Torn apart

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Rose Tyler met Alec Hardy the first day she went to a new school when she was just 13.  Her mother had followed a boyfriend to Paisley in Scotland and said they were staying.  Rose daren't speak at first but Alec was different.  He became her friend, they had their first kiss at 13 but 3 years later, she was gone.  This is how they found each other and fell in love again in 2012.

Chapter 1 - The news
Suitable for over 16's only

Rose Tyler in this story is the same age as Alec, making it that she was born in 1971, a month after Alec.  Based loosely on David Tennant's childhood but then follows Alec Hardy's story.  No disrespect or intrusion is intended.  Dates may not be the same as in the series concerning Sandbrook and may contain some elements of my other stories on the Sandbrook subject including 'No witness protection' where Rose's friend Shareen leaves the estate with her mother to live with her boyfriend.

This is very sad in parts as Rose makes friends with Alec and he and his dad begin to realise how Rose is unhappy at the flat she shares with her mother and her mother's boyfriend and Alec's dad thinks Rose is being abused, maybe not physically but mentally and it's tearing a young Alec apart to see her like that.  There are no mentions of physical abuse but readers should be warned it may or may not be Rose who is involved as her mother never allows her to spend any more time with Alec than after school and holidays while she is out at work.

~~~~{ silversurfer60 }~~~~

It was the last day of school and thirteen year old Rose Tyler couldn't wait to stop wearing her uniform and go around in her jeans and t-shirt again for six weeks.  She'd seen Mickey Smith on the way home, he'd left school last year, being four years older than her and he was a trainee mechanic.

"School's out for summer?" Mickey laughed as she passed the garage where he worked, talking to her friends.

"Why ya bothering with him?" Shareen asked her, pulling her chewing gum out of her mouth, twisting it and putting it back in, which even Rose thought was disgusting.

She'd been trying to convince her friend it wasn't a cool thing to do but to no avail.

"Hello to you too Shareen," Mickey joked, getting him a scowl from Rose.

"Mickey Smith, don't think we're gonna spend the whole six weeks hanging around here," Rose warned him.

She heard laughing in the background as the other men saw them.

"Smith, get back to work," Stan, the foreman warned him.  "You girls, take notice of your friend there," he pointed to Rose, who was turning a bright shade of red.  "Don't let me see you lot hanging around all summer unless you want to work and I doubt very much you'd want to get your hands dirty and break your fingernails."

"Bloomin' cheek," Charlene, one of the other girls remarked, checking her own fingernails where Miss Walker in hygiene had made her scrub off the pink nail varnish Shareen had passed to her, who hadn't been the one to get into trouble over it. 

"Go play with your ponytails," one of the men laughed, making Mickey turn.

"We haven't got them," Rose retaliated.  "Are you blind or what?"

That made the others giggle, patting her on the shoulder.

"Come on Rose, you're wasting your time with him," Keisha laughed.  "Thought you fancied my brother?"

"What?" Mickey asked, since he thought the now teenager had a crush on him.

"Stop it Keisha, I never said I fancied Jay.  Take no notice Mickey," Rose replied, since his boss had gone back to what he was doing – reading the paper in the corner.

"Well tell your friend there to keep her mouth shut," Mickey replied.  "See you later when your mum goes out?  She still seeing that bloke, what's his name?"

Rose wished her mother, Jackie Tyler had never met 'Scottish' Bob as everyone called him.  He was part of the firm renovating the estate, which Rose thought was a bit of a waste of time and money since the kids, well not her age would just 'redecorate' the brick walls and chalk on the pavement with slogans amongst other things, some unreadable.

"Leave it Mickey, if she wants to see him, there's nothing I can do about it," Rose replied sadly, not liking the fact she was sent to her cousin's flat most nights and had hoped she could be trusted to stay in on her own.  "They're almost finished though, the scaffolding was coming down this morning."

"Good job," Shareen laughed, Rose seeing the disgusting chewing gum again.  "Otherwise all the younger kids will be playing on it all summer and that security guy couldn't catch a tortoise."

