I, Lola (Part 3)
Dear Diary... whatever will happen next?!
Dear Diary, Monday
There was no chance of seeing dad this weekend because he was working. But I didn’t want to stay at the SAA, so I went back home, even if it meant Georgia would be there.
I also had a visit from God when I was in the bath.
I made sure Georgia was well out of the way before I starting arguing with the ceiling.
"That was really unfair!" I snapped.
"It was time, child." He said, in that slow, wise voice old people use to explain a concept you’re too young to understand.
"It was cruel!"
"Cruel to whom, exactly? To the dog, or you?"
I wailed with frustration. Saffy looked up from the bathroom mat in alarm.
"To all of us! Oh, never mind. I suppose you’re right. Life won’t be the same without him."
"Of course not. But-"
Life goes on. I knew He would say that, but I slid under the water surface and counted to twenty before coming up.
He was gone.
When I got out Saffy and Muffy were still lying together with their heads down.
I crouched down and patted their heads in turn. They sighed, watching me with their big amber eyes.
"You know." I whispered. "You know he’s gone, don’t you?"
I haven’t done much else, persides lying on my bed staring at my homework. It’s funny how you can be doing it for like, five hours and not remember anything you read five minutes later.
We got our maths results. Mine wasn’t very satisfying I have to say. Izzy hasn’t shown up all day, and even Gazzy was beginning to get a bit suspicious.
"She must be really unwell." She muttered. We were sitting next to each other. Mr Paisley had put us at the back together with our freshly corrected tests; the pages were so soaked in red ink it looked as though he’s slit his wrists over them.
"Maybe." I said.
"Yeah, she is, else she’d have told me." Gazzy suddenly frowned. "Right? Or has she told you something?"
A new expression flittered across her face, and I could only associate this one with ‘hurt’.
"I’m not stupid, Lola, and don’t raise your eyebrows at me! I’ve seen you two are together, the way you have your little chats, and she never says things to me, like, about anything!"
I was so astonished that she’d said any of it, that for a moment I found it hard to get my mouth working properly.
"No, Gaz, you’ve got it wrong, you’re Izzy’s best-"
She kicked me under the desk; Mr Paisley had turned around to face us.
"Chit chat, chit chat, when will the batteries go flat?"
I really wasn’t in the mood, but he advanced on us.
"Why don’t you go up to the black board? Waste some of your energy straining your brain on a simple equation."
His eyes didn’t even flick in Gazzy’s direction.
So I had to go up to the board and utterly humiliate myself.
Dear Diary, Wednesday
This has been the most stupid, stupid STUPID mistake in my life… and I can’t even shake the blame off onto someone else this time, because it’s all thanks to my stupid arrogant self.
But it was also me who worked it out… in the end.
I decided to chuck all the evidence in our room that proved Carlos liked me. The wilted daisy, the letters, the ticket…
And it was then I realised something.
At first I thought I saw it, only because I wanted too, but then it all linked together so obviously I groaned aloud.
The heart with the "L" in it; it wasn’t a capital L; it was "l".
The ticket. That was the most obvious. The Plebs were Izzy’s favourite band, for crying out loud!
The daisy… well, that was just a token of affection.
I had to pull Carlos aside for confirmation.
"You like Izzy?"
He blinked at me. "Um, I thought you’d already figured that out."
I can’t tell you have completely stupid I felt then.
"Yeah, course I did." I said, tossing my head back.
I found Izzy skulking around the library. She sighed when she saw me running towards her.
I handed her the little stack of love tokens and whispered "Sorry".
She seemed pretty attaken back at the time, but Izzy, unlike me, is not stupid, and has probably worked them out.
Now I must dash or I won’t get to the pool in time!
Dear Diary, Friday
And so, the Christmas holidays commence.
It’s crazy how anyone can forget Christmas. I forgot, but I am crazy, so there we have it.
Suddenly the school is thronged with tinsel and the hall is decked with rows of holly. Someone as a practical joke hung a branch of mistletoe over the maths classroom door, only the joke backfired when that person was the one standing under it with Mr Paisley being told off for "immature behaviour".
