Another boring day at work was over. Marty Chapman was bored. He’d been bored for years. He worked in a warehouse as a palette truck driver. He’d been there for more than 10 years. The only thing he had to look forward to was seeing Ellie, his only daughter at home in the evening.

His whole life revolved around her. Since his wife and her mother had traded them in for a Spanish Waiter some 8 years earlier, they’d been in it together.

There were some storm clouds on the horizon. Ellie was almost fifteen. Fifteen is a difficult age for any teenage girl and even more for one with no mother to act as a friend and confidant.

The day was not too far away when she’d fly the nest. He was trying to ignore that inevitable day and enjoy every day he had with her.

Ellie was a good girl but her ‘rebel’ hormones had recently kicked in with a vengeance. The once placid girl was becoming a bit of a rebel.

“Dad, it’s the Summer Dance in two weeks. I need a need a dress for it” asked Ellie one night.

“Ok. We can go on Saturday and pick one out” he answered while trying to finish the Fiendish Sudoku puzzle in the daily newspaper.


He looked up.


“I’m not a little girl anymore”

He smiled.

Ellie was in his eyes the most beautiful female on the planet. The reality was that she was a bit of a plain Jane type. A natural blonde like her mother but she had brains. Not the most beautiful girl in her class at school but by no means the ugliest. In the big mix of things, she was the one you’d see but not notice.

“I know that darling”


“Are you saying you want to choose the dress yourself?”


“Don’t you like my advice? Remember that dress you wore to Aunt Dee’s wedding last year. Didn’t you thank me for talking you into that blue dress rather than the pink one”

She looked down at the table.


“And why was my advice so apt?”

“All the other teenagers were in pink. I got noticed. It was cool.”

“Right. So, you want to choose your own dress for the dance. How much are you thinking of asking me for in advance knowing that even if you didn’t spend even half, I’d never see any change?”

“Dad! Please?”

“Believe it or not Ellie, I was once your age. Luckily I didn’t have to agonise over dress styles.”

They both laughed. Marty had donned a dress for the Charity Ball the previous year. He’d won the prize for ‘the most realistic cross dresser’. This was no surprise to him as he’d been doing that in secret since he was 10 years old.

Ellie took hold of her Dad’s hand.

“Look dad. I know you mean well but there comes a time when I’m going to have to do things for myself. I know you mean well but I’m nearly a woman now.”

He smiled back.

“Ok, how about I come along and just pay for the dress like any normal Dad would? No advice. I’m to let you make your own mistakes?”

“Dad!” exclaimed Ellie.

He looked worried for a second.

Then she smiled.


Three hours later and Marty was starting to regret offering to help his daughter buy a dress. He’d lost count of the number of shops they’d visited and the number of dresses she’d tried on. He knew that the second dress in ‘Top Shop’ was the one but he was determined to let her make the decision even if it was the wrong one.

It was close to 5pm when Ellie gave up the search.

“I don’t know. I’m so confused.”

He smiled and motioned a ‘zip’ to his lips.

“Dad! There are times when you are so…. So…. “

“Yeah. I know.”

He laughed.

“The second dress you tried on in TopShop.”

She smiled.

“Thanks Dad. You are a real star.”

“How do I look Dad?” asked Ellie later that night as she demonstrated the dress.
She grinned.

“Very nice dear.”

“Hey, you could at least be a bit more positive.”

He sighed.
“Do you want me to be honest?”

“Dad! When was the last time you weren’t?”

He grinned.

“When I told you that your Mother had gone out for some Fish and Chips”

They both laughed.

‘Ok. Ok”

Then she added.

“I want to impress Ryan so please be honest with me?”

Ryan was the son of a neighbour of theirs. He and Ellie had been friends since they were 5 or 6 years old.

“Ok, so being brutally honest, the dress is fine even if you could do with a little padding in your bra. The shoes are great but honestly, they are far too high for someone of your age but you are going to ignore me anyway so let’s keep them.”

“So, what is it?”

“Your makeup. It looks… so over the top and don’t say that everyone else is wearing it like that. I know from seeing other teenagers in the shops today that they aren’t. Well not like that.”

Ellie went over to the mirror that hung over the fireplace.
“Yeah you are right.” She said sadly.

“It’s all right Ellie. You don’t wear eye makeup every day. It is just a bit more practice that you need. You know the saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’.”

