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 The New Teacher Part Three #3 (4,850 words)

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Cal

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PostSubject: The New Teacher Part Three #3 (4,850 words)    Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:03 am

---oooOOOooo---


THE NEW TEACHER
By Cal


---oooOOOooo---

PART THREE
continued...


(scene 22 continued- 1,850 Words)

Heyes


Heyes worked fast to get his holster untied and the buckle unfastened.  He let the heavy pistol and belt slide to the floor. He shook a warning glance at his partner in crime and mentally crossed his fingers.

“I learned it from him” proclaimed Frankie, pointing to the old leather sofa in her Daddy’s office.

“He came to school on Monday and said he was Theodore Smith…”

“Who?” asked a perplexed Wendell Widget, staring at the empty sofa.

“Me” said Heyes getting to his feet, pushing Kid down as he tried to rise beside him.

“Me.  My name is Smith… Theodore Smith and I’m the new school teacher.  I met your daughter at school yesterday... when I took up my new post… er… Miss Henderson… She introduced me to the children…”

Heyes reached out a hand in greeting, coming to stand in front of the desk.  The parchment from the safe, was dropped silently onto the busy surface.

Frankie shook her head.

“He gets confused… he’s old …and very grouchy…”

“Francesca! What have I told you about respecting your elders…”

Wendell Widget looked at the extended hand in confusion.

“Theodore Smith? … I thought you’d look older… And sound more…”

He screwed up his face, looking as if the chaotic occurrences were causing him physical pain.

“What are you doing in my house? ...at this time?…Mr Smith… Behind my sofa?... With my daughter?... In my study?... and how could you teach Francesca ...to open my safe? … None of this makes any sense…”

Heyes grabbed a hand, and shook it warmly, adjusting his speech to sound more Eastern.

“Oh… it’s a long story Mr Widget… I’m sure you understand… Your daughter is quite a force of nature… She can be very persuasive… I must admit when you entered … through the garden doors …just now… I was quite thrown into panic… I thought the house was about to be ransacked by ruffians!”

Heyes looked extremely …flustered… and apologetic, taking off his hat and smiling warmly at his host.

“I can’t apologise enough for my... cowardly actions… When I heard Emelda Francesca greet you so warmly as a parent… well… I’m sure you’ll understand …my embarrassment… Oh dear… This won’t do… this just won’t do!”

Frankie’s jaw had dropped, but then her eyes narrowed.  Heyes was still standing in front of the desk hiding the parchment.  She reached over and picked it up.

Heyes stepped forward to pump Widget’s hand again.

“Let me start over… I am most gratified to meet you at last Mr Widget… Your reputation …”

Wendell pulled his hand free and raised both hands in front of his face, stopping Heyes, mid gush.

“Yes… yes… I knew you were expected Mr Smith… It was remiss of me …not to be here to greet you personally… But …What are you doing here? … In my study…and how in tarnation …did you show my daughter how to open the safe?… And why would you do that?”

Heyes screwed his hat in his fists, thinking hard. He could almost hear Kid echoing Widgets question from behind the sofa.

“Miss Emelda… was most adamant in her invitation …here this evening… She was quite determined …that I should come and meet you.”

Heyes paused for just a second, and was gladdened by the silence emanating from the eight-year-old behind him.

“But when we arrived… and you were nowhere to be found… she thought …you may be occupied in your study … Of course, you weren’t … but she said …we should wait …and… then …then she showed me the safe… and you see... I have some interest in this particular make and model of safe…”

Heyes let a smile of enthusiasm enter his voice, hoping to engage the engineer before him, with his love of things mechanical.

“It’s the very model and make… of the safe in my own father’s study… I was merely commenting to Frankie …that …I once opened my father’s safe as a boy… when the combination had been misplaced… And …I discovered that your daughter too... has a fascination with locks … I will admit …it’s become something of a hobby of mine.”

Heyes suddenly looked horrified, as if just realising the way this must look to the owner of said safe.

“Nothing … nothing …has been disturbed… I mean I wouldn’t… I couldn’t… Oh dear… oh dear… What must you think of me? …It was just …the mathematical challenge… we found the numbers… We would never …have… Oh dear… oh dear… I must admit… I do sometimes let my curiosity rule my actions.”
 
Heyes stood, humbled, searching the study floor in contrition.
 
