The Diary Of Pamela D. (Chapter 8, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 8

Tessa's train was late by almost an hour, which caused Pamela some considerable anxiety. Ellie seemed unperturbed, however, so she tried to take her cue from Ellie's calm patience. Fred Pascoe had left them for the time being but sat nearby on a bench within easy watching distance.

At last the train arrived, and there was Tessa, struggling with her carry-on luggage. The moment the two girls spotted one another, they ran to each other's arms and embraced.

'Is this all the luggage you've brought?'

'Yes, for now. Not to worry, I've got pretty much everything I need.'

'Then let's get going,' Pam said smugly. 'I've got something to show you.'

When they reached the old Austin, Tessa burst out, 'Where did you get that beautiful old car? Is it yours? Where on earth did you find it?'

'Here, let's get your stuff into the boot. Isn't it great? Theo bought it for me. The dealer was just going to give it to the wreckers but I went and rescued it. We got it for next to nothing!'

For the moment unnoticed and forgotten, Ellie and Fred exchanged a meaning look. To them the car looked old-fashioned and ugly and was probably suspect, though it performed in a manner that was unmistakably sound and reliable.

As the two girls chattered incessantly all the way to Dewhurst Mansion, Pamela found that she was elated not only by Tessa's presence but by the way the two were so easily able to mesh once more, as they had when they had first met. Pamela had never in her entire life had a friend like Tessa, someone her own age who was apparently unscarred by the sort of marginalizing forces that had shaped Pamela's own life. For Pamela, being in Tessa's presence was like being reborn to a new and hopeful world, a world where she was accepted, where she belonged, a world filled with people she cared about and who cared about her.

They were just getting Tessa settled into Pamela's old room when Pamela suddenly burst into tears and sat down on the side of the bed.

'Pamela? What's wrong? Why are you crying?' Tessa said in sudden concern.

'Oh, it's nothing bad,' Pamela said, wiping at her eyes and laughing at the same time. 'It's just that I've never been so happy in all my life. I never knew that it was possible to feel like this. I'm sorry- it's just a bit much for me, that's all.'

'Well,' Tessa said, smiling crookedly and sitting beside her, 'if that's all, then I sha'n't waste any time feeling sorry for you.' She said this with mock-disdain, which had its intended effect.

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