Chapter 8 - Ribs And RosesMature

Robyn leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes.  She had just spent the last four hours with Holly trying to study chemistry.  It wasn't getting any easier.  But she had gotten the homework done at least.  Holly was in the bathroom for the forty fifth time.  Robyn was in constant awe of the girl.  Seventeen years old, five months pregnant and knew their chemistry text book back to front.  She felt a little sorry for Holly, thinking about where she could go if she wasn't destined to be a teen mother.  But with the brains on that girl, she would probably get there anyway.  Especially with Danny supporting her.  

                She was just putting the last of her books into her bag when Danny walked through the door.  He looked tired and smelled of cigarette smoke and beer, but he still had a smile on his face.  "Hey.  Where's Holly?"  Slumping down on the couch beside her.  

                "She's in the bathroom.  How was work?"  Robyn closed her bag and picked up her heavy coat.  

                Danny shrugged.  "Alright I guess.  I'm just happy to be home."  He laid his head on the back of the couch and closed his eyes.  "See you at school tomorrow?"  He added wearily.  

                Robyn stood up smiling.  "Yeah I'll be there.  By the looks of it though, you might not make it.  Oh I almost forgot."  She reached into her bad and took out two books, leaving them on the battered and stained coffee table.  "Sadie gave me some baby books that she was finished with.  Thought Holly might want to take a look at them."  

                Danny's head shot up.  "Kind of risking her neck there isn't she?"  He  said, picking up one of the books and flicking through it.  

                Robyn shrugged and picked up her bag.  "She isn't doing to piss off your mum, she just knows how scary it is being pregnant I guess."  Danny dropped the book and rubbed the back of his neck.  "Have you spoken to your mum lately?"  

                Danny shook his head.  "Nope.  Not since I left.  Its more my dad that's the problem.  Thinks I'm wasting my life for no reason and I'm gonna regret it."  He rolled his eyes.  They heard the bathroom door close and Holly walked in.  Her face light up when she saw Danny sitting there, as did his.  Robyn forced herself not to sigh or roll her eyes.  Shouldn't have stuck around so long, she thought to herself, as Holly sat down on the ram of the couch and Danny put his arms around her.  

                "I better go anyway.  If I want to get any sleep tonight."  She said and headed for the door. 

                "See you tomorrow!"  Danny called after her.  

                Robyn stopped to pull her coat on as the chill night air struck her.  She didn't really want to go home yet so she took a detour through the town and down to the kids park.  It was dark and dreary, like something you would see in a teen slasher movie.  She headed straight to the back anyway and sat on the swings, wiping the excess rainwater off with the sleeve of her coat.  As it was the middle of the week there were no drunken teens hanging around and Robyn was glad of this.  The catcalls and bottles thrown weren’t exactly her idea of fun. 

                She leaned back in the swing allowing the momentum to swing her forward, throwing her hair back so she could look up at the stars.  It was still strange for her to see so many here and it never failed to take her breath away.  She had lived in a city before moving here and she had never seen anymore than a handful.  She remembered the night she had arrived here, she had spent most of it sitting on Sadie and Alan’s front step just staring up at them, afraid they might disappear if she wasn’t looking at them constantly. 

                It wasn’t long after that when she had met Danny.  He was living next door with his parents, who were good friends with Sadie and Alan, and delighted that they had finally managed to get their first foster kid.  Danny was her first friend here, and the one who finally got her to open up and feel safe.  The wind rushed past her ears.  And she was just as worried about him as his mother was.  She liked Holly, but she wasn’t so sure that she was able to keep up her side of the bargain.  But then again, she had so many people doubting her, that maybe Robyn should try and have more faith in her.  Danny sure did. 