And this morning was the last morning, so we exchanged presents. Seeing as I had completely forgotten, I had to improvise drastically.
I got a bottle of strawberry body wash from Lauren, in the shape of a strawberry. I gave her my small bottle of Dior perfume, which must have cost a fortune, but I never use it so it was a kind thing to do (sorry Dad). Mel got me a shocking pink padded bra with little green sequins spelling "left" and "right". I gave her my purple top with a velvet rose, because she always said how much she liked it-I’d always found it a bit on the gothic side, so I didn’t cry over the loss. Izzy got me a bag full of different candles. The first was a football, the second a heart, then a toad, a number two and an L, to represent me. Coz I’m sporty, loveable, but I can be a toad, I hate maths but I’m LOLA.
I gave her my weeks supply of Cadbury’s, a photo of us two after our footy match and I’d made her a card with a personal message inside.
Filippo gave me a silver bracelet with a heart charm on it, I took him aside because I couldn’t really think of anything else, and gave him a series of elaborate kisses.
And now I’m going shopping to get Dad and Georgia something!
xxx Lola xxx
Dear Diary, Sunday
I can’t write now- we’re going to visit Fedele in her little glass palace!
Dear Diary, still Sunday
I swear I’ve put on at least five stone during these holidays. Georgia’s mum makes the best-baked potatoes, and her turkey was HOLY. I very nearly made a shrine for it by the duck pond.
So it was all the New family on Christmas day; Dad, me, Saffy, Muffy, Georgia, Jo and Pauline.
I got a sack full of new clothes from Georgia, who went wild at the Christmas sales. Dad gave me a beautiful ring, which he confessed, had been my mums engagement one, but all the same, it’s white silver, with two tiny diamonds incrusted in it, and a new diary, seeing as I’ve almost finished this one. Jo and Pauline gave me some purple bath salts, because "we weren’t quite sure what sort of girl you are!"
They were quite nice; I suppose all girls like bath salts, they just happen to guess I like purple.
I got Georgia a blue leopard print dressing gown, and fluffy pink slippers so she stops nicking mine. Dad got a stuffed wooly dog from Asda, which I creatively modified, so by Christmas morning it had fluffy wings stitched on from an angel doll I found at Oxfam (Muffy got the wingless angel, which is now also armless and missing half her face).
I phoned Filippo, and his Italian grandma answered! Being the show off I am used those few words I know to ask to talk to my ‘Amore’. I’m sure I left her baffled. ☺
It’s raining, but I’m trying to convince myself it’ll snow tomorrow. 15 Christmases and it’s never once snowed on the 25th. I’ve learnt that it only happens in films and fairytales.
I’m going to watch the Dr Who special with Georgia now.
XX L XX
Dear Diary, Wednesday
Dads planning a new years party.
I’ve already invited Izzy and her Dad and I’ve been forced into inviting Gazzy. Filippo can’t because he’s going to Manchester with his brothers. Carlos is coming too, he’s bringing a friend, and Dad’s invited at least fifty other friends from all over the world- all in our apartment!
I’m going into crises because I can’t fit into the dress I wanted to wear! So much for going to a sports school if all I’m going to do is put on weight!
Oh gawd, now I’ve started to panic again. I’m going to sift threw Georgia’s gear. I may find something reasonably decent under all the pregnant woman numbers.
Wish me luck…
xX Lola Xx
We’re throwing a massive party for new-year!
And you know what the best bit is? Dad told me his new years resolution: get a new girlfriend. HAHAHA. I don’t think he likes Emily any more. She’s always whining. Dad got really annoyed with her the other day and said "For gods sake, Emily! Get a grip on yourself, Lola whinges less and she’s only 7!"
I hope Saffy won’t get too scared of the fireworks. She always hides under the piano. Bagel likes to watch them from the window and bark.
Dear Diary, Saturday
Last day of the year. Party tonight.
I managed to fish out a dress from my summer things. It looks much nicer then when I wore it for a party last summer seeing as I’ve got more of a cleavage. It’s pink at the hems but fades into white a bit like a daisy. When I twirl around it fans out like a daisy too. I feel as though I’m seven again!
