Lynn and her younger sister janae watched through tears, secretly, as their mother stood at the door of their house. They were supposed to be in their bedroom and not listening, but the argument had woken them up. Her bags were packed and a suitcase stood there as well. She was screaming angrily at their father, a tall but lean older man with a bald head, blue beady eyes, with black glasses who wore an old fashioned bottle green jumper.
"Grace, please, come back inside we can work this out" said the father, lynn was close to tears when she heard the break in his voice, as he seemed about to cry.
"I've had ENOUGH John. We've been through this already. I cannot find peace in this house anymore. I'm moving in with him. The divorce settlements will come through to you as normal. But i think for the children's emotional wellbeing and mine, that it is best to separate" and with that she picked up her things and without saying goodbye to her daughters, she left the family house.
"Lynn, where is mummy going?" asked janae tears trying not to form in her young eyes
"I think she'll be back, she's done this before. Remember when she stayed at grandma's?. In three days she'll be back" said lynn optimistically. Janae smiled believing her older sister. The sisters waited everyday for their mother's return. They went to the front door everyday but it was only the postman. Then the next day, then the next, completely oblivious to the fact that their father wept silently in his study at night and the fact that their mother never returned.
One Saturday before they had given up hope, their father came up to them and told them to get ready in their best clothes.
The girls were confused and lynn - being the older one, asked "Why daddy?"
"We're going to see your mother" whispered the father and the two girls childishly jumped in the air in excitement.
John took the two girls to a mysteriously huge building, there were black cars at the front and stairs leading up into what seemed to be a big hall. Lynn looked around, there were people dressed in formal wear some were looking forlorn, others serious while others excited. Out of a black car lynn noticed that her mother was stepping out of the car, a mysterious man beside her and a small boy.
"MUM!" yelled lynn excitedly despite herself and she broke free of her father's grip and went running towards her, janae followed and the mother hugged them affectionately
"Mummy when are you coming home?" they asked
"Tonight. Mum and dad just have to go to an important meeting first so that both daddy and mummy can look after you" explained the mother
"But why can't you come home?" sobbed janae slapping her mother's hand angrily
"Because mum and dad don't love each other anymore" the mother replied emotionlessly but seriously. Lynn remained silent and janae began to cry, just then their father appeared and took them away.
The two girls (plus the young boy that came with their mother) had to wait in a silent room while their parents went to their "meeting". Lynn had to spend a good while calming janae down, the little girl was in a state for a long time she kept calling their mother. After half an hour though, she calmed down enough into sulking.
The young boy that came with their mother was about lynn's age. He went walking over without a care in the world, his hands in his pockets and sat down, cross legged, in front of the girls, head in hands just staring at them.
"What are you looking at?" mumbled janae
The boy just smiled and continued staring but lynn was not having it "GO AWAY!"
"Your mom is going to be my mom" said the boy callously "I saw your dad. My dad said that he was once a soldier. He doesn't look so tough. Soldiers are supposed to be tough like action man"
"You're lying go away!" screamed lynn and janae together
The boy stood up annoyed at the girls' sensitivity "Your mom told me. You're both stupid girls!" and he went over into the corner and began playing in the children's area.
Lynn and janae cuddled one another and the room went silent.
Finally the door to the room opened and in walked their father, he looked much more happier than he had been in days and lynn picked up on it instinctively; it was obviously good news. The mysterious boy barely paid them any attention.
"Lynn, janae, you are going to stay with your mother tonight. She wants to spend some time with you to explain everything she misses you so much" explained John
"Will we see you again?" asked lynn
"Yes. But mom just needs some time to be happy. She'll still see you. She loves you both very much and i do too"
"But will you be going abroad before we go away?" asked lynn. John had been retired from the military for a long time but even so the girls sometimes forgot about this and were afraid to leave him in case he stays abroad for a long time.
"No. I'll be waiting for you both at home. But you have to go with mum"
"That boy over there was being horrible to us! I want mum to come home and see us!" sulked janae stubbornly
"Come here janae, i'll tell you a secret but you mustn't tell him okay. It's a secret" john got down to her level, janae approached him quickly and john whispered in her ear "That boy wets his bed at night, but you don't do you?"
Janae knew better than to speak loudly (because the boy was listening) and she shook her head. Both daughter and father nodded and laughed knowingly, he stroked her hair and led them out of the room, the boy following frustratingly behind.
So lynn and janae became accustomed to the new arrangement even though, in some ways, the trust and the closeness had been lost. Lynn grew closer to her father than her mother, simply because she felt childishly that her mother had spitefully left their father for another man and she idealised her father because they had a lot in common and he showed her affection continuously.
Janae was still close to both parents unlike her sister, although she was younger she seemed to accept both parents' flaws unlike her sister who, (even though she was graceful about it) always saw her mother and the new family (her step brother and father) as a threat that damaged the household.
Lynn and janae increased their confidence standing up to their irritating step brother, Philip, with a sort of bullying humour with the tips given to them from their father. They would giggle to silently whenever their mother would immediately ring their father after they had put the language taught into practice, she would then complain exasperated down the phone ("Will you stop them from saying that to Philip?! I've told you before not to do it").
