It’s lunch-time and Millie and her work colleague and friend Linda are having a cup of coffee at the end of their meal. The conversation turns to the subject of brothers and sisters.
Millie: That’s the first time you’ve mentioned having a sister, Linda. I’ve known you for more than a year and I thought you were an only child. What a surprise!
Linda: Yes, we're twins but we don’t look alike. Thank goodness! Her name is Paula. We don’t see each other very often. In fact I haven’t seen her since my mum died three years ago. We have never got on well, and hardly speak to each other when we meet. I don’t miss having her around.
Millie: What a shame.
Linda: Oh Millie. You wouldn’t say that if you knew her.
Millie: Where does she live?
Linda: She moved to London with her husband a couple of years ago. He got a job in a bank there. I wouldn’t have known that she’s moved out of Hong Kong if a mutual friend hadn’t told me.
Millie: I’d love to have a brother or a sister. I found it quite lonely when I was growing up.
Linda: Well, you didn’t have to put up with all the bullying that I had to go through when I was a kid. Paula was the biggest bully alive and my parents took no notice of her nasty tricks because she was their favourite. I was very quiet and withdawn, but dear Paula was lively and everybody loved her. Little did they know what she was really like. She was such a good actress.
Millie: Wouldn’t you like to make things up with her one day?
Linda: No chance! We will never get on, and it doesn’t worry me one bit. Now, let’s change the subject, please!
Ginny and her friend Louise have just finished a game of badminton at the sports centre and are now having a relaxing drink in the juice bar. The conversation turns to Louise’s brother.
Ginny: You didn't play at all well tonight, Louise. You weren't concentrating on the game. Are you okay?
Louise: No, not really. Oh Ginny, I’m really worried about my brother.
Ginny: Simon? Isn’t he doing very well at university? When we all went to that barbecue, he seemed to be enjoying himself and doing really well.
Louise: Yes, so we all thought. But I had a call from him last week and I just could not believe what he told me. I have been worried sick ever since.
Ginny: Why? What’s happened?
Louise: I can't believe what the foolish boy has done. He’s been caught cheating in an examination. It’s very serious. He’s in danger of being asked to leave the university. We don't dare to tell my parents. They will be heart-broken when they find out. I don’t know what to do. I hate keeping things from Mum and Dad, we don't have any secrets but Simon has sworn me not to say anything to them.