© All rights reserved. LittleThingsInLife
"Alex?" She repeated. Everybody looked at me. I sat frozen for what felt like hours but could have only been mere seconds. What do you say to someone when the last time you saw them you were standing over their dead husband?
"Hey Margery, long time no see."
"Heeyyy Marge, it's so good to see you."
"Sup Mrs. Potts, how's life treating you?"
They all seemed ridiculous, and not just because I'd never said 'sup' to anybody in my entire life.
It seemed I didn't need to greet her. She walked slowly around the table until she was stood right in front of me.
"It is you!" she exclaimed, reaching out to cup my face in her hands. I jumped up instinctually and heard the clatter of my stool fall to the ground.
The silence that filled the room was awkward and tense. Marge looked apologetic and I stayed confused. Then it dawned on me; the Spencer's had told her about my past.
"I didn't realise you were the Alex coming to stay here, silly of me really. I should have known. I'm sorry."
I should have seen the signs, That is what she meant. I was always silent and when Derek, Stephen and I would go round for 'dinner' it would be uncomfortable; Derek trying to pull off being the 'dad' but I was never one to act the part of a loving daughter. If you weren't aware of our 'situation' you'd just see me as a sulking teenager and him an overbearing, overprotective and loving father.
It was sick really.
The whole of the table was watching us aptly and I was worried they'd question what she was talking about.
"You two know each other?" Aiden spoke up.
"A long time ago, my husband was friends with her step father. They came round for dinner a couple of times. That's all." Marge answered.
"Oh, how is Derek, I can't believe we didn't ask yesterday, guess we were caught up in seeing you ey?"
There is was; the question I didn't know how to answer, didn't want to answer. At least not yet anyway, I'd only just got here, I needed more time to adjust; to trust, or to come up with a good lie.
"Uhm, H-he, he's..." in prison "away for a while, b-because of work. That's-that's why I'm he-here." That's wasn't a complete lie; he has gone away, and it's partly because of his drug dealing job, so it is because of his work... kind of.
"Wasn't he a tech support guy, where would they need to move him?" Aiden asked, not suspiciously, just with curious interest.
I coughed to grant me a few moments to compose myself, Karl and Sandra hadn't yet spoken up to help me, so I figured they were doing as they said; letting me decide. "The company was moving." I lied quietly. I could see everyone around the table have to inch closer to hear me properly, everyone except Taylor and Ben, who weren't remotely interested in my made up excuses.
Marge came to my rescue before anymore questions could be asked "Can I have a few minutes with Alex alone?" She looked towards Karl and Sandra, who nodded before engaging their kids in conversations about their plans for the day.
I slowly followed Margery out of the kitchen and into another room filled with musical instruments.
"This is Jamie's music room. It's soundproof so he and his band can play without getting on everyone's nerves," she hesitated, "So no one will hear us."
I knew straight away what she was going to ask.
Margery Potts dropped to her knees, shaking heavily, her sobs uncontrollable, I didn't know what to do; I was paralyzed.
"Gr-Greg...? Oh god." she heaved. I still hadn't moved, I didn't want to bring attention to myself, not knowing what she would ask, or assume when she finally noticed me.
Of course I knew she would get her bearings soon enough to become aware of the girl on the floor, with her arms wrapped securely around her knees, only shaking slightly now.
"Alex, Wh-what are you doing here?" her eyes were wide open and red, tears still streaming out of them. "What happened?"
I started to cry "I-..." I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to say. "I swear it wasn't me." I don't know why I said that first; I just didn't want her to accuse me. "I can't- I can't talk about it. Please, please don't tell anyone I was here." If Derek found out I was involved with something that could bring the police knocking, I would be in so much trouble; I knew now my deal with them had turned to crap. No way was I adding extra punishment for bringing the police into our lives.
It took a while of begging and pleading from me to finally get Marge to let me go home. I didn't know if she would keep my being here a secret, I just had to trust her.
I promised after the investigation and everything else had blown over I would explain everything to her.
"I know what you're going to ask' I whispered looking down 'I just – I don't think you're going to want to hear it, besides it was so long ago. What does it matter now?" I didn't want to be the one to tell her that her husband had been a creep with a drug problem.
Margery hadn't changed much; her ashy hair was still styled into a short bob that suited her. She was thinner than the plump woman I remembered but it worked in her favour instead of making her look older and worn out she looked youthful for her 50+ years.
