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Everything Happens For A Reason...

Guest puja

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This chapter is dedicated to Emma :)

Thanks to Nicole for proof-reading

Chapter 4

It had almost been ten minutes since Emma had finished reading the letter but she remained stationary at the table. She continued to stare at the white pieces of paper in her hands and the writing that was scribed on it which, with ever moment that passed, was beginning to look like blurred scribble. She was trying to subconsciously process all that she had read in the last half an hour. So many questions were attacking her mind all at once that she had forgotten about the photograph of Martha that her mum had mentioned. Snapping out of her trail of thought, she carefully placed the letter on the oak table and glanced at the semi-open envelope, moving it closer towards her. Feeling slightly nervous, Emma hesitantly and slowly pulled out the picture; revealing Martha’s identity. The photograph was of Martha sat on a lush green field by herself, looking directly at the camera. Dressed in her school uniform and grinning overtly, the picture portrayed Martha as a sincere and kind person- just like her mum had described. Her eyes revealed an element of childishness but the warmth of friendliness. Emma couldn’t help but smile. ‘So, this is daddy’s best friend’ she thought to herself, whilst letting out a small laugh. Emma was thankful to finally put a face to the name. Without knowing Martha at all, she already felt she had a head start. Again lost in her thoughts, Emma was brought back down to reality at the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs.

“So, don’t I get a hug from the birthday girl?” Jack asked jokingly as he made his way towards his daughter.

Emma quickly put the photograph and letter inside the envelope and stuffed it inside her pyjama pocket. She then swivelled around in her chair to face Jack, who was buttoning up his shirt.

“Daddy, it’s my birthday so you should come over to me and give me a hug” she smiled and then stuck out her tongue. Jack returned the gesture of the tongue pulling, scooped his daughter into his arms and placed a long, wet kiss on her right cheek. Emma then squealed in horror, “Eurgh! Daddy that’s gross!” She exclaimed as she wiped the saliva from her cheek using the sleeve of her pyjama top. Jack just laughed as he put her back down, “it’s gross when boys and girls kiss.” Emma cringed as she continued to rub her cheek.

“Yes, that’s right sweetheart. I want you to remember that it is gross when boys and girls kiss and no boy, outside our family, is allowed to kiss you until you are 25-years-old.” Jack teased as he winked at Emma.

“Daddy, stop it!” Emma protested as a wave of shyness consumed her. Jack just smiled at his daughter’s innocence. Although he meant it as a joke, he didn’t want anyone or anything to hurt his Emma. She was the most valuable and precious thing in his life and there was no way he was ever going to compromise that.

“Aww, I’m sorry,” he said kneeling down and giving his daughter another warm embrace. “Look, this is how silly your daddy is, I’ve still not wished you a happy birthday yet,” he said maintaining the hug. Emma nodded at his forgetfulness. Breaking away from the warm hold, Jack placed both hands at either side of Emma’s arm and looked at her with glee and pride, “happy birthday angel,” he wished with a hint of emotion in his eyes and voice. Jack couldn’t believe his baby was now 8-years-old. She was growing up so fast, too fast for Jack’s liking. Jack knew after Tina that he couldn’t take anything for granted in his life so, any spare minute or second in a day; he always wanted to share it with Emma. Even after a long day’s work catching the bad guys he’d want to spend time with Emma as soon as he got home. That was one of the reasons why he didn’t get involved in another relationship. He didn’t want to divide his love. Although a lot of his family and friends raised the issue of Emma needing a mother figure in her life, Jack always felt he could maintain that kind of relationship with his daughter too. He was not only her dad; but her mum and best friend as well.

“Thanks daddy,” Emma smiled back happily.

“Is this a private party between father and daughter or can anyone join in?!” Came a voice from behind. Jack turned around to see Tony and Lucas at the door, “and we come bearing gifts,” Lucas cheekily grinned.

“Granddad! Uncle Luc!” Emma exclaimed as she ran towards Lucas who had his arms out anticipating a hug.

“And where’s mine?” Tony asked, deliberately acting hurt as he dropped three bags of gifts on the floor.

“Don’t worry granddad, I always save the best till last.” Emma said as she moved away from Lucas to Tony.

“Aww, thankyou my one and only granddaughter” Tony replied with a proud beam plastered on his face and an element of boastfulness in his voice. “And is that because you love me the most?” He questioned, expecting his question to be answered positively.

“Well, I do love you granddad a lot, but that’s not the main reason why. At school, Miss Smith told us that if you give a very, very old person a nice present last, then they will really, really like it. She said something about giving elderly people more happy things because they won’t be around for long. But, I didn’t understand what she meant.” Emma finished as she looked on confusingly, contemplating Miss Smith’s idea. In the meantime, the room was roaring with laughter. Both Jack and Lucas were laughing so much, they were crying.

“Hmm, I think I should have words with this Miss Smith.” Tony said through clenched teeth, trying to hide the laughter that was building up inside of him.

“Right, that has got my morning off to a perfect start. Now I need to go to work,” Jack reluctantly said as he began to collect his things. “Emma, you’ll be spending the day at granddads and when I get home from work, we’ll do something special,” he said as he placed a kiss on her head and left.

“Come on then missy, you get changed out of those jim-jams, Beth’s got a big birthday breakfast waiting for you,” Tony said cheerfully.

“Ok.” Emma replied, “but granddad, Uncle Luc, I’ve got to tell you something and it’s very, very important,” she said as she ran upstairs to get changed. Tony and Lucas both looked at one another- unsure of what to make of Emma’s comment.

*Chapter 5- Emma tells Tony and Lucas about the letter.*

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