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BlackEagle Girls
and The Quest to See

Chapter 15 - Heart to heart

Rachael came bustling up the path and blew in through the front door, Matthew struggling manfully behind with her suitcases until Louis and Henry ran out to help.

'Kisses darlings!' said Rachael as the boys swept by. But it was Priscilla that she was aiming for.

'Oh Priscilla, I've been so worried about how you found out what happened, hello Granny Black, I do wish that you hadn't put her through such an ordeal. I take it that Henry still doesn't know about... oh! wretched little dog! Do get out from under our feet!' She was busy ushering Amelia and Priscilla down the hall and into the kitchen, Harry prancing and dodging in and out, as the menfolk banged their way through the front door. 'A cup of Earl Grey tea would be heaven, and I really must talk to you on your own Priscilla. I want you to understand...'

'I... ' Priscilla was about to protest, then thought better of it. 'Alright. Come up to my bedroom, bring your tea.' And before either Rachael or Amelia could say anything she hurried out of the kitchen with Harry at her heels and headed upstairs.

'Oh the poor child, she must still be so distraught about the whole thing, especially keeping it from her little Brother and not saying boo to Louis either.'

'I did what I thought was for the best at the time Rachael.' Granny replied, somewhat subdued.

'Of course you did Dear.' Rachael gave Amelia a tiny pat on her hand. 'Could you send Matthew up with the tea. I must go to her.'



Popping her head tentatively around the bedroom doorway, Rachael found Priscilla sitting at her little writing desk, looking out the window at the afternoon sunlight streaming through the foliage of the great tree. On the bed beside her sat the little black dog Harry. They were both gazing in the same direction, their backs toward her as she edged her way in. It was almost, Rachael momentarily thought, as if the two of them were united in some mutual reverie.

'Please do pardon my intrusion.' She almost said 'both of you,' but caught herself in time. 'It certainly is a lovely vista, the tree and the sky, and down there on the other block is where Matthew... um, where we want the swimming pool to go. You know, since we're all going to make this our real home-base.'

'I hope so, I mean I hope that here will be our home base for a few more years, with or without a pool.' Priscilla answered almost dreamily.

'Anyway Priscilla I... Do you mind if I sit down on your bed?'

'Harry, hop over here.' Said Priscilla, turning to take him on her lap. 'Your tea can go on this coaster when it comes up. Now Mum, what do you want to say?'

'Well... Well you know now that I am actually not your natural mother. That has been kept from both you and your brother for a long time and with good reason, of which Granny Black has given you some knowledge about what happened when... when... how your real mother died and I want to tell you about what that did to your Father how it hurt him so terribly how it tortured and worried him, the sense of despair, the sorrow, not understanding why? Why? what really made your mother do what... '

'When do I know you're not acting?'

'I... Priscilla, what do you mean?'

'I mean Mum, just that. You're an actress. It's what you do. Got to get home, family emergency, fix that then on to the next thing. What are you contracted to do next?'

Rachael drew a sharp breath, spluttered, drawing her hand across her mouth and said, '"PostaGirl." It's a modern-day comedy about a mail-order bride.'

'Righto! Here's tea for two and two for...' Matthew blundered in with a tray of scones, cups and a teapot. 'two...er tea.' He ended lamely, looking from Rachael to Priscilla, and noticing that even Harry seemed subdued. 'I'll just put it down here, and do you want me to stay or...or perhaps not just now.' He finished, feeling the atmosphere. 'I'll... be downstairs with Granny and the boys, call me, if...' He left that hanging and quietly withdrew, his footsteps sounding a hasty retreat.

'That's what it's always about.' Said Priscilla quietly.

'Why what's always about what?' Rachael enquired, suddenly feeling out of her depth and wondering how that could be so in the presence of an almost sixteen year-old girl and a dog.

'It's always about you and your career and all of us as your background accessories. That Happy Family of the acclaimed actress and her Director husband. But when it comes right down to important things, issues like this, who am I talking to? An actress or a real person?'

'Oh, I do see now Dear. It's what gets on Granny Black's goat too, me the dizzy, champagne-swilling, one foot in the air, must rush, rush headlong from one drama to the next, but don't you see dear? That is really a part of me. It's my defense, my hedge against the big, bad world. My guard, my disguise. I'm far too vulnerable without that outer layer of froth and bubble. I only let my guard down very rarely. When I have in the past, things often happened that were hurtful, damaging. Ego is not a dirty word, or was that a lyric from some past pop song? My ego took a beating when the man I loved just walked out one day, leaving me stranded with a small boy to care for and precious little to do it with. Then I met your father, and no, I wasn't hooking up with a sugar-daddy, I was becoming the mother of two more children. But I didn't care. I really, really loved Matthew. Still desperately do, although unfortunately my disguise often fools even him into thinking I'm just a vacuous air-head. And yet, deep down, he knows. Up until now, right this moment, there hasn't been a need, an important need for me to say these things.'

'You didn't have to say anything at all when you went to pray in church. Monique and I saw you there a few years ago. You didn't see us.'

'Oh, well I never knew. Praying in a church? Not my outer persona, to be on my knees. Doesn't fit the scatty image.'

'What about the serious actress? You were really good in "Child's Play"'.

'And I come out of character as if it was just that easy. All part of the disguise. Inside I'm actually bursting apart. There have been times I went off on my own and threw up, or cried. Never! Never let that be seen. Be professional, be controlled, be what the public want! A serious actress, a dumb-blonde? Whatever keeps me working. Just be one step in front of the critics, the public and yes, sometimes even family and friends. Priscilla?'


