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Author's Chapter Notes:
Tomorrow, it will be precisely a year since the original Bonnie died. I thought I would honour the day with an update. She loved dogs, so I put one in.

The holidays went on their merry way. At last, it was Christmas Eve, and time for celebration.

Bonnie had begged, after giving Nanny the photos, to share a room. Consequently, she had been moved to a dark, but cosy little room at the top of a little staircase off the main landing. It was also occupied by a further two adoptees of the Maynards: Connie el Garzia and Ruey Richardson. They were a rowdy crowd, Connie being the exception, and Bonnie quickly found herself at home with them.

She would have been happy, but for Nanny's parting words: they terrified her and crept, unbidden, into her mind whenever she was not thinking about anything else that worried her.

The Mob, as she discovered the children were called, were playing quietly in the nursery when Lise announced her intention of going for a walk. The rest of the First Quads, Trice, Gwen and Geli, and Bonnie, agreed to join her.

The eight were trusted to go alone, and the seven Maynard girls ran up the beautiful, snow-encrusted mountainsides, but Bonnie lagged behind, taking it all in.

She was on her way up the Mondscheinspitze when she heard cries and shouts. Running to catch up with them, she soon deduced the problem.

"Bonnie!" called Trice. "Hurry! Hurry up!"

Bonnie clambered up onto the ledge where they were all balanced, scrabbling at a snowdrift. All at once, the snow slid, and slid, and slid, until there was a mini avalanche and the snowdrift was deposited on the path.

That was when Bonnie saw it. A little brown tail. That must be what all the fuss was about!

"Fetch Mamma!" cried Marie, taken by the moment.

Bonnie nodded, and ran as fast as her short little legs could carry her, all the way back to Die Blumen, and, without taking her boots off, she ran up the stairs to Jo's study, and hammered on the door.

"What is it, Bonnie?" asked Jo, in a slightly irritated tone. "Is it important?"

"Yes, yes, Jo!" cried Bonnie. "It's a little dog, stuck in a snowdrift!"

Jo's whole aspect changed at once. "Come on, then!" she cried. "What are we waiting for?"

The two ran, Jo with coat, hat, scarf and gloves, to the snowdrift. Joey dug her hands in and pulled and pulled so that great chunks of snow came away, her daughters and Bonnie scrabbling away at the snow, but then,she held up a hand for them all to stop digging, and told them that they must go slowly now, to avoid hurting the puppy through the thin layer of snow that remained. Gently scraping off the snow, Joey smiled as she pulled out the traumatised creature, and cuddled it in her arms.

"Aren't you a sweet little thing?" she said to it, as the eight little girls crowded round to look. It was a little Labrador puppy, with chocolate brown fur and mournful dark eyes. One look and that was it. The nine were in love, enthralled at the sweetness and vulnerability of the creature in Jo's arms. Then, Jo snapped out of it, an action brought on by a sad little whimper from the puppy, and said:

"Right. We ought to take this thing to the police station, but it's too far away, and the poor thing might have frozen to death by the time we've got there. We'll take it home, give it a bath and a feed and a nap, and then we'll photograph it and make some posters."

"Posters?" demanded Gwen.

"Yes, my sweetheart, posters. Who knows, it might belong to somebody." Joey ruffled her daughter's hair.

They had begun to walk as Jo had been speaking, and as they trotted along, the puppy suddenly wriggled free of Jo's grasp. Squatting on the ground, the little dog then saw to business of extreme importance to dogs: relieving itself. Its nine rescuers watched it with a mixture of curiosity and disgust.

"Female." said Jo firmly as she scooped the puppy back up again. "Males cock a hind leg." She smiled down at the little dog, who did not seem the slightest bit abashed at having committed such an unladylike act. "I'm glad we know, anyhow. It did seem awfully rude to keep calling her "it"."

The girls nodded, but then Bonnie felt suddenly as though she were being watched, and looked sharply around. There was no-one in sight, and no footprints aside from the ones made by their party. She clung suddenly to Jo's skirt, and that lady looked down at her in surprise.

"Are you alright, Bonnie?" she frowned.

"Yes - everything's rosy." replied the little girl, but Jo noted the quiver in her voice, and the slight trembling of the fist that held a bunch of her coat in such a tight grip. However, she decided that now, with some of the nosier specimens of the family close at hand, was not the time. But Bonnie continued to look feverishly around, feeling the horrible, creeping sensation of hostile eyes trained on her.



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