Sunday, 29 April 2012

Suzy takes on the world - Part Three - Oh, Brother!

Suzy was noticing some changes in her brother's appearance and behaviour.

A few weeks earlier, on her way back from school, she had spotted Damian talking to some lowlife on the estate.  Suzy suspected that he was a member of one of the many gangs who ruled the estate between them.

On that occasion, Suzy had shrugged.  The gangs were everywhere.  It was inevitable that one would end up having to interact with gang members.

But not all of the time, and lately, whenever Suzy saw her brother it was more often than not in the company of a gang member.

Then Damian had had his hair cropped.  Usually, this was no big deal, but Suzy couldn't help noticing that this was the style in which a particular gang had had their hair cut.  Then Damian had had his left ear pierced and a diamond earring inserted into the hole.

Mum had been quite taken with Damian's new look.  Suzy had not been so enamoured.  She could see what was happening.

But Suzy had her own problems.  She had a boy who she longed to give her some attention but treated her as though she did not exist and the actual girlfriend of the same boy who would scratch her eyes out if Suzy as much as looked at him.

Oh, and there was also the trifling matter of finding a hundred pounds in the next forty eight hours to put down as a deposit on a school trip to Paris.  Mum worked several cleaning jobs.  It wasn't likely that she would have a spare hundred pounds lying around.

Suzy had been putting off asking Mum but knew that she couldn't put it off any longer.  Mum would no doubt wring her hands and go into hysterics.  But she would somehow find the money.  She always did.

Suzy went to school as usual, acutely aware that the deadline for submitting the form and deposit for the trip was now less than forty-eight hours away.  Between classes, she had passed the French Mistress, Mademoiselle Penchat in the corridor, and the big wobbly teacher had stopped Suzy and reminded her that the form and deposit was due soon.  As if Suzy could have forgotten.

After lunch, however, Suzy had stomach cramps and had to skip the rest of her classes. This was no big deal as Suzy was top of the form in just about every subject.  She rode the bus home, in acute pain, but thankfully the cramps had eased off by the time she alighted.

As soon as Suzy entered the small flat where her family lived, she knew something was amiss.  She could hear voices, male voices, murmuring in the living room.  One voice she recognised as that of Damian, but the other she could not place.  For an instant, she had hoped that it may have been the voice of her long absent father, but that hope was soon dashed.  It was the voice of a stranger.

Damian appeared in the hallway as soon as he realised that he and his guest were no longer alone.  His handsome, boyish features showed consternation "Suzy, what are you doing here?".

"I had stomach cramps, Damian" Suzy explained "Who's your visitor?"

Damian's features hardened "None of your business, girl!  You go to your room!"

Suzy was shocked.  She hardly recognised her brother.  He had never spoken to her like this before!  But her spine stiffened.  He might be her elder brother and technically in charge whilst mum was at work, but Suzy was not going to be ordered around.   Something was wrong here, very wrong.  Damian's outburst did not suggest someone in control of the situation but someone who was afraid.

"I'm not going anywhere, Damian, until you tell me what's going on" Suzy replied firmly.

Damian looked utterly perplexed and at a loss.  He clutched at the door frame for support.

A new voice piped up, more gravelly and masculine than Damian's "Relax, dollface, nothing is going on".

The owner of the voice replaced Damian in the doorway.  He was older than Damian and dressed in a smart suit.  He looked like a respectable businessman but Suzy gauged instinctively that he was nothing of the kind.  He had a certain aura of someone in complete control, but also of someone where violent tendencies were never far below the civilised exterior.

"My name is Suzy, not 'dollface' mister.  Who are you and what are you doing in our home?"

The man chuckled "Hey Damian, I like your sister.  She got balls!  Sorry, SUZY, I'm Ryan.  A friend of your brother's.  We're you youngsters say nowadays.....chilling out.  It's cool.   Say, why don't you be a good girl and make us all a cup of tea?"

Suzy was not impressed by Ryan's attempts to mollify her suspicions.  In fact, his whole manner and way of speaking were having the opposite effect!

"No" Suzy said "I want you to leave.  Now please!"

Ryan's jaw actually dropped!  A panicked Damian rushed over to Suzy "Suzy! You can't go talking to Ryan like that!"

"I just did" Suzy replied flatly.  She turned to Ryan "Are you still here?"

Ryan's features hardened, just as Damian's had earlier.  He spoke to Damian "We'll meet again. Later.  In the meantime, you might want to teach your kid sister some respect".  Ryan marched out.  Suzy waited until the front door slammed shut.

Damian was freaking out "Do you have any idea who you just told to sling his hook?  Only Ryan Kirke!  Mr Big on this estate!  He could have you done away with as quickly as this if he wanted"  Damian clicked his fingers to illustrate his point.

Suzy shrugged.  "Mr Big" wasn't likely to employ his vast resources to liquidate a schoolgirl, even a mouthy one.  "What were the two of you talking about? Please don't tell me you're part of his gang!"

"That is none of your business, Suzy!  Keep out of my business!"

"Or what, you'll get your 'friend' to do me in?" Suzy sighed "Can't you see that he's using you?  He's just a parasite who uses everyone to get what he wants".

Damian's features became more determined "No.  I don't need Ryan to deal with you.  I'm gonna do that myself".  He marched into the living room.  Suzy followed him fearfully.  What the hell had come over Damian?

Damian walked over to the sofa, where Suzy's kitten, Lucky, was sleeping.  He violently grabbed Lucky, who began mewling.

"Damian!  Leave him alone!" Suzy shouted.

Damian held Lucky up so that Suzy could see him clearly.  The poor kitten was trying to wriggle loose, but was no match for Damian's superior strength.

"I'm gonna teach you some respect girl" Damian told her.  He walked over to the glass door that separated the living area of the flat from the balcony of the immense tower block of which the flat was a part, and opened it up.  There was a blast of cold air.

"Damian, what the hell are you doing?" Suzy was frightened now.   Not for herself, but for the helpless kitten.

Damian ignored her.  He moved out onto the balcony and held Lucky out over it.  The drop was probably over two hundred feet......Poor Lucky could not possibly survive if Damian chose to release his grip.

Lucky's cries became shriller and more urgent as he realised his peril.

"Damian!  Please!  He's a little kitten!" Suzy pleaded.

Damian smiled, satisfied that he had Suzy begging. "If you say ONE WORD to mum, or anyone else about Ryan being here....".  He looked meaningfully at the tiny, struggling form of Lucky "or ever talk to Ryan like you did just now again....and this one will be taking a dive.  OK?"

Suzy hated the idea of having to give in.  But, there was a life at stake here.

"Ok Damian" She forced herself to say "Please give me Lucky"

Enjoying himself, Damian said "On your knees, girl.  Show the proper respect!"

Suzy forced herself to kneel.  For Lucky's sake, not for Damian's.

Damian said "That's better.  You need to learn your place in the scheme of things, girl.  And keep that mouth firmly shut.  Little girls like you should be seen and not heard".  He tossed Lucky into her arms and marched out of the room.

Suzy comforted Lucky, and stared after her brother.  Bastard!  Damian, the apple of her mother's eye, had been turned by one of the gangs into a bully and a coward.  And he thinks of me as just an insignificant girl who should be submissive, respectful and mute.

Something inside Suzy's being hardened.

I'll show him!

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