A/N:Hey everybody! Sorry for the long time to update! I sure hope you guys are enjoying the story (and hopefully reviewing, please...please...PLEASE?)! I was thinking about what to do with this chapter and I NEED some suggestions on how to make this story a little bit better and a little more interesting. SHARE your ideas via review! I'm really excited to get this story going because I wonder how things will go with Miss Price and the kids without Mr. Browne in Christmas. Who knows? Something great might just happen, so keep reading! All your reading is much appreciated and I hope you're enjoying it! Thanks again and enjoy this chapter!
P.S. It begins with children's curiosity! :) I add those first few little moments in just because I love the cute little moments between Carrie,Charlie and Paul with Miss Price. But just a little warning though, this little discussion between them is gonna be a little bit fiercer than I thought with a little moment of truth, but it's REALLY important as it builds the plot and moves it forward. I PROMISE more fluff and happiness up soon, so PLEASE keep reading!
Chapter 3: Some Night This Turned out to Be
It was 8:30 in the evening in Pepperinge Eye and right at that time, the bed arrived with a sudden stop in the children's bedroom, showing it's shimmering glow on the bed's side railings. Miss Price and the children promptly stepped off the bed and pushed the bed back towards the wall into it's original position as intended.
"Miss Price, why did we leave town so early?" Carrie asked politely. Little did she know that Miss Price was avoiding the subject.
"Carrie, intelligent as you are, haven't you forgotten that I have very important and unmissable work to do and I mean exceptionally important," she replied in a matter-of-factly manner with a sigh.
"Wot's so important 'bout building planes?" asked Charlie who was clearly out of his element.
"Charles, I thought you were fond of airplanes," answered a rather befuddled Miss Price, knowing that young Charlie Rawlins had such a spark of interest for mechanism and machinery.
"I mean, wot's so special 'bout the job? Does it really mean something to you?" clarified Charlie. All those hints of sudden curiosity, and even suspicions on the children were starting to get into her head.
"Well Charles, the reason why I think it's exceptionally important is just simply because I'm contributing to the work that women do around here in benefit of the army!" she explained, almost sounding like a schoolteacher,"I mean, the army's aces are so skilled they need more war planes in order to succeed. Success in a war is quite important, you know. It all adds up to one simple logic: common knowledge."
The children suddenly began to grow more and more confused. That surely didn't sound like the Miss Price they grew to know. She sounded like a school teacher! One who gives constant lectures and lessons in a classroom rather than a guardian who was a firm believer in miracles, creativity and magic all in itself. Has she changed ever since? Did she herself reach the age of not believing? Why is it that every Christmas, beginning with the one the year before, Miss Price's attitude seems to have changed all so differently that she doesn't seem like her usual self at all?
"Why that's nothin' to show!" Charlie answered back, sounding like a smart-alec himself. Miss Price's reaction turned into shock. All she did was explained herself.
"CHARLIE!" yelled Carrie, giving him a hard, painful nudge on his shoulder,"
"OW! Now wot's the big idea 'bout all that?!" he retaliated.
"I'm afraid it's my fault,"replied Miss Price as she shook her head with a guilty expression,"That didn't sound quite of interest to you, now did it?"
"No, no, t'was my fault Miss Price, I'm sorry. Shouldn't 'ave reacted that way in the first place anyway,"
"It's quite alright Charles, really it is," she replied with a smile and a chuckle that showed her quickness to forgive,"You know how people are when they get tired themselves," She loosened her purse and began to pull off the bed sheets in order for the children's bed time, even as early as now.
"'Ey Miss Price?" Paul stirred in an innocent way.
"Yes Paul?" smiled Miss Price who was always endeared by the young cockney boy who was at the same time reluctantly prepared for the anticipated question he was about to ask.
"Why d' you say it's really important? You ain't savin' England from the war again now are you?"
That little statement shocked and caught Miss Price off guard for once. Her suspense was all the children were waiting for, to let her once and for all learn how to confide in the children. After all, they were all that she's got when she came home everyday. She slowly turned to Paul with a tense expression on her face.
"Why, no Paul," she replied softly though in a troubled state,"Why do you ask?"
Charlie walked across the room to Miss Price and crossed his arm in a matter-of-factly manner.
"Y' see, 'ere's the deal Miss Price..." he said in a serious, no-nonsense tone.
"Goodness,"she worriedly thought,"Another deal this young man has to make."
She composed herself, sighed inaudibly and prepared to listen to what Charlie had to say.
