So I thought today I would share with you the first chapter of my novel as I’m nearing completion of it. Obviously its miles away from being ready but I thought I’d let you lot have a quick peek! 😀 Enjoy!
I threw the selection of cards in my hand onto the table with a flourish. They fanned out, skimming the table top, stopping almost in a perfect curve; I’d done this many times before. “I win again!” I exclaimed, flinging my hands in the air. The girl sat across from me, my best friend, Ellie, sighed. “You always win, Jayne. It’s nothing new.” Her jaded tone made me look at her seriously for a second, but her mischievous smile returned a second later. She was wearing her favourite pair of dark skinny jeans, that she insisted were comfy but looked like they’d been sprayed on, and a blue jumper that was probably two sizes too big with the words, ‘fun lover’ written across it. Her bright red lips stood out from her relatively pale face and her fair hair fell straight down over her shoulders. She smelt like a perfumery. “Well, I’m just that little bit better than you, sorry!” I laughed, scooping the cards back up into my hands. She raised her sharp eyebrows at me, exaggerating her features. “Oh are you Miss Ellen? Rematch?” She said playfully, also throwing her cards down on the table. I scooped them up quickly, “Of course, nothing better than beating you for the third time today.” I shuffled the cards, keeping eye contact with Ellie, narrowing my eyes at her in a mock suspicious fashion.
This was how a normal Sunday afternoon went. Ellie would come round mine when my parents went out for their weekly cinema trip or dinner out, or whatever they decided to do that week. See according to them, now I’m older and can look after myself they want to start going back out together, spending more time with each other. So they decided to make it a weekly thing, and that’s fine, because that’s when me and Ellie decided to start up our weekly ‘meeting’. Recently we had even started to refer to it as ‘EJ’s plan’. Me and Ellie had been friends since we first started secondary school. She was the first person I met, and we’ve been best friends ever since. I don’t think I would have been able to get through school without her. She made the monochrome days burst into vivid colour. People even used to think we were sisters, and through thick and thin our bond hasn’t shaken. We had never been overly popular, but we had each other and that’s the way we liked it. Or so I’d thought.
“So next week, we do something different yeah?” Ellie said as I walked to my front door with her. “Yeah okay, got any ideas?” I asked, as I opened the door. The brisk, new winter air blew in, chilling the hall. “Well I don’t know, there’s that fair, carnival thing in town. The one at Wickely hill? But it’s in the evening, like eight. What you think?” I considered, my parents were pretty tight about curfew, but I’d be with Ellie, and I’m sure we wouldn’t be back too late.
“Yeah okay, I’ll have to check with my parents but that’s good cos’ we can walk from here aswell.” She smiled across at me, then moved in for a hug. “I guess I’ll see you at school tomorrow then,” She said into my hair.
“Yeah, see you tomorrow.” I closed the door shutting off the biting wind, letting warmth fill the hall once more. I sauntered back into the kitchen, I wasn’t in any rush. It always seemed so soundless after Ellie had left, for a moment I couldn’t hear anything. I glanced at the clock, it was only three. Ellie had had to get back home because she was visiting her Nan at her care home. So that left me with a pretty quiet afternoon. My parents had gone to an antiques fair, and didn’t think they’d be back till at least six. They’d even asked if I’d wanted to go with them, but of course I couldn’t ditch Ellie, however short amount of time I had with her. I stood in the middle of the kitchen for a minute, the sun was beaming through the French window, and even though from in here it looked like a warm, almost summery day, I knew the ice wind made it positively freezing. I thought if I had any homework to do, I’d done most of it last night, but I think I had one piece of English that was bugging me. I decided to knock it on its head and went to dig it out from my heap of school work cluttering my room. As I got back down stairs, juggling my books and the pesky essay I had to write, I realised it still felt too quiet. I had never minded being on my own, in fact I quite liked my own company, when I wasn’t with Ellie, but I didn’t particularly like silence. It could reveal too much, in every way. I flicked the TV on and, wanting to concentrate on my essay, just put the music channel on to fill in the emptiness. Lying down on the floor, I spread out my work. I didn’t like the essay question, it felt too much like R.E, and I really didn’t like R.E. ‘‘In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on’-Robert Frost. Write your opinion on this quote. What do you think about it?’ I stared at my paper for a long time, tapping my pen on the floor. I didn’t understand it, yeah life goes on, I know that but I have no idea what to write about it. And it got better; we’d been given another quote to think about. ‘Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.’ This one totally had me muddled. I didn’t think death was all that peaceful. An hour and a half later I’d nearly finished, I’m not saying it was any good, but I didn’t want to dwell on it. It was finished, that was all that mattered. I piled them up and pushed them to the side of the room, then reached for the remote. Almost typically there was nothing on. I sighed; I wasn’t used to having all this free time. I wouldn’t say I was a ‘boffin’ or a ‘teacher’s pet’ but I worked hard, I wanted to get good grades in my exams, and with knowing Sunday afternoons were mine and Ellie’s, not to be overshadowed with disturbing thoughts of homework, I’d got into a routine of doing most of it in the week, or on Saturday. This Sunday afternoon, I’d only really had an hour with Ellie and then when I was on my own, I felt lost. I was scared to think I might have forgotten how to have fun on my own, to just chill out. Well, that can change right now. I grabbed a movie, slotting it into our DVD player and as the credits rolled I went to raid the fridge. Satisfied with my raiding, I sat down on the sofa with a pot of Ben and Jerry’s, a spoon and the remote. I smiled to myself as the movie started; I hadn’t done this in a while.
