A/N: Thanks to everyone that subscribed and reviewed! You definitely helped me to upload quicker than I usually would. I really hope you like this chapter and a few of my personal feelings towards certain characters may shine through but I hope I've portrayed them fairly enough. Also, Carmen and Lily will be introduced in the next few chapters I'm not forgetting about them.
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Chapter 2: Dinner, classics and a little hustling.
Gus' tour was incredibly helpful, as were the notes I'd thought to take. Not only did I manage to sketch out a little map of each floor, I managed to get the names of each kid in the "dumping ground". I couldn't yet match names with faces but I could guess a few: the boy that hung around with Liam, his name was Frank, the girl in the blue that smirked at me, her name's Electra (somehow I doubted that was her real name) the small blonde boy's name is Harry and his giraffe is called Jeff.
Gus finished his tour where he'd started it, in the kitchen and just as I'd promised I hadn't talked during his tour, though I had felt the urge to many times. In the kitchen Tracy was cooking something that didn't look appetising, at all. I groaned to myself hoping this wasn't what I got to eat all of the time. At the table were the boy I'd seen earlier in the kitchen with a small blonde girl, she was even smaller than me. I realised that they must be Jonny and Tee. Gus had said there was a brother and sister living there. Harry and Jeff were also at the table as was girl who hadn't been there before, she was dark skinned and her hair was equally dark and very frizzy. She was showing Harry a set of paints that she had bought and she was showing him how to hold a paintbrush properly.
They all looked up as Gus and I entered the room.
"Finished your tour?" Tracy asked smiling.
"Yes," Gus answered for me, not looking up from scribbling in his notebook, "and Mary didn't talk once during it."
Tracy laughed and Gus gave her a blank look as though what he'd said wasn't meant to be funny.
"Well," Tracy said still smiling but not laughing, "Did you make sure you answered her questions afterwards?"
"I don't have any," I butted in not wanting to start an argument on my first day.
"Well, do you want to help me with the dinner, Mary?" Tracy asked, understanding that I wanted a change of subject.
"Um..." I didn't particularly, I didn't want to be blamed for her bad cooking, "I can't, sorry." she raised her eyebrows, "I'm not allowed I handle knives or be near fire. If I was to help cook I'd be doing both of those things." I shrugged and grinned. I was proud of my excuse.
"Well," Tracy said, not giving up, "You can help Tee and Jonny set the table for dinner."
The small blonde girl and her brother flicked their heads round. Jonny gave me a warning look as if to keep me away from his sister, Tee gave me a small smile but she looked nervous. I smiled at them, trying not to be sarcastic to Jonny.
"Why do we have to do it?" Jonny asked, or moaned.
"Because you're here and Mary needs someone to show her where everything is," Tracy said and I rolled my eyes.
"Why can't Saph and Harry do it?" Tee said even though she looked a lot less reluctant. Saph must be the dark skinned girl with the paint set.
"Because Sapphire might not even be staying for dinner and she and Harry have paints to put away," Tracy said.
"I don't live here Beaker," Sapphire said, "You can't boss me around."
"No," Tracy said, "But I can tell Harry to put them away which wouldn't be fair on him, since they're your paints."
"Hate to be nosey," I smirked, "But if you don't live here, why are you here?"
"I used to live here and I like to come back and see Harry," Saph smirked back, "Don't I, Harry?" she packed away her paints while talking and didn't even look up to talk to me.
"Yup," Harry said, "Jeff likes it when you come back to see him too." Harry spoke quietly and he hid slightly behind Sapphire, never letting go of his giraffe.
"And I like coming back to see Jeff," Sapphire smiled as she put her paints in a black rucksack on the window ledge. "And I'd rather not have to eat your cooking Beaker, I'll get something later."
"Right," Tracy said and then she hurried Jonny, Tee and me to set plates, cups and cutlery out on the table. We set twelve places.
Tee was nice, she was nervous around me but she was nice. She smiled and she showed me where things were when I asked and she didn't seem like she wanted to hate me. That was a start. Jonny, however, never spoke to me, he scowled and I could see I made him nervous. I made no attempt to be nice to him. I didn't have time for people who made no effort to like me.
