Tall Poppies

Tall Poppies by Louise Bagshawe Read Free Book Online

Book: Tall Poppies by Louise Bagshawe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Louise Bagshawe
Tags: Fiction, General
married at nineteen. And when I do, it won’t be to some white trash.’
    Nina couldn’t speak. She couldn’t take it in. Was this the same Jeff who had held her close all those nights, whispered” sweet things in her ears, covered the back of her neck with downy kisses? Was this the boy she’d spent hours daydreaming about, the lover she’d killed herself to get time with?
    Just a few hours ago she’d been eating with his parents, thanking God that Jeff was nothing like them. And he wasn’t. He was worse. At least his mother hadn’t been a hypocrite as well as a snob.
    She’d thought Jeff Glazer was her Prince Charming: the most popular guy in school, the football hero, big and brave and daring. Now Nina saw him for what he was, as he stood scowling by the window: an immature boy, a coward, a bully, a cheat.
    And she had his child growing inside her.
    ‘I shouldn’t have said that. We’ll work something out.’ Relieved that Nina wasn’t arguing, Jeff looked away. All that white-faced melodrama, he couldn’t stand it. It was kind of a shame, but there was no way he was up for this. Marry Nina Roth! She must have been out of her mind. It had been tough enough getting her invited to the house.’
     
    39
     
    Sooner or later, he thought sourly, they all Start whining.
    ‘I know this guy works out of Sixth Avenue,’ Glazer said, calmer now. ‘Dr Fenton. He’s sorted out some of the girls from St Mike’s before - he’s a real doctor, qualified, he’ll give you anaesthetic and he’s clean and stuff. It’s expensive, like five hundred dollars.’
    Nina was gazing at him, her face expressionless. ‘Hey, I’ll spring for it,’ Jeff said magnanimously. ‘I know my responsibilities. I’ll get the money to you in school next week.’ He paused. ‘No hard feelings, Nina, right?’
    Nina stood up slowly and reached for her coat. She let herself out of the hotel bedroom without looking round and quietly closed the door behind her.
     
    The journey home through the park had never taken so long. The bluster of the early afternoon had given way to a glorious sunset of rose and gold, but Nina was blind to the beauty of the day. Nobody watching the tall young glrl striding home, her black hair tousled and ivory complexion flushed pink from the fresh air, could have been aware of the dark thoughts racing through her. As she walked slowly home, grief gave way to furious anger, and by the time she reached Third Avenue she had started to form a plan.
     
    ‘Can I see you for a moment, sir?’
    Peter David turned round in the corridor to see young Nina Roth standing patiently behind him, a heavy sports bag slung over one shoulder. Not for the first time, he thought what an attractive kid she was. Her hair was swinging around her face in a shining bob, and she smelt of some delicate perfume. School uniform looked disturbing on that voluptuous body. He could feel the gaze of the boys linger on her as they streamed past. Only some
     
    4o
     
    heavy, dark circles under her eyes marred her beauty. He supposed a girl like Nina would be out late with some lucky boyfriend. And why not? It was the last few days of the semester. If any kid deserved a little partying, it was Nina Roth.
    ‘Of course, Nina.’ Mr David opened his office door. ‘Come in.’
    ‘How long will it be before my college results are back?’ Nina asked him directly.
    ‘About a month, but you don’t need to worry, Nina. I’m sure you’ll be offered a scholarship - probably several. Since we last talked, your work has improved one hundred per cent.’ His smile was reassuring.
    ‘What if I wanted to put off college for a year?’
    ‘Delay a year?’ Her tutor was shocked. ‘You can’t do
    that. We’ve made the applications. You enrol in the fall.’ ‘And “qaat if I couldn’t?’
    Mr David leaned forward, his kindly face concerned. ‘Is there some problem, Nina? Is it something I can help with?’
    She gave him a small smile. ‘Not really,

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