The Revelations of Meg Scott-Reese

Needs editing! The Lollipop Brigade. That's what Meg nicknames the gang of popular girls at her high school. They've made Meg's life hell and stopped her from having any friends. That's until Damien appears. But what if there is more to the Lollipop Brigade than meets the eye?

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5. Chapter Five

 

      My boss Anna Sterling was waiting for me when I arrived at Sterling Books.

      Anna smiled at me as I went out to the back to put on my work-shirt.

      When I returned she leaned against the counter.

      "How are you Meg?"

      I adjusted my badge. "I'm good thanks Anna. Had a busy day?"

      Yep, my employer and I are on a first name basis. Anna is in her mid-forties, but she's really relaxed and a good boss. I was lucky to get the job.

      "Not too bad, sold a couple of books." She smiled.

      "What do you want me to do today?" I asked, eager to get to work.

      Anna gestured to a box of books beside the counter. "If you could put these on the shelves, and just tidy up the books around the shop that would be great, I'll be in the office, so just give me a call if you need anything."

      I nodded and quickly set to work emptying the box.

      I was putting away the last book when the bell on the door rang as someone entered the shop.

I turned around to see a tall, handsome man in his late forties to early fifties gazing around the shop.

      "Good afternoon, sir," I said smiling. "I'm Meg, can I help you?"

      He turned to face me and smiled. "Please don't call me sir, it makes me feel old." He said sounding amused. "Call me Jeremy, and yes you can help me; I'm looking for a book for the teenage son of my friend."

      I led him over to the youth section. "Do you know what books he is interested in?"

      Jeremy seemed to be suppressing a smile. "He likes Crystal Kingdom, but I think he's already got all of the books."

      I frowned suspiciously. "This is going to sound strange, but did your friend just move here to Lakeside?"

      He looked surprised. "Why yes he did as a matter of fact."

      "Is the son called Damien?" I asked, grinning.

      Jeremy laughed. "Yes he is, what a coincidence, do you know him?"

      I nodded. "He lives opposite me and is in my form class."

      "Well perhaps you might have an idea of what sort of books he likes?"

      I scanned the shelves and chewed my lip. "Hmm..." I pulled out a book and read the blurb before placing it back on the shelf.

      After a minute I bent down and took a book from the bottom shelf, my necklace fell out and I stood back up and handed the book to Jeremy.

      He was stood stiff like a soldier; his face was pale as he stared at my necklace.

      I should probably explain about my necklace; it's a chain on which my mum's wedding ring is looped through. Now you're thinking, I thought that your mum died a few days after you were born? Well yes, she did, but she gave the nurse her wedding ring for me to have before she died, and ever since I can remember I have worn the ring on a chain around my neck.

      "Jeremy... is there something wrong?" I asked worriedly, holding the book in my hands.

      His eyes lost their faraway look, and the colour returned to his cheeks. "Sorry? Oh is this the book? Thank you, Meg." He scanned over the blurb and gave me a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "This sounds good, I'll take it."

      We walked over to the till and I ran the purchase through, aware that Jeremy seemed to be watching me intently. As I put the book in a paper bag I caught him looking at my name tag.

      Aware that he had been caught, he said. "Scott-Reese, that's an interesting surname, did your mother keep her maiden name?"

      Handing him the paper bag with the book in I shook my head. "I'm adopted, Reese is my adopted parent’s last name, and Scott was my mother’s married name."

      Jeremy looked intrigued, which struck me as slightly odd. "Is your mother...?"

      "She died days after I was born, and I've never met my father, I don't even know who he is." It seemed wrong to be telling a complete stranger, particularly a customer my life story. "Have we met before?" I asked.

      He gave me a sad smile. "No, Meg, we haven't. Thank you for your help. Have a good evening."

      He shook my hand and left the shop.

      Once the door had closed I opened my hand and saw the Queen's face smiling up at me. My eyes widened at the twenty pound note and gazed out the shop window as I tried to comprehend what had happened.

 

      Aaron was waiting in the car outside the bookshop when I finished working at seven, and asked how my day had been when I slipped into the passenger's seat.

      I smiled and told him that the shop had been quiet, deciding not to tell him or Claire about Jeremy.

      After a quick meal once we got home, I went upstairs to my room and set to work on my homework.  As it was the first week of school I didn't have much, but it still took me nearly an hour.

      I was sat on my window seat reading Crystal Kingdom when I got a text from Damien. He asked what I was doing and I told him that I was sitting by the window reading.

      I got a text back under a minute later saying to look out the window.

      With a smile I put my book down and peered outside. I could see Damien in a top floor window of his house smiling and waving at me like an idiot.

      I laughed and waved back.

      I got a text from him saying thanks for the book, and that he hadn't read it before, but that it sounded good.

      Guessing that Jeremy had told Damien I had helped choose the book for him, I text back saying that I hoped he would enjoy it.

      In the next text I received, Damien asked if I wanted to play Crystal Kingdom.

      I glanced at my clock and was shocked to see how late it was. I shook my head at him, and sent him a text saying that I was tired and was sorry but I wanted to go to bed.

