Of Musings and Wonderings











Currently, my word count for this year stands at 50,266. This means that, with five days to spare, I’m actually 266 words over the word count. I’ve mentioned before that I thought I would struggle this year, working full-time, but it’s actually been my best year. Maybe because of the lack of essays and readings to do. I’ve been able to just get home from work and write, without worrying about anything else. Anyway, for anyone who would like to read it, the first seven chapters are on FictionPress, here. If you want a taster, here’s the prologue. As always, if you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you?

Outside Your Window
Prologue: Stalemate

The cross hung from the thin gold chain around her neck, and every time her mouth opened, her hand flickered up to the cross, fingers brushing over it. Her eyes remained locked on him, bent over the keyboard, back hunched over.

He knew the only reason she wore it was to piss him off.

She had had it since she was thirteen, her communion present from an aunt. Or, as he liked to call it, just another part of the indoctrination process.

His eyes flickered over the screen, finger tapping on the mouse whenever he saw a link that caught his eye. When her mouth opened, when her fingers brushed over that gold cross – a symbol of how far they had drawn her in – he glanced over his shoulder at her, muttering something in reply, though in reality he was barely listening.

He liked to think she didn’t realise.

But if he had listened, he would know that she was all too aware that her words were going in one ear and out the other. They were simply sounds to him, something that for a brief moment interrupted his constant search. The search for something, she liked to think, she had already found.

“My parents want us over for Sunday dinner,” she said, waiting for him to snap about how he wasn’t going to go to church, no matter how many times they were asked.

She could just about remember the flutter in her chest, every time she saw him. She could remember the blush heating her cheeks, the way her eyes would widen whenever he told her how wrong her parents were, how wrong the people were she spent her Sundays with. Without a doubt, she had been enthralled and fascinated to find someone who was so different to them, who, she believed, really did think for himself.

But he was just as foolish as the rest of them.

“Why do you wear that?” He threw the question over his shoulder, before his attention returned to the screen.

She had to catch herself, surprised she had crossed his mind for even a second.

“Because I…”

Because it’s a symbol of my faith.

Because it brings me hope.

Because it reminds me I am loved, by someone.

They had come to a stalemate.

It had crept up on them both from the beginning, really. It wasn’t supposed to last, not really. A fling, an experiment for her. She was still finding herself when he found her, still trying to realise who she was. She had only ever had one boyfriend, and he had cried the few times they had done the act that was supposed to bring people closer together.

Her parents had loved him.

They had not loved the boy – the man – in front of her.

Their determination that he was not going to be a part of their lives had pushed her into moving out, but when they started relenting, starting inviting them over for Sunday dinner or to family parties and meals, the attraction had waned.

Not that she would ever admit it to them.

She took a deep breath.

Neither of them were happy, and she wished he could see it. He crawled into bed at three, four in the morning, turned his back on her and fell asleep. She lay on her back, staring at the ceiling, her fingers brushing the cold cross, still searching, still looking.

I am loved.

By a man she couldn’t see? Couldn’t touch or feel or have a conversation with?

It wasn’t enough. Of course it wasn’t; she had tried so hard to convince herself it was, to tell herself that what she had with him was enough, but she would always have Him.

But as she stared at the slope of his neck, stared at the mark just under his ear and the ruffled, dark hair, she knew one of them would have to break it, for both their sake’s. She wanted excitement, and fun, and she wanted to be loved. More than anything, she wanted to say I love you and hear someone say it back, and not just as an automatic response.

Walking away would throw her into the unknown. As things were – not perfect, not right and nowhere near happy – it was easy. She had someone to come home to, had someone she could tell about her day even if he wasn’t listening.

And if she walked away, she would just be proving her parents right.

Her back stiffened, as he pushed away from the computer and spun around, a big smile on his face. His eyes were framed by lashes longer than hers, his eyes a beautiful shade of brown. She had loved him. The face that looked at her was the face of the man she had fallen for, hard.

The feelings were gone, but how was she supposed to turn her back on them completely? On him?

“Film’s finished downloading,” he announced, and she was struck by how different he seemed, now his face wasn’t reflecting the light of the screen. “Want me to hook it up to the Blu-Ray?”

The smile came easily, for the first time in God knew how long. He was safe. And despite everything, she liked safe.

“Sure.”

Two Months Later

Everything crumpled around him. For a second, he thought the walls were actually falling, actually wrenching themselves apart. But when the image disappeared, the walls were still there. She wasn’t.

