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Another Way, Another Life

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76 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 13 Aug 2012, 2:45 pm

“Yes, she is.” He watched Jo who kept pulling at that ridiculous yellow west they had to wear. “Although I wish she wouldn’t, because then she will talk to my teachers, and they will all tell her that I constantly interrupt class and don’t pay attention to them. I mean, my mum kind of knows that already, but I don’t want them to point it out to her again, she has enough on her mind already.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. He didn’t wear a hat or a scarf, although it was pretty chilly outside, but he was used to it. Besides, he had only one scarf and he had lost it last winter and hadn’t told his mother yet because he didn’t want her to buy new things. He would rather suck up the cold than bother her all the time with spending money on things he needed.

“I’m sure the teachers don’t only have negative things to say about you”, Jo said. “You have the best grades, so technically they can’t complain.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter what grades I have, I’m still a pain in their butts and I’m pretty sure some of them can’t wait to tell my mum about it because they hope that I will stop after they had a talk with her.”

Jo sighed. “I’m worried what they have to say about me…”

“You’re worried?” Liam chuckled. “Come on, they love you. You’re the teacher’s pet, that’s why all the other students hate you.”

She wasn’t sure if she should take it as a compliment or feel offended. “I’m not the teacher’s pet”, she mumbled.

“Yes, you are.”

“Do…do the others really hate me?” She stared shyly at her hands.

Now Liam realized what he had just said and shook his head. “No, I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was that the others are jealous of you because the teachers like you.”

“But they still hate me?”

“Just…forget about it, okay?” He looked around. “Anyway, I have to pee, I’ll be right back.” But instead of going all the way inside, he went straight for the bushes and turned his back towards Jo, who was obviously more than shocked. Even if she only saw him from the back she still had to look away because she felt embarrassed, and when he came back she kept her eyes on the floor.

“Why…why didn’t you go inside for that?”, she asked shyly and irritated, still not looking at him.

“Because I was too lazy”, he answered plainly and shoved his hands back in his pockets. He watched Jo quietly for a moment and it seemed that something was wrong. Maybe she was just upset because he didn’t go inside to use the bathroom, but maybe there was something else?
“You okay?”, he asked.


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77 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Tue 14 Aug 2012, 11:56 am

“I think I would like if my teacher would talk to father. He… no one ever did this.” Jo looked shy away. “They are not coming, mother got very sick again. I tried to find out what she actually has, but father yelled at me. He said it is none of my business and that’s exactly why I am here so that I do not have to see my mother being sick. Father never yelled at me. He was really angry, so angry that he said he won’t have time to talk this Sunday evening. He won’t be coming, I’m all alone during the weekend. I’m sorry you are not interested in this.”

Jo saw that Liam was cold, she took off her scarf it was luckily not a girly one but a green school scarf. “Here you are freezing.”

Jo didn’t dare to look at Liam, she felt so stupid for wanting her father come to this weekend. Even when he got every fortnight reports about his daughters wellbeing, but it would mean everything to her if someone would show interest in her. Someone her father didn’t pay to care about her.

“You are lucky that your mom still comes to listen to your teachers, it is a way of love you know.” Jo whispered she knew she was stepping over a border here. Liam was not the type of guy that wanted to talk about feelings and what others felt for him, especially when it was about his mom. Jo was shivering but not because she was cold, but simply plain lonely. She looked at Liam, he was her best friend the only friend she ever had that was real and not paid and she was so scared that she could say something that made him angry and walk away from her, just like her father.

“I don’t understand what I did to make him so angry that he doesn’t want me anymore.” Jo didn’t really say this to Liam but it was loud enough for him to hear her.


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78 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Fri 17 Aug 2012, 5:27 pm

Liam looked quietly at Jo for a moment. She didn’t seem upset anymore, she seemed plain sad. So sad in fact that she looked like she was about to cry. And this time he would actually understand why. Since her met her he had seen her crying for so many reasons that he didn’t get, like when she was scared or said something wrong, but this time he really got why she was so sad. The bad thing was, he wanted to say something nice to her but he didn’t really know what to say exactly. He wasn’t good in those kind of things, in saying the right things at the right time.

“It’s okay”, he said while he tugged uncomfortably at his sleeves. “I mean, you telling me this...And you’re not alone.”

Jo looked up shyly.

“Um…you know, my mum is totally into you, so she wouldn’t like you to feel alone, and you know…ehm…you’re my friend…so…um…you’re not totally alone.” He shoved his ice-cold hands into his pockets. “But I get that you miss your parents, and I don’t think that your father is mad at you. He probably yelled at you because he’s worried about his wife and he doesn’t want you to get worried as well.”

She looked at him quietly and he could tell that her eyes were a bit teary, but a weak smile appeared on her face. “Thanks.”

“For what?”

“For saying that, it’s nice to hear those things.”

He didn’t really know what was so ‘nice’ about it, but at least she seemed to feel better.
“Thanks for the scarf”, he mumbled. “But it’s yours and you’re probably cold no, so you can take it back, I’m okay.”

She shook her head. “I’m not cold, you can keep the scarf.”

“But-“

“Hey, you two.” Catherine appeared behind the children. “Aren’t you looking all pretty and handsome in those safety wests?”

“Don’t mock us, we look like traffic cones”, he son mumbled.

“Adorable traffic cones.” She kissed him on the cheek.

“Mum, not in front of all those people!”

“Oh, so you’re embarrassed now that your mother kisses you in public?”

“Well, some people are looking…”

Catherine rolled her eyes. “Nobody is looking.” She turned to Jo. “Am I at least allowed to hug you, Jo?”

The girl nodded. “Of course.”

“See, she has no problems with that”, Catherine said while the hugged Jo.

“Yeah, because she’s a girl, and that’s always different.”

His mother sighed. “Yes, of course, Mr ‘I’m-so-grown-up’. Anyway, I have to meet your teacher soon and…” She suddenly noticed that something was wrong with Jo, she seemed sad. “Jo, honey, what’s the matter? Are you not feeling well?”


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79 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 7:39 pm

“I’m okay thank you for asking.” Jo mumbled. When the supervising teacher came over to the little group.

“Miss O’Doherty is it right?”

“Yes.”

“I am Mr Conner, the math teacher for the 9th grade. I teach all ranks of mathematics including the advanced class of your son and the basics class of Josephine.”

“Okay. Nice to meet you.” Catherine smiled as the two children went back to help the other parents find parking spots.

“Miss O’Doherty there are a few things I need to talk to you about your son, and Sir Williams suggest to talk to you about Josephine.” Mr Conner said as a matter of fact. “There is a slot open I saved to talk to you about the young child.”

Catherine looked surprised from the teacher over to Jo, the young girl was shyly telling adults where to park their cars. There was nothing that she would have thought teachers need to talk about except that she was most likely a teacher’s pet.

“Yes of course.” Catherine didn’t know what to expect.

“Good I hoped you would agree to this. Here is a schedule of the times Josephine’s other teacher, the school counsellor and her house mother.” Mr Conner smiled. “She speaks very highly of you and your son. Anyway I’ve got to go my first meetings start in a few minutes. Talk to you later.”

Mr Conner walked back to the main building while Catherine went to the two children, one of them was her son the other well the other started to have a special place in her heart. And she saw that Jo was not fine, something was bothering her. But Catherine had meetings with teachers to attend. She would have lunch with her two geeks later.
Her last meeting before lunch was with Jo’s house mother and the counsellor.

“Miss O’Doherty thanks for meeting us. Before we start we want to say that Josephine is a wonderful charming young girl but we have to consider that she is four years younger than her classmates. But there are some issues. Josephine is not very social. I try to get her involved in the house activities, but she is not interested. All she does is read books and do her homework. She has no friends in her classed or here in her house…”

“Whoa hold it right there. Are you telling me that this sweet little girl that is basically at least three weekends at my house is socially awkward?” Catherine looked from the house mother she knew from bringing her back to the school counsellor.

“No that is not what the house mother tries to say, but as an international student I had a few sessions with her and she doesn’t talk. She says everything is fine, her schoolwork is fine and home is fine too. She has troubles in maths class, but she doesn’t want to be tutored…”

“Stop right there. I won’t listen to this, any longer. Jo is a sweet, wonderful young girl that might be a little bit shy but she is not socially awkward. Liam is helping her with her math homework and he will continue this and when she doesn’t want to have slumber parties with girls that are as you said four or more years older I totally understand that. I mean when you where twelve did you play with sixteen year old girls? No because that is the thing sixteen year old girls don’t play anymore. Jo is a child and still far from being a teenager. If the only problem is that she doesn’t hang out with the girl and talks about boys. So if you excuse me I will not long discuss with you Jo’s social issues and have better things to do. Like have lunch with my son and his best friend the only child in his age.” Catherine got up and walked out of the office. This was outrages how could anyone call this sweet little girl socially awkward? She saw Liam and Jo sit at a small table they were laughing and having an actual good time.

“No way you can’t say that Lizzie is stupid for loving Mr Darcy, just because he is a complicated man. I think only is complicated site is shown in the book.” Jo said before she took another sip of her hot tea. They had been outside until it was time to get lunch and they managed to safe a small table for themselves and Catherine.


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80 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 27 Aug 2012, 9:08 am

Catherine watched the two quietly for a moment. She was really upset that Jo’s housemother and counsellor thought Jo was not able to make friends. Who the hell did they think they were to judge this sweet girl like that? And in those few weeks that they have known each other, Jo had changed a lot in Liam who usually tended to be indifferent when it came to kids his age. He never made the effort to find any friends and he scared many off with his direct, sometimes even rude things he said. It wasn’t like he didn’t want friends, he just didn’t really care a lot, which had worried Catherine for years now, but then came Jo who changed so much in a good way.

“Oh, hi Katie.” Jo had noticed her and smiled widely. “We were just talking about Pride and Prejudice. Have you ever read it?”

Catherine nodded and sat down next to her. “Oh yes, who doesn’t love that book?”

“Me”, Liam replied dryly. “Because it’s cheesy.”

Catherine rolled his eyes. “Weird…for someone who apparently doesn’t like Pride and Prejudice, you’ve read quite a few Austen novels…”
Liam blushed. The truth was, he kind of liked some of her books, but it was totally unmanly to admit that. He wasn’t an Austen fan, but he didn’t mind her books actually.
“You two aren’t cold out here?”, she asked, looking from one to the other, but both kids shook their head. “Liam, where did you get that scarf from?”

“Ehm…”

“It’s mine, I didn’t need it”, Jo said quickly.

“You didn’t need it?” Catherine raised her eyebrows. “Or did that son of mine just lose his?”

“Well, I really didn’t mind-“

“Excuse me…” A man, about forty and not that bad-looking, appeared next to their table. Liam had seen him before, he was one of the fathers and had a daughter who was in Liam’s science class. “I really don’t want to bother you, but all tables and seats have been taken. Would you mind if I join you? Unless you have something very secretive to discuss, of course…” He winked at Catherine, and Liam knew that look. And that smile. And that ‘oh-that-woman-is-petty-let’s-see-how-easy-she-is-to-get’-smirk on his face. Liam had seen those men talking to his mother, he had seen them flirting with her and trying to play goddamn Prince Charming. They were all the same, thinking that she was an easy target since she was an unmarried, single mother, and on top of that very beautiful.

“Sure, no problem”, Catherine said friendly. “And no, we’re not talking about anything secretive.”
She was always too friendly, that was her problem, and Liam worried that those guys would see her friendliness as some sort of invitation.
“Liam, can you make a bit room for…”

“David”, the man said.

Liam didn’t move, he just stared at him as if he wanted to scratch his eyes out but when his mother cleared her throat he moved a bit, still watching that guy like a hawk.

“Thank you”, the older man said to Liam, but then turned his head to Catherine again. “So…may I ask what your name is?”

“Catherine”, she replied.

“So, Catherine, where are you from? Clearly not American, hm?”

“That’s right, I moved here from Ireland with my son.”

“Ah…the country of beautiful women…”

“Seriously?” Liam just glared at the man next to him, but his mother quickly shook her head. He bit his lip while that weirdo kept making small-talk with her. Jo just watched the whole scene quietly, she probably didn’t understand what was going on. Of course not, her brain was filled with innocence. Hell, everything about her was innocent, especially her thoughts.


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81 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 27 Aug 2012, 7:44 pm

Jo looked from Liam to Katie and back. Liam was acting weirdly, because this man was talking to his mom? He was not hurting her, and she didn’t see the man touching her so it looks okay to her. They were just talking, but Liam was really upset. Jo leaned closer to Liam and whispered. “Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” Liam mumbled back still glaring at the man.

“Do you know him?” Jo still whispered. She was excited for some reason. She picked up Liam’s anger and wasted to help him, well or at least she was on his side even though she enjoyed being on someone’s side.
Suddenly Jo saw on Katie’s appointment card she saw name’s of her teachers and even her housemother. Jo looked down at her lunch. She wanted someone to care about her doings in school but she never heard that any parents had a meeting with the houseparents. Jo was so embarrassed, she must have done something really wrong if Catherine had to talk to her housemother.
She didn’t say anything, she just didn’t know what since something was going on with Liam and Catherine was busy with the man. Maybe a parent’s weekend wasn’t that great anymore.


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82 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Wed 05 Sep 2012, 6:45 pm

Liam didn’t pay much attention to Jo, he was too busy making sure that this guy wouldn’t say weird stuff to his mum.
“It’s kind of late”, Liam interrupted the adults. “We should get home now.”

“Don’t be rude, Liam.” Catherine threw him a strict side-glance.

“But I’m cold.”

“How old are you? Four?”

He crossed his arms and bit his lip, his eyes wandering back to the guy who smiled weirdly at him, then at Jo.
“And who’s the young lady?”, David asked.

“That’s Jo, she’s my son’s friend…well, and mine too.” Catherine winked at the young girl who still seemed a bit insecure ever since she had spotted the appointment cards in her hands.

“You both look a little young for high school students”, the older man said.

“That’s because they are young, they both skipped a few grades.”

“Oh, two little geniuses…” David’s eyes were fixed on Liam again. Of course he noticed how suspiciously the boy looked at him. “I see, he doesn’t have your eyes at all, Catherine.” He didn’t mean it in a bad way, but little did he know that this was a very sensitive subject for her because Liam’s eyes were one of the things that constantly reminded her of the man she had once loved so much, but she put on a brave face and managed to smile.

“I know”, she said, but before David had any chance to ask about Liam’s father she changed the subject. "I'm afraid we really have to go”, she said after another ten minutes and Liam got up immediately, ignoring his mother’s glance. Jo was polite and said good bye to the older man, but Liam didn’t even think about it.

“I’m really sorry”, Catherine said to David when the kids turned away from them. “Liam is always like that when it comes to other men…”

David smiled. “Of course he is, he obviously looks out for his beautiful mother, can you blame him?”