Can’t wait for tonight.
Still, I’ve got things to do. It’s eleven am. I’m still in my pjs.
Things to do:
- Wax legs (NOT shave- bruises all over my shins from karate, don’t want to slice any open!)
- Paint nails (pink)
- Help D & G (Dad and Georgia, not Dolce & Gabbana) shift furniture
- Help set buffet up
- Visit baby in incubator
- Curl hair
- Get dressed
- Put cushions in bathroom in case I look in mirror and faint at beautiful reflection ☺
Ready, steady, GOOOO…
Lola Frecasso’s dairy
Dear Diary, Sunday
MES NEW YRS
- Eat less junk food
- Be less obsessed with shoes. I have 39 pairs and about 20 I’ve only worn once.
- Accept that I am a spoilt brat and stuck up bitch and stop acting like one
- Make more of an effort with Maths
- Not flirt with others when already in relationship with someone
- Get haircut
I could go on for several pages, but already these are already going to be a right pain sticking to.
Our new years party was a bomb. Izzy was wearing a dress; I was so surprised when she turned up I forgot to say hello.
Gazzy thankfully wasn’t. Oops. So much for resolution number three. Our apartment was so thickly thronged with guests by ten; I had to keep a tight grip on Izzy’s hand for fear of loosing her.
Carlos came with his mate Luke Brice. He and Izzy were carefully polite together; remembering to say there pleases and thank-you’s, but never looking at each other directly. I doubt whether Gazzy picked up any of these symptoms, but now and again I saw Luke raise his eyebrows at Carlos or roll his eyes towards the ceiling. He didn’t talk much though. There were loads of people I hadn’t seen for yonks, mostly Dad’s old mates, like Matt and Ross. I got the shock of my life when I opened the door to discover Dad’s forma girlfriend Emily on the porch. I didn’t realize who it was at first, though there was a nagging at the back of my head you sometimes hear when you’re sure you know someone, or have seen them but can’t place who they are. It was when the big bloke next to her, who claimed to be one of Georgia’s friends, said "Ah, you’re a babe, but you can’t be the baby" and I said, pretending with all my heart to be flattered "Nah, I’m Michelo’s other baby, Lola", that she reviled her identity.
I’ve kept track of all dads’ girlfriends, no matter the amount, and had sorted them into categories. I remembered instinctively Emily was labelled "YUCK", and I vividly remember being in her proscription list, so there was no warm flow of affection, from either of us, more polite surprise.
I bet she still remembers the time I called her Filthy Mongrel. HAHA. Saffy certainly remembered being called one. She appeared at my side, took one look at Emily, and gave one measly bark, but it was enough to make Emily cry out in fright and clutch her partner. I snorted in a very unladylike manner and had to duck back threw the crowd of people to the kitchen to find myself some kitchen roll. Luckily I found Dad, he seemed just as surprised when I told him whom the dog dragged in.
"Don’t tell Georgia." He muttered. I was torn between keeping an eye on Izzy+Carlos and Dad+Emily. I have two eyes, mind, so I did a bit of both, until I thought I was doing a lizard impression and was forced to quit before permanently blocking my eyes one looking left, the other right.
We spent midnight in my bedroom (‘we’ being Gazzy, Izzy, Carlos, Luke and myself). We all gave each other a kiss; Izzy got so nervous about giving Carlos a quick peck on the cheek that she nearly knocked him out. We had to press the cold Champaign bottle against his cheekbone to stop the swelling. He got irritated, shook the bottle and squirted us all in Champaign. I think we all got a bit drunk. Gazzy took her top off and rung it out to catch the last drops of Champaign.
I fell asleep on the bedroom floor at about four, but I woke up in Dad’s bed, with the man himself. He had a brutal hang over, so Georgia explained that the dogs got frightened during the fireworks and peed on my bed. Dad had had to carry me to his bed. Great.
Izzy phoned up to thank us for the party. Apparently she and Mr Pott’s had to carry Gazzy home between the two of them since she couldn’t stand up by herself.