“I … I would quite understand … if you wish to withdraw your offer of employment… under the circumstances…  My actions here ...this evening… have …have been deplorable.”

Nothing was said.

After a minute, more of admiring the carpet pattern, Heyes peeked. 

Wendell Widget was facing the study door, hand on forehead in deep thought.  Heyes straightened himself up, annoyed that his contrition was not being properly appreciated.

“You said …we…?” said Widget slowly, turning back to face Heyes.

Heyes threw an arm over Frankie’s shoulder inclusively, as she came to stand at his side, handing the parchment to her father.

“Is this what you want to give Mr Maxwell Daddy?” she asked.

“No…” said Widget, distractedly still studying Heyes face.

“That is to say …yes… thank you Francesca… This is, indeed, what I wish to give to Mr Maxwell… But …no… What I meant was… earlier… Mr Smith, you said... When we arrived…you said... that we should wait… “

Heyes swallowed but kept his face passive.

“I did?... er… I did. Of course….hmmm….”

He smiled looking back towards the sofa with a dismissive shrug.

“Oh …well… I was just referring to… err… MY MAN…” he said waving a dismissive arm at the sofa.

Frankie inhaled, thinking Heyes was forgetting names again, and she’d have to step in and help.

“Kid…”she started helpfully.

“Yes!” Snapped Heyes loudly, clicking his fingers and telling her to shut up with his eyes. 

“Kidd! Yes my man... Kidd! Don’t continue to skulk there behind the furniture, man … Go and ready my carriage… We have taken up enough of this good family’s time… The hour is late... I will be leaving presently.”

There was a brief second, when Heyes distinctly heard the sound of a second gun belt hit carpet.  Kid slowly stood up, toeing both their gun belts under the nearest piece of furniture.

“Yes…Sir” he said almost threateningly through tight lips. 

Wendell Widget’s chin dropped to his chest. His eyes became a little spaced.
 
Kid slowly rounded the sofa and made to walk out the study door passed Widget.  Heyes threw a hand onto his chest, to stop him in his tracks.

“Not that way, man! …Haven’t we roused the house enough for one evening… Use the garden door… If it’s good enough for the Master of the house… then …I’m certain its good enough for the likes of you.”

Heyes shook a knowing head at Widget, in a ‘Can’t get the staff’ sort of way.  He got no response from Widget and thought this may be the perfect time to make a getaway.

“I’ll take my leave of you too, Mr Widget… if I may… I can see …that the reunion betwixt yourself and your ingenious daughter …is a far more fitting use of your time …than meeting the new school teacher.”

Heyes made a simple nodding bow of farewell, hand over heart in sincerity. 

“Our business can wait for another day.”

He replaced his hat, and turned to follow Kid through the French doors.

Frankie pulled at Wendell Widget’s arm.  Her Daddy’s face appeared vacant and confused.  She knew the feeling well.

“Daddy… Why don’t you ask them to deliver the documents to Mr Maxwell?... They said they were good at deliveries…. And that’s where they’re going.”

Widget seemed to resurface at his daughters practical words.

“This is all most confusing” he mumbled.

Then he focused on Frankie’s face.

“They are?”

Frankie nodded.

“Mr Maxwell isn’t in the house.  Uncle Steadman …said Mr Maxwell couldn't live here anymore… He said…

You enter here again… under pain of death, Maxwell… do you understand me? …You’re not hiding behind my sister’s petticoats now… you money-counting ba…”

Wendell Widget threw a hand over his darling daughters foul mouth, eyes wide with embarrassment, that she should repeat such language in front of her new school teacher. 

He smiled weakly at Heyes, who was trying to hide his own smile behind feigned shock.

“Erm… I do apologise… Francesca has been raised around industry…Mr Smith… and all that goes with it… er… But… is she right? Are you going to Maxwell?”

Loud knocking hammered the front door.  

Widget visibly jumped. 

Frankie's brow creased, over her father's fingers. She looked in wonder at the study door.  Her father had returned.  Who else may return?
 
Heyes and Kid froze, a mute conversation passing between them.  What now...this was meant to be a simple house break in? What else could possibly go wrong?

The hammering came again.  

Sounds of scraping furniture came from upstairs. Followed by creaking doors, and soft footsteps on squeaky protesting stairs, marked the slow path of one of the servants descending from above.

