Miss Polly had a Dolly (Emma Frost #2)Willow Rose
HAD A DOLLY
Emma Frost #2
by Willow Rose
Copyright Willow Rose 2013
Published by Jan Sigetty Boeje
All Rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Jan Sigetty Boeje
Special thanks to my editor Todd Barselow
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Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick.
So she phoned for the doctor to be quick, quick, quick.
The doctor came with his bag and his hat
And he knocked at the door with a rat-a-tat-tat.
He looked at the dolly and he shook his head
And he said “Miss Polly, put her straight to bed!”
He wrote on a paper for a pill, pill, pill
“I’ll be back in the morning with my bill, bill, bill.”
Miss Polly loved her dolly. That's what she called her. My Baby Doll. Because her beautiful daughter looked just like a doll with her blue sparkling eyes and long blonde hair. And Miss Polly loved to dress her up, just like she was a small doll. She had done it ever since the child was born, but now that she had turned six years of age, she was beginning to resent her mother for doing so.
"I don't want to wear that dress, Mommy," she would say. "I want to wear pants like the other girls."
Pretty dresses weren’t currently in style among little girls, and Miss Polly knew she soon faced the end of an era where she was able to decide what her daughter should wear. It wouldn't be long before her rapidly maturing daughter demanded to decide on her own. Miss Polly knew that and therefore she tried to enjoy it while it lasted. This morning she put three different dresses on her little girl and took pictures of her in all of them. Each outfit complete with matching headbands, of course.
"The light blue one is the prettiest," she said and looked at her gorgeous daughter.
Miss Polly had never been beautiful or even remotely pretty as a child, and her own mother hadn't cared about anything other than teaching Miss Polly how to cook so she could be sent away as a maiden at the tender age of thirteen.
So that was her excuse for dressing up her baby girl every day, even if it was only to take her to the playground, like today, and show her off to all of the other mothers.
"You ready?" she asked and put on her hat.
Her daughter appeared behind her. Miss Polly couldn't help but smile when she saw her. She walked to her and set her dress straight and then washed a small smudge off her face by licking her thumb and carefully wiping at it.
"Now there. I think we're ready."
Miss Polly opened the door and let her daughter walk out first. Then they started parading down their street hand in hand, enjoying the many looks from neighbors and by passers whose eyes always smiled when they landed on the little girl. Miss Polly could see in them how beautiful they thought her daughter was and felt a thrilling sensation of pure joy in her stomach.
Her little angel of a doll had given her many hours of that kind of joy ever since she had come into her life. The father they never spoke of. Miss Polly had told her to never ask about him, since he wasn't important to either of them any longer. The fact was that he had run off as soon as Miss Polly had told about the baby. At first he had told her that he wanted her to take care of it, to terminate the pregnancy, but Miss Polly had refused that with a snort. At age thirty-seven she knew this might very well be her last chance to have a child.
"Then I don't want anything to do with it," he had said angrily.
"You don't have to," Miss Polly had answered. "We don't need you or any other man for that matter."
Then he got up from the kitchen table in the small apartment that she had rented back then and left. She hadn’t heard from him since, and she hoped she never would. They were doing fine on their own, her and her angelic little girl. No need for a third party to ruin the fun.
"Three is a crowd," Miss Polly always said. And it was so true.
When they reached the playground she felt the other women's jealous eyes on her daughter. Miss Polly kneeled in front of her and held her hands in hers.
"Now remember, no getting dirty in there. You're wearing your prettiest dress. Pretty girls don't get dirty. Don't you forget that, my child."
"But the other children..."
"You're not like those other children, sweetheart. You're very special. Some day the entire world is going to admire your beauty and when they do, you'll be prepared for it. Let them look at you, but don't let them get too close."
"But how am I going to play if I can't get dirty or get close to the other kids?" her daughter said with a petulant whine.
"No. No. Pretty girls don't whine, either, my lovely. Or frown for that matter. And don't crinkle your nose like that. It's not becoming. You'll end up getting wrinkles at an early age. Remember, it's all about keeping up appearances, Baby Doll. Now go."
Miss Polly drew in a satisfied breath and looked on as her daughter walked towards the playground in her ballerina shoes, taking small feminine steps just like she had taught her to.
"This book is based on events that happened to me and my family last year. It is the true story of those events in my own words."
I looked down at the cover of my book, Itsy Bitsy Spider, then out on the crowd gathered in front of me. All eyes were on me, expecting me to entertain them, explain to them what really happened and if it really could be true? That was the question I got the most at these book signings. People found it hard to believe that all this really had taken place, that all this could have happened to one person, one family.
