"What were you thinking?" barked Mrs Ross at her daughter "Do you know what I was doing when the school called up, saying you had disappeared off school grounds?"

Anne just clenched her fists and bared the scolding. Her mum couldn't possibly go on with her lecturing any longer, surely…

"And from now on, you are not allowed out of the house during the weekends until Christmas!"

Oh, the punishment isn't that bad then. Anne just shrugged, shoved her hands in her pockets and leaned on the wall.

"Yeah, no problem," she said.

"Young lady, didn't you just hear what I said?"

"Don't run away from school again or I'm never allowed to go outside during the weekends, I know," sighed Anne, rolling her eyes.

It's not like Anne stuck to the punishment rules anyway.

"You could have been kidnapped!" screeched Mrs Lockhart at her step-daughter "Do you realise how much worry your father and I had to go through?"

"I'm sorry!" cried Ruby as she held her hands to her chest, enduring her step-mother's scolding "I won't do it again, I promise! I just…I…"

"Honey…"

Mr Lockhart to the rescue. He put a hand on his wife's shoulder.

"It's OK, this is the first time Ruby has ever done something like this."

Mrs Lockhart took a deep breath before staring down her step-daughter.

"You're let off with a warning," she said sternly.

She then turned to the kitchen to continue cooking dinner. Ruby sighed in relief, falling to the floor. Her father crouched down, placing a hand on her shoulder.

"Ruby, if there's anything wrong at all, talk to me."

Ruby looked up to him and nodded. The phone rang and her father answered it.

"Hello?"


"Hello," answered Anne as she used the public phone down her street "I'm Ruby's classmate. I was told to tell Ruby about the Science homework that she missed out in school."

She crossed her fingers.

"Oh, OK then. Ruby, it's for you."

Anne tapped her fingers on the glass as the phone was passed.

"Hello?"

"Hello, sunshine, judging by the sounds of your nose sniffing and your shaky voice, your step-mum gave you one hell of a lecture."


Ruby's eyes widened as she turned to her father. She gently waved away, telling him she would like to be alone. He smiled then left the room.

"Yeah, but it wasn't that bad. I got let off with a warning."

"Huh, your step-mum is a goddess compared to my mum."

"Why, what happened with you?"

"Ah, nothing much, I'm just not allowed to go outside during the weekends."

"Oh…"

"Hey, what's with that tone of voice?"

"Well you can't…"

"Rules are made to be broken, especially punishment rules. I promise I'm going to be outside your house, Saturday morning, nine o'clock sharp."

Ruby smiled and wiped away a stray tear.

"You're such a bad girl…" she whispered.

"Being good got me nowhere. Now, I have to go. I don't have much time."

"Ah, bye!"

Ruby hang up then pulled the phone away from her ear smiling. She was very glad she met Anne, regardless of her being a rebel.