"Carry on Charles," she said softly.
"You're always away!" yelled Charlie, his mood turning into disappointment. Miss Price looked at him, shocked and wide-eyed.
"What did you say Charles?" Now it seemed that Charlie was getting mad and losing his cool, which was unlikely to the situation.
"Y...You're always away!" he repeated, sounding more upset than ever,"You ain't there for us when we need you most an' you're always too busy to watch over us! Wot 'appened to you Miss Price?!"
"CHARLIE, Stop it!" yelled Carrie worriedly towards Charlie as she saw the expression on Miss Price's face, feeling sorry for her. What could she possibly do to make him mad?
"Charles Rawlins, don't you even know how much importance my work has to do with the war?!" Miss Price finally argued back for the first time,"I go out to the town very early to build those war-planes, which is very, very, hard work that needs my utmost attention!"
"An' NOW all you can ever think about is planes, planes, planes! 'Ere an' there! Morning, noon, an' night!" he stood up being fierce with his words like spitballs of fire towards his guardian's arguments.
"I'm building these war-planes for those soldiers! Those poor soldiers out in the war! Think about them Charles! Think about what they need! And you MUST know that this is my job and I do this for a living! That's what I live for, that's why I work! To fulfill everything that I need!"
"Why don't you ever think about wot we need?!" Charlie quarreled back, feeling hurt, throwing a hissy fit and pounding his pillow on the bed for each statement,"You're always out there early every single morning at 7, an' y' DON'T come back early at all! Y' leave us 'ere to wait out in the cold an' we can't even use this pathetic little bed, an' we can't go out in the village! Wot are we?! Children to care for or rubbish just to throw about an' take for granted?! Y'tell me Miss Price! An' my question needs an answer!"
Carrie and Paul could hardly stand this fierce quarreling between their brother and their guardian that Paul began to cry and rush out the room in tears, slamming the door behind him.
"CHARLIE RAWLINS! You do not speak in such a way to me!" Miss Price stood firmly with her words,"What is your problem young man? Don't you realize that I'm doing this for you too! I'm only trying to protect you and keep you safe! You don't know anything at all about what I'm thinking about Charles, that's right, and I suggest you don't go further into my thoughts for the rest of the night or this discussion will be closed!"
"This discussion is not closed Miss Price!" stormed Charlie with tears filling his eyes,"The only reason why I noticed this is 'cause y' only began to leave us alone is in this Christmas Season! 'An of all times Miss Price, this is supposed to be the time o' year when y' stop workin' an' spend time with who y' care about! An' you can't escape my askin'! Why, Miss Price?! Why?!"
Charlie's final raging statement caused Miss Price to pause for a moment and finally let out the truth.
"Charlie..."Miss Price said softly as she walked towards his side, placing her hand on his shoulder,"I...I'm sorry Charles,"
"N-no you ain't!" Charlie said sobbing, shaking her hand off of his shoulder.
"No, really Charles, I am," Miss Price confirmed with a look of guilt.
"T-then, wot's your reason?" he asked her, with tears in his eyes. Now was the moment of truth.
"You see, Charles...The reason why I'm always out and about this season is because..." her voice trailed off following with a sudden silence.
"Because 'what,' Miss Price?" asked Carrie, breaking it.
"...Because of all the holidays of the year, this one could disappoint me," she said, speaking nothing but the truth. Charlie and Carrie were immensely shocked. How could Christmas possibly disappoint her? Charlie's face fell with nothing but thoughts of guilt for his untamed anger.
"But why, Miss Price...why?" asked a stunned and disbelieving Carrie. Miss Price could do nothing but sigh heavily and truthfully spill out her answer.
"Last Christmas..." she replied in a monotone way, tears filling her eyes,"There was war on Christmas Day and many soldiers out there lost there lives on the battlefield on the most wonderful day of the year...what a nightmare it was for their loved ones back here. But what's worse? They never came home, not one of them, came home ever again...and perhaps they never will."
Charlie and Carrie caught the tears in her eyes and rushed to her side of the bed. They never realized how Christmas was for her in the previous year, being full of anticipation and excitement for Mr. Browne to finally return to them for the Holidays, only to be met with the harsh, heartbreaking shadows of disappointment. They only noticed that she seemed sad for a while and then happy the next day while celebrating with some neighborhood friends such as Mr. Jelk and Mrs. Hobday, but they never stopped to think about the tears and sadness behind her smile on Christmas morning. The very thought of Mr. Browne fighting long and hard, suffering with his fellow soldiers out there on the battlefields of Berlin broke her heart. Now they understood the pain that she always began to expect for every Christmas. She began to see no point in wishing for anything when this season came along.
