Claire's Friend

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
In this short story my character is led astray by someone she thinks is a close friend. The ending is upsetting as she loses a part of herself she can never get back.

Submitted: August 29, 2012

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Submitted: August 29, 2012

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Claire’s Friend

 

 

Claire was always very pretty, prettier than most girls at school. She was older than me and knew how to do special things with her makeup, like a thick black flick at the edge of her eyelid. Sometimes Claire would do me the flick and then I felt special too. Everyone said she was weird and my mum always told me I shouldn’t hang around with her. When I told Claire she told me I should ignore everyone. She said they were just jealous that we were friends and my mum just wished she was young and pretty like us. Sometimes I believed her, sometimes I didn’t. I don’t think mum was jealous of Claire, mum was really pretty too and she wasn’t that old, not like grandma.

 

It had been winter for ages and the only green I’d seen in weeks had been in mine and mum’s holiday photos. I didn’t like the winter. My lips always went really dry and sometimes they bled. Claire gave me some special cream for them. It didn’t really help. When mum found it she said it wasn’t very good and gave me some of her cream instead.

 

When I woke up on my 13th birthday my lips felt extra dry so I put on lots of mum’s cream. I put on more than usual making sure the cream completely covered my lips until they looked shiny and greasy. I looked out the window and our garden was covered in a blanket of snow. You couldn’t even see where we’d dug the grave for Sandy last summer. I liked to see it. There were no footprints in the snow because mum said we shouldn’t go out in the garden. No point, she always said.

 

I went downstairs and because it was my birthday mum had made me my favourite breakfast, chocolate chip pancakes made into star shapes. I felt a bit old eating them but she looked like she’d tried hard so I didn’t tell her that. After I’d ate all the pancakes she gave me my present. It was a pretty necklace. She told me it was grandma’s so I better look after it. I told her I would and asked why grandma didn’t want it anymore. She said grandma had stopped wearing necklaces. I hadn’t seen grandma for a long time, I asked mum about it once but she went very quiet and had this sad look in her eye so I never asked again. I didn’t really miss her anyway. She could never hear what I said and she smelt a bit funny.

 

I put on my necklace and gave mum a really big hug and said it was a really lovely present. She told me we would go out somewhere after school as a special treat. I knew we would go to the little restaurant that Ted from round the corner runs because we always went there for special treats. I didn’t mind though. I really liked the restaurant. It had little fairy lights around the walls and Ted always made me star shaped pancakes for desert. I didn’t tell mum I knew where the treat was though. I wanted to pretend it was a surprise. I liked surprises.

 

Mum told me she would walk me to school if I wanted but I told her Claire was meeting me at the post box on Calder Street so she didn’t have to. She opened her mouth as if to say something but shut it again. Then she told me to have a good day and to remember we were going out after school. I told her I couldn’t wait, kissed her on the cheek and left the house.

 

 

Claire was waiting at the post box. She was leaning up against it smoking a cigarette. It was still snowing and she was wearing a bright red hat and matching scarf. Her legs were bare and it made me shudder just looking at them. I was wearing woolly black tights and my legs were still cold. She was facing away from me and I got all the way behind her without her realising I was there. Just as I was about to tap her on the shoulder she spun around. She smiled and shouted happy birthday and then squeezed me really tight. I said thank you and smiled back. She asked me what my mum had got me for my birthday and I showed her my necklace with a smile. She didn’t look that impressed and looked away from me, taking another drag on her cigarette. She asked me what I wanted to do today and I asked her if she meant at lunchtime. We usually snuck out of school at lunchtime and Claire would ask people around the bus station if they could lend her a pound because she had lost her purse and couldn’t get home. Sometimes she would ask me to do it too. If she got enough money she’d buy ten cigarettes and we’d go to Max’s pub that lets anyone in even people as young as us. Claire would drink lager and smoke her cigarettes. I’d usually just drink tap water because Max let me have it for free. But Claire said she didn’t mean at lunchtime. She said that because it was my birthday we should do something exciting. I didn’t say anything. She said she knew this boy who had his own house and they would all be there now. She said they would have lots of booze and maybe even some other stuff, stuff we’d never tried before. I still didn’t say anything. I’d drunk booze a couple of times with Claire but I never really liked it. It tasted funny in my mouth and made my eyes go blurry and my head hurt. She carried on telling me about these boys and their house and the fun things they had there and her eyes were getting bigger and bigger and she was talking faster and faster and I could tell she was excited and wanted to go. I smiled and said it sounded like fun, more fun than boring maths with Mr Matthews. Claire agreed with me and said that Mr Matthews was a right prick who wanted us to be as miserable as him. I laughed when she said that but I didn’t say anything. I quite liked Mr Matthews, he always gave me extra help when I needed it and didn’t seem that miserable.

