“There must be a funny story behind this, surely.” Garrett didn’t lift his gaze from the newspaper. Finishing the article that caught his attention, he turned the page, the crisp sound of the pages rubbing against another echoing in the silence of the study. The breeze picked up, howling outside the curtain clad window as a warning of the looming storm.
A young girl sat in the arm chair set up against the wall, her head bowed, while her brother, Max, tried and failed not to shift in the seat across from their uncle. “Well?” Garrett pushed.
Max opened his mouth but nothing came out. “Um.” He was fumbling and he knew it.
“Um isn’t a word,” Garrett corrected.
Max looked to his sister for help, a silent plea Garrett noticed before he returned to his silent reading and Max to his attempt to explain how they lost their weekly allowance to a scam. “I see,” Garrett sighed.
“You do?” Max sat up in hope.
“Yes. It seems the stock market has yet to recover. I may need to make a few calls.”
“Uncle Garrett,” Max whined in unison with his sister. “I thought-“
“You thought I would save you both from having to explain how you managed to lose fifty dollars in a manner of a day.” It wasn’t a question. Max’s head dropped, the hope long gone. “You will work at the stables to earn it back.”
“But-” Max tried to argue but their uncle looked up from his paper with such a warning that Max slumped in his seat in defeat. Their uncle was a shrewd business man, and he didn’t believe in going easy on his family, especially when money was involved.
Garrett set down the paper and sighed at his niece and nephew. “Go get some pie. You might as well enjoy your freedom while you can.”
The twins didn’t bother to argue. They murmured a soft thanks and hurried to escape their uncle’s all-knowing eye. “What about mom’s dolls?” His sister whispered once they were far enough down the hall.
“Shh,” Max urged frantically. “Nobody knows we broke them.”
“But we did,” she whispered.
“Unless somebody finds out, we never talk about it again. Deal?” He held up his pinky.
“Deal.” His sister whispered, a smile on her face as her pinky wrapped around his.
“Pleasure doing business with you, sis.” Max shook their pinkies before lacing his hands behind his head. They were found out about the gamble they took on the online puppy scam but they managed to get away with the dolls. “Looks like Uncle doesn’t know everything.”