Heyyy! New chapter! Thank you for all the lovely, lovely reviews (love you guys!) and thanks to anybody who reads this, too. Hope you enjoy this chapter! Also, forewarning: I've changed my username! I didn't really like my old one anymore, but I hope it doesn't lead to any confusion.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Shortly after Zola's sixteenth birthday, it's determined that she's finally old enough to stay home alone with her siblings.

While her parents leave for a week of camping and fishing, this means that Zola is left with the task of not only full-time babysitting (supervised by her Aunt Amelia, who checks up on them every evening, with phone calls from her parents after school), but also making sure her siblings get to school alright.

This is fine with Zola's brother Bailey, who is the most low maintenance child in existence. She sees him once in the morning when he fixes his PB&J sandwiches and slouches off to middle school, and once in the evening when he makes himself grilled cheese and lopes off to his room.

However, dealing with Ellis is a whole other story.

In the end, Zola and Sam walk to school together, Ellis skipping ahead as far as the leash (Doc's old leash) clipped onto the waistband of her dungarees will allow.

It's the fourth morning of their walks to Mercy West Elementary School, and Sam and Zola are discussing the season finale of their favourite tv show (Webber's Anatomy), when Ellis lets loose an almighty shriek of, "Henry!" and springs forward so quickly that the leash tears away the belt loop it was attached to.

Henry's dressed in his usual odd assortment of clothes – baseball cap, Superman cape, boots, khakis, and a glow-in-the-dark Scooby Doo t-shirt – and falls backwards when Ellis pounces on him, luckily cushioning his fall with his Spider-Man backpack.

"Hi Henry!" Ellis exclaims, words pouring out of her mouth a mile a minute. "I like your shirt, even though it's got Velma's face all wrong. I like Velma, she's smart and she's really pretty and I like her sweater. My mom got me some Scooby Doo cereal once and it was dee-licious. We used to have Scooby Doo band aids, but we don't anymore. I scraped my knee yesterday, and I got a huge bruise and there was blood and everything – see! Look, look! Are you jealous? You're not looking! – and then I got a band aid, but it was a Cinderella band aid and I don't like Cinderella, so Zola says we can get some Cars band aids after school today!"

She doesn't even pause to catch her breath, which is the most impressive part of it all. There are times when Zola thinks her sister could easily single-handedly power the city's energy, like one of those hamsters which run round and round inside those little plastic balls.

Henry sticks his thumb in his mouth, which really he's a bit old for at seven but it's better than Bailey at that age (seven year old Bailey didn't do much but pick his nose and stick his hands down his pants, if Zola remembers correctly).

Then, he says in a quiet snuffly tone which is precisely Henry and always reminds Zola a little of somebody speaking over the phone, "Thwanks. I like Fwed. He's cool."

"Fred makes such great traps!" Ellis contributes enthusiastically. She always contributes, even if she doesn't know what anybody is talking about. Aunt Kathy thinks it's because Ellis is the baby and they spoilt her, so she feels a need to be the centre of attention. "Booby traps!" She sniggers, presumably at the term 'booby'. "I tried to make a trap once, to catch the ghost in the basement, but it went all wrong and I made a hole in the wall and broke Dad's collarbone. I wasn't trying to make a trap like Fred though, I was trying to make a trap like Kevin. From Home Alone. I liked the second one better than the first one. Once, I tried to sled down the stairs like Kevin does – Kevin, in home alone – but that went wrong too, and I got my head stuck in the bannisters. Aren't I funny, Henry?"

Henry nods solemnly. Ellis beams and grabs his hand, beginning to drag him towards the school doors. "What did you have for breakfast today?" Zola hears her demand. "I had pizza, coz we had loads left over from last night when I accidentally ordered some – I was pretending to order some, but then I accidentally did it for reals – and Zola didn't want to make me anything, but it was cold pizza. I actually like cold pizza. I have some for my lunch! Do you want some?"

The young Montgomery replies something, then jumps as though he's forgotten something and turns around to wave frantically.

Zola and Sam raise their hands to wave back, confused.

"Byeth!" Henry calls happily. "Thwank you, Uncleth Maffk!"

He turns back to Ellis, who has dropped his hand so she can gesture wildly about something.

"Bye Henry!" A wonderfully familiar voice calls back, and Sam and Zola whirl around just in time to see Vice Principal Sloan's Porsche driving away.