'I've never been this frank with anybody. Do you believe me, or do you think that you are still talking to an actress? I really do, with all my heart, want to keep on being your mother. Henry too. You get to see me now, without the walls. I so much want you to believe me.'

Priscilla held back a sob. It was as if a veil had been lifted and suddenly here revealed was another human being, stripped of protection, laid bare. For a moment a brief hint of suspicion crossed her mind and was swept away. 'You won't want me to tell anybody about this conversation will you? Not Dad or Gran, Henry, Louis. Nobody?'

'Nobody. Because it's between you and me Priscilla. I want you to know what lies behind the actress. I still want to be your mother. And I want to help you get through this awful time.'

Priscilla's shoulders rose as she inhaled and fell as she released her breath. 'So you're not as cracked or driven or self-centred as your publicity makes out.'

'Of course I am! But that's just my publicity, not what I really am behind the mask. Please believe me dear Priscilla... Cilla?'

'I believe you... Mum.'

'Oh that's so good to hear Darling. I just... What?'

'Now that that's OK I have something to tell you, something for all the family. I've found out things that none of us knew and I want everybody to get together downstairs before dinner so I can explain. Don't worry, it's all good. It's better than good, and it's sad too, but it will help us all to see.'




'... and it's because of these two little books, hidden in amongst Mum's... Oh! I'll have to get used to using Loretta or First Mum and Second Mum Rachael... anyway, these diaries give us answers to questions that would have never been asked. Loretta didn't jump off a cliff in the mountains, she was killed and thrown off by... well by her Father.' Priscilla knew she had to be careful not to say more than was possible for her to know and she had Harry sitting obediently beside her, his fore-paw pressing lightly against her foot, while he casually licked at his hind quarters. 'I think that if the Police or whoever have kept the original note it could be looked at again by their experts and shown to have differences in the handwriting and also the age of the paper itself.'

'Can't vouch for the paper, but I can for the handwriting.' Said Matthew, rising. 'I kept a photocopy of the actual note, the authorities allowed me to have it at the time, it's here in my wallet. I've had it with me all... ' He gingerly began unfolding a sheet of paper that appeared to have been kept, untouched, for a long time. '...these years. Getting a bit ratty even in my wallet, here.' he began smoothing it out on the dining table, 'Let's compare it with Loretta's early writing and her last entries.'

'It's not actually script writing, it's just all upper case capitals.' Louis noted.

'She only ever wrote in capitals with the beginning letter of sentences just bigger than the rest.' Matthew said. 'Sadly it all looks much the same to me.'

'No!' Said Granny Black, peering at the writing from the first book and the second book. 'It is all capitals to begin with, all the same size, it's only later toward the end of the second book when the capitals for the beginning of sentences become larger.'

'And the note is all in same-size capitals!' Exclaimed Louis, his arm about Henry's shoulder.

'It must have been written when she was younger!' Henry chimed in.

'I never noticed that.' Said Matthew, surprised.

'It's regular through her other works,' Priscilla said. 'There are plenty of examples, early to later on including the diaries. So now we all know that Loretta didn't abandon Henry and me. Dad, I think you should talk to the police about this.'



The following weekend when Priscilla and Monique arrived, Matthew informed them of what had taken place in the past few days. 'I took the diaries down to the local station first thing Monday. The Police Sergeant I spoke with was really helpful. He said he'd get all the information into the data base and probably would need the help of the Central Melbourne Division and maybe interstate as well. The Cold-Case police might get on to it too. Princess, I'm so happy that you and Amelia spotted what was right there in front of my eyes, if I'd only bothered to look instead of accepting the official verdict.'

Priscilla gave Matthew a big hug and he noted that she was springing up so much that he hardly had to bend. 'Boy! You're almost level with my shoulders Kiddo.' 'Genes Dad. Loretta was tall like a model, from what she said you said.'

Matthew wilted a little in their hug. 'She was... She was...' He choked back his memory. 'I wish you could have know your mother. But...' He sighed, 'It seems like I'm holding her right here, right now. I look at you and I see her.'

'Me? I'm just a Plain-Jane. What about Henry!'

'Henry's me. Same mouth, same swagger, same self-confident braggart attitude. And you aren't a Plain-Jane. Not to me. You're my Princess. The product of Loretta and myself, the ongoing project that is mine and Rachael's. She really isn't as dotty as she makes out.'

'Dad, we had a Mother to Daughter chat...'

'Oh, one of those. I'll have to get together with Henry soon too...'

'Ho-boy Dad! Not that kind of talk. And anyway Henry can probably let you in on a few thoughts of his own, like helium filled condoms. No this was strictly her to me and me to her and I took what she had to say on board and it's all good with me and Mum. Like I know she's not a complete air-head...'

'Not... complete...'

'And she knows I've been sort-of long-time pissed-off about you and her being all over the country and leaving us wherever with Gran and...'

'Pissed off?'

'Sorry Dad, but yes, I'm old enough to use... to express myself.'


Matthew shook his head slowly. 'Princess, I wish I could send you off to a Swiss Finishing School and make a Lady out of you, but somehow I guess that you're going to go your own way.'

Monique, in the background, noted Matthew's contented smile as he and his daughter embraced.


Chapter 16 next

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