Liam shoved his hands into his pockets and stared into the direction of the parents. He waited impatiently until his mother finally turned away from that guy. He was sure that idiot wanted to see her again, but hopefully she wouldn’t fall for this. Fortunately his mum was very smart and didn’t go out with every guy who asked her out, but that didn’t mean that he stopped worrying.
When she finally walked towards the kids, she looked directly at her son.
“Was that really necessary?”

“What?”

“You know exactly what, Liam Seamus O’Doherty.”

He rolled his eyes but he didn’t have the chance to argue with her because she noticed the sad look on Jo’s face and the way that she kept looking at the appointment cards in Catherine’s hands.

“Are you okay, Jo?”, she asked worried.


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83 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Sat 15 Sep 2012, 8:13 pm

Jo wanted to nod and say yes but she was terrified. She knew her father got every week a report about her progress but she didn’t thought that Catherine would get them too. “Yes Ma’am.” The little girl said obediently. Which made Catherine just be more worried.

Catherine took Jo by her shoulder and stopped her from their way to the auditorium where the evening performance of the drama class was going to happen.

“Jo, what is wrong sweetie?” Catherine didn’t mean to pressure Jo but the dull look in the girl’s eyes actually scared her, now Liam looked at Jo too. He noticed that his mom saw something really wrong with Jo and when she saw it, it must be bad. So Liam was worried about his friend just like his mom.
Jo looked at the floor, she didn’t want anyone to see how much she was struggling to keep it together. When she took the appointment cards from Catherine’s hand.

“Are you mad at me?” The girl whispered sounding really scared.

“What why should I be mad? Jo talk to me.”

“Because housemother talked to me every week that I am not social enough, that I don’t anticipate enough in the house activities. She says I am loner, and need to make more friends…”

Catherine was silent for a long time. She just looked at Jo. “Yeah that is pretty much what she told me too, that you are socially retarded and do you what I told her? I told her to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. You are the smartest and most wonderful girl I ever met, so what if you are not the social star of the school. You have the best grades, and two best friends in town I think that is totally normal in my eyes.”

Catherine pulled Jo into a tight hug. “Everything is alright as long as you do your best in class and are polite to everyone. Okay sweetie?”

Jo nodded and wiped her tears away. She didn’t look at Liam, she was embarrassed how upset she got just because Catherine talked with her teacher. “No one ever talked to my teachers, or anyone, not like you did today. Mother yelled at my tutor when I read books that teach me unimportant lessons, or let me dream too much but no one ever yelled at them for being wrong about me. I never had someone on my side.” Jo forced herself to breath calmly and not start crying hysterically, but it wasn’t an easy task.


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84 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 1:07 pm

A while later


As so often Jo has left with Liam on a Friday afternoon. “Mum said this morning that we should get some dinner on our way home. Damn what do you have in your bag?” Catherine has mentioned to Liam that it is nice to help Jo carry her bag.
 
“I’m sorry I got an essay to write over the weekend. I needed some reference reading.” Jo was holding one of the handles of her bag.
 
“It’s okay. What do you want for dinner? Mum gave me money so?”
 
“Can we get crab cakes?” Jo smiled at Liam. “Oh and more um fries with cheese and chilli. And maybe some garlic dough sticks?”
 
Liam laughed. “Sure. I also get some burgers. You are becoming very normal Lady Josephine.”
 
Jo giggled. “I now mother would be appalled to see this.”
 
Liam laughed. “Did you talk to your parents lately?”
 
Jo’s face went pale. “No. Father said in his last letter he has to take to Mother to Switzerland.”
 
“I’m sure she will be better soon and calls you.” Liam looked at his friend encouraging. Jo nodded. “I guess you are right.”
 
 
When Jo went Sunday night back to her house she realised that those weekends with Liam and Katie meant the world with her. And even though she was upset that her mother was ill and her father had no time to talk to her. She had Liam and Katie looking after her and turned Concord into a real home.
 
The next two weekends Jo attended sleepovers and activities at her house and slowly well the girls did not respect her but accept her. She knew one day that there would be a girl that would like her. But for now Jo was glad that they just let her be. They all accepted that Jo was a little girl living in a house of high school students.
It was a rather cold Thursday afternoon, as always Jo had lunch with Liam but she wasn’t feeling great. Luckily Liam didn’t notice it he was helping her with her math homework again. That afternoon at study hall Jo was so tired. She excused herself and as surprised as her roommate was but Jo went to bed before dinner. On Friday morning her roommate Claire knew why.

 
“Where is Jo?” Liam asked their biology teacher in the first class that Friday morning.
 
“Miss Josephine is ill. Her housemother called in this morning.” The teacher answered he knew that Liam and Josephine were friends but because Jo was a boarder it was obvious that he didn’t knew that she was ill. He was quiet for the rest of the class, something unusual. Afterwards he went straight to his physic teacher, the last class he had before lunch.
 
“I’ve done the report for the experiment today.”
 
“But we haven’t done the experiment yet.”
 
“No but I know the outcome just read it and let me skip class. My friend Jo, she is ill and a boarder student so she is all alone in her house and physic is my last class before lunch. Let me keep her some company.” Liam looked determined at his teacher.
 
“I see. Okay you my do that.”
 
Liam was out of the classroom before he saw the smile of his teacher. Just a little longer and then when others went to their last class before lunch he went to Jo’s house, Haines House. As any other house students were not meant to be at it during school hours.
Liam rang the bell, he sort of knew the housemother by now. During the week he often stayed an hour for study hall and helped Jo with any homework that included math.
 
“Liam what are you doing here?”
 
“I heard that Jo is ill I thought I keep her a little bit of company. I’ll leave her room door open.” Liam rolled his eyes, he thought the rules at Haines House were stupid. “I talked to my physic teacher and finished the report for that class so I have an hour free before lunch.”
 
“There is nothing to make you stop from wanting to visit Josephine?”
 
“Nope.”
 
“Come on in and as you said leave her room door open. I’ll bring some lunch for you up later.”
 
“Oh I’ve got lunch, it’s okay.”
 
“Sure suit yourself. Let me get the lunch for Jo, there is some medicine she needs to take and has to eat as much as possible.”
 
“Okay.” Liam wasn’t sure how he would make Jo eat anything if she didn’t want to. The housemother gave him a try it had a bowl of soup on it and some tea and two small tubs of medicine one green liquid and one with a few tablets in. Liam went upstairs to Jo’s room and knocked. There was no answer so he went in and hoped Jo was dressed.
 
“Hey. Jo are you awake?” Liam whispered. “Your housemother gave me some medicine you need to take.”
 
“’k.” Jo turned a little around and sat up just enough to drink her syrup and take the tablets with some tea. “Don’t hurt me, please.”
 
“What?” Liam looked confused at Jo, she looked unbelievable young while she was so sick and barely coherent. Jo managed to take out her diary from her nightstand. With some difficulties she found the day she was looking for. “Just this day.”
 
Liam looked down and after considering if it was right to read her diary he read the day she showed him and the second where her hand was still in the book even though she seemed asleep again.
 
July 1960
Victor Gray knew all my life that most likely I was the girl he would marry, no not because he was fond of my, but he knew that I had money and most likely would inherit everything of the Williams fortune. He didn’t even thought of me as being pretty, during all my childhood. I had this horrible bushy hair and the more boring brown eyes -at least he thought they were boring-. But here he was, knowing I would be his wife. He had to make sure I knew that too. It was summer and my mother had her typical summer party in July. I am ten and bored of those endless parties. As always I read a book and needed to be reminded by my governess that I had to talk to the guests. I was allowed to play with the other children, not that they wanted to play with my. Everyone thought of me as weird. Well and the parents of the very few other children they didn’t really see me other their own children as child. We were mini adults and had to behave like those.
“Hey Josephine, how are you doing?”
“I am fine thank you Victor. How are you?”
“I am a lot better now that I am with you.”  He grinned at my cheeky. “Hey I wanted to show you something.” He took my hand and pulled me away from the crowed. When we were in a quiet corner of the garden he lifted me up on a small wall so that I was higher up. “Close your eyes, Josephine.”
“Why?”
“I have a surprise for you.”
I looked once more sceptical at Victor but closed my eyes. Victor imagined me to be hot and sexy and simply not this ugly little girl, leaned forward and pressed his lips on mine, and soon his tongue was in my mouth. He held me tight, so tight that I felt his body right next to mine and something was wrong with his trousers, there was this hard bump right under his zipper. I tried to push him away but not until I accidentally kicked my knee into him he let go of me. “You bitch! What the hell do you think you are doing? I’m not kissing any girl.”
“Sowwy.” I started to cry and ran away…

Christmas Eve 1961
I love the Christmas party in Waterfall Downs. Victor had caught me and pulled me along in the cloak room. “Tonight is your lucky day.” He pressed me against the wall and pushed his hand under my dress. It didn’t take him long to reach me knickers and what was covered by them. “I gonna make a woman out of you before you are even a teenager.”
Victor opened his trousers and what I saw made me scream I remember how I kicked him at the summer party but this time he made sure I couldn’t kick him. So I took all me courage together and spit him in the face and then ran as fast as I could. That night I didn’t leave me father’s side.

 
“Jo who the hell is this dude?” Liam whispered.
 
“Mother wants me to marry him. Can you read this to me?” Jo handed him a book written by a Professor Colin Williams.
 
“Did your dad write this?”
 
“Yeah I don’t understand it but I like to hear about it.”
 
Liam grinned and started reading. Still wondering why Jo had had showed him those two entries in her diary. It was tempting to read more. It was nicely written. Less than a diary and more like a story. Later shortly before his lunch was over he went back to class well not before he called his mother at work.
Liam went back to Jo’s house after his last class and was not surprised to see his mom carry her to the car.
 
“We will not let our Jo stay in her house while she is ill or the alternative the school infirmary. Go get in the car I need you to hold her during the drive.” Catherine had talked to the housemother who had agreed that Jo will have to options either go in the infirmary until the flu is gone or go with the O’Dohertys. Housemother would have obviously taken care of her but she had so many more girls to look after she could not sit at Jo’s bedside. So when Catherine called she quickly agreed, and it was a little over a week that Colin called his last instruction were to take good care and give Jo everything possible within the rules of the school and Haines House, he had to go away for a while.
 
“Mum do you even know how to take care of Jo?” Liam said as his mother put Jo in the backseat where he was already sitting. “I don’t think it is very safe when Jo lies in the backseat.”
 
“Liam! Just make sure she lies safely in the backseat. It is not far.” Catherine had gotten a large amount of medicine and instructions how to give them to Jo. Luckily by being a biologist she well had a certain understanding of medicine so that side of taking care of Jo was easy but the other side would be a little bit more difficult at least with Liam around. As expected the drive didn’t take long on the way she got some canned soup and other food they would needed.
 
“Okay let’s see. I set up the couch for Jo that way she is close by can you carry her things in?” Catherine carried a sleeping Jo into the living room.
 
It was late and they have eaten and watched some TV when Catherine went back into the kitchen, she was tired and worried about Jo the young was barely coherent her fever was very high and she seemed to have troubles breathing not to mention that she just ate a few spoons of soup. “Hey mum, I need to talk to you. Jo showed me something in her diary…”
 
“Liam! You can’t read her diary.” Catherine looked shocked at her son.
 
“No honestly she gave me the diary. I visit her in my lunch break and she suddenly mumbled not to hurt her and I never would. Anyway she showed me those events; there is this boy in England her mother wants to marry her. Anything I think… I think this boy he… not sure if he really raped her but… it seems he hurt Jo.”
 
“What!?” Catherine looked at her son. “Did you do anything o her?”
 
“No! I swear I didn’t do anything!” Liam looked troubled at his mum.
 
“Good. I’m serious be her friend but not use her for your fantasies.” Catherine looked away from her son. This news were so intense she wasn’t sure how to handle them, for the moment she was just glad that Liam understood the importance of this news.
 
“I won’t mum. I want to hurt this dude, really badly but I would never hurt her.”
 
Jo slept on the couch and either Liam or Catherine were with her it was the night from Saturday to Sunday. Liam was watching her, she was sleeping so restlessly.
 
“Liam?”
 
“I’m here. Do you need anything?”
 
“I’m so cold.”
 
“You are under like eight blankets.” Liam touched her forehead, she was rather hot. He looked to the door and wondered if he should get his mum. And then he suddenly thought of something. He remembered when he was little and ill he just wanted his mum to hold him. “Hey Jo sit up for a second.”
 
“What are you doing Liam?” Jo was so weak and tired but felt so helpless.
 
“I promise not to hurt you.” Liam climbed behind her on the couch and pulled her into his arms. “I just gonna tell you some stories.” Jo nestled into his arms and closed her eyes and just listened to him telling her stories, Irish fairy tales. He felt her relax against his body and just for a very brief second he realised that he was holding a girl in his arms. But at the same moment he pushed this thought away remembering what this Victor douche had done.
 
It was early Sunday morning Catherine had slept longer then she planned to. She wanted to take over from Liam halfway through the night but she slept through her alarm. So here she was hurrying down the stairs into the living room finding her son on the couch with Jo, Liam was sitting behind Jo who was sleeping peacefully in his arms, tightly holding on to his shirt. At first Catherine was very worried but the way Jo was lying in Liam’s arm calmed her down a little. When she touched the young girl’s forehead she was happy to find that her fever was gone. Jo seemed over the worst. She would be another few days have to stay in bed but the fever broke and her face was her natural pink again and not grey anymore.
 
“Liam you want to explain what you are doing here?”
 
Liam turned around and looked at his mother and suddenly went pale remembering that he had promised his mum not to hurt Jo. “I did nothing.”
 
“I see how is Jo?”
 
“She is fine.” Liam mumbled but he wasn’t able to get up without waking Jo so he just stayed where he was. “I think she is better.”
 
Catherine kissed her son on the head. “I go and make pancakes and you wake Jo slowly.”
 

Jo stirred a little but didn’t wake up while Catherine went in the kitchen. She knew she had to talk to Liam and properly Jo about last night.


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85 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 18 Nov 2013, 10:43 pm

Jo had to stay another two days in bed and finally went back to class on Wednesday. She was so excited they didn’t have afternoon classes that day so Jo had planned a surprise for Liam. Sort of as a thank you for taking so good care of her while she was ill. Even the past two days Liam came every lunch break and helped her with her homework especially math and astrology her two weakest classes.
 
“Where are we going?” Liam asked as she took his hand and pulled him through corridors he never walked before.
 
“You’ll see.” Jo said smiling. She had lost some weight during the last week and was still a little pale. It was weird but Liam actually noticed it and it worried him.
 
“Hey Jo, you should have some lunch first.”
 
“But I’m not hungry Liam and I’ve got some cracker in my bag I’ll eat them later. Come in here.” Jo opened a door and when Liam stepped in the room he was surprised to see that they were in one of CA musical practice rooms. There was a piano and also some smaller other instruments neatly in a cupboard.
 
