On the surface Delilah is perfection personified. But in her case the old saying 'its underneath what counts' really should be taken into consideration. At a party, Delilah's perfect life is shattered, not for the first time and everybody sees her in a completely different light. Can she claw her way back up to the top- and battle her guilt and sorrow- by proving that she has been wrongfully accused?


4. Lord of the Rings.

Ellis had been Delilah's rock in more ways than he'd ever known. Not only had he been with her every step of the way after the Emma scare but really, he'd been helping her since she'd first moved to Petworth when she was 9, a few weeks before her tenth birthday and had started back at school when she was 11 .

The first year of high school had been a difficult year for Delilah. She'd been new to the area, hadn't one friend and still had a little bit of puppy fat round her middle. But most of all she'd recently had her life snapped into two halves and as much as the expensive child psychiatrist she was seeing, tried to help, Delilah had been a shy, depressed mouse of a girl. Four weeks into the new school term however, a boy with jet black hair and the most shockingly blue eyes Delilah had ever seen, approached her in the school canteen.

"Its Delilah isn't it?"
Delilah glanced up from her book,The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien, to see him staring down at her.
"Yes," she replied meekly, "who are you?"
"Well, I'm Ellis," he had replied, as if it was obvious, sitting himself next to Delilah. 
"Oh. Ok," Delilah said, unsure whether the continue reading her book or not. What did this boy want from her, of all people?
"So you like Lord of the Rings, do you?" Ellis asked, but before Delilah had a chance to reply he jumped in saying, "I do too. Only thing is, my mother is a bit useless in the book department and when I sent her out to get a copy of the Fellowship of the Ring, she only went and got the sequel, The Two Towers!"
Delilah had giggled at the comical look on Ellis' handsome face. It had been quite a while since she laughed properly and so she even surprised herself.
"So I guess my proposal is, when you've finished reading your book, we could do a swap, you could read the sequel and I could read them in order?"
Delilah grinned. she'd forgotten how much she'd liked meeting new people, the warm fuzzy feeling you got in your stomach when you instantly liked someone.
"Sure!" She exclaimed, "You know, I've read this book a couple of times, you could have it now if you wanted?"
"Yes please!" Ellis grinned ecstatically.
Delilah had passed her dog eared book to Ellis and he had passed his pristine copy to her. She didn't have the heart to tell him that her aunt and uncle had bought her special editions of all of the Lord of the Rings books, in an attempt to cheer her up, so she didn't really need his copy. Instead she grinned at him and he grinned back.
"Hey, mind if I sit here with you to read?" Ellis asked, although he already looked pretty settled, with his coat draped over the back of his chair, his lunchbox on the table in front of him and his book perched on his knee.
"Of course not!" Delilah had almost bounced in her chair.

And that was that. Delilah and Ellis sat at lunch together every day, eating, laughing together and discussing books and tv shows and he slowly drew her from her shell. Soon some of Ellis' friends began to sit with them too. First Louis and Fred, the terrible twosome, with potty mouths and a liking for throwing food, then Eleanor, who adopted Delilah like the little sister she'd never had, looking after her and showing her the ropes of the school and finally Raj and Daisy, who'd been pretty obviously always destined to end up married. Delilah started to feel like herself again and when she'd shed her puppy fat and grown in confidence, she soon became one of the most admired people in school. And it had all started with sweet, innocent Ellis, who'd extended an arm to a shy pudgy girl. Not that it seemed like it would matter for much longer.

"Delilah," Ellis gaped at the cut out Newspaper article he held in his hand, "Delilah, I really don't understand. This isn't real. Its a set-up isn't it?" It was nearing 3AM. The party was long over and Delilah was sat in her dimly lit room, along with Ellis and Eleanor. She was pretty sure that Raj, Daisy, Louis and Fred were also somewhere in the massive mansion, but she couldn't know for sure. Perhaps they'd left, like everybody else had. 

She got up off her bed and wandered over to her full length mirror, seeing a reflection almost unrecognisable to the one she'd seen before the party. She was wearing nothing but a satin pink dressing gown and her hair, still slightly damp from the pool, hung limply, her mascara beginning to run, even though it claimed to be waterproof. All the colour had drained from her cheeks and there was a slight green tint to her skin.
"De!" Eleanor exclaimed, snatching the article from Ellis' grip and shaking it before Delilah's eyes.
"Please tell us what's going on, please. We'll try to understand." Delilah reached up slowly, her fingers curing around the old piece of paper.

Once Emma had stormed past the group in Delilah's room she'd escaped into the midst of the party, taking the stolen articles that she'd stuffed down her top and distributing them throughout the party guests. Whisper after whisper had turned into full scale gossip and suddenly there had been uproar. Everyone had been seemingly appalled with what they'd seen or read or heard and had exited the party straight away, sometimes stopping to throw a repulsed look in Delilah's direction, or scream,  "Liar!"or "Psycho!"
Even those too drunk to stand had been escorted off the premises, by friends worried for their safety in the presence of psychotic Delilah.