“Who’s that …come a calling ...at this time of night?” drifted a grumbling voice from the hallway.

Heyes watched Widget’s face fascinated. 

The man looked in turn panicked, then protective of Frankie, then saddened, all in a heartbeat.  Finally, he was stealing his resolve, straightening his clothes and setting his shoulders. 

Heyes thought he and Kid, may have been forgotten about, but Widget turned to them, looking down at the papers in his hand, and obviously trying to make his mind up about something. He sighed heavily, putting one hand on his daughter’s shoulders, and eyeing them warily.

“Frankie seems to trust you Mr Smith… And… I know just how hard won that trust is.”

He quickly strode over to them and thrust the parchment at Heyes.

“Take these papers to Maxwell… but… Give him a message also…”

Widget looked at the study door as though he could see through it, to the dramas beyond.  He looked like he’d got a sour taste in his mouth when he turned back to Heyes.

“Tell him… tell him… I won’t be able to stand surety for him …for the loan he needs…”

Frankie protested, but was shh’ed... by everyone.

“Tell him …it’s …just not possible …and for that I am more than sorry.”

Out in the hallway, the hammering resumed, and the servant was answering that they were moving as quickly as it were possible. 

“Go… go now, quickly” said Widget.

He nearly pushed Heyes and Kid out into the garden, closing up the French doors behind them.  Just before the doors closed the boys heard what sounded like a crowd of noisy people entering the house. 

They stood in the darkness. Heyes looked back into the room.  Frankie looked very small and lost at her father’s side, as he again readied himself to face whatever was in the hallway beyond the study door.

“Come on” he said to Kid reluctantly starting to walk away.

“We got what we came for… Let’s get out of here.”

“Oh no you don’t!” insisted Kid pulling Heyes’ back to the window by the arm.

“I am not going anywhere… till you get back in there… and get my gun!”

The glare was in full evidence.  

Heyes smiled weakly.

Kid’s eyes closed as he muttered under his breath

“And you better remember Heyes…we’re partners… I am not …under any circumstances… YOUR MAN!”


---oooOOOooo---

(Scene 23 – 3,000 words)

Frankie

My Journal for Wednesday


It wasn’t my Mummy. 

At the door last night.

I’m not being silly.  

And I’m not being a baby.  

I know Mummy is dead, because there was a funeral, and a will reading and everyone said she was dead. And my new baby brother was dead too, and she wasn’t coming back.  But when daddy just came back like that, and then the big door knocked real loud, I thought, only for a minute, that it may be Mummy come back too, and everyone was wrong.

Adults can be wrong. 

I know.  

Uncle Steadman was wrong about Daddy being in Boston.  

I know how many miles Boston is from here, and I know how fast a train can go because Daddy told me, and I can do the math because I know the formula.



[MATH]  


See. 

Daddy couldn’t have been in Boston yesterday like Uncle Steadman said he was.  I gotta show Daddy the math and get him to answer all my questions.  He hasn’t answered one yet, like he said he would.  

Not one.  

And I’ve asked thirty-seven.  

I gotta get him on his own and ask him again.  Because of the visitors, I can’t get him on his own. 

It’s not fair. 

I don’t like visitors.

Anyhow, like I was saying, it wasn’t Mummy at the door.  It was them. The visitors.  And they filled up near the whole house with bags and noise and people. 

I waited, in the study when the visitors came, just like Daddy asked me to, but I did sneaky looking from the door just like an outlaw on lookout.  Like Kid Curry, but without a gun.

Oh yeah, Hannibal Heyes came back through the window, because they forgot their guns.  You’d think Kid Curry would remember something important, like his gun. He’s a famous gunslinger after all. 

Matt Jenkins said, his Daddy said, that he’d never seen anything to beat Kid Curry on a fast draw.  He said it was just a blur, no one could be faster, not even William Lyle, and William Lyle is the fastest gunslinger here in Clearwater.  

Mr Lyle works for my Uncle Steadman. Mr Maxwell says he is called a henchman, but I don’t know what that is.  Mostly, he just tells Uncle Steadman he’s right about things.

