Authors: Janey Louise Jones
“Hmmm, I think we should talk to people in the town and see whether they can shed any light on this,” said Rose's dad.
Granny Bumble thought this was way too complicated. “Why not just wait? The truth will come out all by itself. I'm sure Lilac's father knows what's going on. He can't stay
silent about this â he's a respected member of the community. I saw him last night when our girls were performing their song on the balcony. He was out for a stroll on the beach with his dog. He even stopped to listen and gave a wave.”
Daisy's brother, Edward, nodded in agreement. “I saw him too!”
“Is that so?” asked Grandpa. “Well, I think my old friend the Colonel might know more about this than he's letting on too.
He was with me when I heard Lilac and the Mermaids singing their dire song in the cave. But he can't see any wrong in that girl.”
“That's all very well,” replied Lily's mum,
“but we don't have much time. I think we should see whether they can re-enter the competition with a different song.”
There was a mixture of reactions to all these ideas, but most people thought the only quick way round the problem was for the girls to get started on a new song right away.
“In the morning I'll check that you're still allowed to perform with a new song, girls,” promised Dad. “And you'll have to get your heads together and come up with one as soon as possible. I know you can do it, you're all so talented. And of course, if we can get the judges to see the truth before Saturday, then you can still sing
Chocolate Sundae Girls
Poppy had rarely seen her dad so bossy. He was
to find a way through for his princess and her friends.
THE NEXT DAY
was Thursday and the week that had started so joyously was rapidly going downhill.
After breakfast Dad and Grandpa went over to the Farringtons' house to discuss things with Lilac and her dad. They rang the bell nervously. They were both desperate to sort things out and protect the girls from any more heartache.
After a couple of minutes a rather embarrassed-looking Mr Farrington appeared.
“Hello,” said Dad. “We're sorry to bother you so early, but we wondered whether we could have a chat with you and Lilac about what happened yesterday. I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation, but we'd like to get to the bottom of it and to hear Lilac's side of the story too.”
Before Mr Farrington could say anything Lilac came to the door, smiling sweetly. “Hi, Mr Cotton and Mr Mellow, I thought you might come over,” she said.
“Well, I suppose you'd better come in,” said Mr Farrington as he ushered Dad and Grandpa into the sitting room.
“I wonder if we could see the song sheet you used for
Chocolate Sundae Girls
, please?” asked Grandpa.
“Of course,” Lilac replied. “I'll just go and get it.”
She came back brandishing a song sheet for
Chocolate Sundae Girls
. It had all been written out in her own perfect handwriting.
“That is clearly Lilac's,” said Mr Farrington. “She's done nothing wrong, have you, darling?”
“No, Daddy,” Lilac assured him. “The Beach Babes must just have got really nervous when they saw how good our song was and thought it was better to tell lies rather than lose face by not doing such a good performance as me and the Mermaids.”
“Well, there you go. Now you've got to the bottom of it,” said Mr Farrington. “Now, if you'll excuse us, we've got things to do.”
Dad and Grandpa said goodbye and walked forlornly back to The Pebbles. They felt they had made things worse, not better, and decided not to say anything about their conversation to the family.
“Farrington knows the truth. He couldn't meet our eyes,” said Grandpa.
“Yes, but Lilac's not ready to face the truth. I think she's lied so much, she has started to believe it really is her song now,” concluded Dad.
Grandpa nodded. “All she cares about is winning. She doesn't care how she does it. Our girls have got commitment â that must count for something. Lilac will come unstuck at some point. Even if she wins with our girls' song, she'll never be able to think of another!”
Dad agreed. He knew that being on the side of truth was all that mattered, but the sense of injustice was stinging his heart nonetheless.
Back at The Pebbles, Granny Bumble was clearing up the breakfast. She had lovingly prepared a hot spread, with fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, buttery mushrooms and piles of buttered toast. But no one had been hungry, so it was all going to waste.
“It's our word against theirs,” mumbled Mum as she wiped the twins' faces and took off their bibs.
“Listen to an old girl like me!” said Granny. “I keep saying it and no one will listen. This will sort itself out in a way you can't imagine. I am confident the truth will win through. The fact is, our girls haven't cheated, so we should feel proud of them, whatever happens. It's only a contest.”
Poppy and Honey hoped more than anything in the world that Granny Bumble was right, but neither of them could see how it was going to happen.
Dad went out again almost immediately, this time with Poppy and Honey, and dropped by the temporary office of
You're a Star!
, which was in the
building. He asked if they could re-register with another song.
An administrator came through to speak to Dad and reluctantly agreed that the girls could be included if they came up with a song by Friday tea time.
“That gives us less than two days to think of a new tune, words, dance routine and everything!” wailed Poppy as Dad took her and Honey round to Daisy's summer house.
Daisy, Lily and Rose were already there, feeling very de-motivated and still shocked. On hearing the news about the new song being acceptable, they tried to jot down some notes but they were struggling for inspiration.
“Why don't we write about school?” suggested Lily. “How awful it is â especially with a headmaster like Farrington.”