“Dad, I’ve only a few days. The Dance is next Friday.”
“So? Why not practice it then?”

“Ohhh Dad. Sometimes, you are…. So frustrating.”

“Yeah, I know it,” he replied smiling at his daughter. She was becoming more and more like her mother every day.

He became serious for a moment.
“Why don’t you practice on me then?”

Ellie gasped with horror.

“Dad? What do you mean?”

“Practice your makeup on me for a few days. Then try it out on yourself.”

Ellie laughed.

“Hey, I’m only trying to help here!”

When she stopped laughing, she looked at Marty.
“You are serious, aren’t you?”

He nodded.
“If it helps you get a few dates like any normal 15-year-old then yes I am perfectly serious.”

The subject of her dating was a bit of a sore point between them.
“Ellie, you are my only daughter and I want you to be happy. There is someone out there who will be bowled over by your beauty and intelligence.”

“Dad! Stop pulling my leg like that. You know I’m not the most beautiful girl in School.”

“Well, you are to me and at the moment, that’s all that matters.”
“Ok. If you are sure?”

He smiled.
“As long as I don’t end up going to work wearing any makeup I’m cool with it. That is one thing I don’t want to happen. I’d never live the ribbing down.”

For the next few evenings and once all the chores around the house had been done and Ellie’s homework was put to bed, Ellie practiced her virtually non- existent makeup skills on her Fathers face.

“You have really good skin Dad,” commented Ellie as she applied some foundation.

He smiled.
“I suppose it is in the genes. Your skin is pretty good. I think you may escape the perils of Acne like I did.”

Ellie knew that she was lucky there. Some of the girls in her class were afflicted with the devil disease for teenagers and had to use really heavy makeup to hide the spots, scabs and the resulting scars.

With the school dance less than three days away, Ellie migrated to applying the makeup to herself in the evenings. She tried her hardest but she was still struggling with the eye-liner by the time Saturday Evening came around.

“Dad, can you help me with this?” she pleaded less than an hour before the dance was due to start.

He sighed but reluctantly gave into her request.

With a lot of concentration, he managed to apply the liner in the desired thickness and shape.

She closed her eyes to let the liquid liner dry.
Marty took the opportunity to quickly go into his bedroom and collect an item.

When the liner was dry, Ellie stood up and presented herself to him.
“How do I look?”

Marty smiled.
“If you weren’t my daughter and I was 15 again, I’d ask you to the dance myself. If that good enough for you?”

She grinned and gave him a big hug.
“You are the best dad. The best.”

Marty struggled to keep a tear from forming in his eyes.
“Let’s get you off to the dance then. Remember to call when you want picking up”

“Dad! I’m not a little girl anymore”

“No Ellie you are not a little girl. You are a beautiful young woman. That’s why I’m going to worry myself silly until you are home safe.”

“Dad. You…”

“Yes, I do. That is part of being a parent. I only wish your Mother was here to see you now. She’d be very proud of you.”

Ellie looked a bit guilty.

“She knows. I sent her a picture of me from my phone. I told her about all the help you have been giving me.”

Marty went as white as a sheet.
“Dad? What’s wrong”

“Nothing you need be concerned about Ellie. You go and enjoy yourself.”

A very worried Marty dropped his lovely daughter off at the School Dance.

“Now don’t forget to ring me when it’s over.”

“I won’t Dad. Bye”

Then she was gone. Gone to be with her friends. In his heart, he knew he was losing her. This was inevitable with her growing up as fast at teenagers did these days.

When he arrived home, it was with some degree of sadness he opened up his email account on the family computer.

As expected there was an email from Ellie’s mother. He didn’t even try to read the contents. He already knew what it would say.

Part of him wanted to head to the pub and down more than a few pints. The other half of him told him to be sensible as he was going to have to pick Ellie up in a few hours. He couldn’t blame Ellie for the firestorm that was about to hit him. He decided to enjoy what little time he had left with his daughter.

“I really had a good time at the dance last night. Thanks for all the help with everything,” said Ellie as she burst into the kitchen the following morning.

Marty was sitting waiting for her.
“Ellie, take a seat. There are a few things you need to know.”

“Dad! I know all about sex and stuff.”

He managed a slight smile.

“No, it’s not that. It is about me and your Mother and you.”

“Oh her! She couldn’t even be bothered to reply to my picture I sent her last night.”

