i really must write this down in my diary exactly as i remember it… for it is jolly important…
LoPxie Artful darts along the footpath.. almost bowls phaedra over!
Phaedra Underby brushes herself off with a disgusted snort, “Do watch where you’re going to rediculous….ahh, it’s you again. Haven’t you run away by now?”
LoPxie Artful backs away and looks up, wide eyed
LoPxie Artful: i didn’t mean to!… o, it’s you, rather…
Phaedra Underby: Who else would you run into? I doubt you bang into anyone else’s legs, given the frequency with which you hit mine.
LoPxie Artful looks sullen
LoPxie Artful impudently.. “it is only that you get in the way rather!.. perhaps i may be in an awful hurry!”
Phaedra Underby looks vaguely amused, “In a hurry to get where?”
LoPxie Artful: and perhaps that is why i ought have run away!
LoPxie Artful looks abashed
LoPxie Artful: to see you…
LoPxie Artful looks up, swaying akwardly
Phaedra Underby: You came to see me?
LoPxie Artful nods
Phaedra Underby: Whatever for?
LoPxie Artful: well… to see if you were alright, rather…
LoPxie Artful: i heard you had vanished!… and then… that you were back again!…
LoPxie Artful: and… well… i thought something might have been awfully wrong.
Phaedra Underby: I’m quite fine, you needn’t have worried. I’m quite capable of handling myself. Honestly, your energies would be much better spent elsewhere.
LoPxie Artful looks rather as if she has been told off
LoPxie Artful: it is only… well… i fret for you dreadfully!…
Phaedra Underby sighs and pinches her nose, “I’m sorry you were….fretting…”
LoPxie Artful: even tho’ you are not a terribly good mother… i mean.. well… you don’t like me very much…
LoPxie Artful: but… i still care whether you are quite alright!
Phaedra Underby tilts her head at Lo curiously as if she’s just noticing her for the first time, “I’m not a terribly good mother to you, am I?”
LoPxie Artful shakes her head, mouth very small
Phaedra Underby sighs, “Do you know Yo…erm Osgoode, that is to say, Mr. Underby paid me a visit yesterday?”
LoPxie Artful: was he in a good mood, rather?.. he is in a good mood a lot of the time now, isn’t he?… most of the time…
Phaedra Underby nods, “He was and wasn’t, but, strangely, I do believe we were honest with eachother for the first time in…well, years.”
LoPxie Artful blinks, mystified by grown ups as usual
Phaedra Underby smiles faintly, “Do you know, of all the people I’ve ever lied to, I have probably lied to you the most. Isn’t that curious?”
LoPxie Artful eyes widen
Phaedra Underby: I suspect it’s a bit of envy and guilt, really…among other things
LoPxie Artful blurts “well… i did spy on you for stormy’s borc organisation… perhaps i may have fibbed about that… a little… i didn’t mean any harm!… “
Phaedra Underby: Oh darling, I knew about all that. and you never did.
Phaedra Underby smiles faintly, “If I am honest with you, completely honest, do you promise not to murder me on the spot?”
LoPxie Artful looks suspicious
LoPxie Artful: is it quite so very bad?
Phaedra Underby shakes her head, “It is quite terrible, but I shan’t make you promise. You’ve always been a good girl.”
Phaedra Underby: The truth is, darling, You’re not Pip’s daughter.
LoPxie Artful jaw drops
LoPxie Artful: and all this time!..
LoPxie Artful: ugh!
Phaedra Underby: Actually, You’re not Yo…erm. Mr. Underby’s daughter either.
Phaedra Underby: Nor…..are you mine.
LoPxie Artful scowls
LoPxie Artful: so whose am i then?
LoPxie Artful hands on hips, pouting
Phaedra Underby shrugs, “I don’t know their names. They lived in the apartment next to ours in Berlin.”
LoPxie Artful looks at the pavement
Phaedra Underby: You need to understand, Lo…I…
LoPxie Artful looks up again, tears starting to form
Phaedra Underby sits on the curb and looks at her hands, “I was very, very young.”
Phaedra Underby: Not even 19 and Osgoode had gone out because the baby wouldn’t stop crying. She had a terrible fever…
LoPxie Artful’s face changes
Phaedra Underby: I tried…I tried everything, everything. Poultices, and remedies and chants and finally I begged and begged the skies….
Phaedra Underby: nothing worked, nothing and then…I didn’t know what to do!
Phaedra Underby: I had no one to ask and…they had so many children.
Phaedra Underby: and one just my own’s age, spitting images then, both had that dark hair that all babies seem to have.
Phaedra Underby: I feared Osgoode would leave me there, in that dread hole, if he returned and found…
LoPxie Artful puts her hand on phaedra’s shoulder, her face pale with realisation
LoPxie Artful slowly sits next to her, feeling rather older
Phaedra Underby reaches out and puts an arm around Lo’s shoulder in a weirdly motherly gesture, “You may never understand, Lo, I didn’t. I thought…I thought I would be able to…but you weren’t her. I knew you weren’t.”
LoPxie Artful looks up at phaedra
LoPxie Artful hugs her
LoPxie Artful breaks away and stares at the pavement
Phaedra Underby takes a deep breath, “Even if you are not my blood, Ms. Lo, you still come from strong stock. They had six or seven strong children and only one they thought….which is to say..”
Phaedra Underby clears her throat, “That I would expect them to still be out there.”
LoPxie Artful looks up, shocked
LoPxie Artful crawls out from under phaedra’s arm and stands slowly
LoPxie Artful turns
LoPxie Artful looks back at phaedra for a moment
LoPxie Artful then starts to run