Milton 'n' McGold


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8. Chapter Eight

Today was tanking. It had started with another envelpoe under the door, the same picture but with rope wrapped round her neck. Being paired with Sebastian had been the cherry on an already stale belgium bun of a morning, torn with what she felt about him: irritation and attraction when being around him. Wanting to rant about everything to someone she checked in at the school's reception to see if they'd heard anything about Jenna or from her parents. She found her grandad chatting to the secetary.

"Hey, grandded, how's your day going so far?" She adored him so much; everytime she saw him shuffling about the school in his baggy blue boiler suit, she felt a little surge of happiness and warmth. She didn't care what other thought about him and his job, she loved him. She could just imagine Mr Arrogant McGold staring don his nose at him. So what? Granddad was her closet family member she had left. and she was determined to appreciate every second of his company. He, however, was stuck in the notion that she prefered her school friends and made sure he stayed out of the way no matter how many time she told him he was wrong.

"I'm fine love. How about you? Settled back into your routine again?"

Abbi shrugged. She didn't want to burden him with her troubles but also didn't want to lie to him. She just couldn't win, could she? He was already worried about her enough and his health was already touch and go at the best of times.

He bent a little closer, noticing her attempts at covering up her eys with a little make up. "How did you hurt your eye, Abbi?"

"Accident. It's okay now. Jenna's not back yet though. I was just wondering if Mrs Jonathan had a message from her or something?"

"You must be worreid. Missing your partner in crime?" At least Granddad understood how she felt.

"Yeah, alot."

The secretary rifled through her phone calls. "Nothing, honni. Don't worry she'll turn up soon. I'm sure there is a perfectly reasonable explaination for this." She smiled at Abbi.

"Has the school contacted her parents?"

"I'm afraid I can't share that information with you." Her smile turned brittle; not a good sign.

"Do you mean that something is wrong at home or something?" Unlike other people, Abbi knew to expect the worst. The phone call had come at two in the morning. The car returning from the hospital with only one person. Mrs Johnathan turned away, moving the late register to a different table so Abbi could no longer see it. "Don't jump to conclusions Abbi."

"I'm her best friend, Mrs Johnathan. She wouldn't mind me knowing." Desperation made her voice catch.

"School policy. Haven't you got a lesson you should be in?"

Her grandfather rested his hand on her shoulder. "Abbi." His calming tone was enough; she had a tendency to go off on a tangent. He was skilled at reeling her back to reality.

"Sorry." Deep breath. "Yes, I've got French next. See you later, Granddad."

Abbi hurried to class not wanting to get told off for being late. She couldn't shake the feeling that Jenna was in trouble or something bad had happened to her.

Entering French last, Abbi took a seat next to Sebastian's friend.

"Hi, Jackson, how're you doing?"

"Much better now you're here." He winked but Abbi had a feeling that his flirting mannor was a reflex rather than person. Something a girl enjoyed but didn't take too seriously.

"Why thank you." She got her folder out of her bag.

"Heard you were paired with Sebastian this morning."

"Yeah."

"How'd he do?"

Was Jackson smirking? Abbi wasn't keen on anyone who took the piss out of dance; it was her harest course by far. "He did alright."

"Really?"

"Surely you must know he's a good dancer. He did it at your last school, didn't he?" Hang on: Jackson said they were expelled for blowing up the labs. If Sebastian was doing arty subjects what was he doing in the lab? "He did do dance didn't he? You're not trying something on here, are you?"

Jackson frowned. "What, us? No! Why would we do something like that? Yeah he's a good dancer. Good at everything actually."

"You see, I wouldn't appreciate it if I found out I was caught up in some joke."

"No joke, honest." Jackson swivelled to Faish on his other side. "Hey nice to meet you: I'm Jackson."

Ignore me, why don't you? But I'm onto your game. Abbi decided it was worth pushing Sebastian on his dance past. If school was going to be sucky scoially, then at least she wouldn't let her work suffer.

She eavesdropped into Jackson and Faish's conversation. "What do your parents do, Faish?"

"My father work in the city. Banking. How about yours?"

"Mom's in rehab and dad's in prison." Jackson drew a cat face in the margin of his book.

Faish laughed. "You're kidding, right?"

"Nope."

