Revenge Ritual

She strode away from Elaine Pierce to have her conversation in private. Nan would tell Elaine to mind her own business. She would understand why Kate wanted to go to Chicago. She saw her dad walk back across the lawn with a tray of homemade lemonade and lemon drizzle cake and rushed over to share the phone call with him. He mouthed ‘who’s that?’ as he placed the tray down on the wrought iron table next to Elaine.

‘It’s Nan. She’s at the airport – yes, Heathrow. She’s back in England for some sort of art convention in London and she’s coming to stay with us. Arrives the day after tomorrow. Isn’t that brilliant?’

Her father stumbled and spilt the lemonade. Kate was so busy arranging to meet Nan at Exeter station that she hardly noticed until she saw him wipe down his trousers. As she finished the phone call she saw her father was staring back at her and Elaine hadn’t touched her drink.

‘You didn’t think to ask me then?’

Kate hadn’t. ‘I’m sorry Dad.’

‘Well, I hope you’re going to be around to look after your grandmother, because I’m needed at the Kidpower fundraising weekend. I’ve already promised Elaine and . . .’

Elaine was already on her feet with her hand on Kate’s father’s arm, ‘Oh, that doesn’t matter.’

But Kate could tell it did. Elaine smiled back at them both as she reached in her bag for her car keys, ‘Look, I’ve taken up enough of your time. You two obviously have things to discuss.’

This time Kate shook the hand that was offered as Elaine said, ‘It’s been a pleasure to meet you. Good luck with your plans in the USA,’ then strode away without looking back leaving Kate feeling that somehow she was in the wrong. Maybe she had been rude to Elaine. Sometimes she forgot about other people’s feelings.

She went over and put her arm round her father. ‘I’m sorry if I was inconsiderate. You go to your Kidpower weekend and I’ll look after Nan. I’ll take a sabbatical from work before I go to the States. I’ll have plenty of time to be with both of you.’ But he shrugged her off and strode back into the house.

3

Micki Hamereski hadn’t forgiven his pa for making him leave Poland for England and attend Ladram Heights Community School. Four months in and it still hadn’t got any better. They made him join the stupid English kids that needed extra lessons. He’d tried to tell them he was good at English but no one listened. The other kids ignored him. The older ones waited around corners and forced him to do shameful things. Last time they made him lick the floor where someone had left dog shit while they took photos on their mobile phones. He didn’t want to think who’d viewed them by now.

He made it to school as the last of his class were sidling into the class room. As usual the only seat was right at the front. The first lesson should have been English with Mr Trevelyan so Micki was disappointed to see Miss Blundell standing at the front of the room. She wasn’t as bad as some of the other teachers but he didn’t like the way she fussed around him. She was busy arranging books on her table but looked up as she heard the usual commotion that greeted his entry. Micki was forced to take the only empty seat at the front and tried to sink down into it, but it was no good. Miss Blundell had noticed and was heading in his direction.

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