Welcome to a very late day five update. I was busy yesterday and most of today so was unable to post this sooner. Part six will be posted in the morning of tomorrow (Wednesday). If you’re new to this challenge then the idea is I’m attempting to write a short Christmas story posting daily updates up until, and including, Christmas day. If you’ve missed the previous days you can find them here. I hope you enjoy.
“Daddy!” A voice called.
Footsteps echoed on the wooden flooring that lined the stairs and landing. The bedroom door flung open. “What’s wrong?” Thomas asked in a state of panic trying to hide the fact that he was out of breath.
“I had a bad dream.” Sadie spoke as she held back tears. Sadie was now 4 years old and due to start school any day now. It was something she was scared about and the fear was causing her to have nightmares.
Thomas crouched down at her bedside. “Was it the same as last time?” Sadie nodded as she clung onto her teddy. “Oh baby.” Thomas sat on the bed and Sadie immediately grabbed onto him for comfort. He wrapped his arms around her tiny body and tried to calm her down. “These things aren’t real.” Sadie rubbed her eyes and sniffled. “You’re a warrior Princess. Nothing scares you.”
“The dreams do.” she mumbled.
Thomas moved himself so the he was sat facing Sadie. “I won’t let anything bad happen to you. As long as I am here, you’re safe. Okay?”
Sadie nodded before speaking again. “Can you take me to school?” Thomas frowned. “Pleeeeaaaase” she begged.
“You know Daddy has to work.” Sadie began to sulk. “Mummy will take you and pick you up.”
“But I want you to.”
Thomas felt guilty. Work had been really busy lately and he was having to do more hours. He already agreed to go in work earlier and now he was working occasional late shifts. He wanted to be home just as much as Sadie wanted him to be. He knew that nothing he could say would cheer Sadie up. She didn’t understand that he had to work so much to try and bring as much money home as he could. Leanne had gone back to work on a part time basis, ensuring she was able to drop Sadie off at school and then pick her up at the end of the school day. Occasionally Leanne would have to ask Zoe to either take Sadie to school or pick her up. As much as Sadie loved being able to spend more time with her aunt and cousins Leanne felt guilty, almost as if she was failing as a mother.
“Come on, it’s getting late. You need to go back to sleep.” Thomas stood up and tucked Sadie back into bed.
“What if I have the bad dream again?” she asked on the verge of tears.
“Then you come and get me or mummy. Okay?” Sadie nodded. “Good girl. Night night.” He placed a kiss on her forehead.
Sadie’s first day of school had fast approached and Thomas was getting ready to leave for work. Everyone had woken up early so Thomas could at least see her in her uniform before she goes off to her first day at school. Whilst Thomas was busy getting himself ready, it was left to Leanne to get Sadie ready, which wasn’t an easy task. From the moment she woke up she wanted her father to get her ready and take her to school. Leanne had to explain to Sadie that her daddy had to get ready for work but he’d want to hear all about her first day when he got back from work. Eventually Leanne managed to put Sadie in her uniform. The pair headed downstairs, Sadie running all the way to her father, where she jumped into his arms.
“Hey Princess.” He held her tight. “Wow look at you. You look so grown up.” He held her at arms length, looking her up and down whilst getting teary eyed.
“Do you want a picture of the two of you?” Leanne asked. Thomas nodded as he wiped his eyes. He put his arms around Sadie, who had a huge grin on her face. Leanne looked on and took a whole bunch of pictures. Thomas looks up at the clock on the wall.
“I have to go.” He stood up and downed the rest of his cup of tea. Sadie looked up at him with sad eyes. “I’m sorry. But you’ll get to tell me all about it when I come home from work.” Her little face that was filled with such light just moments before was now dampened. “Hey,” he knelt down to be on the same level as her, “you’re going to make so many new friends. You’ll soon forget all about your daddy.” He laughed trying to hide the hurt that he was feeling at being replaced as her best friend.
“I’ll never forget you. You’ll always be my bestest friend.”
Thomas smiled at the thought. “I’ll see you after school. Be good.” He kissed her on the top of her head. “See you love.” He said to Leanne as he grabbed his coat.
“Have a good day.” Leanne walked over to him and gave him a hug. “Don’t worry about Sadie, she’ll be fine.”
He forced a smile, “Yeah I know she will.” He kissed his wife goodbye. “See you later.”
Thomas grabbed his car keys off the side table and headed outside. As he sat in his car his face was filled with guilt. He wanted to be there to drop his daughter off at her first day of school. He wanted to be there to pick her up after she finished. He didn’t want to lose his little girl.
As Thomas pulled back in the driveway after a long day at work he took a deep sigh before getting out and opening the front door. He hadn’t fully stepped inside the house before he heard fast approaching footsteps.
“Daddy!” Sadie screamed as she came running downstairs. His face instantly changed from exhaustion to pure excitement. She ran straight into his arms and he picked her up gently swaying her in his arms.
“How was school?” He asked tentatively, nervous to hear either the good or the bad.
“It was so much fun. I played all day.” Her face lit up.
“Did you make any friends?”
“Yeah, I’m friends with everyone.” Thomas felt a pain in his heart, almost like it was breaking slowly. His baby was growing up. Soon she wouldn’t need him he thought.
“You want to talk about your day whilst Daddy eats his dinner?” Sadie started nodding frantically with a huge grin on her face. “Okay, just give me a few minutes to change.”
As Thomas ate his dinner Sadie was describing her day in great detail, being sure to include everything down to what was on her classroom wall. She sounded happy, like she genuinely enjoyed herself. She had always been a naturally curious child and loved exploring and learning new things. Thomas hoped that she never lost that lust for life.
“Time for bed missy.” Leanne shouted from upstairs.
Sadie didn’t put up a struggle like she usually did. Instead she simply stood up, gave Thomas a hug and a kiss. “Goodnight Daddy.”
“Do you want me to put you to bed after your bath?” He asked.
“No it’s okay. Mummy can do it.” Sadie skipped out of the dining room and upstairs whilst Thomas was left sat there.
I hope you’re enjoying the story so far. I’d love to hear your thoughts, don’t be afraid to comment below.