Everyone gathered in the dining room like in an Agatha Christie novel.
Martha stood up and addressed us. “I was a bit worried that we had thief in our midst and as you all know, anyone caught stealing, is asked to leave. When Sophie decided to join us I thought it would be a good idea to lay a trap for a would be culprit. We marked a £10 note with invisible ink that only shows up under UV light and left it in her purse. Now, before we go any further, I really don't like losing anyone. So I am going to give the thief one chance to own up. If you do, you will be punished, but I won't kick you out.”
One of the pack, started hyperventilating and looking with fear at the other 2. “Alice, do you have something you need to tell me?”
“It was just a joke. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it.”
“I'm sure you are. Can you go and get the money and give it back to Sophie. Then come to my office. Everyone else, you are free to go.”
Alice returned my money and went with Martha, a very subdued girl.
I went to the lounge, exchanged my book and returned to my room. I didn't want any more confrontations. I read until I felt tired, sorted myself out for bed, leaving the wig in and slept.
I woke to a loud crash in the middle of the night. I was startled awake from a deep sleep so it took a few moments to even remember where I was. I heard aggressive shouting and there was something about it that niggled at me as being wrong. I put my jeans on, made sure my wig was on tight still, and opened my door to peek out. Then I realised what had niggled at me. It was a man's voice. Men were not allowed here.
I walked towards the noise. I wanted to see what was going on. As I rounded a corner I could see a large Indian man shouting at Martha. I don't know what he was saying. Either his accent combined with his anger was making him unintelligible or he was speaking in a different language. He gave up on verbal communication and shoved Martha into a wall and headed towards me. I suppose I should have moved to the side to let him pass, but he had just hurt Martha and I was angry so I stayed in his way.
He carried on walking towards me and reached out with both hands to push me out of the way. I grabbed his hands and fell backwards tucking my feet under me as I fell. So he landed on me with my feet in his midsection. Still holding his hands I launched him over me into the wall behind me. I let go of his hands before they were seriously harmed. He hit the wall upside down and lay there for a few seconds stunned, which was all the time I needed to roll him onto his front and lock his arm in a pain compliance hold.
I could sense Martha approaching, but kept my focus on the man. “Are you alright?”
“Yes dear, I'm fine. Can I take over, I don't want you involved with this.”
She took a similar hold to mine on the other arm. “Could you go to my office and call the police?”
The man started shouting at her again but if he was trying to get her to release him, I couldn't see it physically. I hurried to her office and phoned the police, carrying the mobile phone and taking it to Martha.
The police arrived and took him away. I downplayed my involvement, suggesting that he tried to walk through me and tripped and fell on me. I kicked out to get him off me and then Martha held him down. All true, of course, just not the full truth. I still had to give a statement and sign my name. I debated whether to sign as Abigail or Sophie and, in the end went with Sophie. I figured, in the unlikely event I ended up in court, by then, Sophie would be the right name.
I didn't feel I could go back to bed. The front door was a mess and Martha had to make some phone calls to get help at that ungodly hour. None of the other girls showed their faces until breakfast time. They did what I was supposed to, stay in your room and lock the door. I tried to stay out of the way. All the girls had places to go and things to do. When all the girls had left, I told Martha that I was having a bath and had a quick one with the door locked and a wedge under the door as an extra precaution. I tried out Oh Daddy sung by Fleetwood Mac, Almaz sung by Randy Crawford and Fighter sung by Christina Aguilera. Then put on my retrieved new underwear, jeans, T-shirt and jumper. I was looking forward to getting to Tracy's place and the clothes she had bought me and her washing machine.
I went back onto my song research. I wanted to sing something for Tracy. It was really tricky. I couldn't sing a mother daughter relationship one. As much as I was calling her mum and she was treating me like a daughter, we had only known each other for a couple of days. We needed more time to grow into that relationship. I did find one song that I loved and thought could work. Happy by Pharrell Williams. It was a really different song, completely unlike anything I had sung before. I would have to have my eyes open and everyone's attention would be on me, unless.... What if the girls from 23 did a dance number like I had seen on youtube? I could sing it and they could dance to it, the focus wouldn't be on me and I could express to Tracy some of the joy she had given me. I created a new email address for my new name and emailed Sam with the idea.
Tracy came in around noon, said hello to me and then spent some time with Martha before approaching me. We went back to her office so that she could convince me to stay with her. We actually spent the time signing documents the lawyers had prepared and going through my eventful stay. Then I went to Martha and thanked her then I went to my room, gathered all my sheets and used towels and put them in a hamper. My meagre possessions were packed away and we were off for lunch.
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