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“Parting is such sweet sorrow,” Helen said to her husband, with a wink and a nudge.

Allan glanced up from his paper to see their youngest daughter bending over the phone.

“Bye-bye,” she said. “Bye-bye. No, you hang up first! Bye-bye.”

He raised an eyebrow as she continued to say goodbye and not hang up.

“That I’ll say good night till it be morrow,” he said wryly. “Has she hit a thousand yet?”

Helen laughed as she collapsed onto the sofa. “Five times over, I think.”

“Christ, we’ll be bankrupt when the bill gets in. How come we’re graced with her presence down here?”

“Her mobile’s out of credit, I said she could use the land line this once.”

He raised his eyebrows again. “She called him? Must be serious. Do we know who Romeo is?”

Helen sat back and flipped through the TV guide. “Alex,” she said. “Alex Catterall, I think. From her class at school.”

He blinked and stared at her. “Alex Catterall? As in, Simon’s kid?”

She smiled vaguely. “Yeah, probably.”

“As in, the Catteralls who just moved to Boston?”

Helen nodded vaguely, already deep in an article on her favourite soap.

He stood up and crossed the room, not waiting for Jessie to finish her latest round of “Bye-byes” before slamming his hand down on the phone, disconnecting her.

“Daaad? What the hell?” Jessie stood up and stared at him with an air of teenage indignation.

Helen, just behind him, gasped in shock. “Allan! Don’t you think that’s a little-”

He folded his arms and glared at his daughter. “When you asked to use the phone, did you perhaps forget to mention that you were calling America?”

She looked taken aback. “What the-”

“Allan,” Helen said, her hand on his arm.

He tried to shake her off. His face was going red as he started to shout. “Do you have any idea how much that call is going to cost us?”

“Allan,” Helen repeated. “She’s not calling America!”

He stopped and turned to stare at her. “What?”

Helen sighed. “They moved to Boston in Lincolnshire, Allan. Not America.”

© Kari Fay

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