His heart thumped in his chest as he moved to the kitchen. The flat had seemed huge when they first brought it, with a spare room they had turned into a study and a giant living room. It had seemed to shrink over the last couple of years, but now it seemed too big. He yanked open the fridge, eyes roaming over the food there.

There was a take away box with soup in it. A post-it stuck on the top read more in the freezer. He looked in other appliance, hands shaking as he surveyed the boxes there.

How long had she been planning it?

Slowly, he drew in a breath. In through his mouth, out his nose. Once, twice, three…

He stumbled back, falling into a chair at the kitchen table. His hand went to his head, and as it moved he suddenly had the image of her hand, her delicate, long fingers brushing against her cross.

There was someone else.

There had to be!

He was shaking as he stared around, wondering what to do. His friends, the people he could spend hours talking to, lived too far away. The US, Australia, various places in Asia.

His fingers tingled as he brought his hand down, itching to move swiftly across his keyboard, to click his mouse. A game. Maybe that was what he needed; he needed to play a game, to log on, to lose himself.

Scrambling from the chair he lumbered through the hallway, before finding himself stumbling towards the chair. He wrenched it out from the desk, sinking into it before turning to the computer. Moments later, he was watching the bar load up as the game connected.

The moments ticked by.

I’m leaving, Brandon. I can’t do it anymore.

I don’t love you, and you don’t love me.

She had been wrong, he was sure of it. Love wasn’t something you could define easily, he knew that much. But surely what they had – the ease, the comfortableness – was love? What else was there supposed to be?

Maybe she just needed time, he thought. Maybe, after a few days with her parents and being made to traipse back and forth to that building where they spoke to their invisible man, she would realise how much she really needed him.

As they always did, his fingers moved quickly. They knew without his eyes looking where everything was, knew with the magic of muscle memory exactly what to do.

The chat box popped up.

Wondered where u were.

C’mon man! We need you!

His eyes flickered from the box to the middle of the screen, before he typed a response.

She’s left me.

Who?

My girlfriend.

Oh, that sucks. Got a new mission coming up if you fancy it.

He stared at the screen, his mouth feeling strangely dry.

Sometimes, just sometimes, he grew bored of the game. When that happened, he would watch a film with her, or talk to her, or they would just sit in their bed and read together.

When had they last done any of that, though?

He had downloaded the new game just a couple of weeks ago (or was it months?) and it had taken up all of his time. But she understood that, she always did. She had been there when every new game had come out, had got on with her own life while he lost himself in discovering a new world and new characters with old friends.

Friends whose response to his girlfriend leaving was just Got a new mission.

The next words that popped up surprised him and, what struck him even more, it was a private message.

For his eyes only.

How long were you two going out

He didn’t recognise the name, but responded any way, grasping at any chance to pour out his heart.

A few years. He struggled to remember the exact time. She had always been good at that. In his mind, he reached for something – a number – that would stand out to him, that would make him remember. But he couldn’t.

That sucks. Sorry. You not got any mates you could hang out with?

He glanced at the name. Messenger632. With a shrug, he replied.

Not here.

You away from home or something?

I guess. Home. That small town where his parents lived. No, the city he had moved to when he was eighteen. Scrap that – the flat he was in now?

Brandon frowned. Home.

Yeah, I’m away from home.

When did she go?

An hour ago. He thought. It could have been longer. He really had no idea. Closing his eyes, he leant back. The strong smell of her perfume filled the room, like it usually did when she walked in during a game. His eyes snapped open, but she wasn’t there.

Of course she wasn’t.

It seemed pretty final, he typed. He watched the words across the bottom; messenger632 is currently typing.

You really love her?

Yes. The answer required no thought; of course he did. He frowned at the screen. It seemed an odd question to ask, anyway. Coming from a stranger.

Plenty more fish in the sea. Chin up – maybe it’s for the best.

Messenger632 logged off, leaving Brandon staring at the screen. He shook his head, before focusing on the game at hand.

His friends were waiting for him; they needed him.

And they needed him to focus. He pushed thoughts of her out of his head, before plunging into the world at his fingertips.



It raged around him, tendrils reaching forward to lick his skin as he ran. The heat was overwhelming, smoke working its way into his throat and mouth. Behind, the cabin burnt fiercely, black smoke against the dark sky. The fire didn’t leave him; it followed, each tree trunk ahead catching as he tried to escape the flames.

“Stop!”

The shape in front of him begged until his feet skidded in the mud and he tumbled forward. His eyes darted around, searching for any sign of water. The girl flickered, but he ignored her. There were tears on her face, as she stepped towards him.