That made the others laugh and agree.  Mickey stared after them, Rose would never agree to go out with him and he'd have to wait another two years at least.  Even then she was out of his league and her mother would slap him into another universe if he dared to even suggest it.  Well maybe she would have done but would she still be seeing the Scottish builder if he was leaving?

Leaving her friends, Rose took the stairs to their flat since she didn't fancy getting stuck in the lift if someone had been messing about with it and wondered if her mother was in.  Jackie Tyler was a hairdresser who partly worked from home but often went around the estate to those with young kids and the older women who would gather in two's and three's and Jackie would get a bonus.

"Are ya home Mum?" Rose called out as she locked the door behind her and threw her school bag on the floor of her bedroom, not that there was any more room on the floor than there was elsewhere, something her mother had expected her to stop now she was a teenager.

Rose had just thought her mother had forgotten what it was like to be a teenager but now she was seriously thinking since she had six weeks of trying to get to her bed when she wanted to be alone, she may do something about it.  Little did she know when her mother popped her head around the kitchen door, she was going to have very little choice.

"In here sweetheart, come and say hello to Bob."

Rose hated saying hello to Bob and what was he doing there, since men were still finishing off in the courtyard?

"Guess what Rose?" her mother asked, Rose getting some juice out of the bottle and filling the glass with water.

"What Mum?" she asked, praying her mother wasn't suggesting Bob moved in with them but considering how much time they spent together, wouldn't be that surprised if he was.

"Just tell her Jackie love," Bob told her in a thick Scottish accent and leaning over to put his arm around her waist.

"Rose, Bob and I have been talking and we've made a decision," Jackie started to tell her.

"Is he moving in with us Mum?" Rose asked cautiously.

"No Rose, he has to go back to Glasgow, well just outside Glasgow.  The job here's almost done and he only came down to replace someone, the head office is based there," Jackie replied.

Rose had a feeling there was more to this and wondered why the council hadn't employed a local firm to do the work or maybe they'd saved some money?

"Get on with it Jackie," Bob told her, getting up and helping himself to another pot of tea but Jackie took it off him, smiling at him.

Rose thought it was gross the way he mauled her mother, what he did when they were alone, she dreaded to think.  She wondered if her mother did everything for him and he was just letting her.  She'd no idea where he'd been staying but was just glad it hadn't been with them.

"Okay Bob.  Rose, we're moving love.  Bob asked us to go with him, back to Glasgow, well just outside," she repeated.  "He has a two bedroom flat, you get your own room as long as ya keep it tidy," she continued as Bob pulled her onto his lap as he'd sat down again.

Rose wondered what he'd been doing in her room but it served her right for leaving the door open she supposed.  It wasn't her fault she had girls magazines with pop stars on the front or records her friends had left when they'd been over scattered across the floor, there should be more storage.

Rose reached for the nearest chair and sat down.

"What?" she asked, thinking she'd heard wrong.  As if thinking Bob was moving in with them wasn't bad enough.  At least they'd get to stay on the estate.  "Why are you just telling me?"

"Don't be cheeky to your mother Rose," Bob warned her.

"Rose, we only talked about it last night.  His job finishes on Tuesday, he's going back to get the flat ready for us then we go next Saturday.  Going now gives me chance to get you into a school, I'll have a lot to do sweetheart and I'll have to give notice here.  I'll have to tell my cousins, they can look after what I can't take with us and Bob's mate he made here has a lockup so we'll have the furniture taken there until we can arrange to get it up there, he'll only charge me a fiver a week."

Rose couldn't be more stunned if she tried, she was trying to take it all in, forgetting about getting something to eat, which she probably couldn't manage anyway with the feeling in her stomach.

"Well say something Rose?" her mother urged her.

"I have to go Jackie, I'll see you in the pub later love," Bob told Jackie.  "I'll leave you two to talk about it but it's not up for debate Rose.  Your mother and I are going to live together and since most of my firm's work is in the Glasgow area, it's not very often I work so far from home.  She'll tell you what to expect."

