Yesterday I posted the first ‘chapter’ in a three-post serial. Tomorrow you’ll get the final post (still undecided about doing a fourth) but today, you get the second! 🙂
If you missed it yesterday you might want to read it now, to avoid potential confusion and for completion’s sake. I know I would, but then I get confused easily. Bray #1
Thank you SO much to those of you who have read the first part already and have left feedback <3 Happy reading! 🙂
‘Honey, why aren’t you eating?’ Mum looked up from her daily planner when I didn’t touch my pasta. ‘Has something happened at school?’ She frowned, not wanting to talk about it but feeling like she should ask, anyway. Like any good mother would. Like a mother who cared would.
After years of silent tolerance it was no longer a secret that I was being bullied at school. Pretty much every last student in my class had it in for me, but there were the other classes, too. Somehow the news that I should be picked on above anyone else had even spread to the highter grades, and they had joined in. Every time I came home quiet and reserved my Mum blamed it on them, never considering that it wasn’t all their fault. I didn’t want to talk about it, about them, but some of it at least was her fault, too.
Lunch was the only time during the day we could talk. Mum was running her own business from home, and worked from the moment I left the house in the morning until late into the evening. Lunch time had been supposed to be our time. An hour to catch up, before I started my homework and she resumed her work. Instead work was still more important. Every time the phone rang she jumped up, taking the call with her into her office upstairs, often without as much as an excuse or an ‘I’m sorry’.
Most days she stayed upstairs, figuring I could finish my lunch on my own.
She had promised me more time with her. Instead I saw her less than I had done when she had still worked for another company, away from home.
‘Honey, are you all right? Did you even hear what I said?’
I nodded. This wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have, not now not ever.
‘I’m fine. I’m not hungry.’ Without waiting for a respose I got up, leaving my cold pasta on the table as my Mum sighed and tidied up.
The lady hadn’t been on the bus with me again. A week had passed – no time at all if previous meetings were anything to go by – but she hadn’t left my mind once. I felt watched all the time, and deep down I knew it was her. I didn’t need prove, my gut told me everything I needed to know.
Tomorrow was Thursday. I always got out early on Thursdays. I had loved the quiet once – most other students got out hours after I did, so the bus was always empty – but now I knew that she’d be there, too. I hated the other students but at least I knew that she wouldn’t try anything while they were there.
I eventually gave up on trying to solve my unsolvable maths questions, and headed downstairs. Mum was still working but Dad was watching TV, and this was killing me.
I had to know.
‘Dad? Can we talk?’ He looked surprised. We hardly ever talked, but his reaction still bugged me. I was his daughter, couldn’t I want to talk sometimes?
‘Sure!’ He turned the TV down and pats the sofa next to him. ‘Come, sit.’
I shook my head. I wasn’t comfortable enough to sit close to him or have a long conversation.
‘Do you know a woman with short brown hair who lives around here?’
‘A woman with brown hair who lives here? Why are you asking?’
I shrugged. He didn’t have to see how I felt about all this. ‘Just curious.’
He shook his head. ‘I don’t know anyone here, sorry.’
‘Someone from work, maybe?’ I already knew the answer before he shook his head with the same puzzled expression. Earlier that year he had taken me to work with him, on a ‘take your daughter to work’ day. I had met his colleagues then, and was positive that I didn’t remember her.
It was still early, only ten past nine, but I couldn’t focus on my homework. I was terrible at maths anyway, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had more to worry about than just algebra.
Whoever this woman was, she wasn’t going to leave me alone until she had what she wanted – and I dreaded to think what that something might be.
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All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.