"I don't care how long ago it was," her voice was soft but demanding "I need to know what you were doing there and what happened. You promised, I kept you out of the police report and that could have helped in solving Greg's death. I did you a favour. You owe me the truth, no matter how ugly it is."
I nodded slowly; she was right.
"Well I-I'm guessing Sandra and Karl told you about the circumstances that b-brought me here?' I waited for confirmation.
"Yes and I'm truly sorry I never noticed. You were just so quiet all the time I thought it was your way, and after hearing about your mother I just assumed you were still mourning. I could have helped. I didn't get the details and I don't want them, just the basics of what you were living with. It made me sick; I welcomed them into my home, sat down to meals and chatted to them like they were kind and generous. I always thought Stephen was so kind-hearted, letting you and Derek move in with him. I'm sorry." Eyes glistened with un-fallen tears as Marge finished up her speech.
"Nobody knew. It wasn't just you, so you don't have to apologize"
"It just makes me wonder up the worst as to why you were there that day. If that's the type of people Greg was friends with." Marge opened up her fears and I wished for a sink hole to swallow me up so I didn't have to tell her; but she wanted the truth and I was going to give it to her.
"I ..." I started. Marge nodded, unsure for me to continue "I was there, because Derek and Stephen made a deal with Greg... He- he used to supply them with drugs and it- it was just for money at first and then... Then Greg said," I took a breath and continued at a faster talking pace, hoping it would all register - like when you get people reading out the side effects of a product- "He wanted me in exchange. Nothing happened; he didn't get a chance before the door went. Greg had stolen drugs off his dealer and that's why they shot him."
I finally looked up from the ground I had been talking to, to see Marge with a hand over her mouth and tears finally rolling down her cheeks. I instantly regretted telling her the truth.
"I'm sorry. I didn't want to, Th-they promised me a week off from everything bad, I'm ashamed to say I agreed but you don't know what it was like. A week away from the pain, Fr-from them... I would have been stupid to disagree. I would have still had to go over and I wouldn't have gotten anything in return." I cringed at my weakness.
Marge shook her head "No, don't blame yourself and don't apologise." her voice was hard and wobbly. "You didn't ask for any of this – I, thank you for telling me." she broke off squeezing her eyes tight "I should have known, the signs were there I just. I just chose to ignore it."
"Nobody wants to see the bad in people. That's why Derek and Stephen got away with it for so long." And Mike I add to myself. "I think one of the worst traits in a human, is their faith in believing the good in a person. That everyone has some good in them. It's not true." I had come across far too many rotten to the core people, who didn't have one redeeming quality to wipe away the bad they did.
Marge was about to say something to me - maybe agree with me, most likely she was going to do a spiel, about how there are 'great people' out there who only do good things. I already knew this; I just hadn't come across enough of them to outweigh the bad people – but a knock came at the door and Marge quickly composed herself; she wiped her teary face and pulled a forced smile that nobody but me would see as fake.
Jamie opened the door slowly with two guys I didn't know stood behind him.
"Sorry, we can come back later if you aren't finished. They guys came round for practice." Jamie explained.
"No, we're done sweetie. Thank you again Alex." She touched my shoulder and I fought not to shrug it off as she walked out of the room, leaving me stood there, alone.
"Guys this is Alex, she's living here now and Alex, that's Matt," he pointed to the tallest of the group; his curly black hair messily sat on top of his head and he had dark brown eyes that looked completely serious and unnerving. He was well built and definitely pushing 6'4/6'5. Then he smiled at me in greeting and a dimple appeared completely changing his appearance from scary to adorable. I quickly nodded to him but kept my body hunched in. "And this is Ollie." Jamie nodded to the second guy; dark blond hair and piercing green eyes, he was already grinning at me and his 'I used to wear braces can't you tell' teeth were proudly being showed off.
"Hey there," Ollie was the first to speak to me, moving into the music room.
"Hello," I whispered out to be polite. Already I felt like the room was getting smaller by the second, the more bodies that came in, the more claustrophobic I felt.
"Do you want to watch us play Alex?" Jamie asked.
"No thanks," I shook my head "I'm g-going to see about a t-tour." I explained, remembering this morning's embarrassing mix up; don't forget which room the bathroom is.
