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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9. Chapter Nine

 

      It was dark and surprisingly late when Damien and I arrived outside our houses.

      "Well... that was a very mixed afternoon and evening." Damien said, running a hand through his hair, causing his fringe to stand up.

      I nodded. "Yes, sorry about the Hall of Mirrors thing." I said looking down at my bandaged hand.

      I felt Damien put his hand on my shoulder and glanced up to see him staring at me.

      "It wasn't your fault, Meg, we talked about this, it was mine; I shouldn't have run off like that. Regardless of that though, it seems as though Sara has a certain... disliking of you, so I think that you should stay out of her way as much as possible."

      "Disliking?" I repeated. "She hates me; I just wish I knew why. As for staying out of her way, that's what I've tried to do for the past three years, but if she wants to find you then she always does, no matter what you do."

      I shuddered at what I had just said. Honestly anyone would think that I'm talking about an axe wielding, murdering adult, not a fifteen year old girl who goes around wearing miniskirts and high heels.

      "Just do your best ok?" Damien asked, looking at me kindly.

      "Wait, what about you? You're making it sound as if it's just me that needs to keep out of Sara's way, but you do too, after all she gave you a nickname, so she's going to be out to get you too, plus you hang out with me which is practically like wearing a neon sign saying 'insult me!'."

      He smiled. "What? Just because I hang out with you, she's going to go out of her way to make my life hell? Great, anyway, what are you doing tomorrow?"

      I frowned. "What so you're not bothered that because we're friends you're going to get grief from the school bully? Err... tomorrow? I don't know... reading usually. Why?"

      "Of course I don't care," He looked at me like I was crazy, which I may well be. "Do you want to come around to my house? We can make a list of activities to do as well, as I'm new around here."

      I smiled, touched at his remark, wondering why everyone else had been bothered about the Lollipops when he wasn't. I was lucky to have found a true friend like him.

      "Sure that sounds good, do you want to text me a time tomorrow?"

      Damien nodded looking excited. "See you tomorrow then, sleep well."

      Saying good night, I walked up the drive to the front door, aware that I was being watched; I could see the curtains in the living room moving.

      I opened the front door with my key and closed it, not wanting to let any of the cold night air inside the toasty house.

      "I'm back!" I called unnecessarily as I removed my shoes and jacket before trudging into the kitchen.

      "How was it?" Claire called from where she and Aaron were seated in the living room watching the TV.

      I made myself a hot chocolate and walked to the living room, sitting myself down in the empty sofa, hiding my bandaged hand in the crook of my arm, with my mug of steaming hot chocolate in the other. "It was good, I didn't realise how late it was though.”

      Aaron had his arm around Claire, and smiled when he asked. "Which rides did you go on?"

      "Oh heaps, the Funhouse, which was fun, the Ghost Train, which was really good, and lots of stomach hurling ones that we regretted going on afterwards."

      "Were the fireworks good?" Claire asked her long blonde hair was tied back as usual in a ponytail.

      I nodded. "Yep, they were very good." I couldn’t help but smile when I remembered mine and Damien's howling.

      "There are some leftovers from dinner if you're hungry." Aaron told me, flicking through the channels with the TV remote.

      I stood up careful of my hot chocolate, and not to let them see my bandaged hand. "Actually, I'm pretty tired; I think I might just go up to bed."

      "Alright Meg, good night," Aaron said, with a smile.

      “Night sweetheart," Claire called after me as I left the room.

      I hovered by the door for a moment, and heard them start whispering about how happy I seemed, (apparently!).

      I went upstairs, glad that my knee was now back to normal, and drank my hot chocolate while sitting on my window seat and looking out at the stars.

      Once I had finished my hot chocolate I changed into my pyjamas and brushed my teeth.

      I returned to my room to find Claire sitting on the window seat.

      Patting the spot next to her, she asked me to sit down.

      Warily I padded over to her and sat down, keeping my bandaged hand hidden.

