This story is about Amy's move to a new school where she immediately falls in with the rich kids, who use her for their own ends
I was 15 when my dad died, it was quite sudden, he had a heart attack whilst doing the gardening. I loved my dad more than anything, he was my world and when he died my world ended.
Mum was just as devastated as I was, even after 20 years of marriage they still loved each other as much as when they first met.
She struggled along without him for a while, but found it hard. She couldn't keep up the payments on the mortgage and pay my school fees, so I would have to leave the grammar school at the end of year 11 and sit my A-Levels at a state college. The house problem was solved my mum's brother, Uncle Tony. His wife's mother had died the year before and they'd inherited her house in Cumbria, it was a small house and it had been on the market for the past year without any interest, so he said Mum could have it, once our house was sold we could pay him & his wife Aunty Judy 75% of its market value out of any money we raise.
So we would have to move from Manchester up to Cumbria, there are worse places to live. We'd be handy for a well-regarded school where I could sit my A-Levels and mum could find work in a hair-dressers, she's very talented with hair.
We would be leaving lot behind, all our friends and most of our relatives would be miles away, I would be leaving Girl Guides, where I'd learnt a lot about respect for others and our environment, I'd be leaving the church I'd attended with Dad, and all the people there. Uncle Tony would be close by though.
So, after my GCSEs had finished we packed our meagre belongings into a removal van and moved 70 miles north to start a new life in a very different place.
Initially it was a major culture shock, moving from a busy town centre house, with dozens of shops, pubs, clubs, fast food takeaways, to a small village with only a few shops, a couple of pubs and a couple of takeaways, the only lights on after 9pm seem to be the pubs and the sole Indian takeaway. Even the small supermarket closes at 9.
The major compensation though is the absolutely beautiful landscape round here, the Lake District is only about 30 minutes away, Morecambe Bay 10 minutes, and I can walk to school. On top of this, it's a really low crime area, mum never felt safe at home after dad died, but here she's a lot happier.
Our new house is much smaller than our old house, but that's OK, because there's only two of us now, so two bedrooms, both a good size actually, one bathroom, a lounge and dining kitchen is really all we need. The house has a small front garden and a nice big back garden with tall trees between us and next door, so providing they don't have a periscope or CCTV camera on the roof we're not overlooked.
By the time we got the house sorted it was September and time to go back to school, my first day at a new school, I was both looking forward to it and dreading it. The 6th form at this school is very different to my last school because around half the students are boarders, some are English, and are boarding because their parents work abroad, and some are foreign students who've come here for an English education, a bit like English people sending their daughters to "finishing school" abroad.
I was met by the head of sixth form and shown round the site, introduced to a few established students who would be studying the same courses and then left to fend for myself. Most of the students seemed to be pretty sorted types, a few prima donnas and a couple of distinctly odd types who were studying agricultural courses, but on the whole I felt comfortable.
During lunch that day a girl in a Ralph Lauren polo shirt caught my eye and called me over, she introduced herself as Mary and indicated that I should join her group.
I sat where she indicated and studied her awhile as she had a word with a girl on the next table. She was obviously a very self-assured girl, she handled herself well and from the body language she clearly considered herself to be superior to the girl she was speaking with.
Her clothes showed her, or rather her family, to be wealthy, her Ralph Lauren polo shirt was brand new, her jeans were Armani and she had a pair of Marc Jacobs pumps on her feet - yes I read Heat magazine and the Sunday supplements because I enjoy torturing myself looking a nice clothes I'll never be able to afford.
"So you're the new girl, I'm Mary and we're going to be good friends."
When she turned to face me I could see she was very pretty, although not a 10, if you have to give scores. Maybe the look of entitlement on her face spoilt things a little. Anyway, she had very lush dark blonde hair that was pretty obviously expensively styled to look tousled, I think it was her natural colour, or the hairdresser also coloured her eyebrows at the same time as her hair, further proof would only be revealed to her boyfriends and doctor.
"Hello Mary, I'm Amy. Why do you want to be my friend?"
"Because I see a potential in you to be successful, not just in school, but in society. I like to introduce a select few people into my world you see. With my help you will see the right people and attend the right events. Without my help I doubt you'll get very far in this school."
Mmm, I was getting a distinct whiff of Heathers, with me as Winona Ryder and Mary as Shannen Doherty, I just needed Christian Slater to riding over the horizon to complete the set. As Mary is so far the only person who has spoken to me without prompting from a teacher I decided to just go with the flow for now.
"Ok, so why do you see potential in me, what is this elusive 'x-factor' that I exude?"
"Well for a start you are very pretty, almost beautiful if I'm honest, and you know how to wear clothes and how to stand and walk, you carry yourself well. I see these things and just know that we can be good for each other."
"Well I'm obviously flattered that you consider me to be almost beautiful, I was thinking the same of you as it happens. So, what now? Do we hang out here in the cafeteria all afternoon, or do we prowl the halls looking for unsuspecting year 7 kids to ridicule. I've no idea how we act here as I've come from an inner-city comprehensive."
"You don't sound like you're from a comprehensive school."
"Don't worry, I'm taking the piss, I went to Withington Girls School, they taught me how to walk upright without dragging my knuckles on the floor."
"Well the first thing you need is a boyfriend, you can't be seen out without a boy or people will think you are a spinster in training or even worse, a lesbian."
"What's wrong with being a lesbian for God's sake?"
"They give proper girls a bad name with their attitude against men. A woman needs a man."
Jesus, what was this girl on, I might have some fun here.
"OK, let's assume I need a man, where do I find one?"
"You don't just find one, you don't know anyone round here for a start. I will find one for you. If you meet me at the Cross Keys on Friday night I'll bring you a suitable boy."
Lunch break was over and so we separated. Thinking about our encounter I was in two minds, firstly Mary was quite a character, and I doubted it would do me any harm to hang around with her for a little while until I built up some other, saner friends; but on the other hand, she was clearly at least a bit odd, with her belief that lesbians are evil and girls need me to get by. The topic of boys did interest me though, coming from a girls school, and living in an area where my mum kept us all closeted away for our own safety, I'd not really met many boys my own age. The only ones I did meet were in church, and to be honest they weren't the most exciting people to be around. I had a few dates with boys from church, but they mainly involved McDonalds, a PG film and if I was lucky they didn't try to grope me on the bus journey home.
The rest of the week flew by, the teachers were all mainly young and enthusiastic, and the lessons were interesting, with different teaching methods from my last school, much use being made of videos, computers and stuff. One lesson was a live hook-up with schools in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong.
Friday night crept up on me and when my phone rang at 6pm I was shocked to realise I'd forgotten about meeting Mary and the mystery guy at the Cross Keys. I borrowed £20 off mum and threw on my normal going out clothes - a nice blouse and skirt with a pair of pink Converse pumps - and set out for the pub, which was only 5 minutes walk away. On the subject of borrowing money, I really had to try to get a part time job, the supermarket must have something part-time going, a few hours a week was all I needed to get myself a bit of going-out money.
Anyway, I'd not been in the Cross Keys yet, so didn't really know what to expect from the village pub, would it be like American Werewolf in London, everyone stop what they're doing, glasses half raised, and star at me. As it happened I was pleasantly surprised, the pub was clean and bright, with booths down both sides and tables dotted around the rest of the large room. Mary was in a booth with two boys, she waved me over after I'd got a coke.
"Hello Amy, meet Gavin and Matt, they're not both for you greedy, Matt's mine."
.... There is more of this story ...