It has been eight years since Cedric and Anne found Allison. In the meantime, she has grown into a timid child, very intelligent, with a talent for drawing far beyond that of her peers. Aside from that her most distinctive feature is her hair, blonde with a reddish tint to it. Cedric built a small writing desk for her in the back room of the shop where she can sit and draw to her heart’s content. Today Cedric is at his shop looking after Allison who’s out of school. As he’s doing his regular inventory he hears a noise outside and he opens the rear door to find what he first mistakes for a grimy child picking through the garbage.
“Look here,” he says. “What are you doing there?”
The person looks up at him and he realizes it’s not a child, but a small young woman.
“Please sir,” she says, “I didn’t mean to bother you. I was only looking for some scraps to eat.”
“Come a little closer, please. My eyes aren’t what they used to be.”
She approaches him and as he gets a better look at her face a glimmer of recognition hits him. It’s as though he’s looking into Allison’s face as she might look in a few years and he imagines that this could have been her fate if her neglectful parent had kept her.
“What’s your name young lady?” Cedric says softly.
“Vickie, sir,” she says.
“When did you last eat?” he asks.
“Can’t rightly say, sir,” she says. “Been a few days I reckon.”
“Wait here,” Cedric says.
As Cedric returns to the back room, Allison looks up from her drawings and says, “Father, who’s there?”
“Just someone in need of a hand,” he says.
Cedric goes to the cabinet and takes out the parcel containing his lunch. He takes it out to Vickie and gives it to her.
“Sir, you’re being too generous,” she says. “I can’t accept all this.”
“You have no choice, Vickie, because I’m not taking it back,” Cedric says. “Take it, enjoy it, and if you ever get the chance, do a good turn for someone else, all right?”
“I will sir,” Vickie says smiling and curtseying, “and may god look kindly upon you.”
Cedric glances in at Allison then says, “He already has Vickie.”
When he goes back in, Allison says, “Father, why did you give that woman your lunch?”
“Missing one lunch isn’t going to hurt me,” he says patting his stomach. “But what I gave her might just save her life.” He sits by Allison and says, “You never go wrong by helping somebody. You remember that, Allie.”