“She replied all right. To me.”

“Eh? Why? I thought you two weren’t speaking?”
“We speak but only when it concerns you my darling daughter. She emailed me last night while you were out.”

He turned the PC Screen so that she could read the email from her mother.

“You’d better read this first.”

Ellie read the email. She read it again and again.
“What does this mean?”

“It means that very soon you will be going to live in Spain with your Mother and your half sisters. You will be sharing a room with the two of them. As she says, she’s pregnant again.”

“But they won’t speak English. They learn it at school but refuse to speak it when I’m there. Why are you sending me away?”

“I’m not sending you away. It is all your Mother’s doing.”

“I’m not going and that’s final.”

Marty shook his head.

“Ellie, she will be going to court in Spain to make it happen.”

“But why?”

He sighed.

“Because Ellie you told her that I’d helped you with your makeup. That, and a whole load of things that happened before you were born and when you were very young.”

“What sort of things? Why is she swearing at you like that in her email?”

“Because I promised her that I’d not…”

He broke down crying.

“I’d be a normal parent to you.”

“You have. You’ve been and still are the best father a girl could have. All my friends envy me for having you as my Dad. Beverly Tomkins has a crush on you,”
giggled Ellie.

As funny as it might seem, this didn’t amuse Marty.
“It’s no use darling. Your Mother says I’ve reneged on our agreement. That means that I’d best start brushing up on my Spanish if I were you.”

“Well I’m not going. I’ll run away before I go to live with her. All her new kids hate me. Rapha always beats me up whenever I go there and I always get the blame for defending myself. None of her little spoilt brats can do any wrong in her eyes.”

“Now now Elllie. That is no way to talk about your Mother. She may have left us in the lurch like that and even tried to get me to pay maintenance for HIS kids but you are our Daughter. When we divorced we had to agree where you should live. You made it clear that you wanted to stay here with your friends. Your Mother and I came to an agreement that you could stay here provided I abide by certain conditions. It seems that the text you sent her along with that photo is enough for her to claim that I’ve broken that agreement.”

“But my exams? I’ve got my GCSE’s in a few months?”

“She won’t care about that if I know her.”
Ellie was close to crying now.

Marty did as he had done a hundred or more times in the past 10 years gently held his daughter until she stopped crying.

“What is it that you have done that is so wrong?”

This was the question that he’d been dreading.
“That is for your mother to tell you. If she wants to get you to live with her so badly then she should be the one to come clean and tell you everything.”

Ellie was a very smart child.
“Dad, can she force me to go to Spain once I’m 16?”
“I don’t know. We’d have to see a lawyer about that.”

“Then let’s go and see one?”

“Hang on Ellie. This is your mother I’m talking about.”
“Yeah and that lecherous husband of hers tried to grope me last time I was over there on holiday.”

This was a complete surprise to Marty.
“Ellie! Is this true? Don’t just be making this up because you don’t want to go to Spain to live with your Mother?”

“I’m not. I can prove it.”

She leapt up and ran out of the room He heard her footsteps running up the stairs and into her bedroom.

Less than two minutes later, she was back clutching a letter.
“Read this,” said Ellie thrusting it into his hand

Marty reluctantly took it.
The envelope had a Spanish stamp on it. The return address on the back was the place where his ex wife lived with her new family.
Slowly, he took the letter from inside.
Immediately, he knew that this was not his ex wife’s handwriting. It had to be from her husband.

“My dearest Ellie,
I hope that the little incident that happened on your last visit with us will go no further. It was all a misunderstanding. You know that neither I nor your mother would ever harm you. It is our secret.
Please visit again soon. This time bring your bathing costume with you,
Lots of love

“He sent that to me. When I went last summer, I forgot my swimsuit. Mum told me to borrow hers. I was in their bedroom changing when he walked in on me. I was naked. He came up to me and….”

Ellie broke down sobbing.

“Don’t say any more darling,” said Marty.
He put the letter down and hugged Ellie once again.

A little later, Marty took the letter and put it back in the envelope.
“I’d better keep this safe for now”.

Then he looked at his daughter.
“I’m going to fight her all the way on this. You have given me the reason to fight to keep you here.”

He smiled at her. Ellie smiled back at him through weepy red eyes.

“Why don’t you go to bed not after you have emailed your Mother and asked her what I have done wrong. Give her 24 hours to respond. If she does not tell you by this time tomorrow night, then I’ll tell you.”

