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Madeleine Sudlow

I ran downstairs, the smell of bacon rising up the hall. Wednesday. The day Dad cooked a full English. I scooted into the kitchen and skidded to a stop.

Official papers lay on the table. Dad’s computer sat on the side; the web page open at: The Hart Pub Weddings. This was also the day before my life turned upside down.

“Morning Katie. Got your school bag?”

“Yeah,” I said. I wished it was Friday.

Mum and Dad divorced when I was three, and I had lived with Dad since I was six.

Eight years of peace, and now: Dad was getting married again. Tomorrow. The worst nightmare of my life was coming true. On the occasions I had met this woman (future Step-Mother) she had seemed OK. But still, never trust appearances.

I ate my breakfast quickly and was silent on my way to school. I would get a day off, that seemed to be the only good thing about this venture. I sat through my classes and sucked my pen. At break my friend Mary asked me what was wrong. I told her. Her mum has a string of boyfriends, and Mary understood.

That night, homework complete, Dad asked me what I would like to do on our last evening alone. On Friday I would go and stay at Gran’s while Dad was on his honeymoon with the S-M.
(Mum died of breast cancer 3 years ago).

We curled up on the sofa with mugs of hot chocolate and giant cookies Dad bought on his way home from work. We watched Netflix until late, then I went to bed.

Tomorrow I would be getting a Stepmother (the dreaded S-M). I finally fell asleep.

I awoke next morning, stretched, and smiled at the beautiful day, imagining the fun Mary and I would have at break. Then my sub-conscious brain dropped a bombshell. I remembered everything.

Dad poked his head around my door. He looked nervous.

“Morning Katie, could you please do my tie?”

I obliged. “Get ready, Katie,” Dad smiled at me.

I nodded and shut the door.

The dress the S-M had chosen for me was a pretty green affair which went rather well with my auburn curls. I had a wreath of roses for my hair, and smart black shoes.

We reached the venue and went inside. I had to wait for the S-M while Dad talked to the registrar.
The S-M has a daughter who would also be a bridesmaid.

A white Mercedes swept around the corner. They had arrived.
The vows went smoothly, and the reception the same. The S-M came and found me after the ceremony.

“Thank you, Katie,” she said kindly.

I inclined my head, my mouth full of cake.

“Your father told me you didn’t want a step-mother. I don’t want to take your mum’s place, but I would like you to accept me.”

Looking back, a year on, Emily isn’t that bad. To be fair, having a step-mother is rather nice.