"Dad, come out onto the balcony with me!" Maddie sighed.
He wasn't even listening to her, he was busy talking to his friend on his cell.
It was still early in the evening, and even though it was winter it was mild, even pleasant, outside.
Maddie had been nagging dad to come out onto the balcony for ages.
He wouldn't, though. He kept saying he was busy, that he was working, but all he was doing was talking on the phone.
Finally! He decided they could go outside, and he made a nice hot cup of cocoa for Maddie, coffee for himself.
Maddie took a mat to sit on, a book, her iPad and a cardigan, but dad just took his coffee.
Maddie pointed out the school that belonged to Debbie, and the house where Mr. Bolton lived, and how far it was to the ground, if they hadv'e jumped the day they got trapped out here.
It was a nice time, Maddie and her dad talked for ages, he told her about work, about people he worked with and the scenes he was in, and Maddie told her dad about her school friends, and her friends on twitter.
Dad gave her a talk, again, about how to be safe, how to never give out any details, or her photo, as she really didn't know these people she was making friends with.
Maddie rolled her eyes. "I know, dad. I know. Just the other day someone asked me for your phone number so they could send you a message"
Dad looked shocked. "You didn't give to them, did you, monkey?"
Maddie put her hands on her hips and tipped her head to one side. "Really, dad? You think I would do that?"
Her dad gave her a hug. "Oh, I know you wouldn't. My girl is too smart for that!"
They talked a little more, then dad told her he had to go work a little, and Maddie decided to stay on the balcony.
She had downloaded a few things she wanted to look at on twitter.
He gave her a big hug and kiss. "I'll go straight to work after I'm finished, so when you're done out here go over to Debbie's, okay?"
Maddie smiled. "Sure, daddy, no problem!"
After a few minutes she decided it was starting to get cold, and maybe she should go inside.
She packed up her iPad, rolled up the mat and grabbed her cardigan, then tried to open the door.
Dad had let the door close all the way.
There was no way to open it from the outside.
"Aaarrrggghhhh" she groaned.
She knocked on the door.
Dad usually had music on in his office, he would not be able to hear her.
What to do, what to do?
She sat back down on her mat, cardigan pulled close.
She was getting rather cold, and she could see the sun was about to set.
Maddie scrolled though her pages on the iPad, and came up with an idea.
She would tweet her dad!
"Dad, I'm locked on the balcony! Come save me!"
Some of her followers tweeted her, but not her dad.
She tried again.
"Dad! I'm serious! Please come and let me in, I'm freezing!"
She waited for a reply.
The sunset was really quite pretty, all gold, pink and red as the fingers of the last rays of sun reached out over the roof tops.
Down below she could see the top of Mr. Bolton's shiny head as he raked a few leaves onto his mulch pile.
He couldn't see her.
"Daddy?" she tweeted gain.
"Yes, monkey, I got your tweet. Very funny. I'm on my way to work, call yah when I'm there"
Oh no! Dad had thought she was joking! What is she going to do?
She didn't want to call down to Mr. Bolton, she was a bit shy for that.
She tweeted to her followers, but they either didn't believe her, or were not much help as they lived many miles away, and had no way to help her.
She asked everyone to start tweeting her dad.
Maybe, if enough people told him, he might realize she was not joking.
Debbie and her mum didn't have twitter accounts, so she couldn't contact them.
It was getting very dark, and starting to rain, just lightly.
Maddie felt like crying. Debbie's mum would just think she'd gone to work with her dad and would not come looking for her.
Dad would come home very, very late and think she was sleeping at Debbie's, and wouldn't check on her until morning.
She could be stuck out here all night, in the cold and rain, no shelter.
She felt so alone, so cold and scared.
A thunk frightened her, and a flashlight shining in her eyes gave her such a start she cried out.
"It's okay, little girl, don't be frightened!" a deep man's voice called.
Which, of course, frightened her all the more.
The flashlight shone at the voice owner's face. It was Mr. Bolton!
He had a long ladder propped up against the balcony railing.
"How?" Maddie started, a bit lost for words. "How did you know I was stuck here?"
Mr. Bolton smiled at her. "I could see the light from your computer contraption. I tried knocking on your front door, but no one answered. "
Maddie stood up, her legs all pins and needles from the cold balcony floor. "My dad went to work. He thinks I am at my carer's house"
Mr. Bolton nodded, and handed her an umbrella. "Well, if you're not too scared, you can climb over the railing, you can climb down the ladder and I can walk you to your carer's house, if you like"
Maddie was unsure.
She didn't really know this man, apart from seeing him from the balcony, and no one knew where she was.
If he turned out to be a bad man, she could be missing all night before anyone knew she was even gone.
And no way would they think to look at Mr. Bolton's house.
He seemed to understand her reluctance. "I tell you what, missy. Why don't you tell me how to contact your carer and I'll get her to come and get you. Would that be a better idea?"
Maddie nodded her head. "Oh yes! Yes, that would be perfect!"
Mr. Bolton put the flashlight under his arm. "I think I have a pencil and paper in my pocket. I was writing a list of things to pick up at the hardware store. You write her number down, and I'll go home and call her"
Maddie took the paper. "You don't have a cell?" she asked him.
The old man smiled. "Sweet child, old people like us don't always understand technology type things. I have an old fashioned dial phone at home. I'll be quick"
He handed her the flashlight so she wouldn't have to sit alone in the dark and climbed back down the ladder.
The rain started to come down a lot harder, even with Mr. Bolton's umbrella the water plashed up from the floor and she was getting wet and very cold.
Mr. Bolton seemed to be taking forever.
Maybe he had forgotten. Didn't old people have bad memories?
Just then the lights went on inside, and the balcony door flew open.
It was her dad! "Oh, my precious daughter!" dad was nearly crying!
He was really upset!
He had a big blanket in his arms and he wrapped it around her as he picked her up and took her inside.
He took her straight into the bathroom and turned the shower on. "I want you to get straight in there, warm yourself up."
"How did you know to save me, dad?" Maddie asked him, her teeth chattering and making her sound funny.
Shower first, kiddo, then we'll talk. You need to get warm." He kissed the tip of her nose and left her to get undressed. "
Well, the shower was about the best thing that Maddie could have had about then, it warmed her and made her feel so much better.
She wrapped herself in her fluffy dressing gown that dad had left in her bathroom and went to find her dad. He was sitting at the kitchen table, and Mr. Bolton was there with him.
"There you are, sweetheart!" dad pushed a chair out for her to sit.
A steaming hot mug of cocoa with marshmallows sat there for her.
Maddie sipped a little, her face scrunched in confusion. "You know Mr. Bolton?" she asked.
Dad smiled at her. "I do, now. He has saved you from a balcony trapping yet again!"
Maddie tipped her head to one side. "What do you mean?"
Dad ruffled her hair. "He rang Debbie's mom for you, and she rang me."
Maddie shook her head. "But you were on the other side of town. It would have taken you hours to get home"
Dad leaned back a little. "Well, kiddo, I got all these tweets from your followers telling me you were trapped for real, and that it wasn't a joke, so I thought I'd better turn around. By the time Debbie's mom rang I was nearly here"
Maddie reached out and took her father's hand. She looked at Mr. Bolton. "I guess you are my hero. Twice, now!"
Mr. Bolton laughed. "At least you can trust me now, if you get stuck on the balcony again!"
The shocked look on Maddie's face made both Mr. Bolton and her dad laugh.
"I am NEVER going out there again!" At that, everyone laughed. Maddie sighed.
This turned out to be not such a bad adventure after all…..
A/N….Please leave a review!
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