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Nine (part 2)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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Kirsten was nonplussed, at least for a moment.

“What?”

“A nine-year-old. What do you get one for its birthday?”

Kirsten’s exasperation went up a notch.

“A nine-year-old what?”

It was Joe’s turn to look irritated.

“Finny of course.” He tapped the pile of reports on his knees. “I’ve just found out that her birthday is the day after tomorrow… Well, most likely anyway.”

Fully recovered, Kirsten put the pieces of the puzzle together in an instant and came up with a solution without missing a beat.

“Clothes. Get her some new clothes.”

Joe looked doubtful.

“She’s got clothes. In fact, the orphanage dishes out free clothes, she can take her pick. And what does she need more for? The ones she’s wearing haven’t even worn out yet.”

Sometimes it was hard keeping a straight face with some of the things Joe came out with. But Kirsten had become well practiced.

“Joe. Those are hand-me-downs and discards. The last time Finny had anything new was when she…” The pause was slight but it was there. “…did that errand for you.”

The ‘errand’ in question was when Joe had Finny burgle the Ranyhyn Company offices to retrieve Hanne Berg’s file on Silja, their nanny and Hanne’s sister. Joe had rewarded Finny with enough chips to buy clothes to replace the near rags and mismatched footwear she had been running around in up until then. ((see: http://fallenearth.rp-haven.com/blog-entry/shot-dark-1-continuation-siblings

However, Kirsten’s objection still wasn’t making it through Joe’s frugality.

“And she wears them every day. Nothing wrong with them.”

The statement earned Joe ‘that look’.

“Except that she does wear them, every day, Joe.”

The chink was made in Joe’s parsimonious armour. Despite the orphanage’s best efforts with soap and scrubbing brushes, the inmates tended to be a bit whiffy in confined spaces. Joe conceded with a sniff and an upturned lip. He shuffled the pile of paperwork into a bundle.

“Fine. I’ll send Silja to buy her a dress then.”

Kirsten’s eyes widened at the horror of what that might mean.

“You’ll do no such thing! I’ll take charge of buying clothes for Finny Joe. She’s a little tomboy and needs good, sensible, hardwearing clothes. Not frills and lace.” She sat back with a grin. “Annie gets those.”

Joe let the subject drop. Now that Kirsten had made the clothes idea her own, he would have to think of something else. Leaving Kirsten to browse the much-thumbed fashion pages for ‘good, sensible, hardwearing clothes’, Joe retreated to his study.



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