Rose couldn't believe this, what did her mother have to tell her?  That he had three kids who lived with him from an ex wife or maybe three ex wives or maybe they were ex girlfriends?  Shareen knew all about that, well so she claimed.

Rose got up and ran to the living room when Bob grabbed hold of her mother again.  Jackie was going to run after her.

"Leave her Jackie," Bob told her, kissing her neck as they stood.  "She'll get used to the idea, it will be better her growing up in Paisley than around here."

"She's managed so far," Jackie smiled.  "Yeah, I expect it'll be different for her but she'll soon make friends."

Bob let go of her.  "About that Jackie, she has to pull her weight helping you around the flat, you can't let her get away with doing nothing, like she seems to do here."

"Yeah Bob but I brought her up on my own, I had no-one until I met you," Jackie reminded him, nudging for a kiss.

"Well that's all changed Jackie.  I expect her to do as she's asked," he replied.

"Well can we make it look like it's coming from me?" Jackie suggested.  "I mean if I ask her, she'll take it better, won't she?"

"Well I suppose so but she does it or I'll have to get involved.  We also have a few more things to discuss."

"I know.  So you'll give me the names of the schools up there so I can make some calls before we move?" Jackie asked him, knowing what he'd meant and if that's what it took then so be it.

"You'd be best trying the grammar school, she's too old for the other one, schools are different up there," he replied.

Jackie wondered if he was just saying that, did he actually know?  Bob left, them planning to meet later and she'd agreed to let him stay over the weekend for Rose to get used to seeing them together and she went into the living room to find Rose trying to watch the older kids programmes but thinking they were stupid, as if anyone wanted to come home and watch a drama about being at school.

Didn't the programme makers think they saw enough of school?

"He's coming back later Rose, he's staying over until he goes back on Tuesday," her mother announced.  "Rose, we did only actually decide last night but he's been asking for a while now."

"It doesn't make it any better Mum," Rose replied, trying to hide a tear in her eye.  "I've hardly seen him before today."

"He makes me happy Rose.  For the first time since I lost your dad and I know we keep talking about him, we always will but I have to move on.  I've had thirteen years on my own, it's time to move on."

"I don't even know his name," Rose continued, seeing her mother had her mind made up.

"It's Johnson, he's got a good job Rose, he has a nice flat in the better area of the town and there's two schools close by but he reckons the grammar school will be the best one, I'll give them a call on Monday and see how to get you enrolled.  Just think Rose, it's only eight miles from Glasgow, we'll be able to go on shopping trips.  He reckons I'll easily get a job in a hairdresser's shop and you already let yourself in after school."

"Mum, what about the school holidays?" Rose asked, thinking she'd wanted to be on her own but maybe not all day.

"Oh.  Well for now you'll have to manage but you'll make some new friends and spend some time with them.  You'll have to help around the flat though and he only knows about your room because I wasn't expecting him coming over and I didn't have time to close your bedroom door.  Really Rose, you have to tidy it now and throw everything away you're not taking with ya.  We're gonna be busy for the next week so you'd better not have anything planned, like hanging around that garage with that no good Mickey Smith."

"I've already been told by his boss to stay away, geez mum, I was only passing by on my way home, he stopped me," Rose complained, picking up the TV remote and wishing there were more channels.

"I don't know what happened to him, he was such a good kid before he started hanging around with that Jimmy what's his name but at least he got a job, if he manages to keep it.  He'd better hope Jimmy doesn't get any ideas about getting Mickey fired or turns the place over, Mickey will get the blame."

"Yeah, well Mickey's old enough to know better Mum, even I stay away from Jimmy Stone.  Charlene said he's thinking of starting a band, as if any of his mates even know what a guitar is let alone play it," Rose replied.

"Well we'll see, if they get a record to the top of the charts," her mother joked.

"I'll have to tell my friends, it's not like I'm just moving a few streets away.  It's a big thing Mum, you dropped a real bombshell on me."

Meanwhile, in the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire, just eight miles from Glasgow and which the town housed one of the city's airports where thirteen year old Alec Hardy used to like to go plane spotting with one of his few friends in the summer evenings, he had just got home from school and was clearing out his school bag as his dad got his tea ready.

