The outsider

Sarah sighed as the small figure of her daughter trudged into school, hunched in her anorak, hands deep in her pockets. She never seemed to fit in. Sarah looked on in concern as Maddy planted herself on a step and curled up, watching the world go by.

Reaching into her own pocket Sarah pulled out Maddy's scrunched up homework. She looked at it, mildly confused as to its reason for being there, then traversed the playground to return it.

Maddy was immobile as her mother approached. Just her eyes moved, following Sarah's progress towards her. Sarah smiled worriedly as she extended the work towards Maddy. Returning the smile briefly Maddy slowly took the paper from her mother's outstretched hand.

Sarah stood uncertainly, wondering what to do next. She didn't particularly want to return to the cold empty house waiting for her. Nor did she want to brave the bustling office, full of life but equally cold. The accusing stares of her colleagues mingling with curious glances from visitors. Then the whispers that followed her wherever she went, echoing in her ears as she slunk past trying to avoid eye contact. She frowned as she remembered all the people she used to know so well, and the silences whenever she entered a room now, or the subtle coughs to let the rest know she was there.

Glancing down she saw Maddy staring up at her coldly, obviously wondering why she was still there. Sarah laughed nervously and bent to kiss Maddy goodbye. She flinched away and as she watched her mother hurry off, wiping her eyes furiously, and ignoring stares from other parents dropping their own children off, a flash of triumph flitted across Maddy's eyes.

*

Standing, she moved to go inside where Jessica and Katherine were. They were the most popular girls in school, both tall, blond and beautiful, they were distinguishable only by their eyes. Jessica's piercing blue eyes could flash stormy grey within an instant if something displeased her, whereas Katherine's big brown eyes could melt the strongest of resolves in an instant. Maddy cautiously walked over to where they were standing and, hands behind her back stood looking at her shoes.

"What?" snapped Jessica, obviously not in a good mood. Her jaw was set defiantly as she and her sister looked down disdainfully at the small, brown haired girl standing in front of her.

"I." Maddy mumbled through her hair, then trailed off, not sure of what to say.

"Yes?" Katherine asked distastefully, tossing her long blond hair off her angelic face. Maddy mumbled a few words before turning to walk away,

"Hang on" Jessica said as she placed a hand on Maddy's shoulder and then quickly removed it. "Go on" she said.

Maddy shook her hair away from her face, looking up at Jessica hopefully. Jessica and Katherine both twitched and averted their eyes, looking anywhere but at Madeleine. She looked down again quickly, covering her face with her hair.

She quickly relayed her problem, looking up through her hair at the two girls in front of her. When she had finished Jessica and Katherine looked at each other, with a look that Maddy couldn't quite place.

"Alright" Jessica said, "we'll help you."

Maddy looked up, hardly daring to believe it.

"If.if you do something for us." Maddy nodded, not trusting herself to speak. The twins smiled in a way that made Maddy feel like a mouse caught, helpless in a trap.

Ok.. So, what did you think? Come on, if you don't review I'll never know!

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