But it did. None of us had forgotten what happened only six months ago when we were all almost killed by Fanoe Island's first serial killer and now I had written a book about it. Only a month after it had hit the stores, it had become a national bestseller much to my surprise. Everybody loved the story and even if the critics hated it, I was selling a lot of books around the country.
I opened the front cover and started reading out loud. I had been all over the country in the last month doing book signings, but this was a special one for me. This took place at the local bookstore in downtown Nordbo, the town that had become my hometown after my grandmother died and left me her house. I started reading out loud, thinking about my dad who had promised me he would come to hear me today but hadn't arrived just yet, much to my disappointment. Well, he knew the story the book was based on a little too well, so maybe he would peek in later.
I spotted my son Victor and my daughter Maya in the crowd. Victor didn't seem to enjoy being in the crowd too much. He suffered from a form of light autism that the doctors couldn't quite place or put a diagnosis on, but being in a crowd was among the things he didn't cope with too well. My daughter Maya didn't look too pleased, either. On our way down here she had explained to me that she found it so embarrassing that her mom was on a poster outside the bookstore and even worse that I was going to be talking about our fam
ily and what had happened. She hated the fact that I had written a book with her in it and even more that everybody in the country seemed to have read it.
"It's so embarrassing, Mom," she had told me when I told her what the book was about. "Everybody is going to know all kinds of stupid things about us. Why exactly do you feel the need to tell them all these things about our family?"
"Because I'm a writer, that’s why. It's a great story and I need to tell it."
I had changed the names, but still she had never forgiven me for writing it. Not even when I told her that with the advance we got I would be able to buy her a new iPad. She had never been easy to bribe, unfortunately for me.
I read out loud from the first chapter of the book that I was so proud of. I glanced up at the audience in between paragraphs. As I did, I spotted Jack, one of my neighbors from across the road and couldn't help but smile seeing him in the crowd. My friend Sophia, who also lived across the road from me, was standing next to him, trying hard to hear me read while two of her kids pulled her arms. She was carrying her newborn in a sling on her front. She looked exhausted, but smiled anyway, which I thought was quite the accomplishment having six kids and being alone with all of them.
I finished the reading then looked out at the many people that had come to hear me. Then I smiled and nodded and received my applause. It was mostly tourists I noticed, but that was no surprise to me, since not many people from the island had liked the idea of me publishing this book. I was constantly receiving remarks, especially from church people that felt they were being put on display in my book, which I admitted they were, but frankly that wasn't my fault. They had done some horrible things in the past and some of them had paid for it with their lives. That was the story and I couldn't change it.
"Now, I'll do book signings over by the table," I said and moved over to the corner where the nice lady named Isabella Petersen who owned the store had put up a table and a chair. She was the first and only bookstore owner on the island who had dared to agree to a book signing by me and I was very thankful to her for that. I had asked my dad to bring her a basket of flowers and wine as a way of showing my gratefulness, so I was getting anxious now that he wasn't going to make it.
A line formed in front of the table and I started signing the books one by one.
"Who is it for?" I asked.
"Me. My name is Alice."
"Okay, Alice," I said and signed the book To Alice, hope you'll enjoy your reading. Best, Emma Frost.
After signing about fifty or so, I finally heard my dad's voice behind me. He was out of breath when he spoke.
"Got the basket. I added some chocolate, I heard she likes that," he said and put the basket down next to me. It was nicely wrapped in cellophane. It was perfect.
"Where did you hear that?" I asked, thinking that it didn't matter, all women liked chocolate, right?
Another reader put her book on the table in front of me.
"Sign it to Gerda," she said with a German accent.
"My new girlfriend told me."
"Your what?" I stopped signing and looked up at my dad who was standing next to me and now I realized he was flanked by a middle-aged woman with very red hair.
"Emma, meet Helle. Helle, this is Emma."
Nina heard the ice cream truck from far away. She turned to look in the direction of the sound, but none of the other kids seemed to hear it. She looked in between the houses nearby to see if she could spot it.
Oh how she would like to get an ice cream for once. Nina looked in her mother’s direction. She was sitting on a bench smiling while keeping an eye on Nina making sure she didn't get dirty or behave in an unsuitable way for a young girl.
Nina snorted. She was so sick and tired of having to act in a certain way and dress the way her mother directed her to. It took forever every morning for her mother to pick the right dress. When would she get it through her head that Nina didn't care about those things? Nina wanted to be able to play and get dirty like the rest of the kids. She liked wearing pants and a t-shirt and dreamed of the day she’d be able to convince her mother to buy her a pair of jeans. Nina sighed and smiled at her mother. No, that would probably never happen.
"Little girls should have long hair and wear pretty dresses," her mother always said whenever Nina dared bring up the subject.
