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It was a snap decision that Robert made whilst Abigail was staying at Plas Gwyn and one that would have various repercussions for him over the next twelve months. He’d taken Abigail’s washing into her room on the Saturday morning and had been greeted by utter chaos. He’d always known that she was untidy but this was worse than it had ever been. Books and papers cluttered every conceivable surface, the walls were adorned with newspaper clippings regarding affairs about which Abigail was passionate, half the contents of her wardrobe were flung unceremoniously across her unmade bed and most of them were in need of some form of repair or another. It had never bothered him before, he’d always allowed her a certain degree of independence but now he wasn’t so sure where to draw the line. Abigail had always been different, unafraid to strike out on her own and stand up for what she believed in; but over the last six months or so he’d found it harder to keep her in check. He’d always encouraged her to form her own opinions and express herself as she saw fit. As he climbed over the pile of old broadsheet newspapers in the middle of the floor he realised that there were sometimes he felt as though he didn’t know his daughter anymore. It had really all begun six months previously when he’d had to go and collect her from the police station following a particularly riotous protest in the city centre. He could no longer recollect what issue she’d been protesting about on that occasion but it had challenged him to reassess his methods of parenting. She in turn had naturally objected to new restrictions placed on her freedom and they’d drifted; it had taken Mary-Lou to bring them back together. As his thoughts turned back to Mary-Lou, as they so often did, Robert made a decision that would change everything.


 


Nancy Wilmot hung up the phone with a sigh. “Well I never!” she exclaimed.


“Well you never what Nancy?” asked Kathie Ferrars from the chair which she was slumped over in a most undignified manner. “I only heard half of that conversation, stop being an aggravating soul and tell me what’s going on!”


Nancy chuckled. “You’ll never guess in a million years who was just on the phone.”


“If that’s the case,” Kathie flung the magazine she had been idly flicking through at her friend. “Just tell me would you!”


Nancy lay the hapless missile down on the desk and gave Kathie a stern glance. “I think that if you’re going to behave in that manner, I shan’t tell you anything.”


“Fine then,” retorted Kathie. “You be all dignified and headmistress-y. I shall just sit here and cast aspersions to myself. And I’d thank you to return my magazine.”


Nancy examined the publication. “New Scientist?” Kathie shrugged. “Well, as you wish my dear.”


“Nancy just tell me what’s going on! Please.”


Nancy chuckled at her friend once again. “That was Robert Fenchurch.”


Kathie screwed up her face as she tried to remember what the name meant to her. “Mary-Lou’s husband?”


“The very one.”


“What did he want?”


“To enter his daughter.”


“What did you say to that?”


“I’ve accepted her provisionally. As far as I’m aware there’s a space or two in the third form, which is the form she’d be going in to.”


“Why provisionally though Nance?”


Nancy shrugged. “I just got the impression that he hadn’t thought things through properly.”


Kathie gave her friend a puzzled glance as she tossed the magazine back to her. “What makes you say that?”


“I don’t know,” replied Nancy honestly. “I truly don’t, it was just a feeling I got.”


“You have to admit, it would be interesting having Mary-Lou’s daughter here. What’s her name again?”


“Abigail.”


“You never know, she might be her mother all over again.”




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