Across a crowded room stood a lone girl, staring at nothing in particular until something completely unexpected and, to her, totally fantastic happened. The most popular boy in school bumped into her. She looked him straight in the eyes and smiled. He smiled back. He must have said something because he pointed his thumb over his shoulder and twisted his body slightly, but she didn't hear anything, she just nodded. He grinned and walked out of the room. A moment later a girl called Sandy Mitchel tapped the girl on the shoulder. The girl spun round. Sandy introduced herself and asked the girl's name as she had not seen her before. My name's Ali Smeedly. I've just moved here,\" the girl replied. Sandy asked what Brad Harley wanted. Ali shrugged, grinned and left. In the next few weeks Ali saw Brad only once and that wasn't even in school, it was outside her house. She was just going out to play basketball, when Brad walked out of the house next door. He was wearing a Chicago Bulls basketball kit and carrying a basketball. Ali called to Brad. He turned around as Ali was running down the drive to him. \"So you live next door,\" said Ali. \"Yep I sure do,\" said Brad. \"You've haven't got a problem with that do you?\" he asked sounding concerned. \"No,\" said Ali smiling. Brad looked at Ali. They both had twinkles in their eyes. Brad asked Ali to come to basketball practice with him. Instantly Ali accepted. Without thinking about it Brad and Ali walked down the street hand in hand. At practice Ali watched nine eighth-graders play and arguing about unfair teams until Brad asked Ali to play. The other boys sniggered but Ali did anyway. She was on Brad's team. A full game took place in which Ali scored ten three point and four two point field goals. Brad's team won as the other team scored no points at all. The boys which were Chet, Chad, Gary, Wyatt, Christian, Tom, Kiefer and Kevin, complemented Ali on her skill and then they joked about if she could play baseball as well. \"I can actually,\" remarked Ali. Chad said, \"Hey Ali, you play like Michael Jordan and John Stark!\" \"Well you may not believe this but I'm related to Shaun Kemp. He's my uncle by marriage,\" said Ali. \"I didn't think Shaun Kemp was married?\" said Wyatt. \"Divorced,\" explained Ali. \"What a crock of…\" said Tom who was cut off by Brad. \"I can't say I believe the story but if Shaun Kemp was here or I could see some records I might just believe it,\" said Brad. Christian and Chet, who had kept completely silent, started asking questions like: his age, how many points he scored each season, what team he started with and his favourite colour. Ali answered the questions quickly and correctly. Still the guys didn't totally believe her. Brad said, \"Well it's tea-time and I'm hungry, so let's go home. Everyone, I'll pack up the stuff,\" Brad said and winked. The boys said bye to Brad and Ali, and took off. Brad picked up the balls and bibs, put in the cupboard, then shut and locked the doors. Ali was walking out the door with Brad when it happened. Brad kissed her! It was so cool! When Ali opened her eyes who did she see behind Brad but Sandy Mitchel. \"Only three weeks in town and already stealing my boyfriend!\" she said with a tear in her eye. Brad looked furious and firmly but quietly said, \"I'm not your boyfriend. I never was and never will be your boyfriend.\" Sandy turned and ran off down Fifth Avenue. Brad turned to Ali. \"That girl needs help,\" he said. \"She just hasn't been the same since her parent got divorced last year.\" Ali nodded then looked down the street Sandy had run down. \"She'll be alright won't she? I mean she won't do anything stupid, would she?\" asked Ali sounding worried. \"I hope not. I sure hope not,\" said Brad putting his arm around Ali's shoulders and leading her home. At school the next day Ali did not see Sandy. When she asked the girls Sandy hung around with they ignored her. Ali met up with Brad in the cafeteria. He was with Christian, Kiefer, Tom and Kevin. \"Hiya guys,\" said Ali. She gave Brad a kiss. \"Hi,\" said the boys in chorus. \"Hey, erm can I ask you a question Ali?