Tracy served up dinner and shouted everyone in as I prepared for my first meal at Elm Tree. I waited until everyone I seated in their normal seats before I squeezed into the only gap, between Gus and Liam. I looked around the table and I more or less matched every face with a name.
They were all silent and they were all looking at me (not Tracy, Mike and Gina though) I picked up my knife and fork, said a silent grace and started eating. I was not going to be the first to talk.
Everyone else slowly began to eat too.
"So, Mary," Mike began, "What do you like to do in your spare time?"
"I don't have any spare time," I said quickly without looking up.
Liam smirked beside me and I smiled a little.
"If you did? When you did?" I could hear the raised eyebrows in Mike's voice.
"I liked to play football," I said not looking up, "I went to the cinema, I watched TV, and I ran." I was taking rubbish now. I had been to the cinema twice in my whole life and I had never owned a TV. I only ever ran away from things that frightened me, but they didn't need to know that.
"What team do you support?" Liam asked straight away.
"Celtic," I smiled and raised my head.
"Celtic?" He asked disbelievingly.
"I'm Scottish. Give us a break!" I shot back quickly. "We're a good team."
"Celtic or Scotland?" He said, "Because Scotland are awful!"
"Yeah," I said defeated, "they are."
Everyone was looking again and my head fell back down again, I felt very self-conscious.
"Jeff says you sound like Toby," Harry said to me from where he sat at the other end of the table, pointing to his giraffe.
"Does he?" I asked raising my eyebrows. "Was Toby from Scotland too?"
"Yes you do," Harry nodded thoughtfully," but Jeff says he doesn't know where he was from."
"Well," I smiled, "If he sounded like me he was probably Scottish."
"Jeff also says he thinks you're scary," Harry said quietly.
I paused before replying, "Why does Jeff think that?"
"You went to jail," Harry said matter-of-factly, "he says only bad people go to jail."
"Well what do you think?" I asked him softly, "do you think I'm a bad person?"
Harry looked confused that I'd asked him and not Jeff, "Only bad people go to jail." He repeated.
"Okay," I nodded solemnly; clearly it was going to be difficult to fit in here.
It was silent again.
Nobody talked until all of the plates were empty and I didn't look up from mine. Tracy lifted my plate from in front of me and she started handing out chores, she said I was free to go because I'd laid the table. I thanked her; in all honesty her food hasn't been that bad. Better than prison food.
I left the table and made my way back to my room.
I sat down on my bed and picked up the books I had unpacked earlier. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights? Really? Out of all of the books in that house, Carrie had brought me those three? I loved the classic novels but her giving me them as my only reading material other than the bible was cruel. Even by her standards.
I lifted the small, cheap mobile they had given me before getting here and opened a new message to Kara, I wrote this:
"HELP! SOME CRAZY WOMAN EXPECTS ME TO LIVE ON THREE CLASSIC NOVELS FOR THE REST OF MY EXISTENCE! YOUR HELP WOULD BE VERY USEFUL!"
I sent the message but opened Pride and Prejudice anyway. I had barely read two sentences when the phone buzzed beside me. I opened Kara's reply which read.
"I think you have a problem with your capital letters. Fear not. Help will be there tomorrow."
"THANKS. :)" I replied.
She didn't text back and so I continued reading until I was interrupted by a knock at my door. I stood up and placed the book down, using my pillow to hold the book open at the right page. I wandered over to my door to see Liam standing there grinning. I raised my eyebrows.
"We're starting a new game of snooker downstairs if you're up for it?" He said.
"I can't play snooker," I lied.
"That's fine," he laughed, a low, happy, chuckle, "You can play Jonny. You can't be worse than him."
I smiled but let it fall, "Why are you, Gus and Tee the only ones that are talking to me?" I asked him straight up.
He became a little awkward, "Well, Gus is Gus. He sort of talks to anyone. Tee can't see the bad in people. I've been in jail, well, I've been arrested, just wanted to give you a chance. Besides, you're tiny and pretty young. You couldn't hurt me if you tried." He smirked.
