It was one minute to eleven, on a Saturday morning. Jenna stood outside of Casey’s front door, constantly shifting her weight from one leg to another, smoothing her hair and tucking wayward strands behind her ears. She smoothed down her green and white polka dot dress and glanced at her watch.
Eleven ‘o’ clock exactly.
Taking a sharp inhale of breath, she gingerly pressed the doorbell. ‘Ding-dong’. The sound made her more nervous. Before long, she heard conversation and movement approaching the door.
Five seconds. Four seconds. Three seconds. Two Seconds. One second. The black posh door opened a fraction and then wider, revealing a generously sized hallway and a tall bulky man with a black scraggily beard and tousled hair. He beamed.
Jenna couldn’t help but smile. She liked Casey’s dad, and she always found his smile infectious. She wished her own father could be the same.
“Hello Mr. Jones.”
“How many more times, Jenna. No more Mr. Jones. It makes me feel old.”
“You are!” Casey shouted from somewhere inside.
Mr. Jones laughed. “Just call me David. Come in.” He ushered her inside.
Casey ran down the stairs. “Hey Jenna. Thanks for coming. Do you want a drink or anything?” She disappeared into the kitchen.
“A drink will be fine.”
David nudged her shoulder. “She’s bought your favourites.”
A few seconds later, her nemesis reappeared holding a glass of orange juice in one hand and a saucer containing four Jam Sandwich Creams in the other. You know me too well. At least, you think you do.
Casey’s father grabbed his hat and jacket from the coat stand.
“Well I’m off,” he said.
“We’ll be in my room for a few hours. And then we’re going out.”
“Somewhere nice I hope. You two have done nothing but work, work, work! You need to let your hair down.” He pecked his daughter on the cheek. “Have fun!” Waving at them both, he strode towards the front door.
“Bye Jenna.” With that the door opened and slammed shut.
They were alone.
Jenna was glad that David had gone. It made it that bit easier to focus on her plan. Casey sat at her desk overlooking the garden and switched on the computer. Jenna perched at the foot of the bed, craning her head to view the screen.
“I love that dress, Jenna.”
“Where did you get it from?”
Why would I tell you? Can’t I even enjoy this for myself without you wanting one too? You’d probably look better in it as well. “I’m not sure where. My mum…” her voice trailed off.
“She had good taste.” The fleeting flash of pity flickered across the host’s face. She cupped her guest’s hand and squeezed it reassuringly. “Things will get better. I promise.”
Jenna, fished around her rucksack to find her history documents. Although the history project would be undertaken in pairs, each pupil would receive individual marks for their efforts. Memories came unbidden, threatening to drown her in misery and isolation. Casey studied her face.
“Tell you what,” she switched off her laptop and snapped it shut. “Let’s do this tomorrow.”
Jenna looked confused. “But the project is for Monday!”
“You’re in no mood to do anything. Besides, we’re the two brightest in the whole year!” Casey grinned, swiping a sandwich cream from the saucer. “There’s only one thing that matters. Where should we go now?”
The film was actually very good. ‘Gone Forever’ was just as fantastic as the critics said it would be, and as for Frank Darby, he was an absolute heartthrob! It was highly likely that most of the females had gone to the cinema, simply to see him. Jenna felt the happiest she had been in weeks. Her spirits soared. She and her nemesis had each munched through sweet popcorn, a hotdog, ice cream and guzzled around half a litre of cola. She had forgotten just how many fun times they had both had in the past. Before things got…corrupted. And she was very much in danger of her resolve wavering.
Jenna glanced at her watch. It was three ‘o’ clock. Her father would be expecting her home.
“Don’t even think about it. You’re coming with me.” Casey took her hand and playfully dragged out of the cinema and onto the bustling high-street.
“I promised -”
Casey rolled her eyes. “It’s still early. And besides, what’s the point in being all dressed up and having no-one to show it to?” She twirled Jenna around. She laughed, in spite of herself. Her adversary guided her to the row of restaurants.
MEANWHILE…JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION (comments section below)…
- How has Jenna’s father warped Jenna’s perception of her friend Casey?
- Why do we try to bring other people down?
- Does humiliating and hurting others really make you feel better?
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