Oh yeah, Hannibal Heyes.  He did shh’ing at me, like I didn’t know the rule about not talking when you’re doing sneaking.  I shh’ed him right back, after all, he was doing sneaking too, and I wanted to hear the interesting talking in the hall.  He just smiled and said something to me, as he shut the study window. 

But he said it, without saying it. 

Which is silly, because I couldn’t hear him, or see his face properly in the dark even with my glasses on. I think he was saying something about the safe, and the bank.  I guess he was wishing me good luck with my first bank robbery.

I know how to open safes, just by listening to the tumblers.  Hannibal Heyes taught me how to do it yesterday before Daddy came back. I’m not allowed to write down how to do it, but it’s an outlaw secret, just for outlaws like me and Hannibal Heyes. 

Hannibal Heyes said he hasn’t even shown Kid Curry how to do it yet, which is why Kid Curry was in a very grouchy mood all the time Hannibal Heyes was showing me how to do it.  

It means I’m a real outlaw now, and I can do Bank robberies and probably hold up trains.  But I haven’t tried a train hold up yet.  I did my first bank robbery, just for practice, at lunch time today, when all the children at school were eating.  

I went into the bank to see Mr Forbes.  He’s the the Bank Manager, and he was very pleased to see me.  

He said

“Miss Widget… For what do we owe the pleasure… Are you here to see that the bank is all …ready and ship shape… to receive the mine pay roll?”

Mr Forbes is old. 

The Bank isn’t ship shaped. It’s a square, with a big door and two windows on the front, one very small window with bars on the back, and a side door into Mr Forbes’ Office. 

But he was right about one thing, I was there to “pipe the Bank.”  That’s what Hannibal Heyes calls checking what safe they have.  Of course, I already knew what safe they had, a Pierce and Hamilton 1878.  That’s why I’d read the article in the library fifteen times, but Hannibal Heyes said it was important to pipe the Bank, so I did. 

Mr Forbes said,

“How diligent of you to come and check up on us… How very like your dear Mother… Though… I believe… you may rely on your Uncle to oversee the delivery of the money …he never misses… delivery and collection…”

I waited till he forgot I was there, but he kept on talking. 

“All that remains for me to do… is re-set the combination for the safe… We don’t want any outlaws …knowing the combination… now do we?”

You can be sure, I took real good notice of what Mr Forbes was saying and doing after that.  

And,

I stole …. a Bank pencil …. from his desk, which is real Bank property, which is just like a robbery, and Mr Forbes didn’t even see me take it.



[CHANGE TO PENCIL]


I am now writing my journal, with my first ever Bank “Haul”, that’s what Hannibal Heyes calls the money he puts in the sack from a robbery. But I didn’t steal any money yet, and I didn’t have a sack. 

My second Bank Robbery is tonight.  I’ll have to steal a sack from the pantry first to be ready for the haul. We have to steal $10,000, which is five bundles of notes.



[MATH]


See.

It’s a good thing that I found out about changing the combination.  It could have been a disaster for my plans to rob the bank because I don’t know how to do nitro-glycerine or vacuum pumping yet even though I read the article fifteen times it didn’t explain properly. Not so you could do it on your own, without Hannibal Heyes.

Like I told you, I’m going to have to crack the safe myself, (that’s what Hannibal Heyes calls it, when you open a safe by listening to tumblers) because Hannibal Heyes is too old and scared and … secret-y …to help me.
 
So, it was a very good thing that I was there when Mr Forbes did changing the combination, and I could watch carefully and remember the new numbers, and write them down as soon as I got back to school.

I know what you’re thinking.
 
You’re thinking, now Daddy’s back, I shouldn’t even need to rob the bank, because Daddy can just give Mr Maxwell the money he needs like he said he would. 

Well Daddy’s changed his mind and now he won’t.  He won’t show the venture cap’list’s agent $10,000, and he won’t answer my question about why not. He told Hannibal Heyes, to tell Mr Maxwell  

“It’s just not possible… and for that I am …more than sorry…“


But, what does… more than sorry… mean?  I asked Theodore Smith at school today.

He said 

“Ah …what an interesting conundrum you have set for me, Emelda… Sorry, you prefer, Frankie… To be MORE THAN sorry… I suppose we should consider that it may be taken purely at face value… to mean that someone was indeed extremely sorry about something …but, we should consider, should we not … that they are …may be… seeking something MORE … something very rarely given freely in my experience of the human condition… something very important INDEED ... forgiveness… Such a simple thing to give… and yet … of immeasurable value.”