“Thanks Dad”
He gently kissed her forehead.

After she’d gone upstairs, Marty sat for a long time trying to plan how he could keep his daughter safe.

The following evening, Ellie’s Mother had not responded in the way they’d expected.

A vitriolic email had arrived for him telling him to put ‘her daughter’ on the next plane to Spain and that if he didn’t horrible things would happen to his genitals.

The language in the email was so horrible that he decided not to show it to Ellie. Instead he forwarded it to his Lawyer with a covering explanation.

“Dad, Mum hasn’t replied,” exclaimed Ellie when she checked her email that evening.
“No. I know. She emailed me.”

“Can I see it?”

“No Ellie, I’m afraid not. She said a lot of really horrible things about me and made a load of threats. I’ve sent it to my Lawyers. It is best that you don’t see it.”
Ellie gave him a weird look.
“Do you mean this one?”

She opened up another screen on the PC. There in all its gory details was the email from her Mother.

“How? How did you read this?”

“I’m sorry Dad. I’ve hacked your email account. It was so easy on Windows; a child could do it. Outlook is not called ‘Lookout, a pirate’s about’ for nothing’. Remember I tried to get you to switch to something else last year?”

He remembered only too well.

“Mum’s pretty angry with you, isn’t she?”
He nodded.

Ellie reached over the table and took her father’s hand.

“She’s not going to win.”
He shook his head.
“I signed this agreement with her over you.”

“Are you going to tell me this dark secret or do I have to wring it out of you?”
He tried to laugh but failed.

“I liked to wear women’s clothes. Her clothes. Her shoes. Her makeup.”


“Is that all you have to say. Oh!”

Ellie now was trying to stop her self from laughing.

“This is not a funny matter.”
“It … it is hilarious”

Marty sat there not finding this at all funny.

“Dad. It’s all right. I knew about it. I found some pictures up in the loft. There was a dress there as well. It had your smell on it.”

“My smell?”

“Your BO.”

“Oh. I see” he said sadly.

She reached over and held his hand once again.

“It’s ok Dad. I’m cool with it. It’s her who has a problem. You’ve been the best parent I could ever wish for.”

“And you still are.”

“There is the problem of your Mother. She’s probably on a plane here as we speak. Coming here to get you.”

“Because she thinks I took you from her when it was her who left us.”

“After she found out about your little hobby” added Ellie grinning from ear to ear.

Marty shook his head.

“I’m pretty sure that she was already in love with him. Two ‘hen’ weekends in a matter of Months going to the same destination is probably a sign. At the time, it was not obvious but what with you breaking your arm when you came off your bike on the way home from school. She went off to Spain leaving you in A&E waiting for me. That’s how much she cares for you.”

“Besides, my wanting to dress in her clothes well, that was just the final straw. If it wasn’t that, it would have been something else. That’s for sure. I realised that soon after she’d left us.”

Then Marty said,
“You aren’t going to school tomorrow. We have a date with the Court.”

“What’s wrong dad?”

“I’m trying to keep you here. You will have to make a statement. Just tell the truth. Don’t embellish things. Just the truth.”

Ellie looked at the concern that was showing on her father face.

“I will dad, I promise.”

Ellie’s Mother actually appeared on the scene at the end of the week.
Her first for her daughter words when she was admitted to the house were,
“Get you bags packed. We are leaving for Spain this afternoon”.

Then she glared at Marty.

“You aren’t going to spend another minute with this no-good pervert.”

“No Mum. I’m not going anywhere with you”

“Yes, you are young lady. Your father and I had an agreement.”

“You might have. But my single parent Father helping his teenage daughter with her makeup is hardly perverted. I’m sure you would be helping her yourself if you hadn’t gone of with your toy-boy.”

The last remark was very deliberate. It was intended to give her a little dig. Her new man was 10 years her junior.

What he didn’t expect was her Mother’s reaction.

She slapped him very hard around the face. Then she followed up with fists.
She laid into him with all she had. Fists and feet were flying. Marty did as he had done many times before, curled up in a ball.

Ellie tried to stop her mother as she aimed a series of kicks from her sharply pointed shoes ad his body.

She wrestled her mother away.
“Stop that.”

“Leave me alone. This is between me and him,” cried her mother.

Ellie was not going to be deterred.