      Reaching out a hand, Claire brushed my fringe to the side and smiled. "It's hard to believe that we've been a family for five years."

      I nodded silently, wondering where this was leading.

      "Are you happy here Meg? I know you've had times when you weren't happy, but the last few days you've seemed really happy, and it's good to see you so smiley. Is it because of Damien?"

      Ah, I should have known.

      "Umm, I guess so; I mean he's my first proper friend in however many years." I said, blushing slightly and realising how sad that must sound to an adult.

      "I have to ask, Meg, are you two... are you going out?"

      My eyes widened in shock. "No, we're just friends." I edged away from Claire, wanting just to go to bed and forget about the day’s events.

      "It's ok if you are Meg, its natural. You're at that age now when..."

      OH NO! Not THE Talk, please not The Talk, I mean I know all about that stuff, but Claire and Aaron haven't actually sat me down and had The Talk with me.

      I stood up horrified. "Claire, it's not like that." She seemed hurt, so I added. "If I ever have any questions, then I will talk to you I promise."

      She seemed to want to say more, but realised that I wasn't in a talkative mood and so stood up and walked over to me.

      Hugging me she said. "Aaron and I love you, you know that. We love you a lot, and always will do."

      After giving me a kiss on the forehead she closed the door behind her as she left, leaving me standing in the middle of my room, stunned at what had happened.

      With a groan I rubbed my eyes and switched off the lights, before throwing myself onto my bed and curling up in a ball, wanting nothing more than a peaceful night’s sleep.      

 

      After the days disturbing events, it's not really surprising that I had nightmares about falling glass and Sara laughing evilly at me.

      I woke up several times sweating, and with my heart racing.

      The third time I woke up I groaned and dragged myself out of bed, and over to my window seat taking my duvet with me.

      I sat there staring out of the window at the stars for what must have been nearly an hour, just sifting through my thoughts.

      I was certain that Sara had actually been tormenting me in the Hall of Mirrors, and that I hadn't imagined her doing it and so was not going crazy, not just yet anyway.

      I must have nodded off, because the next time I opened my eyes it was to see the clock telling me it was half past seven in the morning.

      Rubbing my eyes I peered outside to see mist clinging to the houses and parked cars.

      I reluctantly stood up and wondered to the bathroom where I gawped at myself in the mirror in horror of the black and purple bags under my eyes.

      I was horrified; I was going to Damien's house for the first time and I couldn't let his parents' first impressions of me be of a half asleep zombie/panda gone wrong.

      I washed and set to work hiding the bags as best as I could.

      It took my ages, but I eventually managed to make the bags nearly invisible, though you could still tell that my sleep had been broken.

      I stood in front of my wardrobe for at least five minutes, trying to decide what to wear. I wondered if I should wear my only skirt, a knee-length denim one, which I haven't worn in at least a year, but decided against it.

      In the end I ended up deciding on a pair of nice jeans, and a smart looking top.

      After a quick breakfast I returned upstairs to my room, and glanced at my clock, it wasn’t even nine o'clock yet.

      With a sigh I sat down at my desk and finished off my last piece of homework, which was only an English essay that I needed to write up neatly.

      I had just put away my pencil case when I got a text off Damien, asking if twelve o'clock was a good time for me and if I wanted to have lunch at his house.

      I replied saying that twelve was fine; that I would love to eat lunch with him and that I was looking forward to it.

      Aware that I was grinning like an idiot, I cleaned my room (what? I hear you say, clean your room? No wonder you don't have any friends. Well it's one of the agreements Aaron, Claire and I have, ok?).

      Any who I was cleaning my window when I got the feeling that I was being watched again, like I did when Damien and I had been outside Cafe Aroma the other day, and I had whipped around like an idiot trying to see who was watching me.

      I turned around to see if Aaron or Claire was standing in the doorway, but they weren't.

      Frowning I peered outside, but there was no one outside, only a parked car that looked empty.

      I sat down on my window seat and rubbed my eyes.

