Chapter 4

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin
Like home-cooked stuff, wine and waiting upon proper table settings as one does with guests? Suddenly the lump in my throat dissolved. “I’m sure Mrs Irvine..."
“Amy,” Mrs Irvine said, while closing one of the albums. Perhaps more of a slam. 
I cleared my throat. “I’m sure…  Amy,” I reiterated, “has other plans for this evening”.
No-one looked happy. I sighed heavily, wishing I could just disappear.
Nestor closed the remaining album and shrugged half-heartedly. “You're right, Dad,” she said in a rather clinical voice. “Mrs Irvine, very likely, has other things to do tonight.”
I quickly narrowed my eyes. What was Nestor up to? I scanned the area wondering if cameras were about to pop out and reveal my daughter’s obvious scam. If that alone wasn't enough to convince me that something suspicious was going on, my other daughter jumped to her feet and readily agreed.
Mrs Irvine/Amy cast an uneasy look over the three of us. She smiled; it was little too false. She glanced at her watch; it was a little too staged. “You’re right,” she said. “I do have another engagement.”
She quickly gathered her motley-coloured jacket and a tired looking briefcase. Before another word was spoken, she disappeared down the darkened path and into her car. Headlights flashed and she was gone.
Expecting the full wrath of my daughters, I remained frozen. Esther, on the other hand, hummed to herself as she collected half-emptied tea cups before heading towards the kitchen.  Nestor fluffed the lounge’s cushions. “Good choice, Dad,” she said. “Putting off Mrs Irving.”
It was ?
“You saw right through her.”
I had?
“Doing whatever needed to be done to discourage a relationship between the two of you.”
What relationship?
Esther re-joined us and rolled her pretty blue eyes. “Because once she had ‘said’ relationship, she’d only leave us when she became bored.” 
Amy would be bored? And, again, what blasted relationship? I swaggered and soon found myself nestled amongst the fluffed-up cushions.  What was I missing here? “But you girls seem to love….”
“Yeah, Dad. All designed to get free tutoring.” Daughter number one.
“Hard to afford when you’re a single parent wanting your daughters to succeed,” Daughter number two.
 “You… mean..." I couldn’t bear to think it, let alone say it out aloud. “You manipulated Amy?”
Nestor sighed theatrically with deep shoulder slumps to match. “Don’t look so shocked, Dad. We kids are pretty savvy with how life works.”
I contemplated my daughters' actions and suitably cringed. Who were these girls and where had I gone wrong in their moral upbringing? Deciding Amy had been  nothing more than the victim of teenage foul play, I rang her, offering her my sincere apologies and an invitation for dinner on the following Saturday. Amy accepted. Relief warmed me as I hung up. 
In the nearby distance, I heard the ominous muffle of girlish giggles. And then it hit me! I had been duped by the oldest trick in the book.
Reverse psychology.


You use the first person pov really well. This is a lovely. gentle chapter which takes time to uncover the psychology underneath it.You draw the relationship between the girls really well and you gave all three a part to play. Not easy to do that and the ending is a lovely unexpected segue way.
Again, apologies for pointing out a detail, but in this chapter she is referred to as both Irving and Irvine.