She literally pulled her mother’s almost peroxide blonde hair as hard as she could.
In a reaction, her mother lashed out at Ellie hitting her in the face.
Ellie went down crying. She fell alongside Marty who was starting to stand-up.

Then Josie realise what she’d done.
She bent down to pick Ellie up.

“I’m so sorry darling. Let Mummy kiss it better.”

“Fuck off. I’m not your little darling. You hit me. That means…”

Josie hit her again.
“Stop your whining. Bitch.”

She grabbed Ellie by the hand and dragged her out of the door and into the street.

A car was waiting outside the house for them. Josie bundled Ellie into the back of the car and it took off just as Marty came stumbling out of the house.

“Ellie!” he shouted in desperation. All he could see was her face looking back at him as the car sped away.

With tears in his eyes, Marty went back into the house. He picked up the phone and dialled ‘999’.

“Police and hurry. My daughter’s been kidnapped.”

“Yes. 46 Pitford Road, Woodfield.”

“I’ll hold but please hurry.”

A few seconds later another voice came on the line

“Yes. Martin Jones. My daughter has just been kidnapped from our home.”

“Yes. I know who did it. It was her Mother.”

“No. I’m not overreacting. I have custody and my daughter is a Ward of Court, just to try to prevent this very thing from happening. The order was granted only two days ago.”

“I expect she’ll be taking her to the Airport, Gatwick most likely. She lives in Spain.”

“Her Passport? I have it in my safe.”

“Thank you. I’ll expect you soon.”

He put the phone down and surveyed the damage in the kitchen.
One chair was broken beyond repair. Crockery was lying broken on the floor.
For a second Marty debated cleaning it up but a trickle of blood seeped down his forehead and into his eye.

That was far more urgent.

He’d just about stopped the bleeding when there was a knock at the door.
He could see what looked like a couple of men outside through the frosted glass.

“Hello,” he said when he opened the door.
“Mr Jones? DCI Smith and DC Chapman. May we come in?”

DC Chapman was a stunning black haired woman in her late 20’s. DCI Smith was much older and had a little grey hair left on an otherwise bald head.

“Please come in. Excuse the mess, there was a little altercation”

“She used force?” asked DC Chapman.

“Yes, and lots of it. So, did her new Husband. She even hit Ellie.”

He led them into the dining room.

“Officers, please take a seat.”

The three of them took a seat.
“Mr Jones, do you need some medical treatment?” asked the DCI.
He gave them a slight smile.

“There will be plenty of time for that when Ellie is back home safe.”

The two officers looked at each other strangely.

“Mr Jones, you said that your daughter is a Ward of Court. Can you explain this please?”


Marty opened a folder lying on the table.
He handed it to the DCI.

“This is the court order. It was granted in the High Court Family Division two days ago.”

He paused.

“As you can see it prohibits my ex Wife from forcibly or otherwise from removing my Daughter from this country without the permission of the Court. It is clear and un-ambiguous. Ellie has been Kidnapped and will be taken out of this country in clear violation of this Order.”

The DCI read the order twice.
“Well, My Jones, I have to say that the evidence in front of me indicates that you took quite a beating. Did you retaliate in any way?”

“No Detective Chief Inspector. Over the years I learned that to fight back was the wrong thing to do. I have had a number of broken bones to show for the times I retaliated… Before she left me and moved to Spain with her new man.”

“I take it that there is bad blood between the two of you?”

“Yes. She fought tooth and nail for get Custody of Ellie. She even accused me of wife beating. Yet it was her that did all the punching and kicking.”

Marty gave them a little smile.

“Funny that. If a man beats his wife, then it is usually his wife is the one to be admitted to hospital not the other way around. I had the records of three trips to A&E [1] with injuries inflicted by her to back my case up.”

“Does your daughter Ellie know about all this?”

Marty looked very sad.
“Yes. She saw a lot of it. She couldn’t understand why mummy kept hitting daddy. It all came out in the Divorce but naturally all that is a sealed record.”

Then he added,
“Ellie tried to stop her Mother from attacking me earlier. Ellie received several blows from her Mother as a result.”

The DCI decided to change tack.
“Where do you think she will be taking your Daughter?”

“To her place in Spain. She has a husband and four children by him. It is natural for her to take Ellie to Spain.”

The DCI looked at his watch.