Clearing up took forever. Dad said he was too sick to move, and he would just get in the way, which is a typically male thing to say.
I even visited Fedele with Georgia. She’s coming home next week.
Dear Diary, Tuesday
I got bored. Made lunch for the three of us. Sliced finger open while chopping up tomatoes; bled all over the tomato, but found it tricky to pick out the ones with red splashes; had tomato pasta without tomatoes.
I even got out of my way and made fudge cubes. I found the recipe in a book I dug out from a box marked "Baby gear"; baby gear that once belonged to me- and is about to be passed on to the new generation.
I sat in my bare room all afternoon feeling very pleased with my successful little fudge cubes- and eating them. I left a plate of them on the kitchen table for dad and Georgia, but when I went in to make tea I found the dogs had very skilfully jumped up onto the table and sneaked them off to their basket. Muffy was whining because her jaws were stuck together. I think cooking is one of my latest talents.
Dear Diary, Thursday
The hospital unleashed her yesterday. Georgia’s put the cot in her room for now, but eventually she’ll be moved into my room.
Georgia’s gone weird. I think Dad’s having second thoughts about the whole thing.
"There are going to be some radical changes around here." She announced this morning.
"Other then sleepless nights and dirty nappies?" I muttered.
"All right, Lola, I mean positive changes."
"You’re permanently keeping your swollen breasts?" Dad teased.
"For a start, Michele’s not even going to think about lighting that." She snatched the fag from between his teeth. "The house has to be hoovered everyday. The dogs are to be kept out of Lola’s room from now on. We have to take it in turn nappy changing…"
As she spoke, she wrote it down. With each new rule, my mouth and dads fell open a bit more.
"And finally, for now at least, no leaving bits and pieces lying around the house; baby’s are substitute hoovers."
I thought my jaw was going to dislocate itself.
"Darling, it’s just a baby." Dad said.
"Just a baby? This baby is your daughter!"
"I know, I know… but aren’t you going a bit over the top? Maybe you’ve been reading too many mother care magazines?"
"Oh, per-lease! I cringe at the idea of you as a father- lucky I’m here to civilize her or-" She let her voice trail and I realized dad was giving her a dirty look. Georgia’s eyes flickered to me and back to Dad again.
I felt like giving her a karate chop there and then.
"Come on, joking."
"Yeah, very funny, Georgia." Dad said. I wasn’t quite sure which side to take. Well, obviously dads, but I don’t think Georgia meant to insult anyone. Even if she did, it wasn’t me I was worried about; it was how she’d hurt dad.
"I reckon you’re ace." I said, linking my arms around his neck.
"You’re the bestest daddy in the whole wide universe."
Dad pulled a face. "I see I’ve civilized you."
"Uh huh, brainwashed more like."
Georgia folded her arms tight across her chest. I don’t know what look she was giving me, but I hoped it was one similar to what dad had just given her.
Dear Diary, Tuesday
Today was our first day back at school. It’s a relief to be here. To be honest, I’d rather be back at school then anywhere.
That’s a weird thing to say. I know. I even feel creepy for stating it, but there, it’s a fact. I’m happiest at school.
The reasons are obvious. I have my friends, my boyfriend, constant activity, a daily supply of unhealthy food…
Mr Mohei gave me some great news today too- he reckons I’m ready to step up a level and take my brown belt exam! I’m thrilled!!!
He let me have a trial lesson today. Mostly I just sat out, cross-legged in a corner, aching to throw someone to the ground. Karate’s no way near as fun from the sidelines. I decided to spend that time properly, and detect people’s styles, their strengths and their weaknesses. Right at the end I got called up to attack a girl. She was very strong, but clumsy; She landed a blow in my ribs, winding me.
"All right, Zahra, she’s only human." Mohei said. "Broken anything, Lola?"
I was sure there were several splintered ribs, but I managed to force a smile.
"I’m sorry." Zahra muttered.
"It’s ok, you won fair and square."
Rematch. I thought. The moment I’m a brown belt, we’re having a rematch.
Filippo broke the remaining ribs afterwards.
I leapt back from him yelping.