\" inquired Kiefer. \"Sure. Shoot,\" Ali replied. \"Are you and Brad dating now?\" he asked. \"Why?\" said Ali. \"Well if you're not erm well I was wondering if you would, er, go on a date with me?\" Kiefer said going bright red. Ali glanced at Brad. Brad answered for her. \"I guess we are. If that's ok with Ali? Sorry, Pee Wee I guess you missed out again.\" Kiefer lowered his head and nodded. Ali said, \"Kiefer don't be upset. Hey the right girl will come along one day, one prettier than me but then that's not hard.\" \"I supposed,\" he muttered. \"No-one could be prettier than you Ali. You're the looker of the century,\" Christian complemented. After messing about with Brad, Ali asked if he had heard off Sandy. He shook his head, gave her a long kiss and went to his next class. A meeting was called in the gymnasium before last period. \"I have some tragic news to give you all,\" said Mr Baxter, the head. \"Sandy Mitchel has been killed.\" There was a deadly silence. \"She was found this morning in her swimming pool with weights attached to her feet. The police would like to speak to anyone who saw Sandy last night before 10pm,\" he said rounding it up. Ali was horrified. Even though she knew it was not her fault, she could not help feeling it was. As they had the rest of the week of Ali went home and played her SNES non-stop for 3 days. She did not see Brad at all. Brad came round to ask Ali if she wanted to play baseball. \"What I really feel like doing is boxing with the person who killed Sandy,\" said Ali with anger in her voice. \"Calm down Ali,\" said Brad. \"I know how you must be feeling right now.\" \"How could you?\" asked Ali. \"Because, Sandy tried killing herself a few years ago, when I first moved here. Her boyfriend died in a car crash and I looked like him and that set her off.\" Ali listened. A shocked look was on her face. \"I'm sorry Brad. I just feel like it was somehow my fault,\" she said. \"I know, I know,\" Brad replied putting his arm around her shoulder. \"How about a game of baseball to take your mind off it for a while?\" Ali nodded and went with Brad. They met up with Chet, Chad, Gary, Wyatt, Christian, Tom, Kevin, Kiefer and Michelle Joseph, a girl in Ali's class. She was with Kiefer. \"Hi,\" said Kiefer. \"Well I managed to get a girlfriend, I think, anyway thanks Ali.\" \"What for?\" Ali asked. \"Giving me confidence\" Kiefer replied. He looked at Brad with a questioning look on his face. Brad nodded. Kiefer smiled, leaned over to Ali and kissed her cheek. \"Thanks,\" he said again. \"Enough with the mushy stuff. Who's for baseball?\" said Tom clapping his hands. A cheer went up as the stuff was set up. \"Hey Ali,\" Gary shouted. \"How are you holding up about Sandy? You okay?\" \"Hanging on by the tips of my fingers,\" Ali said glumly. \"Don't worry it will be over soon. I'll see to that,\" he whispered. Ali didn't know what he meant but nodded and went to see Michelle. \"You playing?\" inquired Ali. Michelle shook her head. \"Okay. See you later.\" Ali went to play baseball. Ali, of course, had to be on Brad's team. So were Kiefer, Chet and Wyatt. Chad, Gary, Tom, Christian and Kevin on the other. Ali hit 4 home runs, struck out Gary and Chad, and caught Tom, Christian and Kevin while on 3rd base. So Ali's team won. Kiefer said he would pack up the kit and winked. They all knew what that meant and left. Brad walked Ali home. Brad kissed Ali goodnight and crossed the lawn to his house. At school Gary did not seem to want to talk to Michelle or Brad. He ignored them and acted as if they were not there. Ali did not see Gary at lunch or for the rest of the day. That evening a police car pulled up outside Brad's house. Ali watched from a downstairs window. The next thing she saw was the police taking Brad away. Brad glanced briefly at Ali's house. He saw Ali and turned his head towards the ground. Ali was puzzled and all the next day at school she just kept thinking about Brad. She thought he looked ashamed. While in thought, Kiefer, Chad, Chet, Tom, Kevin, Christian and Wyatt approached her. \"Hey Ali,\" Chad shouted. \"You seem off in another world. What's up? Is it Brad?\" he asked. \"Yeah,\" she replied. \"The police came and arrested him.