Hello again! Just another thank you, number 6! ah! thank you all so so much! anyway, just some quick rambling before I give you the chapter. Some people have been asking me if the story is nearly over, no! It's not! :) there's still a while to go yet :) Also, this chapter is dedicated to lovepixielotts for the beautiful banner, thank you! Any others will get dedications, they're really sweet! :) Please vote and comment on this chapter, I really love seeing what you have to say and it's really motivating! :)

Chapter 20

I sat in silence opposite Miss Holdana after I had told her. She didn’t look impressed, but if anything, she just looked sad.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Allison?” her old form moved back in the seat slowly and Tyke looked up at me. His yellow eyes seemed to bore into mine before turned and put his head back on his paws with a sigh.

“I was scared, I thought I could handle it,” I shrugged, trying to look passive but failing miserably. I could feel my throat tighten with tears.

“Honey, your past is nothing to be ashamed of,” she said with an exhausted voice.

“I’m not ashamed, I’m just... pathetic,” I admitted. I hadn’t said it out loud to anyone, but getting it out in the open only made it sound true. Miss Holdana shook her head and clutched my hand, squeezing it gently with her old and wrinkled fingers.

“You are not pathetic, Ally. You are a strong and brave young girl, you have been through so much already and you only have a little way to go. You’re a lovely girl and deserved nothing that he did to you. Please don’t forget that,” her eyes begged at mine and I nodded, trying to figure a hidden meaning behind what she had said.

“And as for that maniac getting bail, I don’t know what is going on with our country’s legal system. Now that is pathetic,” she chuckled, but it wasn’t chirpy, more ironic.

“Thank you and I’m sorry for missing work yesterday,” I added whilst getting up to reopen the shop.

“Don’t be silly, you were sick, remember?” she winked and I laughed, making my way back to the till.

“Ah, I remember,” I smiled back as she settled down with another one of the books from the shelves.

“Miss Holdana, can I ask you a favour?” I asked whilst leaning forward on the desk. She looked up at me and then nodded, causing the grey hairs to fall out of her bun and hang by her face.

“If I need one, can you be a witness for me?” she frowned for a moment, closing the book on her finger.

“I don’t know what I will be able to say but if they need me to comment on your injuries and how often I have seen them, then no problem, of course,” she finished her speech with a smile so I let out a breath and thanked her.

At four o’clock, Josh and Cooper picked me up from work with Lisa. Apparently, Lisa wanted to go for a quick shopping trip with me, whilst Cooper and Josh went to get an amp for his guitar.

“Maybe I shouldn’t go after Josh,” Lisa said over her shoulder as she led me into a shop that I didn’t recognise. Normally, I shopped on the lower floor with Layla, but Lisa had gone straight to the top floor where all the expensive shops were.

“Isn’t there any other guys, from school or anything?” I asked when she walked through the door to Top Shop.

I stood next to her whilst she pulled through some t-shirts and dresses and she shook her head.

“Nah, they’re all jerks,” she said with venom so I decided not to push that part of the conversation.

“I didn’t like any of the guys at school either, don’t worry about it,” she smiled and picked up some clothes.

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