Her mother could spend hours just brushing Nina's hair before bedtime. "A hundred strokes a day makes your hair beautiful."
Oh how Nina loathed it when she called her beautiful or pretty. So many times she had wished that she wasn't pretty, that she could just look ordinary like the other kids. She had even once tried to cut her hair off, thinking that if she didn't look pretty then her mother would get off her back.
But her mother had caught her in the bathroom after she had cut off the first piece of the hair.
"What are you doing to yourself!" She could still hear her yelling. And the yelling didn't stop for days. Every time she saw Nina she would start in again. "How dare you. You are blessed with such beautiful hair. Do you know how many small girls would die to have what you have, well do you? You should be grateful that God has given you such a gift. You should cherish it and honor it. Aren't you glad that you're not ugly like those other children?"
"I want to be ugly, Mom. I don't like being pretty!" she had said and run off to her room.
That didn't go down so well with her mother. The next week Nina wasn't allowed to go outside or watch any of her favorite TV shows or even read the magazines that her mother had bought for her, with pretty little girls on the front covers. Not that Nina cared much about them, though. To be honest, she found them to be stupid. Nina had on several occasions asked her mother to bring her magazines with horses or tigers which were the things she was really interested in, but her mother wouldn't hear of it, of course.
Since then Nina hadn't attempted to cut her hair again. She did however dream of the day when she got to decide for herself what to wear and what to look like. When that day came, she was determined that she was never going to wear dresses again. Ever. Her mother would be devastated, but Nina didn't care. She had gotten her way while Nina was young, sooner or later Nina would get her way, as well—whether the mother liked it or not.
A boy approached Nina on the playground with a smile. "Do you want to play?"
Nina shook her head then looked in the direction of her mother. She was shaking her head as well and signaling Nina to let him admire you, but don’t let him come too close.
"No. I'm sorry. I can't," she said. "I'm not allowed to."
The boy shrugged. "Why did you come to a playground, then?"
"To be seen," Nina said putting her nose in the sky the way her mother always wanted her to. "At least that's what my mom calls it."
The boy shrugged again. Nina looked down at her shiny ballerina shoes. A touch of sand had landed on the top of them. Nina gasped knowing how angry mother would be if she noticed, then she bent down and wiped it off. When she raised her head and looked at her mother, she noticed that she was staring at her. Nina smiled to show everything was fine and her mother's shoulders came down. Nina looked down at her dolly in her hand. Little Miss Jasmine, they called her. Nina hated that dolly. It had blue eyes just like she did and wore a pretty dress. Nina suddenly felt like throwing it far away.
The ice cream truck rang its bell again. Nina looked up and spotted it on a neighboring street. She looked over at her mother and wondered if she dared to ask her for ice cream once again.
No, not after what happened the last time.
Nina's mother didn't let her have ice cream—or anything else she considered unhealthy—since she needed to watch her weight and maintain a healthy complexion. Apparently that was very important in life. Her mother had never taken care of herself and see what she looked like now?
Nina didn't care. She thought her mother looked fine. She had considered cutting her face, scaring the cheeks once, to ge
t her mother off her back, but she wasn't allowed to play with knives or scissors ever since that incident with her hair.
The bell rang again and Nina was getting hungry. She was sick of having salads for lunch and never having any dessert. She wanted ice cream and candy like normal kids. Nina looked at her mother again and noticed that another woman had approached her and they were now talking.
"Probably talking about me, how adorable I look," she mumbled to herself bitterly, thinking that would be the only reason for her mother to want to talk to any stranger that approached her.
Nina looked in the direction of the ice cream truck again, then made her decision. On her way across the lawn she dropped Little Miss Jasmine and never cared enough to go back and look for her.
Nina stormed in between the houses and ended up in a small street. She spotted the ice cream truck a little further down the road and ran towards it. It had stopped and was ringing its bell. Nina was out of breath when she caught up with it. A woman stuck her face out and smiled.
"Hi there you pretty little thing. Would you like some ice cream?"
Nina wasn't supposed to talk to strangers so instead she just nodded.
"Look at the sheet and see if there is anything you'd like," the lady said and blew a bubble with her gum.
Nina pointed at the biggest one with most chocolate on it.
"Ah, that one, huh? Nice choice," the lady said. Then she disappeared for a while and came back and handed Nina the nicely wrapped ice cream. The golden wrapping was sparkling in the sun. It had a picture of the ice cream on the outside of it. Nina couldn't remember ever feeling happier than in that moment.
"That'll be ten kroner," the lady said.
At once Nina froze. Money. She hadn't thought about money. She felt how the blood left her body when she realized that the dream of ever tasting this small piece of heaven was still as far away as it had always been.