"I think Aiden is free today, unless you want to wait until I'm finished here and then I can give it to you?"
Both his friends chuckled "yeah I'll bet you want to give it to her." Matt sniggered.
"I meant the tour... obviously." Jamie sent a glare to his friends and I walked out of the door without saying anything else.
"Alex," Jamie rushed out of the door behind me "They're idiots, don't listen to them," he rubbed the back of his neck "You're more than welcome waiting and then I can give you the tour?"
"It's ok Jamie," I gave him a small forced smile "I think I'll go see what Sandra is doing."
I wasn't going to go and see what Sandra was doing, but she found me anyway, carrying four or five bags in her arms she waddled over to me.
She set the bags down next to us and gave me a warm smile "Alex, there you are. How are you? I hope this morning's questions weren't too much for you, and then seeing Marge, she mentioned you guys talked, but I didn't ask about what, that's between the two of you. I just wanted to know how you're feeling."
"I'm fine, It was fine, everything's... fine."
"Well, ok then," She saw me look down at the bags and explained "I got Marge to pick up some orders I made the other day and we've just managed to drag them out of her car. I want you to pick the ones you like and tell me what fits and doesn't fit ok?'
I looked at her with raised eyebrows.
"I've bought you some clothes. It was more a gift for myself since I love to shop so I don't want to hear any protests, now go try them on." She handed me the heavy bags and sauntered off without letting me get a word in.
I stood in the same spot trying to handle all the bags she'd dumped on me when Nathan and Carla came around the corner.
"You know mom won't let you go to Declan's' house party on Friday, so why are you even bothering, you're coming to dads work dinner and the more you try to deny it the angrier you'll be; its facts." Nathan didn't notice me at first while he was lecturing her, but Carla noticed the shopping bags in an instant.
"Shut up Nay, you're just as annoyed as me about dad's dinner, now run along; I see shopping bags filled with clothes. My attention is needed elsewhere." Nathan looked up at me, then at the piles of bags and came over to grab some off me.
"Thanks," I breathed out. He nodded before taking them upstairs into my room for me.
"So mom's been shopping huh? You look a little overwhelmed. Want some help?" Carla smiled softly at me, but I could see the excitement brimming in her eyes. She really did love everything to do with fashion.
"Sure. I'd like that thanks." I answered honestly. She could pick for me and I wouldn't have to do anything.
'Great! Let's go then' grabbing my hand she dragged me upstairs and I willed myself not to snatch it out of her grasp, she wasn't trying to hurt me, she was just very enthusiastic.
Nathan had placed the bags on my bed and I added the two that I had kept to the pile. Carla got to work quickly, tipping the bags upside down so a big pile of clothes were strewn over my recently straightened bed covers.
She grabbed a simple red dress and threw it to me. "Try that on," she demanded happily, sitting on the only space left on the bed.
"Why? If you like it I'll keep it." I wasn't going to wear a dress any time soon anyway, so why bother.
"To see if it looks good and fits," she said in an obvious tone "I'll close my eyes if you want?" she offered and I nodded in thanks. If I had to try them on then I definitely wasn't going to do it in front of her.
As soon as her eyes closed I quickly stripped off and threw the dress on, a quick look behind me in the mirror to make sure my back was covered of scars and I told her she could open her eyes.
"Oh that's a keeper. Very hot," Carla laughed at my face "just a fact I'm not coming onto you." she chuckled again and threw another outfit at me.
After an hour of constant clothes changing, we had a pile of keepers and ones that were to be taken back. The keeping pile grossly outweighed the taking back pile and I felt even more like a charity case than I already did.
"I'll take the no go's downstairs for you; I'm betting you need a little rest after all that." Carla smiled, grabbing the 'no' pile and skipping out the door.
She'd talked most of the hour. I knew about her friends at school and how she really wanted to go to some guys' house party on Friday but her dad had a works dinner that he was insisting she and Nathan went to while the rest of her brothers got to go to their friends' party.
She was a very chatty and bubbly girl and if I weren't socially awkward I could see us becoming quick friends. Although she looked the determined type so if that was her intention to make us friends I wouldn't have a say in that decision.
I put the clothes away and sat on my bed, tomorrow was Sunday and then I had school the day after. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what it was going to be like; I could only picture what it'd been like at my old school and didn't see how it was going to change. Would the Spencer's make it different? Better?
I could only wait and find out.