odd said, remembering the night on the dual carriageway, before he had even realised that all he had wanted, was for that girl to notice him, and he just hadn’t known how to go about it. Jessie finally fell asleep talking to Penny on Skype.
When Carmel got home from work and checked her social network, she had a request from Norika Fujimoto. As did Penny, Norika wanted to know a bit more about these girls who had captured her sons heart in one case, imagination in the other.
[ur mothr reqstd me as a bud] Carmel messaged Todd.
[yea I no just accept it] he replied.
[no, the opposite I hope]
Carmel accepted the friend request, messaged Norika, thanked her for the add. Norika messaged her back thanking her for accepting it.
Norika and Jessie sat looking through the pictures of him and Penny, “She is very pretty,” his mother said. Jessie was grinning from ear to ear, he was so proud of Penny, “but it says here, her ambition is to be the best wife in the world to you, what does she want to do with her life?” Norika asked.
Todd laughingly snorted, “be the best wife in the world to Jessie, and don’t think I’m joking either!”
“She is studying hard for her GCSE's, and she is studying Japanese for when we move here, she would like to be a nurse.” Jessie finally said, Norika thought it was all immensely sweet.
“She is learning Japanese?” Norika asked, Jessie nodded, again filled with pride. Norika was impressed.
Norika turned to Todd, “And what about Carmel?”
Todd suddenly realised he knew absolutely nothing about what she wanted to do after college, in fact he knew not a lot about her at all. Anyone could ask Jessie what Penny's favourite line from a movie was and he'd be able to recite it and tell you at how many minutes into the movie it was aired. Todd knew nothing about Carmel.
“She is going to study business management,” Jessie offered.
“And your little brother knows this and you don't?” Norika asked her eldest son. Todd excused himself. Jessie shrugged his shoulders, then he got a call on skype from Penny and ran to his room to take it. Norika came across 'the dance', suddenly she wasn’t so sure that Carmel and Todd were such a good idea, there was none of the innocent untouched love that Jessie and Penny had, Carmel and Todd had raw passion. “You're wrong, she's still a virgin, I know that much about her” Todd said looking over his mother's shoulder after hearing the song and realising what she was probably watching, “and that dance was more my fault than hers, I made her dance with me like that. Pigtails,” he said as he walked into the kitchen. His mother wondered what kind of son her ex-husband had raised that would make a girl dance with him like that, as if he read her mind, “a ruthless bully, just like him,” Todd said.
Norika went into the kitchen after him, “If you can realise it, and do something about it, then you most certainly are not.” Todd knew it was too late now.
Christmas was a sad affair in the Edwards household. Penny spent all day on Skype with Jessie, Carmel had to work and Cheryl spent the majority of it alone, wondering how she could have alienated her daughters so.
After the Christmas holidays the boys came home, their father had a contract drawn up, he would not put a stop to Jessie's relationship, as long as Todd agreed not to date Carmel, Todd had a sub clause put in that the end of college year party and family events did not class as dates, his father agreed, if it got to the end of the year, then there would be no point in them dating, there was no way Carmel would get into the same university as Todd. It really grieved Todd, but he signed it, expecting his father to keep his end of the bargain, they even shook hands.
Norika had given Jessie her word, that if their father forbid it, she would consent to their marriage, but she would rather they waited until after university, the two of them were still only in year ten. She aired her opinion with his father.
Jessie too had a contract when he returned, if he consented to leave marriage off until they had both graduated university, then, not only would his father consent, he would pay for the whole thing. Maybe in the meantime Jessie would come to his senses. Jessie talked it over with Penny, who agreed it was a good offer, and he signed the contract. When Todd tackled his father regarding it, his father simply said that this way, they would get a decent wedding, one that her mother could by no means afford.
Todd avoided Carmel where possible, she was so busy she didn’t really notice the lack of his presence in her life, he was still there in her dreams. When they bumped into each other they exchanged pleasantries, but no more than that. When she wasn’t working, she was studying, her 'A' Levels were just around the corner. Winter, turned to spring, and the last few days of college were upon them.
Todd's number came up on her phone two weeks before the last exam.