Which means that, Daddy must have lost something, very valuable INDEED, that he wants to give and without it, he can’t help Mr Maxwell with the Venture Cap’list’s agent. 

But I don’t know what he’s lost and what he wants to give away.  And I can’t get him on his own to ask him. And he hasn’t answered my first thirty seven questions yet.

Daddy has a big pile of money in his safe, not $10,000, but a big pile, so I don’t think Daddy has lost his money. That’s valuable.  Maybe Daddy’s lost his watch.  That was a present from Mummy, and Daddy said it was worth all the money in the World. That might be immeasurable.

It’s confusing.

I know Daddy wanted to help Mr Maxwell and the Malcontent Gang before, and he doesn’t look very happy now he’s back, and he’s more than sorry he’s lost his watch.  I think he would be happy again if he knew about my plans to rob the Bank, but I don’t want to tell the visitors.

So, I’m going to write him a letter. I can put it in his top desk drawer in his study and no one else will see it. I’ll tell him about the robbery and that he doesn’t have to worry about me going to jail because we’ll be sure to put the money back before Uncle Steadman needs it to give away to all the miners. 

Caroline Coleman keeps bugging me, and asking me what I'm writing.

I should explain about Caroline Coleman.

Caroline Coleman is ten.  She wears blue dresses with blue ribbons and a white bonnet, with even more ribbons.  Even her shoes are near white and have more ribbons to tie them on her feet.  

And she’s sleeping in my nursery.  Sharing.  She was one of the visitors.

The rule with visitors is, you’re not allowed to talk to them until they talk to you first.  

Mummy said,

“Emelda my dear… you must let our visitors …enter the house …before …you start asking them all of your questions… Best to wait… just until you are spoken to, my dear… that way …we can at least pretend we’ve raised you with a modicum of manners and civility.”

I know what manners and civility means. I looked it up in a dictionary.  It means being polite.

I can be polite.

I don’t think Daddy’s visitors were very polite.  They near knocked the door down with banging, and when they saw Daddy in the hall, they did shouting at him about chasing him half way across the country.  

But the rule is, if someone has to knock the door before they can come in, then they are visitors, even if they do shouting. And you can’t talk to them and ask them questions unless they’re shouting at you.  They weren’t.  They did all their shouting at Daddy and Dankworth.

Daddy said he was real surprised to see them in Clearwater and that he’d only just arrived himself.  

The big woman, with the enormous mud-green feathery hat, shouted that he should consider the consequences of his actions, before taking off again on a mad cap dash across country. 

She said

“There could have been dire consequences Widget… very dire consequences … if anything had …gotten in the way …of the business at hand…”

I don’t like her. She shouted some more about presuming my Daddy had no intention of leaving the house in the next few days, because she was going to see to it.  

Daddy didn’t shout back.  He was holding hands with a small mousey woman.

The small mousy woman burst into tears, and Caroline started crying as well.  

Even the tall, skinny boy that was with them, looked like he was gonna cry too.

It was horrible.  But then these two big men, with brightly coloured vests and guns with white and silver handles at their waist, took Daddy and the boy by the arms and dragged them into the parlour. 

The boy shouted

“Mamma… Don’t let them take me too…. Mamma!”

I didn’t like any of Daddy’s visitors. They were all very shout-y and noisy and wearing really bright coloured clothes, that make my eyes go funny.  I didn’t want to go and say hello to any of them, but about ten minutes later, Daddy called me out of the study to meet his visitors.

I didn’t say anything just like Mummy told me.  The little mousey woman did smiling, even though she looked like she only just stopped crying.

She said

“This must be Emelda Francesca… Look Caroline my dear… You shall have a sister… Won’t that be wonderful for both of you… Say hello to Emelda, Caroline.”

Caroline didn’t say hello.
 
Caroline is a bit like Sue Anne at school, but she doesn’t leave her mouth open as much as Sue Anne.  Daddy practically had to pull her away from her mother and push her to the bottom of the stairs.  He asked me to take Caroline to the nursery, to show her all my books and the new dolls I never play with.

The big woman didn’t like it, and said we should go into the parlour too.  One of the big men with the guns, came out of the parlour and stood by her side, staring at Daddy.  