“Surprise. I gonna teach you the piano.” Jo smiled widely suddenly realising that she was still holding his hand, she quickly pulled her hand away. “Um so… you mentioned it once that you would like to learn to play it so I thought we can do it today.” Jo whispered still smiling shy at him which made her blush again.
 
Liam grinned for a second he thought of certain hidden magazines he had just gotten from one of the older students. Do it… yeah maybe not mum would kick me. “Really? You are amazing.”
 
Liam put down his backpack, took off his jacket and sat done on the piano bench. Jo followed him. “Okay so what do you know?”
 
“Not much.” Liam looked expecting at Jo, he was sitting so close that he easily saw every freckle on her face.
 
“I see.” Jo nodded and put her hands on the keys and started playing away. The melody her piano teacher had taught her a long time ago, For my Heroin. Liam was enchanted by the melody.
 
“Can you teach me this song?”
 
Jo nodded. “Put your hands on mine and I lead.”
 
For a while they played and in the end he was able to play the song by himself.
 
“Liam why does you mother not like you play the piano?”
 
“I don’t know.”
 
“Do you think it has something to do with your father?”
 
”I told you I don’t know him or anything about him. I’m sure he is a real arse.”
 
Jo was quiet for a while and just watched Liam play. It was weird but somehow he reminded her of her piano teacher Graham Hart. Liam really enjoyed the lesson Jo had given him. When he went home was felt different well and Jo felt… naughty she had done something against the rules of Catherine and taught Liam the piano.
 
It was Friday and Jo was thrilled to be at the O’Dohertys house again but she had so many homework and things to catch up. She would have to work many hours the next days. Liam had taken Jo home and then went back out to get dinner. Catherine sat down next to Jo.
 
“Sweetie can we talk?”
 
“Oh yes of course. I’m sorry did I do something wrong?” Jo put down her books and turned to Catherine.
 
“Oh no nothing wrong, well it is a little bit serious. You know when you were ill last weekend?”
 
“Oh no I was a burden! I should not have come.” Jo looked so sad, she had tears in her eyes and tried really hard not to start crying.
 
“Dear Jo you were not a burden. Please listen to me. What I try to say is that you and Liam start to be in an age you should not sleep on the couch together. I know you are still very innocent but don’t think of it but Liam does think of girls in a certain way.”
 
“A certain way? What way?”
 
“Well he is in an age where he likes to think of girls naked. It is normal and he doesn’t really do it on purpose but it happens. All I try to say is… Jo? Are you in love with Liam?”
 
Jo blushed deeply red. “No! I mean I like him… but… I don’t know. Mother said men are horrible creatures and it is the course Eve brought on us that receiving a child is pure torture and I don’t want to receive a child just yet. And Liam doesn’t like me like that anyway. He looks at the older girls in an odd way and I don’t even want him to look at me like that but still he likes the older girls.”
 
Catherine realised that she had to talk to Jo about that later but for now she would only deal with the girls crush on her son.
 
“Do you think he knows that I like him?”
 
Catherine laughed. “No sweetie he doesn’t. Liam is blind to thinks like this. Just try to be calm around Liam. And make sure he knows your boundaries.”
 
“I  will.”
 
“Well and I have something else. I found this small ready bed. It is a small mattress and a sleeping bag. It’s green I hope you don’t mind it is a nice green though. We’ll find a place you can sleep. There is room enough that you could sleep with Liam in his room. What do you think too much? Too close?” Catherine brushed some lose hair out of Jo’s face. Her father had send Catherine a letter saying that he had to go abroad with his to treat her. He would stay with her for a while and not be available for a little bit. Catherine wished she could tell Jo, all Jo saw was that her father was not answering her.
 
“I think that is okay. I mean Liam not hurt me, right?” Jo looked so scared for a moment.
 
“No, no he will not hurt you.” The woman remembered what Liam had told her. “Jo who is Victor Grey?”
 
“He is the young gentleman mother wants me to marry, father does not approve. I don’t know what it means now that I am here in Concord.”
 
“Well it means that no one will hurt you! Liam and I will make sure of it.” Catherine said friendly.
 
“Was this bed for me expensive?” Jo felt bad for asking this but she also felt bad that Catherine paid so much for her.
 
“Don’t worry sweetie.” Catherine never had told Liam or Jo that her father had started to send some money to cover the extra costs Catherine had since Jo was staying nearly half a week with them. It was not much Catherine would not take much but some.
 
“I’m home. Mum the diner was too busy so I went to the supermarket and got some frozen stuff. It says we just need to put it in the oven and we have Jo here she read cook books.”
 
Catherine smiled and kissed Jo on her forehead and then said loudly. “We are in the living room. I’m coming to put the food in the oven. Maybe you can help Jo with her homework.”
 
Jo blushed when Liam’s cheeky grin showed up in the doorway. “Sure maths again?”
 

“I just don’t get it why all my answers are always wrong.” Jo whined. 


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86 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Tue 19 Nov 2013, 2:48 pm

It was November and by now around it was around zero degrees and Jo was so happy about her warm clothes. Jo’s cousin Lorelai had send her more warm clothes and some other things such as books, music sheets and a picture of Jo, Lorelai and her aunt Laura, Lorelai’s mum that passed away. Jo had packed her bag and was all ready to go and visit the O’Dohertys as she did every weekend. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving Jo was very excited for this first Thanksgiving. By now Lord Williams had send a form that allowed Jo to leave school every weekend and stay at the O’Dohertys. All she had to do was sign out and in on Fridays and Sundays well and let her housemother know what times she is leaving and what times she will be back on Sundays.
So here she was sitting outside the library of CA and reading some extra books for her American history class.
 
“Again with a book?” Liam joked as he walked to Jo.
 
“I’ve…”
 
“Got an essay.” Liam grinned and sat down next to her. “How come that you always have to write essays?”
 
“I ask if I can hand in more work and all teachers say that I can.” Jo blushed as she stuffed her book in her bag. Liam sighed. “This are a lot of bags for a weekend.”
 
“I also have an astronomy and a math report due and I’m working on it since weeks now but it is still wrong.” Jo put her backpack on and Liam took her book bag.
 
“Shit how many books are in this bag.”
 
“Um about twenty.” Jo blushed deeply. “I’ll can help you carry it.”
 
“No it is okay. We need to get dinner. I thought we could introduce you to Chinese food.” Liam huffed as he carried the bag.
 
“Chinese? Interesting what does your mum say to that?”
 
“Well, actually there is this little thing I need to tell you. Mum left yesterday for a science expeditions she said to tell you that you can’t come because it is against CA’s rules, but um I thought you can still come. Mum gave me money for food and I got the TV program there are some good movies we can watch and I will help you with your homework. I promise!” Liam looked with this cheeky innocent smile at Jo.
 
“Wait you and me are alone?” Jo stopped and looked scared at her best friend.
 
“Hey I promised I would never hurt you and I mean that. So it is up to you. I can bring you back home or we have a fun weekend.” Liam looked this time very honest at Jo, he really meant that he would never hurt her. He still hoped he could go to Oxford and punch this Victor dude for hurting her.
 
“Okay. But no funny business.” Jo said and started to walk again.
 
“Deal. I will even bring you on Sunday to church. Come on let’s get dinner. I think you will like Chinese. It is a little bit bold though.”
 
Not even an hour later Jo and Liam had full bags. They also had stopped at the diner to get some food for breakfast and lunch on Saturday. So when they now were about to pay at the Chinese Liam was suddenly short.
 
“Shit I spend all the money mum gave me for food this weekend.”
 
“It’s okay I can pay.”
 
“No, no! We just um…” Liam couldn’t finish because Jo gave the small older Chinese woman a few bills and took the large paper bag.
 
“Really it is okay. I don’t like that you always pay our food. Come on lets go.” Jo giggled.
 
The two youngsters had some of the Chinese food it was not yet dinner time but Jo and Liam decided to have a small snack before they started on their homework. Not that Liam had totally changed but through Jo he had started to do a certain amount of homework and often it was not unpractical that Jo was carrying a library around with her.
Later they had a proper dinner, well as proper as reheated Chinese was. Later they watched TV when suddenly the phone rang.
 
“Hello?”
 
“Hello Liam, how are you? Did you eat? How is Jo?”
 
“Hey mum. I’m fine did all my homework, yes I had Chinese and Jo is fine too.” Liam looked at Jo who was standing in the doorway.
 
“Aha. Liam I know you. I know you told her that I am not home at the moment she couldn’t say freely that she doesn’t want to be alone with you. So Jo will sleep in my room and you do not anything that can hurt her that includes spying on her naked!”
 
“Mum! What do you think of me?”
 
“When it comes to girls only the worst. So?”
 
“I’m not doing anything. We had dinner and are watching now TV there is a horror movie we are going to watch in a few minutes.”
 
“Good. I want you to behave. Now let me talk to Jo, please. I love you Munchkin. I’m not sure I manage to call again if not I’ll see your Tuesday.”
 
Liam looked at Jo and then turned away and whispered. “I love you too mum. Here, mum wants to talk to you.”
 
“Hello Katie. I’m sorry if I did something wrong.” Jo mumbled.
 
“Sweetie you did nothing wrong. I knew Liam would not tell you right away and how much the two of you like spending time with each other, so as long as you two behave do your homework and maybe not tell your housemother that I wasn’t home it will be fine.”
 
“You want me to lie?”
 
“Oh no sweetie not lie but just make this weekend not special in front of her so that she doesn’t ask too many questions.”
 
“Okay. I promise I will make sure Liam behaves and doesn’t just watch TV.”
 
“Good girl. Have a nice weekend okay?”
 
“We will. Have a good expedition… I… um I love you.” Jo blushed, she didn’t know why she said this. She never said this to Catherine. Liam looked surprised at Jo.
 
“I love you too Sweetie.” Catherine smiled at the other side of the phone. Jo didn’t see it but it felt nice to know that this little girl was gaining enough confidence and trust that she could tell her. “Have a nice weekend. Bye.”
 
For the rest of the evening Liam thought about it if he was unhappy that Jo had said to his mum that she loved her and he knew that his mum said it back to her. Liam turned around in his bed to look at the sleeping Jo but she wasn’t there… Liam decided it was better if she slept in his mum’s room since they were alone at home but he didn’t like it. Jo was very often having nightmares and Liam liked being there to calm her down, to dry her tears to make sure she went back to sleep calmly. She never told him what the nightmares were about and he never thought a rich girl could have nightmares like this -nightmares he would never ask her what they were at least not push her to tell him- but he knew that by sleeping with him in his room she slept calmer. She doesn’t like sleeping alone and he knew that. But this was not the point, he liked to sleep with her in one room. When he turned around to look at her he knew that he was okay that she loved his mum and that she loved the girl back. Liam got up and carefully opened his mum’s bedroom door. Jo was tossing and he knew she had a nightmare again. “It’s okay Jo. You are safe no one is hurting you. I’m right next door and the house is safely locked. You are safe!” He whispered loud enough that she could hear him but not loud enough that he would wake her. She stopped tossing but the nightmare stayed. Liam sighed and went into his room to get his guitar and then very quietly played a little and immediately she calmed down. He continued a few more minutes and then went back to his own bed.
 
“Liam!” Jo yelled, or screamed sounding so panicked that he ran upstairs to the bathroom but didn’t push the door open.
 
“What? Is there a spider in the bathtub?”
 
“No!” No he heard the pure horror in her voice and he suddenly got really scared. “I’m dying.”
 
“What?” No he opened the door and was about to close the door again, she was just wearing her PJ shirt when he saw what she was talking about. Her legs were bloody.
 
“I’m bleeding Liam! Really badly.”
 
“Did you shave your legs?”
 
“No. I’m not bleeding from my legs.” Jo was so pale and so scared.
 
“Okay where are you bleeding?” Liam was confused, he knew he should not be in the room when she was barely dressed but the fact that she was bleeding sort of made it okay.
Jo took a deep breath and then another and even though she was pale like a sheet she managed to blush intensely. “My… I’m… bleeding… my private parts.” It was barely loud enough for Liam to hear her and when he heard her he wasn’t sure what she meant.
 
“Your private parts?” Liam looked at her again and then suddenly it clicked, the blood on the inside her legs, her private parts. “Oh. I see. Um you know what is going on with you. I mean someone must have talked to you.”
 
“Liam! Stop being silly. I am bleeding to death do something, call a doctor or something like this. Help me!” Jo was begging. And suddenly Liam really understood. Jo didn’t know, no one talked to her she really believed she was dying.
 
“Okay um listen you are fine. It is normal girls in a certain age start their period. My mum has it too.” Liam was feeling weird. He liked the female body but that was a part he wasn’t really interested.
 
“My what? Liam, please.” Jo was crying now and she was really freaking out.
 
“I promise you are fine. Listen go take a shower, I’m right here and you are really not dying.”
 
“Promise?” Jo looked down on the floor she felt so stupid now. Liam saw on the floor her PJ trousers and they were bloody, he understood why she was scared it did look scary.
 
“Promise. Listen I go downstairs and read in a book to make sure I can explain to you what is happening. I’m not far away okay? I really promise you are not dying and in need of a doctor, but if you want I bring you home?”
 
“No I don’t want to go home.” Jo whispered. She felt saver her, she knew Liam would not laugh at her for now knowing but the girls in her house might. Liam nodded and closed the door so that Jo could go under the shower. “Oh hey Jo?”
 
“Yes?”
 
“Make sure you… um wash off all the blood from your legs and… your… private parts.”
 
“Can I use soap?” Jo was insecure.
 
“Yes, just um… I guess be gentle. Don’t rub too hard it is not a bad thing.” Liam was feeling so weird telling her this. For a moment he had to think her Jo naked but he quickly realised it was not Jo he thought of naked but more one of those girls in his magazines. Liam went downstairs and took his biology book while Jo went under the shower. She was very careful when she washed herself.
Liam realised that is was a while he told Jo to shower. He went back upstairs and knocked at the door.
 
“Jo are you okay?”
 
No answer, suddenly he was scared he had been wrong and she did need a doctor. “Jo?”
 
“I’m here. Liam it doesn’t stop bleeding.”
 
“It’s okay it will for a few days. Jo did you close the shower curtain?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“Okay listen I need to come in because I need to check what stuff my mum has. I promise I won’t look.”
 
“Okay.”
 
Liam opened the door and saw Jo sitting in the bathtub behind the cream coloured shower curtain. “Are you okay?”
 
“No, yes, I don’t know. My belly hurts and I’m upset.”
 
“That is normal, my mum sometimes has a belly ache. I make you a hot water bottle it will help you.”
 
“I’m so sorry Liam! I know you feel weird, your mum should be here. She promised me that she would explain stuff like this to me but she is not here.” Liam heard that Jo was crying and he really wished he could hug her but the fact that she was naked stopped him for her sake.
 
