Note: The character of Rafe appeared in Schoolgirl Stars. The private school, Lillyfield, was also mentioned in the series, "Life of Privileges". But neither series has to be read to follow this story.
With her cell phone pressed to her ear, Elise paced back and forth rapidly, trying to explain to a corporate vice president why she couldn't fly out to the coast. Her eyes regularly darted to the school doors where the girls were starting to exit. The middle school girls were in white blouses and red plaid skirts (of an appropriate length - regularly checked) while the elementary ones wore red plaid jumpers over their blouses.
As a single mother, she couldn't just pack up and leave her six year-old home alone for the weekend. Her boss knew her limitations but someone up higher just didn't understand.
"Why can't your nanny watch your daughter?" the man asked.
"I don't have one," Elise replied, drawing a surprised snort from the other end.
The woman shook her head. Yes, she had a pretty good job but not one that allowed her to employ a nanny. But this bozo in his plush office couldn't comprehend that. As it was, Elise was extra careful with her budget so she could send Abby to a private school. And Lillyfield was one of the best.
"Hi, Mrs. Wheeler! I...oh, sorry, I didn't know you were on the phone."
Elise grinned and gave a finger wave to the dark-haired girl who was trotting up to her mother standing by the Jaguar parked next to Elise's more fiscally friendly Chevy. Missy was two years older than Abby and was evidently very popular as she was always talking and laughing with other girls.
Elise's daughter was quieter and a bit shy but got along well enough with a small circle of friends. For some reason, though, Missy latched onto Abby when the younger girl started first grade. Rhonda, Missy's mother who often chatted with Elise while they waited for their kids, explained it after a week.
"Missy wants a little sister and it's just not going to happen," Rhonda had said as she tapped her abdomen. Elise took it to mean some sort of "woman problems" and did not ask for elaboration. "So anyway, it looks like she has decided that Abby will be her surrogate sister. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all," Elise replied. "Maybe Missy can bring Abby out of her shell a little more. I mean, she's okay, socially, but..."
"My wild heathen just may do that," Rhonda laughed. "Some days, I think she could wake the dead if she wanted. But your Abby is such a sweetie."
The vice president said he'd schedule a conference call tomorrow morning to make sure he would get what he wanted. Elise simply acknowledged that before stabbing her finger against the phone's screen to end the call. She had a brief fantasy of punching her digit right through the damned thing. Better yet - punching it through that idiot executive's head. She could almost hear the rush of air as it was sucked in by the vacuum inside the man's skull.
Then her irritation evaporated as she spied a small, familiar figure heading her way. The sunlight played in the honey blonde tresses that framed Abby's round face. Although she wore her backpack, Abby clutched a paper in her hand - no doubt a special drawing for her mother or perhaps a piece of school work with a perfect score.
Elise squatted and scooped her little angle into a firm hug. Then Abby presented her with a pair of birds rendered in red and yellow crayon which would find a place of honor on the rapidly filling walls in their apartment.
When she heard Missy's squeal of excitement, Elise turned to look at Rhonda while she tried to shush her daughter.
"I need to ask Abby's mother first," she cautioned the girl before she turned toward Elise with a sheepish expression.
"I'm sorry, I overheard bits of your phone call," she started to before pausing to bit her lip. "Um, we'd be happy to have Abby over for the weekend. We have extra bedrooms and-"
"She can sleep in my room!" Missy shouted from the open window in the car.
"Or that," Rhonda continued. "I can collect them both after school on Friday and the girls would just love it."
"That would be too much trouble," Elise mildly protested.
"A second Missy would be too much trouble," Rhonda said in good humor. "But Abby - not at all."
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Missy chanted.
Elise looked at Abby, who stared back with hope in her light blue eyes. The little girl's hands were clasped in front of her, the fingers working against each other. For Abby, that was a sign of high excitement.
"Well..." Elise began, her tone indicating agreement.
"YYYYYYEEESSSSSSSSS!" Missy hollered, sealing the deal.
"We should change into our play clothes," Abby stated Friday afternoon as Missy led her across the spacious back yard of the house.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Thursday, July 13, 2017