wo Houses - Both Alike In Dignity - But Not In Wealth - At Verona College Is Where We Lay Our Scene.
This town was divided into two. The haves and the have nots. Eighteen year old Todd Steadman II and his fifteen year old brother Jessie, the police commissioner's sons fell into the 'have' category, while eighteen year old Carmel Edwards and her fifteen year old sister Penny whose father had left six years before, leaving their mother doing two jobs to raise them, fell into the 'have not' category.
Carmel had been at college for a year doing her A Levels, and was intending to put herself through university. She was doing Business, English and Mathematics. She was in Todd Steadman's English and Mathematics classes but for the last year had managed to pretty well stay off Todd's radar. All that was about to change.
“She dumped you?” one of Todd's cronies Mitchell Price asked as they walked into the class after the summer break.
“Naaaaaaaaaaa man I dumped her sorry ass,” Todd was bragging. The girl he was referring to was socialite Tammy Lewis, local MP's daughter and heir to her mother’s jewellery chain, a year older than him, boasting (amongst others) of her nearest and dearest, the Prime Minister’s daughter, and whom Todd had been dating since school and had left for Oxford over the summer. “I have my eye on someone else.” Todd said, it sounded to Carmel who was sat with her back to him like a threat and Carmel felt sorry for the object of it.
There was a buzz in the canteen at lunchtime. Todd Steadman was single and there were a hundred or so girls who were lining up to take Tammy's place. Carmel's friends sat discussing it when she walked over. Leanne was one of the girls who would love to be the new Tammy but wasn’t rich enough to make the cut. Fiona, who had come to the college from the same private school as Todd, was of the same opinion as Carmel, he was a nasty bully who got away with everything he did, because of his father, and they both felt sorry for the girl who had caught his eye.
Just then Liam Watts walked in, Carmel and Fiona both allowed their eyes to wander. Liam was cute in an immensely intelligent way, as he walked past he smiled at the girls, Carmel bit her lip, his smile was just so cute. After he had passed Carmel and Fiona discussed the finer points of his brown eyes and slender body.
"Move.” Carmel looked up at the sound of a voice, Todd Steadman was stood looking directly at her, “Did you hear me? I said move, this is my seat.” Carmel got up picking her tray up, Fiona and Leanne followed suit, he and his friends laughed and he said nothing more. As they got out of earshot Carmel's heart was thudding in her ears, she was burning with embarrassment. She had seen kids answer him back and lived to regret it, the best she could hope for was that he would forget it. Fiona said he used to do it all the time at school, it was just power play.
After college the three girls usually went swimming on a Monday, Carmel was a little late and as she stood under the shower before getting in the pool she had her eyes closed and was shoved, only just managing to retain her footing. “You seem determined on getting in my way today,” Todd said sniggering with his friends. Carmel said nothing and went and joined her friends in the pool. Fiona mentioned that Carmel might be advised to keep a very low profile as that was twice she had got Todd's attention in the same day. Carmel waited for Todd and his friends to get in the pool, ran, got changed and left the building. She had always managed to avoid bullies somehow, but Todd was notorious for getting a bee in his bonnet about somebody. She couldn’t afford to drop out of college.