\" \"Hey, while I was out with Michelle last night they came and arrested her too,\" piped up Kiefer. \"I wonder what it's about?\" said Chet thoughtfully. \"Anyway,\" said Tom, \"have you seen Gary Ali? See we haven't seen him since that baseball game.\" Ali shrugged. \"I bet he's been arrested as well,\" joked Wyatt. \"No such luck Wyatt,\" said a familiar voice behind him. It was Gary. Everyone asked him where he had been. He told them he was helping the police with their enquiries and left it at that. During last period Mr Baxter called an emergency meeting for the eighth-graders. \"Brad Harley, Gary Droid and Michelle Joseph have been charged with the murder of Sandy Mitchel. Gary, however, helped the police was given bail and probably have to serve community service,\" he said glumly. Everyone was speechless. \"I have told you so you will treat Gary as normal,\" Mr Baxter said and ended the meeting. As soon as they left Ali and Kiefer immediately wanted to know everything. Gary told them that Brad was seeing Sandy and Ali at the same time. \"So what about Michelle?\" Kiefer interrupted. Gary continued to tell them that Brad and Michelle were going out. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. \"What do you mean?\" asked Ali puzzled. Gary explained that he had seen Michelle and Brad kissing and threatened to tell Sandy. Brad had told Gary that if he did he would kill him. Brad then started going out with Ali. Gary had followed Brad to Sandy's house. There he saw Michelle and Brad tying weights to Sandy. Gary had run in to stop them, slipped on the wet and slid into Brad who pushed Sandy in to the pool. Michelle told Gary he was an accomplice to murder. Gary turned and ran home. He went to the police after school the next day. \"Now Brad and Michelle have been arrested and will be sent to a Juvenile Detention Centre for a long time,\" concluded Gary. \"So that's what you meant when you told me it would be over soon,\" exclaimed Ali. Gary nodded. \"Great,\" said Kiefer. \"The only girlfriend I can get is going out with someone else and is a murderer. Brilliant, just brilliant.\" Just as Ali was about to say something Wyatt and Christian came running down the corridor. \"Hey Kiefer,\" yelled Wyatt, \"You know Michelle was arrested?\" \"Yeah,\" answered Kiefer. \"Well now you could ask Ali out on a date,\" puffed Christian. \"Oh, hi Ali. Gary.\" \"I don't know guys,\" said Kiefer. \"You know all this stuff with Brad and that.\" \"Oh come on Pee-wee don't be stupid and lose your chance,\" said Wyatt. \"Ok,\" said Kiefer giving in. \"Ali will you go out with me?\" \"Ok,\" said Ali. \"See guys, she said… What did you say?\" asked Kiefer. \"I said OK. Yes. Alright,\" replied Ali. Kiefer jumped in the air and yelled. He kissed Ali on the cheek. Ali tutted and gave Kiefer a long kiss on the lips. The bell rang for end of school. Ali and Kiefer said goodbye to Gary, Wyatt and Christian. Kiefer walked Ali home. Before Ali went into her house she said, \"Kiefer, why do the guys call you Pee-wee?\" \"Small personal thing,\" answered Kiefer. He kissed Ali and said good night. After school the next day was basketball practice. Ali went with Kiefer. When they got there Tom said, \"There's nine people and that's going to be unfair teams.\" \"Don't be so sure,\" said Ali. She went outside. When she came back inside, Shaun Kemp was with her. \"I told you Shaun Kemp was my uncle,\" smirked Ali. \"Thought it would cheer you all up,\" she said. Ali, Shaun Kemp, Kiefer and the guys had a great game. Ali was on the opposite team to Shaun Kemp. It was a tight game. Ali scored almost as many points as Shaun Kemp and stopped a few as well. Even so Shaun Kemp, Chad, Chet, Tom and Kevin beat Ali, Kiefer, Wyatt, Christian and Gary by three points. When Shaun Kemp left, everyone thanked Ali over and over. Ali said, \"Everyone needed cheering up, so I thought that would be the best way to do it.\" Tom packed the stuff away and let everyone else go home. When Ali got home, she sat on her bed and thought, \"What a weird couple of months.\"
© Copyright 2016 Jemma Packman. All rights reserved.