“I’d better get an alert out to all Ports and Airports. We need to stop Ellie from leaving the country. Then we can let the courts decide what happened here today.”

“Inspector. Can you hold on a minute? You need to take something with you.”
“Yes. What is it?”

“A recording of my ex wife attacking me and Ellie here today.”

Marty went into the hallway and opened the cupboard under the stairs. He soon returned with a DVD in a case.

“Exactly how did you get this?” asked the DCI.

“It was installed when my wife still lived here. I used it to record her violence to me then just as I did now. I never removed it”.

“Thank you for the evidence Mr Jones. We will be in touch.”

Marty looked at him.
“That sounds so final. You don’t hold out much hope in finding her then?”

“No Sir. That is not what I mean. Not at all. It is just that your ex wife seems to be one determined woman. It would not surprise me that she is already trying to leave the country. If we miss her it may be some time before the legal system can get her safely back here. I just want you to be aware of those possibilities.”

“Thank you for being honest with me Detective Chief Inspector. I know my ex and your assement may well turn out to be correct. Ellie is a strong girl. She will be 16 in a couple of months. Then she can come home without her Mother being able to stop her”

The DCI shook his head.
“I’m afraid not sir. The laws in Spain would let her keep Ellie there until she’s turned 18. The legal process of using the British ward of court to get her returned could easily take two years. The Spanish have a thing about daughters being better off with their Mothers.”

This was not good news.

Marty felt that he should use this somewhat downbeat moment to tell them why this is all going on.

“You should know why my ex wife hates me so much and why she’s gone to the lengths she has to take my daughter away from me. I’m a Transvestite. Because of that, Josie thinks that I am the devil incarnate. Something happened in our relationship. At first, she didn’t mind as long as I dressed up when she wasn’t here or in front of the baby. Then suddenly, I was evil, a freak, someone who should be destroyed at all costs.”

His candid description obviously shocked the two police officers.

DC Chapman was the first to recover.

“Does Ellie know about this?”
Marty nodded his head.

“Yes. I told her when she started asking questions for the real reason why we got divorced. I made a promise in the Divorce Court. That was not to ‘dress up’ until Ellie was 16. I have honoured that promise faithfully. Ellie is cool with that. If anything, it has made us closer. Perhaps that is why Josie has totally… gone mad.”

The two Police Officers soon departed to get the hunt for Ellie underway.

Marty was left at home anxiously waiting for news, any news about Ellie.

Some two hours later DC Chapman returned.

“Is there any news?” he asked eagerly as he saw her standing in the door.
“I’m afraid not. I’m here to stay with you. I’m your Police Liaison Officer so I’m here for the duration.”

This surprised Marty.
“Oh! I see, you’d better come in then.”

They ended up in the kitchen.
She smiled.

“It’s usually me that has to do that.”

“It gives me something to do while I wait.”

“While we wait. As I said, I’m here for the duration. Normally, it is a grieving wife that I have to comfort so that’s why I get these jobs. Apparently, I am good at ‘empathy’.”

Marty smiled at her.

“I don’t really fit that pattern now do I? Milk? Sugar?”

She grinned back.

“Just Milk please.”

He poured them each a cup of tea and they adjourned to the sitting room.

There was an awkward silence for a few minutes.
“Marty? May I call you Marty?” she asked.

“Please do,” he replied with a smile on his face.

She smiled.
“I’m Linda by the way.”

She continued.

“I watched that Video. It was horrific. I can’t understand why you didn’t fight back.”

Somewhat reluctantly, Marty answered.

“I gave up fighting her years ago. She made it perfectly clear that if I ever laid one finger on her, I’d be branded a wife beater in all the tabloids. You must realise that she became very… vindictive once Ellie was born. She blamed me for her getting pregnant when she did. I was made to blame for it ruining her acting career. She never really took to Ellie. In the end, I gave up work to look after her while she got on with her Career such as it was.”

“That is very sad.”

He shook his head.

“Oh, it was fine for a while but she found it very hard to get even small bit parts. She took out her frustration on me. I knew that if I’d even retaliated once, I’d lose Josie for ever. So, I didn’t. In the end, even that didn’t work. She went off to Spain supposedly on a couple of ‘hen party’ weekends. There she met her current husband. We got divorced and I got custody of Ellie. We’ve lived here ever since.”

“Does Ellie have regular contact with her Mother?”

