So, a bit of explanation for this scene. In Chapter One, we meet Holly Squires, who is the single mother of Anna, my protagonist. It is established she’s on her way to the dentist that morning. It is also established that her fiancé, Huck Gladden – father of Anna and son of Grandfather Abe – went missing a week after Anna was born, never to be seen again.
Holly doesn’t have a POV in The Elder Throne – or any of the other stories – so writing from her perspective was a new experience for me.
Holly and Huck were soulmates, and she is still not really ‘over’ his disappearance (or the culture shock she got when Abe turned up at her door). She – quite rightly – blames his ‘world’ for her heartbreak, and eleven years of worry. Now her only child is being taken into that world and Holly, being a bit of a ‘Mama Bear’, has a few misgivings…
Holly stared at the wall clock, absentmindedly rolling the pages of an old magazine between her fingers. In another few hours, Abe would turn up at their door and here she was, waiting for her name to be called by Sue, the dentist’s assistant.
You should run, she told herself. You should go and pick Anna up from school right now, and just leave the country. If he can’t find her, he can’t take her there.
Immediately, she vetoed the idea, throwing the magazine down on the table with an audible slap. Sue frowned at her from the desk but Holly paid no attention. There was nowhere she could take Anna that Abe wouldn’t find her. And anyway, she’d agreed, hadn’t she? It was only for the summer. He’d sworn to her it was just for the summer.
Unless something happens. Abe doesn’t even know what happened to Huck, and he was an adult. How can I trust him with my eleven year old?
She pinched her bottom lip between her finger and thumb, pulling at it as she refrained from dashing out of the surgery and driving straight to Bockton Primary.
Maybe she should go with them. She should insist, no matter what Abe said, that Anna wasn’t going unless she went too. She’d already told him that, the first time, and still wasn’t happy with his excuses.
“You won’t last five minutes. Anna is protected by who she is, but all it takes is one person with a grudge against you, Holly. And, considering Janus will be joining us at some point… trust me when I tell you it’s for your own good.”
“Oh, and this Janus won’t be a threat to Anna?”
“No. No one in their right mind would risk going after my granddaughter. But you won’t have that kind of protection over there. You’re safer here.”
“I don’t care. Anna is safer with me.”
“Not there, she isn’t. If you come, no one will be able to see her as one of them. They’ll be focused on you and see her as your daughter, not Huck’s. I can’t have that. Not this first time. She needs to come without you.”
“Then she doesn’t go at all.”
They’d both lost their tempers after that.
Holly jolted back to the present. Sue stood in front of her, hands on her hips.
“I’ve been calling you,” she huffed, wandering back to her desk. “Dr. Harper will see you now.”
“Oh. Oh, right.” Dragging her mind back to where it was meant to be, Holly jumped up, following Sue’s pointed finger into Room 5.
Interestingly, this scene actually leads to a pivotal moment in Holly’s life: when she decides that she should no longer wait around and hope that Huck comes back. Later that day, she accepts a date with Toby Harper, the lovely, incredibly normal dentist who has no idea what’s in store for him. Poor lamb.