                She pushed the thoughts of her friend from her mind and dragged her feet along the woodchip to stop the swing.  As her vision was righting itself again she caught sight of a figure walking past the gates to the park.  Her first thought was that she had been wrong about there being no drunken teenagers about, but that wasn’t it.  The figure was small and its movements were jerky, not sluggish and clumsy.  She got off the swing slowly and softly padded over to the gates.  The figure passed under the orange streetlight at the corner of the public toilets and Robyn saw that it was a girl, wearing her school uniform, but she didn’t recognise her.  Curious Robyn followed her

                She had only followed her a few steps when she stopped dead in her tracks and bent over double, holding her stomach.  A low groan came from her and Robyn hastened to help her.  She placed a hand on her back gingerly, but she didn’t get the chance to ask if she was ok. 

                The stranger spun around with lightning speed, her fist connecting with Robyn’s ribs and knocking her to the floor.  But before she hit the ground she looked into the girls eyes.  For a split second everything froze.  Robyn was dragged into those eyes.  Utter darkness.  Nothing but black.  And the darkness burned.  But that was only for a split second before she hit the ground.  Robyn lay there, stunned and winded for a few seconds. 

                “Oh my God!  I am so sorry!  You scared me!”  The girl rushed to help Robyn up, any trace of murderous rage gone from her now pale blue eyes.  She staggered under Robyn’s weight as she tried to pick her up. 

                “I’m fine.  It’s alright.”  Robyn panted, waving her away with the hand that wasn’t pressed over her aching ribs and got to her feet herself.  This strange girl watched Robyn warily, wringing her hands.  She only reached as far as Robyn’s shoulder, her frame small and lean.  So how had she knocked Robyn to the ground?  Robyn rubbed at her watering eyes.  “Are you a boxer or something?”  She asked.

                The girl smiled nervously.  “No.  You just scared me.” 

                Robyn straightened herself up, sure that she would be seeing a nasty bruise tomorrow.  “We go to the same school, but I haven’t seen you around before.”

                She nodded.  “I just moved here.  My name’s Melanie.”

                “Robyn.” 

                They both stood there awkwardly, glancing around.  “So what were you doing?  I kinda thought you were some drunken idiot trying to find they’re way home.”  Robyn sniggered. 

                Melanie closed her eyes and shook her head in embarrassment.  “I’m not drunk, no.  I just got lost.”  She shrugged.  “I wanted to explore the town after school and I got all turned about.  Just being an idiot I guess.”  She shrugged again and tried to push her hair behind her ears, then grimaced as she seemed to realise that her hair was too short.

                Robyn shook her head in disbelief.  “You know I did the exact same thing when I moved here.  Except I was wandering around all night and eventually Sadie called the guards thinking that I had run away or something.”  Robyn laughed out right at the thought.  Run away from the nicest place she had ever lived?  Not likely. 

                “Who’s Sadie?”  Melanie asked.

                “Ah… my foster mother I guess.”  Robyn answered, making a face.  “Although she’s more like an annoying aunt.”  Melanie nodded understandingly.  Robyn scratched her head.  “Well, I’ve been here for a while now, I can help you get home if you want.  Can you remember the address?” 

                Melanie put a hand to her head and screwed up her eyes.  “Ah yeah…. It’s… Roseville House, Rose Court.  I think.”  She looked at Robyn doubtfully, but Robyn nodded and started walking. 

                “Yeah the place names here aren’t very original I would have to admit.”  Melanie started following her back up to the main street of the town. 

 

                Robyn closed the front door of her home as softly as she could.  She paused to yawn and stretch before heading up the stairs.  She was tired, dog tired.  She had walked Melanie home, chatting small talk on the way.  The girl seemed nice enough, if a little awkward.  Robyn pulled her boots off and started getting undressed for bed, unable to repress another yawn.  But the strength, she just couldn’t believe the strength of the girl.  And the way her eyes had been.  But that was obviously a trick of the light, or the result of being dazed by the knock to the ribs. 

                She winced as she got into bed and rolled onto her side.  She would have to check for a bruise tomorrow but she could already feel it there.  I will have to get her back for that some day, she thought to herself as she drifted off.

 

The End

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