Me & Lou

Lou is very imaginative- and also kind, caring and helpful. And when she gets packed off to the countryside during the war, she finds that those qualities are important. But can she keep up the soft approach, even when panic, trouble and worry hits?

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5. Storytime & Mini Artists

"Not sleepy!" Victoria was muttering to herself over and over again, like a stuck record. I was lying staring up at the wooden ceiling, and, in the bed next to me, Jem and Rosie were under the chunky knitted blanket, playing cards. I had a headache, so I crept out of bed and padded over to Victoria.

"You have to sleep sometime, you know!" I said softly, gently smoothing out her hair. She was sweaty and large, purple bags were under her eyes. She looked like some kind of Bloodhound. 

"No no NO!" It was strange- Victoria was only three, but there was a tone in her voice that made you tremble like she was a big, strong bully. "No bed! Hate bed! NO NO!" I sighed, and pulled over her little painted chair, which was decorated with hand-drawn daisy chains. I sat down.

"What if I tell you a bedtime story?" I suggested. Victoria nodded, sinking down into her duvet. "Okay, so. are you comfortable?" Victoria grinned. "Okay. Once upon a time, there was a pretty little princess named Victoria!"

"That's MY name!" Victoria squealed, clapping her hands.

"Yes, it is. and Princess Victoria lived in a H-U-G-E castle, and she had a wardrobe that was full of prefect, sparkly clothes...." It just got easier and easier. Halfway through the story, Rosie and Jem wandered over and perched on the bed, too. It was yawns all around when I finally said "The end". Victoria nuzzled into her stuffed rabbit, rubbing her eyes. Rosie and Jem hopped back into their own beds.

"Goodnight, Princess Victoria," I said, tucking her blankets in by her side. "Sleep well," Then I yawned, too, and crept into bed. I saw a figure standing in the doorway, with a bushy beard and blue eyes- and he gave me a thumbs up. 

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The next morning, at breakfast, Victoria was much more wide awake, sitting at the table, drawing with her big wax crayons. 

"You work wonders, Lou," Ida smiled, handing me a plate of scrambled eggs. They were delicious; not like the eggs in London, but home-grown, farm eggs, oozing with taste. "I ought to hire you as some kind of nanny!" We all laughed. Jem was reading- Understanding Complicated Algebra, today- and Rosie was stringing a grape necklace. We were starting school that day. Well, I was- and forget butterflies, I had elephants running wild in my tummy. 

Victoria was drawing a big girl. She drew a blob for a head and body, and stick arms and legs. She gave the girl brunette hair, a striped shirt and a frilly, pale pink skirt. Then she drew a younger girl, with messy brown hair and a yellow dress and wellingtons. Then she handed it to me.

"Me and Lou!" she said proudly.

"Why, thankyou!" I beamed. "Wonderful work! You should be an artist!" Victoria blushed and giggled, and my heard melted like honey. 

"Right, come on, everybody!" Ida announced. "Come on! You're off to school!" 

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