And Daddy said

“What type of person threatens little girls… They are just small children …and the nursery is the safest place for them to be right now… I don’t want my daughter… caught up in your sordid schemes…”

I don’t know what sorted schemes are, and I haven’t got a dictionary in the nursery. But that must be what they were doing in the parlour.  May be, it’s like whist, which is a game adults play.  It isn’t difficult. I can beat Daddy, and Trinni, and Dankworth at whist.

Then Daddy left us at the bottom of the stairs, and pushed everyone else into the parlour.  As he closed the doors he said something to me without saying it just like Hannibal Heyes! I couldn’t make out what Daddy said either.  

It’s much easier to understand what someone says if they just say it, not just move their lips.  My glasses make seeing a lot easier than before I had them.  Before I had them, everything was bleary and joined together.  But I still can’t see very well, unless I get real close.  

And I can’t do reading lips.  Fred says it don’t matter, ‘cause he can see fine well, and he can do looking out for me when we rob the bank.  I asked Kid Curry what he did, when Hannibal Heyes was cracking a safe, and he said, he watched Hannibal Heyes’ back.  

Which is silly.  

He’d be a lot more help, looking out of the window.  That’s what I told him, and Hannibal Heyes agreed with me.  He wasn’t very good at looking out the window. I guess he needs more practice.  When Daddy came into the study, through the window, he was just as surprised as Hannibal Heyes and me, and he was so scared, he pulled Hannibal Heyes to hide behind the sofa.  

It’s sad really.  

No wonder he doesn’t want to do robberies anymore. It’s nice of Hannibal Heyes to let him tag along, but I’m glad he’s not coming on our robbery. Fred is going to do the looking out and Kid Curry would just get in the way.


Oh yeah, 

I was telling you about Caroline Coleman.  

She’s not outlaw material.  And she’s not my sister. I wanted to do sneaking back to the parlour door to hear what sorted scheming sounded like. But Caroline Coleman was there. I didn’t even ask her if she was any good at sneaking back. Outlaws don’t wear shoes with ribbons. 

And one of those big men came and stood outside the parlour door and did staring.  

He watched us climb the stairs. 

When we got to the nursery, I asked Caroline Coleman if she’d read any of my books.  She didn’t answer, which was rude, and just started hugging the dolls.  

It was annoying.

I asked her if her Mummy was married to my Daddy yet, and she just started out crying again and saying something about needing a horrid chaperone.  

She’s really annoying because that didn’t answer my question either.  No one is answering my questions. 

Just when I decided to try and sneak down stairs by myself, to hear the grownups business, and I’m being real quiet, she decides to pipe up and talk to me.  

I told you she’d never make an outlaw.  She doesn’t even know not to do talking when someone’s trying to do sneaking back.

She said

“Don’t! … Don’t go down there Emelda… You’ll get into trouble with Mrs Dowling... She’ll shout at my Mummy… And they might hurt Fredrick … please … please don’t… They already said …your father… may have messed everything up… and …it would be all  his fault… if Fredrick… DIED… And they’re already being so beastly to Colin… please… please don’t.”

Then she did crying again, and hugging the dolls all over again. 

She’s wrong.

My Daddy never messes things up.  He’s sometimes untidy, when he’s working, but he always makes a real fine job of everything. 

My Mummy said

“Your Father is incapable of doing a bad job… Emelda… He is what’s known as a perfectionist… Sometimes… he will work …and work ….and work at a problem until he knows he has it just right… and yes… He can be infuriatingly stubborn… and forget to eat …or to sleep… or to be kind… but then again… if he was any other way, he wouldn’t be the great engineer he is now would he...”


Which means that, Caroline Coleman is wrong.  My Daddy hasn’t messed anything up, and whoever Fredrick and Colin are, it’s not my Daddy’s fault if they die.

It’s probably Caroline Coleman’s Mummy’s fault.  Who comes visiting and then does crying all the time?  And she brought that big, feathery Mrs Dowling as a horrid chaperone, and she’s shout-y and horrible.

Then, I remembered about Daddy being more than sorry. Daddy’s lost his immeasurable watch, and he wants to give something away so he’s not sorry all the time.  And I realise that was what Daddy was trying to say

“Sorry.”



---oooOOOooo---


End of Part Three




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