Mrs. Pugh's Family
Chapter 1: Wanting A Sister
Notes: The last chapter of Meet The Farrells describes how Grace loses her father to cancer. This chapter is a deleted scene from this story and focusses on the early stages of Mrs. Pugh's relationship with Grace.. Future chapters in this story will focus on the family dynamic of Mrs. Pugh and her children. Grace will not appear in this story again until the last chapter. I own no Annie characters. Mrs. Pugh's children were co-created by me and Mandalicious for our collaboration Holiday Memories.
Helen Pugh remembered back to the day when her middle child.. her only daughter Marlene was about 3 or 4 years old. She was so excited about having a new brother or sister.
"Am I going to have a brother or a sister?" Marlene asked
Helen scooped her daughter up tightly "Baby girl, I'm not sure if I'm having a boy or girl yet. You and your brother will just have to patient okay?"
Marlene nodded. "I really want a sister Mama. Billy and I have fun together but when I get older I want to have someone who I can talk to about girl things like make up, boyfriends and dances. I won't be able to talk to Billy about stuff like that."
"I know sweetheart. I hope you have a sister too.. who knows? I may end up having twins."
"That would be even better! " Marlene nuzzled into her mother's neck. "I love you ."
"I love you too my beautiful angel faced girl."
Helen sighed. Her children were grown now and she had been working for Oliver Warbucks, the richest man in New York City for about 3 years. She missed all of her children… Marlene especially. Over the years they'd been the closest to each other. Marlene helped her brothers deal with the loss of her father when he died during the war and Helen was happy for this. Helen's youngest son Ralph was only 10 years old at the time.
Drake peeked his head around the kitchen door.
"Mrs. Pugh, Mr. Warbucks would like us all to assemble in the foyer. There's a new member joining the staff today."
" A new staff member?"
"Yes. Ma'am. He's hired a new secretary. A 25 year old young woman from Connecticut. Her name is Grace Farrell. She's really quite pleasant. I think you will like her."
Helen's ears perked up instantly. '25! Why she's the same age as my Marlene." She followed Drake out of the kitchen
"Staff! It 's with great pleasure that I introduce you to Grace Farrell. She will be my new secretary. I expect you all to make her feel at home." Oliver Warbucks said.
'She must be so nervous starting a new job. I should go the extra mile to make her feel welcome.' Helen thought to herself.
"Drake, will you get her settled and show her to her room?"
Oliver clapped his hand to dismiss the staff. Grace followed Drake up the winding marble staircase to find her bed room. Helen hung behind.
"Helen, Grace told me that her father has been very ill. She didn't go into much detail but I have a feeling she's quite sad about it. You wouldn't mind talking with her a little later on would you? I've got too many phone calls to make.
Helen smiled. "Certainly sir. I'm sure it must have been very difficult to leave her family at such a critical time"
"People make tough decisions in their lives Helen. Grace decided to come work for me because her family is tight on money. She dropped out of college and can't afford to go back at this time. Her father's hospital bills are far too high."
Helen nodded. "Poor girl. I feel so horrible for her. Should I make her some tea?"
Oliver smiled. "That would be wonderful. She just arrived about a half hour ago and could use some lunch."
Helen headed back to the kitchen and started preparing a lunch for Grace. 10 minutes later she asked Drake which room was Grace's and brought the lunch upstairs to her. She knocked on door.
"Come in." came a quiet voice from the other side of the door.
Helen opened the door and smiled warmly at Grace. "Hello Grace, welcome! I'm Helen Pugh. Mr. Warbucks told me to send you up some lunch."
Grace looked quietly at the bedspread. "Thank you. "she whispered.
"Aren't you hungry?"
Grace nodded her head. 'I'll eat in a little while."
It didn't take Helen very long to realize that Grace was crying.
"Mr. Warbucks told me about your father's illness. I am so sorry to hear of it."
"I am so grateful to Mr. Warbucks for giving me this job but I miss my family terribly. I feel like I abandoned my father when he needed me the most." Grace had tears in her eyes.
Helen reached into her apron pocket and pulled out a handkerchief.
"I'm sure that's far from the case. Mr. Warbucks said your father's hospital bills are too high. I would assume you're sending some money home to assist your mother in paying them."
"It's the best I can do…. I doubt I'll get home to visit too often."
"Nonsense, Mr. Warbucks is well aware of what's going on with your family. He'll let you go home. It's clear that you miss your family terribly."
Grace shook her head. "My mother doesn't want me to stay at home to see him wither away to nothing. Once she found out I got this job she told me not to hesitate on accepting Mr. Warbucks's offer."
"Do you have any siblings that can help with taking care of him?"
Grace nodded her head. " I have two younger sisters. One who's 23 and one who's 14. "
"What are their names darling?"
Grace sniffled and dabbed at her eyes with a tissue from the box on the night stand. "Catherine and Anna. Anna's going to be fifteen in May. We've always been so close and she'll always be my sweet baby girl. She was so miserable the day I left to come work here. She's been taking Daddy's illness the hardest and I know she wants me to be at home with her not here."
"She must understand you need to work."
Grace shook her head. "I'm not really sure how much she's aware of how expensive Daddy's hospital bills are. His illness has gotten to the point where we have nurses coming in to administer his medication. I have a feeling he doesn't have that he doesn't have that much longer to live. That's why it hurts me so much to be so far away. Do you suppose my sister could come visit me here if she wanted to?"
"You'll need to talk to Mr. Warbucks but I can almost guarantee he won't mind. There's plenty of space here."
"Thank you for the sandwich Helen. Please tell Mr. Warbucks I'll be downstairs in a minute to start work."
