That lunch, the miraculous happened. Monique and Aimee, together, chins high and eyes cruel, spoke to Penelope. ‘We’ve decided to give you a second chance, Penny. You can come back to us, and it will all stop. You can have your perfect life back.’
‘On one condition,’ Aimee added. ‘Dump the skater boy. Dump him and your life will change again, but this time for the better.’
What choice did she have? What sort of life was this for a teenaged girl, bullied and oppressed by her own peers? She had to break out of the system, the only way she could.
It was fast, clean and mean. A text, two words, with one, lonely ending kiss at the end. One text ended it all. It’s over. X
In a way, Penny’s life really did become the same again. She buried her guilt, buried her love. It was love, the kind that was young, raw and full of memories. Buried well and truly deep, it couldn’t affect her.
The smile on her face was genuine, and she rejoined her friends with ease. There was always an underlying dark to her life, those distant memories of Ty, the skater boy who she sacrificed for her own good. The guilt was manageable, Penny found, as long as she distracted herself with endless ballet and endless boyfriends.
There were countless boyfriends in the years after Ty. She loved a couple, or at least thought she did, and gradually, Ty and his love became buried more and more, until she didn’t spare a single thought for the skaters crashing around at the park.
Dangers were everywhere, of course. She spotted Gordon in the shopping centre once, and had to backtrack until he faded into the distance. Any memories were bad memories, she told herself firmly.
The years drifted past, and she left St Fredericks to follow her dancing career. It was fun at university. Penelope loved the classes, and the people.
She would spend the evenings in nightclubs dancing and chatting up boys. It was a whirlwind life, and Penny enjoyed every second. It was only a few months after she graduated early and was living in her very own flat, that she discovered she was pregnant.