Tthe corridors were teaming with students, as 17 years old Katie lane swept out of her English class. With her best mate Suzy on one arm and her boyfriend Milo on the other, she strode out of the building, planted a quick kiss onto Milo’s lips and, with a ” See ya Suzy “, she climbed into her Mercedes.

She sped off up the hill, towards the new area of town in which her 3-storey house was situated. Behind her she left the usual crowd of admirers muttering, ” Isn’t she gorgeous!” and ” I’m getting my hair done tonight, just like Katie’s! It’s going to look great!”

Katie smiled to herself as her car neared the drive and she began to reverse in. ‘ Life is great’, she thought, and it was! She had everything a teenager growing up in Cambridge could ever want. She had her own car, her own brand-new mobile telephone; even her own heated outdoor swimming pool. She was the envy of everyone who knew her. The only down side to her life was that her mother was in a wheelchair; paralysed by an accident at work, and that was where all their money was actually from. Sylvia Lane had sued her managers and had won over two million pounds in compensation.

After grabbing a can of coke, Katie wandered up to her room to begin her homework. She glanced at her Physics folder and, smiling at all the drawings and poems on it, she rolled over to pick up her Maths book. She had a big test tomorrow, so she really had to study. The ringing of the telephone awoke her, and as she scrambled around in the dark to find it, she noticed the illuminated numbers on the clock; they showed 2:30am. ”Who on earth would be calling this late?’ she wondered, and picked up the receiver.

“Hello?” she mumbled sleepily, then awoke fully on hearing a man, on the other end, introduce himself as Detective-Sergeant Robins. After asking her to come to the station ‘immediately’, he hung up. Katie then quickly dressed, grabbed her jacket, and ran to her car. When she arrived at the police station, she found the sergeant waiting for her. He led her to one of the interrogation rooms.

” What is this all about”, asked Katie. ” I haven’t done anything, have I?”
The sergeant sighed. ” No Katie, you haven’t. We needed you as a witness” he said, and turned towards the door.
“To what”? Katie began to ask, but was cut short but the arrival of a tall, thin, blonde woman, who suddenly appeared and stood in the doorway.
” Mum!” Katie exclaimed. ” You can walk!

Her mother blushed. ” I know. I lied to you Katie and I’m sorry. I lied to everyone. I knew I wasn’t permanently paralysed but we needed that money. I would have got away with it, but a police officer had photos of me walking. I’m sorry honey! I just couldn’t give up the chance of two million pounds, you can understand that, right?”

She looked pleadingly at her daughter, who was staring back at her with a look that was somewhere between hatred and denial. It was written all over her usually pretty face. Katie stood up and ran from the room and heard the words “fraud ” and “the money needs to be reclaimed, via household objects et cetera” drift down the corridor after her.

Driving back home in the dark, it was a miracle that Katie was not killed, as, with tears streaming down her face, she could hardly see the road. When she arrived home, she ran upstairs and threw herself onto her bed. She looked around her room, it was decorated just as she wanted it; purple, with silver stars as a border, and she cried even more. It would all be gone soon: the telephones, the car, the house, everything! It was too much for one person to take in, all at once, so Katie, not knowing what else to do, cried herself to sleep.

A month later she finally returned to school. Her life was so much different now. She wasn’t worried about the schooling she had missed; she was sure she would catch up. As she walked into French that morning, she expected everyone to descend on her; going on about how much they had missed her, but nothing! Heads turned to stare at her and a few people muttered behind their hands, but no one came forward.

Katie’s heart was wrenched as she spotted Milo and Suzy cuddled up together, at the front. They obviously hadn’t missed her at all! Katie spun away from the room and ran for the door, tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe these people were so shallow. She was popular as long as she was rich, but take away her money, and her ‘friends’ just didn’t want to know.

The End

Popular Money by Laura-Anne Smith, age 13