“Oh yes. She visits her once a year. She hates it as they only speak Spanish to each other despite the children speaking perfectly good English. Ellie can’t wait until she is old enough not to have to visit them ever again.”

“Didn’t she try to lean Spanish?”
“Her school does not teach Spanish and I can’t afford to send her for private lessons as well as paying her mother maintenance. I did try to get her mother to pay but that was ignored.”

“I thought you said that she’s married again. Surely the maintenance would stop when she did?”

“They aren’t married. She knows that if they did she’d lose 25% of everything I earn. They are a married couple in all but name.”

“You should have challenged it in court?”

“Pah. Fucking bloodsucking lawyers. How on earth can I afford to go back to court. I’m still paying off the one that did the divorce and that was six years ago. I even had to pay her legal costs because she claimed she had no money yet she turned up to court everyday in a brand-new designer outfit and paraded it for the Press.”

She dropped the matter like the proverbial hot cake.

“Did she give any clue as to where she was taking Ellie?”

“No, none at all but as they say ’all roads read to Rome’, in this case it is Spain. An anonymous apartment block in Malaga to be exact. Quite how she intends to get there is the £50,000 question.”
“But you have her passport?”

“And how easy is it to get a forged passport these days?”

She didn’t answer.

They sat down and drank their tea.

It was almost Midnight when the DC’s Phone rang.
“Hi Guv. Any news?”

“They were? Where?”

“I see. That old?”
“Tomorrow. Yes, I understand.”
“I will. Yes. Goodnight.”

She hung-up the phone with a smile on her face.

“We’ve found Ellie. Apparently, she legged it out of the car as her mother tried to drive the car onto a Ferry in Swansea.”


“According to my boss, her mother had an Irish Passport in Ellie’s name.”

“Irish? I get it now. Ellie’s Grandmother was born in Galway. That means she qualifies for an Irish Passport.”

“Apparently, the passport was issued more than a year ago,” said Linda.

“But you don’t need a passport to go to Ireland?”

“Apparently, she tried to show the Passports not knowing that. When she did, Ellie took her chance and crawled out of the car window and ran to a dockyard worker.”

He grinned. That was his daughter through and through.

“My Boss said that they had detained your Ex-wife and she’ll be transferred back here tomorrow. Ellie is staying in Swansea overnight as well.”

Marty thought for a moment before saying,
“It looks like this whole thing was pre-planned? With that passport and stuff.”

“Possibly. We won’t know until she is interviewed. It could be that Ellie’s mother had the passport for this very moment.”

Marty nodded his head.

Then he broke out in a smile.

“I think that good news deserves a drink. Can I interest you in one?”

Linda smiled.

“I think I can have one,” she said looking at her watch.
“I’m off duty now that we have had the good news.”

A Police Car drew up outside the house just after lunchtime the following day. It had hardly stopped when the back door opened and Ellie leapt out and ran up the garden path.

Marty came out of the house with a beaming smile on his face. The two of them hugged each other for several seconds. As they did so, several of the neighbours who come out of their houses started clapping.

“Welcome home darling,” said a beaming Marty.

“It was so horrid Dad. Mum was talking about killing you.”

“Shhh. Ellie. It does not matter now. She’s going nowhere apart from Jail.”

They hugged each other again.

[Epilogue - Seven Months Later]

Marty and Ellie were present in court when the jury returned its verdict.

As the verdict was read out Ellie squeezed her Father’s hand.

She sat watched her mother being ‘taken down’ with a straight face. When the door had closed behind her mother Ellie turned to her father and whispered,
“Can we go home now?”

“Yes, we can,” replied Marty.

“Will the ‘she’ be coming out to play now?”

Marty grinned back at his daughter.

“I think so… Well if that is ok by you? After all, how many teenage girls would rather their parents went on a one-way trip to planet Zog and never returned. Are you sure you can handle a father who from time to time likes to wear clothes of the other sex?”

“I’m sure and I’m not ready to join the ‘whatever’ club just yet.”

That was a standing joke between them.

“But are you going to show your other side only to me?”

Marty grinned.

“Linda would like to come to visit tonight… and stay if you don’t mind?”

“Of course, I don’t mind but WE are going to have to do something about your hair. It is a real mess!”

The two of them burst out laughing as they left court to start a new life together.

[The End]

[1] A&E is the UK Name for the 'Accident and Emergency' department of a Hospital.

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