enny was on her way home from school and unfortunately had got the attention of some bullies in her local high school. They were in the process of pulling all her things out of her bag and throwing them on the floor, one by one and stamping on them. Penny stood letting tears run down her face.
From the other side of the road someone shouted, “Oi,” the bullies dropped her bag and ran off. An immensely pretty boy in a straw boater ran over and helped Penny pick up her things and put them back in her bag. When the bullies realised it was a boy on his own they came back, the boy smacked one of them about the head with Penny's bag, grabbed Penny's hand and they ran.
As the bully who got hit went to run after him, one of the others grabbed his arm and pulled him back, “Man, that's Jessie Steadman, you suicidal?” they gave up. Jessie and Penny ran into 'The Basement' which was Todd's hang out in town.
[where r u?] it was nearly six and Penny still hadn’t arrived home from school so Carmel texted her.
[I'm @ Basement with friend] was the reply, oh she had to be joking, Carmel grabbed the car keys and ran out the door. [pik u up 5 mins]
As Carmel walked through the door Jessie Steadman had what looked like two knitting needles headed toward her little sister's face. She ran over, grabbed his arm “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” she shouted, Jessie dropped the chopsticks.
“Getting Penny to try some kyuri no sumomi,” he replied. Just then Carmel had her hair pulled from behind.
“Get your hands off my brother.” Todd's voice. Carmel let go. “Now kneel and apologise,” he said pushing her head down. Carmel locked her knees, she had no intention of kneeling. Todd ground his groin into her rear as he forced her to bend in front of him, “Or is this what you want?” he sneered. Carmel shot Penny a tear filled defeated look as she bent her knees and knelt.
“Todd it's ok, she was just looking out for her little sister the way you look out for me, let her go please,” Jessie said.
“She keeps getting in my way and I will let her go when she apologises” holding onto her hair but not actually pulling it.
Penny started crying. “I'm sorry,” Carmel said and Todd let go.
The second Carmel was on her feet, she grabbed Penny's hand and pulled her from there, thankfully the car was at the roadside and she was in it and gone.
When they got outside, “How the hell could you go there Penny, with Jessie Steadman of all people?”
Penny tried to explain, but Carmel forbid her to see him again, burning with humiliation and fear. “I don’t care how nice he is, his brother isn’t, and now I may have to move college.” She would go into college in the morning and try and change to evening classes, which would mess with her part time jobs, but now she probably really had no option. Three times in one day, she was definitely on his radar now.
Penny tried to get Carmel to change her mind about Jessie. Jessie kept texting and Penny wanted to see him again. Carmel forbid it. “Why was he feeding you with chopsticks?” Carmel finally asked over the dinner table.
“He's going to move in with his mum in Japan when he finishes university,” Penny said with a note of pride in her voice.
“Penny, don’t get any ideas about dating Jessie Steadman, they don’t date below their station, and we are definitely 'below their station'” Carmel said, she knew it was harsh, but it was true none the less. “He will use you and move on. Do you understand?” Penny nodded.
Carmel left for her four hour shift at the petrol station. It was on the other side of town, the pay was a little over minimum wage. At midnight she locked up and got in her car, between her and her mother they managed to run the one car.
Of an evening her mother worked in the convenience store at the end of the road so Carmel could use the car. The insurance was heavy but Carmel having use of the car helped all round. She saw a set of headlights come on at the roadside as she pulled out of the petrol station but thought nothing more of it.
When she pulled up at a red light she felt her car get nudged from behind, she went to get out as Todd Steadman got out of his car behind her.