"All done with then Son?" James Hardy asked him.

"Yes Dad, I don't know what I'll do all summer while you're at work though," Alec replied, looking a bit sad.

"I know it's not easy for you and I've talked to your aunt Mary.  She's agreed you can spend some of the time there, I know you're only used to a week at a time but it's the best thing to do.  I'm sorry I can't take you away this year though, it just wouldn't be the same."

Alec wondered what that was supposed to mean?  It was less than six months since his mother had died and all they'd done on holiday was leave him to fend for himself on a beach somewhere on the south west coast of England last summer while they'd sat 100 yards away arguing.

Now she was gone and the house was quiet and all his dad did was try to make up for it.

"Maybe next year Alec eh?" his dad asked him, getting Alec's tea out of the oven.

James Hardy, or Jim to his few friends was a postal worker and worked early mornings, something his supervisor had encouraged him to do in order to be home when the then twelve year old Alec was devastated over his mother's death, which had been quite sudden as no-one knew she had a bad heart.

Alec knew his dad felt partly to blame for not seeing the signs but the hospital had told them it was no-one's fault.  He couldn't help but think his dad thought he'd caused it as at times his mother wasn't an easy person to get on with.  He accepted his tea and sat up straight.

"I know Dad, it wouldn't be the same without her but I'll be okay at aunt Mary's, me and Stuart were talking about going plane watching."

His dad ruffled Alec's spiky blonde hair that was beginning to turn brown underneath.

"Face it Son, you only go to see if any spaceships in the shape of a blue box land there by mistake," he joked.  "Tell me you stopped writing those stories?"  Alec had a guilty look on his face.  "I think you should concentrate on other things Alec, maybe start taking an interest in girls instead of science fiction," he suggested.

Alec put on his best smile and thought he'd maybe just not say anything.  It was going to be a long summer and when he finally got back to school, he wouldn't have as much time to think about his mum.  Being a teenager now didn't make him feel any better and she'd not got to see him become one, the school counsellor had tried to help him as much as she could but even after six months, it didn't go away.

He just hoped after the holidays he could start pulling himself round and take more interest and join a few clubs to take his mind off it.  He also hoped maybe the new term would bring new students but if they were girls, he would forget it, he wasn't ready for that, especially with the likes of Kristin and Moira, who had tried to smother him when it was announced in school assembly that Alec was to be given the school's sympathy and they were all asked to be nice to him, which all but a few miseries had done and he'd become clever at dodging the head bully who had no mercy for anyone, not just him.

So as Rose and her mother were talking about what to take and what to leave, Alec went to his room, the last photo of him and his mother on the window ledge, he wondered what the next term would bring and he could always hope he could try to make a new friend.

Chapter 2 - The goodbyes
Rose had a week to break it to her friends she was moving away - a long way away and she wouldn't be able to get on a bus from another part of London to meet them on Saturday morning, which meant no more trying to dodge store detectives when being cheeky and one of them asking an assistant for their size in a dress they couldn't afford and them all sneaking in the dressing rooms and taking it in turns to try it on.

That had kept them amused for a while and the poor Saturday girl whose job it was to make sure every item was returned to the rail was kept busy getting another size if one of the friends found it didn't fit.  She would miss that more than anything, they'd been doing it since they were twelve and a half, well that and lurking around the men's department and looking for cute boys looking embarrassed their mothers were buying them t-shirts and school shirts.

So when they'd had enough the following day when they'd all got their spending money and tried to fool the bus conductor they all had bus tickets, they went to the kiosk and bought two cans of soda to share and had gone to sit outside Hendrik's Department Store after swearing several months back when they'd mostly all turned thirteen they were going to get jobs there when they left school.

Shareen was sipping on a straw after Rose offered the can of orange to her after taking hers out.

"So, where did ya say you were going?" she asked Rose, who was looking at a cute boy following his mother out and carrying two bags.

Shareen nudged her, the others giggling.

