It was October half term. Six year old Allessandra was most definitely a mini me. She could throw a divaesque tantrum. Almost as good as the R&B star Mimi Doufaine. Even Maria Carey, had to sit up and take notice when Mimi was in town. Both of them would have been proud of this little minx. Allessandra was bored stiff at Birmingham’s NEC. A fashion show was no place for a child. She had her mother’s bone structure, but she was dark like her father. The Quicksett Fashion Show was one of the highlights of the year even rivalling London fashion week. All the big names in couture would be there, along with all the top models. Nothing Helga could do would placate her. Cassy was very snappy with the pair of them and banished them from the show in the end.
“Helga find Jimmy he can entertain her....oh and Helga take the day off.” Helga shrugged. She had been having increasing difficulty, managing Allessandra and her moods lately. Working for the Collins’s was becoming a chore. The fun lifestyle had become akin to drudgery. Helga was a person not an accessory. She felt like an out of season handbag. Yes she went around the world, lived in luxury but she was restricted in other areas. Relationships were an issue. Particularly at the start when they found out who Cassy was. The attention soon left Helga. She knew that Allessandra would behave for Jimmy. He was the only one that the child responded to. When Jimmy disciplined her it was the end of the world, she would be heartbroken that she had let her father down. “Oh and Helga if you are going to be like that take the week off....au pairs such as you are two a penny.” Helga stood her ground she was sick of being treated like a slave.
“Miss Friend....I..” Cassy could see that she was going to stand up for herself. And cut her short. “Put it in writing....I will pay you till the end of the month....enough of your attitude...Alan will take you home.” She dismissed Helga with a wave. She defended her decision to Jimmy by making a cock and bull story. About Helga wanting to muscle in on him. Jimmy was furious with her. Indeed he did spend time with Helga on occasion, but purely on a platonic level. “So what am I supposed to do now then drop my work?” Allessandra was playing quietly in the corner of Cassy’s dressing room come office, come bombsite. With a pair of scissors and a Gucci dress.
“Take her to Alton Towers for the day, then either home or off up to Scotland. Who cares just keep her out of my hair.....Allessandra!! PUT THOSE DOWN!....see Jimmy destructive child. BOARDING SCHOOL FOR YOU MADAM!!” Cassandra had threatened her often enough, for Jimmy to wonder if she really meant it. Allessandra stood her ground and shouted back at her mother. To which Jimmy intervened and the situation eventually calmed. Maybe boarding school, might not be such a bad idea thought Jimmy. At least they would be apart and maybe appreciate each other, when they did see each other.
Alton Towers was just a brilliant day out. They had great fun on the small rides. Allesandra’s favourite was the log flume and the tea cups. She had a ball at the driving school too. She was too small for the bigger rides. Whilst they were munching on fish and chips, on their way to the Swan boats at the lake. Allessandra decided they needed to rest on a bench. So they sat and watched people for a while. It was a dull and overcast day with a definite nip in the air. Jordan ran ahead of Jeanette, but not too far away from her. She and Jordan had brought Chris along. He was a debonair pilot and had been seeing a fair bit of Jeanette in recent months. She was happy and Jordan liked him too. He liked the fact that this man made his mum happy. He was a welcome distraction from Lemmy and Yuri.
Although Jordan loved the two rogues and spending time with them. Chris was an educated man. with even more exotic stories that the two boys could tell him. His tales were of foreign climbs and adventure. There was nothing like a good story and Jordan loved a good tale. Chris often brought back trinkets for him. From different parts of the world. Truth be told mainly from the airport shop. Jimmy and Allessandra chatted a while and Jimmy always the peacemaker, between Cassy and her daughter. Asked her why she fought with her mother so much. Allessandra told him because she wasn’t like the other mums at school. Not everyone had an au pair and the money that they had. She wanted an ordinary mum, who was around the home alot and had time for her.
They do say out of the mouth of babes. Jimmy decided she needed more time with other people her own age. She was spending far too much time in the company of adults. He would address this with Cassandra when they caught up later. Chris kept up with Jordan leaving Jeanette to bimble along. She was gathering her thoughts and trying to find the opportune time, to tell Jordan that Chris would be moving in. She hadn’t given up on Jimmy she had just been very happy these last months. She wanted it to continue Jimmy or no Jimmy. Jordan liked him even Yuri and Lemmy had given their seal of approval.
She was hoping to have the best day out, then pop it into conversation on the way home maybe. Chris and Jordan were racing between the lampposts. Doing silly things along the way. They had just hopped from the last one, both laughing at the silliness and fun of what they were doing. “Race you normally Chris.....but you have to give me a head start....I’ve only got little legs you know.” Chris ruffled his hair and grinned. They both pulled faces at each other for a bit.