“Jo please don’t cry. Listen my mum has sanitary napkin you can put them in your knickers and that absorbs he blood. There are other things you can do but for now just use those okay?”
 
“I can’t get out of the bathtub. There is still blood. I washed everything but… it doesn’t stop. I will make the towel dirty.”
 
“I’ll get you a towel that is already stained. Mum won’t mind that it gets a little more stained. Jo it will be okay.” Liam went to get the towel but when he came back he saw Jo still sitting in the bathtub. He knew he shouldn’t do this but he was really worried how Jo is taking the start of her period. He pushed the curtain aside and sat down next to tub. “I’ve got a the towel you can use and, sorry I got one of your knickers and put the sanitary napkin in. And just for the record I feel really weird but that is okay.” He brushed some hair out of her face, he was glad the way she was sitting he didn’t see anything of her. “Come on get dried and then we watch TV.”
 
“Can you stay here?” Jo mumbled, she was scared being alone.
 
“Okay. Um I just turn around okay and I won’t peek.”
 
A few moments later Jo was dry, put on the knickers Liam had brought her and then wrapped a towel around her. “Okay this feels weird.”
 
Liam turned around carefully making sure she was covered. “What do you mean with weird?”
 
“Not really comfortable.”
 
“But um do you feel sort of protected?”
 
“Yes I think so. I go and get dressed okay?”
 
“Sure. I go downstairs and put some waffles in the toaster.”
 
“Do we have chocolate?”
 
Liam laughed. “We do. Go get dressed.”
 
A little bit later Jo came fully dressed in one of Liam’s jumpers downstairs. “I’m sorry my jumpers are all so tights it sort of hurt.”
 
“No problem you look kind of cute. Come on I think breakfast on the couch is a good treat for the morning your period started.” Liam pushed her gently in the living room.
 
“Hey Liam how often do I need change this thing in my knickers?”
 
“Every couple of hours. When it looks quite full you change it.” Liam didn’t mind that Jo was wearing his jumper, or that she leaned against him. She was holding the hot water bottle on her stomach and had waffles with chocolate.
 
“You ready to hear what is happening to you?” Liam asked.
 
“A little bit, I don’t have to see naked people do I? Mother says it is a sin.” Jo mumbled.
 
“I guess we don’t look at the books then. Okay simple explanation you can now have babies. If you would have sex.”
 
“WHAT!? I don’t…”
 
“I know I said you could. So once a month if you are not pregnant you will be bleeding only for a few days.”
 
“Oh now I understand what mother meant. Girls once a month have to suffer the curse Eve brought on us.”
 
Liam looked at her confused. “Yes I guess, man your mother is weird.”
 
“I guess she is.” Jo smiled. Liam grinned back at her. “Ready to tackle your math and astronomy reports?”
 
“I guess I’m as ready as I ever be. Um, I just need to go to the toilet first.”
 

“There are more sanitary napkins under the sink.” Liam shouted, thinking that his mum really had to get him some awesome gift for this act. 


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87 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Sun 15 Dec 2013, 8:05 pm

“What? Oh Liam please tell me you were really, really careful.” It was Tuesday before Thanksgiving and Catherine had just come home from her expedition. Liam had told her right away what happened so that she didn’t think of any weird ideas what happened to pretty much all her sanitary napkins.
 
“I was. I mean Jo was really weird but I was. I didn’t see her naked even though I saw her under the shower. She didn’t answer and I pulled the curtain away but she was sitting and I didn’t see anything.”
 
Catherine looked at him for a while. “Good. I guess I have to talk to Jo when she is here for Thanksgiving.”
 
“Oh mum can I invite Jo for Christmas?” Liam was eating and didn’t seem to make a big out of his question.
 
“Um doesn’t she go home?”
 
“No she says she is too afraid to fly and when she takes the boat she is like five days on the ships one way. So there is no point for her to go home. CA does not have anything for students that stay. I mean they have one international student and that is Jo everyone else is going home.”
 
“Liam, Jo’s Christmases are very different to ours.”
 
“I think she would like it. She likes everything in our house. Remember the first night here when you made pancakes for dinner? She still remembers this night dearly.”
 
“Okay you can invite her, but be polite.” Catherine smiled, it was so obvious to everyone but those two. They would end up getting married and live happily ever after. But for now they were just best friends.
 
It was Wednesday afternoon and Catherine would pick up the kids with the car today. Jo was staying from Wednesday until Sunday with them so she had quite a lot of clothes including some nice dressed for Thursday and for Friday there was a fair they would go to. And of course she had a huge bag with books.
 
“Hello Sweetie how was your day?” Catherine brushed Jo’s hair out of her face and hugged her tightly. Liam was standing next to his mum and looking at the two.
 
“It was good. Well sort of. This morning we had a pop quiz in astronomy class and I failed.”
 
“What?” Liam looked shocked at her. “I mean I know about the test but how do you know you failed?”
 
“I’ve got mine back, they gave me yours too. You got an A+ not surprisingly.” Jo sounded so upset.
 
“It’s okay we will sit down and work on it. What mark did you get?” Catherine stroked her gentle over the head.
 
“A really bad one. B-.” Both Catherine and Liam starred at Jo for a while, they didn’t move or got in the car they just starred.
 
“Jo that is not a bad mark.”
 
“Father expects me to get A’s not B minuses.”
 
“Your father does.” Liam said as he climbed in the back of the car next to Jo. Liam looked at his mum Lord Colin Williams had just called this morning before Liam went to school. Colin had explained in detail to Catherine what medical problem his wife had and also spoken with her about the sleeping arrangements. He wasn’t concerned that his daughter was sharing a room with Liam, he wouldn’t liked it when they shared a bed but a room was fine. And then he even spoke to Liam and to Liam’s surprise it was not a bad conversation, Lord Colin Williams was quite nice to talk to. Colin was relieved that Liam was a normal young teenager boy but he also respected Jo’s privacy.
 
“We work on the tests.” Catherine finished the argument as they drove home.
 
“Are we not getting dinner?” Jo looked confused at Catherine and Liam.
 
“Oh no we gonna have everything at home for dinner. I’ve got some sparkling apple cider for you and some proper cider for me. Also we have popcorn, marshmallows with which we will make S’mores. So we will have a fire going and sit in our PJs in the living room.”
 
“That sounds adventures.” Jo giggled nervous.
 
“Before me make dinner where do you want to sleep Jo?” Catherine used to ask every weekend she stayed over.
 
“Can I stay with you Liam?”
 
“Sure.” Liam was just pushing the pokes through the corn on a cob they will roast them as well. Liam wouldn’t tell anyone that he liked having Jo sleeping in his room, he often watched her sleep.
 
“That is a lot of food.” Jo examined everything on the kitchen table and she was right it was quite a lot.
 
“And that is just the beginning.” Catherine laughed.
 
All three were carrying a tray with food and drinks into the living room where already a fire was going in the small fire place. “Okay go get changed, well meet in ten in our PJ’s.”
 
“You were serious about this?” Jo looked very shocked at Catherine, she wasn’t as shy anymore about being seen in her PJs.
 
“Oh yes and you will find a surprise upstairs. Liam will help you with your bags.” Catherine smiled as she went one more time in the kitchen while Jo and Liam climbed up the stars.
 
“I hope I have the right clothes for the festivities.” Jo mumbled.
 
“I’m sure you do.” Liam felt so weird but something after this weird weekend he had to. “You okay?”
 
Liam looked awkward away while Jo looked surprised at him but then looked away too. “Yes, thank you. I’m sorry I freaked out. It was rather silly. Housemother tried to talk to me… but… it was so weird so she stopped and said we would do it next time.”
 
“Mum said if you want she will talk to you about it, um maybe mention that I was really nice to you. I didn’t do anything that hurt you, right?”
 
“You were nice. I’ll tell her. I just don’t want to talk about it, okay?” For once Liam saw how upset Jo was, normally he often doesn’t see it but well he was learning. He thought it would never be like it is with his mom but it sort of is. He sees when Jo is upset and right now just outside his room it was this moment. He dropped the bag he was carrying, turned to her and pulled her in a hug. At first she was a little stiff but then relaxed in his arms. He smelled so nice, sort of funny but it was a nice smell.
 
“Oh I should warn you my room still smells a little funny.” Liam let go of Jo and opened the door.
 
“What is this smell?”
 
“Black powder.” Liam grinned innocent.
 
“What were you building?” Jo looked curious at Liam, she was really interested in his inventions.
 
“An automatic chimney sweep.”
 
“What is this?” Jo turned around holding the PJ that was lying on her bed.
 
“Oh happy Thanksgiving.” Liam grinned he was holding his own new PJ which had a large reindeer on the shirt. “Mum got those for you.”
 
“Thanks.” Jo blushed she felt so weird getting presents from them.
 
“Okay I get changed in the bathroom and you get changed here.” Liam was still grinning.
 
“No wait. Um can I go in the bathroom. I sort of…”
 
“Oh yes sure!” Liam realized that even though she said she was fine she might not meant that her period was over.
 
“Oh you two look adorable.” Catherine said warmly when Liam and Jo came down in the living room, because Jo was always cold she was wearing house boots. Slippers that looked like boots and were having a very thick layer of wool fur. The living room was all set up.
 
“This is so much food.” Jo sat down on the pillow next to the fireplace.
 
“It is, and you are preparing it yourself so it might even work out since you are becoming the best cook of us three.” Catherine pulled her in another hug. Jo had a while ago told her that she really likes being hugged.
 
“But I never cooked on an open fire, except the one time we set the hob on fire.” Jo giggled. Catherine didn’t need to ask her if she was still on her period the way she was sitting and holding her stomach. “Here this might help you.” She handed her a hot water bottle.
 
“Thanks.” Jo blushed and didn’t look at Liam when he handed her the stick with the marshmallow at the end. Liam still nudged her a little which made her smile. “Hey Katie? Do you mind if at some point during my stay this time we, you… um me can talk.”
 
“Of course. Liam will soon get bored of this and go upstairs to build some odd invention.” Catherine smiled. By now Jo was used to eat very different from home.
Liam took a shower and that gave the two girls to talk. “So does this now make more sense?”
 
“Yes. Can I ask you something else? You grew up with religious parents, right?” Jo was very shy asking Catherine so private questions.
 
“Yes I did.” Catherine had a hunch where this was going. Since Jo arrived here in America she had struggled with her faith.
 
“Is it a sin when I ask about things like my… period?” Jo had practiced this question since days and she managed it quite well.
 
“No it is not. I mean you know my faith has changed a lot but it is not a sin to ask about biological things. I know you feel weird asking about it but it is important that you do ask. I think we will also talk about sex soon. I want you to know what sex means…”
 
“Mother talked with me about that.” Jo whispered.
 
“Oh she did?” Catherine was actually surprised.
 
“I asked her where babies come from and she told me… this are men bodies and this the girl.” Jo showed her a small drawing of a very odd proportioned man and girl.
 
“Jo, um… why is this penis so large? And is this a vagina?”
 
Jo didn’t answer she was scared that she had learned something wrong.
 
“The reality is more like this.” Catherine drew a rough drawing of the male and female anatomy.
 
“This is… different.” Jo looked for a while at the drawings. “Does it hurt?”
 
Catherine was actually surprised that Jo dared to ask this. “Jo is there a boy you feel that you want to be intimate?”
 
“No!” Jo yelled. “I mean. No it’s just mother said it is horribly painful for the woman. It is the curse of Eve.”
 
“Jo I feel bad for saying it but I think your mother wanted to really scare you away from boys.” Catherine hugged the crying Jo. “It’s okay don’t worry. Sweetie is there a boy that seems to push you into an intimate relationship?”
 
“No there is no boy. Just Liam but he is my friend.” Jo whispered just as Liam came back in the living room.
 
“Jo you are still up? That is a surprise normally you are in bed by now.” Liam grinned, he was holding a book in his hand. “But I’m glad you are not in bed, because I’ve got this book for you. You never talked about it so ‘m sure you haven’t read it yet. So I thought we read it all together.”
 
Liam was holding The Three Musketeers up and sat down on the other side of Jo. “You ready? Hearing lots of weird French words spoken with an Irish accent.”
 

For another while Liam, Catherine and Jo read out loud The Three Musketeers until Jo had fallen asleep leaning against Liam’s shoulder and Liam actually enjoyed having his best friend so close.


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88 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Sun 15 Dec 2013, 10:06 pm

“Jo do you have plans for Christmas?” Liam asked they went to the library on Saturday, Jo felt she didn’t have enough books about basic geometry.
Jo went very silent for a while and Liam let her be silent. “Christmas at home used to be a huge thing. Father and I love Christmas but Mother, for her it was just a huge party. But for Father and me it was a magical night, the night of Christmas Eve. Did you ever think about how the Christmas party looked like at Mr. Fezziwig, Ebenezer Scrooges’ first boss? That’s how Christmas at Waterfall Downs used to look like. But last year Mother got very sick and so angry that we have to cancel the whole thing and I was sent to Stuttgart to my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins. It was nice but not the same and after that my Aunt Laura passed away in spring and somehow everything fell apart. I don’t know what I’m doing this year. Housemother said I can join her and her husband but I don’t feel like doing this. Maybe I just sleep through Christmas.”
 
“Do you want to come to my house? Christmas is very simple but it is nice.” Liam looked at her encouraging.
 
“Does your mom mind that you invite me all the time to those holidays?”
 
“No she doesn’t mind at all. I think she is really glad that I made such a good friend that I want to invite to all holidays and every weekend.” Liam grinned his so typical cheeky boy grin that made Jo always smile.
 
“Then I would love to come. Do you have a Christmas wish?” Jo looked curious at Liam. And suddenly Liam realised that she properly got insanely expensive gifts to Christmas.
 
“No not really.”
 
“I’ll think of something. I have an idea what I can make for your mum. But I want it a surprise for you too.” Jo’s mind went away from geometry to Christmas presents.
 
“You make a present for my mum?” Liam looked surprised at her.
 
“Yes? Daddy said to Christmas you give presents from your heart and the only presents from your heart are self-made. I mean if you want I buy present-“
 
“No! Self-made presents are what mum always gets from me. So she will like that and I will make something nice for you. Mum said you can spend if you want the entire winter break with us.”
 
“Really?” Jo’s eyes started to shine and sparkle.
 
“Yes really. Mum has to work during the week so we have to entertain ourselves but it will be fine. We can go ice skating even though I suck in it I bet you know how to do it and are quite well in it. And now go back to your math problems.” Liam laughed when Jo sighed very theatrically.
 
“But this makes no sense at all.” Jo looked at her mathematical drawing and then at Liam’s and both looked so different.
 
“Because this angle is not measured right and this line is too long.”
 
“How o you know? You didn’t even measure anything.” Jo looked helpless at Liam.
 