      "Maybe I am going crazy." I muttered.

 

      It was soon twelve o'clock and I walked up Damien's drive, carrying a container of freshly baked toffee and banana muffins.

      The door was opened as I went to ring the doorbell by a smiling Damien.

      "Hey, Meg how are you? Come on in."

      Damien let me pass and closed the door behind me as I removed my shoes.

      "I'm good thanks, I baked some muffins." I handed him the container, butterflies in my stomach as I thought about meeting Damien's parents.

      "How's your hand?" He asked as he led me down the corridor.

      "Oh, its better thanks." I smiled.

      We entered the kitchen.

      Wow. I thought my house was nice, but Damien's was something else. The kitchen was spotless; all the surfaces were glistening and gleaming even though Damien's mum was using them.

      She looked up as we entered the kitchen, from where she was stood serving lunch.

      Damien's mum is beautiful; with long, black hair in perfect curls, and a slim build and the bluest eyes you've ever seen.

      She smiled when she saw me and stopped what she was doing to greet me properly.

      "Meg," she said giving me a hug. "I'm Emily, and it's a pleasure to meet you; Damien has been telling me all about you."

      I laughed nervously. "Good things I hope."

      Emily laughed. "Yes, only good things."

      "Meg baked us some muffins." Damien said handing his mum the container of muffins.

      "Ooh, they look delicious." Emily lifted the lid off the container and breathed deeply. "Mmm heavenly, did you make them?"

      I nodded. "Yes, Claire and I always bake together at the weekends." I told her, presuming that Damien had informed her that Claire and Aaron were my adopted parents. "They're toffee and banana."

      "I look forward to eating them later."

      Emily resumed serving lunch while chatting to me and Damien.

      "We're having spinach and feta cannellini with sundried tomatoes; I hope you'll like it." She gave me a dazzling smile which I returned.

      "I'm sure I will; it looks delicious."

      Damien nudged me in the side, and I smiled at him.

      Emily saw our interaction and smiled to herself.

      Handing us steaming plates of delicious looking and smelling food, Emily led us into the dining room, which was massive!

      We sat down at a long wooden table, me next to Damien, and Emily opposite me.

      Emily returned to the kitchen with a jug of cold mineral water and poured Damien and me a glass each.

      Sitting down, Emily looked at the seat to her left. "My husband, Tom is at work, but should be back soon."

      We started eating, and Emily said. "Damien said that you met his boss, Jeremy?"

      I blinked in surprise. "Jeremy is your dad's boss?" I asked Damien.

      He nodded. "Yeah, my dad works for Baugh Technologies."

      I didn't think it was possible for my eyes to go even wider, but they did (and I was kind of worried that they would fall out, eww). "Baugh Technologies?" I repeated.

      You're probably wondering why I'm so impressed (yes I was impressed, and not just repeating everything that Emily and Damien were saying just for the hell of it); well Baugh Technologies is the company that made the Crystal Kingdom game.

      Damien gave me an odd look. "Yeah, Jeremy's the CEO and my dad's the Head of Business Development."

      "Wow," Was all I could manage to utter as this new information whirled around in my brain, looking for somewhere to file itself away. "That's really cool."

      To my right Damien sounded like he was either having a coughing fit or trying not to laugh.

      I scowled to myself, and took a bite of the delicious cannellini.

      Heads turned as we heard the front door open and I waited in anticipation to meet Damien's dad.

      I met him minutes later.

      Damien's dad, Thomas Wood, or Tom as he asked me to call him, was wearing a suit when he walked into the dining room and placed his briefcase at the end of the table before sitting down beside Emily and kissing her on the cheek. Damien may have gotten his dark hair from his mum, but he had his dad's dark eyes and height.

      Tom smiled at me. "Ah, you must be Meg; it's a pleasure to meet you at last."

      I smiled back, wondering what Damien had told his parents about me.

      Tom started eating, and Emily said to him. "Darling, Damien only just told Meg here that you work for Baugh Technologies, and that Jeremy is your boss."

