Mei and Ginger part 2

Mei froze. Her mum wasn’t supposed to be home for another half an hour. Oh no! Panic took over and she quickly hid the jar behind the sack of flour, next to the empty jar from the other day.

Wiping her sticky hands on her dress, she slipped out of the pantry and hurried to wash her hands then sat at the kitchen table where her homework lay unfinished.

Mei waited for mum to come and get her, but nobody came. Maybe it was someone else. She stood up and peeked out of the kitchen door.

“What do you mean it’s not there?” the tall woman asked angrily.

“This morning I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it.” Leila’s voice sounded teary. “I will go and look again; please wait a few minutes.”

Leila made her way to the kitchen and patted Mei’s head as she walked through the door. She went into the pantry. Mei could hear shuffling and rummaging and Leila mumbling something.

Red-faced, Leila walked out of the pantry empty handed and headed to the front door again.

Mei watched the scene with interest. What could be happening?

“Sorry is not good enough, Leila! You are missing some of my order. If this happens again, I will find someone more responsible!”

With that, the tall woman left.

Leila gasped, “Please, Mrs Warren…”

“I don’t want to hear it, Leila!”

A door slammed and the car roared out the front gates.

How dare that woman speak to Leila that way!

“If only you could have scratched her shoes!” Mei told Ginger.

Slowly Mei walked towards Leila. “Are you ok?” she asked, as she reached up to hold her hand.

“I’m all right honey, just getting too old.”

“Can I help?” Mei asked hopefully.

Leila smiled. “Not unless you can get me a jar of my special raspberry jam.”

“Raspberry jam?” Mei’s heart started beating faster. “Why?”

“I was sure I made enough for an order. I ran out of ingredients and time, and could only get half done today.” Leila ran her hand through her short dark hair.

“Mrs Warren was short one jar! I had all her boxes ready, but am missing just one jar. I don’t know what happened. I never forget!”

Mei gulped and looked at Ginger to rescue her. The doorbell rang again and she exhaled. It was Mum!

As Mei headed to the car, she overheard Leila telling her mum all about the visitor from that afternoon. Leila sounded anxious.

On the drive home, Mei was strangely quiet.

“Mei sweetie, are you ok?”

“Yes, just thinking about Leila.”

“Oh I know honey, you really love Leila don’t you?”

Mei nodded and tried to avoid her mother’s gaze through the review mirror.

“So, what happens if that woman doesn’t get Leila’s jams anymore?”

“Well, Leila will lose her job. Her little business of homemade jams is very popular and she needs to supply to the deli stores.”

Mei frowned.

“Mrs Warren buys a lot of jams every fortnight and pays a lot of money. Leila uses that money to pay her daughter’s college fees. If she doesn’t pay, her daughter can’t study.”

Mei swallowed hard. Ginger looked up at her from his little cage, knowing that they were both hiding a terrible secret.

That night as Mei finished brushing her teeth, she turned and saw her mum standing in the doorway, holding the dress she had worn that afternoon.

“What is this, Mei?”

Mei glanced at her dress and saw the red, sticky stains on it. Raspberry jam fingerprints!

“Nothing!” Mei lied, looking at her slippers.

“Meiling Jade Carter! What have you done?” Her mother’s stern voice and the use of her full name was never, ever a good thing.

“It’s paint,” she lied again.

“Paint? Sticky, sweet smelling paint? You know how I feel about lying!” Her mother’s eyes bore right through her.

Closing her eyes, Mei tried to think. What should she do?…

What do you think she should do? Leave a comment below…. Listen to part 3 HERE


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