“Okay come here.” Liam pulled her chair and her work closer and started erasing lines on her page just to redraw them showing her how to measure angles and lines. Jo’s head was going woozy from all the numbers and smart stuff Liam explained to her, and what was this smell? Something that was really distracting, it was not a bad small but a good one.


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89 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Thu 19 Dec 2013, 9:06 pm

21st December 1962
It was a bitter cold day. The night before nearly another foot of snow had fallen. Jo had packed her small suitcase, her school bag and of course her large book bag. Liam was home he had a cold and his mum didn’t want him to come to school and be maybe still ill during Christmas, so Jo was waiting in her house. All the other girls had already left.
 
“Oh Josephine there you are. Here is a letter for you.” Housemother hurried into the living room and handed Jo a yellowish letter. She didn’t expect any letter’s anymore. Her father had send all her presents to the O’Dohertys so she didn’t expect any other letters.
 
Dear Josephine,
I am in New York for New Years Eve and I think you should come to New York. It is time that we see each other again. I expect you in my hotel the night on the thirties. Now that we are both have travelled the world it is time that my right as your fiancé are satisfied.

Regards

Victor Grey
 
Jo went pale and she actually started when Catherine touched her should. “Sweetie are you daydreaming?”
 
“Oh I’m sorry I was daydreaming. I’m ready to go.” Jo quickly stuffed the letter in her coat pocket and followed Catherine into the cold wind. Jo mumbled something about homework and Catherine let the girl be, but still kept an eye on her. Something was up but for the moment she didn’t know what. Later at night Jo got up, she had been sharing the bed with Catherine to avoid her getting ill too, she sneaked into Liam’s room. He had flushed cheeks and looked a little sweaty and deep asleep, Jo felt safe unfolding the letter here again and reading it a second time, and even a third and fourth but no matter how often she read it, it still scared her. When Victor made it all the way to New York coming to Concord wasn’t a problem at all anymore. Jo hadn’t noticed that she started crying until Liam wiped the tears away. “Please don’t cry, it is just a cold.” He mumbled but then noticed the letter. “What is this?”
 
“Oh dear, no please…” Jo tried to take the letter away from Liam but he kept on reading. “Jo what is this?” Liam starred at her. Is this from this ass who um who hurt you?” Liam sounded angry which just made Jo burst out into tears again.
 
“Yes and I don’t know what to do. What if he comes here?” Jo whispered and to her surprise he pulled her into his arms and the bed.
 
“If he dares to come here I will kill him!” Liam whispered. Jo calmed down and stopped crying. Liam turned around and without any warning he kissed Jo fully on the mouth. Jo was too shocked t say anything she just starred at Liam who was falling asleep again, still holding her.
 
Oh dear Lord, this cannot happen. I’m too young. Oh Liam why did you have to do this?
 
Jo didn’t mean to but she fell asleep in Liam’s arms worrying about that Liam had kissed her.
 
“Jo sweetie, I thought we talked about the sleeping in Liam’s room when he is ill. Did he make you sleep in his bed?” Catherine did not want to freak out that the two children have slept in one bed together.
 
“No I was upset.” Jo whispered she didn’t want to wake Liam.
 
“Why were you upset?” Catherine asked and quickly checked Liam’s temperature and then followed the crying Jo out of his room.
 
“Catherine I am pregnant.” Jo mumbled, she just hoped Catherine had a solution for this problem.
 
“Um, why do you think you are pregnant?” Catherine asked very carefully.
 
“Because… because… I, Liam. He kissed me.” Jo was pale like a sheet.
 
“Oh sweetie, just a kiss does not make you pregnant.”
 
“It does not?” Jo looked very confused at Catherine.
 
“No Sweetie. Come on I think it is time that you know how babies are really made.” So for a while Catherine showed her drawings and explained very calm and respectful how a man and a woman make a baby.
 
“Does this make sense Sweetie?”
 
“Yes.” Jo whispered. She was embarrassed to have learned about where babies came from but at the same time she was glad that she now knew that a kiss from Liam and then it hit her.
 
Oh man, Liam kissed me, he kissed me, Liam kissed me.
 
Catherine looked at Jo and she knew what was going through her mind. “Jo sweetie, do you have a crush on Liam?”
 
Jo looked at Catherine and thought about it. “No I don’t think so.”
 
“When you are not with him do you think about him? When you are with him close like when he is helping you can you not concentrate?”
 
“Um maybe.” Jo was confused, why did she not know if she liked Liam more than just a friend.
 
“Listen Jo I’m not telling you not to like him but please keep in mind that Liam is not the most feeling showing boy. He likes you a lot but I’m not sure he loves you the way you do. I don’t want to make you feel less attractive or less loved I just don’t want you do be disappointed.” Catherine looked worried at Jo.
 
“I know he is very odd with feelings and I think I can deal with that. I don’t want to have a crush on him. It sort of happened.” Jo whispered. She and Catherine were sitting in the living room both had a book in their hands.
 

“Hey is there any food in the house? I’m starving.” Liam said loudly from the stairs, he hadn’t heard anything the girls had talked about, luckily for Jo.


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90 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Wed 25 Dec 2013, 1:49 pm

Jo went to church and Catherine used the time to talk to Liam.
 
“Liam?” He was pretty much over his cold and was back to his own self, and right now he was using the time Jo was not home as well to work on her Christmas present, an automatic book holder and page turner.
 
“Yes? Wait!” Liam quickly threw a blanket over his mum’s Christmas present. One last look to make sure it was well hidden and then he said when he opened the door. “Come in.”
 
Catherine looked around Liam’s room it was not large enough to accommodate two people. After Christmas Catherine and Liam would swap rooms, something Jo did not know yet. That way Jo could get a small wardrobe for her things and sort of her own room in the house shared with Liam. Catherine had been thinking about this since Thanksgiving.
 
“I wanted to talk to you about Jo.”
 
“What about her?”
 
“Liam you kissed her and made her sleep with you in your bed. I had to talk to her because she thought she got pregnant.”
 
“That is silly.”
 
“Liam!” Catherine looked strict at her son.
 
“Oh come on it is. It was just a kiss.” Liam didn’t understand the huge fuzz his mom was making out of this.
 
Catherine didn’t change the way she looked at Liam until she asked carefully. “Are you attracted to Jo?” She knew this question was in a way stupid. Liam’s type was big boobs and confident women -not even girls but adult women-.
 
“Mum! No! Ew! That is Jo you are talking about, she is…” Liam was thinking for a second. “…my best friend.”
 
“So why did you kiss her?”
 
This question took Liam of guard, he wasn’t so sure anymore, the thought he just kissed her so he can say he kissed a girl felt as wrong as kissing his own mum. “I don’t know.” To his surprise saying this made his chest hurt.
 
“Liam don’t use her. She is very innocent and trusts you and she would do anything for you.” Catherine looked at her son, she sae that he was struggling. In the first time in his life he thought of someone else’s feelings and trying to understand them.
 
“I won’t. Hey maybe she would like if we swap rooms right now?” Liam smiled he wanted to do something to make Jo smile. The past days she had been avoiding being alone with him and he relaly missed their closeness.
 
“Okay we’ve got a little over two hours let us give it a try.” Catherine didn’t want too many ideas in Liam’s head just in case he hadn’t thought of the fact that true innocent Jo would trust him a lot more than just getting kissed and Jo was just twelve, she should not feel pressured into anything not even by her best friend Liam.
 
“Hello?” Jo had got her own key and on her way home she had stopped at the bakery to get some cake.
 
“Hello I am upstairs, come on and have a look.” Liam didn’t like that his mum had lost the master bed room but he also saw the point now that Jo was half a week and in school holidays longer in their house. He loved having her here but his room was too small for the two of them and he didn’t want his mum have to share her room. Now that he saw the finished work he wasn’t that much against is anymore. Jo followed his voice, she was confused that is came from Catherine’s bedroom.
 
“Liam where are you?”
 
“Here.” Liam poked his head out of the master bedroom door and took her hand -he noticed how soft and warm it was- and pulled her in the room. “Surprise!”
 
Jo looked around the room with amazement there was a proper second single bed -a nice white girl frame- and a small wardrobe in the same girly style and also a small desk. The final addition to the room was the matching white framed screen which Jo could close to get changed of just for some privacy. “Liam what is this?”
 
“Well it is partly mum’s Christmas present for you. Your own room and your dad ordered the furniture and I thought it would be nice to do it today. See this is all your side and mine is over here at the door.” Liam grinned, hi didn’t see the troubles on Jo’s face.
 
“But this is…” Jo didn’t know what to say. It was such a simple gesture and it was way to much for her to accept. The little girl Jo was broke into tears and Liam was unsure what to do after the things his mum had said earlier. But then he just did what felt right, Liam pulled Jo into a tight hug and rubbed gentle over her back. “Mum thinks we deserve some space.”
 
“But it is her room.”
 
“And this is your home.” Liam whispered into her hair. He liked holding her. It felt nice just like telling her that this house far away from Oxford became her home. “See this is your bed and your space. I will not come into your side of the room.” Liam pulled her to her new bed and let her sit down on it. “Your dad said to get the warmest duvet and a nice mattress you even got a heating blanket that you can turn it on a few minutes before you go to bed so that it is nice warm. And if you want you can close the screen at night.” Liam pulled the white framed screen close that the two were standing hidden from the door in Jo’s side of the room. Jo got quickly up from the bed and kissed the surprised Liam, it was the kiss but also the little bit of tongue that was involved from her side. Without hurting her feelings he stepped a few steps back and cleared his throat. “Um, yeah so this is all your space. Mum says you can proper unpack your things and I get your school stuff from the kitchen.”
 
Jo nodded, she wasn’t hurt by Liam’s reaction to her kissing him but confused. “Hey Jo?”
 
“Yes?”
 
“We are best friends right?” Liam was suddenly so scared that she might answer no. Jo looked at him for a while before she answered. “Yes, we are. I’m sorry, it was silly to kiss you. I don’t know what that was.” Jo smiled and suddenly understood that Liam was not ready to see her as more than his friend and she thought that it would hurt her understanding that but in the end Liam had told her that here -in this room she was sharing with him- was her home. She had never called any place a home, not even Waterfall Downs. For another moment Liam and Jo looked at each other silently agreeing that they were moving on from this whole kissing business. Liam went downstairs and got her school things while Jo unpacked the small suitcase she had used as a wardrobe in Liam’s old room. Catherine had listened to the two and she was sorry for Jo who had to have a crush on her son who no matter how smart he was he was retarded when it came to feelings of any sort. On the other hand Catherine knew that Jo had just grown a little bit, not physically but mentally to be one day a very strong woman. Lord Williams had often mentioned to Catherine that he was very worried that Jo had seen her mother’s condition too much and started developing similar symptoms. But Catherine wasn’t worried at all, Jo had no mental problems, no schizophrenia, she was a normal shy young girl that had an odd upbringing.
 
Later that day Liam has borrowed the screen so that he could continue his work on Jo’s Christmas present while she studied maths.  
 
“Crooked grown carrot this is ridiculous!” Jo suddenly shouted. It made Liam laugh to hear Jo’s swearing it made him giggle every time.
 
“Do you need my help?” He offered trying to sound as nice as possible.
 
“No.” Jo was a genius with words, she was able to remember history, biology and everything explainable with words but such a simple thing as dealing cards for games made her struggle.
 
“Can you have a look at these though?” She held out her workbook with calculations to him while she had closed her eyes, Jo didn’t want to spoil the Christmas present from him.
 
“Sure, let me come over so you can open your eyes.” Liam took the workbook and looked at it while he walked over to her desk. He already spotted three mistakes which would upset Jo, so he started working on finding things she done right to point out those.
 
“You are getting better only fourteen mistakes.” Liam smiled encouraging at Jo, but she moaned and threw herself dramatic on her bed. “This is cabbage! I only did twelve problems.
 
“Hey Jo?” Liam sat down on the floor next to the bed and looked at her cheeky. Jo always saw Peter Pan in his cheeky grin. She turned her head out of the pillows and looked at him. “Do you want me to swear properly like a sailor?”
 
“No. I don’t want to use the Lord’s name in vain or sound vulgar. I like swearing with vegetable mother doesn’t like.” Jo was quiet for a while looking at her workbook. She was disappointed that she did so poorly in solving the problems. “I know it is dark but do you want to go outside and build a snowman?”
 
“Sure that way we are hungry enough later to even eat mum’s cooking. And I can work later tonight on your present.”
 

I took Jo longer to get dressed in her many layers but in the end they played a while like normal children in the snow. When Catherine came home late that night she found in the front garden two snow angels and a snowman family of a snowwoman and two snow children. And both Liam and Jo were deeply asleep in their new room. It would be a nice surprise for them to discover that Catherine got already the Christmas tree a day earlier then they had planned.
The screen was not closed so that Liam and Jo could see each other since Jo had still nightmares and Liam was the one being able to calm her down and it just helped her to know that Liam could see her. That night Jo slept very troubled the fear of Victor’s arriving in the States was growing every day.


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91 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 10:45 am

“Jo, wake up it is Christmas.” Liam yelled from downstairs, he sounded more than a little boy than ever. Jo turned around in her bed, she got to like her bed it was very comfortable and so nice warm. “Mum! Wake up!”
 
“Liam it is barely six in the morning.” His mother walked down the stairs and hugged her son.
 
“Where is Jo? She got to wake up there are presents for her.” Liam grinned.
 
“I’m here.” Jo mumbled she was still so tired but also excited. Catherine came from the kitchen with three mugs of hot chocolate, Liam’s with marshmallows and Jo’s with cream and sugar stars.
 
“It is time, here look at all the presents. This one is from mum and this is mine and there are some from your dad and your cousin Lorelai. That’s the one in Germany isn’t it?” Liam babbled and babbled away. Jo sighed and hugged him tightly and then whispered. “Nollaig Shona. You are talking too much.”
 
Liam grinned. “I know. Come on sit down.” Liam pulled Jo on the couch and started to unwrapped the present from her first.
 
“No wait Liam I have to expl…”
 
“What is this?” Liam looked at the green thing in his hands.
 
“It’s a scarf because you lost yours, a girl in my house tried to teach me how to knit but I was very bad well and then she taught me how to crochet I guess I’m not really better in that.” Jo blushed deep red while Liam properly unwrapped the scarf or more the green long wool thing. “No worries I’ve did something very unlike me and I bought you a book. I’m sorry. You can throw away this thing.”
 
“What? No way! No one ever gave me a scarf as a present. I gonna be wearing it every day.”
 
“You will?” Jo looked surprised at him.
 
“Of course this is so nice. Thank you Jo. Here unwrap my present now.”
 
Jo looked at the book holder and page turner. “This is…?”
 
