The story so far:
"How many more years of your jail sentence?"
The uniformed schoolgirl looked around her. "Hey, it's OK. I graduated from St. Andrew's. I know what it's like." She turned and saw a young woman leaning over the fence of a flower garden, a pixieish grin across her gamine-featured face. "I'm still just a freshman. 4 more to go. But you're not Catholic", she retorted, noting the church building in the background. "Yeah, but my parents were all impressed that it was a private school. They thought it would be better, more individual attention or something like, that. But I tell you, I didn't learn a thing, there." Paige rolled her eyes. "Yeah my mom's like that, too. And we ARE Catholic, too."
"Why don't you come in here, and I'll show you my garden. Don't worry. I won't try to convert you." Another sly grin. "YOUR garden??", queried Paige. "I pretty much planted it myself," replied Phoebe. She then picked a blue bachelors button bloom and deftly twisted it into a corsage-like form. "Here put this in your buttonhole. It'll match the uniform."
Ignacio Torres approached the pair, holding a gift box with the logo of a fine jewelry store. "Here Phoebe, I got this for you." "What for?", she asked. "A birthday gift," he replied. "My birthday is not until November," replied Phoebe. "It's in advance. Let me put it on you," he said as he unhooked the clasp of the dainty gold bracelet with the white opal in the center. "It's gorgeous", exclaimed Phoebe. "Are sure you meant for me to have this?" "It's nothing", said Ignacio, and he trotted off.
"This is weird. The box says 18 karat gold. This must be really expensive." "Maybe, he likes you, said Paige, in her wise-for-years adolescent tone. Phoebe's brow furrowed. "He's kind of old. I know he's at least thirty". "That doesn't mean anything,", replied Paige in the same tone. "Yeah, but he doesn't have any money. He always asks me for change for cigarettes, not that I'd let him have any. I told him my parents were chain smoker and died of lung cancer and emphysema. I won't support anyone's habit that could kill". "The price of gold has really gone up, now. I learned that in Social Science". "So, Sr. Agnes is still teaching?" "Yep." "I mean how could he afford that?" "Maybe, he won the lottery." "I doubt it". "Somebody gave him money as a gift. Or included him in his will". "How sad". "Well, maybe it was a distant relative who knew who he was, but never really had a relationship with him, but had to leave his money to somebody". "Maybe that was it".
The two approached the building. "Dad, what are you doing here?", the girl asked Ryan Davis. "We're Catholic." "That's not your business. You're not supposed to be hanging around here, anyway. This is not a shopping mall, or wherever you young people hang out these days".
"My dad can be a jerk. I'm glad he's not with mom, anymore". "All parents can seem like jerks. I used to think that way, then they died," said Phoebe. "Now you're making me feel guilty," replied Paige. "I didn't mean to," said Phoebe. "Gotta run. Nice meeting you".
"Mom, I saw Dad, today."
"It was weird. It was at a church, not a Catholic one though".
"Well, what were you doing there."
"This girl showed me the garden there."
"That was nice."
"It was, until Dad started acting like a butthole".
"You know he can be."
"He's still your father, and you know I don't like that kind of language. Give me a hand with these groceries, why don't you."
"He was acting really nasty when I talked to him. It's strange, though. That girl there was so nice. Mom, can I walk back, there and see, her again?"
"It's getting late."
"I'll be OK."
"Why can't this wait until tomorrow?".
"I don't know. I want to find out what Dad's up to; why he won't even tell me about what church he's going to. And I like to talk to Phoebe. SHE's nice."
"How old is she?
"She's no longer a girl. She's a young woman."
"So?? She's not that old, and what do you think's gonna happen. She's gonna sneak me into a club or something?" (Did Paige ever wish.)
"I'm sure she's very nice, but if she's older, I'm sure she's very busy with her own life. You need to get started with your homework."
Paige pored over an assignment, but then slammed down the book, moodily. She was sick of studying. The real world was becoming more interesting to her, than the world of books and studies. She couldn't concentrate, needed to get out.
EARLY MORNING BROADCAST:
A shocking discovery has just been reported: the body of a teenaged girl wearing the St. Andrew's Preparatory High School uniform was found by the side of the road, a dagger plunged through her heart. A tile was found hung over neck, written in blood was "Honor thy mother and father".