Flashback: Sadie's Song
"That's it, Sadie. If you keep going like that you'll be able to play
the song perfectly before you know it!"
The small six year old girl raised big blue eyes to her mother's, a big smile on her face.
"I've practiced." She said importantly. "I want to play it perfectly for when Daddy comes home from Germany. He is coming soon, isn't he?"
"Friday, sweetheart." Gently her companion lifted the battered old guitar out of her daughter's tiny hands, scooping the child up into her arms. "And he'll be so proud and surprised, if he comes back and you have a special song to play for him!"
"Do you s'pose he'll bring us back presents?" Sadie looked quizzical. Her mother laughed.
"Possibly." She said. "I don't know - it depends if he's had the time to go looking. There are four of you now, you know - he couldn't bring back presents for just one of you and not the rest."
"I know." Sadie looked thoughtful, then, "But Georgia is bad. She fingerpaints the walls."
"Georgie's too young to really understand that it's naughty to do that." Came the reply. "Not like you."
"I go to school." Sadie agreed. "Mummy, we're making collages at school for harvest festival - Miss Raymond said mine was very very good an' she's going to put it up in the entrance hall for when any visitors come. Then they can see my picture. She's only putting up six pictures from our work an' mine is one of them."
"Really?" The mother's eyes softened. "Then I'm very proud of you, Sadie. What did you make the collage from?"
"We collected leaves and twigs and stuff from the school field." Sadie replied. "It was fun. We never did collages before, but I liked it."
The door of the living room opened at that moment, and the two Monahues glanced up. Alyssa, the family's eldest child stood in the doorway, her thick fair hair in two long plaits, and an important expression on her face.
"Mum, Mrs Blake is here to talk to you about the Cheese and Wine Evening, and whether you want to play this time." She said. "And can I go to Rachel's house for tea?"
"Yes, you may, and please tell Mrs Blake to come right in." Her mother smiled. "Aly, be back by seven, all right? This is a school night and the nights are getting darker."
"Yes, Mum." Alyssa nodded, skipping off. Within a few moments, a tall, stout lady entered the room, taking a seat and casting the room's three occupants a warm beam.
"Good afternoon, Julie - and Sadie and Georgia, too!" She said amiably. "I'm sorry to intrude on you at such short notice, but I was sorting out the details for the parish Cheese and Wine Evening and I remembered you saying that you'd be more than happy to play a few songs, just to add a little something to the whole business. I wondered if you'd still be interested in doing so? I know with your husband still away, you have a lot on your plate..."
"Oh, I don't break my word, Hannah." Julie Monahue grinned, getting to her feet and scooping up small Georgia from the playpen, where the infant had been studiously trying her best to tear a hole in her sock. "Besides, he comes home on Friday, and that's plenty of time. He loves having an evening when he can have the kids to himself, with him being away so long, and I propose to let Alyssa and Mark come with me to the evening. Alyssa's very good, and Mark will behave himself if he knows he's going to a grown up event."
"Can't I come, Mummy?" Sadie pouted, casting her mother a hurt look. Julie's eyes twinkled, and she shook her head.
"No, sweetie, not this time. It's past your bedtime." She said softly. "Mark's almost nine, and Alyssa's eleven soon. You're only six - you're a big girl for some things, but not for others."
"Aww." Sadie looked disappointed. "But I can play the guitar too. I could play my song."
"Not this time, honey." Julie shook her head. "You can help Daddy to take care of George for the night instead."
"George pulls my hair." Sadie grimaced. "And she kicks water at me when she's in the bath. Do I have to?"
Mrs Blake chuckled.
"I tell you what, Sadie, you can come and play your song for everyone at one of the parish coffee mornings, if you like." She offered. "Would you like that?"
"Mummy, can I?" Sadie looked hopeful. Julie nodded her head.
"Yes, if Mrs Blake says you can." She agreed. "But you'll have to practice very hard."
"I will." Sadie said. "I promise. I'll play it perfect."
Mrs Blake held out a thick fist, taking the small slim hand in hers and shaking it firmly.
"Then it's a deal." She said solemnly. She glanced around her. "Where is your brother tonight, anyway?"
"Mummy sent him to his room because he was bad." Sadie said with a smile, before Julie could speak. Julie rolled her eyes.
"He was playing football outside and he broke the garage window. Again." She said. "You know, Hannah, sometimes I think it would have been better if George had been the boy that we expected her to be. It would at least mean that when she was older Mark would have someone he could play with. He's at that age where girls are just not his kind of playmate, and he can be very rough with Sadie when they're playing, without realising he's doing it. Alyssa's the only one he listens to, but I don't know how much longer that will last. He's already taller than she is by half a head."
"I don't like Mark sometimes." Sadie decided. "He plays stupid games and he doesn't take a bath unless Mummy shouts at him."
"Sadie, maybe you should take your guitar and go practice your song upstairs?" Julie suggested gently. "Mrs Blake and I have to make arrangements for the Evening, and you know you want it to be perfect when Daddy comes home."
"Okay, I s'pose so." Sadie wriggled off the arm of her mother's chair, grabbing her instrument and trotting obediently from the room. Mrs Blake watched her go with a smile.
"She's an enterprising lass, young Sadie." She said at length. Julie nodded.
"My children are all enterprising." She replied. "It isn't easy being a single mother for half of the year, either! But I wouldn't swap it, Hannah. They're more dear to me than anything else in the whole world!"
Prologue: Flashback - Sadie's
Chapter One: Los Angeles, 2015
Chapter Two: Enter The Stray
Chapter Three: Flashback - Sadie's Song
Chapter Four: Nerves
Chapter Five: The Dean Stacey Show
Chapter Six: Flashback - School Concert
Chapter Seven: Sandra Bray
Chapter Eight: The Dean Problem
Chapter Nine: Cursed
Chapter Ten: Flashback - Stir
Chapter Eleven: Secrets
Chapter Twelve: Robin Vs Nancy
Chapter Thirteen: In The Line Of Duty
Chapter Fourteen: Flashback - Griefstruck
Chapter Fifteen: Aftermath
Chapter Sixteen: Jewel Consult
Chapter Seventeen: Forever Changed