Just as the teacher started to speak, Ellie darted into the room, straight to her seat, next to me. “Thanks for joining us Ellie,” Miss Bews said in a clipped tone. Ellie simply nodded slightly sarcastically and began to get her books out. Her unusually pale face shone with a sickly sheen. As Miss Bews started speaking once more, I leaned slightly closer to Ellie. “Where have you been? You’re never late.” She didn’t look at me. “Jeez, calm down, I haven’t been doing drugs if that’s what you’re worried about.” The cutting edge to her voice made me scowl, and even made me a touch sulky; she’d never spoken to me like that before. I decided to let her cool down before broaching the subject of why she seemed in such a mood. After the lesson I waited till we were out in the air, she hadn’t marched off, even waited for me, so I thought it safe now to ask. I stopped her by the maths block, “Are you okay Ellie?” She huffed,
“I’m fine, Jayne, your very clingy today.” Her voice was just as harsh. I looked away from her, and I guess she realised that she was being a little mean because she sighed, “Look, I’m sorry okay? I’ve just had a bit a morning. But hey, I was thinking about this carnival thing,” She said, her tone a little brighter. I smiled back up at her, I understood, no need to dwell. “Yeah? I’m really excited!” I replied, maybe a little too enthusiastically. I almost reminded myself of a puppy, trying to please its owner. “Well, I was thinking maybe we should invite a group of people.” It wasn’t exactly a question, but more a suggestion, yet it seemed so strange. I felt rude once I’d said it, but I couldn’t stop, it just came out. “Why?”
“Why not? It’d be fun; it’s always a laugh when there’s more people.”
“Is it?” I could see her losing it slightly,
“Yes, it is Jayne. Look, it’d only be a few more. Becky, Alison, and Ben maybe.” I raised my eyebrows at her,
“Ben?” Ben was in my maths class, I didn’t particularly think all that much of him, I don’t know what it was. Maybe his perfectly spiked hair, or slightly too tight trousers. All I know is that Ellie had had a crush on him since year seven.
“Yes Ben!” She said, exasperated.
“But why do you want people to come now? It’s always been just us two? What about EJ’s plan?” I said, lowering my voice slightly. She laughed,
“What are you, six?” I felt a stab of hurt run through me and I dropped my gaze. She saw my face, “I didn’t mean that. It is EJ’s plan, it’s still our day, just this week we’re recruiting a few new members.” She took a step closer to me, placing her hand on my arm. “You’re still my best friend, Jayne, you know that. If I didn’t have you, I don’t know what I’d do.” She ducked her head, forcing me to look her in the eye. I suddenly did feel like I was acting a little immature. “I’m sorry; of course it’s okay if they come. It will be fun. Sorry I seem a little…clingy.” She smiled, hugging me tightly. “Don’t be a wolly! You’re not clingy, you’re my best friend.” She released me, smiling. “Right I have to go; class’ll be starting any minute!” She rushed off, I smiled to myself, I’m sure this weekend will be fun, I’ve always wanted to be more popular and this can only help. What’s the worst that can happen?