      I saw Damien shrug and he sent me a text saying that he understood and would see me tomorrow, and to sleep well.

      I smiled and thanked him, before waving goodnight to him.

 

      That night I had a strange dream in which Damien and I were characters in a video game, and that we had to win the game at all costs.

      I woke up feeling disorientated and disturbed, but pushed all bad thoughts out of my mind when I remembered that Damien and I were going to have lunch in town after school, and found myself smiling as I got dressed.

      There was a bitter wind as Damien and I walked to school, and I pulled my jacket closer as we walked through the school gates.

      I nearly walked into someone, and took in my surroundings properly for the first time.

      There was a massive crowd just standing around.

      Hearing sirens I jumped up and down trying to get a look at what was occurring.

      "Want to get a closer look?" Damien asked.

      I nodded warily and we pushed through the crowd.

      Once at the front of the crowd, I wished that I hadn't been so keen to see what the cause of the mass of people was.

      Nurse Martin was dead. That much was obvious. Want to know how I could tell? Well, her neck was at an odd angle, and so had obviously been broken. There was a rope around her neck, which was attached to a broken branch. I gulped and looked up to see where the branch had snapped off from the tree. It looked as though Nurse Martin had been trying to commit suicide by hanging herself from the tree, but the branch had snapped and she had died from breaking her neck when she hit the ground.

      I shuddered and turned away, suppressing the urge to vomit as tears sprang to my eyes.

      Damien grabbed my hand and led me back through the crowd.

      I drank some water as we sat down on a bench at the edge of the crowd.

      Sobbing could be heard from the teachers and students alike as the police arrived and a forensics team hid Nurse Martin's body from view.

      The Principal, a friendly giant, appeared and asked us all to go inside to have form time.

      Damien placed a hand on my shoulder as we walked to our form room. "Are you alright? You turned a funny shade of green back there."

      I nodded dimly. "I... I just don't understand why she would do something like that... she was always so happy... when I talked to her yesterday she didn't seem... suicidal at all..." I sniffed, unable to believe that Nurse Martin was dead; she had helped me so many times, especially when Sara had first started bullying me and I had been feeling low.

      The form room was eerily quiet as we trudged inside, with several students sobbing quietly.

      Miss Fayre arrived after a few minutes, red eyed and wild looking. "Good morning," she stammered. "As you probably saw there has been a terrible accident..." She paused trying to calm herself. "There is to be a special assembly instead of first period, you are to go to the Hall after form time."

      Unable to control herself any longer, Miss Fayre burst into tears. Several girls gasped and ran over to her, and comforted her as they led her to her desk.

      Damien glanced at me worriedly but I was staring at the table, trying to figure out why Nurse Martin would commit suicide. It just didn't make any sense.

      The bell went and we all walked to the Hall and sat down waiting for the Principal to start his speech.

      Speaking of the Principal, you're probably wondering why I called him a friendly giant before. Well, Principal Walsh is over six foot tall, but is one of the kindest men I've ever met. He and Miss Fayre would make a great couple.

      Everyone went silent as Principal Walsh walked across the stage and stopped to stand in front of the podium on which was the microphone.

      "As you all know, Nurse Martin was a kind and dedicated woman." A photo of Nurse Martin flashed up on the screen behind him. "She worked at Lakeside High School for eight years."

      The speech continued on like this for nearly twenty minutes, until Principal Walsh came to the end of his speech. "Nurse Martin leaves behind a loving husband, and a ten year old daughter. I know when I speak on behalf of us all, when I say that she will be in our hearts forever and will be sorely missed."

      Sobbing could be heard from where the teachers were sitting at the front of the Hall, and I felt tears spring to my eyes at Principal Walsh's touching and heart warming words.

      Damien squeezed my hand and I smiled at him gratefully, silently thanking whichever powerful deity had blessed me with Damien's friendship.

      "Just one more thing, and then you may go."

      I heard someone mutter an 'about time' and turned around to see Sara, flanked by the rest of the Lollipop Brigade, sitting three rows behind me.

      Sara saw me looking at her and stuck her tongue out at me, muttering "Loser," under her breath.

      I turned back around, seething. She had no respect for anyone, not even the dead! The only person she cared about was herself.

      Principal Walsh continued speaking. "Nurse Martin's funeral is to be Monday afternoon, those of you that wish to go can do so, and may take the afternoon off, I know some of you were particularly close to Nurse Martin." Was it my imagination or did he look at me when he said 'particularly close'? Nurse Martin, may she rest in peace, definitely must have told someone about Sara.

      Principal Walsh dismissed us and we filed out of the Hall, slowly walking to what was left of our first lesson of the day.

      "I'll see you in Maths." I told Damien as we split up and went opposite ways down a corridor (we had decided during the walk to school that I no longer needed to walk him to each lesson, and as a result be late to my own).

      He nodded and seemed distracted. I knew he was trying to think of a way to cheer me up. How did I know? I don't know, I just did, man I’m weird.

 

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