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The Braemar Bed & Breakfast

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Monday 20th December 2021

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“Tony!” Bren shouted through the kitchen, “Tony!”

“What?” Tony came through from the reception.

“That’s them here. I heard the car. You better go check they get in alright.” Bren replied as she focused on the bacon.

“Do you not want to go? I can finish this.” Tony asked.

“No, I’ll manage.” Bren replied.

“Okay.” Tony nodded. He left the kitchen just as Amy was passing him with an empty tray in her hand, “Cheer up, kid, it’s Monday.”

“Ha-ha.” Amy rolled her eyes, “The sooner we shut for Christmas, the better.”

“Not long, sweetheart, not long.” Tony put his arm around her, “Hey, that’s everyone here.”

“Really?” Amy brightened up, “Have they come in?”

“Not yet. Mum said she heard the car outside.” Tony replied.

“She’s like a bat, bloody hell.” Amy said.

“Don’t swear when auntie Dolly comes in. Especially if you’re in the kitchen with her.” Tony pointed.

“I won’t.” Amy sighed with a smile before heading to the kitchen.

Tony just chuckled and headed into the reception. Just as he was about to head outside, everyone came in. Jean, Dolly, Twinkle, Anita, Stan, Philippa, Tom, Ajay and Twinkle’s daughter, Liv all walked in. They all beamed when they saw Tony.

“Hello!” Tony smiled.

“Aww, Tony! Hello.” Jean went to hug him, “How are you?”

“Very good. You? How was your journey?” Tony asked.

“Hectic with all this Covid malarkey.” Dolly shook her head, “It’s just a cold I say but no, we have everyone walking about like the plague is going about.”

“It was a pandemic, Dolly. Still is.” Twinkle crossed her arms.

“Will we need to keep our masks on when walking around the B&B?” Anita asked.

“Nah. You lot are the only ones staying so it should be alright.” Tony nodded, “We’re technically shut until after New Year. Benefits of living in Scotland eh?”

“Where’s Bren?” Stan asked.

“Kitchen, doing some bacon.” Tony pointed. 

“And Amy?” Ajay asked.

“Kitchen too. Probably winding her mum up.” Tony laughed.

“Do you want me to get everyone sorted, Tony?” Hamish came out of the pub.

“Yeah, cheers, mate. I’ll go get Bren and Amy.” Tony said as he went down the hall to the kitchen. He then went into the kitchen and noticed Bren and Amy talking, “What’re you two nattering about?”

“Never you mind.” Bren giggled, “Are they here?”

“Yeah, Hamish is just sorting out their rooms.” Tony nodded. 

“Alright.” Bren smiled.

“Is auntie Dolly complaining about Covid again?” Amy asked.

“Yeah.” Tony laughed, “I’m surprised that the Daily Mail hasn’t hired her to be their editor.”

“No, they have stupider people for that, dad.” Amy smiled.

“Very true.” Tony chuckled.

“I wouldn’t say that to her though.” Bren smiled, “Amy, love, can you take those plates through to the couple at table five?”

“Yeah.” Amy took the plates and left the kitchen.

“She’s perked up.” Bren pointed out when Amy was out of the room.

“Well, her best friend’s here, isn’t he? She’ll be in full birthday, Christmas swing once they see each other. You don’t seem like you are though, mate.” Tony walked over to Bren, “You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just ready to be off for a few days.” Bren replied. She looked up to him and gave him a small smile, “It’s been a long year.”

“I know but things are looking up, well, sort of but we’ve got everyone here. This will be the best Christmas slash birthday you’ll ever have.” Tony wrapped his arms around her.

“Better than when we got it together?” Bren raised her brow with a smirk.

“Hmm well, maybe not that good but still pretty good. I could make it better for you, a little reminiscent.” Tony leaned in and kissed her neck gently as she giggled. He then lifted his head, “Could get that brass band up?”

“They’ll have a bit of trouble over the Pennines.” Bren smiled.

“True. I could always get my old Trombone out and toot out ‘Happy Birthday’ to you.” Tony raised a brow.

“Tempting. No.” Bren giggled before standing on her tiptoes and kissing him on the lips. Their kiss was soon broken off by the slam of a door. They turned to see Lewis, Hamish’s youngest son coming into the kitchen. He was just taking off his coat when he smiled to the couple, “Hi, Lewis.”

“Morning, son.” Tony turned towards Lewis, his arm around Bren’s shoulder.

“Alright? My dad in?” Lewis smiled.

“Yeah, just helping our lot with their bags and that.” Tony said.

“Aw, are they here? That’ll be good. What time is the party again?” Lewis asked.

“Half seven. I’m sure your dad will make you come in earlier.” Tony replied.

“Oh, no doubt.” Lewis rolled his eyes. Amy then walked into the kitchen and almost did a double take when she saw Lewis. Lewis seemed to brighten up when she entered the room, “Alright, Ams?”