"Sorry, babe. Sometimes I forget my own strength." He said, laughing. "You’re as delicate as a doll."
Which is completely and utterly not true. I’m proud to say I have a flat stomach, and decent curves, but it’s as though I’ve been moulded out of granite. I’m a dense weight.
To round the day off nicely, Gazzy dived on top of me in the pool. So when I stripped my costume off, the rights side of my torso was a mass of purple bruises.
Dad phoned. I’m staying for the weekend. Izzy and I are about to watch a film on Paws’s portable DVD player.
Dear Diary, Thursday
Luke Brice is my adversary.
"Your partner!" Mr Mohei corrected me. "He’s in the Wednesday Friday course. There’s no rivalry between you; you are allies."
Luke sat cross-legged next to me. I saw him smile faintly out of the corner of my eye. I tensed. I was suddenly annoyed that he wasn’t going to take me seriously.
Because I’m a girl.
I didn’t realise I’d voiced that last bit out loud, until they both turned to face me.
"That explains the long hair and blue toe nails." Mohei teased.
I rolled my eyes and leant back on my elbows.
"I meant, just because I’m a girl, it doesn’t mean I can’t have male rivals, does it?"
"Argh, not at all!" He waved his hand dismissively. "I’m worried about Brice here, more then anything."
Luke arched an eyebrow ever so slightly, but it was enough to make me jump to my feet, suddenly wired up.
"Right. I want a fight."
"Because I’m picking one. With him."
"Repeat after me," Mohei said. "We are allies in combat."
I prodded him with my foot. "Peace and harmony’s the key, right? Next you’ll be telling me it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part."
"That’s the spirit!" He followed my lead by jumping up.
"I’ll remember to say that when Luke’s lying on the ground twitching with broken teeth."
Luke flashed me a grin. I couldn’t help smiling back.
I wouldn’t let drop. Mohei had to give in. We got the fight.
If only he hadn’t.
Luke was good, no doubt. His footwork was quick and nimble. He was surprisingly strong too, but so was I; we were quite evenly matched- only I have years of training and passion behind me, similar to the one he and Izzy share for football.
The fight only lasted about a minute, because suddenly I was caught off guard, though we were at least a meter apart from each other. Our eyes met for a split second. I was daring him to make the next move, his gaze matched mine, only his was emphasized at least 100 times by the vividness of the green...
Green. Not grass green, not bottle green, deeper, like lake. It was pointless time wasting what I was doing, contemplating on his eye colouring, when suddenly they were bigger- or closer.
I gasped out loud as my knees were knocked out from under me. I fell comically on my bum, then before I could clear my head, my arms were pinned to my back, and I lay still. If I moved I would only hurt myself. Was pain worse then humiliation?
"I submit. You win." I muttered to the ground.
"It’s the taking part that counts."
I rolled on to my side. It was the first time he’d spoken that lesson. His eyes were sparkling with amusement, yet the rest of his face gave nothing away. Mohei was clapping him on the back.
"And she’s down! What a marvellous sight that is."
"Go suck an egg."
I tore my kimono and trousers off the moment I got into the changing room, and stood under the shower in a huff. I had to stifle a yelp when the shock of freezing water hit me, and accidentally bit down on my tong. I cursed with every word in every language I knew until I ran out of languages and started making up new ones. I decided I was enjoying myself too much to get out of the shower, so I stayed under and washed my hair, happily muttering insults in gobbledygook.
I couldn’t believe it when Luke stopped me by the exit. He must have been waiting because the moment I appeared he jumped up, dropping the book he’d been reading.
"Mohei asked me to tell you the exam dates." He said.
"Where is he?"
"Halfway threw another lesson."
I looked up, which was a mistake, and quickly looked back down again, pretending to look at his fallen book.
"So? Are you going to tell me or not?"
"It’s the third of March, but we’ll have trial lessons every week, seeing as we have a tournament at the beginning of May."
He nodded. "Yeah, all the local schools seem to be competing. Mohei’s decided we can, me and you- if we pass the exam."
I jerked my head to show I’d understood, without looking at him directly.
