It was 4 o'clock and I heard the scraping of the key in the lock, at last he was home and the day became brighter instantly.
My back was to him as he came into the kitchen where I was preparing a snack for him and I felt his arms circle my waist from behind.
"Love you my palangi."
I turned toward him and what I saw made me very mad very quickly.
He stood there, a bruise coming up under his right eye, two buttons missing from his shirt and dried blood under his nose.
"Who did this, Sioni?"
I took him in my arms and hugged him close as I smoothed back his hair.
"My cousins did it when I told them I had a friend now and would not be coming back to live in their house anymore."
I picked him up and took him into the lounge and sat him on a chair then went to get my first aid kit to patch him up.
When I had finished and saw he was not to bad I asked him what he would like me to do about it so it wouldn't happen again.
"It's ok it wont happen again, they know how it is with us and know they can do nothing about it, it's our custom and they will let it alone."
"Ok as long as you're alright we wont do anything this time but if it happens again I'm going to do something about it, I don't want you hurt in any way, ok babes?"
"It'll be ok Ben, they know now."
He reached out his hand to me and I looked down into it, there was about Seven Dollars in change and I looked up to his face with a questioning look.
"It's your change from this morning, I didn't need it so I brought it back for you."
"Honey, that's yours you keep it."
I smiled at him and kissed him softly rubbing his hair as I did so, his arms reached up around my neck and he cuddled into me.
"Ok mister, time to get cleaned up and have a snack then I'll tell you what the day has brought for us."
I got the usual sparrow peck on the lips as he scooted off to the bathroom to clean up and I went back to the kitchen to finish getting his snack ready.
Like myself Sioni had a very sweet tooth and choc chip cookies were a favorite with both of us so a packet did not last very long in this house, with a plate full and some milk for him we sat in the lounge as I told him about the hunt going on for a new apartment and then explained about his bank account.
"Why do I need a bank account Ben?"
"For your pocket money."
"But I don't have any pocket money?"
"You do now babes."
"Well if it was not for you doing all this house work around here my place would be in a mess, then I'd have to hire someone to come and do it for me."
"But you can't pay me for doing that, it's what I must do in our home."
It was not really true as I do enjoy cleaning the apartment but I was not going to tell him that, I wanted him to feel as though he was doing something very special and it gave me an excuse to give him some money of his own, I knew he would not accept any otherwise.
"No babes, it's extra work and you have to be paid for it, we will call it your chores, and as it's your chores you must be paid for it."
"Well ok, but you don't have to pay me, I like to do it for you."
"I know babes but I would feel better if you were, it is a palangi thing, ok?"
"Ok, but you must tell me if I do something wrong in the cleaning."
"Alright then, if you do something wrong I will turn you upside down and paddle your butt, ok?"
Sioni giggled at that and I looked at the milk moustache on his upper lip smiling at him.
"Ok, my palangi, I love you."
"Love you to babes."
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