Chapter Twenty-Four

A Clean Slate

'Mom, come on. I'm not a baby. I don't need you to walk me into town.'

'I'm not walking you. I'm headed in that direction anyway so it makes sense for us to walk together. You wouldn't leave your poor mother to walk through New Coventry on her own, would you?'

Reese rolled his eyes and exhaled loudly, slowing down his quick pace to fall into step beside her. 'No.' he droned, miserably.

Elliott smiled and ruffled his hair. 'There's a good boy. And slow down a bit, I can't keep up in these heels.'

Reese turned his head around to her, screwing up the corner of his nose to examine her outfit. 'Well if you can't walk in them why do you wear them?'

'I'm a receptionist now, Reese,' Elliott said with an air of smugness. 'If I roll into the office in sweats like I did at the café they won't even let me leave the revolving doors. I'll do a perfect three-sixty and be back out on the street.'

Reese still looked unconvinced. 'You could have at least wore those flat shoes.' He said, losing interest.

Elliott pouted and looked down at her shoes. 'But they don't make clicky noises.'

'Uh-huh,' Reese mumbled, now completely tuned out. He glanced across the street and immediately his eyes lit up. 'Hey, the garage is open! I didn't think they opened until ten!'

Elliott followed his gaze to see that the garage was indeed open and the sound of clanging was echoing somewhere inside. Reese hopped in front of her, eyes wide.

'Can I go say hi?' he asked excitedly.

Elliott glanced at her watch. 'Well…' she said, faking indecisiveness.

Reese saw right through her and smiled. 'I'll be real quick.' He told her, and then hurried off across the road without looking.

'Careful!' Elliott yelled after him.

He ignored her and carried on. Thankfully there were no cars on the road, but Elliott still mentally cursed Reese for still not looking both ways. She thought that being hit by a car would teach him some major lessons in road safety, but apparently it hadn't. She checked the road and followed him across to the garage.

It had been eight months since the accident and she was still surprised at how quickly he had recovered. His bones had healed, but he still had a nasty reminder of that night in the form of a pink scar that ran from the corner of his mouth to his jaw. Elliott had cried over it for days, but Reese had been quite proud of it. He became even prouder when he gained a new respect from the Blue Skies kids. He said they would never mess with him now. The important thing was that he had healed and he was healthy. And that lessons had been learnt on all sides.

Elliott stopped at the garage door, not wanting to go in any further in case she got oil on her new skirt. The last thing she wanted was to walk into her new job in stained clothes. Reese had jumped on Johnny from behind and was now bouncing around asking what he was doing. Johnny, as usual, told him none of his business and then continued to roughhouse with him. Elliott watched, one eye narrowed and a wan smile on her face. She had never found out who had been driving the car that night, but she had always assumed it had been Johnny. She never voiced her suspicions though, but she knew Johnny had figured that out. Still, he didn't mention it. It wouldn't make any difference now.

'Elliott, hey.'

Elliott glanced around to the sound of Jimmy's voice, smiling, and saw him approaching her in dirty coveralls. He had oil on his cheek and all over his hands. 'Hold up there,' Elliott told him, raising her hands. 'Don't come any closer. I'm staying clean.'

Jimmy smiled. 'I can see why,' he replied. 'What are you all smartened up for?'

Elliott smiled proudly. 'First day.' She reported. 'So I don't want to get marks all over me, thank you very much.'

'It's today?' Jimmy asked, surprised. 'I thought you weren't starting until next week?'

'They asked me to start today because the last girl walked out when she found out she had been replaced. Apparently she didn't even know I was going to be taking her job. Doesn't put the place in good light but… meh, at least it's better than scrubbing plates and making coffee.'

'Well that's great. I hope it goes okay.'

'Me too.' Elliott nodded, smiling. 'But I'll probably screw up at some point. Oh, and I brought you these.' She reached into her bag and pulled out a plastic box. 'I knew Reese would want to call in and see you lot, so I made you sandwiches.'

Jimmy laughed, taking them. 'Thanks. Good to see this new career hasn't gone to your head.'

'Oh in a couple of weeks it will be chicken wraps and other weird sandwich substitutions.' Elliott waved a hand dismissively and glanced over to Reese and Johnny. They had stopped roughhousing and Johnny was pointing something out on an engine that sat on one of the workbenches. 'Don't get him covered in oil, Johnny!' she called over.

Johnny glanced around and nodded in acknowledgement. Reese just shot her an irritated look and turned away again.

'Has Gary got him today then?' Jimmy asked, watching Reese for a little longer.

'Yeah,' Elliott replied. 'No idea what they're going to do. But at least Gary is working now so I don't have to give him money so they don't have to sit in his apartment all day.'

Jimmy made an indifferent sound and nodded. 'It's about time.'

Just then Peanut walked into the garage carrying three coffees in a cardboard tray. He stopped at the sight of Elliott and blinked at her for a moment silently. Elliott smiled at him.

'Hi, Peanut,' she said. 'You okay?'

Peanut blinked again and then nodded. 'Uh, yeah. Fine.' His eyes flicked between her and Jimmy and then he scurried by with his head down. Jimmy watched him go, faint frown on his face.

'He's gotten so weird lately.' Elliott commented quietly, and then chuckled. 'He's been spending too much time in here. He needs a girlfriend.'

Peanut set the coffees down and quickly headed for the office, but Reese seized him and pulled him towards Johnny, pointing at the engine and asking questions. Elliott and Jimmy watched them for a moment.