I wanted to explain that I’d messed up, lost concentration, that I really could kick his ass if I wanted to…
Luke took a step back. "See you." He said, picked up his book, and left.
Filippo was waiting for me at the exit, as promised.
He tried to suffocate me. I shoved him hard in the tummy.
"Hey, what’s up?"
"I’m not an ice-cream, you can’t eat me."
"You look very appetizing to me." He licked his lips. I looked up into his pale blue eyes. They were easy to look at. Comfortable; like slipping into your slippers after a Friday night in stiletto heels. He traced my eyebrows with a finger.
"What’s all this?"
I relaxed my face. I had been frowning. I didn’t feel like explain as we walked back up to school together, so I asked him about his rugby practise. I gave him a quick peck and disappeared into my room.
Izzy wasn’t back yet, so I got my homework out and sprawled over the bed to do it. Izzy had kindly left her maths exercised open on her bed for me to copy, but I decided to remain loyal to Paws and do them myself, or try, at least.
Dear Diary, Friday
History is sooooooooooooooooooooo boring.
Ford and I are eating m&m’s under the desk.
Uh, I’ve dropped one.
Mr McGregor stood on it.
He’s holding Ian culprit, seeing as it rolled near his foot.
Will this lesson ever end?
I’m going to play battle ships with Ford now.
Dear Diary, Monday
I had exam practice again today. We can’t have it during normal timetables because I’m in the Tuesday-Thursday course, and Luke’s in the Wednesday-Friday course, so our timetables overlap. I have football practise on Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Luke has football practise Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.
So we’ve settled on a Monday, straight after dinner.
I was a bit tired after football and swimming, but determined to beet him today. So determined, I accidentally elbowed him in the nose. The next thing I knew, he was doubled over clutching his face, droplets of blood splattered down his front.
"Oh my God!" I yelped. Mohei appeared next to us.
"Is it broken?" Mohei asked.
Luke shook his head, enable to talk with red streams gushing over his lips. The rest of the Brown belts stood, gawping.
"I’m so, so sorry."
"Put your head back." Someone said.
"No, don’t!" I held my hand under his chin. "He’ll choke on his own blood, keep it forward." Mohei steered him to the toilet.
It was such a mess. I can’t believe I gave someone a nosebleed. Actually I can, it’s not the first time, but it’s the first time the boys played the innocent victim.
Dear Diary, Wednesday
It really, really smells here.
Someone blocked the plumbing somehow. The school toilets are over flowing, and you can honestly NOT imagine the smell. One could call it eu de toilette.
The school and I got up to the unusual smell of boiled cabbage and off eggs- only to realise it was our drain.
I haven’t dared venture into the girls toilets in the main building, which is probably a very wise decision, since Carla and Joanne came out looking heavily stoned.
"I don’t know who did it." Mr Paisley grumbled, "Who blocked up the sinks, or the lavatory, but I think it was a sad and sick joke to play, and I hope they get severely punished."
"What if," Carlos said "it was someone with a sever tummy bug, and they really needed to-"
Mr Paisley sent him to the heads office as ‘a guilty suspect’.
"I didn’t say it was me!" We could hear him call as he was marched down the corridor; we all fell about laughing until Mr P threatened to send us all to the head.
I was very pleased to find the pool smelling of chlorine. But as we got dressed after a swimming session, we were forced to put on clothes that reeked of egg and cabbage. I almost went back in my costume and dressing gown.
Izzy and I plan to sleep on the roof tonight. I doubt we are the only ones.
Dear Diary, Thursday
It’s half past 10. The Plummer, under Mrs Carton’s orders, was made to display the assortments of various objects, found in the general sewage pipe, in a heap outside the dorms:
The sole of a trainer.
A plastic bag.
A toothbrush and a kimono belt. All the yellow belts are to be held back during break for a week for farther interrogation. Sofia told me they have to write ‘I will respect the school lavatories’ 50 times each day.
Izzy and I were trying to imagine what would happen if the owner of the pink toothbrush stepped foreword. The best we could come up with was they’d be forced to use it in assembly in front o the whole school.
Fresh from the pipes of course.
More excitement tomorrow, hopefully!
