Chapter Two

March

A quick glance round the door showed the gym to be empty. She was glad, she needed time to be alone for a while, to get some stuff out of her system.

After pulling off her boots and dumping her thick black jumper on a chair, she walked over to the hi-fi and put in her tape. The first song is George Michael, ĎToo Funkyí.

{Not too funky to warm up to, though.} She smiled at her own (very) weak pun.

By the time the song was finished, she was well limbered and ready to do some serious exercise. Def Leppardís dulcet tones filled her ears. Fitted her mood perfectly.

~Do you wanna get rocked?~ {Start curled up...
~Letís get {Stretch up...
Letís get
Letís get
Letís get rocked~ {Burst out!}

She jumped into the air at full speed, twisting as she went.

~Iím your average, ordinary, everyday kid {Yeah, right}
Happy to do nothing,
Fact thatís what I did...~

She floated gradually downwards, though she danced as if on solid ground, always moving with the rhythm of the music, her mind closed to everything but the beat.

~Sorry dad, gotta disappear~
{Land on knees...
~Letís get the rock outta here!~ {Fall back...
~Spent my weekends {Stretch up...
Up all night {Kneeling...
~In at the deep end, {Slide...
Hold on tight {Roll...
~It wonít take a minute, {Sit up...
It wonít take long {Feet on floor...
~So come on in here, {Stand...
címon {Jump,
címon jump,
címon jump...}
~Letís get, Angelo watched her with pleasure. She connected
Letís get, with the music so naturally, she was beautiful. He
Letís get, could have stayed there forever.
Letís get rocked
But, the longer he left it, the more pissed off sheíd
~Letís get, be that he was hidden when she came in.
Letís get,
Letís get, So, he got up from the shadows of the equipment
Letís get rocked store and walked silently to the machine.

---~CLICK~---

She was in mid-air when he switched off the player, and stayed there as she turned to face him. She looked petrified until she saw him.

He was grinning from ear to ear.

She sighed and let herself down slowly.

"Iím waiting," she said.

He was puzzled.

"Que?"

"For an explanation."

He smiled again.

"Sorry."

She raised her eyebrows in disbelief.

"You caught me by surprise when you came in, so I thought Iíd return the favour, thatís all."

She gave him a look that could freeze the devil, but couldnít hold it and burst out laughing.

"Okay," she smiled. "But what were -you- doing that you shouldnít have been?"

He sheepishly pulled out a packet of cigarettes, which she promptly grabbed from him.

"Bad boy," she scolded playfully. Then her expression turned serious. "One of my friends got bronchitis and asthma from these. You want to?"

"Oh, yeah, si. About as much as I want a lecture from you."

"Okay, Iím sorry. But if you -ever- smoke around me, Iíll kick your head in." She smiled again, in her best sweetness mode.

Angelo shrugged. "Itís a deal." He stuck his hand out. "Can I have them back now?"

"If you must. But only because youíll just go out and buy some more."

She picked up her jumper and boots and together they moved towards the door. There, she slipped on her boots and tied her jumper around her waist, before stepping into the white horizon.

"Itís deeper than when I came in," Angelo said, picking his feet up in the snow.

"Yeah, I sípose it is," Susy replied, looking down at the ground. "I love snow."

He noticed she wasnít making footprints.

"Itís best when itís thick and smooth, like, I doní know, icing sugar," she continued. She stooped down, and Angelo realised what she was doing just in time to duck.

"Damn! That was a good firm one too. Wouldíve made a lovely splodge. Oh well, canít be helped."

He stooped down himself, and gathered a fair sized snowball in his hands. Swift as an arrow, it flew towards her.

She was quick though, and caught it straight.

"Strrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike one," she yelled, before launching it back at him.

This time, it grazed his back, as he was scooping another snowball to throw at her. He lifted one arm in the air in surrender.

"Truce, chica?"

She grinned triumphantly.

Suddenly her face was plastered with snow.

"You Bastard!" she laughed as she brushed the snow off her face. "But yes, truce. I mean, how old are we?"

"Heh, si. And Iím hungry, letís eat."


As they entered the kitchen, Angelo noticed Susy becoming more serious again. She seemed to have something on her mind, something sheíd been trying to forget.

He found out shortly.

"Angelo?"

"What is it, chica?"

"Um, Iíve been thinking."

"And..."

"And, Iíve been here too long, I canít let you lot carry on paying for my food and heating and everything. I turned up as an uninvited guest, and itís wrong."

"You shouldnít worry. Ms Frostís rich beyond imagination, and we like having you here. Although sometimes we wonder why you are, and if your family knows anything about it."

He gave her a very pointed look.

She ran her fingers through her hair and thought for a moment.

"Iím sorry. I should have explained a long time ago. I ran away, because I was beaten up by some...some...some..."

"Yeah, I thought so," he said soothingly, putting his arm around her shoulder, "but why didnít you sort it out with your parents?"

She wasnít crying yet, but she shut her eyes and said "You donít understand. It was too claustrophobic. They were taking care of me all the time and I couldnít think straight."

"So you ran away...to America."

He wasnít going to say it out loud, but he thought she was over-reacting a bit.

"I, I donít know, I just had to get right away from everything connected with it. I thought maybe a complete new start would be good. And itís not as if I ran straight away, I did try everything they offered at home, but none of the bloody counsellors worked. You know they sent me to three different people in the space of a month, and every single one was useless."

"Iím sorry to hear it. Do you think youíre doing any better here?"

She nodded her head vigorously. "Oh yeah. None of you asked me any silly questions and you just left me alone. Itís been so much easier."

"And your family?"

"They know Iím here. I sent them a couple of letters, made sure they knew I was safe. I wouldnít hurt them for the world."

Their little tÍte-ŗ-tÍte was interrupted by Jubilee bursting into the room.

"Youíll never guess what Sean bought," her enthusiasm was a nice change. "Go on, guess."

"A magic carpet," guessed Susy.

"Wrong-o, Ange?"

"A hamster."

She laughed, evilly. "Knew yaíd never guess. Címon."

She bounded off again, in the direction of the rec room.

Skin and Susanne moved more sedately behind.

When they got there, Banshee and Everett were sorting out the wires protruding from a big, black box.

"If we just put this here..." Banshee was explaining, "then ye can read off the TV screen."

"Itís a karaoke machine," M enlightened them from the sofa. "For some unknown reason, Mr Cassidy appears to believe it will help us to wile away the Ďlong, cold, dark shivery evenings, when our health and convenience compels us to stay indoorsí."

"I thought that was phonographs."

"Well, it was, but technology caught up."

"A karaoke machine?" Angelo asked with shocked disgust.

"Thatís right laddie, and Iím sure it will be great fun."

"Have you been drinking, sir? Iím sure youíre not well."

"Iím fine, me boy." Banshee stood up to inspect his work of art. "Now, whoís for the first go?"


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