She combed her hair into a long, red, ponytail and padded downstairs. Happy Birthday to me, Jodie thought. She hated birthdays. Just another day closer to having to leave the orphanage; and believe me, she wanted to leave, but she had no idea what she'd do. She had no one outside, no one inside, really. How would she cope by herself? As soon as she was 18-in one years time-she would have to leave and get her own place. She didn't even know how to use a washing machine, never mind manage a house!
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she could hear the chatter coming from the kitchen. It was the usual morning chatter; Ava and Ben and Derek and Aaron and the other orphans. Each one of them shouting and arguing and just generally chit-chatting. When she arrived, no one acknowledged it was her birthday; she didn't expect anyone too, she just thought it would have been nice if someone had.
As usual, Michael wasn't sat at the table. He was probably in his office, supping whiskey and counting his bank notes. He never really joined in with breakfast, or any other activity for that matter. He just hid in the shadows. He didn't even buy groceries, just handed the money to one of the orphans to do it themselves.
Ava, her best friend sat, eating a bowl of Cheerios. They gave each other a supportive look, to get each other through the day and Jodie sat down at the head of the table. She was the second oldest, apart from Cain. Cain had basically moved into his own house already. He was the bad-ass type. Did what he wanted, went where he wanted, drank what he wanted. Jodie might have even thought he would have been a fun guy to hang around with if it wasn't for the fact that he had apparently killed someone just for the fun of it. Of course Jodie didn't believe it, but she didn't want to take the risk.
The one thing Jodie was happy about was that today was a Saturday. She didn't have to worry about school, or homework. She just wanted to do something fun for once; and she had just the idea.
"How about I throw a party?" She said loud enough for the whole table to hear, but not so loud that Michael would hear.
"A party?" A few people repeated. Ava looked shocked but not disapproving.
"Yeah. We can steal some liquor from Michaels stash." She said, confidently and standing up.
"And how do you expect to do that? The keys are permanently in his pocket, except at night. And if you want a party tonight then-" Derek was interrupted by Ben who threw Jodie a pair of keys at her.
"I had these cut, just in case." He smiled. Ben was a kind guy. He wasn't arrogant but intelligent. He didn't care too much of his looks which made him more attractive. Tattoos tangled his arms and set a story for him.
"Thanks." She grinned and looked at Ava. She had gone pale now and Jodie knew she was uncomfortable with drinking. She decided she was going to talk to her about it later, but now, she had to become a spy. She was going to wait outside of Michaels office and pounce inside, grab two bottles of what looked like the nicest of his 'poison' and jump right back out as if nothing had happened.
"And where do you expect to have this party?" Gem stood up, looking a little excited.
"The garden. I was thinking we could arrange a make-shift tent, you know, like a fort?" Jodie walked round to the door. "I'll tell you all more about it later. Right now, I've gotta go get us some fuel." She of course referred to the alcohol she was about to steal.
When Jodie arrived at Michael's office door, she put her ear to the hard wood and listened for signs of life. She couldn't hear breathing, or moving. Secretly, she hoped he was dead. It'd make it all a lot easier. The orphans wouldn't have to worry about being neglected. They might even be rehoused in a place where people actually cared about them.
Jodie twisted the handle and peeked in. He wasn't there. Jodie sighed and jumped in the room. She knew Michael would be back any second soon. Her eyes flitted to the mahogany cabinet that held his alcohol. "Bingo." She whispered under her breath. She slid over to the cabinet and stuck the key in the small hole, twisting it when she did so. When it opened, she felt as if she had found a box of treasures! There was whiskey, bourbon, orange liquer, vodka and others he didn't recognise.
She pulled out the vodka and whiskey and tucked a bottle each under her arm. She stood up, turned around and squealed. Michael was there. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" His face was bright red. He looked as if he was about to explode.
"I-I was just-" But she had no time to finish. His hand smacked down on her face and made one of the bottled fall to the floor. It stayed in tact, but made a clattering sound. Jodie's cheek burned. She felt rage bubble up inside her and she wanted to smash to remaining bottle over his head. She hid the remaining bottle behind her back and stormed out of the room, tears clouding her view. Still, she had accomplished her mission; and she was happy. Even if her cheek was on fire.