12. Goodnight Daddy

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It was pouring cats and dogs outside; thunder reverberated across the night sky like a monster flashing its teeth. Stormy weather always made Elle nervous. Guess she'd passed that onto Maya as the poor child cowered into Elle's body.

"Shh!" Elle soothed. "Mummy's right here, honey. Nothing's going to get you," she kissed her two-year-old daughter's head lovingly.

"I want daddy!" Maya wailed as lightning ripped open the world outside.

"Daddy can't be here right now, baby." Elle cooed, anything to calm Maya and get her to fall asleep. "Daddy is at work, remember." But the inconsolable child kept whimpering. Elle couldn't blame her for wanting her father more than she needed her mother. After all, daddy always put the world right. The phone shrilled causing Maya to jump in fright. Elle stretched to reach it.

"How are you girls?" her father asked before Elle could even say hello.

"Maya is scared out of her wits, but I'm okay," Elle said, feeling Maya quiver.

"Who is that?" Maya asked, poking her head out from the blanket for the first time since she'd rushed into bed with her.

"Grampy," Elle smiled and handed over the phone.

"Come over, Grampy!" she begged.

"Would love to darling, but Grampy is very far away, remember?" Maya huffed and handed Elle the phone back. "Blake's on duty tonight?" her father asked once Elle was on the line.

"He finishes in a couple of hours."

"Can't imagine much trouble in that rain they say you're having."

Elle laughed. "This is Sydney, dad. Crime doesn't sleep here."

"When are you guys heading up then?"

"Tell them to leave straight after breakfast, Bertie. Tell Ellie, I'm making lunch," Elle could hear her mother call.

Elle stroked Maya's back. "Dad, tell mum we're already packed, but Blake still needs to catch up on his sleep before we drive up tomorrow, so don't expect us till dinner."

"What time does he finish anyway? It's already nine."


"Alright then, you girls get some sleep. See you tomorrow."

"See you tomorrow," Elle said. "We wouldn't even think about missing your Silver Jubilee".

"Who would have thought we would make it to our silver jubilee!" Bert laughed. "All right, honey, see you tomorrow."

"I did!" Elle smiled. "Goodnight dad, love you." She couldn't help but laugh as she put the phone back in its cradle.

Another flash of lightening lassoed through the night sky, and thunder followed with all its might. She hoped Maya wouldn't wake up from it, but she continued breathing evenly and Elle moved her over to Blake's pillow. It would be about four hours before he'd get home. She hoped his night was quiet and all he was doing was waiting out end the shift with his partner in the office or the patrol car somewhere. It was her last thought before she slipped into slumber.

Maya's incessant, restless moving woke Elle up a few hours later. The light in the room was still on, pulling her attention to the empty, cold half of the mattress where she usually finds her husband. She reached for her phone on the nightstand and turned it on to look at the time.

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