Photograph


Sadie's mum died last week.
Now, Sadie is moving to Paris to live with a guy she's been told was a
friend of her father's.
But the old secrets under her bed tell her a lot more about her mum and
Paris than Sadie intended to discover and now she's determined to find
out the truth.

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When Mum died, I thought I was done for. Every day jest seemed like some awful, dragging thing, every little thing I did ended up being something that made me cry. Everything. For hours on end I would just sit there and cry and cry and cry. Day after day.                                                                                                                       

Now, a week after the funeral, my mental state is better. I still get upset, obviously, but now I can go for about a day without my face acting like Niagara Falls.

If I hadn't had Frankie by my side, though, I don't know how I'd have managed. She could make me laugh, she could distract me, she was the best bestie ever.

When I move to Paris, I think I'll die without her. 

I'm going to live with a friend of my Dad's tomorrow.

Why? Because it was my Mum's dying wish. So, of course, I have to. 

Believe me, I am not looking forward to it. The guy's about thirty-two and American. And he lives in Paris. As a photographer.

He lives in this apartment, apparently, and Mum said he's very messy- about practically everything.

The weird thing is, is that I've never met him. Like, never. You'd think that in your emotional state, with your mum dead of Cancer, you'd at least be allowed one visit to see whether or not you like this person your about to go and stay with. Who lives in another country.

But, no. I wasn't allowed to visit because mum said I'd make a fuss and not want to go.

That sounds ominous. Is this American-French man some lunatic?

Well I wouldn't know. He's a complete stranger to me.

 

Our first official meeting is today.

 

 

Right now, I'm on a plane headed for Paris. Which is alright, I suppose, as the journey only takes about forty five minutes. So, I'm sitting on my temporary leather seat, sipping a carton orange juice with a straw. Yup. I'm having the time of my life, here, sitting on this flying lump of metal, calmly awaiting my fate.

...That might've been a tad dramatic, but technically, it is my fate that I'm awaiting - only, hopefully, it's a nice one. Preferably one that's not filled with annoying thirty-two-year-old men acting like they own me. Which, in case you didn't catch the hint, is how I see my out-of-the-picture dad's supposed 'friend'.

I've read all about the type of guy, the ones in books who drive the kids they're supposed to be 'looking after' mental, calling them their children when in reality they're not theirs and don't want to be.

That's my view of Terence.

When the plane finally lands, I don't try and be the first one off like everyone else. Instead, I take my rucksack from the overhead compartments and wait for everyone else to leave. I'm only stalling a little bit.

It's only when the last woman, a middle-aged person with about four toddlers hanging off her hips, has left, that I stand up and start making my way down the isle. I'm halfway towards the exit, when the stewardess appears in front of me and asks if I'm Sadie Abernathy. "Um... Yes..." I say, deeply confused.

"Oh, good." Says the stewardess, beaming at me. "Because there's a man outside who's been looking for you for ages."

WHAT! My brain practically explodes with... Well... Shock, I guess. How the hell did the idiot manage to find me? Did he actually come looking for my plane? I mean, how creepy is that?

but, of course, I don't tell the stewardess this. Instead, I smile sweetly and say "Oh, yes. Thank you very much..."

"Family?" Asks the stewardess kindly.

"What?" I ask, and she has to repeat it. "Yes." I say, firmly, even though it's not true because I really don't want to talk about my mum. It's just so much easier for everyone if I lie, including me. No awful, awkward questions, no sympathetic glances thrown my way... Just innocence. Sweet innocence...

"Ooh!" Beams the stewardess "How nice! Well have fun, sweetheart, won't you?" And she bustles off, leaving me to walk off this plane and face Terence by myself. I tell myself to take deep breaths, but I won't admit how scared I am. You can do this, Sadie. Your mum wanted you to do this... You need to trust in this guy you've never met and move on. Come ON, Sadie!

With impossible effort, I drag myself down the plane steps and force myself to focus. My brain frantically searches for a suitable subject. Paris. I focus on that.

I focus on the beautiful sights and the river Sein and the Eiffel tower. I think of all the photographs I'm planning to take.... This is a mistake. A second too late, I realize that Terence is supposed to be a photographer, too. A good one. 

No. I tell myself firmly. Not a good one, a stupid one. A stupid, crazy, weirdo Hippie one- OUCH!

Someone's voice calles out to me and I stumble on the plane steps, catching myself just in time. I swear mildly under my breath, then straighten up to see exactly who the idiot is who decided to almost kill me as I walked off this stupid plane. It's a young man, of about thirty, with this crazy mop of curly hair, a big grin and brown corduroy trousers.... Brown corduroy trousers! Okay, I'm officially revolted. No one under thirty wears corduroy trousers. And a shirt! 

Okay, it's a fairly baggy shirt, I'll hand him that. And the top few buttons are undone... But, still! No one with good fashion sense wears corduroy trousers and a white shirt! No one does. Except this Terence freak. The guy I'm going to have to live with.

 

Terence waves madly from the ground, grinning like a cheshire cat, camera swinging from his neck as he bounces excitedly on the balls of his feet. That's when I notice the braces that hold up his corduroy blimmin' trousers and I groan inwardly. Terence doesn't notice and, as soon as I'm on flat ground (Yeah, Mr Hippie man, thanks for almost knocking me down a steep flight of portable stairs, earlier!) walks, surprisingly calmly, considering his slightly weird demeanuor, towards me and claps me on the shoulder.

"Hiya, Sadie!" He grins, all Americanized and bouncy. "Nice to meet you! I'm Terence, the person you've probably heard a lot about!"

Oh, yeah? I raise one skeptical eyebrow. I guess I have known about you for a whole week. Literally. And now, now, despite the fact that we've met each other the grand total of times as is zero, nil, I get to live in some hippie yurt with you, drinking tea made from camel spit, or something gross like that. Lucky me. Cheers mum. Let's not even mention the dumb flight I had to take to get here from England. 

But, of course, I can't actually say any of this. To Terrence's face, anyway. Instead, I just shrug my shoulders and go "Oh, yeah. Nice to meet you."

Terence lookes around distractedly for my suitcase. He spots it, lying not very far from my feet. "I see you've got your stuff. Decent flight?"

No. It was the pits.

"S' alright. Bit tiring, though."

He cocks his head to one side then, interestedly examining my face. For a while, he doesn't say a word, just looks at me with a strange sort of expression in his eyes. 

You creep. I think, folding my arms defensively and wondering what the hell the guy is doing. 

Finally, however, Terence speaks up. "Jeeze, you really are like your Mom. She's have lied about the flight conditions, too. You look a lot like her, you know."

I blink, feeling like I've been slapped cruelly in the face. Trust Terence to bring up mum the moment I think I'm doing fine without her. And how the hell did he know I was lying about my flight? Can he read all of my emotions? That's a scary thought and it makes me panick a little. What if Terence can tell I hate him. What if he knows I think his corduroy trousers are stupid? What do I do?

"Uh." I say, a little thrown. "Yeah, sorry. And I get told I'm like her all the time."

Terence laughs and looks me up and down again. I automatically try to hide my irritation. How does this guy do it? How is he the only person who can see through me? "C'mon. Let's quit standing here like lemons. I gotta get you home."

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