Once Lost

For the On Dublin Street competition.
Please heart!
~Work In Progress~

So, this is about a seventeen year old girl who just lost her mum and dad and suddenly her brother. She leaves the place that she's known as home for the last while, in hope of finding somewhere she can call home. With no family, no connections and very little money, things seem hopeless. But then Liam pops his head in her business and they discover they have a lot more in common than she thought.
And why does Liam seem so interested in her? He seems like a big flirt but under all his cover-up tracks there's something going on. So what'll happen when she find out who he really is, and what he's really doing...

© 2012 by Beth Morrow all rights reserved

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1. Chapter 1

 

It all started like any other day.

I left McVites Care-home with my shoe laces tied with a double knot, my hair in a pink scrunchi and my folders in my hand with my bag banging against my hip. I walked up Janet-Bridge Avenue and there stopped for the number 30 bus to school. Anthony was staying at the Morgans. But I couldn't stand it there - Alice and Larry and Jake, three other kids that were thrust into foster care almost as soon as they could talk. There weren't related, but they all stayed at the Morgans, and Anthony said he felt more comfortable there than at McVites.

But at least at McVites you got enough peace and quiet that kept me happy. I shared a room with Izzy and Alice, and whenever Sammy ran away from one of her foster homes, then she'd join us there. McVites worked enough for me. Three meals a day, a nice bed, fifty pence a week and, most importantly, a desk where I could do my drawing. I cherished that space, made it my home. That half a metre desk with the paper-mached mug of pencils and the pin-board with notes and cartoons and birthday cards and snippets of songs all pinned with blue-tack to it's cork-board surface. But I didn't keep my special drawing book there, or my carefully sharpened, carefully ordered tin of graded pencils. I hid them under my bed with a padlock. Although I could trust Izzy and Alice, and even Sammy knew not to touch my things, I couldn't trust some of the other kids. Gordan Bush once tried to sell my drawings to a magazine, but Sammy punched him in the nose, where blood spilt all to easily, and also threatened to tell Michele about his long-time crush on her.

McVites was fine, but it wasn't home - it was simply McVites.

 

I got home from school at just after four. It was dull, with a few dashes of sunlight trying to sneak through the grey clouds. I went in through the back door - the kitchen - into McVites, and saw Milly sitting with Brussel, leaned up against the far wall, around the circular table. I grinned a hello before grabbing an apple from the fruit bowl and heading up to my room on the third floor.

I wasn't ready for what was to come next.

 

"He was sedated 'till the end, the doctors did all they could," said Izzy, my head buried in her shoulder, hoping that it might create a plug from the tears that fell in a steady stream.

"Anthony didn't have any last words, but he did have a smile, at least that's what one of the doctors said. Mrs Morgan held his hand as he slipped away, but he was already sleeping, he didn't even feel when it hit him."

I couldn't decipher who was saying what anymore. It didn't matter.

Anthony was gone, and I didn't even get to say goodbye. My last living family member left had been wiped out, by a car. He was scootering across the road and some drunk driver and... it was disaster waiting to pop.

Mum gone. Dad gone. Anthony gone. I don't know whose left - Mum's parents died years ago and she was an only child, with no aunts, uncles - nobody. But for all I knew Dad had family, but they disowned him. I don't know why, he never spoke of it. I didn't know anyone, I had no family left, at least as far as I knew.

 

"I'm leaving," I said, but Alice was doing all she could to stop me.

"You don't know anyone!" she said, grabbing my bag.

I hauled myself away from her, and slumped down onto the bed, trying not to cry. I had done nothing but cry for the last week and it was about time I did something. Everywhere reminded my of Anthony - the bakers, his school, his friends, his spare in McVites room for crying out loud! Just done the stupid corridor with the stupid red door and the stupid window and his stupid roommates... and his picture on the wall, the one with Mum and Dad and me and him, all at the park. How was I supposed to ignore everything - it was like being haunted by ghosts. 

Alice sat down next to me, putting her hand on my shoulder, "You can stay, we're here for you."

I placed my hand over hers, and with a gentre nudge slid it off my shoulder, "When Mum and Dad died, I kew I couldn't stay in NewGate, it wasn't fair on Anthony and it wasn't fair on me. Now that Anthony's gone, I can't stay here, everything I do reminds me of him. I'm seventeen, and technically I'm old enough-ish to be out on my own. I'd be going to college at the end of this year anyways, why not let me have like - well - a gap year early? Why not? It seems fair to me. I have almost six-hundred in my savings account, and fifty-eight in my piggybank here." Alice looked up at me, tears at the corners of her eyes, "Please, Alice, I have to live my own life. I've been tied down with Anthony, and tied down with my fears - you've always told me to live my own life. That's just what I'm doing."

