I am so so so so so so so so so sorry, guys! I never meant to leave you for this long. It's been months and I know I cannot apologize enough. School's just been so crazy and I seem to always be working on an essay, and then theres Christmas, and Saxophone exams, and concerts, and...
Well, last night I suddenly realised exactly how long it'd been and so I stayed up till half past midnight writing this for you. An early Christmas present, in case I can't get on again. However, I hope I'll be able to post at least one more chap before then...!
Without further ado, Chapter 11!
"So, before this round, Jim's team was on 800 points, and Mary's team had 970 points. Now the points stand with..." Here her voice faded, she stopped, in order to build tension, then smiled. "Change of plan, I won't announce it like that. We'll do it this way instead. So, 50 points for quote go to... Both teams! 50 points for character go to... Both teams. And... 50 points for circumstance go to... Both teams! Now, the points for sheets. Mary, everyone in your team had their sheet in use. However, because Roger and Tim's sheets had become part of the camel, when they appeared at the end, they weren't wearing the sheets, which is unfortunately against the rules I set, so, 5x50 – 2x50= 150 points. Jim, your team all used the sheets to good effect, and wore their sheets all the way through. So, that is 5x50, with no points deducted. 250 points."
Here she had to pause, as Susan's team were making a fuss about the sheets.
"I said, in the initial instructions, that points would be deducted for lack of sheets. Be pleased I added on 50 each for the camel, before taking them off again. I can take off another 100 if you so wish." At this they all shut up.
"Right, what's left? Props? Okay. Mary, your team made no especial use of the props."
"Yes we did!" Burst out Roger, indignant, "What about mother's crown?"
"But it wasn't part of the plot, was it? Let me finish. As I was saying, you didn't really use the props provided, however, for making good use of the chair and the sheets as a splendid camel, you may have an extra 20 points. Fair? Good."
"Jim, your team used the torch, the mug, and the box. So that's 150 points."
Here she paused to consult her small slip off paper, on which it read:
"So, it is my duty to announce that Mary's team finished the game with... 1290 points, and Jim's team finished with...1350 points! So... Jim's team are the winners!"
Here C. Flint and team broke into loud cheering, whilst Mrs Walker's team all looked rather dejected.
Mrs Blackett allowed 5 minutes of celebrating/commiseration, the shepherded the whole lot up to bed.
Exhausted after the night's activities, everyone fell asleep quickly. Or, almost everyone. Nancy, lying still in bed until she was sure everyone else was asleep, rose quietly, and made her way downstairs. The fire was still glowing in the kitchen, so she slipped in there, grabbing a glass of water and curling up on front of the fire.
Running her finger along one of the stones in the fireplace she pulled it out slightly, enough to slide out from behind it a small tin box. This she set on the floor in front of her, and removed from it a bundle of letters. Smiling to herself, she flicked through them.
There were a whole range of letters, in different coloured inks, on different coloured paper. Some were hasty scrawls on the back of envelopes; some were essay long and very detailed. They covered a range of times as well, some written way back in the past, some in modern day. But for whatever reason, they all meant something to Nancy.
These letters were gathered by her, over the years, from various people to her. Often she would come and read through them, starting with the recent ones, mainly from john. However, tonight was different. She picked up the letter on the bottom of the pile.
My dear daughter,
I haven't time to write much, but all is well, and I love you.
I'll be home soon.
Your loving Father,
My dear daughter,
How are you? I was thinking of you this morning. I wish work didn't call me away so much... I miss you.
With Much Love,
I love you,
Apparently I'll be home for Christmas! I can't wait to see you again.
With love, forever,
This was the last in the collection. The last letter Nancy received from her father. She clutched to her chest as the tears fell, silently.
Upstairs, John woke with the feeling that something wasn't right. Rising from his bed, he slipped downstairs to try and work out what was wrong. Catching sight of Nancy in the kitchen, he ran to her, wrapping his arms around her as she sobbed. After a while the tears slowed, and she looked up.
"Thank you." Her voice was quiet, and not as assertive as normal, but it didn't waver.
"No problem. Nancy, you know I'm here..."
"If I ever need anything... I know. I just, I need some time alone every year. Christmas is hard. It's fine, during the daytime, there's stuff going on, and no time to think, but at night, when it's dark and quiet... They think I don't remember, John. They think I forgot..." Another tear ran down Nancy's cheek.
"Forgot what...? Nancy, who're 'they'?"
"Mum, the GA, Jim, they think I was too young to remember." She handed him the letter she'd been clutching. "He never came home, John. He never came home." Her voice cracked, and he wrapped his arms around her once more, rocking her back and forwards as she cried. Behind them, the big clocked ticked, marking the minutes. It struck midnight, then half past. One o'clock. Two. The couple sat together, not saying anything, remembering the past, and dreaming of the future. Three. Now John was drawn back into the present, and he sighed quietly, breaking Nancy from her trance like state.
"Bed." He said decisively, and she nodded.
"Bed," she agreed, and gathered up the letters, slipping them back into their hiding place. Then she took John's hand, and they climbed the stairs together.
Thank you all so much for your support! This wouldn't keep going (slowly, but it is still moving... Just!) without all your support. It really does mean the world.
Sorry if it was a bit sad... And a bit short. I thought that was a good place to stop...
constantlearner: I am pretty much 'buried under a mountain of essays on a permanent basis' as you so nicely put it, but your comment acted rather like a needed kick up the backside, and here's the next chapter as a result! Don't worry about the mistletoe thing, I haven't got that far yet.
Pixel and Stephanie Forever: Sorry bout the plays... And sorry for disappearing for ages. Hopefully over Christmas I'll get some time for writing. I got your PM (can't remember if I replied). Might write a separate fic for you, if you don't mind, instead of incorporating it into this one. It'd be the least I can do after I've messed you around so much, on top of which, I'd planned for this fic to be solely John/Nancy.
SkyeBlue: I'm pleased you liked it. And I hope you haven't given up on me recently!
Dracones: Erm... Sorry for ignoring your draw suggestion... Hope it wasn't too unbelievable for you.
Faith: Wow! Not sure about best ever... But it means a lot to get reviews like that! THANK YOU :) Christmas eve sounds good. I might just do that...
Twiggy288: Thank you so much! There was some John/Nancy in this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it and didn't find it too unbelievable...
TTTHNN: I missed you :) It's good to have you back. Teachers are evil things. As to being older, I had my 17th Birthday in October. So... I don't know how old you are... I love your enthusiasm over the acting :) I hope the scoring made sense. Feel free to criticize, I know nothing about drama...! Sorry for not contacting you, but I had no way of finding you to get your email...! Anyway, thanks for the lovely review, and I hope you enjoyed this...
I am going to apologise once more for my long absence. As a warning, if life keeps going like this, you may have an equally long wait for the next update, though I hope not.
Thank you for reading, and please leave a review!