"What?  Oh some town near Glasgow I've never heard of.  Mum's getting all giddy over it, she's already planning shopping trips there every Saturday but I'd rather be hanging around with you lot."

"Face it Rose, you'd rather be looking at the cute boys," Charlene laughed, nudging Keisha, who was taking too long taking a drink.

"Yeah, I guess I'll miss that too," Rose laughed.  "Anyone want my red bike?" she offered, knowing one of her cousins would probably claim it and wishing now she'd never asked for it.

She'd asked for the red bike for her twelfth birthday to join some of the other kids even though her mother couldn't really afford it but there it was, outside on the balcony and her mother had claimed she had no idea where it had come from and Rose knowing she didn't want to admit she'd gone without something to pay for it.

Now, she had better things to do and the bike was forgotten about.

"Think I'll give that a miss," Shareen laughed, handing the can back to Rose and Rose shaking it to see if it was worth sticking the straw in again or just finishing it off.  "So you'll be starting a new school then?"

Rose thought that was rather obvious and felt like saying no, she'd be getting the bus every morning.

"Yeah, some posh grammar school by what mum said, Bob reckons schools are different up there," she replied.

"When was he at school then?" Keisha laughed as Charlene scowled at her for finishing the drink.  "Was that in the dark ages?"

"Probably, I don't know what mum sees in him, he's worse than Jimbo and Howard put together.  I think he must have charmed her on the way to the shops.  I bet it all started that time the washing machine stopped working and she went to the launderette when the repair man said he'd have to go back with a part for it, I mean Bob had to do his laundry, right?"

The others nudged her.

"Yeah, betcha he saw her going in so he took his shirt off and stuffed it in the dryer just to chat her up," Shareen laughed.

"Yeah, then I bet she asked him for change even though there's a change machine," Keisha joined in.

"How do you know there's a change machine, thought your mum had a washer?" Charlene questioned her.

Keisha tried to bluff her way out of it.

"I went in once with my gran," she replied, knowing they'd never go for it.

"Whatever," Shareen huffed, trying to aim the empty can at the rubbish bin and missing.  "Hey Rose, betcha anything your mum flashed her knickers at him when she took them out of the washer!"

"Shut up Shareen," Rose blushed at the thought but that could explain why her mother had suddenly started getting all defensive where she was going.

She'd never worked out why Bob had started calling for her mother and her being told to go over to her cousin's flat.  Now, he was taking them away from their friends and family and her mother was willing to do it.

"Well he must be some bloke then?" Charlene suggested, sitting on the back of the bench as people walked past looking at them.  "I mean to follow him all the way to Glasgow.  Where is it you're going?"

"I think she mentioned Paisley," Rose had to admit, trying to forget about it.

"Where they make the shirts?" Keisha laughed.

"What would you know about shirts?" Charlene prodded Keisha's shoulder from behind.  "Oh, does your brother wear fancy patterned shirts?"

Rose had to smile at the thought.  She was beginning to like Jay but he was older and probably had half a dozen girls lined up already and she'd just be in a long line of them.  She wished Mickey Smith had a long line of potential girlfriends so he wouldn't want her to hang around with him, which she was always trying to avoid.

She also wished they didn't have to go past the garage he worked at on the way back from school.  She had been thinking of ways to avoid him all summer, now that wasn't going to be a problem.

"You with us Rose?" Charlene asked her, nudging Rose with her leg.  "You daydreaming again?"

"Yeah, Earth to Rose," Keisha laughed.  "Bet there's different stars up in Glasgow?"

"Do ya even know where Glasgow is?" Shareen teased her.

"Yeah," Keisha huffed indignantly.  "It’s in Scotland – duh!"

"You only know that 'cos Rose said," Charlene joined in.  "You've gone quiet Rose.  Come on, let's go get two lots of fries from the takeaway, anyone got any spare money or we'll all be walking home."

Once home and saying she'd see them all on Monday, just after five, there was a knock on the door, Rose dreading it was Bob coming back with his belongings as he'd just gone back last night with an overnight bag but that was probably all he'd brought with him.  It was Mickey, which was almost as bad.  Her mother just had to pop her head around the kitchen door as she was preparing tea.

