Cindy Jones by Margaret Pearce - Read Online
Cindy Jones
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Cindy Jones has a lot in common with Cinderella. She is about to acquire a nasty stepmother and two step sisters. Except Cindy believes in being constructive about problems. She takes up cooking so her father won’t be so taken in by anyone’s excellent cooking skills. She finds a more suitable young woman to send roses to under her father’s name.

Except, the nice girl selected as a suitable wife has a fiance. One of the stepsisters isn’t really nasty. Cindy fights with her father and he goes to the end of the year dinner dance without her. Her teacher turns up with a jazz age dance dress that belongs to her mother so she goes to the dinner dance unrecognized. The wedding is averted and Cindy discovers that her teacher is a godmother, if not a fairy one and everyone lives happily ever after.

Published: Astraea Press on
ISBN: 9781621350446
List price: $1.99
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Cindy Jones - Margaret Pearce

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Chapter One

It was Cindy's thirteenth birthday, and after her dad, known to all as Professor Jones, gave her the beautifully illustrated biology book, he dropped his bombshell.

Mrs. Barry has agreed to marry me, and she and Constance and Prunella are going to shift in with us.

Cindy was too shocked to speak. Mrs. Barry was chairperson, president, and treasurer of most of the charitable organizations in the district. Her father was often at her place for committee meetings.

Her dad had never said he was looking for a wife before. Especially one as dreadful as Mrs. Barry, who wore furs from real animals and had a nasty tongue as well. She and her father had lived comfortably together since the death of her mother all those years ago.

It will be nice of you to have a mother again, and a proper family, her father explained.

Cindy shuddered at the thought of Mrs. Barry's daughters. They disrupted any classes they were in and could talk only about makeup and boys. She flung into attack.

We haven't any room for them here. Why can't they stay in their own place?

We have six bedrooms, two bathrooms, and four living rooms, her father pointed out. Be more comfortable than us trying to squash into Mrs. Barry's small flat.

There's still no room for them here, Cindy repeated. We use two bedrooms each. The ones on the shady side of the house in the summer, and the sunny ones on the other side of the house in the winter.

Most people can manage with one bedroom each.

You've got all your camping equipment, skin diving gear, and spare fish tanks in one bedroom and your computer stuff in the other.

I'll fit the computer stuff in the study. The camping gear and stuff can be stored in the garage when I clean it out.

What about the terrapins? Cindy asked. You know they weren't happy in the swimming pool?

Nevertheless, the professor said, and the pleasant expression completely faded from his face. Bathrooms weren't designed for terrapins.

And what about poor Horace? Cindy kept on. You know he likes to bathe regularly, and he hates anyone using his bathroom.

I have indulged that mad Siamese cat long enough, the professor said. It's silly for us to have to use the shower in the laundry when we have two perfectly good bathrooms in the house.

You mean Mrs. Barry has decided, Cindy said. Going to evict your tropical fish from the big lounge room? They will die!

As it was the warmest room in the house, the lounge room was filled with fish tanks containing her father's prize collection.

And what about the parlor and your collection of medieval musical instruments? You can't put them in the garage, Cindy reminded him.

Her father looked thoughtful.

And what about the other two sitting rooms stacked full with all your reference books?

Regardless, her father said in his most dignified manner. I am marrying Mrs. Barry, and she and the girls are shifting in to live with us.

How could you do such a thing at your age, Daddy? Cindy stormed.

I'm only forty-five years old, her father argued, looking worried.

How could you? Cindy burst out again as she flung out of the room, slamming the door hard on her way out.

She ran into the back yard and sat by the swimming pool. The water was a dark carpet of leaves blending with the gloom. Six turtles and a family of frogs lived in the pool.

Hooper, the fat Boxer dog, waddled over to sit beside Cindy. He dropped his head into her lap and snuffled.

How could he? Cindy muttered as she stroked his head. Dreadful Mrs. Barry, of all people, and her stupid daughters! Why does he want to get married?

Several ripples broke the surface of the water. The turtles were hungry. Cindy stood up and went into the laundry. She opened the spare refrigerator, took out some minced meat and a carton of milk.

She threw the meat into the pool for the turtles and poured milk into saucers for the possums. Hooper moved back as the opossums arrived. They were irritable and unfriendly. Cindy was the only person they accepted.

People didn't take much notice of Cindy, but all the birds, frogs, reptiles, and other animals liked her. She was small for her age and wore faded jeans, and her shirts and jumpers were usually stained with whatever she had been feeding her various animals. Her mirror always reflected a thin brown cheerful face, half hidden by lank, straight, mousey-blonde hair, and blue eyes.

Cindy brooded about her father's news and Mrs. Barry as she fed the rabbits, cleaned the guinea pigs' cages, and measured out pellets for Amanda the goat.

Mrs. Guinevieve Barry was the widow of the bank manager, who had disappeared on one of his fishing trips. She lived with her two daughters in a unit near the university.

She smiled a lot, but her dark eyes, fringed by darkened lashes, were hard and watchful. Her wardrobe included mink stoles, kangaroo-skin coats, and soft fur muffs. This was enough to make Cindy dislike her without her two daughters.

Cindy was on her last chore for the evening, brushing Horace, the Siamese cat. Her brush strokes slowed as the thought hit her that Mrs. Barry had trapped her father into marriage. Her father was so thick he probably hadn't realized the marriage wasn't his idea in the first place

Yeeah, Horace growled when Cindy's hand stopped moving.

Don't snitch, Cindy said and resumed her brushing.

She suddenly felt more positive. The problem of the threatened takeover of their home and lives by Mrs. Barry and her dreadful daughters had a simple solution. She would stop them from getting married.

After all, she told the purring Horace. It's the right thing to do to protect Dad from himself and his silly ideas.

Chapter Two

The next morning, Cindy studied her father over the breakfast table. He was correcting essays, dripping the occasional spot of tomato soup onto them. His dark hair fell over his face. Under his heavy glasses, his eyes were a friendly blue. Perhaps he wasn't too old to get married, but not to anyone like Mrs. Barry.

He shuffled his essays together and put them into his briefcase. Can I borrow your bike, Cindy? I left my car at the car park last night.

Don't forget to chain it up, Cindy warned. I'll collect the key off Mrs. Merriweather after school.

The university was within walking distance, but her father often borrowed Cindy's bike to ride from one side of the campus to the other. He placed his briefcase in the basket on the bike handlebars and rode off down the drive.

Cindy rinsed the tomato soup from the saucepan and bowls, locked up, and left for school. Prunella and Constance cluttered up the school gate with their friends. Both of them had mobile phones against their ears.

Just a big act, Cindy she thought to herself. They wouldn't have too many friends to talk to anyway.

The professor had offered to buy a mobile phone for Cindy, but she had decided it was unnecessary. The only person she wanted to keep tags on was her father. He either forgot to take his phone with him or didn't remember to charge it up, so there was no need for her to have one.

The two girls giggled when they saw her and