'Well,' Elliott sighed, looking at her watch. 'We better go. Better get there early and make a good impression.'

'I'm glad you got the job, Elle,' Jimmy smiled. 'I'm happy for you.'

Elliott smiled warmly at him. 'Thanks, Jimmy.' She said sincerely. 'It means a lot.'

Jimmy nodded, looking awkward. 'Well, thanks for the sandwiches.'

'Don't worry, they're not poisoned.' Elliott winked, and then turned to Reese. 'Come on! Time's up!'

Reese groaned loudly. 'Five minutes!'

'No, now! Don't make me lose my job before I've even started. Get a move on.'

Reese slumped his shoulders and rolled his eyes. He waved bye to Johnny and Peanut and trudged over to her. 'You don't even start for half an hour.' He muttered.

Elliott put her hand on his shoulder and directed him outside. 'I'll see you later, Jimmy.' She smiled.

'See you.' Jimmy half waved.

'Bye guys!' Reese called as Elliott marched him out. 'I'll bring my bike down again tomorrow, okay?'

Elliott pushed him out, casting a quick smile towards Johnny and Peanut, and urged him to walk up the street towards the underpass. Reese started telling her about the engine but she didn't understand a word of what he said. She had never understood mechanics. So she nodded and feigned interest as they headed up towards Shiny Bikes where Gary would be waiting for them.

Gary had gotten an apartment above the store a month or so after the accident. It wasn't perfect but he said it was big enough for him. And plus it was close to New Coventry, meaning Reese could go around when he pleased. Elliott hadn't really seen much of him over the past few months, but she hadn't really seen much of Jimmy either. She had wanted to keep away from them for a little while. But now she was getting everything back together it wasn't as painful to see them.

Still, it was a little.

Gary was leaning against the red garage by the side of the store, distracted by something the other way up the street. He glanced around as they approached and straightened up, pushing his hands in his pockets. Reese grinned and waved.

'Hey, dad!' he called.

'Hey, Reese.' Gary smiled back. He glanced to Elliott and nodded to her. 'Hi.'

Reese glanced to the bike shop. 'Can I go look inside?' he asked Gary.

Gary nodded. 'Knock yourself out.'

Reese turned to Elliott and waved a hand. 'I'll see you later, mom.' He began to head away but stopped and turned back. 'Have a good first day!' he added, and then dashed away inside the shop.

Elliott laughed a little. 'He can't wait to get away from me today.'

'You're starting that new job today then?' Gary asked, eyeing her with a faint smile.

'Yup,' Elliott replied. 'Touch wood I don't mess up.'

'You'll be fine,' Gary told her.

'Touch wood.' Elliott repeated, laughing awkwardly.

Gary regarded her for a moment. 'What time do you finish? Because you could meet up with us afterwards. I was going to take him to the pizza place. Not fancy, I know, but there's no way I'm sitting in the Vale.'

'Reese isn't going to want me hanging around and nagging him on his day out with you,' Elliott told him. 'It's the only break he gets.'

Gary shrugged. 'Well, I'd kind of like you hanging around and nagging us.' He half smiled. 'If you want to.'

Elliott couldn't help but blush. She pushed her hair aside and glanced away. 'Another time, maybe.' She told him.

Gary cocked an eyebrow. 'Is Thursday okay?'

Half laughing, Elliott looked back to him. 'I'll think about it.'

'So that's a yes?'

'It's a maybe.'

Gary half nodded, smirking. 'Right. I'll hold you to that.'

Elliott smirked back at him. 'Well I better go. You'll drop him off at about six, yeah?'

'Something like that.' Gary nodded. He began to walk around to the front of the bike shop with her.

'Good,' she replied, still feeling a little flustered. 'Well, have a nice day and everything. Don't let him run riot, please.'

'I won't.' Gary chuckled. 'And good luck.'

'Thanks.' Elliott stood beside him for a moment. 'Well… bye.'

He laughed and nodded. 'See you.'

She headed away quickly, heels clicking noisily on the pavement. She felt a little self-conscious as she walked away as she knew he was watching her, but she felt better as she moved away.

'Thursday!' Gary called after her. 'Don't forget!'

Elliott just laughed quietly, shaking her head. He was persuasive, she would give him that. Maybe she would take him up on it. After all, this was the beginning of a clean slate for her and Reese. Maybe it was time to give Gary a chance.

Elliott pushed the thoughts of her mind and carried on towards her new job, hoping that she had remembered to put a pen in her bag. No one likes a receptionist who doesn't have a pen.

A/N: Boring, weird ending? Yas, methinks so xD Sorry, but I started losing interest in this story and I had to finish it. I hope you still enjoyed it though, even if I do majorly suck at writing angst and drama. I'd never make it on a TV soap writing team lol. Anyways thank you to everyone who reviewed, Tinkies, Little Loki, rockshocka4223, likeapuppetonlydumber, Reine Snow and everyone else who is awesome :D

And there's another sequel coming (lol, will it ever end!!?) It's back in Bullworth Academy (thank god) and little Reese is going to be mooching in through those big ol' iron gates. All the students will be OCs and some siblings of game characters and the like, but don't let that put you off :p The faculty will be the same and everything. I'm writing it the same way as the game is set out, with about 6 parts (first part about the bullies, second about the preps etc) and about 15 chapters in each part. Yas it's going to be VERY long lol. Anyway, look out for it. It should be up in the next couple of days and will be called 'Bully: Anguis In Herba' (brownie points to anyone who knows the translation xD)