The Kroft Family - The Murder of One

-The First Book in the Kroft Series-
Michael Kroft's life wasn't perfect. He shared a home with his irritating sisters Flo and Dianne and annoying older brother George. His father was an alcoholic with anger issues, and his mother was pregnant with, yet another girl.
Then Alice was born.
And things went from bad to worse.
Because Alice wasn't Alice Kroft, she was Alice Peters.
And the day his father found out, his mother was murdered.
Now with his dad the prime suspect of a murder investigation, Drew Peters asking for 'his daughter' back, and social services against them, Michael must unite his siblings so they can raise Alice as a Kroft, and keep Drew Peters grubby hands off her.


9. Babysitter

"Author's Note: Sorry about the long update! Have a lot of exams coming up after easter so updates might slow down again then. What do you guys think so far? If you have any constructive criticism (cc) I would be happy to hear it, I really like improving my writing. 

Adrenaline pumped through my body. My fingers were like lightning. My eyes darted around in a manic fashion. I applied extra pressure to the button under my thumb, nearly...nearly...

"Yes!" I jumped up from the sofa, "I win" I turned to George, who had is posture slumped in surrender.

"You're too good at this game" he sighed. We'd been trying to kill some time while Flo was out looking for a babysitter for Alice (so we could all go out and dig for clues on mother's murder), and I had found my old Mario Kart game. I had gone through a faze of being obsessed with the game, so my easy victory was no surprise.

"Another race?" I challenged, enjoying the authority I felt when I beat my big brother.

"You've won 4 already" he reminded me.

"5 is my unlucky number?" I tried to sway him. He let out (another) dramatic sigh, and picked up the console.

"You have so little will power" I murmured under my breath, "Go!" 

"Stop" Flo stormed downstairs, switching off the television. She seemed flushed, her cheeks were rosier than usual with an annoyed and flustered tint. 

"What do you want? I thought you had gone out" George glared at her, obviously not picking up on her edgy state. 

"You are such an idiot George, I was out looking for a babysitter, but now I have returned, irritated and agitated, which tells you what?" George just shrugged, clueless, "which tells you I didn't manage to find one!" Flo blurted, snapping out her words in a rapid pace. 

"No-one was available?" I checked, a little shocked that there was nobody over 14 in the neighbourhood who could help.

"No-one" she confirmed, dropping onto the sofa beside us. 

"What about Mrs Heldswhith next door?" George suggested.

"Away on vacation" Flo sighed.

"Old Ms Drews?" He continued to list names.

"She still wasn't out of bed yet."

"Joanne Smiths?" 

"Arguing with her ex, I didn't dare go near the house."

"Mr Tedrey?" 

"The wife beater?" 

"We are desperate..."

"Not that desperate." She cut him off. We all relaxed our hunch shoulders in unison, sighing, and leaning back onto the cushions behind us. Flo turned the television back on, changing the input to the satellite so we could watch the six o'clock news. Stories of politics, celebrities, environment and business all whizzed through our minds, going in one ear and out the other, as our brainpower was used up elsewhere. 

"I've got it!" Flo suddenly sat up, her eyes awake.

"What? What is it?" I asked. She turned to me, grinning from ear to ear, ecstatic with creativity. 

"You can be the babysitter" she told me, I looked at her closely, she was serious. 

"I'm 14! Why can't you or George do it? Or Dianne?" I quizzed her.

"Dianne wouldn't bother checking on her, I have to lead the group and, no offense George, but you're an idiot." George made a face, then shrugged it off.

"I've never babysat anyone before" I was beginning to run out of excuses. 

"I'll pay you, £5 an hour." Flo attempted to bribe me, pulling out a shiny new note from her purse.

"What if she needs feeding? Or burping? I don't know how to look after a baby." I spoke slowly to empathise my words. 

"Neither did we Michael, but I came along for George, Dianne came along for me, and you came along for Dianne. Now we all know a little about babies, and it's your turn to learn." She was a very bad listener, but quite a persuasive talker.

"£10 an hour, and I want regular text updates" I gave in.

