The AppleTree

Apple Mollinue has always been intrigued by the apple tree at the bottom of the garden, ever since she realised that it was the reason for her name.

Harvey Comice recently moved house and his parents are desperately trying to get him to make friends with the new neighbours.

One girl. One boy. But what will happen when their paths cross in the presence of the mysterious apple tree???

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1. Apple

Hi, I'm Apple. Yep, you heard me right. Apple. My parents actually named me after a round, crunchy fruit. Don't even get me started on the names I get called at school. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind that name, I just often wonder why my mum and dad couldn't call me a slightly more normal name like Jessica or Sarah. When people hear my name they expect me to be a loud, rebellious party-animal with nothing better to do than drugs, drink and boys. I'm the complete opposite. Shy and timid, I'm like a mouse really. Only talking when speech is really neccessary. Only showing my face when my presence is really neccessary. Well, anyway, I'm Apple, and this is my story...

"Apple Mollinue, get your sorry butt downstairs right this instant!" bellowed my step-dad Gary. I groggily clambered out of the warmth of my duvet covers and trudged down the staircase, my bare feet padding silently on the varnished wood. Whatever he wanted, it had better be worth getting out of bed for.  "Apple? Are you coming or what? We haven't got all day you know!" sneered Gary in a threatening manner. Thinking about it, that's how he always spoke. I quickened my pace, not wanting to stir up any trouble with this guy who was roughly the size of a refridgerator (he often reminded me that he could lift me and snap me in half if he wanted, but I reckoned that it wasn't all muscle). I stepped into the living room and instantly felt a cold shiver run down my spine. It felt as though a ghost had stepped right through me. 'Don't be silly!' I told myself, 'Ghosts don't exist!'. I shook off the feeling and went to sit down on the old, patchy sofa that stinks of beer and lager. Trust me, I was used to it. Living at this dump, you kind of had to be. I didn't want to live here, but I had no choice. Ever since my father died when I was a baby, my mum started going to the pub all night, leaving me on my own at our old flat. She would come back at 2 in the morning, her voice slurred and her lipstick smudged across her face. Don't feel sorry for me. I loved it. And I would've been perfectly happy if our lives had stayed that way, but one night when my mum was out at the pub, she met someone. And not just someone, it was Gary. She came home early with Gary on her shoulder (or was it her on Gary's shoulder? I never remember) and told me in her still-slurred voice: "Thisss isss Gary. He'sss gonna be your newwww Dadddyyy darling." She tried patting me on the head but I just dodged. I didn't want a new Daddy. No one could possibly replace my old Dad, especially not 7 foot tall drunks. And that's when we moved here. Just like that. i didn't get a say, oh no. It was just "Apple do this" and "Apple do that" until I was sick of hearing my own name. But now I'm older, and I know not to question Gary or my mum, I just stay quiet and do as I'm told. Well, most of the time.

Anyway, back to the supposedly urgent meeting that Gary drew me out of bed for. I almost died when he told me.

"Apple. Your mother's going to have a baby." he said in his sneering voice. I almost felt like punching his face in. Almost. Another thing where I don't get a say. I didn't want a baby brother or sister. Especially not if it's dad was Gary. I don't think anybody deserved having Gary for their dad. The main thing that was running through my mind though was 'How could she?' How could my mum have actually got hooked up with this foul character? What on earth did she see in him? It was anybody's guess. But right now, I didn't even want to think about it. Instead, I stormed up to my room to have a right little strop in the safety of my bed. Ahh, sounds like bliss.

~♥~

I woke up to find myself staring up into my mum's sickening blue eyes and I could smell her alcohol-tinted breath. Yuk.

"Mum! Go away!" I squirmed so that I didn't have to smell the revolting stench of wine. What could she want? She's never cared about me before, so why start now? I reminded myself that she probably just wanted to sneer in my face for being such a baby, when she spoke.

"Darling, you know I love you really." I was completely taken aback by this sentence. I was pretty sure I had never heard her say the word 'love' before. Not even in an 'I love Gary' sort of sentence. "I just wanted to say that I really am sorry. I know it hasn't been easy for you living here and having a new father, and now this news. Well, I wasn't sure how you'd take it..." She started but I burst in with a snivelling little sentence, the sort that usually comes from a 4 year old.

"Since when have you cared." She looked deeply hurt. 

"Darling, I have always cared. I understand that you're so upset after your father's death- he was a great man- and I also know that my drinking habits haven't made it any easier for you. But you've got to understand that I needed to find myself a partner to help take care of you, I couldn't manage on my own. And the baby, I only did it to give you some company. I don't like Gary, I know you don't either, but he's the only reason we've managed to survive, so you shhould at least try and be nice to him." With that, she turned and left. I was speechless. Be nice to Gary? You have got to be joking me. I stormed downstairs to make my breakfast, a miserable feeling looming over me. Welcome to my life.

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