Chapter Three

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Five hours later we left the last shop on the list, the furniture store, clutching the receipt for two purple and orange beanbags, a white, wooden collapsible table for my laptop, and a flat pack bookshelf among other things, which are to be delivered straight to my school on the day I arrive at Ivy Rowe. Apparently, the dorm already comes with some bookshelves and other basic furniture, but my aunt wanted to get me a matching set.

‘Shall we eat something?’ my aunt asked, as we stood in the street outside the furniture shop.

I nodded, I was starving. We had eaten a sandwich each, but it wasn’t enough to last five hours of shopping and walking from place to place.

With that, my aunt set off towards Starbucks, where we had bought our sandwiches from, and I followed, stumbling under the weight of the shopping bags.

After two weeks of awkward silences as soon as I entered a room, or hushed conversations behind me, I was starting to pine for Ivy Rowe already, and I was a little relieved when my aunt walked into my bedroom and sat down on my desk chair. I was lying on my bed reading a book she had bought me.

‘You will be leaving today, I trust you know. I will have Patrick drop you off at the train station,’ Patrick was my uncle. Neither my aunt nor my uncle expected me to call them mum or dad, which was just as well. The memory of my parents was still fresh in my mind, and I didn’t know how they would feel about me finding new ‘replacement parents’ so soon. And even if they didn’t mind, I would feel disloyal.

‘Oh. Right.’

‘In about two hours, that’s one to make sure you have packed everything, and the other to get there on time, you should be on the train to Dorset, where a taxi will drop you off at Ivy Rowe. All your luggage will have been shipped off yesterday, on my instructions, so you needn’t worry about anything.’

I nodded vigorously, trying hard to remember everything she said, and she continued, ‘Here is five hundred pounds, and your train ticket. The money is not to be spent frivolously, but only to be used when you are allowed out on excursions, or to buy a spare uniform. I trust you with this money, and I will be disappointed if you show me a reason to doubt you.’

‘I promise I won’t.’ I said solemnly, before putting the crisp £20 notes in my purse, and placing my purse into my handbag.

‘Ok, let’s go.’

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