Chapter Eighteen

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Dear Diary,

God, yesterday was one hell of a day. We came out of the police station and were met with blasts of wind funneling all the way up the main street. There was no one to be seen, just us, pushing ourselves to get home. We couldn’t talk properly so we just concentrated on the journey.

All the trees lining the road swished around and a few shop signs spun down the street, never to be seen again. Leo had his arm around my shoulders and we held our heads as low as they would go. We were pushed and pulled, this way and that. Even the cars were swaying.

It took us longer than usual to get home, but eventually we did. I found a few of my plants strewn on the concrete floor – poor little babies. As Leo went inside, I went to my tiny shed. I got the trowel and put all the plants back into their pots. I took the smallest most vulnerable ones into the porch, resting them next to the rows of shoes. I kissed their little leaves and went into the house.

There was Leo, already pouring water into the kettle.

‘Want a brew, sis?’

‘Ah, magic words,’ I said. ‘Yes, I do.’

‘Come here,’ he said, pulling me towards him. ‘Are you OK?’

‘Yeah,’ I replied. ‘I’m fine. I didn’t let those aresholes get the better of me. There was one thing that I need to talk to you about… But, yeah… You’d be proud of me actually.’

‘I am proud of you,’ he said, letting go of me and throwing the tea bags into our favorite mugs.

‘Let’s get our brews, have a sit down and go over what happened. You get the fire on and I’ll follow in a minute,’ he said.

‘Sure, Leo,’ I said, slipping along to the living room.

I headed straight for the mantelpiece and dropped down onto my knees. I took the little brush and pan resting on the tiles and brushed all the ash from the bottom of the fire. I grabbed some sheets from the pile of newspapers on the coffee table and scrunched them into knots then placed them at the bottom of the fire.

I reached into the big basket of wood and got smaller bits from the bottom then arranged these on top of the newspaper. Then my favorite bit – lighting the match and burning the newspaper beneath the wood.

As I watched the newspaper turn into burning balls and the flames begin to latch onto the wood Leo came into the room with two steaming mugs. The window rattled from the wind outside.

‘There you go,’ he said.

‘Thank you, you’re the best big brother in the whole wide world,’ I said, fluttering my eyelids and laughing.

‘Ha ha, I know I am!’ he said, sinking down into the armchair. ‘You seem much happier than I thought you would be, considering you’ve just been banged up in the police station all afternoon.’

‘Well, I’m happy to be out of there, aren’t I?’ I said, watching the flames licking the wood, turning it black. ‘They’ve got nothing on us. Otherwise they wouldn’t have let us go. The guy who they beat up – he’s fine. He’s not dead or anything. I’m worried about Cheryl though.’

‘Yeah. She didn’t look too good. What did you tell them exactly?’

‘I told them everything, apart from seeing the guy on the street after the gig. And I didn’t tell them Cheryl told us it was them, of course,’ I said.

‘Me too,’ he said. ‘I had a right simpleton of a policeman. Officer Clegg. Young guy, he didn’t seem to know what he was doing. I just wrote down the statement and then he tried to ask me questions. He wasn’t very good. I told him I didn’t know anything and that was it. Makes me realise why our case didn’t get very far in their hands…’

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