Nathaniel grabbed hold of my arm. It felt weird with him touching me, even though his fingers couldn't reach my arm through my black school jumper and white blouse. Wait, the blouse was short-sleeved, so that's one layer down. I tried to struggle and get away from him but he caught my other arm.
"You sing very nicely," he repeated.
I shook my head hard, facing the floor with my eyes shut tight.
"You weren't meant to see that!" I wailed.
"Obviously, I could see that."I longed to wipe the smirk of his face. "Whose flower is it?"
I didn't reply.
"Tell me and I'll let you go."
I decided to take my chances. "I got it from my dad's funeral, ok? I dried it and kept it safe. Now let me go."
"Your dad's dead?" Nathaniel looked shocked.
"What is it to you, Blondie? So is my mum, so it doesn't matter, ok?"
"Who do you live with?"
"I live with my aunt. Let go!"
I burst into tears. It was so unfair. He was making me break my promise to Mum.
"Don't cry, Ginny, I'm not going to hurt you," he said. "I'm not Castiel."
"All men are evil, that's what I've learnt!" I yelled in his face, "So are you! So was my stepdad, and so was the man who killed my dad!"
Nathaniel let go, and stared at me. I clamped my hand over my mouth in horror. Why did I just say that?
I felt dizzy. I could remember it so clearly.
Dad stares at the man. I can't remember his name, but I think his surname was Carter. He tells the man that he only did what was right, but I have no idea what he means. Carter looks dangerous and he is putting his hand into his pocket. I see a flash of silver.
"Dad!" I yell, "Dad, he's got a knife!"
I remember now. Carter took money from the company they worked for and Dad gave the police evidence of his embezzlement. Carter had lost his job and was fined and was going to court. It looked like he was going to go to prison. He was so angry at Dad for doing this that he was going to give himself another cause for his jailing.
Carter moved fast – but I moved faster. I knocked the knife flying out of his hand and it smashed straight through the window.
But Carter would not give up. He would not be outsmarted by a nine-year old girl. He cursed and moved towards me. I screamed.
"Not Ginny!" Dad yelled, "She has done nothing wrong."
"You're right," hissed Carter, reaching for the pencil pot on the desk. Dad was against the wall. I couldn't do anything to help him. Carter knocked the pencil pot over in the process of grabbing his weapon. Without mercy, without regret, he darts forward and sticks the pair of scissors straight into Dad's side.
I stare in horror. Carter laughs and flees. I run to Dad's side.
"No, Dad, you're not going to die... see, it's just a nasty nick... oh, no!"
I pull the scissors out and Dad gags, falling to the floor. The smell of blood, the presence of death...
"Ginevra," he rasps, and I hold the wound in his side. I can't save him, but I can be there within his dying hour. "Ginevra, you must take care of your mother. You have the longest hair in the world. You are strong... you are... you are..."
I think I heard him say, "Rapunzel," but that would be absurd.
My father is dead within minutes. I never knew scissors could kill. I never knew I would be here at this time, at this venue, watching this happen. I have to leave him to get help.
I run down the corridor, screaming for help and people from other offices come out.
"My dad... Carter killed my Dad... my dad is dead, you have to do something!" I shriek, and then I fall to the floor. There is a stabbing pain in my heart, like I have been stabbed with the wretched scissors myself. I can't hear, I can't breathe, I can't feel, I can't see. This is the worst pain ever, the worst pain I would ever have.
"Ginny? Ginny, what happened?"
"Someone killed him, all right? It was someone who my dad proved guilty of embezzlement. I was there... it was just me and him and the man."
"Oh, Ginny, I'm so sorry," Nathaniel suddenly put his arms around me. I didn't like being hugged by anyone (maybe except my Auntie) but I didn't have the heart to push him away. "I'm so, so sorry. But why won't you speak?"
I shook my head. "This the last time I can speak to you. I can't break my promise. My mum told me never to speak of this, never to speak of my dad's death. She told me never to tell anyone what I'd seen. And then she got depressed and got this really bad boyfriend, and when I whined he gave me a whack or something. Then he told me never to speak ever again or he'd kill me like the man killed my dad. I asked my Mum if I should do this and she said, 'Do as he says or you'll end up getting hurt.'"
I was really crying now, and Nathaniel was still hugging me. Suddenly I hugged him back, because he was all I had at this very moment, the only thing I could hang onto.
I held her as she cried, and eventually she hugged me back. I realized what terrible things she must have seen and experienced. I let go for a moment, and looked down into her face. There weren't really that many tears...
I bent my head and kissed her. I held her lips to mine for about twenty seconds, and then stopped.
"Nathaniel, what the –"
"I... I'm so sorry; I didn't know what to do. I love you, Ginny."
She looked at me for a moment. I wondered if she would get annoyed again. But she sighed and nodded.
"I can't speak anymore. Nathaniel, I like you too but I don't know if you should be with me. I'm cursed, all right?"
"You're not cursed, Ginny, don't be ridiculous. You're just scared."
"There's a lot more to it than that!"
"I know, I know. Please, Ginny?"
She seemed to consider it for moment. "I don't know. I'm not too great with this kind of stuff. I'll think about it, ok? But I think I have to ask you something first."
"Anything," I replied, and I meant it.
"Is Amber Hawthorne your sister?"
"Yes. She's in the class below."
Ginny bit her lip. "Did she go to a different school? Did she get in trouble and have to move to Sweet Amoris?"
"Yes," I said, confused. I remembered that day.
"What was she in trouble for?"
"Disrespecting another girl and then fighting with her. It was apparently a really big fight, and they both got injured a bit."
"Yes, it was. Nathaniel, I think that the girl Amber was fighting with was me."
I stared at her, which I seemed to do a lot. In the end I began laughing, and she tutted, but we went in a relatively good relationship with each other, and I found myself feeling happier than I had done in weeks.