As soon as I stepped a foot in the door I was bombarded by my clutter of siblings shouting at me.
"How could you be so irresponsible?"
"All you left was a note! A 2 sentence long note!"
"What if he'd hurt you?"
"Your such a dimwit Michael!"
And there were many many more. Once they had finished their rant, I spoke up.
"Nice to know you care" I rolled my eyes. I pushed through them to place my coat back down, and headed into the living room, turning on the television. George turned it off.
"Look, I know we upset you earlier, but that's no excuse to run off after the man mum was having an affair with." He scolded me.
"We were really worried about you Michael, we don't know anything about Drew Peters." Flo backed up George's point.
"What if he was the man who murdered mum?" Dianne asked rhetorically, George and Flo murmured in agreement.
"He wasn't the man who murdered mu..."
"How do you know?" George cut me off, "tell me Michael, what evidence do you have?" I looked down at my feet.
"Nothing" I mumbled.
"What was that?" George mocked me.
"You don't have to treat me like a little kid anymore! I'm 13 this year. I'm only 3 years younger than Dianne anyway. Plus, I'm smart enough to make my own decisions. I appreciate you concern, I really do, and I genuinely love you guys for it, but I'm not the three year old boy who got his arm stuck in the bars of the gate anymore, I'm older now." I stood up, stating my piece. George, Flo and Dianne all seemed a little taken aback at my outburst. They didn't reply, and after a few minutes of us just looking at each over, I stopped waiting, and left, heading up to my room.
I didn't reach my room at first however, as when I passed Alice's crib, I couldn't resist picking her up. I took her with me to my room.
"You're the youngest Kroft now Alice," I told her, "good luck." She simply giggled at me, smiling, not understanding a word that came out of my mouth. I returned her smile, gently rocking her to sleep. Once she was safely asleep, I lay her on my bed, and got up. I went up to my bookshelf, trying to find a juicy novel to keep me busy for an hour or two. My eyes fell (by mistake) on an old family photo from when I was six. We were at an amusement park in Blackpool, as a special treat to celebrate the opening of 'Petals and Thorns'. We were all huddled in around a sign. Mum and Dad were on either side, George was lying on the floor beneath it, Dianne was smiling (yes, actually smiling) besides mum, and I was sat on Flo's lap in front of dad. A happy family, a little on the large side, but happy. Dad was over his alcohol addiction, and up for an office job. George was about to start secondary school, with a clean slate. Flo wasn't busy being a second mother to all of us, she was out having fun with her mates. Dianne wasn't going through an awkward teenage phase, she was stuffing her face with candyfloss. And there was me, happy being the little brother that everyone looked out for, happy being the one at the bottom of the triangle. If I could go back and re-live any day, it would be this one. I could still picture George vomiting into a trash can after going through a loop the loop. I placed the picture there and chose some random book. Before I could read the first page, I heard a commotion downstairs.
"I deserve to see her!"
"Please sir, you shouldn't be here."
"I have every right to be"
"Hang on a minute, this is our house"
I rushed down the stairs to see Drew Peters shoving his way through my siblings. Zach was behind him, seeming bored.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"If it isn't the man of the hour" George exclaimed sarcastically.
"Michael, there you are. Your brother and sisters won't let me see Alice." Drew appealed to me.
"She's sleeping right now" I informed him, thinking fast. Just then, she began to cry, obviously awoken by the noise.
"Yeah, sure" Zach spat.
"She's only awake because you just woke her up" Flo argued.
"She's my child, I should be allowed to see her. In fact, I should be allowed to take her home with me." Drew threatened. I tried to think of something, anything, but in my panic I was struggling.
"Do you have a permit?" I asked, suddenly thinking of something.
"A permit, to enter our house and take Alice away legally" Flo answered for me. Drew took a step back, defeated. Him and Zach left the porch at last.
"Good thinking Michael" George complemented me.
"How did he know about Alice anyway?" Dianne thought suddenly. I looked away, not wanting to show any signs of my aching guilt.
"You told him didn't you?" George guessed.
"Yeah" I admitted, "but I didn't think he'd come round her, and I didn't give him our address."
"He cleaned our windows, he's been here before" Dianne pointed out.
"Why did you go there anyway Michael?" Flo inquired. All eyes fell on me, burning my conscience. I wanted to tell them, but, at the happen time, I was worried how they'd react. As their gazes began to set my clothes alight, I caved in.
"I wanted to ask him about mum. I want to find out who killed her, and I want to prove dad is innocent." I admitted. They all paused for a second, before George spoke again.
"Okay, we're in" he decided.
"I don't need your help" I replied, blatantly.
"Well you've got it" Dianne informed me, not taking no for an answer.
"Let's make it official" Flo agreed. Running into the living room to grab some paper and a pen. She scribbled down a quick contract, which she got us all to sign.
As a loyal inhabitant of the Kroft household I vow to try my best to find out who killed Tiffany Kroft. To add to this, I also vow not to accuse or make any accusation to Oliver Kroft relating to the murder. I also promise to do whatever it takes to keep Alice Kroft in this household, and to keep her away from Drew Peters.
Signed: George, Florida, Diana and Michael.
Flo took the paper back after I had signed my name and folded it up, putting it in a small box on the hallside table, and locking the box.
"Together?" She checked.
"Together" we replied in unison. Because I was right, this was a hard mystery to solve, but if we united, we could solve it. I looked up into my families eyes and knew they felt the same, we were the Krofts,and we were not going down without a fight.