 

Claire had stopped seeing her boyfriend, or he’d stopped seeing her. I was never really sure with Claire. I’d asked about him, I always asked about them but she just shrugged her shoulders like always and muttered the word prick. She liked that word. She had a strange look in her eyes whenever she said it, sometimes it scared me but she never called it me and never looked at me like that so I didn’t mind too much. She was in a good mood today, laughing and tugging at my arm as we half ran down the street. Suddenly she stopped and then I stopped and then she looked me up and down. Take your tights off she said. I said I didn’t want to. I was really cold I told her. She said it would be warm in the house, too warm for tights. She said I’d look silly walking into a warm house in thick woolly tights. I thought she was probably right. I was starting to feel a bit hot and stuffy in them already. She dragged me down a little alley and hoisted my skirt up, she gently pulled my tights down from my hips to my ankles, she lifted up one of my feet and I held onto her shoulder for support. When my tights were off and my shoes were back on she stood up. She told me I looked very pretty. I blushed and mumbled thanks. I felt a bit weird, my tummy felt really heavy and I was breathing a bit quicker than normal. She grinned at me, tugged at my hand and then we were on the street again.

 

Outside a tall red-bricked house she stopped. I asked if this was it and she said yeah she thought so. I looked at her and told her I was nervous, that I knew she really wanted to go in and it was a wonderful idea for my birthday but couldn’t we just go to Max’s pub like always. She squeezed my hand and said it was fine for me to be nervous but it was my 13th birthday, we could go to Max’s shitty old pub any day but this was a special day she told me. She pushed my hair off my face and stroked my cheek and told me I’d be okay. I’ll be there the whole time with you she said, if you feel scared just grab my hand and everything will be fine. My tummy felt even heavier than before and I felt a bit sick but I could see how much she wanted to go inside so I smiled and said okay let’s go.

 

She knocked the door and we waited in silence. I wanted to turn around and leave. I wanted my mom. Or Mr Matthews. Or even Max in his pub, smiling at me with his crooked mouth and endless tap water.

 

Light shone through the frosted glass window and a dark silhouette opened the door with a creak. He smiled at us and told us to come in.

 

He led us into a dusty room on the bottom floor where another boy sat and smiled at us. Claire sat down on a sofa. I looked around but there was no more space so I just stood there with nowhere to sit. Claire grabbed my hand and pulled me down next to her. She’d squashed all the way up to the boy on her right and made room for me by the arm of the chair. I was glad I was sitting on the end. I didn’t want to sit next to either of the boys.

 

They offered us a drink. Claire said yes thanks and took two lagers, passing one to me. They offered us a cigarette. Claire took one. I shook my head, I didn’t smoke, but Claire nudged me and looked at me in a weird way so I changed my mind and took one too.

 

We drank and smoke and Claire talked. They asked her how old we were. She lied. I wanted to ask her why but my head felt fuzzy from the lager so I didn’t. They asked our names. She answered for both of us. There was a cigarette being passed round the room. Claire passed it to me nudging me with the same look in her eye as before so I took a drag. It tasted funny, not like normal cigarettes and as soon as I passed it back my head felt a bit strange. When I looked at Claire I started laughing, she looked so funny. As soon as I started I couldn’t stop. She was laughing too. I was having such a good time. I tried to thank her, to tell her she was right, it was a great idea but I couldn’t stop laughing. I didn’t mind, I was sure she knew what I meant.

 

The boys asked why we were here and not at school and I decided I wanted to talk this time. I told them it was my birthday and I showed them my necklace but when I started telling them about me and mum going to Ted’s restaurant later Claire butted in, saying something about us wanting to spend my birthday somewhere more exciting and making some joke about Mr Matthews.

 

The boy in the white baseball cap knelt on the floor and tipped some white powder onto the table. It looked like the same powder that mum sometimes put on her body after she’d had a bath. He rolled up a five pound note and sniffed the powder up into his nose. He passed the note to Claire and she nodded at the table asking what it was. I can’t remember what he said but then Claire turned to me with a glint in her eye and said she’d do it if I did. They were both looking at me. Claire took my hand and squeezed it. I nodded my head. She got the note and sniffed up some of the powder. She passed it straight to me. I was shaking as I picked it up; my head still felt fuzzy and the heavy feeling was back in my tummy. I sniffed the powder and felt it fly up my nose. There was a weird taste in the back of my throat and it felt like it was going numb. I sniffed again. The taste got stronger and it felt like something was stuck there. It’s in my throat I shouted to the room, I can’t breath. The one with the cap slowly shrugged his shoulders, his eyes were closed. Claire’s eyes were closed as well and the boy who had answered the door wasn’t there anymore. My head started to feel really heavy and my eyes started flickering shut. I felt like sand, trickling through someone’s fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I woke up in a bed. Claire was lying next to me, her hand in mine. The boy who had answered the door was next to her and the other boy next to him. My skirt was hitched up to my hips and my underwear was lying on the floor. I saw the red mark in my knickers and immediately felt the pain between my legs. I looked outside at the dark night and felt a tear in the corner of my eye. I’d missed mum’s surprise meal, she’d be wondering where I was. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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