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“Who? Me?”  Melanie questioned incredulously.

“Yes…you,” replied Melanie’s teacher, with a smile playing at the corners of her lips.

“But I’m cracked Miss. Nobody trusts me.”

A smile emerged on Miss Turnbull’s face, and her blue grey eyes twinkled.

“Clearly I do Melanie, or I wouldn’t have asked you.”

Melanie pushed her wild wavy hair out of her eyes, and blushed.

“Thanks Miss. I would love to look after your little Danny. He is so sweet!”

“Well come to me after school and we’ll make the arrangements.”

Miss Turnbull sailed on down the corridor like a galleon in full flow. She was tall and dignified, with long fair hair, and willowy limbs. All the girls were mad about her.

At break time Melanie rang her mother to say she had been asked by her teacher to babysit. Her mother could hardly hide the pride and astonishment in her voice.

That Saturday evening, a taxi paid for by Susan Turnbull picked Melanie up at home. Melanie’s mother handed Melanie a list of do’s and don’ts for baby-sitting, and told her to put it in her pocket. The taxi-driver drove to the edge of town where the houses were bigger, more separated, and more imposing.  The car swept up a steep drive-way and stopped outside a large majestic house surrounded by trees.

Susan opened the door with one year old Danny on her hip. It was strange for Melanie to see her in jeans and a tee-shirt, as she always wore skirts or dresses to school. But she would look good in a bin-sack, Melanie mused.

“Hello Danny! How are you?” Melanie said, smiling kindly. Danny looked at her shyly and then smiled back.

“Melanie you’re a natural with kids. Come on in.”  Susan put an arm around 15 year old Melanie and swooped her into the expansive open-plan lounge and kitchen.

“Here you take Danny. Do you want tea or coffee?”

Danny was in Melanie’s arms before she knew it. He looked from her to his mother uncertainly. Melanie gave him a little tickle and he chuckled.

“Coffee please with milk and two sugars. Don’t use your best china, as I tend to be accident-prone,” replied Melanie, sitting down on the sumptuous sofa with Danny.

When the coffee was made, Susan put the two cups on the coffee-table, and sat down beside them.  Melanie listened as Susan explained Danny’s routine, and told her where everything was. Before Melanie could stop herself, she blurted out the question that leapt into her head.

“Is there no Mr. Turnbull?” Silence. “Whoops! I’ve said the wrong thing, haven’t I? I’m sorry; I’ve got foot in mouth disease.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll explain later. I must get ready for my do now. Are you alright with Danny?”

Susan withdrew from the room quietly.

When Susan was ready, she returned looking resplendent in a mid-night blue ball-gown with matching high-heels, a pearl necklace and earrings. Her hair was stacked up in a loose bun with several wispy tendrils hanging loose.

“Wow! You look gorgeous!” exclaimed Melanie. Susan gave her a long gaze, and said, “Thank you.”

Susan gave Danny a kiss on the cheek, and Melanie a quick hug, and then she was whisked away in another taxi.

When she was gone Melanie fed and washed Danny, put him in his pyjamas, and read him a bedtime story. He fell asleep in her arms, so she crept upstairs with him, and gently laid him in his cot.

Downstairs she put on the television and flicked through the channels. After watching a couple of soaps, she felt restless. Melanie decided to explore the rest of the house. She was awe-struck by the elegance of the décor, and the classy furniture. Miss Turnbull certainly has taste, she thought.

Feeling a little guilty, but curiosity overcoming her, Melanie turned the handle to Susan Turnbull’s bedroom. It was simply stunning. Beside the huge bed was a white bedside table with a photograph in an ornate silver frame. Melanie picked it up carefully, and nearly dropped it again. Looking back at her was a very pregnant Miss Turnbull, and Melanie’s father.

Posted March 10, 2015 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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