"Miss Price...I 'ad no idea," Charlie remarked apologetically,"I'm real' sorry y'know, if only y'could forgive me, we'd all be okay."
"It's quite alright Charles,"she replied, pulling him to her side with her hand on his shoulder, this time being met with his approval with his hand patting hers gently,"I'm sorry too. I never realized you felt that way until now."
Paul slowly opened the door, peeked into the room and wiped his eyes with his sleeve, hoping that everything was alright.
"Everything okay now?" Paul asked innocently with a sniff, leaning towards the doorway,"No more yelling?"
"No more yellin' Paul, you can come right in!" smiled Charlie, motioning Paul to come in with a wave of his hand. Of course, his brother obeyed him and sat next to Miss Price on the bed.
"I'm sorry about all this children," smiled Miss Price, followed with a sigh,"It's just that I don't really see much of a point in wishing with all your heart for anything on Christmas at all, just to be met with nothing but disappointment to the core...At least, that's what I think."
Carrie, being the kindhearted young girl that she is, approached Miss Price and encouraged her.
"No! Don't think that way Miss Price! You can't lose 'ope too soon!" she said with pleading eyes,"You just 'ave to keep believing! After all, it's Christmas y'know. Wasn't that wot you taught us along the way?"
She could do nothing but pause at the emphasis of Carrie's remark.
"Of course Carrie,"Miss Price nodded, "It's just been hard on me, that's all. Once the morning comes, everything will be alright and hopefully..." she paused and stared out the window.
"'Opefully wot?" asked Charlie.
"Well...hopefully, much better," she concluded. And with that, she tucked the children in bed and turned the lights off.
"Good night children."
"Good night!" the children all said in unison before they slept. Miss Price smiled at them one more time and shut the door.
Outside, she headed toward her room, just at the left side of the upper hall, across the stairs, next to the children's bedroom. Once she entered her room, her cat Cosmic, greeted her at the doorway, meowing loudly as she turned on the lamplight by her bed-side and sat on the bed. Miss Price couldn't contain herself and she wanted to share her problems with someone, but there was no else to confide in, except for her very own pet. She buried her face in her hands and let off a heavy sigh.
"Oh Cosmic, I just don't know what to do..."she confided in her dark-colored little cat,"I don't know what has become of me. Of all times this year, I don't feel the way I should when Christmas time is around...some night this turned out to be. I don't understand...I just wish that everything would be much better."
As she lay in her bed, she stared at her window once more and saw a shooting star pass by. With that, she smiled, knowing that her voice has been heard even as far as the Heavens above. She caught sight of a few little white specks falling softly and gently from the sky and thought to herself, "What if tomorrow will snow?" Now with her better mood, she fell soundly asleep, knowing that tomorrow was a new day of work and hopefully some Christmas spirit to come her way.
Meanwhile, in the children's bedroom, they lay in their bed, waiting for rest to catch up with them until Carrie broke the silence and sat up abruptly from her sleeping position.
"'Ey, y' know why Miss Price was acting so strangely tonight?"
"Yeah, she's so unlike 'erself these days,"agreed Charlie,"Wonder wot's gotten into 'er lately..."
"She lost 'er Christmas Spirit! That's wot!" inferred Carrie,"No, really! That's wot caught 'er off guard!"
"Any reason why?" asked Paul. That's when Carrie knew exactly what to say. One position that Miss Price was hardly ever imagined to be in.
"She's got the age of not believing!" she exclaimed in a shocked way. Her brothers couldn't agree more. This was unbelievable for someone as hopeful and determined like Miss Price.
A/N: That's all I have for today, I hope you liked this little chapter. I'm SO sorry if I ever disappointed you with Charlie and Miss Price's argument, but that little scene over there REALLY is supposed to lead into the moment of truth where she tells them why she was losing her Christmas Spirit and got into the age of not believing! The next chapter is gonna be so much happier AND fun, so stay tuned! Thank you ALL so much for READING and REVIEWING my story. It means SO much! Don't forget to REVIEW (No flames please, constructive criticism is always welcome)! Thanks again and Happy New Year! As always, I own nothing.
Hint for next Chapter: Remember the line "What if tomorrow will snow?" It'll help you in the next chapter.