"I'm fifteen," I said and his confident face faltered.
"No you're not." He said disbelievingly.
"Yes, I am." I argued.
"No way!" He laughed again.
"Okay so I'm like four foot," I said, self-conscious that he was laughing, "Get over it."
"Sorry," he said straight faced, "Seriously though, you couldn't hurt me if you tried."
"Sounds like a challenge," I smirked.
"Not quite." He said, "I'd rather you didn't try to hurt me."
"You should have thought about that before!" I jeered.
"I'm terrified," Liam said sarcastically.
"Okay," I sighed, "I'll come play snooker. Hold on, I need to find a bookmark."
I moved back into my room and Liam followed me, this bothered me a little but I let it go. I looked for something to use as a bookmark, instead of the pillow but I couldn't find anything. Liam offered his assistance, which I denied but he gave me anyway. We both looked everywhere but couldn't find anything.
"I can't believe there isn't one piece of paper, anywhere that I could use as a bookmark." I moaned as I slumped back onto my bed.
"Why are you reading Pride and Prejudice?" Liam asked, picking up the book but being sure to keep a finger between the right pages.
"I like it," I said not wanting him to know I had no choice in my reading material.
"Right," he said, obviously not believing me.
"I do!" I said.
"I didn't say you didn't!" He raised an eyebrow at me.
"Fine," I muttered.
"Fine." He mocked.
"Fine." I snapped sarcastically.
"Fine." He smiled.
"Fine." I smiled back.
We sat there in silence for a few seconds.
"Who's that in the picture?" Liam asked pointing to the photograph I'd places on the bedside table earlier.
"Me," I said.
"Well obviously!" He said and rolled his eyes, "I mean with you."
"Doesn't matter," I muttered no wanting to tell a boy I'd just met all about my family. Fair enough we were going to be living in the same house but I wasn't sharing everything, "weren't we going to play snooker?" I avoided looking at him.
"Sure," Liam agreed, "But don't expect your secrets to be a secret for very long in this place. Everyone knows everything. Trust me."
"Thanks for the heads up," I smirked, "snooker?"
"Fine." He smiled.
I laughed and headed out of my room (after putting my book back with the pillow as a makeshift bookmark.) We made our way down the stairs making easy conversation. Liam led me into the "quiet room" where most of the kids were playing their various games, in their various groups. Liam kept talking to me, which I was grateful for, as we walked to the back of the room to the snooker table.
Frank was waiting on us with two snooker cues in his hand.
"We're playing teams Frank." Liam stated and Frank nodded and smiled at me.
"I'm Frank," he said to me, his voice was slurred due to his disability but I understood him easily.
"Really?" I smirked, "I'd never have guessed!"
Both Liam and Frank laughed and I realised everyone else in the room was silent. I put my hands in my pockets and put my chin to my chest again, as if that would make people stop looking at me. Liam noticed.
"Jonny?" He said, "You're playing right?"
Jonny looked up from where he was sitting: on the edge of the couch having clearly been pushed there by Elektra. He looked cautious and gave Liam a death glare. Liam laughed.
"Oh, you're scared you'll get beaten by a girl, right?" Liam smirked.
"No!" Jonny denied.
"So why won't you play?" Liam challenged.
"I never said I wouldn't play..." Jonny started.
"Good," Liam said grinning, "You're with Frank."
"What?" Frank moaned, "Why do I have to be with him? He's awful."
"Don't worry," I smiled, "I don't even know how to play." I was sticking to my original lie figuring that since Liam just tricked Jonny into playing he wouldn't mind a little bit of hustling.
Jonny slowly made his way over to us, everyone was still watching and I would have given anything for pockets big enough to hide in at that moment.
"Liam," I said really quietly so that no one but him could hear.
"Yes?" He said equally quietly.
"I actually do know how to play," I said.
"I know," he muttered a slight smile in his voice, "Follow my lead."
"Will do." I said, glad that he was fine with lying. I guessed prison hadn't changed me at all really.
A/N: hope you enjoyed my story, anything you want to see happen? Or want me to improve on? Do you like it so far? Please tell me in a review, or pm me?