her arms were empty at last. She could sit down beside Connie and give her a cuddle after all.

  Connie lay snuffling in Mum’s arms, feeling very much like a baby herself.

  ‘Want my bockle,’ she said, pretending to be a baby.

  Mum laughed and pretended to feed her. ‘There you are, my little baby,’ she said. Then she sat Connie up straight. ‘But you’re not really a baby, are you, Connie? You’re my big girl and you’re going to be a good girl, aren’t you? You’re going to help me look after the twins? They need you to be their lovely big kind sister.’

  Connie didn’t feel one bit like a lovely big kind sister. Little Charles and Claire might very well need her. But Connie certainly didn’t feel she needed them.

  4. Blue Beads

  Connie wasn’t sure she wanted to be good. The twins were absolutely sure they didn’t want to be good. They cried and cried and cried all that night. Mum and Dad were in and out of bed, feeding them and rockin
g them and changing them. The moment Mum and Dad stopped, the twins started. Most of the time they cried together. Every now and then Charles nodded off but Claire cried louder to make up for it. Then she screamed herself into submission and slept and Charles was startled awake by the silence. He cried. And then Claire woke up all over again and cried too.

  Mum was nearly crying by the morning. And Dad. And Connie.

  She couldn’t find a clean blouse for school because the airing cupboard was chock-full of baby clothes. She couldn’t get her hair to go right and Mum was too busy to fix it for her. Connie sighed heavily.

  ‘Those babies kept me awake all night,’ she complained. ‘They kept crying.’

  ‘Goodness. Did they?’ said Dad, heavily sarcastic. ‘Well, I am surprised.’

  ‘Couldn’t you feed them or something to keep them quiet?’ said Connie.

  ‘I feel as if I’ve fed five hundred babies,’ said Mum.

  She put her head down on the breakfast table and her eyelids drooped.

  ‘You need some rest,’ said Dad. ‘Go back to bed, love. Connie and I will hold the fort until Granny comes.’

  ‘But I’ll be late for school,’ said Connie.

  She didn’t really mind being late for school. It was arithmetic first lesson and Miss Peters sometimes got cross if you didn’t catch on to things straight away. But Connie felt like being awkward. She really hadn’t slept very much last night and so she felt very cross and cranky. Dad was feeling cross and cranky too.

  ‘Do you have to be so difficult, Connie?’ he said, glaring at her.

  ‘Yes,’ said Connie, glaring back.

  ‘Now, Connie,’ said Mum wearily. ‘I thought you were going to be a good girl and help us look after the twins?’

  ‘I didn’t want the twins to come barging into this family and spoiling everything,’ said Connie. ‘It’s not fair. Why should I have to be good all the time? Why do I have to want the twins to be here?’

 
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