"What's he doin' here?  What do ya want Mickey?" she shouted.  "Rose is too young ta be hangin' around with you."

"Leave him Mum, you never bothered before," Rose protested, not knowing why she was defending him.  "I'm going out for an hour."

"You'd better be back in an hour, we're not waitin' for you to come back to eat, yours'll be in the oven young madam," her mother replied.  "Well you won't be hangin' around with him for much longer, just you remember that."

Mickey was about to ask what that meant when Rose grabbed his arm and pulled him outside.

"What did she mean by that?" a confused Mickey asked.

"Nothing, which did ya mean?"

"Both.  Is she still seeing that bloke, they'll all be gone by Monday, then she'll be upset," he replied.  Then he saw the look on her face.  "He's staying?"

"Not exactly," Rose admitted as they walked down the steps.

Mickey stood in front of the door when they reached the ground floor.

"She'll be upset when he goes, won't she?" he asked as Rose tried to get past him.  "Answer me Rose, is he staying or going?"

"Chill Micks, he's just staying with us until Tuesday, then he's going home," Rose replied.

"And?" he questioned her.  "You mean she's just gonna forget about him?  Huh, I can't see that, I've seen them coming home from the pub."

Did he have to remind her?  She'd gone home and straight to her room so she didn't catch them in the living room.

He moved out of the way and they walked across to sit on the concrete bollards, Rose taking up two as she put her legs up and rested her feet on the side of the next one.

"Okay Rose, what aren't you telling me?" he asked, seeing her staring at the ground.

He'd come to know when she was avoiding something.

"No!  Hang on a minute.  She's going with him?  I mean you're both going with him, to Scotland, wherever he comes from?"

"Mum said he's from Paisley," Rose replied quietly.  "We're leaving Mickey, next Saturday."

Mickey looked lost for words, for a change Rose thought.

"That's a bit soon," he finally said after five minutes silence.

"Tell me about it, how do ya think I feel?  I have to leave school and my friends."

"Can't you stay here with your cousins?" he wondered.

"Yeah, great idea Mickey, I'll just share a bed shall I?  You know what my mum's like when she gets an idea in her head as well as I do," Rose replied.

"Well if you ask me, it'll never last," Mickey suggested.

"She'll do it just to prove a point, trust me," Rose told him.

While they had been talking, she'd seen Bob go towards the front of the block of flats then seen him walk along the balcony.  She didn't like him much, he was a bit too smug with himself and she wondered why on Earth her mother had picked him up.  She'd had to smile to herself that her friends had been right, about picking Bob up in the launderette.

"I'd best go Mickey or mum will let my tea dry up in the oven and her cooking's not brilliant to start off with though I think she's got a cookbook stashed away from the library lately."

"Come by the garage before you leave?" Mickey asked as she got up.

"I was told to stay away, remember?" she reminded him.

"Yeah, sorry.  Guess I won't see you before you go then?" 

"Guess not unless you call and you saw what mum was like?"

"Yeah, thought she'd have lightened up since she met that bloke," he grinned, not knowing what else to say.  "Just for the record, I mean if you don't come back, I was gonna ask you to be my girlfriend when you were sixteen."

"You were?  You seriously thought I'd agree?" Rose teased him.

"Well we hang around together, I thought, you know?" he muttered back.

"I was teasing ya, you 'nana.  Still, it's a long way off, you might have found someone by then anyway, don't wait for me Mickey."

"So what's all that with you stopping by the garage every night then?" he wanted to know.

"I'm not going out of my way to get home Mickey, I used to go past it before you started working there ya know?"

Mickey looked disappointed but tried to laugh.

"Yeah, if you say so Rose, see ya around then, I mean maybe before you go?"

"I don't wanna go to Scotland ya know?  It's not like I have a choice."

With that, she ran off and put the code into the door to get back in.