“Get away from me!” Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was reminded that men didn’t scream. But he didn’t think he was a man. He wasn’t sure. If he wasn’t a man, what was he? “Just…get away!”

“Please…my love…”

His hand reached forward, grasping for the vial in the grass. His fingers wrapped around it and he brought it closer to his chest, fumbling with the lid.

“No, no, don’t…it’s not…stop! It’s…”

X X X

“Poison!”

If he had still been human, he knew he would be drenched in sweat. As it was, his skin was dry as he dragged himself from sleep and faced the girl sitting opposite him. She looked scared, a look he hadn’t seen on her in years.

“Jesus bloody Christ, Poison, you were screaming.”

He shook his head, running a hand through his hair. Dry. Every detail was slipping quickly away from him.

“I thought vampires didn’t dream?”

“Do you dream?”

“Yes.”

He grinned. “There we go then.”
“It’s not the same.” She rolled her eyes, standing and crossing the room to the boarded up windows. “You know that.” Slowly, she peeled back one of the boards, glancing out.

“What do you dream about?” he asked, watching her carefully. She had been growing more and more restless as the days went by, and he’d noticed how she stared openly at every human that passed the house. Most of them learnt to control their hunger as the years went by. His companion, his friend, the once-teenage girl he had met in a house not too dissimilar to the one they were currently in, was going in the opposite direction.

“A life. A guy. Having a relationship without you or the others chasing after me to ruin it.” She glanced over her shoulder at him, and he could see it in her eyes.

She hated him.

Those eyes, one bright blue and the other a swirling mix of blue, green and grey, had once stared at him with awe. At fifteen, she had practically worshipped it. At sixteen, he had saved her life. Now, almost a decade later, she looked at him with nothing but contempt.

But she wouldn’t leave him.

She knew he could do nothing but follow.

“You’re still pissed off about that? It was years ago, Shadow.”

“Four years,” she muttered. “And you said it yourself, I was young, naive. I was in love.” Try as he might, he couldn’t contain the smile at her imitation of his drawl. “I was just never allowed to make my own mistakes, was I?”

“You know how difficult it is for us to…”

Before he could finish, she was gone, and he cursed the speed they had both been graced with. She had no idea how much he hated himself for what he had done to her, but if she had been left alone, there would have been a bigger mess to clean up after.

He climbed out of the bed, moving quickly towards the door though nowhere near as quick as she had gone. He found her downstairs, in the kitchen, sitting at the table as the kettle boiled. Coffee, strong, with just a dash of milk and three sugars.

Shadow took out a cigarette, lighting it up and inhaling deeply. Her eyes fell on him.

“I dream of other things, too,” she muttered, watching as he pulled out a chair and lowered himself into it. “I dream of Raven, and New York. And Marcus.” Even now, there was a flash of fear in her eyes as she said his name. “They haunt me, Poison.”

“I know.”

“Do…does it ever stop?”

“The haunting?” He shrugged. “Sure, it does. Well, more like it takes a break. But it comes back at times. Not always the same ones, though.”
She dipped her head. “I never thought looking for Theo would end up…” She stopped, shaking her head. “I shouldn’t think like that, should I? I dream of other things, too. I keep dreaming of fire.”

Poison crossed the room, falling into the seat opposite her. He took her hand, squeezing it gently, feeling just the slightest warmth coming from her skin. He turned her wrist over, placing his finger against it. There, he could feel her pulse. Dull, slow, but still there. “Your heart still beats,” he said. “That means you’re still alive. You’re not grasping onto a straw of humanity, Shadow. You’re not like us. And what you feel about them, all of them, you need to hang on to that. As long as it’s still there, your heart will beat.”

Slowly, she nodded, closing her eyes as she took another drag of her cigarette. “The prophecy…”
“Is bullshit. You’re not the end of us, and you’re not the bloody saviour either. Bollocks to all that fate crap. It’s just a bunch of stupid vampires looking for meaning in a long, meaningless life.”

“You never wanted meaning, did you?”

“No.”

“And neither did Blake, or Calista?”

“Neither did they,” he replied, smiling softly.

“So if none of you believe in fate,” she said, her voice slow, carefully choosing her words, “why can’t you just let me live?” Her head snapped up, her eyes locking on Poison’s. He could see the anger there, the pain. “Why can’t you just leave me alone?” Her voice rose into a screech, before she was up. The chair flew back and she stood over the table, staring down at him. “Why do I always end up caught in the middle?”
Before he could stop her, she whirled around and left, the back door swinging shut. He groaned, lifting his hands to his face. She would be back, he knew she would. But that wasn’t what worried him.

