I just had to post this section from NEAR EDGWARE: I'm counting down to this year's firework display.
Together, we walked down to the table where the staff met to co-ordinate the event. Caleb and I were sent to collect money where the crowds walked down from Woodford town centre. We shook and rattled our buckets until the weight of small change made them difficult to carry.
The fireworks had already started when the steward said we could go. We stood among thousands of spectators. I’d always loved the firework displays. Another part of life in Woodford I'd missed when I lived away. Standing with Caleb’s arms around me, leaning back against his warmth, I knew nothing in my life had ever been this perfect. This right. I burrowed cold fingers under the elastic cuff of his jacket and sweatshirt. Caleb laughed and pressed a careless kiss across the top of my head while flashes drew smoky bouquets in the rainbow-coloured night.
* message to self: EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!
A FEW DIFFERENCES
Matt, from History, had mumbled, “You good?” But when I nodded he went in. I wanted to go in. Standing outside in the corridor, I wanted it so badly, I stepped back instead. In the main building everything was quiet and orderly. It even smelled wrong: air-freshener sickly. Me and the school, we’d both had make-overs but only school was different on the inside.
In the Common Room students sprawled over the soft chairs, territories marked out with invisible force fields. Around the edges, smaller groups talked quietly. Right at the back, near an open window, three blond boys were huddled together, their heads so close they were almost touching. The boy whose back was towards me had hints of curls in his short hair. He glanced around then pushed his brothers back a few more steps.
The group I was looking for stood in the centre of the room. I was only back when I was there with them too.
“Another new girl?” said Anna. She scanned my clothes quickly, chewed the corner of her lip. “She dresses like my Mum: subdued.”
Ife laughed, “Anna! You can’t judge people like that.”
“I can: navy trousers and boring, boring, black flats? I bet - terminally shy.”
“Wearing navy and starting a week late? She needs help. We should see if she sorts out a friend. Just check she’s alright,” Ali muttered, sucking on her short blond plait. Her frown was deep. Her cheeks a deeper pink, as she smoothed down her mid-length, dark blue skirt.