Helen stood up and patted Grace's shoulder. "If you need anybody to talk to my bedroom is right off the kitchen."
Grace smiled at the older woman. "Thank you very much. It's so nice to have a friend when I'm so far from home."
That talk was the first of many talks. Over time Grace and Helen would become incredibly close, Grace was happy for this since she was unable to get back to Connecticut to see her family. Helen was grateful for this too because it helped to fill the deep void in her heart that Marlene had left. She hoped that one day Grace and Marlene would meet. She had a good instinct that Grace was the sister Marlene had always wanted.
Time passed and Grace slowly got acclimated to the fast paced atmosphere of living and working at the mansion. Oliver allowed Grace to go visit her family in Connecticut every other weekend and each time she arrived home to start the new work week Helen noticed that Grace looked more and more sad.
"He's getting worse isn't he?"
Grace would nod. "They keep upping his medication dosage but nothing seems to be working."
One year went by and then two. Patrick Farrell's condition would get better and then decline ever so rapidly. Grace always seemed to be too overwhelmed with work to go home for Thanksgiving or her birthday and Oliver was constantly traveling. Grace had never felt so lonely but at least she and Helen were developing a friendship. Oliver was gone for weeks at a time. On her birthday there was a knock at Grace's bedroom door. It was Annette.
"Ms. Farrell, Mrs. Pugh has made you something special for breakfast for your birthday."
Grace smiled. "Lovely! I'll be down in a just a bit to have some."
With in five minutes Grace entered the kitchen.
"Good morning Grace. Happy Birthday! I've made you some scrambled eggs and sausages."
"Thank you Helen. It all looks great!"
Grace ate breakfast in silence.
"Helen, when is Mr. Warbucks coming back? It does get awfully lonely here without him around."
"He'll be back in a couple days dear."
"Have you heard anything new about your father's condition?"
Grace swallowed a bite of sausage and then shook her head. "No, my family should be calling me later on this morning to wish me a happy birthday. I'll get the update then."
Grace turned 27 that year. Two years later the dreaded phone call would come one late September afternoon.
Helen knocked lightly on her door. "Grace , can I come in?
Grace was packing her suitcase to leave for Connecticut. She looked overcome with emotion.
Helen opened her arms and Grace fell into them and started to sob.
"There, there dear. Take comfort in knowing your father is in a better place and not suffering anymore."
Grace nodded. "I know. I just can't come to grips with the fact that my father is gone. He and I were always so close."
"I imagine your sister Anna mustn't be doing too well with this news either."
Grace shook her head. " Definitely not. That's one of the main reasons why I need to go home. She needs me the most right now."
"How long do you think you'll be gone?"
"Well the funeral is Sunday morning so I can be back here as early as mid day on Sunday but Mr. Warbucks said I mustn't rush back."
Helen nodded. "And he's right. Spend as much time with your family as you think you will need. Mr. Warbucks is going out of town on business starting next Sunday for a week any way. If you'd like I can come visit you in Connecticut."
Grace smiled through her tears. "Thank you so much Helen. You don't know how much I appreciate that."
"It's no problem my dear. We're like a family here at this mansion you know. We always look out for each other."
Grace embraced her tightly. "I love you." She whispered.
"I love you too sweetheart."
A year later at Christmas time and Grace was sent out on a mission to go to the orphanage to extend and invitation for the Christmas Holidays. Grace decided to go to the 14th Street Girls orphanage and extend the invitation which was gladly accepted by an unwilling Agatha Hannigan and a more than willing 11 year old orphan named Annie. The staff welcomed Annie to the mansion heartily and by the end of the two weeks both Oliver and Grace had fallen in love with Annie. Oliver asked Grace to marry him and Grace was over the moon. She couldn't wait to be Annie's mother.
The day of Grace's wedding her mother and Helen Pugh helped her to get ready.
Rose Farrell smiled at Helen Pugh,
"Thank you so much for being so good to my Gracie Helen. Your friendship really means a lot to her. Especially since I don't get to see her very often."
""It's not a problem. Grace is a wonderful girl. You and your husband did a wonderful job with raising her and your other two girls."
Rose grew misty eyed. "I only wish Patrick could be here today to walk Gracie down the aisle. He would be equally as proud of her as I am. Oliver is a wonderful man. I am so happy they found each other."
"Drake our butler is happy to do those honors. As I've told Grace we're a family here at this mansion and we always look out for each other. Your husband is smiling down on all of us today Rose."
There was a rustling at the door and Annie burst through it.
Anna and Cecile were smiling sheepishly.
"We're sorry Ms. Farrell she was so insistent on seeing you." Cecile said blushing profusely.
Grace smiled. "It's quite alright. I want to see her too."
"Mom, you look so pretty." Annie said.
Grace held her daughter at arm's length. "And you my precious flower girl look absolutely stunning."
"Come along Annie. Let your Mom finish getting ready." Anna said.
Annie nodded. "Okay Auntie Anna."
As the two women led Annie from the room Rose smiled at her daughter.
"She's a little ball of energy isn't she?"
Grace and Helen both nodded. "She certainly is. She's been a delight to have ever since Oliver extended the invitation for her to stay here a few weeks ago." Grace said.
"She adores you Gracie."
"I love her so much too, She's an amazing little girl."
The two older woman helped Grace finished getting ready. Rose got teary eyed once again.
"This is exactly how your father and I always pictured you on your wedding day sweetheart."
Grace's heart was broken. " I wish so desperately that he was here today."
Helen squeezed her shoulder tightly. "He may not be here physically but he is looking down on you from Heaven today and smiling."
Grace leaned over and first kissed her mother and then kissed Helen. "I love you both very much," she whispered.
"We love you too Gracie Liz." Her mother responded.