Dear Diary Friday
I’m going to Izzy’s for the weekend.
I can’t write much now, because I’ve got football, but I need to REMEMBER to call dad and tell him the change of plan.
I’m doing a karate course! Dad’s mate Matt has a son who does karate too, he’s called Ron.
Everyone teases poor Ron and calls him Ron the Rabbit because he’s got big teeth and fluffy hair. Dad told me to look after Ron because he’s very shy so the next time one of the boys called him Ron the Rabbit, I said I’d karate chop him but he didn’t believe me, so I did, and he started crying.
Matt said I’m a very good girl ☺
XXXXXX LOLA XXXXXX
Dear Diary, Sunday
I went to Izzy’s this weekend.
As you know.
It was the best weekend in a long time.
She lives in a semi-detached house, narrow with two floors. The gardens the same about size as our balcony, with stone steps running threw it leading up to the front door. There were no poxy flowerbeds like the houses either side; no box hedges. Grass littered with daisies and clover, over grown and untrampled in Izzy’s absence, and a rusty basketball hoop fixed to the front of the house.
"Welcome to the suburbs." Izzy muttered.
If it looked narrow on the outside, it’s nothing to what it’s like on the inside. We practically had to walk sideways to get threw the hall with our bags.
"What do you do when Gazzy comes?" I asked, quite cruelly.
"Oh, haha, funny." We dropped our bags in the living room.
"I supposed you always could haul her up threw the window…"
Her mouth twitched but she wouldn’t betray any feelings.
It was so different from my house. The rooms seemed bare, although the walls were cluttered with photos and drawings by toddler Izzy.
Upstairs there were three doors along the landing; a bathroom and two bedrooms.
Izzy had been given the largest room. There’s a single bed wedged in one corner, a desk in another and an empty chest of draws scattered with possessions.
There was a letter pinned up above he desk with the school logo stamped on.
"Jesus Christ, Izzy!" I said, scanning it. "You got a scholarship?"
"Mm? Oh, yeah."
"And you never told me?"
She shrugged. I scowled at her modesty.
"Did you think we could afford that school else? It costs a bomb."
"I know, I know, I just didn’t realize you got a scholarship."
"Your boyfriend’s got one too, though I suppose he gloats about it."
I goggled at her. Izzy may be modest, so I can almost understand how she kept it quite, but Filippo?!
"No, no. She had a rich uncle who left her and her brothers a sack of gold."
"Anyone else I should know about?"
She shrugged again. "Not that you should know about, no."
We walked down to the local park. There was only one swing so we stood on it together face to face, and swung as high as we could until one of us would lie on their back in the air, and the other on their tummy, giggling like crazy as my skirt whipped around my thighs.
I wanted to do a titanic; spread my arms, but there was no Leonardo De Caprio to hold me.
We made pancakes for lunch. Izzy’s dad came home as we were eating.
"Hey girls!" He said cheerfully, giving Izzy a one armed hug, shaking my offered hand with the other. "Did Gazzy stay on?"
"She couldn’t. Gareth dropped us off."
"He has a licence?"
"Even if he does he doesn’t deserve it." Izzy said, grinning.
"Agreed. I thought the car was going to tip coming around some of those bends."
They both chuckled at my witty truth.
"You’re well acquainted with the Bryton family?" I asked once her dad was out of the room.
"Sort of. We know them threw Gazzy." She lowered her voice. "Dad reckons I’ve dropped Gazzy, since you came."
"Really? Sorry, I mean, I’m honoured if you have."
She pretended to gag on her pancake. "Yeah, yeah. The honours all mine."
We went on a mattress hunt later. A pointless mattress hunt, seeing as the mattress couldn’t be found anywhere. Izzy concluded that there probably hadn’t ever been a spare mattress; she had purely assumed there would be.
We slept head-tail in Izzy’s single bed. To start with, anyway. Izzy’s bony toes kept prodding me in the waist, so I’d prod her back, that way we’d start a foot war, until there was only one lucky survivor. Izzy flopped onto the floor in a heap, tangled in blankets. She was giggling so much she didn’t even have the strength to get back in bed.