Faish swallowed his chuckles. "Hey, I'm sorry man."

"No problem. Gotta laugh or I'd cry. My godfather swooped in and rescued me; that's why I'm here."

"And who's your godfather?"

"He's a colonel in the British Ministry of Defense." Jackson reved up his smile a notch. "At least good old dad's not a banker. Talk about unpopular."

The Pakistian smiled back, put at ease by Jackson's joke. "I find it hard to live that down. My mum's a nurse, can you believe that?"

"Now you can hold your head up high." Jackson turned to Abbi. "See, he's a good guy really."

"I knew that already. Hey Faish, did you have a good holiday?" Abbi asked.

"Not bad thanks. I don't suspose my watch turned up thought, did it? Your grandfather said he'd look for it."

"He didn't mention it so I guess not. Sorry."

"I'll have to tell Dad then and he'll have to contact the insurers. He won't be pleased. It was a Rolex. Looks like it was stolen rather than just lost."

"That's rough." Jackson grimenced in sympathy. "I'd better keep my Gartier if there's a thief round here."

Their teacher called the classes attention to the white board where she was running through a movie version of thier set text. Abbi began to take notes but she couldn't forget the converstaion she had over heard. Jackson's dad in prison? Really? And how did her end up with a British godfather paying for his pricy education? And what about Sebastian's parents? Were they also in trouble? Was that what bought the boys together? She couldn't ask Jackson about it since he wasn't talking to her about it. That'd be rude, on her part for listening.

"It's Ok." Jackson said in a low voice.

"What do you mean?"

He put a body and a tail on his cat, and then started on an owl. "I know you heard what I was saying to Faish. I've got no problem with it anymore. What my parents did has nothing to with me now. And my godfather's really great."

"When does he get out?"

"My dad?"

Abbi nodded.

"Never, I hope."

That'd meant he'd done something really bad. "I'm sorry. "

"Don't be. It was a huge relief he was caught. I owe my life to the NYPD."

New York Police Department. "I'm still really sorry; it has to be tough sometimes."

"Thanks."

"And your godfather, does he make a point of taking in boys with no parents to support and educate them?"

Jackson gave the owl a sad expression. Was that a boombox it was peerching on? "Sometimes, yeah. That's how he found me. He's a friends of Sebastian's family though."

"Sebastian's family?"

"Oh yeah. I've met them. Grand house, classy ansestors, they've got the full English upper class look going on. Sebastian can't bear it. He thinks he should get by on brain power and refuses to use his background to help get ahead."

"Wow. Does he have a title or something?"

"Let's just say his parents are welcome in the Royal Ascot Encloseure anytime, but of you mention it, he'd hit you with one of his demolition jobs on the class system of this country and freeze you out of his life for the rest of eternity."

Abbi didn't quite get Sebastian's attitude. She'd kill for a rich godfather, if she had a family like that she'd be tempted to make the most of it. "Ok, got it."

Jackson drew a circle around the owl and made it into a balloon. "Funny thing is, he's more ashamed of his priviledged start in life than my tough start."

"Are you two quite finished?" Mrs Gildstone flapped a copy of the play in front of them. "Or should I put this class on pause while you get better aquainted?"

"I appologise." Jackson bathed her in one of his smiles. Her posture seemed to slack a bit. "Abbi was just catching me up with everything."

"That's all very well, Mr Shaw, but now is the time to concentrate on today's lesson."

"Bien sur, madame."

Crisis averted for today, Jackson leant back in his chair and checked his watch.

"Late for a hot date?" teased Abbi when he checked it again a minute later.

"But, sugar, I ain't asked you yet."

Abbi lauged at his hickabilly tone.

"I'm just expecting a call," Jackson explained. "I'm gonna have to cut class early. Cover for me?"

"And say what?"

"I've come up with an imaginary illness?"

"Yeah, like that'd work."

"Migrane. Migrane is a good one. Impossible to disprove."

"Expert at this, are you? Ok I'll cover for you."

Jackson slid out of his seat, making his excuse to the teacher with a very convincing act. He was out of class two minutes before twelve. For a couple of newcomers, susposidly good at all thier subjects, Sebastian and Jackson weren't that interested in taking their classes. Come to think of it, they were here because they had got themselves expelled from their last school. Looked like they're heading down the same path again.

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