This is the twenty-second part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
The next morning, it wasn’t long before Gabby got busy with finishing off her back story.
“Well the girl did good. Four A-levels, with one of the top marks in the country for History, courtesy of many hours spent on the back seat of Mister Goddard’s car. I could have applied to one of the top universities, but I was happy enough to go to Norwich. After all, I knew I was never going to graduate, so it made no difference where I went.
With no chance of any money from my mum, I took the student loan to get by, arranged accommodation in Student Halls, and before I went I set about creating a whole new Gabby. A different person. I watched films to get the accent just right, and spent the summer holidays reading books and websites about the various countries I was going to have claimed to have lived in. The icing on the cake was having the complete hair-crop, which I knew would make me stand out from day one. As for what happened next, well you know that already”.
Steve checked his notes. “So, I can fill in the rest, even give Fat Boy some credit for grassing you up so I could find you. Then we start the modern-day tragedy. The abused girl who dragged herself out of her slum roots. Having to exchange sexual favours to get a good education, inventing a fictitious family so you wouldn’t be ashamed of your past. Then you couldn’t stand that any longer, so skipped before the end of year, and missed graduation. Of course, once this comes out, there can be no degree, and they may even take back your educational qualifications, all of them. As for the people you have named, they are in deep shit, Careers over, possible arrest for historical child abuse, trial by media followed by an actual trial. This is going to drag on for years”.
Gabby was rubbing her hands together and chuckling. “Serve them all right, the bastards.”
Closing the notebook, Steve was nodding in agreement. “Okay, so we have to think about packing up and getting out of Scotland. Every one of my contacts is London-based, so no point staying up here in Jock-Land. You can come back with me to Norwich and stay at my flat. You will have to stay inside though. God forbid anyone spots you before we break the story. And before you say anything, I will be sleeping on the sofa. You can have my room”.
When she got back from settling the bill at the site office, Steve was already packed. “What about the fat kid? Do you reckon he will try to sell your location to any other paper or TV station?”. Gabby shrugged. “I almost forgot about him. Give me ten minutes and I will go and find him”.
Almost twenty minutes had passed when she got back. “I took him over to the car park and told him if he tells anyone about me I will go to the police and say he raped me after taking obscene photos of me. I suggested he would be better off resigning today, and going home. I said if I heard he was working here tomorrow, I would be going to the big police station in Perth to report him. He turned very pale, and his lip was quivering. I reckon he probably pissed his pants too”.
She was packed and ready in record time, and they were soon headed south for the long drive back to Steve’s. Gabby slept in the car for a long time, waking up when they were near Nottingham. “Do you need petrol yet? I could do with a toilet, and I’m starving too. Find a place to eat, some services or whatever. I have my wig in this bag, so will put that on before we go inside”. Steve was about to say that her story was old news by now, and it was unlikely that anyone would notice her. But he thought better of that. Best to leave her edgy, that would make everything more convincing.
It was dark by the time they got to Norwich. Gabby was unimpressed with the flat that Steve thought was actually quite smart. She sniffed the bed. “S’pose this will do for now. You will have to go out in the morning and get me some cigarettes, real coffee, and something decent to eat. If I’m gonna be stuck in this place for weeks, I expect to be well looked after”.