"Now for our Summer home in England!" Miranda Entwhistle said.
Miranda was the middle child in a family of 3, and an imp of 14. Her elder sister was 16, and was called Sophie. Her younger brother was Harold, Harry for short.
Len Entwhistle, once Len Maynard, was their mother, but like her mother, hated "Mum" or "Mummy" so likewise asked to be called "Mamma".
Miranda, last summer holidays, had made friends with the girl who lived next to their summer home, an unfortunate girl named Jodie Bakewell.
"Harry, stop wriggling. We're nearly there and then we can settle down like before," Len commanded.
When they got there, Con Maynard greeted them cheerfully, and the two let the children ahead while discussing other things.
"I'm awfully concerned about the kid that lives next door to our summer home. The one called Jodie," said Con, whose head wasn't in the clouds this time.
"Why are you concerned about her?" asked Len.
Jodie herself was sitting on her case at the front of her school. She hated her school, but she also hated her holidays. Her dark hair was always in plaits, and her big blue eyes looked through her glasses as her pale skin became a bit more pale. Her mother only cared about one thing, herself. Often she was late picking Jodie up. She didn't care about Jodie one bit, so long as she was fed, housed and clean.
Jodie had hoped to make an escape at the school she was now outside of, but her mother chose it and the lead girls there were like her mother, the rest brainless sheep. Jodie was a clever girl and beat her form in most lessons, by miles, but the others didn't accept this and made the girl as miserable as possible.
Jodie couldn't remember her father, being only 3 when he was put in prison.
When her mum picked Jodie up, there was another man in the car. Jodie didn't know who it was, but took him to be the cruellest-looking guy her mum had ever gone out with. Perhaps he was rich, like all of mum's boyfriends. She didn't know how important he'd be in the holidays to come...
"By the way, Clare and Mel are coming here for a bit in 2 weeks. Rob, Andy and Gerry aren't. Mamma wanted to have quads. She wasn't betting on quins," Len said. "And Felicity is taking a break from Ballet for the while. Her doctor husband insists, and they'll also be here. Felicity has a kid on the way,"
"Does she? I thought she said she never wanted kids!" Con said.
"So she did. Oh, that's the gong for supper," Len said.
When the two got to the dining-room, only Sophie and Harry were there. Miranda wasn't. Len called for her, but she didn't show up. Finally, a slightly red Miranda walked through the front door, with apologies for being late being made. When Len righteously asked where she'd been, Miranda had said "Just... somewhere," and Len left it at that, although later wished she hadn't.
Jodie was taking a stroll in the forest near their home. Her mothers new boyfriend was only interested in her mum, and so despised having Jodie around. Jodie often went to Miranda's house for tea, and stayed there until time for supper. Mums boyfriend often locked Jodie up for ages at a time if she was just one second late. His new discipline styles and techniques didn't co-inside with Jodie's upbringings, and although Jodie never tried a face-to-face battle, he always turned out the bad guy in her stories.
Jodie had decided to meet up with Miranda in the forest, if she could.
Miranda also wanted a ramble in the forest. There were many pretty flowers in the forest, and soon the pair bumped into each other.
"Oh, hi Jode," Miranda called to Jodie.
"Hello Miranda. Aren't the flowers lovely today?"
"They certainly are,"
"Anyway, I need to talk to you about something,"
Jodie woke up in the middle of the night. She wished a drink so she went out the room - or tried to. Her door was locked. She felt a little down, but then an idea struck her. Hairpins. She picked the lock and eventually - or so it seemed to her - the door was open and she could get a drink. Then she saw her plans and case. Her stuff for running away.
She knew this was planned for tomorrow night with an alarm clock under her pillow, but she felt she ought to do it tonight, just in case. She finished packing the case and got all her money together - quite a bit. Then she wrote a note and vanished into the night - really to Miranda's place, and woke Miranda up.
"What is it?" Miranda murmured.
"I'm going tonight,"
"And I'm coming with you,"
Miranda packed a case and wrote another note, then also got money together and departed, with Jodie, into the night...