I gave Ellie a bit more space during the week at school; I even talked myself into looking forward to the carnival on Sunday. I was friends with the people I knew were coming, so it’s not like they were strangers to me. Having said that, we’d arranged to meet at my house at quarter to eight and the number of people that came through my door that Sunday evening, was a lot more than Becky, Alison, Ben and Ellie. There were ten in all, and if I was really honest, I had to ask Ellie for some of their names. I was dying to ask why she’d invited so many people but I didn’t want to seem a party pooper so I gritted my teeth and smiled as we headed out for the fair. I had to run to catch them up after checking the house was locked. As we walked up the hill leading to the carnival, I couldn’t help feeling a little left out. I spied Ellie chatting to Alison near the front of the group and jogged to catch up. I fell into pace with them and tried to pick up the conversation. “But he just said he needed time, I mean, what does that even mean?!” Listening to Alison talk was like something from a very cheesy American sitcom. “Well, you obviously scared him off a little; maybe you should just give him a little air.” Ellie replied, her tone relaxed. I guessed they were talking about the boy Alison had asked out the other day. I tried to think of something intelligent to add. “I know what you mean though, Alison, he should give you a straight answer, not leave you hanging on like this.” They both turned to look at me like they’d only just realised I was there. Alison nodded, obviously a little shocked I’d said anything at all. “Yeah, you know what I’m saying?” Ellie smiled at me, linking arms with me. As we reached the top of the hill the fair came into view. The field had been transformed with looming fair rides and exciting stalls. Noise filled the air, sights and smells; I don’t think anyone knew where to look. “This is so cool!” One of the boys shouted from the back. I smiled; I had to admit I was really excited now. We filed in after buying our tickets and just stood for a moment at the entrance, our breath becoming visible in the raw evening air. Alison turned to everyone, her blonde hair swishing over her shoulders. “Right, what do we wanna do first?” Her eyes were glittering, the lights from the rides reflecting in them. I looked around at everyone else; I don’t think they were really listening. They were staring around, wide eyed, for the first time actually looking their age. “Well, how about that ride?” Alison said, pointing to one of the biggest in the carnival. It was a proper rollercoaster, I watched as a carriage went up and over and round the huge metal framework. “Yeah okay, cool.” Someone said. We walked over enthusiastically, chattering excitedly. I found Ellie in the crowd, “This is exciting, isn’t it?” Her face was glowing, she really did seem excited, a big change from our last Sunday afternoon. I almost felt bad, had I been keeping her from doing more fun things just because she thought I liked doing more boring stuff, like playing cards, how we’d spent our last, what I thought was fun, Sunday afternoon. I dismissed the thought as we got into the cue for the ride. We split into two’s, I went with Ellie naturally, but she seemed pretty high in demand. I couldn’t stand still waiting for our go, but then suddenly it was our go and my stomach started to do flips. It was stomach churning but amazing. Scary but thrilling. I got off, my legs wobbling, my head spinning, but I was so exhilarated. “Wow that was awesome!” I said, looking at Ellie, but she wasn’t looking at me. She didn’t seem to be listening at all. Her face was grey, a dullness in the bright surroundings. “Ellie?” I said, a little louder. She turned,
“That was brill, wasn’t it?!” She smiled, looking more herself.
“Yeah, super! Come on; let’s meet up with the others.” I paused a moment as she headed off, she must have just been a little dizzy or something. We met up with the others at the traditional candy floss cart; everyone got one and we then decided to tootle round some of the more tame games, laughing at how ridiculous some of them were. “I mean, it’s so obviously you’re hardly ever going to win on that game!” Alison would exclaim as we passed, her comments getting slightly ruder and louder each time. I kept glancing at Ellie, although I was having a good time, I wasn’t sure Ellie was all there somehow. Suddenly something caught my eye, a stall tucked away in a corner, not drawing too much attention to itself but it seemed to interest something inside me. I paused, looking at it more closely; a woman was sat outside it, sewing what looked like a pair of trousers. She had long dark brown, straight hair and it fell loose round her face, so most of her features were hidden. She wore a very pretty mellow yellow dress with little black butterflies all over it. She didn’t look over thirty. It looked like just another fortune teller or something, but I couldn’t help feeling I knew the woman. I shrugged and looked back to where the others had been, stopping abruptly when I realised they’d disappeared. I looked around frantically. Searching for a familiar face, I tried to calm myself. My house was only down the road, and anyway, I’ll just call Ellie. I got my phone out, taking one last look at the stall, silently cursing it for distracting me and making me lose my friends. I dialled in Ellie’s number and headed into the crowd, hoping to just bump into them.