A sob racked Delilah's sore body and she rushed into her en suite to throw up the remains of the alcohol and food she's consumed in the last twelve hours. When she re-entered the room, still clutching the news article, she sank onto her bed, fully aware that both Eleanor and Ellis were watching her. She lifted the crumbled scrap of paper before her eyes and tried to read it through brand new eyes, as if she'd never seen it before, just like everybody else had that night. It was a newspaper article from a newspaper called The Devon Times, dated the 23th of July 2007 and read:

Tragedy struck the home of a family living in Ivy Bridge, Devon, just mere days ago. In the early hours of the morning neighbours heard sirens and looked out of their windows to see the Jameson family home blazing with flames. 
The Jameson family, David Jameson, Gina Jameson and their daughter Delilah Jameson were all assumed to be inside the house when the fire began. Fire fighters tried their best to sooth the fire slightly before attempting to send in a rescue team but had little luck, since the fire had spread to both floors and had already caused considerable damage by the time they arrived. It took them at least fifteen minutes to calm the flames to a manageable extent and by this time they didn't have very high hopes for what they would find inside. They were searching the house for three bodies, when they discovered Delilah Jameson had escaped through a back window, by climbing down the drainpipe that led into the back garden. Delilah who is just nine years old was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, a miracle considering the ferocity of the fire. However, both Gina and David have sadly been pronounced deceased although it is unsure how much remains, if any, were found with the decimated house.
What is most upsetting about this catastrophic event is that the cause of fire has been pronounced as intentional. Although it is early days, the only suspect at this time is daughter, Delilah Jameson, who had earlier been seen by neighbors to be playing with a lighter out on the street.
One eye witness, twelve year old Danny Forks, commented, " Yeah, I saw Delilah playing with a pink lighter earlier on today. I remember because I asked her if I could have a go of it, to set fire to bugs but she'd said no because it was a special present and no one else could use it."
It is unsure whether it is implied whether Delilah deliberately set fire to her house or whether it was an accident but there seems to be no discussion as to whether it was the said 'pink lighter' that started the fatal fire. Delilah is in temporary care, following the police investigation and is expected to then move in with relatives in Sussex, once a conclusion has been reached. Whatever the situation, the disaster has left the Ivy Bridge community devastated and mourning the Jameson family. If anyone knows anything about what may have happened on Wednesday the 18th of July, then please, urgently report it at your local police station. 

Delilah stopped reading as her eyes filled with tears, vomit rising into her throat once more. She crumpled the article into a ball and threw it into the air with all the energy she could muster, before flopping down onto her pillow. To be reminded of The Issue was one thing but for everybody else to find out was a completely different thing. She was exhausted, physically and emotionally. She felt drained of any of the happiness she'd managed to regain over the past couple of years. She felt again, just like she had that night. She felt like the little girl, with smoke filled lungs, hiding in a bush at the bottom of her garden. Back then her body had been bruised and sore from somehow managing to escape from her bedroom window and now, her body felt the same way, although the bruises weren't really there. Everything inside her felt bruised, especially her heart. That night she'd sat in that bush, too scared, too concussed to even cry out, just looking at her beloved home being devoured by flames and praying so hard that her parents would come and find her soon and sweep her into their arms and tell her that everything was going to be ok. As she led on her bed, staring unseeingly at the ceiling, she'd never yearned for her parent's touch, smell, voices so much in her entire life.

"Delilah," there sounded like there were tears in Eleanor's voice. She felt a familiar hand close around hers. Ellis. She could smell him too. His aftershave, the mint shampoo he used and the coffee on his breath. He'd tried to sober up. She wanted to do the same for him. She needed to. It was the least she could do. She slowly sat up. The room span a little but then everything stood still. Ellis and Eleanor gaped at her and she could tell by the looks on their faces that they were scared.They were terrified.
"I-" she started to speak but she didn't know where to start. She looked down at her hands, they were shaking. She looked up again and found her self eye-to-eye with Ellis. The startling blue colour of them made her feel as if she'd plunged into an ice bath and she felt more aware immediately. 

She sighed, her ribs aching. Finally, she resigned herself to telling the truth. There was not much else she could do now.
"What do you want to know?" Her voice was shaky but clear.
"Who's Delilah Jameson. Is it you?" Eleanor burst out, her voice catching in her throat a couple of times. Delilah tried her best to smile reassuringly at Eleanor but it wasn't a very good attempt.
"Yes, Delilah Jameson is me. I changed my name to my Aunt and Uncle's when I arrived here, so I wouldn't be recognised."
"So the people you live with, they're your Aunt and Uncle?" Ellis said. Delilah turned to him and his betrayed expression broke her heart a little bit more. She nodded, not able to speak.
"So," Ellis, removed his hand from Delilah's and paced across the room, picking up the crumpled up article and holding it between two fingers, "this is true?"
Delilah nodded, her heart in her throat."Yes. But not all of it, you need to let me explain."
"Fine." Ellis sat on the end of Delilah's bed, stared directly at her, his face expressionless and plainly said, "explain."

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