It was later that evening. Anna had called Carter and he had raced home from the bar to be met with the news of Sadie’s return. He had not stopped pacing or ranting since.
“Carter darling you cannot say that. This is Danny’s real mum we are talking about here. He has every right to see her.” Anna had been trying to calm her husband down ever since but it did not seem to be working.
“How dare she think she can come swooning back into our lives after what she did,” Carter continued unable to listen to reason.
Danny had been sitting on the sofa quietly listening to his dad’s rage. He had not said a word. He knew his dad had every right to be angry but Anna was right – it did not change the fact that Sadie was his mum. “Dad, I’m sorry,” he finally said standing up to meet his father’s gaze. “I never should have kept this from you but I had to see for myself what she was like. She has explained why she did what she did. She was having a hard time and even though I don’t think I can ever forgive her, she is still my mum and I need a relationship with her!”
Carter stopped pacing and listened to his son. He could hear the quiver in his son’s voice and the tears spilling into to Danny’s eyes and his heart ached with pain for him.
“I need to know where I come from,” Danny continued the wavering in his voice deepening and the tears spilling from his eyes.
He started to sob and so did Anna. She moved to hug him but Carter held her back, he had to sort this out himself.
He moved over to Danny and let him rest his face against his shoulder. “Shhh shhhh now,” he said patting him on the back. This type of affection did not come easily to him.
“Ok Danny. I will support you on this. But I do not want her coming to the house. Only maybe to drop you off but that’s it ok?”
Danny sniffled and wiped his wet face with the back of his hand. “Ok dad,” he said a grin creeping across his face. “Thank you and I promise never to keep anything from you again.”
“That’s my boy,” Carter said giving his son another hug.
Meanwhile in the next room, Esme and Farah were huddled together straining to hear what was going on. “With all of this drama mummy and daddy have totally forgotten about what you did with the make-up box,” Farah whispered.
“I know cool eh,” Esme giggled trying to keep her voice as quiet as possible.
“Esme get in here right now,” Carter called from the next room. He knew Esme and Farah had been listening in and Anna had told him about Esme stealing. It was time to deal with the next child.
“I guess we spoke to soon,” Farah giggled.
Esme took a deep breath and walked through to her parents who were waiting for her, arms crossed and with the sternest look on their faces. She was in so much trouble!!!
Now that everything was out in the open, Danny and Sadie’s relationship blossomed. They started seeing each other twice a week, taking long walks in the botanical gardens of Bridgeport.
They would sit for hours talking about their Japanese heritage. Sadie would regale Danny with stories of where she came from and how different it was. She promised to take him there one day.
Carter’s only instruction was that Danny had to be home by seven o’clock in time for dinner. He would wait on the porch for Sadie to drop him off, not moving until his son was safely in the house.
Sadie never got out the car and she never once turned to look at Carter. Deep down she was ashamed and slightly scarred of him. It was easier this way.
“You have fun kid,” Carter would ask after Sadie had driven off.
“Yeah good thanks dad,” Danny would reply heading into the house. But Carter still did not budge. He would stand and watch until Sadie’s car was out of sight. He just could not trust her.
Things had also changed for Esme since that night. She had been grounded until further notice and was not allowed to watch any TV or go on the internet. It was excruciating for her and often she would sit sulking on her bed while her siblings watched TV downstairs.
Sometimes she would try her luck and creep down the stairs, watching the TV from behind the banisters.
But Anna wasn’t stupid. She knew all Esme’s tricks and would often catch her. “Back up the stairs right now young lady,” she would order.
Esme would reluctantly go, stomping up the stairs like an elephant and shouting abuse back at her mum like, “it’s not fair.” Or, “I hate you.” Anna tried not to be phased, Esme had made her own bed and it was time for her to lie in it!
This became a very lonely time for Esme. She was not allowed to see her friends apart from at school and her brother and sister were never about to play with her as they had their own things going on. On her second week of being grounded she pulled up a stool to her bedroom window and gazed down at freedom.
The whole world was going on without her and she was missing out on all the fun. She felt like a caged animal and it was suffocating. Enough was enough, she decided. She leveraged herself up onto the window still and jumped. No one will ever know I’m gone if I’m back before Farah comes to bed, she reminded herself.
And Farah never did notice her sister’s nightly escapes. She was too caught up in her own thing, and that was being the goody-two-shoes of the family. Her favourite thing to do was play with her dolls. She would sit at her doll’s house for hours making up stories for the little figurines. Her favourite one was to play mummy’s and daddy’s.
She was still a mummy’s girl through and through and would follow Anna around everywhere. She idolised her mother and often said that when she grows up she wanted to be just like her. If Anna was baking, she always had a set up a little work space for Farah to copy her and make the same thing but just on a small scale.
If Anna had to help out at the Bar for a while, Farah always went with her. She was very happy just to sit and watch her mum work, never complaining or getting bored.
The one thing Farah did struggle with was her school work. Unlike Esme or Danny who were straight A students, Farah was a D average. The teachers told Carter and Anna that Farah just did not apply herself hard enough. Farah told her parents that she just had no interest in school work. Night after night Anna would sit with her trying to help, but ultimately it was all a waste of time – Farah was just not academic.
Life carried on like this in the Starr household for a while. In the end, Carter only kept Esme grounded for three weeks but it was too late. She had tasted freedom and soon sneaking out at night became a regular occurrence to her.
One evening, she had spent the night partying with friends down at the beach. Then the rain had come and every one scattered home. Esme sprinted back to her house, shimmied up the train pipe, up over the ledge and jumped back in through her bedroom window, wet through from the rain.
“Where the hell have you been?”
Esme spun around to see Farah standing behind her, arms crossed, the light of the bedside lamp hitting her face at an angle that made her wickedness shine through.
“Jesus Christ Farah,” Esme panted. “You scarred the life out of me. What are you doing standing there?”
“I could ask you the same thing,” Farah spat back. “I can’t believe you are sneaking out again. I told you the last time I caught you that I would tell mum and dad if you did it again. You have left me no choice Esme!”
Esme wiped her soaked clothes down and moved across the room to Farah, why did she had to share a room with such a goody-two-shoes. “Come on sis, there is no need to tell mum and dad. I just popped out to see some friends. I’m back now, no harm done.”
“Don’t give me that Esme, I am tired of covering for you all the time. It’s not my fault that you’re so reckless and have no respect for our parents. Its time they knew!”
“Yeah well I least I have friends to go out and have fun with Farah, unlike you who’s best friend is our mum!”
“That’s not true, I have Curtis.”
“Oh yeah Curtis, of course! I’ve seen you two together.”
“What do you mean you’ve seen us together?”
“I’ve seen you Farah so don’t play the innocent to me. Mum and dad think you’re the perfect daughter. How would they feel if they found out you were cutting school every day to sneak off with your little boyfriend.”
“You’ve wouldn’t,” Farah gasped.
“Only if I have to Farah. You see you and me are more alike than you want to think. We both have things to hide.” The two girls stood still facing off with each other. Neither moved, neither dared. It was a stand-off that neither one could win. Esme was right; they were both as bad as each other!