      Tom glanced at Damien and then at me. "I'm surprised he didn't tell you sooner, Meg, considering what a big fan Damien told us you are."

      I nodded, also surprised that Damien hadn't told me that piece of information.

      "Actually I have a proposition for you Meg."

      I looked up in interest, wondering what Tom was going to say next.

      "We are going to be testing a demo of the new Crystal Kingdom game in a few weeks; you wouldn't be interested would you?" He asked, making what he had just said sound like nothing special.

      My fork paused half way to my mouth when I realised what he had just said.

      "A demo? You're asking if I would like to try out a demo of the next Crystal Kingdom game." I asked, aware that my voice had raised several octaves by the time I had finished my question. "I would love to, oh thank you so much! That's so cool!"

      Tom laughed. "Great, I'll get Damien to tell you the exact date; you're going to have to get permission from your parents though."

      I nodded, grinning like an idiot. "Yep, I'm sure they won't mind, but I will ask them anyway, I can get them to pop over or ring you if you want?"

      "Either of those will be fine." Tom said, smiling.

      The rest of lunch passed in a blur as I daydreamed about going to Baugh Technologies, (Baugh Technologies!) and playing the demo.

      "You're coming too right?" I asked Damien, as we waited for his parents to bring cakes and other sweet, delicious things in from the kitchen.

      He laughed. "Yes, of course I am. You're so funny sometimes, Meg."

      "What? Why?" I asked, with a smile.

      "The way your eyes lit up when dad asked you about the demo."

      I gasped. "But it's so impressive! In all my wildest dreams I would never have dreamt that I would be playing a demo of the new Crystal Kingdom game!" Realising what I had just said, and how I had sounded when saying it I laughed. "Wow, I never realised how sad I sound."

      Damien smiled. "No it's good. I used to be like that too, but I guess I've just gotten used to it all."

      I drank some of my water. "I'm guessing that you got to play a demo of the first game as well?"

      He nodded. "Yep, one of the privileges of having a dad high up in the company that makes your favourite game."

      I smiled and watched as Damien's parents returned from the kitchen, carrying several plates full of cakes, including my muffins.

 

      Ten minutes later we left the table, stomachs bursting at the seams.

      "You will have to give me the recipe for those muffins, Meg." Emily told me as I helped her carry plates into the kitchen. "They were delicious."

      "Of course, I will bring it with me the next time I come over, or give it to Damien for you."

      We returned to the dining room, and Emily said to Damien. "You can let the dogs in now."

      Damien gestured for me to follow and we grabbed our shoes before going outside.

      "You've got dogs?" I asked him, while I stared around in wonder at the garden.

      You know my house is called Willow Cottage and has a huge willow tree in the back garden? Well Damien's house is called The Orchard, can you guess why? Yep, there's a great, big orchard full of all trees imaginable in the back garden. Can you guess just how big the back garden is? Well as I gazed around I estimated it must be at least two, maybe three acres big.

      Damien looked at me like I was crazy again, and I guessed he must think that I'm such a ditz, and be thinking of a way to tell me that he didn't want to be friends anymore.

      "Yeah, we've got three dogs."

      "Aaron and Claire won't let me have any pets." I explained, hoping that Damien understood my awe, even if he only understood it a little bit.

      Damien explained as we walked that the dogs were put away when he and his parents ate meals.

      We stopped walking when we reached the dogs' pen, which looked just like a humungous rabbit hutch.

      I could hear whines inside, and could see flashes of colour as the dogs waiting impatiently for Damien to let them out.

      I watched eagerly as Damien unlocked the door and three dogs, catching my new and I presume interesting (to a dog anyway) scent, came running towards me.

      With a shriek I was knocked to the floor, and tried to push away the dogs as they sniffed and licked me.

      Damien helped me to my feet, and covered in dog slobber I regarded my attackers properly for the first time.

