Gemma made her way out of the school gates. She had six weeks of freedom to look forward to. She knew what she was going to do with those six weeks - visit her dad down on the coast. That was if she could get away with out her mum knowing. Her friend Shirley was going with her.
Once home she realised her mum wasn't in, but had left a note telling Gemma she would be late and to get the tea started, but Gemma had other ideas as she made her way up the stairs. She packed some stuff together before heading to the coach station.
When she got to the coach station, she saw Shirley at one of the stands
'You all right, Shirl?' she asked when she got to the stand.
'Yeah, I'm fine. What kept you?'
'I'm not that late. The coach hasn't come in yet. Oh, here it comes now.'
The two girls got on and headed to the back, throwing their luggage on the racks above before taking their seats.
When the coach reached its destination, they got off. Gemma looked at a map of the town on a wall, just outside the coach station. She soon found where they were going. They then set off on their way.
When they arrived at a house Gemma knocked on the door, but was surprised when an elderly man answered.
'Can I help you?' he asked Gemma.
She told him she was looking for her dad. He told Gemma that her dad had moved a few months back, after he and his wife had bought the house from him. Gemma asked the man if he knew where her dad had moved to, but the man didn't know.
'Now what are we going to do?' Shirley asked, making their way down the drive.
'We'll, have to see if we can find somewhere to stay.'
They searched for ages, but couldn't find anywhere suitable. Then Gemma saw something.
'Look, Shirl, a vacancy sign, over there.' she said, pointing to the other side of the road.
'You can't be serious?' Shirley answered with an expression of horror. 'It looks haunted. I ain't staying there.'
'Oh, come on. We'll be all right. Besides, it's the only vacancy sign we've seen. We've been searching for ages.'
They made their way up the steps to the house. Gemma knocked on the door. Seconds later, it was answered by a lady. The scowl on her face made Shirley nervous.
'Have you a room available?' Gemma asked her.
To Shirley's disappointment she did.
As the lady was showing them to the room, Gemma asked her if she had anyone else staying with her. The lady said she had a man in his late forties staying with her, who had recently been down on his luck.
'Hey, it's not that bad,' Gemma said to Shirley after the lady had shown them the room.
'It's a dump.'
'Well, it was either here or sleeping on the pier for the night.'
'You mean we had a choice? I know where I would have chosen and it wouldn't have been here.'
Next day they took of exploring the town, ending up on the fair. While on the fair, Gemma looked at her watch.
'Come on, we'd better be heading back. It'll be teatime when we get there,' she said to Shirley. 'I'm starving. What about you?'
'Yeah, so am I. I wouldn't expect much, though. We'll be lucky if we get bread and jam.'
'Oh, shut up and come on,' Gemma answered, searching for a packet of mints she thought she had in her jacket pocket.
But while searching for the mints, Gemma realised that the money she and Shirley had saved for the trip was missing out of one of the pockets. She told Shirley.
'You what?' Shirley replied in a temper. 'Now what are we going to do?'
'We'll have to see if we can sneak our stuff out of the guesthouse and make our way home the best we can.'
The two girls made their way back to the guesthouse, then hid behind a wall.
'Can you see any sign of her,' Shirley asked Gemma.
'No, I can't, She must have gone out.'
'What makes you say that?'
'Well, there's no sign of her broomstick in the place, so she must have.'
'Very funny. Now, come on. Let's go and get our stuff.'
But making their way through the front door, they heard a voice behind them.
'And where do you think you two are going?'
They turned and saw a man standing in the doorway. A smile came to Gemma's face.
'Why are you smiling?' Shirley asked her.
'Because it's my dad, that's why.'
Her dad had lost his job and had to sell his house. This was the only place he could afford to stay.
Was Shirley glad that they now didn't have to make a run for it.