liliaeth and I offer a second interlude in as many days. This one brings the story a little further into the future. Will is now four years old, and an old ‘friend’ comes to call. Just a teensy glimpse into the near future showing some of the changes that time has brought to William’s family. Please, as always, read and comment! The muse is holding court now, and deems to honor us with her words.
To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here.
Full-sized banner by liliaeth beneath the cut.
Beloved – Interlude 8-9B – A Bedtime Story
Paddington didn’t want to go to sleep, and neither did William. Even though Mommy and Daddy went out for some grownup time, they wouldn’t be too happy to find him out of bed. Lotte and Uncle Hugh were in their room watching movies. They wouldn’t play with him now. All he’d get was a glass of warm milk and be sent back to bed.
Will sighed and climbed onto the padded window cushion, looking out over the garden. “Play with me, Buffy?” He pushed gently with his mind, hoping to find her welcoming smile. “No fair, sleepy lady. I wanna play.” He pouted, cuddling his longtime stuffed pal. “Everybody’s busy, Paddy, an’ I’m not tired.”
“I’ll play with you, my sweet William.”
He knew it wasn’t Buffy’s voice calling to him, but he’d heard it before. He knew he had. Looking out the window again he saw a lady in a red dress, holding out her arms to him.
“Come to me,” she called, twirling around and around. “We’ll dance and make merry and Daddy will never know.”
That was all it took. Will scrambled down from the window seat and shucked off his pajamas. Dressing quickly in clean Paddington underoos and socks, blue jeans, and a dark green t-shirt, his Velcro-topped sneakers slid on for a finishing touch.
“Shhh, Paddy,” he whispered. “No noise and we can go play outside.”
He snuck past the grownup’s bedroom, holding tightly to Paddington. Together, he and Paddy would be very brave. After all, he was a big boy - four years old now. Gampa Giles told him that Paddy came all the way from Peru by himself on a boat. They were only going downstairs to the garden.
Will held on to the banister with one hand. He didn’t want to fall down the stairs like a little boy. First one step, then another. Slowly he and Paddington made their way down the long staircase. He wanted to say hello to Monster before they went outside, and Monster was in Daddy’s office.
Uncle Connor liked to make Monster growl and chase Will all around the room. It was one of his favorite games when he wasn’t busy making kissy-faces with Aunty Dawn. Silly Uncle. Girls weren’t for kissing. Will would never kiss Alonna. Mommy and Lotte, but they didn’t count. And maybe Aunty Dawn. She did smell nice. Almost as nice as Buffy.
“Hello, Will. What are you doing all dressed up at this hour of the night?”
The boy stumbled, dropping Paddington in order to grab onto the banister with both hands. “You scared me, Uncle Hugh.”
“Isn’t it your bedtime, lad?” He knelt down beside Will, blocking the stairs.
“Um, no?” Will pouted and reached for Paddington. He had to make sure he wasn’t hurt after his tumble.
“Not tired, then?” Hugh chuckled at the boy’s yawn. “Would you like me to read you a story, perhaps?”
Will nodded. He loved it when Uncle Hugh read to him. He’d make all kinds of funny faces to go along with the different voices.
“Would you like me to get a glass of milk and some cookies to go along with that story?”
The boy craned his neck as Hugh stood up, towering over him on the higher stair. “Yes, please, Uncle Hugh.”
“Wonderful. Why don’t you get into your pyjamas, find your book and wait for me in bed? Good deal?”
Will nodded, and climbed back up the stairs to his room. Halfway through undressing, he ran to the window. He’d forgotten all about playing with the lady in the red dress. He looked all around the garden, but couldn’t see her anymore. Shrugging his shoulders, Will put his clothes in the hamper, donned his pajamas and pulled his favorite book into bed with him and Paddy.
After a couple of Mommy’s famous butter cookies and a glass of milk, Uncle Hugh fluffed up a pillow and took his place next to Will against the headboard. He took the book from the boy’s lap and began:
“Paddington arrived from darkest Peru after stowing away in a ship’s lifeboat. He had been sent out into the world by his Aunt Lucy, who had gone to live in The Home for Retired Bears in Lima. He was found with a label around his neck which said ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’”
William never noticed when Hugh drew up the covers and turned off the light.