      Damien introduced me the dogs. There was Betsy a black and white Border collie, Max a golden retriever and Frank a huge Saint Bernard.

      I laughed as they pushed each other out of the way, eager to get attention from me. I knelt down and tried to divide my love between them all equally.

      Damien whistled and Betsy, Max and Frank looked up simultaneously. "Where are mum and dad?" He asked the dogs.

      Woofing in reply, the three dogs ran off in the direction of the house and minutes later shouts could be heard.

      Laughing Damien turned to me. "Want to have a wonder around the garden?"

      I nodded. "Sure."

      "What is there to do in Lakeside then?" He asked me as we meandered through the trees.

      I stuck my hands in my pockets, careful of my sore, bandaged hand. "Well, there are the shops, the cinema. There's a zoo and an aquarium in the nearest city, as well as a really good shopping centre."

      Damien nodded. "Ok, do you want to go to the cinema on Wednesday after school?"

      I nodded, smiling. "That sounds good."

      "Are you going to Nurse Martin's funeral tomorrow?" He asked, looking at me sideways wary of whether his question would upset me.

      "Yes I am."

      He nudged me gently with his shoulder. "Do you want me to go with you?"

      "I don't mind; you can do if you want, but as you didn't know her, I don't expect you to."

      He gave me a small smile. "I think I will."

 

      After half an hour of more walking and talking we returned inside.

      We took off our shoes, and walked past the dogs that were all lying down in the dining room, their tails thumping on the carpet loudly when they saw us.

      Part of Emily and Tom's conversation drifted out of the kitchen as Damien and I walked down the corridor.

      "He was really distracted again today." I heard Tom say.

      Emily's voice was kind. "Maybe he's feeling lonely."

      "Mm maybe, I think it's something else though, I will have to talk to him before somebody else notices and says something."

      "Poor Jeremy," Emily sighed. "It hasn't been easy for him, but he's lucky to have such a good friend like you."

      Damien and I deposited our shoes by the front door before going upstairs.

      Opening a door, Damien said. "This is my room."

      I peered inside in interest.

      He laughed. "You can go in if you like."

      I smiled and walked in.

      I have to say it wasn't at all like I had imagined; I had imagined that the room would be quite dark, and full of posters, but instead it was a whitey creamy colour, with a large wardrobe and several bookcases, on top of one of the bookcases was a plasma TV and several games consoles.

      "Wow," I gazed around in amazement. "This is... really cool."

      Damien had an eyebrow raised. "You sound surprised."

      I laughed. "That's because I am. I expected it to be dark and covered in posters."

      He smiled. "Sorry to disappoint you, but as I've only just moved in I haven't had much time to decorate."

 

      I ended up returning home just before five o'clock, after spending most of my time at Damien's just talking, which I have to say is nice just to talk you know, I don't think I have talked so much in months, probably even years, Damien probably thinks that I am a right chatterbox now.

      "Back so soon?" Aaron asked sarcastically when I walked into the kitchen.

      "Hahaha," I said, getting myself a drink.

      Claire smiled at me from where she was sat at the breakfast bar. "Did you have a good time?"

      I nodded enthusiastically, making my bob swing around. "Yep, Damien's house is so cool, there's an orchard in the back garden which is two or three acres big, plus he has three dogs, three! And his dad, Tom, works for Baugh Technologies and he has invited me to try out the demo of the new Crystal Kingdom game with Damien, but I have to get your permission, so can you ring Damien's dad, Tom Wood, or go over and see him?"

      Aaron and Claire blinked at me as they digested what I had just said, well more like blurted.

      Claire was the first to react. "Baugh Technologies? That's impressive, what's his job?"

      "He's the Head of Business Development."

      "Well, I don't see a reason why you can't go." Aaron told me, and I thought that I was going to burst from excitement. "But I would like to meet Damien's dad first, Tom was it?"

      I nodded. "Oh thank you so much." I hugged him and ran upstairs to my room, where I threw myself onto my bed, laughing in excitement.

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