While she'd been out, after Jackie and Bob had made out, as Rose would have called it, he reminded her of a few things.

"So you agree then?" Bob asked her.

"Well she'd get most of that if she had a dad I suppose?" Jackie admitted.  "About the rest though?"

He put his arms around her and kissed her neck.

"You're not backing out on me are you Jackie?" he asked.

"No, 'course not, it's just, ya know?  She's only thirteen," she reminded him.

"That's why we came to our little arrangement Jackie love," he reminded her back.

"Sorry Bob, I just have to get used to it," Jackie replied, trying to rescue their tea.

"Well consider the alternative?" he asked as he heard the door open.

Rose walked into the kitchen, Bob sitting on one of the wooden chairs.

"You could have shouted hello when I passed you," Bob told her as she went to wash her hands.

She glanced at her mother.

"Yeah Rose, you shouldn't have ignored him," her mother agreed.

"I thought it was rude to shout over to people across the courtyard?" Rose asked.

"Don't be cheeky to your mother," Bob reminded her yet again, how many times, Rose had lost count.

"Well say sorry to him," her mother told her, dishing up what Rose thought was maybe one recipe she could actually manage not to spoil.

"Sorry Bob," Rose said quietly, wishing she dare add that next time, she'd lean over the balcony and do it.

"That's better, best get used to being more respectful to your elders Rose," Bob grinned at her mother as she put his plate on the table.  "This looks good love."

Rose was dying to say wait until he tried the rest of her cooking.  Actually, maybe if she herself sabotaged his food, he may go off on Tuesday and tell them to stay here.  She had no such luck though as he left for work on Monday morning, Rose having gone over to Shareen's the previous afternoon to escape watching yet another repeat of a James Bond film, one with the Scottish version, surprisingly.

"Bye Jackie love," Bob was saying as Rose was deciding what to do that day before her mother had her packing or taking things to various friends and relatives when she decided what they were leaving.

"Yeah, see ya tonight Bob, we are going out?"

"Yes love, we are, then an early night, I have a train to catch tomorrow morning.  Don't forget to check the times on Saturday and book your tickets."

Rose wondered where her mother was getting the money from to pay for them, she was giving up her job as a home hairdresser.  Rose had heard her cancelling appointments for next week.  She was about to give Bob time to leave when her mother asked where she thought she was going.

"Just to Shareen's, why?" Rose replied.

"You can forget that madam, go down to the shop and see if ya can get any cardboard boxes before someone beats ya to it.  Cousin Mo's taking your dad's trophies and some of the ornaments and any clothes we don't want you can help me take them to the charity shop.  Oh, Bev said she'd take that bike for Vicky if ya don't want it any more.  I mean there it was, on the balcony when you went to answer the doorbell, despite me telling ya not to answer the door then a year later ya never go near it."

"Mum, come off it, I know you bought it for me.  What did ya have to do without to pay for it or did ya take extra clients?" Rose asked her.

"What ya talking about Rose?  I keep tellin' ya I've no idea where it came from and then we were tripping up over it in the hallway.  Well get goin' then or they'll be no boxes left and we'll have to carry them over a few at a time."  

Rose shook her head.  So where had the bike come from?  Bikes just don't appear out of thin air, no matter how much you wanted one and she'd lost count of how many times they'd passed the bike shop and she'd stopped to look at it and her mother had to go back and drag her away.

Had it been her dad watching over her and somehow, a total stranger had been prompted to buy it and leave it outside on her twelfth birthday?  No, it had to be something else.  She set off to the shop and began to wonder how they were going to choose what to part with but there would be no room in their cases for anything except necessities.  It wasn't like they were going down to Southend and staying in Jimbo's run-down caravan that smelled of damp and she'd gone back with a chest infection.

She swore she'd never go in a caravan again.

Alec had gone off to his aunt's, her fussing over him ever since his mother had died.

"What's wrong with you this morning Alec?" his aunt Mary asked him as he took his notepad out of his shoulder bag.

"Nothing, I just miss my mum during the holidays."