Liam didn’t feel offended that Jo wasn’t sure what her present was. “It’s a book holder and automatic page turner. That way you can read and take notes and don’t need to bother turning a page or holding a book. Here try it.”
 
Liam took the prepared dictionary and attached the book holder. “Okay so then you turn this and adjust the page turning speed and then you press go.” The small engine started buzzing and then turned the first page. Jo was delighted and hugged Liam blustery but blushed and quickly let go of him. “That is amazing that way I can read and have my hands free to take notes and open other books.”
 
“Jo, Sweetie how many books are you reading at the same?”  Catherine asked.
 
“Sometimes I think four or five.” Jo answered apologetic. Liam started laughing. This Christmas was so nice, Liam liked that with Jo the house was fuller and it felt warmer.
 
The days of Christmas passed much too fast in Jo’s eyes. She was terrified and still hasn’t told anyone about Victor’s letter. She was just glad that she was at the O’Dohertys but at the same time she was still so scared.
It was the morning of the thirties of December. Catherine had to go to work and Liam went to the supermarket while Jo was at home she was terrified to leave the house and hoped that Victor did not know where the O’Dohertys lived. Liam should be back soon when the door bell rang.
 
“It cannot be Liam he has a key and would not ring.” Jo got up and went to the door. It had no windows so she couldn’t see who was out there.
 
“Who is there?” Jo asked loudly through the door.
 
“It’s me come on open the door.” Something was odd about the voice, so odd that Jo opened the door. And the pure horror was written all over the face when she saw Victor on the other side.
 
“I knew you would not come to New York so I came here. This is a pathetic house. Am I not getting a kiss we are basically engaged.” Victor pushed to door open and marched in just to pull Jo close enough to kiss her, but Jo turned her head away. “You sly little bitch!” Now that he had left England his true evil came out. Victor slammed the door shut behind him, pushed Jo against the wall and turned her head roughly so that he could press his lips on hers. He really hurt her the way he held her face. And then the horror in her eyes just turned worse when she felt his pants tighten. “Are we alone?”
 
Jo tried to think fast but failed, her answer was flat and Victor heard the lie in it. “Yes, someone um Liam is upstairs.”
 
“So we are alone.” Victor snarled as he pushed her roughly in the living room. He meant to push her on the couch but she fell on the floor. Victor ripped of the hoodie she was wearing and left her in her undershirt. “Oh Jo you really need to grown some tits. But I don’t care it is time that I take what is mine!”
 
“Please don’t. You are hurting me.” Jo burst into tears she was praying for Liam to come home or anyone. It was another few moments and several more bruises and Victors hand pushed into her knickers.


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92 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 1:05 pm

When suddenly…” What the fuck?!” Liam yelled as he pulled Victor off Jo and punched him so hard in the face that Victor’s nose started bleeding. “Get the fuck out of my house! I called the police and you piss off! If you ever dare to touch Jo again I kill you!...”
 
“Liam!” Catherine just came seconds after her son in the house, he knew she was right behind him he had yelled at her that there was a stranger in the house. Victor jumped up and ran out of the house. Those were too many witnesses. Jo’s undershirt was ripped and her knickers were so far down that her private parts were barely covered. The young girl was heavily sobbing and shivering. Very slowly Liam went closer to Jo, he didn’t want to scare her.
 
“Liam let me…” Catherine begun but when Liam had reached Jo and the young girl fled into his arms. Catherine saw that Liam was overwhelmed and not sure at all what to do, but she saw Jo was safe. So she went to lock the front door and make sure the dick was gone.
 
“Jo are you okay?” Liam felt stupid for asking this, he saw she wasn’t but he didn’t know what else to say. He pulled her trousers up a little very careful that he did not touch her and then took a blanket from the couch to cover her shoulders. Jo was crying and sobbing and holding on to him tightly. Catherine came back in the living room. “Liam can your please go upstairs and run a hot bath for Jo.” Catherine took over from Liam and held Jo tightly and Liam went very slowly upstairs, his hand was hurting but he would deal with that later. First he had to make sure Jo was okay. He saw her crying before but never like this, she was like a tiny helpless animal that needed him and his mum.
 
“Jo? Sweetie, listen to me. I need to ask this and I need you answer me in as much detail as you can okay?” Catherine asked when Liam was out of the room, Jo just nodded she wasn’t able to speak. “What did he do?”
 
Jo tried a few times but nothing than sobbing came out of her mouth so Catherine asked the question differently so that Jo could answer by nodding or shaking her head. “Did his, did he penetrate you? Remember what this question means?” Catherine saw that Jo was confused she wasn’t sure how to answer two questions. “Do you remember what my first question means?”
 
Jo was glad that she could now nod.
 
“Good girl. Did he?”
 
Jo wasn’t sure how to answer, she just burrowed her face in Catherine’s embrace and cried some more.
 
“Mum, the bath is ready. I’m not sure what to put in the water.” Liam said oddly shy from the door.
 
“Thanks Munchkin.” Catherine got up and pulled Jo with her. It took some time but she got Jo in the bathroom and it surprised her when Liam who had been walking behind her couldn’t leave the room because Jo was holding his hand. “Liam if Jo wants you can stay but we close the shower curtain okay Jo?” A small nod made Liam smile, he was glad that even though his best friend got… he didn’t dare to think what might had happened to Jo but he was glad she still trusted him.
 
“I’ll just turn around while you get into the tub.” Liam whispered when he suddenly got an idea. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
 
Catherine helped Jo out of her clothes and saw in horror the blood on the girl’s legs. The shock was just for a second written on her face then she smiled gentle and helped Jo in the bathtub. “Jo can you try to answer my question from earlier.”
 
Jo tried to open her mouth a few times and speak but nothing came out so she shook her head and lifted her index and middle finger. It took Catherine a moment but then she understood. She didn’t see the relief Catherine felt. The woman kissed the young girl on the top of her head. “Okay good that means no need to worry that you might get pregnant. I know this was horrible, but these are good news in this horror.” Catherine took the sponge and started very carefully sponging Jo’s back. Liam came back with his guitar. “I’ve gonna play a little for you. That will calm you down.” Liam sat down and slowly started playing. Catherine saw how quickly Jo calmed down, the hot water and Liam’s playing helped but in the end Jo was still a wreck.  As long as she was not alone she was okay but she didn’t talk, not a single world. It was late when Jo finally fell asleep in her bed. Catherine and Liam had to sit with her and hold her hand until she was deeply asleep.
 
“Liam can you come with me? I need to talk to you.” Catherine whispered as she led her son out in the hall.
 
“Mum. Who was that?” Liam didn’t stop watching the door.
 
“I think that was Victor, the young man Jo’s mother wants her to marry. As far as I understood Jo he did not rape her but sexually assaulted her. Liam I want to be extra careful to not touch Jo unless you feel that she is okay with it. When you enter room, call her that she knows that you are coming. Don’t surprise her, no sudden movements. I think we might need to tell her father and housemother about what happened. I’m not sure she might need to see a therapist, but we’ll see as it goes.”
 
“Mum can we kill this arsehole?!”
 
Catherine hugged her son tightly. “Let’s just see how Jo will be doing the next days.”
 
Liam nodded and went back into his room.
 
It was late when suddenly Liam got woken. “ARGH! NO! PLEASE! STOP!” Liam jumped up and went quickly over to Jo, he knew her nightmares but she was never that loudly screaming but at least she was talking again. Liam climbed in her with and pulled her in his arms. “It’s okay Jo. He is not here. It is just me…”
 
To Liam’s surprise he felt her nodded and grasped his t-shirt tightly. “Did you really make his nose bleed?”
 

“Yup. I think if mum would not have come in I would have killed him.” Liam whispered. Catherine had looked into the room and since Jo was calming down she let the two children deal. “It’s okay, mum and I are here. No one is going to hurt you ever again.”


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93 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:28 pm

Catherine planned to go with the kids to Boston for New Years Eve but now after yesterday she decided to stay home have some sparklers and watch Times Square on TV. Jo was rather quiet during the day and very clingy.
 
“Jo, Sweetie can I talk to you?” Catherine asked carefully as she sat down in front of Jo who was reading in the living room.
 
“Sure.” Jo mumbled.
 
“What do you think we should do about what happened yesterday?”
 
“Can we for a while not tell anyone? I’m okay, a little scared but I don’t want Daddy to know and when housemother knows she will tell Daddy. I don’t want him to be mad at Mother for wanting me to marry Victor or that Victor came to America. Please?”
 
“Okay, but I want you to talk to someone about this. Maybe you can talk to your minister? I don’t try to say you can’t talk to me or Liam but I know Liam will get angry every time he thinks about Victor he really wanted to hurt this boy as much as Victor hurt you. So he might react a little harsh when you do talk to him.”
 
“That is okay. What are we doing tonight?”
 
“I thought we have some cheese fondue with bread and afterwards have some chocolate pie. I’ll got sparklers even though Liam said he built some as well not sure how safe those are and we will watch Times Square.”
 
“That sounds very good.” Jo smiled shy.
 
“Okay good. I’ll go and get Liam now because there is something I need to talk to the both of you.”
 
Just a few moments later Liam came from the kitchen with his mum. “Okay so I wanted to talk to the both of you. I talked with your teachers Liam and we all agree that we think you will be finally challenged in one class higher. So when you go back to school you will be a year higher than Jo. Liam you will be a sophomore.” Catherine said calmly watching the two young teenagers.
 
“Liam and I are not in the same year anymore? So he will graduate a year before me?” Jo looked sad at Liam.
 
“No you will not anymore. But you are still in the same school and also have some classes together since some classes are crossovers of the years.”
 
“You said I will be challenged in this school and I was still bored. What will be different when I’m a sophomore?” Liam crossed his arms, he actually didn’t like to be in a different year than Jo.
 
“It is more hard work and more serious because you all are more working towards college applications and with that said this will be the last skipping of classes. You will finish this school to your senior year and then I let you talk with MIT who have already noticed you.”
 

“I gonna be all alone in classes?” Jo actually started crying slightly hysterical. “You don’t like me anymore?”


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94 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Sun 09 Feb 2014, 10:40 pm

Okay I can do this. Jo took a deep breath and entered the main school building. It was not like she didn’t know the building or her fellow students only thing that has changed was that Liam was not having English Literature with her. Jo was scared not to have him next to her, but he had his Advanced Physics lab while she had English Lit and also maths. They never had maths together; Liam had always had the advanced class while Jo had the basic class which was hard enough for her.

“Good morning.” The teacher was nice an interested her subject and good and still Jo was distracted. Those winter holidays with the O’Dohertys were amazing and she really missed them. She felt so foreign in her house. All those girls, they were nice and they tried to include her but in the end Jo was about three years younger than most of them, for them she was a baby. Her class was interesting but the empty seat next to her hurt her.
Jo was sitting in the corner table no one liked to sit because it was a tiny table and not even, but Jo and Liam loved the table. Her lunch was half over when finally.

“Hey stranger.” Liam mumbled, he was sorry for letting her wait so long. She was working on her math homework and he saw her struggle.

“Hey.” Jo tried to hide the many scrap papers she needed to finish one of the problems.

“Do you need help with those?” He whispered, she had gotten him a lunch card and he was carrying his tray with mashed potatoes, peas and meat loaf.
Jo looked at her homework and she knew she needed his help. “Yes please. I don’t get this how can x be a+1/3b*cy?”

“Hey that is awesome, did you solve the problem all by yourself so far?” Liam smiled and sat down next to her.

“Yes. Did I do it right?” Jo looked hopeful at Liam who was checking her calculations.

“Um, no I’m sorry see here when you divide on this side you need to divide on this side too.” Liam said calmly.

“Oh… What did I do?” Jo looked at her calculation.

“You added it.”

“That is not the same?” Jo looked confused it made Liam chuckled.

“No Jo, it is not. Man this is good, I didn’t know they cooked so good here.” Liam grinned and looked at Jo’s plate. “Are you going to finish those fish fingers?”

“No you can have it.” Jo grinned and tried to fix her math problem, Liam was watching her and once in a while tapping on her sheet to make her think again about whatever she was doing. Just before their lunch was over and Liam had walked Jo to her biology class when Jo turned around to him and hugged him tightly.

“I’ve missed you in class.” Jo mumbled. She wasn’t as shy anymore but still shy enough especially when it came to being close to Liam. Liam waited a moment and then hugged her back, careful and making sure it wouldn’t scare her.

“I’ve missed you too. Did you talk to your housemother about… Victor?” Liam whispered.

“No I didn’t know how to tell her. I’m scared if I tell her that I can’t come anymore.” Jo whispered, now Liam pulled Jo closer to him.

“This will never happen, mum won’t let this happen. Okay don’t hate me but I have to run once over the entire campus.”

“Oh gosh, I’m so sorry go run don’t worry about me.” Jo smiled and let go of Liam. This class was better than the ones before and afterwards she went to her field hockey practice. It was the first one she attended Jo just had started field hockey. They had the training inside because the outdoor field was covered in several feet high snow.

“You look cute in your uniform.” Liam grinned sheepishly at Jo as she walked towards the changing rooms.

“Oh gosh, you scared me. What are you doing here?” Jo looked worried at Liam, she was suddenly very aware of what she was wearing.

“I’m supporting you. You looked good out there.”

“Thanks.”

“See we still are friends and I will help you with all your homework. Did you read the biology answer in your class?”

“Yes I did and it was right, well it had some mistakes but I got the right idea.” Jo smiled as he walked her to the changing room door.

“Good. I’ll wait here and then we can work on the other math problems.” Liam sat down, his mum was on an expedition and she knew that he would spend most time at school. Jo was so worried him sitting outside and having watched her, but she was glad that he was still helping her.

“Okay, I’m ready but I need to get some dinner for us, well sort of. Today is cooking night at Haines House. I think if we explain to housemother that Catherine isn’t home all girls will adopt you.”

“Mh nice a whole bunch of girls adopting me. Not complaining about that.” Liam grinned and put his arm around her shoulder as they walked to Haines House. Jo liked to walk like this it made her feel safe, she needed this the past few weeks. Liam pulled her a little bit closer and had an open eye of the surroundings it was late and dark and he feared that Victor did not get the message to stay away from Jo.

“Liam?”

“Yes?”

“Mother wrote me a letter that she would like me to see Victor more often. He is in New York not sure what he is doing but I think he is just there not doing anything, maybe he got into a university.”

“Hold on… What?” Liam pushed Jo away and looked at her, she looked terrified. “Are you playing hockey because of him?”

“No. I like hockey.” Jo didn’t dare to look at Liam.

“Good, you looked happy out there.” Liam smiled encouraging. “He will not get close to you. I will make sure of that.”

Jo nodded but didn’t answer.

“Okay, let’s go and tackle your homework.” Liam pulled her into his arm and led her the last bit down the street to Haines House. “I hope you girls can cook, well as long as you help them it will be fine.”

Jo smiled shy at Liam.


