e let go. There was a round of applause, Carmel bowed, sarcastically, and headed for the door, and leaving Leanne and Fiona stood staring after her. Carmel called her mum and asked her to pick her up, naturally her mother wanted to know what the matter was, Carmel claimed too much to drink. When she got in she made her way up to Penny's room Carmel didn’t bother knocking, she snatched Penny's phone off the bed, last message from Jessie, “See you in ten minutes.”
“I told you to stay away from Jessie Steadman, Penny, why can’t you just do as you're told!” Carmel levelled at Penny.
“Why, did Todd do something? Has he hurt you? What did he do?” Penny asked concerned.
“Yes, no, well yes he did, he danced with me.” Carmel said, the beer was making her head spin a little, and as she said it, it sounded ridiculous, even to her ears.
At which Jessie fell out of Penny's wardrobe laughing. Carmel was fuming, but one look at Jessie's sweet smile and she couldn’t stay mad, he had that effect on everybody, so did Penny, they did absolutely make the cutest little couple.
“So let me get this straight, he danced with you and you're mad why?” Jessie asked.
“Because I didn’t want him to dance with me, I wanted...” and she stopped mid sentence. “Anyway he just didn’t give me an option.”
Just then Jessie's phone went off, Todd was waiting for him outside, their father had got wind of Todd's stunt at the club and they both had to go home. Carmel helped sneak him out of the house by keeping her mother occupied, her mother would have a fit if she knew her daughter had a boy in her room, let alone in the middle of the night, fortunately she was always too busy to notice.
The two boys got home and their father went ballistic. “So let me get this straight, you two boys are seeing two sisters from a council estate?” he smirked as if the idea was ridiculous.
Both boys tried to explain their own situations and their father silenced them. Jessie was furious, if Todd had just left Carmel alone, father would never have bothered looking into this and would never have found out who Jessie was seeing. Not that it mattered, Jessie had no intention of giving up Penny, not for his father, not for her sister, not for anybody, and he knew Penny felt the same. They were in love and nothing and no one was going to keep them apart. He would marry Penny and nothing would stop him. Jessie was dismissed first, as he knew he would be, Todd was the prodigal son, the heir to his father's name, their father knew that as soon as Jessie came of age he was going to join his mother who had gone home to Japan after the divorce.
Todd came out about a half hour later after his father had finished screaming at him. Jessie was sat on the stairs, Todd ruffled his hair. “You like her that much ha?” Todd asked, Jessie's face lit up as he nodded, “well, he is more mad at me for my stunt at the club, don’t worry” and in that sentence he gave Jessie his permission to stay with Penny, and he wouldn’t make things difficult for him.
Todd lay on the bed wondering what was it about that girl? He couldn’t get her out of his mind, but now for his brother’s sake, he'd have to. He had seen Penny and Jessie together, there was no doubt that they were two kids very much in love, and he didn’t doubt Jessie when he said he was going to marry her. He knew he'd never get his father's permission, but he had Todd’s and Todd knew that to Jessie, that meant everything.
Carmel sat with Penny while she waited for a text from Jessie, she wasn’t ignorant, she knew his father would refuse them to continue this relationship.
'It's ok, I c u 2moz, love u x'
Carmel had been hoping he would tell Penny he wouldn’t be able to see her any more. But the look on Penny's face, full of relief, it was such a pity it would have to end eventually, and Carmel felt the longer it got dragged out the worse for Penny it would be. Carmel had been so worried about Penny that she had clear forgotten about Todd. Till she checked her social profile, her 'dance' had gone viral and she looked at it with shame. It had been very erotic. People who were at the club even commented that it had turned them on, and it was the sexiest sight short of a strip club. It was no wonder Jessie's dad had called him home if he knew who Jessie was seeing. Her phone went off, a private number, despite herself she answered it.
“You dance very well” Todd said
“Is there a point to this conversation?” Carmel asked.
“You won't have any more trouble from me, I give you my word, for Jessie's sake.”
“OK” Carmel replied and hung up. She didn’t have to change her classes after all, she had his word and she knew that in his circles that meant something. She also knew, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his brother. Just then her mother knocked on her bedroom door, she had seen it too. Carmel wanted to die of shame.
It took a few weeks for the rumours surrounding Carmel and Todd to die down. Carmel and Penny's mother announced that she had a new job, it meant that instead of working two jobs she would only need to work one. It was a shift pattern, twelve hour shifts, four days on, four days off. For their mother it meant not working seven days fourteen or fifteen hours a day. It also meant that Carmel could drop her hours and concentrate on her studies. Carmel negotiated with her boss at the petrol station and cut her hours to four evenings a week from five. It also meant that Carmel wouldn’t have the car to work with some nights, so she got herself a second hand moped. It was now late November, Penny was still seeing Jessie, and Todd had left her alone. Liam had also started dating Melanie Smith, the night Todd had taken over the dance at the club. Somehow though Carmel just wasn’t interested in Liam any more, despite herself, all she could think about was Todd Steadman.
One lunchtime she was in the lunch queue when she realised she had left her bag in her locker, she turned quickly and bumped into Todd, knocking both their trays out of their hands in the process. The drinks went everywhere, and the clatter made the whole college look up, everyone gasped, Todd wouldn’t take that lying down.