"Sorry.  Are you going swimming with your friends later?" she asked as she saw the towel.

Alec nodded.  It would be the first time he'd been allowed to go on his own, he was meeting a few of the other boys he actually talked to who didn’t think he wasted his time writing stories.

"Tell you what, tomorrow, why don't you pick some flowers from the garden and we'll take them to put on your mum's grave?" she suggested, patting his shoulder.

Alec smiled.  He'd not been able to accept his mother had gone just like that, even though she'd been ill but she'd covered what had really been wrong with her.  He'd always thought she'd recover when she'd been taken into hospital but she was gone, the surgeon saying she'd never admitted to her own doctor she'd been having heart problems. 

He'd never even got to say goodbye to her properly, his aunt had been with him while his dad had laid on her, holding her hand, even after they'd argued for the past few years that he'd been aware they'd been arguing.  Now his dad was trying his best to make up for it.

"Well go on then, use the dining room table if you want to write," his aunt smiled at him.

"Where's Peter?" he asked about his older cousin who had been off at university.

"He was staying in Edinburgh a while longer with his friends though I expect that's his excuse and he's got himself a girlfriend," his aunt smiled.  "Not got a secret girlfriend of your own then Alec?" she teased him.

"No, I'm not interested in girls yet," Alec smiled back as he got his pencil case out.

"Well that'll all change soon enough, trust me," she replied as she went back into the kitchen.  "Maybe you want to be a writer when you get older?"

"No, I want to go to college, I want to join the police," he replied.

"Really?  You never said before Alec.  What makes you say that?"

"I just want to help people.  I've been thinking about it for a while," he told her.

He'd never get his mother off his mind but he could join the police and help other kids get over losing theirs by finding out how they'd died.  He couldn't bring his own mother back but now his aunt was offering to go to the cemetery with him, maybe he could say goodbye without his dad seeing him getting upset.

By Friday, after Rose had seen her friends to say a final goodbye, their furniture had been taken to the storage unit and they were staying at Mo's for the night then heading for the station for the train to Glasgow.  She was hoping that every time the phone rang or her mother called Bob, they were going to call it all off, though it would have been hard getting all their things back and her mother was handing the keys in to the council office after taking their things across the courtyard.

Rose had guessed Bob had given her mother the money for two one-way tickets to Glasgow, where he was meeting them so she supposed he had a car and had chosen not to drive down to London.  She'd heard her mother saying how they were looking forward to it but she wished her mother wouldn't speak for her.

It had been hard the last few days, trying to cram everything into their suitcases and cart the rest to the charity shop in black bin-liners, her mother smiling at the woman behind the counter and saying they were having a clear-out.  Rose thought her mother was fooling no-one, she'd bought most of them from the shop next door.

It was when she was laid on the sofa trying to sleep that it finally hit her.  She had to start all over again, making new friends, settling into a new school and trying to hide the fact she was English to save being picked on.  She'd already been given several ideas from her friends and was deciding which one to go with and may settle for Shareen's idea of losing her voice but that wouldn't last long but maybe long enough for her new classmates to accept her.

If her new teacher knew where she was from, maybe she'd get away with admitting it.  Maybe she'd find someone to confide in who would help her break the news and who would stick up for her?  Well she could but hope as she drifted off to sleep and tomorrow, her and her mother would be starting a new life but something was worrying her.

All the quiet phone conversations all week, her mother trying to keep her voice down but she'd heard a few things and couldn't work out if they were about her or not.  It was too late now though, they were committed to going, the flat was empty where she'd spent the last thirteen years of her life and they would be living in Scotland.  She'd been to the library, much to Shareen's dismay as she had a library ticket but she'd just looked at a book at the large table while Shareen was pulling faces and chewing her gum, less the disgusting part of taking it out of her mouth.

The next morning after a quick breakfast and saying goodbye to cousin Mo and her younger second cousins, they got a taxi to the underground station which took them to their train station and struggled between them with their luggage.  Then as they were let on the platform for their train to Glasgow, she glanced at her mother, who seemed a lot happier about it than she did.
Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20


Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

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