“Ok partner I’ll give you a count of ten...but only if we fly.”
“No a hundred and no cheating....ready...go!” Jordan belted up the pathway and over the rise laughing as he went. His bobble hat was at a funny angle and his scarf flew behind him. His arms stretched out like wings making plane sounds. Jeanette smiled at their antics she knew that this was the right thing to be doing.
Chris could hear him whooping and decided to chase after. “HEAR I COME....!” He bellowed, Jimmy and Allessandra both giggled at the small boy who came, belting over the brow of the hill. His little legs going like the clappers much too fast for him. Jimmy knew he would fall. He did most spectacularly. Jimmy instinctively sprung off the bench to help the small boy. Who had shinned his knees and scuffed his palms. Jordan did his best to be brave and not cry but oh it did hurt. Specially as there was a girl looking at him. His little red face was full of snot and tears. Jimmy gently picked him up, set him down and dabbed away the grit from his hands.
Allessandra gave him a tissue so he could blow his nose and wipe away the tears. “You’re ok son....safe now.” Cooed Jimmy. “That was a bit of a crash landing though.” Jordan started to smile through his tears.
“Yeah it great wasn’t it.” Allessandra agreed with him and he began to feel alot better. “I think my engine caught fire.” Chris arrived just as Jimmy and Allessandra had helped Jordan. He could see that he was safe and thanked Jimmy who nodded. He picked up Jordan who instinctively cuddled into the man. “Come along squadron leader it’s time you were grounded...thanks again.”
Jimmy smiled at them both “No problem my pleasure.” Chris set Jordan down and they walked back to where they came making animal noises. Jimmy and Allessandra walked on. Jeanette had seen it all as she walked over the brow of the hill. Jimmy looked back and saw her. Jeanette! She waved a kind of nondescript wave to anyone else. But it was a wave all the same and all Jeanette. Jordan was tugging and pleading at her to come and say thank you to Jimmy. This could be a little tricky she thought. Jimmy wanted to hide but there was no place to go. He shocked himself and spoke first “Hi Jeanette....it’s been...” She helped him out interrupting him.
“Eight years you are looking well Jim, thank you for your help.” The children and Chris picked up on the awkwardness. They were watching with interest. “Yes I’m just glad the little lad is alright...you’ve done well Nette he’s a lovely lad a credit to you.” Bernice’s voice was echoing in his mind. He was the image of his mother too come to think of it. Now wasn’t really a good time to talk about this. Jeanette scooped Jordan up. “Nothing an ice cream can’t solve....Well take care and thanks again....Oh Jimmy she’s lovely” He smiled his mind was about to explode. Boris couldn’t find her and bang out of the blue here she is with, was it their son?
Jeanette turned and walked away. As the three of them walked up the hill she decided that now was the time. “Jord?” He looked at her sternly she was using her serious voice.”Mum?”
“What do you say to Chris living with us?”
“Well he does sometimes anyway mum.”
“No Jordan....all the time.” He looked at her for a while, his brow furrowed in thought. Then he looked at Chris.”What like a proper family?”
“Yes mum of course.” He struggled out of her grip and ran ahead. Chris chasing him both playing planes again. They were both laughing and the delight on their faces was infectious. Jeanette sighed she was pleased and sad too. Bumping into Jimmy had rocked her to the core. She turned and saw him looking his face said it all. She waved and got a return. Jimmy waved back Allessandra was firing questions left right and centre.”And?”
“And what Alless?”
“Who is she?” Her face was contorted into a frown. She had her arms folded just like her mother did during their frequent bust ups. Jimmy sighed and suppressed the emotion.
“Jeanette an old old friend.....that’s all Allessandra...I just didn’t expect to see her again.”
“Because your mother came along.....anyway fancy some ice cream?”
“It’s cold dad.”
“Strawberry.....come on it’s your favourite...it’s more fun when it’s cold.” Allessandra grinned and caught his hand. “Can I have an extra flake?” Jimmy looked at her and stuck his tongue out they both giggled. “Only if I can have mint.” On the way back to the hotel they were staying at, the Crowne Plaza. Jimmy put his Lou Read tape on. Alan was plugged into his walkman so wasn’t bothered as he drove. He loved Lou Reed and was looking forward to going to New York to one of his concerts In the new year. As He listened to Animal Serenade the track ‘Tell it to your heart’ played. Jimmy hugged Allessandra closed his eyes and thought of Jeanette as the lyrics washed over him.
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