 

I'd been here for ages. I don't know how long, but it felt like forever.

I'd cried myself to sleep, woken at the crack of dawn to sneak out of the Youth Hostel and not wake anyone. I returned late, and scraped together a meal from the leftovers in the fridge, then I'd return to my single closet-sized room, with a pigeon-hole window and enough room to squeeze around, and use the shared toilet.

I never met the other person who used the shared-toilet, I kept as low a profile as I could.

And I couldn't stop remembering Anthony.

A knock at my door made me sit up quickly, trying to wipe the tears from my face.

A knock again.

I opened the door a crack and was greeted with an irritated, "Hellooo?"

I flung the door open to see the dark corridor, and a someone very tall standing in front of me.

"What?" I snapped, then regretted it - we weren't exactly laying out the welcome mat.

"You're moody," he said.

I glared back, "What do you want?"

He rolled his eyes a bit then said, "You're invited to the bar tonight - everyone's going."

"I've got work."

"Oh yeah?" he said, sounding disbelieving.

"Yeah. And why should I got to a bar anyways?"

"Because you've been hiding in here like a hermit for a week now - socialising isn't bad, you know."

"I don't drink." True enough - I was underage.

"You can have an non-alcoholic cocktail."

"I've got work." I said again.

"Where?" he asked, sounding frustrated.

"Blue Bear."

I saw a grin flicker over his face but it disappeared quickly. "Fine."

I tried to slam the door shut, blocking him out but he pushed it open easily. I gave in and slumped down against my bed, but wished I hadn't because now I was in the light more he could see my face.

"Have you been crying?" he sounded surprised. I turned to the mirror and saw my puffy eyes, and said quickly, "Hay fever."

 

I didn't have work, why? Because the Blue Bear had unexpectedly decided that they had enough staff. So, somehow, I don't know how, Liam, had convinced me to go to the bar. Liam was his name - and I didn't want to be friends with him. I had lied to him about my age, my name and practically everything. I'd said I had hay fever, that I was staying here to 'explore this part of the world'. I said I was from New York but I had an English accent because my parents were English. I said I was an only chid. I said I was a writer coming here to look for inspiration.

All lies.

We were now sitting in a stuffy bar somewhere in this wee town, were Liam was shoving another drink before my nose. I could hardy decipher it's smell, my nose was blocked from all the crying I had done earlier.

"It's non-alcoholic!" he shouted.

I was tired of his yelling and throwing food and drinks before my face so I decided to stop the flow and take this one. I took the glass and took a drink. I didn't know what it was but I downed the whole thing, only to hear him say, "Whoops, that was my one."

I glared at him, now realising I had just drunk alcohol and I wasn't even meant to be in a bar.

I grabbed my bag and said, "I'm leaving."

"Whoa!" Liam was beside me, "No rush Grace."

"You gave me that drink on purpose and I'm not even meant to be here. I'm underage."

He stopped suddenly, "You're not 21?"

"Oh my god, no! I'm seventeen and my names not even Grace, so just go away!"

He grabben my hand and his eyes settled on mine. I stared up at him.

"I'm not either."

"What?"

"I'm not even meant to be here either - I ran away from home. I'm seventeen as well."

"Oh, that's grand," I said, "wanna just join the wee group? Huh? Shall we make a club - seventeen and alone." I glared at him, spitting my sarcastic words at him. Then I noticed how blue his eyes were, and how much the were like Anthony.

"I-I gotta go," I said, turning away, feeling the tears welling up in my eyes again.

"I'll show you the way back," he said.

"That's f-fine. I'm good. Yeah. Good."

But Liam wouldn't stop, and suddenly he had taken me out of the bar, and I was in the street, walking back to the Hostel.

"Why're you here then?"

"Just because I told you that I'm actually seventeen doesn't mean that we're best pals, okay?" I said.

"Seventeen, did you say?" a voice from behind us said.

Liam grabbed my hand and whispered in my ear, "Run!"

We did, we both ran from the shouts of the man yelling for us to stop.

 

We hid in some strange alleyway, Liam and I squished like sardines together in the tight corner.

"Well this is cosy," he said, and I could see the smirk on his face.

I groaned. Just add to he awkward situation, shall we?

"You're real pretty."

I practically shoved him away as I stood up, "Lets just get back to the Hostel, okay? 'cause you're not going to get very far with me."

He laughed and showed me to my room, to where he leaned in for a kiss and I shoved the door between us.

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