Kerry O’Brien has a hot new boyfriend! Yay!
His name is Tommy. He’s a biker and he’s gorgeous. He seems to like me too. He makes me feel good about myself and it’s been a long time since anyone has paid me that much attention. I also have a monster for a stepfather.
But I’m scared. I’m scared Bill will find out about Tommy and scared Tommy will find out about Bill. Tommy has a temper and he’s very protective of me. If he ever found out my secret, I think he would kill Bill.
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In the afternoon, Mum, Jodie and I went to the park for a while and Jodie played on the swings. Mum covered her face with powder so the bruise could hardly be seen now.
We were going to the shops, which were closed on a Sunday, but Mum’s friend, Mrs Kirby, lived in the flat above Seymour Meads, our local grocery shop. She was going to get some potatoes and chicken for tea. It would be really nice to have a proper meal, although I was suspicious of Bill handing over money like that.
“I’m really grateful, Bea,” Mum said, as Jodie and I looked behind the counter, a place we never normally got to see.
“Y’know I don’t mind, but keep it to yourself as I don’t want Mr Horsefall knowing that I come down when the shop is shut.”
“Oh no, I wouldn’t tell anyone. You hear that girls? It’s a secret.”
“Good, don’t want everyone knowing our business,” she said, as me and Jodie nodded. Who would we tell anyway?
“Can I have some sweets?” Jodie asked as Mum rooted around in her bag for her purse.
“We’ll see.” That was Mum’s stock answer for everything. I was looking at the till rolls under the counter and the little tin box with bits of paper in it, and a pen lying next to it on the shelf. There were a couple of pennies, too. I suddenly realised everything had gone quiet and I looked up.
The colour had drained from Mum’s face as she stared into her purse. She looked like she was about to cry.
Oh God, he’d done it again! Bea looked sympathetic and alarmed at the same time.
I dug into my pocket and produced the fiver that was going to see me through next week and thrust it at her.
“I’ll pay you back, I promise,” she said looking so grateful. I wanted to cry, too.
We walked home in silence with the full shopping bag. Jodie skipped ahead oblivious to the way we were feeling. I was really angry but tried not to show it. It wasn’t Mum’s fault. Being gullible wasn’t a fault, was it?