“Hiya.” Amy walked over to him, “You just come in?”

“Aye. My dad been asking where I was?” Lewis asked.

“Yeah. You weren’t out again, were you?” Amy crossed her arms.

“Not out-out. Just at my sister’s. I was in seeing the baby.” Lewis shrugged, “I only got in late because I was too busy playing with him.”

“Aww. How is he? I need to pop in.” Amy grinned.

“Yeah, he’s grand. He’s so fast when he crawls, I’ve never moved so fast trying to keep up with him.” Lewis laughed.

“Aww.” Bren and Tony said at the same time.

“Lewis?” Hamish called from the pub.

“Oh, better head through.” Lewis widened his eyes, walking through to the reception before turning back to Amy. He grabbed her hand, “Here, you busy tonight?”

“Oh, I don’t think so. I’ll probably have plans with everyone here.” Amy said, “Sorry.”

“Nah, it’s alright. Another time. Maybe tomorrow, yeah?” Lewis gave her a little wink, “See you later, Martins.”

“Bye, Lewis.” Bren waved.

“See ya, son,” Tony smiled.

Amy gave him a little wave before going over to the stove and turning it off. She put the pan into the sink before turning around. Bren and Tony were watching her with little smirks on her face.

“What?” Amy asked. They didn’t reply, “What?!” Her parents’ smiles grew bigger, “Oh no, we’re not gonna get into this again.”

“Come on, Amy, it’s so clear he likes you.” Bren said.

“No, he doesn’t. Absolutely not. No, no!” Amy went back to the sink and started scrubbing the pan.

“He does, Amy. You know, you’re not very good at lying either, sweetheart.” Tony smiled.

“I’m not lying.” Amy shrugged, “We’re just pals.”

“That’s what I said about your mum, kid.” Tony replied, giving Bren a little squeeze.

“No, we’re not gonna start this. Just because you two had a ‘friends to lovers’ moment doesn’t me and him will.” Amy turned and did quotation marks with her fingers, “He’s been my pal since I was like zero! I don’t fancy him.”

“There’s nothing wrong with liking him.” Bren giggled, “It’s fine.”

“Can we just not discuss this the now? And don’t bring this up to everyone else, they’ll be up to ninety!” Amy walked out of the kitchen and greeted everyone as they started to come downstairs.

“‘Friends to lovers’?” Tony frowned.

“It’s a trope.” Bren explained. She looked up to him and he still wore a confused look, “A trope in a book. Enemies to lovers? Love triangle? Oh, I’ll explain it later.”

Bren and Tony headed to the reception where Amy was still hugging everyone. When they noticed Bren, they all became ecstatic. Bren giggled as she saw them, going to hug Anita first.

“Hello!” Bren laughed, “How are you all? Did you get here okay?”

“Yes, it was quite pleasant, wasn’t it?” Philippa smiled. Bren went to hug her, “Hello.”

“Bren, your hair’s lovely.” Jean pointed when Bren came over.

“Oh, you think? I don’t know, I might go short again.” Bren played with her shoulder length curls.

“No, it’s lovely!” Jean said.

“It is pretty, mum.” Amy turned from hugging Twinkle.

“We’ll see.” Bren said before she smiled, “Hey, are you all hungry? D’you want something to eat? What time is it, Tony? You could have a late breakfast.”

“Half eleven.” Tony checked his watch.

“Yeah, that would be nice.” Dolly nodded.

“Right, you all go sit down in the pub. Me and Tony will get it sorted.” Bren smiled before taking Tony’s hand, “Come on, dear.”

Amy led everyone into the pub and sat down with them all. Hamish came over to greet them all before Lewis joined them. Ajay watched Amy and Lewis talk and couldn’t help but smile. He made eye contact with Liv who was sitting next to him and smiled too. They both knew what each other were thinking and didn’t need to say much more. When Lewis went behind the bar with his dad, Amy turned back to everyone. She noticed Ajay and Liv’s looks.

“Don’t start.” Amy warned them.

Bren and Tony came into the pub with everyone’s food. They started eating and catching up with each other.

“You excited for the party then?” Dolly asked.

“Yeah, where are you having it? Just here?” Twinkle asked.

“Yeah. Have it in the pub. Oh that reminds me, I need to get bunting tonight.” Tony replied as he took out his phone and started putting bunting on his shopping list.

“Oh Bren, there’s your ‘Four in a Bed’ plaque.” Anita pointed as she got up, “I forgot to ask you about that.”

“Oh yeah.” Bren giggled, “I thought you saw it when you last come up.”

“No, I must have missed it.” Anita shrugged.

“Y’know, it’ll be good fun to have everyone together to celebrate eh? After the year and a half we’ve had.” Stan said.

“I know.” Bren smiled, “It’s great to see you all.”