I BORROWED MY CRUSH’S NECKTIE FOR OUR SPORTS DAY PARADE AND I WORE IT FOR JUST A WHILE BUT I WASPLANNING TO WASH IT ANYWAY BUT THEN I CHANGED MY MIND SOMEHOW IDK WHY SO I JUST GAVE HIM UNWASHED DIRECTLY AND HE WASLIKE “ARENT YOU GOING TO WASH IT FIRST” I WAS GOING TO TAKE IT BACK AFTER HE SAID THAT TO WASH IT BUT HE SAID IT WAS OK AND HE ASSURED ME A FEW TIMES I FEEL STUPID AND GUILLTY AND EMBARASSED AND SOMEHOW HE LOOKED GROSSED OUT I FEEL SO EMBARASSED I WANT TO HIDE FROM HIM FOREVER UGH WHY AM I SO STUPID
“Looks like you’re having an eventful first day,” WPC Cathy Marshall commented when she saw Sophie’s bruised cheek. Sophie had just washed it and was now changing out of her torn shirt.
“Oh, I don’t know… it’s a bit quieter here than I expected.”
Cathy couldn’t tell whether Sophie was joking or not.
“Enjoy it while it lasts.”
Sophie smiled faintly.
“Funny, they always said it was ten times worse over here when I was at Barton Street.”
Cathy didn’t miss the sarcasm in her friend’s voice. Sophie turned back to her locker to button her shirt and re-attach her tie. It was then that Cathy noticed the photo taped to the inside of the locker door.
“I haven’t seen that photo in a while, Sophie.”
Sophie looked at the photo. It was of a man in a Bobbie’s uniform. The resemblance between he and Sophie was strong.
“He goes everywhere I go, Cath’.”
“Is that the only photo of your dad you have?”
“Mum has more, but she won’t let me near them. I nicked this one when I left. Gran has others and she’s said I can have them when she…” Sophie stopped, awkward. Cathy squeezed her friend’s shoulder.
“How is your gran, Sophie?”
“Soldiering on, you know what she’s like. I’m worried about her, Cath’. Gran’s getting frailer, but she won’t slow down. She’s the main reason I asked to come here. I’m close enough to be able to keep an eye on her at least.”
“I know she means a lot to you.”
“She’s the only kink I have to my dad, Cathy… not to mention she’s about the only member of my family who still acknowledges my existence.”
“What happened to you, So’?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“You seem so closed off now. You used to be such a bright, fun-living person and we used to have a good laugh together. It’s been almost a year since I’ve heard anything from you, then suddenly you’re here. Sun Hill’s a good nick, Sophie and the relief are a good bunch. You’ve no need to hide yourself away here and you’d do well to make some friends.”
“I’m a good copper, Cath’. I won’t let them down.”
“I don’t doubt you and you know full well that wasn’t what I meant, Sophie Butcher.”
Sophie closed her locker and turned just as June Ackland opened the locker room door.
“We’ll talk later, Cath’. Right now, I have work to do,” Sophie left the room and Cathy looked towards the ceiling, shaking her head.
“Everything all right, Cath’?” June asked after she had peered out into the corridor. Sophie had disappeared.
“Yeah… I think so.”
“Do you know her?”
“We’ve known each other since we were kids, June.”
“What’s she like?” June asked.
“How do you mean?” Cathy was guarded.
“Just curious. We all are, really. Sophie’s not much of a talker and…”
“She’s a good girl, June, so there’s no need to worry about her… even though she’s…” Cathy stopped, trying to find the right words.
“Standoffish?” June offered good-naturedly.
“Yeah,” Cathy smiled faintly. “Something happened to her, June and she’s wary of people. Look, I’ll talk to everyone, but she just needs some time, yeah?”
“You don’t have to worry about me. I can see she’s a good kid underneath… and she’s a good copper. I know you can’t talk about what happened to her, but I’m guessing it had something to do with Inspector Ross?”
“What have you heard about it?”
“Nothing much, just gossip and speculation really. Let’s just say that everyone’s curious about the new girl, who… let’s face it… isn’t that keen on getting to know her new workmates.”
“She’s not usually like this, June.”
“You know best. I’d better catch her up, we’ve got to get our notes done. You have no need to worry, she won’t be getting any grief from me.”
Sophie looked up when she noticed someone standing by her table. Thinking it was June come to write up their notes. Sophie dropped the magazine she had been reading on the table.
“Boring?” PC Barry Stringer asked.
“Aren’t they usually?” Sophie finished her tea and looked up at Barry. “I thought I saw a familiar face earlier. It’s Barry Stringer, isn’t it?”
“I’m amazed you remember,” Barry was amused.
“You were in my year at Hendon,” Sophie seemed surprised. “It wasn’t that long ago.”
“I know, but we moved in different circles and I don’t think we crossed paths that often.”
Sophie smiled faintly.
“I s’pose not. How long have you been here?”
“Almost a year. I went back home after my probation, but it was too slow, so I came back.”
“Funny, you never struck me as the action man type. What’s it like here?”
“I like it… some busy days, some slow days,” Barry looked at her. “It looks like you’ve had a busy start.”
“What? Oh! You know how it is, some people just don’t like being caught in the act.”
“How long have you known Cathy Marshall?”
“Forever,” Sophie saw June enter the canteen and look around the room. “Sorry, gotta go… duty calls and all that.”
Barry watched, bemused, as Sophie headed over to June and the two retreated to a table at the back of the room. Barry turned when Tony Stamp took Sophie’s seat.
“Steve tells me you know her,” Tony indicated over Barry’s shoulder.
“Not really. She was in my class at Hendon and she had a different group of friends… so we didn’t really mix socially. Cathy Marshall knows her well though.”
“Really? Cathy’s never mention her before.”
“Why would she?”
“Have you heard why she moved to Sun Hill?” Tony asked.
“I’ve heard rumours,” Barry played vague. “Something to do with a corrupt senior officer?”
“That’s only some of the story. See, this mate of Mike Dashwood’s…”