Francesca

Chapter 3

The introduction to exercises had tired Francesca out, and she had retired to bed before Carol had decided it was time to go.

"Now you're sure she'll be okay?" asked Julie.

"A hundred percent" said Carol reassuringly. "Honestly, I've witnessed dozens of assisted breakouts like this. Within a week, she'll be a fully functioning Tomorrow Person."

"So what can we expect?" asked Bob. "I mean what changes will we see?"

"None to worry about" said Carol. "She'll be the same old Francesca. I'm here to teach her a few new tricks." Carol looked at her watch. "Goodness me, just look at the time! I'd better fly!" She stood up to be shown to the front door.

"I don't like the look at that black cloud" said Bob. "Looks like we'll be in for some soup. Let me give you a lift."

"Honestly thanks Bob but there's no need" said Carol.

"Well let me order you a taxi" said Bob.

"I'll be okay with the bus, honesty" said Carol. "Same time tomorrow?"

"We're miles off the bus route" said Bob.

"Bob, just leave Carol will you?" said Julie, knowing full well that Carol wouldn't need any help getting home. "Come a bit earlier, and you can have some Sunday dinner with us."

"I'd like that very much" said Carol, before kissing Julie on the cheek. They made their good-byes, and Julie showed Carol out through the front door.

"So how about that" said Bob. "Our little girl a Tomorrow Person, whatever one of those is."

"Yes" said Julie. "It's nice to catch up with Carol again after all this time. I'm glad we made friends."

"So how did you come to fall out?" asked Bob.

"It's a long story" said Julie. "She . . . disappeared when we were in our teens, but wouldn't say what had happened to her."

"A bit like you did the other week" said Bob.

"A bit" said Julie.

"And are you ever going to let on?" asked Bob.

"Let's just get Francesca sorted out first" said Julie, just as a flash of sheet lightning lit up the sky followed by a roll of thunder that distracted them both for a few seconds. "I hope that's not the prelude to a downpour." Almost on cue, the rain began to fall lightly at first, and within seconds a downpour followed."

"She'll get soaked!" said Bob. "I'll run and take her a brolly." Bob took an umbrella from the coat stand in the hallway and went through the front door. Before venturing out, he opened the umbrella to shield himself from the rain. He jogged down the drive to the road and looked up and down the road for Carol. She couldn't have got far. "Carol! Carol!" he shouted, but Carol was nowhere in sight.