He was scared of what she would do in that state.

X X X

“You need to keep a better eye on your charge,” Calista drawled, standing at the door. She was holding Shadow’s ear, practically lifting her off the ground. Shadow was whimpering, as Calista shoved her forward. The girl fell to the floor, but scrambled quickly up, glaring at the vampire. “Have you fed?” Calista asked, ignoring the girl and focusing on Poison.

“No. I…I didn’t know when she would be back.”

Shadow shrunk against the wall, looking like a sullen teenager. He had hoped it would get easier, over time, that the impulsive, moody teenage girl would melt away to reveal a mature woman.

It seemed that if it was ever going to happen, it would be a long way off.

“Go to your room,” he said, watching as she huffed and stamped up the stairs. Calista reached out, placing a hand on his shoulder. She squeezed.

“She has had it harder than most of us did, Poison. She’s struggling, that’s all.”

“I don’t know what to do. I never thought it would be so hard.”
She smiled softly. “Being a parent is never easy, and there’s a reason we tend to go for the, well, older humans.”

“It’s the half…”
Calista laughed. “The human in her? Yes, I suppose it is. Go, feed. I will keep an eye on her. And you know I will be more strict than you. She won’t stop foot outside this house.”

“Thank you.” He bowed his head, before edging past her and out into the night.

Note: Currently a work-in-progress, this is one of many short stories I’ve done for the 100 Theme Challenge. This one is going to be added to my collection A Drop of Poison on Fictionpress; a series of short stories based on the vampire Poison as he wonders through his eternal life. As always, all feedback is welcome on this piece, and feel free to check out the stories I’ve got on Fictionpress, too, if you’ve enjoyed this or any of the other pieces I’ve posted up here.

 



{September 2, 2012}   Weekend Fiction – What’s Lost

Prologue

 

Nothing had ever hurt so much in her life.

She hadn’t faced pain that bad, not when she had a toothache that rendered her immobile for a week, not when she broke her leg and not when she used to suffer from excruciating cramps and headaches before she went on the pill.

When she was younger, she had faced pain, and heartache. An ache was different though, an ache or a cut or a bruise could heal fast, could be plastered over or kissed better. This wasn’t the same. Her chest felt like it was going to cave in, and the sting in her eyes just wouldn’t stop.

She wanted to be alone, but alone the tears wouldn’t stop flowing.

Part of her wanted to wallow in her own self misery, to put on Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick, two women she always thought understood her but, until then, she had never understood herself. She knew, however, that doing that had the potential to just make things worse, to keep her thinking about it and keep her going over it in her head again and again and again.

She reached over to the glove compartment, snapping it open and grabbing the packet of cigarettes inside. Her hand was shaking, trembling, and she struggled to make the flame lick the end, struggled to get even that small, simple pleasure.

Finally it lit and she sank down in the chair, closing her eyes as the tears continued to fall. It was hard. Too hard. And she didn’t know when it would end, when it would feel better. She wondered why it had been so easy to hate the others, to hate the brief flings who hurt her just a little, when she knew she couldn’t hate  him. Not even a little bit, despite the fact that he had hurt her the most.

Broken up. Dumped. Ended. There was no nice word for it. There was no polite way of saying it. Even death had sweet euphemisms, but for a break up there was none.

She couldn’t even be bothered to turn the radio on.

How had it happened?

How had it come to this?

How did two people so in love just end up so hurt, so lost, so confused?

And they had been in love. She still was. She thought it a shame that emotions didn’t have a switch, that they couldn’t just be turned on and off.

Everyone else would tell her to channel it, to turn her pain into something productive. To put pain to paper and pour her feelings out that way, to play around with the words and create a song that would, undoubtedly, make others feel that it was written for them, that she really understood what she was going through.

But as far as she was concerned, they didn’t.

They didn’t know because when it happened to her friends, to her family, she didn’t know. Everyone was different. Everyone coped different and although songs about it were some of the best, no one would be able to know completely how she felt or what she was going through.

She had tried so hard not to cry in front of him, to not just break down there and then. As soon as his door had closed behind her, she had taken deep breaths, trying to control herself. The tears had come too quickly, rolling down her face as she reached into her bag for her car keys.

The street had been quiet, and she had driven around the corner, parked, and let it all out.

Now, she started the engine, flicked the cigarette end out of the window and drove off.

