Nueve

They stayed like that for a good few minutes, before Dominick found the strength he had momentarily lost. Standing up, he picked up Lilyana and placed her on his hip. Then, he held out his hand for Gabrielle, which she took and stood slowly, smiling with something shy, or sympathetic in her eyes. He led her over to the table and put Lilyana down on it. He pulled out a chair, first for Gabrielle, then for himself.

'Why? Why did he, Dominick?' Gabrielle stammered.

'I didn't go to work. Lilyana was upset so I took her to the park. I knew we couldn't afford to miss a shift but Lilyana doesn't does she? I just couldn't leave her! He doesn't know what it's like to be young and ignorant. Lilyana comes first for me.' he explained. Gabrielle was in a state of shock, 'I got home and he was there and he was angry. I tried to explain but he wouldn't listen. He was angry with Lil for making me do it but he didn't understand. Then he hit me, just as Aleks came in and shouted. Someone screamed and Aleks ran out, followed by dad. Then you appeared.'

'It was - it was me that screamed. But, why hit a child? my parents have never hit me! I wouldn't dare hit someone!' Gabrielle stammered.

We sat together for a while. No one said anything for ages. Then Lilyana screeched.

'Bikkie! Gabbie bring bikkie?' she cried

Gabrielle stood, smiling. She stroked Lilyana's hair and walked back to the door. She had thrown the basket to the side when she ran in. Gabrielle retrieved it, pulling something out while she walked back to the table.

Inside was a loaf of bread, two cartons of orange juice, cocktail sausages and a small box of cereal bars.

'I decided just biscuits wasn't enough. I want to help properly, so I've brought some proper food. Healthy food - that still tastes nice.' I said.

'Gabrielle!' came a shout from the door. Marisa had arrived back from her shift at the corner store. She smiled and ran to hug her. Dominck stood, his eyes still slightly red from crying.

'Oh, Dominick dear, what happened!' she frowned.

So Dominick explained again.

****

'Oh, don't worry dear. I'll talk to him when he gets home. We should put Lil to bed soon, it's getting late.' Dominick picked her up and walked down the hall to the children's room. 'Thank you so much Gabrielle. You've been so helpful. It doesn't matter much about Dom not going to work today, you've brought what we need anyway. It's strange that you want to help people like us, most people think it's disgusting.'

'My mum and sister would count as "most" then. Dianna, my sister is friends with all the poshies, the king's dauhgter, you know. She always looks down on me. She's a bit childish and shallow really.' Gabrielle admitted.

'Never mind about that, you're not shallow. You're the kindest girl in the world I have no doubt. Nothing mean about you dear.' Marisa reassured.

Dominick returned then. It was quite late, and Gabrielle thought her family would be wondering where she was so she got up and picked up her basket. Surprisingly, Dominick stood too. He walked round and hugged her tight. Then, he released her, smiled and walked away.

Marisa kissed her forehead, and Gabrielle left, pondering the goings on of the day.

The End

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