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95 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Sat 15 Feb 2014, 1:01 am

((Don’t judge me I made up a new bus line pretty much directly from Boston to New York they should have it Razz ))


It was February, Catherine was working in the lab and Liam and Jo had Friday off because of a teacher’s conference.

“Jo I have a plan.” Liam grinned at his best friend.

“Which is?” Jo was sitting in the common room of Haines House waiting for Liam to pick her up.

“A trip to New York. I think it is overdue that we have an adventure. We gonna take the express bus and will be home before mum.”

Jo looked scared at Liam.

“It will be fine, I’ve got a map and I was in New York before.” Liam grinned and who could resist this cheeky smile?

“And it will be safe?” Jo looked at Liam trying to figure out if he was telling her the truth.

“You it will be fine. You go and get your things you need for a day out in the town just don’t mention where exactly you are going. Well just not in what town.”

Jo looked for a moment at Liam but then nodded and went upstairs to pack her backpack for a day trip. “Housemother? I know it is short notice but Catherine said she will just work for a few hours in the morning and after that we would drive into town. Can I go? I will stay over the weekend again and would have gone later this afternoon to their house.” Jo bit her lip, Liam watched her with one eye while he watched some girls practice upbeat dance steps. They looked nice, while Jo looked so pathetic.

“Sure that is fine just make sure you do your homework while you are there and write to your parents.” Housemother was busy sorting laundry and personal belongs of the girls that had been lying around the house.

“I will Housemother, I will.” Jo grinned and ran to Liam quickly before housemother could spot the lie.

“You looked pathetic lying to your housemother.” Liam grinned as they hurried to the bus station. “Come on the bus is going in a few minutes.”

Jo was running after Liam, he had since the new semester has started picked up swimming and he was actually quite good, he was getting fit from it and Jo had troubles keeping up with him. “Liam please slow down, I can’t run so fast.”

“What?” Liam stopped so sudden that Jo ran into him. “Oh sorry, I forgot that you just started field hockey. Just try to hurry the bus goes in fifteen minutes.”

“I do Liam.” Jo looked ashamed at the floor. Liam knew Jo by now and he knew that he had said something hurtful.

“I know, sorry. We can slow down a little and run as fast as you can, okay?” Liam took her hand and let her lead the speed, Jo blushed while she held on to Liam’s hand as they ran.
They made it in time and the bus driver did not ask questions why two children took the express bus to New York and Liam even had gotten some food for them. It would take them around fife hours to go to New York but the two children had a good time on the bus and Jo was in a mild shock New York was so large and so busy.

“Liam?” Jo went pale as they walked out of the bus station.

“Yes?” Liam grinned and looked around he liked it, he liked the adventure they were having and didn’t hear the fear in her voice.

“Liam?” Jo was biting her lower lip she suddenly realised how dangerous it was and that they had about five hours before they had to take the last bus back and that New York was not the place for two young children.
Liam turned around and suddenly saw how scared she looked. “Whoa Jo? It’s okay. Nothing will happen to you. Here take my hand.” Liam took her hand and walked slowly down the street. They had to take the subway. Jo nodded and wiped her tears away. “Just don’t leave me alone okay?”

“Never. You will like what I want to show you. I promise.” Liam smiled it didn’t them long and Jo was as thrilled to see the library as he expected. They went around some more got some dinner and then were at Central park, when suddenly.

“Josephine?” Victor called the girl’s name that he would not have expected here.

“Victor!?” Jo starred at Victor Grey and she was scared before but now she was in pure horror!


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96 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 17 Feb 2014, 9:57 pm

Jo stepped so close to Liam that the young boy had no chance but put his arm around her and he felt her shivering. Victor saw that the two were alone and he used the opportunity stepped quickly forward and punched Liam hard in the stomach. Liam groaned and fell on the ground.

“Liam!” Jo shouted and kneeled down to help Liam, when Victor grabbed her and pulled her back up.

“You won’t need him anymore. Come with me.” Victor grinned evil and pushed Jo down the road.  “You and I will have a lot of fun.”

“Victor, please let me go. I think Liam is really hurt.”

“Oh I hope the little shit is hurt! ...” Victor couldn’t finish his sentence.

“Hey! Vicky you cock-juggling thundercunt! Fuckass! Maróigh me thú!1” Victor had no chance to do anything when Liam pushed him face first into the gravel. Liam had rammed Victor in the baak with all his weight, grabbed Jo’s hand before she could fall and ran with her. They ran until both couldn’t breathe anymore. “Are you okay?” Liam asked out of breath but it was Jo that well lucky her she didn’t have asthma even though she looked like she did.
All Jo could do was nodded her head, but she felt dizzy because of the lack of oxygen in her head.

“Lift your arms.” Liam helped Jo to lift up her arms. “Good try to breathe into my hand.” With one hand he was holding Jo’s arms up and his other hand was resting on her stomach, it took some time until Jo managed to get small breaths into her lungs and even longer until she could ask Liam a question.

“Where are we?”

“We are on 8th Avenue and over there is W 55th street. I think we can check the map and see how we get back to the train station.” Liam took Jo’s hand and would not let go of it at least not until they were safely back in the train to Concord.

“Um Liam, remember the piano teacher I would you about. He wrote that he is until March in New York and he is living on W 52nd Street. I think I have his phone number.” Now that they were walking slowly Liam saw how pale Jo was and how dirty. It was weird she hasn’t fallen but her face was dirty and had deep tracks off her tears.

“Sure. Let’s cross the street, I’ve got some quarters you can use them to call him.” Liam went with Jo across the street.
Jo got the number of Graham from her purse and dialled. “Hello? Graham? It is me, Josephine.”

“Oh Jo, how nice to hear from you. How are you doing?” Graham was getting ready to go out for dinner with friends when the phone stopped him to get his coat on, normally he would have ignored it and left the apartment but something made him answer the phone.

“I am… Graham please don’t be angry. My friend Liam and I are in New Your City. Um we had a day off and Liam’s mum is working and we sort of went on an adventure, but… we ran into Victor and… we are close by I think. I mean close to your house. Our train is not going for another four hours and…”

“Where are you?” Graham picked up the pen and knew that no way he would go out for dinner now. He would call the restaurant to leave a message for his friends that something came up and he would call them in the next days.

“We are at the corner of 8th Avenue and 55th Street.”

“That is very close I want you to get a taxi and come to 570 West 52nd Street. Don’t worry about the cost I’ll pay for it.”

“Okay, I’m sorry if we cause any trouble.”

“Don’t worry about that, everything will be fine as soon you are here.” Graham sounded calm and Jo felt a little bit better.

“Oh Graham my money is empty, we’ll get a tax…” Jo broke off and a friendly voice said that it would redial is she inserts more money. “Liam? Graham said that he lives close by and we should take a taxi to his flat. He will pay for it. Is that okay?”

“Yeah sure. We don’t have to listen to classical music all evening long do we?” Liam stuffed his hands in his pockets and then realised that getting a taxi would mean he has to wave one, so he stepped to the curb and waved.

“No we don’t. Graham is very nice.” Jo smiled while she stood very close to Liam.
It took a little bit until an empty one saw him and stopped. The drive wasn’t long and Graham was waiting outside and ready to pay the taxi fare.

“Good evening Jo, it is late I don’t think you should be out in New York by yourself. Are you okay?” Graham hugged Jo tightly and looked at the boy holding her hand. “Is that your boyfriend?”

Jo blushed deeply under her dirty face. “No! I mean… oh, um this is Liam he is my friend from school. Liam this is Graham Hart he is an amazing pianist.”

“Jo you praise me too much, come on I’ve got some food upstairs. I will call your parents Liam and then we see how you to get back to Concord. You should not have come alone to New York. It is a dangerous city. Jo may I ask what happened to you?”

“Remember that I told you in my last letter that Victor is here in New York too? Well we ran into him. I’m not sure if I fell but I guess I did. He punched Liam in the stomach and then Liam shoved him into the gravel and we ran. I’m sorry if I did something wrong.” Jo followed Graham out of the lift and together they went to Graham’s apartment.

“No you didn’t. You can wash your face, while Liam calls his parents.” Graham said friendly.

“It’s just my mum.” Liam said in his strong Irish accent. Graham had heard that Liam was Irish but he didn’t realize that he sounded so Irish. For a moment he wondered how Jo understood him.

“Okay, you can still call her I think it is better if she knows that you are here.” Graham said as he pointed Jo to the bathroom and Liam to the phone.

“Hey mum. So um yeah don’t freak out but Jo and I are in New York.” Liam waited for several seconds until his mother was able to answer.

“You are fucking where?” Catherine screamed in the phone. For a while Liam and Catherine argued on Irish while Jo joined Graham in the kitchen.

“… Yes they are from Ireland, from Cork. Liam’s mum’s name is Catherine O’Doherty.” Jo explained to Graham.

“I see. I’ll talk to her and arrange how you two get home.” Graham was sweating a lot, this was just too insane that his favourite and only piano student was friends with someone of his past.

“Mr. Hart my mum wants to talk to you.” Liam said as he walked back into the kitchen and sat down at the table to get some food.

Graham took a deep breath and then picked up the phone. “Hello, this is Graham Hart.” With Jo and Liam out of earshot he had returned to his original Irish accent. For a long time he didn’t hear anything and he started to think that the call dropped but then there was the voice he loved so much.

“Hello Mr Hart, I had no idea Liam and Jo are in New York.” Catherine had a hard time to hold it together but somehow she managed to sound as if Graham Hart a stranger she just met at the phone.

“Apparently they sneaked away. I don’t mind to have them here until their train goes. I think they should be fine. Maybe you can pick them up from the train station?” Graham was a little bit irritated but at the same time he understood her reaction.

“Sure. What time does their train leave?” Catherine said, she wanted this conversation to be over as fast as possible.

“At half past nine. I’ve got dinner for them and then bring them to the train station. The train arrives just a few minutes before four in the morning.”

“Good I will be there. Thank you. I will make sure you get a check to reimburse you for your expanses. Goodbye.” The line went dead, and Graham knew how hurt Catherine still was and he was not surprised, he sighed and went back into the dining room.

“Your mother will pick you up at the train station in Concord and in the meanwhile you will stay with me.” Graham smiled at the two children eating the sandwiches and salad while they giggled. He sighed deeply this could have been his life.
After dinner there was still time before the train, Graham well more Liam convinced Jo to play for them and while Jo played she noticed odd similarities. Liam and Graham’s eyes looked the same… they both run their hands through their hair when they were thinking… and those eyes!
When it was time to go on the train both Jo and Liam started to get nervous, because they knew as understanding Graham was because they were both not his children -or you know not really… okay this is complicated- Catherine would be furious!

“Maybe we shouldn’t tell her about Victor?” Jo whispered.

“She will kill us when we don’t.” Liam whispered back.

As expected when the train arrived and the two got picked up by Catherine, the entire drive from the train station to the house she was silent and when she parked the car all she said in a very low voice. “Go to bed, now!”

Both Jo and Lima just ran upstairs and within minutes were in their beds. “We are in really big trouble aren’t we Liam?” Jo whispered from her side of the room, Liam turned around and looked at Jo. He knew that she never was in real trouble with her parents so now being on the not so sunny side with Catherine really worried her.

“Yeah.”

Catherine was sitting in the living room with a large glass of red wine pondering over the phone number she got from the directory assistance, she never wanted to slap Liam ever no matter what he did but right now she really wanted to slap Jo for taken Liam to Graham Hart, the one man on the entire world Catherine never wanted him to meet. She knew it was not Jo’s fault but at least for this night she had to blame her, deep down she knew that it was Liam who came up with the idea to go to New York City in the first place but still. Whatever scared them that Liam preferred to stay with a stranger then show Jo the city would have to wait until tomorrow and she could talk to Jo. For know she was just really angry with the world.






1 I'll kill you!


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97 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Mon 17 Feb 2014, 11:27 pm

Catherine hadn’t slept a minute, it was barely light outside when she woke Liam.
 
“Liam? Wake up.” She sounded harsh and at first Liam thought that it was not fair but then he remembered his trip to New York. Yeah I deserve that. “I don’t want to see you today go swimming or something.”
 
Jo looked at his mum and he knew that they were more than in trouble. His mum was actually hurt. He nodded and got dressed, but before he left the house he went to his mum. “Hey mum. I get that you are angry and I guess you have the right to be but I want to say that I am sorry and I thought Jo and I would be fine. We ran into Victor and from that moment it all went south. I am really sorry. I’ll be home for lunch okay?”
 
Catherine nodded and let Liam go out of the house. She had a hard task to do today. She had to tell Jo something no one else knew. How could she tell a twelve year old girl that the piano teacher she knew for a long time was her lover and the man of her bastard son?
 
“Jo, darling. Wake up.” Catherine whispered. She wasn’t angry at Jo anymore.
 
“I am awake.” Jo whispered back to Catherine’s surprise. “I haven’t slept at all.” Jo sat up and wiped the tears away. “I am so sorry. I should not have said yes to Liam’s suggestion to go to New York.”
 
“I’m not mad that you went to New York, well yes okay I am mad about that but in the end I’m not mad at all. Listen go and take a shower and then come into the kitchen I need to talk to you.” Catherine kissed Jo on her forehead and then went back into the kitchen. This was so damn hart. For about the millions time Catherine considered to have a drink to get some courage but she knew it was not right.
Jo came dressed in one of her winter dresses, she looked so much like a kicked puppy.
 
“Come here Jo.” Catherine wrapped her in her arms. “I’m not angry with you. I was worried. I tried to call a few times the house but I just thought you and Liam went out but I didn’t think that Liam would take you all the way to New York when I told him that I would be at work very long.”
 
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to worry you.”
 
“I know. And that was not what I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to talk with you about your piano teacher.” Catherine sat back down at the kitchen table and held her cup of coffee with both hands. Jo watched Catherine for a very long time and then before Catherine could say anything.
 
“Graham is Liam’s father, isn’t he? He raped you, right?” Jo spoke softly and with a shudder thinking of the encounters she had with Victor. Catherine looked up very quickly and when Jo asked her if Graham had raped her, the real shock hit her. “I understand why you don’t want to think of him and I am sorry. I will not mention him again and I will never tell Liam. I think it is very honourable that you kept Liam. I’m not sure if anything like this would happen to me I could keep the child and love it as much as you love Liam.”
 
“Jo, stop, stop… you are… wrong… sort of.” Catherine starred at Jo, for so long that Jo got scared. “You are right he is… Liam’s… father. But he did not rape me! He was a very shy young man and I was the one taking him along. But when I told him that I am with child he left that night and when I woke up he was gone and all that he had left me was a letter.” Catherine couldn’t look at Jo, she expected to see disgust and disapproval of the premarital sex, she was surprised when Jo wrapped her arms around her.
 