Whenever janae would ask their father to take her to their mom's, lynn and her father stayed home and talked endlessly. He showed her the army barracks he had been situated in, introduced her to old military friends, shared exciting stories from the past about army life and when lynn insisted allowed her to go to cadet academy. Lynn was truly the son john never had and he was unwilling to not support lynn's dreams of taking that path.
Lynn was the produce of a Spartan like education, in the week she studied her basics; maths, English, science etc and on weekends she attended intense cadet training and physical exercise classes. Lynn took the new regime to her bosom for the main fact that it brought her closer to the only man that she loved in her life: her father.
Years passed and lynn grew into her teens. She was now 14 and in her 3rd year at a new grammar school in her hometown. Lynn had grown into a very beautiful young teenager. She had long black hair - half tied back with the rest falling down; she had bright blue eyes, lovely pale, white clear skin and was blossoming into womanhood in full force. She was curvy not voluptuous and astoundingly buxom and was always glowing with unspent and mysterious energy. Whereas her younger sister janae had become a bookish young girl who read a lot, studious but was averagely intelligent compared to her elder sister, and who attended a different school, lynn was the opposite; she was into fashionable trends, had a swaggering over-confident streak, was tomboyish and had been inspired by her father to go into the armed forces before and after university. Lynn paid less attention to studying than her sister (who needed to revise extra hard whereas lynn did not have to try so hard) and she could not wait to leave the school itself to begin an adventurous life career.
As she was running to catch her father (he had come over to collect her from training) john knew that sooner or later his daughter would be catching the eye of certain people of the opposite sex, he had never had concern to discuss this matter with her, but that did not stop her bringing it up now and again "This guy at training was so sweet. He gave me his number dad"
"Lynn you cannot take these young pups seriously. Promise me one thing just in case something happens to me. Be independent. Forge your own path and don't rely on anyone. The guys will come around eventually but the right one will come when you are not looking"
"So i can't ring these guys back?" asked lynn suddenly producing a notepad with a list of names and numbers on it.
"What is that? Give it here" asked her father and began looking at the names "On second thought lynn. No dating, until you're 18, that's final now"
"WHAT! DAD, NO, YOU CANNOT DO THAT!" yelled lynn furiously but john refused to back down. Lynn went on a long tirade all throughout the journey asking him for a rational explanation why she could not date. When john stopped the car outside their house, she ran out of the car furiously not even bothering to keep the door open for him.
Lynn went past her sister who looked immediately concerned for the elder "Wha-lynn-!" but lynn pushed past her and locked her bedroom door and immediately began ringing her mother. Dating guys was the one thing they agreed on if there was nothing else.
Grace was also not impressed by John's decision to stop their daughter from dating. Lynn remained silent going online to myspace to communicate with her friends from school, fuming, but she was happy that her mother was pressing her father for an immediate explanation.
Unfortunately john was strong enough to have the final say in the decision and lynn felt like her life was over. She refused to stay in that weekend and went down to her mothers and poured her eyes out.
After the waterworks session grace brought in some tea "All you have to do, honey, is meet guys your father has already met and likes"
"They are all ugly army guys!" snapped lynn "They aren't even good looking enough!"
"Lynn being vain isn't a pretty sight. Looks isn't the main thing when it comes to a relationship"
"But you didn't exactly marry a guy that looks exactly like dad did you?" asked lynn with her sharp lashing tongue "No you married a guy that is younger than dad and better looking"
There was a deafening silence as grace tried to compose herself after her daughter's cheek "You're right. But Alan is much more than a pretty face. I considered that first because i had to explain myself to you girls when you got older and i couldn't say i left your father for a cute bum"
"Just remember what i said. It might help you one day" said grace as lynn was putting on her coat preparing to leave. She spotted her step brother, Philip, coming down the stairs. He looked grumpy as usual.
"Have you told her you're leaving my dad?" he asked sharply
"What-what is he talking about mum?" asked lynn
Grace immediately looked uneasy "I wanted to say something else before you go lynn" lynn sat back down slowly.
Grace explained to lynn that alan and her were not getting on. He had been calling her horrible things like a gold-digger and a user, (lynn's eyebrows perked up at hearing that) and they had been arguing a lot.
Lynn could not believe this. If she wasn't careful she'll end up just like her mother
One weekend john wanted to take lynn to the cricket grounds, not too far away from their home. He made it clear that there would be a lot of armed forces men there, that could teach her a few stuff. Lynn thought to herself "Maybe they can teach me how to kiss" and decided to go with him. The cricket club itself looked boring as lynn had expected, but john was in his element socialising with a number of men that he had seen in his old days.
Lynn, after 15 minutes was going to lock herself in the toilets for the remainder of the afternoon, until someone caught her eye. She could tell he was a soldier. The soldier of her dreams, he was tall, not too bulky not too lean with dark brown short hair, a boyish like face and mesmerising chocolate eyes. He had a tattoo of a poppy on his neck. He looked shy compared to the boisterous older men. Lynn saw her chance even though she was 14 and how old was he?
Lynn stepped forward and immediately, surprisingly, her father saw her and waved her forward "Lynn this is exactly who i want you to meet! Cadet Edgar, this is my daughter lynn. I know edgar's father from the old days lynn. Edgar is already in the army himself"
Lynn could not stop her heart from beating. Fate had definitely brought this man into her life, her mother had been right after all but it was the age; he was 17, would he even consider her to be a woman worthy of him?