Tears still blurred her vision but her breathing was coming under control. The sick, horrible feeling in her stomach persisted, the pain in her chest didn’t fade, but she was determined to get home, to crawl into bed and stick on some cheesy, awful chick flick.

Love was meant to be rainbows and bunnies and sunshine. At least, that was how she had been brought up to understand it. Films and cartoons and books and the TV told her so. Only songs dared enter the territory of no, not everything is all right with this concept. Songs spoke of the darker side, of how love could burn and destroy, how love could twist everything and turn it upside down and how it had that side, how it wasn’t just boy meets girl and they live happily ever after.

I thought I loved you. I don’t think I do. Not…not now, anyway. I’m sorry…

                The words hit her again, hard, and the tears refused to stop, covering her eyes.

She didn’t see the car heading her way, not until it tried to swerve to avoid her. Before she could do anything to change course, she found herself ploughing into the side of the red mini.

http://www.fictionpress.com/s/3000055/1/Whats-Lost



I’ve made a decision. Every so often, on a Saturday or Sunday, I’m going to post an extract from something I’m working on. Sometimes, the rest will be on Fictionpress, in which case I will link directly to the story. In others, it may be that I’m working on editing it for other reasons. Either way, all feedback is welcome. If you have anything at all to say about anything I post, I’d love to hear it. I’ll also try to do a quick summary of the story to go along with the extract, too. So, Weekend Fiction #1 – Desperate Desires. Hope you enjoy.

As a note, unless stated otherwise a lot of this may be in first draft stages.

Desperate Desires – Four young girls struggle with growing up, as they try to cope with boys, girls and everything else life throws at them. Teen/Romance.

One: Jinx

 

Two Years Ago

 

Leaning against the wall at the top of the stairs, I let out a deep breath. Christ, having crutches had proven to be more of a struggle than I would have thought. I was supposed to be using the lift but it had been broken for the last few days, leaving the stairs as my only option. On top of that, I was also supposed to have someone to help me from class to class but, having only one friend in this whole shitty school meant that often, I had to go on my own.

Whatever.

I turned and carried on my way, thankful, at least, that I got to leave class ten minutes early to get to the next one. Otherwise, who knew what could happen if I was caught in the mad dash between lessons?

Hobbling towards the doors, I glanced up to see two Year Eleven guys coming towards me. The taller of the two held the door, and ducking my head, I muttered a weak thanks as I passed.

“No problem,” he replied, in a cheery voice that made me blush.

I hated how easily my skin flushed red.

Then again, I hated almost everything about me. All part of being a teenager.

Turning the corner I found myself in the History corridor and there, just ahead of me, was a sight I really did not want to see.

Clara Richards and her gaggle of girls half-turned as I appeared, eyes fixed on me like a hawks surveying their prey. You’d think fifteen would be too young to be an evil bitch, but Clara proved that wrong. A grin stretched across her face as she moved towards me, head held high with the girls following.

Swear words danced around my head as I found myself frozen, with no idea what I could do to get out of this situation.

Bugger, shit and fuck.

“Like the last present I gave you?” she hissed, before kicking one of the crutches away. I fell to my right, leaning against the wall as I fixed my eyes on her, trying not to show any weakness. I forced the tears back, forced my breath to remain regular. “How about an arm this time?” she drawled, face now inches from mine as she reached for my wrist.

“Leave her alone.”

I recognised the voice of Dawn Fox, another girl in my year. Clara flinched, though it was so small I was sure I’d been the only one to see it. She turned her head, eyes narrowed as she stared at Dawn. The girl stood next to Gwen Tate, both of them with their arms crossed and eyes fixed on Clara.

Around us, the bells let out an almighty buzz, and I wondered why none of them were in class. Still, I wasn’t about to question the arrival of Dawn. Clara looked scared as she stepped back from me, though the look in her face was soon by replaced by pure contempt.

“Fine. Whatever. The fatty and the dyke suit each other, anyway.”

Dawn bristled, stepping forward, and Gwen’s hand snapped out, holding her shoulder.

“I swear go God, Richards, you ever touch Jinx again, and I will make your life a living hell.”

“Whatever.” With a laugh, Clara turned to her gaggle and walked off. Pupils spilled out of the classrooms as Gwen and Dawn moved towards me, the three of us squeezed against the wall to avoid the worst of the crush.

“Are you okay?” Dawn asked, eyes full of concern. I barely knew her; she was in a couple of my classes, and usually acted as the class clown if she wasn’t keeping her head down. Gwen lived near me, and I’d sometimes walked to school with her but, apart from that, neither of them would be counted as friends. Not really.