"Deal." She agreed, hugging me. I just rolled my eyes and sat back down in front of the TV. Flo came down with Alice, to my relief, she was asleep. 

"We'll be back in a few hours, call us if you need to, don't answer the door and if that Peters guy shows up, kick his ass for me" George instructed me, I nodded, though not really listening.  

"Dianne! We're leaving" I heard Flo shout upstairs, "you too George". George stuck his tongue out at the stairs, patted me on the back, and left. A few seconds later I heard the front door slam and the turn of a key in the locks.

"Well Alice, it's just you and me" I whispered, tuking the tiniest blonde hair behind her tiny ears. I turned the television back on, keeping it on a low volume so not to wake her up. I settled for some lame soap opera which mainly involved drunk mistakes in a glorified pub. Occasionally I'd glance over at the ticking time bomb that was my baby sister, sometimes I'd even risk a sniff at her nappy. Once the programme finished, I browsed the channels again. Which was a mistake. As soon as I went of the HD channel the volume increased, and woke Alice up. 

An eruption of wails and screeching left her tiny lips, almost making the ground shake. I ran other to where she lay, trying to hush her, but I could not be heard over her own constant bawling. The only solution would be to find out what she wanted. I took a deep breath, and inhaled her downwards areas, but they smelled bearable. I patted her back softly, but when no result came, I waked it, making her cry more. 

"What the hell do you want?" I screamed, getting angry. Her eyes found mine, and this could do nothing but calm me slightly.

Then, she giggled. A small light and airy giggle. 

"What's so funny?" I murmured, my volume low due to the large shout that had recently escaped me. I used the blank TV screen as a mirror, and saw what had got her giggling. I was a mess, scruffy hair, red face, and wild eyes. I was probably her twisted version of a clown. Remarkably, in my anger, I had amused her. "Yeah, I guess I do look kinda stupid" I agreed with her, "I'm sorry I shouted Alice". She gave a small gurgle in reply. I placed her on my lap, looking into her soothing brown eyes and smiling as I tucked more strands behind her ears. 

After a couple of minutes, the calm ended. I worried as I saw her lip quiver, and panicked when her mouth opened, and there is not a word in the English dictionary to describe how I felt when the sound left her lips. I struggled to think up what I hadn't tried yet, even my red face wasn't enough to silence her this time. 

"No dirty nappy, doesn't need burping...hungry! You must be hungry, eh?" I guessed. I ran up to the kitchen, taking care not to drop the baby in my arms. I hurriedly fumbled around, getting her into her over-stickered seat. I found the cupboard with the baby food and accidently knocked some tins of baked beans onto the floor in doing so. I cut myself on the tin opener, and bled into the bowl a tad. Mushing it up the best I could in my rush, I placed it down in front of Alice. She looked at it cravingly, I swear she even drooled a bit. I placed a large amount on a small spoon, and lead it towards her mouth. But it didn't open, I pressed it against her lips, but she resisted. 

"What do you want now?" I was practically pleading with her. "Look, it's good" I placed a spoonful in my mouth, then spat in back into the bowl. It was over-sweet, badly textured and the aftertaste was a bid like rotten apple. I could even feel it burning in my nose. "Um, I guess you don't want to eat that any more..." I apologized. I must have spat some food on to the floor because when I went to wash it down the sink, I slipped and my favourite shirt was ruined by a mixture of fructose syrup and slop. It even got in my hair. Alice started to cry again, I got up and began scrubbing the floor, blocking her out completely. If I had been this much trouble as a baby, I had some apologizing to do. Once I was done scrubbing, and about to try making a new batch for Alice, I heard the door go again and my siblings arguing voices as they entered the house. Flo was first to enter the kitchen.

"Look, I know I said I'd text you" She stared at my now yellow shirt, scruffy hair and tired expression. Dianne came in behind her. She didn't seem fazed at my state.

"Still did better than the rest of us" she went back up to her room. 

"You should go shower" Flo told me, I nodded.

"Alice needs feeding" I informed her as I left. 


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