"You can stay down there now." I said.
"It’s my bed."
"I’m the guest."
Her head emerged from under her pillow. "I get all the duvet."
I turned around so I was the proper way around and tugged Izzy in next to me. Dobbin, the cat, a straggly tabby with bulbous eyes, crawled our from under the chest of draws covered in dust balls and leapt on top of us.
"I’ve just thought." Said Izzy. "We could have slept in Dad’s bed. It’s a double."
"Oops." I giggled. "I prefer this anyway, it’s a lot more snug." I put my arms around her.
"What are you doing? Raping me?"
"Would it be classed as a rape?"
She snorted. "Have you ever kissed a girl?"
I couldn’t help giggling again. "Is that an invitation?"
"No, duh, it’s a question."
I couldn’t believe this was Izzy. It’s amazing the things you can say in the dark, but wouldn’t voice them for toffee in daylight.
"No, not properly. In games, but even then it’s just a measly peck."
She shuddered dramatically. "Loads of people reckon I’m a lesbian."
I couldn’t help grinning to myself in the dark. "Probably because you play football."
"So do you."
"Yeah, but I’m way too much into boys. I don’t exactly keep my relationship discreet."
"What if I am?"
I sighed. "I think you’d know. I mean, you’re lying in bed with me, in my arms. Do you have an urge to-"
You try and help a friend, and they’re never grateful.
"Maybe you’re not my type."
"It sounds like you want to be a lesbo." I said.
"No, I don’t. I’m just saying, you like kissing Filippo, but would you like to kiss Ford?"
I shudder. "Are you comparing me to Ford?"
"Yes, no, not in that sense. You know what I mean. You’re not my type. Maybe."
"In which case you have no taste in girls. Really, who-"
I stopped short. I almost gagged on my own tong. The thought hit me again so violently this time I almost screamed it out loud "Gazzy! You’re lesbian, with Gazzy!"
"Ok. That’s confirmed I’m most certainly not one of those."
I let out the breath I’d been holding.
"Few. Imagine having sex with her? Especially you, Izzy, she’d flatten you."
"I’m getting disturbing images."
"Presides, you fancy Carlos."
Her body completely tensed.
"I’m right, aren’t I?"
"Wrong. He’s my best mate."
"So? You can still fancy him."
She stayed silent.
"Well, to be honest, I don’t care what you tell me. I say you fancy him. He likes you too. I thought it was me he was after, but that was just a mix up."
We stayed quite for a while longer. Neither of us was in the least bit sleepy though.
"When did you mum die?"
I couldn’t see her reaction, so I waited for an answer.
"Four years ago."
4 years? Aged 10, old enough to understand what had happened. Old enough to be really close to a mother.
"That’s cruel." I said.
"That she was taken from you." I immediately regretted saying that.
"You reckon God took her?"
"I’m sorry. The nun years are rubbing off on me a bit." I smiled. "You don’t believe in God."
"So where do you reckon she is now?"
"Dead. The earth. Rotting." She sniffed. I was startled at her abruptness. "Breast cancer took her in the end."
There was another silence. Then Izzy asked:
"What about your mum? You think she’s in heaven?"
"Some people call Hollywood heaven I suppose."
"What?! She’s not-"
"Nope. She’s alive and living. An actress and ex-model. Then I came along and screwed that up."
"They were engaged, but never married."
I knew Izzy well enough to know she wasn’t going to insist unless I did, so I said, "She left pretty much after I was born. Dad’s raised me, and it’s not as though I’ve never had female company."
"He met Georgia?"
"Don’t be thick. She’d have been about twelve at the time."
I laughed. "She’s only twenty two now."
"They’re both so young!"
"Dad’s not, he’s thirty-four."
"My dad’s forty-three."
Dobbin made a nest between us. He’s actually quite sweet for something so mangy.
We played football in the park this morning. Penalty shoots. Then a whole group of little boys came along and asked ever-so-sweetly if they could play with us. They’re more of a match then the Saint Bartholomew’s! A team of nine-year- old boys is quite something!
School again tomorrow. I can hardly restrain my excitement…
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