“My mother and father got married because Mother was pregnant, afterwards they said that she fell ill on an exotic illness on her honeymoon so that she could hide from the public. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy but it was four months after their wedding they could not keep it. So they gave it… him away. After that mother had many miscarriages and stillborn babies, she thinks that the Lord is punishing her for having been with a man before she was married. I don’t think he was. I think the Lord tried to spare her from the pain she would have by having a child while she was ill. I know mother is very ill and that is why I am here in America and I know now that his is not the same but father said he and mother really loved each other and in a way they did not feel as if it was wrong, father felt married to mother before he has been with her. Did you ever try to find him?”
 
“No. I mean I knew where he was but I never contacted him again.”
 
“I think he misses you, he never married, he had once not long ago a girlfriend but he ended it. I was there it was odd. He was staring into space and said that she was just not right. But I don’t want to make you said. I will not mention him again or tell Liam that I know who his father is. One day you will think it is the right time and you tell him and until then I will forget it.”
 
“He will be angry of you when you won’t tell him.” Catherine pulled Jo on her lap and hugged her tightly.
 
“He will be but in the end he will understand that it is not my secret to tell, just like he knows what is wrong with mother just like you do but it is not your place to tell me and I accept that.” Jo whispered and leaned her head against Catherine’s should.
 
“Did anyone ever tell you that you are too smart for your own good?”
 
“Oh yes, Lorelai tells me that every time I see her.”
 
“Do you see her often?”
 
“No not often enough.”
 
For a while the two were quiet until Catherine realised that Jo had fallen asleep on her lap. “Sleep my little girl, sleep.” She carried her into the living room, turned on the TV and held her in her arms while she closed her eyes as well. One day she would tell Liam but not yet, just not yet.
 
Both teenagers got grounded by Catherine and the information got passed along to Jo’s housemother. Catherine modified the New York story a little bit that they children disappeared on her while in a crowed in the aquarium to see it by themselves. So for two weeks Jo and Liam were just allowed to go to class, to meals and then straight back home. No clubs, music or sports for both of them. 



Last edited by Ariel Buttercup on Thu 13 Mar 2014, 3:11 pm; edited 1 time in total


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98 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Fri 21 Feb 2014, 12:03 am

Winter seemed to finally reaching an end. Liam’s class had gone to Boston for the day so Jo walked to their house by herself. She didn’t mind the walking she liked the freedom she had gained here in America. Back in Oxford she had a driver and was never allowed to be out alone. It still worried her that Victor was in New York but at the same time here in Concord she felt save. Just outside the house there he was… a very small little creature, sitting on the steps of the house, he had wings, and was naked except the top hat, it touched the top hat for a greeting and then disappeared into thin air. Jo gasped the last time she had seen one of her imaginary friends was the morning before she met Liam. She didn’t understand why they were back.
 
“I don’t need them anymore! Just go away and never come back.” Jo whispered while she unlocked the door.
 
“Who is never coming back?” Catherine asked, she was home earlier as she had expected and did not complain about it. She pulled Jo in a hug and kissed her on top of her head.
 
“No one. I was just thinking out loud.” Jo whispered. “I have a lot of homework to do, is it okay if I do that?”
 
“Oh honey, yes of course. Do you need help?” Catherine looked at Jo she saw that something was up but she also knew Jo by now she had to give her time.
 
“Um not right now but later yes please. I’ve got math homework and I need help with that.” Jo mumbled distracted. Jo was very confused, she read that children create imaginary friends because they have no other friends in their life but Jo had Liam and Catherine why… why did she just saw something that wasn’t there?
 
Catherine went back in the kitchen she had some food to put away and would then read some articles for work. Jo was meant to do her homework but she kept thinking about what had happened. Liam came home but Jo just murmured that she was doing homework and he left her alone but Jo was still pondering and the little dancing Brownie -not the cute girl scout brownies but the Irish folklore brownies- was not helping.  Catherine and Liam were sitting around her doing their own work when Jo suddenly asked. “Are all people that are seeing things that are not there crazy?”
 
“What do you mean?” Catherine looked at Jo.
 
Jo didn’t look at anyone for a long time. “When I was little I had those imaginary friends and I read that it is abnormal to have them past the age four, I had my last imaginary well he wished me a lovely first day at Concord Academy. And then just when the teacher assigned me and Liam to do this group work my friend Bobbles was in the back of the classroom nodded and waved.”
 
Both Catherine and Liam starred at her but didn’t know what to say. “And today just when I came home I saw Jingja he is um a very small little creature, he was sitting on the steps of the house, he has wings, and was naked except the top hat. He looks a little like a Brownie and he is dancing right now in that corner. I loved all my friends, I knew no one else saw them but they made me happy. What I don’t understand why they came back, I’m happy. Really happy.”
 

Catherine looked strict at Liam to make sure he didn’t say anything stupid or mean to Jo and tried to figure out how to answer Jo.


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99 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Thu 13 Mar 2014, 11:36 pm

“Seriously? You are kidding, right?” Liam burst out into laughter but when he saw his mother’s face he went quiet.
 
“It’s okay Sweetie we will figure out what this means okay?”
 
“May I be excused?” Jo whispered, Liam laughing had made her feel insecure just like she used to feel when they just met.
 
“Of course…” Catherine couldn’t say more because Jo had left the kitchen. She hurried upstairs and hid in her bed behind the closed screen.
 
“Liam! Why did you have to say this?! Man for once can’t you show a little bit of tactfulness?” Catherine moaned theatrical.
 
“But mum come on, she said she is having invisible friends. What was I supposed to say? ‘Hey great they can play with Santa Claus who I have captured and stuck into the basement.’”
 
“Liam Seamus O’Doherty! You will say no such think to Jo. You are sometimes such a moron. Finish your dinner!” Catherine sighed, she was worried that something like this might happen since Jo found out who Liam’s father was. Jo wasn’t good in lying at all and keeping such a huge secret for Catherine was putting her under a lot of pressure. She had to talk to her.
 
“Mum, I go and apologize to Jo.” Liam surprised his mother after dinner.
 
“But don’t disturb her if she is asleep.”
 
“Okay.” Liam hurried upstairs and even took Jo’s plate with her pizza upstairs. “Hey Súl Donn.” Liam whispered as he walked into his and Jo’s room. Jo didn’t move but Liam knew that she was awake. “Um, sorry I laughed. Are you feeling okay? Are you ill?”
 
“I’m not ill, just…” Jo broke off and looked oddly in the corner. Since she was in Concord Academy she had read some about imaginary friends and she knew seeing them in her age was not a good sign, rather a sign of insanity.
 
“Are you still seeing those… things?” Liam whispered.
 
“Yes… But I don’t want to.” Jo sat up and looked miserable, so miserable the Liam pulled her in his arms.
 
“Maybe something is wrong with you?” Liam suggested he didn’t mean to hurt Jo but he did consider that something was wrong with her, maybe she was ill.
 
“I read in a book that stress can cause hallucinations.” Jo mumbled still in Liam’s arm.
 
“Are you stressed? You know that any homework you need help you can ask me. Is it maths or physics?”
 
Jo bit her lower lip so she wouldn’t tell him.
 
“Not school, I see. What are you stressed about? I can try to help, not sure how but I can try.” Liam whispered.
 
“Did you mum talk to you?”
 
“Um about what?” Liam asked a little bit confused.
 
“Oh, you need to ask her.”
 
“But I’m asking you!” Liam sounded a little harsh. “Sorry.”
 
“It’s okay. I promised her not to tell anything. I wanted to tell you, but it was not my secret to keep and I understand that she doesn’t know how to tell you after all those years. But…” Jo sighed very deeply. “I need to tell you or I think I’m going to lose my mind.”
 
“Tell me what? Jo I start to get nervous.” Liam brushed her hair out of her face. He really, really liked looking into those beautiful brown eyes.
 
“Liam do you remember telling me that your mum doesn’t like you play the piano? Ever thought about that it might be because you father plays the piano?” Jo whispered.
 
“Yeah maybe. Jo do we need to talk about this?” Liam didn’t really like talking about his father.
 
“Liam I found out who your father is, and you met him. A little while on our adventure in New York.”
 
“What Victor is my father? That is crazy.” Liam looked confused at her.
 
“No not Victor, Graham Hart. My piano teacher the big Irish pianist. Your mum confirmed it. And I should not have told you, it was not my secret to tell.”
 

“You found… WHAT!?” Liam jumped up and ran down the stairs. “Mum!?”


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100 Re: Another Way, Another Life on Sun 11 May 2014, 12:18 am

Liam was not talking to his mother for a while and when they started talking again it was still weird. Jo kept apologising and Liam was not angry with her or his mum, and in fact not even Graham. He had sent him a letter telling that he knows who he is but he does not want anything to do with him.
 
It was the last week of school, they had finals and both Jo and Liam knew they have aced those. But then the last day came and Catherine had taken a day off from work and both Liam and she were helping to pack Jo’s things. They would keep some stuff at their house and some they send home in a large package and then there was Jo’s HUGE trunk she would take with her on the ship.
 
“I can’t believe you are rather travelling a week on a ship than a few hours on a plane” Liam teased her as he sorted her books into a box (one that would stay in America).
 
“Um…” Jo blushed, and Catherine hugged her tightly.
 
“Don’t listen to my son, he has no idea what he is missing.” Catherine didn’t know that Jo was not really that comfortable on a boat either but she hoped it was less likely for a metal boat to sink than a huge metal piece fall from the sky.
 
“Oh, yeah… I guess.” Jo whispered she opened her top drawer and realised that it was her knickers drawer. “Oh dear!”
 
“What is wrong, are you okay?” Liam poked over her shoulder and started grinning.
 
“Liam! Stop it!” Jo shouted embarrassed and pushed Liam to turn around. Liam chuckled as he went back to pack her stationary things from her desk.
 
Jo would be living the last days of her in America at the O’Dohertys and they would be spending the last night of Jo in New York since her ship was leaving in the morning not crazy early but too early to stay in Concord.
 
“Liam, please don’t yell at me. But Graham is still in New York and…” Jo started as they were in the small motel in New York.
 
“Jo, don’t even go there.” Liam started. “You can’t move your bishop this way.”
 
“Oh I cannot? I thought you have to skip one and then go two to the side.” Jo looked confused.
 
“No, they are the one always going diagonal.” Liam grinned.
 
“Children do you want to go out for dinner?” Catherine poked her head in the community room.
 
“Can we have something greasy, I will not get anything like that at home?” Jo looked a little sad.
 
“Hey, no sad. You are coming back in just a few weeks you are back and we are waiting right here and pick you up. I might even have a new book for you waiting.”Liam got up and pulled Jo into a tight hug. “No tears! We will write and I want you to tell me everything that is happening in good old England.” Liam whispered in the strongest Irish accent he could have and he knew that Jo loved it.
 
“Agus geallaim duit scríobh tú ar ais?” Jo whispered back.
 
“Oh-ho when did you start to learn Irish?” Liam grinned as he let go of Jo and they followed Catherine outside to go to get some dinner.
 
“A while ago but I’m not good. I got a book. Did I say it right?” Jo looked so hopeful at Liam. Catherine saw that Jo still had a huge crush on Liam but she was not as crazy about it anymore.
 
“The wording is a little odd but the pronunciation is amazing. You sound nearly Irish.” Liam smiled. “You learned this from a book?”
 
“Yes?”
 
“You are so weird.”
 
“Liam, be nice. How about here this looks like a nice shabby looking place Lady Josephine?” Catherine grinned. Of course she had told them that her mother would call those very shabby and not at all suitable to eat for the William’s heiress.
 
“It looks perfect. Can I please invite you, it is my last night and I want to invite you. You have done so much for me the past nine months.” Jo took Liam’s hand and Catherine’s hand.
 
“I’m glad you enjoyed your first year at Concord Academy and that we got to know you.” Catherine pulled Jo into a hug. Jo nodded and sighed.
 
The next morning Catherine, Liam and Jo went to the harbour and dropped off Jo’s trunk. The three were sitting at the landing for a while until it was time that Jo had to board the ship.
 
“Okay it is time, Mucnhkin,” Catherine smiled at Jo she never had called anyone but Liam -Munchkin- and it felt okay for everyone. “be safe. Don’t forget to write and remember that your mother does love you even when she has an odd way of showing it to you. And I love you. See you end of August.” Catherine hugged her tightly and then let Jo and Liam say their goodbyes.
 
“Don’t forget me in posh England.” Liam whispered his hands deep in his pockets.
 
“Don’t forget me either.” Jo whispered.
 
“I could never forget you, you are my best friend. You promise you call me when you are at home?”
 
“It would be silly to call when I’m at home.” Jo said with a shaky voice.
 
“What is so silly about calling me?”
 
“My home is in Concord, in your house.” Jo looked into those blue eyes and started crying.
 
“It will be okay. Try to avoid your mother, be a lot outside, and go in the library. I made you some practice problems for your maths class. I expect you to have finished them when you come back… home.” Liam smiled and tried to make Jo smile too, but the little girl was not feeling like smiling. It was hard for her to explain why she didn’t want to go back to England. In England she was Lady Josephine again and she didn’t like being a Lady, a mute Lady without a voice unless her father speaks for her.
 
“I’ll call you the moment I’m back at Waterfall Downs. Liam please promise me you won’t forget me and you will write to me.” Jo fell into Liam’s arms and she was surprised to notice that the skinny boy was turning into a strong man, being in the swimming team was doing Liam good.
 
“I promise to write to you, and I won’t forget you, and I will call just um maybe we can make out times and you can call or you know accept my calls, it’s just quite expensive to call.”
 
“I will and I will tell everyone in the house to accept calls from you, daddy said I don’t need to worry about the costs to call you.” Jo was crying into Liam’s chest.
 
“You have to board this ship now or it will leave without you.” Liam whispered, taking deep breaths so he could absorb Jo’s scent and remember it until she came back. Very gentle he pushed her a little away so that he could look at her. “Here, this is for you. So you remember that I see you every night I look up to the evening star.” Liam put the star necklace around Jo’s neck.
 
“Liam! This is too expensive! I can’t accept this.” Jo looked at the little golden star.
 
“You have to I worked hard to earn this money in the past nine months. That way you remember me.”
 
“Oh Liam thank you so much!” Jo looked deep into Liam’s eyes, she wanted to burn the inmage of his smiling face into her brain.
 
“Miss, you have to board now the ship is leaving.” The steward said and gently led her up the landing.
 
“Don’t go anywhere Liam!” Jo ran as fast as she could all the stairs up until she was on the A Deck, she leaned other the railing and within seconds spotted Liam in the crowd with Catherine at his side. “GOODBYE! I see you in August! I love you! Goodbye! Slán a fhágáil!” Jo waved and smiled widely.
 
Both Catherine and Liam waved back but it was Liam who whispered. “Goodbye my lady, my star, my Yvaine! Goodbye!”


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