“Yeah,” I muttered, shaking my head. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

“We’ve got Biology next, right?” Gwen piped up, eyes darting between the two of us. “You’re in our class, Jinx, aren’t you?”

Slowly, I nodded.

“Great!” Dawn said, grinning. “Come on, we’ll walk you.”

Present Day

 

“Jinx, Jinx!”

The shout comes from outside my door, stirring me from nightmares of a fat reflection and Clara bloody Richards laughing at me over my shoulder. Groggily, I turn over in my bed, blinking my eyes rapidly as the door opens and Mum steps in. Light from the hallway floods my room, causing me to groan and yank the blanket up over my face.

She turns the light on, and I force my eyes open, staring at her in her holiday clothes – a summer dress, with a flower pattern on it. She inches forward slowly, a large smile on her face.

“Jinx, honey, we’re off,” she whispers, coming to sit on my bed as I lift myself up. The blanket falls from around me, revealing a baggy Metallica t-shirt, a hand-me-down from my bedroom.

“Okay,” I mutter, ignoring how dry my mouth feels. “Okay, have a good time.” I try to muster as much cheer into my voice as I can but fail, as sleep tries to call me back.

Mum wraps her arms around me and I mimic the act, closing my eyes as I rest my head against her.

“Look after yourself,” she says. “Eat properly, yeah? And look after your brother, too. Your dad is going to leave you some money, in our room, you know the chest of drawers where…”
“Yeah,” I mutter, gently pulling away. “Yeah, I know, Mum. Go. Go, have a good time.” She laughs as I gently push her off the bed.

“We’ll phone when you get your results, yeah?”

“Okay!”
“I love you, Jinx.” She moves towards the door, eyes fixed on me as I slump back into my bed.

“Love you, too,” I reply, smiling softly at her.

“And be good!” Her voice urges me to listen carefully to the three simple words; to heed them and obey.

“I will!” I say, before she leaves the room and shuts the door tight.

Flopping down onto my bed, I close my eyes. After a few minutes, the realisation that I’m wide awake hits me, and I grab my phone, flicking it on to check the time. Almost ten. Not too early, but not my ideal holiday wake up time of twelve, either. Still, I know for a fact that I will not get to sleep now so, leaping up and out of the bed, I make my way downstairs to the first floor of the house, heading to the bathroom.

We don’t have a mansion or anything. Just a terraced house in the middle of a busy road. But lucky for me, we had a loft conversion done the summer before and, since then, I’d been sleeping in what was, essentially, the attic.

In the bathroom, I whip off my pyjama top, dumping it in the clothes basket before daring to glance in the mirror. Unable to help myself, I pinch a bit of the fat forming around my stomach.

God damn it.

It had taken me almost two years to lose that puppy fat. Now, it looked like it was slowly starting to pile up again. I had to stick to a regime; no more thinking that it’s okay to miss this or that day, for any reason.

I had to keep the weight off.

The words that had, for three years, been drummed into my head floated up now, dancing around my mind and ringing in my ears.

“You’re ugly. You’re fat. Ugly! Fat! Ugly! Fat!”

I’d been lucky. Since Dawn and Gwen had come to my defence in Year Ten, Clara and her cronies mostly left me alone. A friendship had formed under their protection, and the circle of friends that had once consisted of just me and Faith had expanded. Safety in numbers was an important factor in keeping Clara at bay.

There had been a few harsh words from her though, but mostly they were just jibes, just attempts at trying to provoke me into a reaction. I was just thankful that Clara didn’t know about my crush on Jake Brooks, the hottest guy in school and, coincidentally, Clara’s boyfriend.

Everyone in my year knew one thing he didn’t.

Rumours and gossip tended to stick to whatever year group it affected and, as a result, those in Year Thirteen were blissfully unaware of the lives Clara had almost ruined or the fact that she had slept with almost every guy in our year over the course of our two GCSE years.

Or maybe he did know, and was just a huge dickhead himself.

I scoffed, running a hand through my hair as I jumped into the shower. Yeah, right. Jake just didn’t seem like that type of guy.

Not that I knew him. At all.

Unfortunately.

Once I was squeaky clean, my stomach rumbled, announcing its all too human need for food. Breakfast. I had two choices, and the decision was the most important one I’d make of the day.

Skip breakfast and pay for it at lunchtime, or eat breakfast and pay for it at lunchtime.

Work-in-progress. http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2993098/1/Desperate_Desires



et cetera