I dialled Kate’s number hurriedly, praying that she hadn’t left yet. Relief washed over me when I heard her voice answer the phone.
‘Kate, thank God, it’s me – Steph, I was wondering if you could do me a favour and give me a lift into school today? My mom slept in.’
‘Oh, absolutely’ She said ‘In fact I should have offered to before seeing as you’re on the way. Hang on, let me just tell Ryan.’
I waited as she called to her brother and her voice reappeared a few seconds later.
‘We’ll be there in 5’ she said.
‘Thank you!’ I gushed before hanging up.
I spent the remaining 5 minutes fussing over my hair in the mirror, trying to get the stupid hair slide in the right place. Eventually a horn beeped outside and I had to accept its current position.
‘So how was detention yesterday?’ Kate asked once I’d climbed in next to her. ‘Oh fun.’ I said ‘I got to clean up the cafeteria whilst these guys tried to lift my skirt up with mops.’
Kate laughed as I grimaced at the memory. ‘It wasn’t all bad though.’ I said ‘I met a cute guy.’
‘Oooh! What’s his name?’
‘Josh something or other.’ I said ‘He invited me to a party and said I could bring a friend. Fancy going?’
‘Totally, when is it?’
‘Friday. Or Saturday. Possibly next Saturday. Or next Friday. I forget.’
‘It’s this Friday.’ Ryan said from the driver’s seat, surprising us all. ‘How did you know?’ Kate asked.
‘Because it’s Josh Bromley’s party. He invited me.’
‘Josh Bromley?’ Kate gaped ‘Oh he is SO cute!’
‘I know!’ I squealed.
‘He’s not that great.’ Spencer said from the front passenger seat with a scowl.
‘Anyway he’s in my year and he’s bad news, OK? You’re not going.’
‘Yes I am’ Kate protested.
‘No you’re not.’
‘Yes I am’
‘No you’re not’
‘Yes I am’
‘No you’re no-‘
‘OK guys’ I cut ‘This could go on forever. Look Ryan, I understand that as the older brother you feel the need to be weary of such things, but I can assure you that Kate is a very mature and sensible young woman who can be trusted to go to anyone’s party and return without any trouble. Look, I give you my solemn promise that I shall remain by her side the entire night at keep her from any unholy behaviour. And besides you’ll be there right?’
‘I wasn’t necessarily planning on going.’ He sighed.
‘Please Ryan, please’ Kate begged, pressing her hands together and giving very persuasive puppy eyes to Ryan in the rear-view.
‘OK fine.’ He muttered, as we high-fived each other and celebrated.
‘He’s always been annoyingly over-protective of me.’ Kate was telling me during our English lesson. ‘It’s just me, him and my Dad so it’s almost like he’s taken on the role of my mother.’
‘I think it’s sweet’ I said.
‘Miss Moore!’ Mrs Fitzergeld snapped making my head snap back round to the front of the classroom. ‘Would you mind repeating what I just said?’
‘Quite’ I nodded.
‘Then why don’t you share your own views on what the 2nd paragraph states about Arlington’s character?’
I sighed and looked at the open book in front of me. I really couldn’t be bothered with this right now. ‘I don’t know’ I sighed. ‘Well maybe you should try reading it, that might help. You can read can’t you?’ She said it spitefully but it made my insides squirm and my neck heat up. I wanted to be anywhere else in the universe.
‘It’s basically saying that he’s cowardly?’ I said after studying it for a while.
‘You took your time, but yes that is correct’ She said ‘and if I see you in those heels after today then it’s an immediate detention.’
She had an annoying habit of slamming her ruler against her desk at the end of each sentence, and I wanted nothing more just then than to run up to her, snatch it out of her hand and shove it down her stupid turkey throat.
‘Could you drop me and Steph of into town Ryan?’ Kate asked as we got in his car at the end of school and buckled down.
‘Why?’ He asked.
‘I have to buy some flatter shoes.’ I said.
‘Have you got enough money on you to buy shoes?’ He questioned, frowning at me in the rear-view mirror.
‘Yes, what did you think I was gonna do? Steal them?’
He didn’t answer, but instead agreed to drop us off into the town centre, with strict instructions to be home before it became dark.
‘This is hopeless’ I said after spending an hour wondering around town looking for some shoes. The heels made my feet ached and it was hot ‘I can’t find any that I both like and come in my size.’
‘What size are you?’ Kate asked
‘I have a six at home- they’re nice but they don’t fit me. You can totally have them if you want.’
‘That would excellent’ I said.
‘Cool, come back to mine and you can pick them up.’
‘We should buy something here first’ I said ‘to commemorate our first shopping trip together.’
We wondered the streets for a bit, before I spotted something and came to a halt, Kate following suit. ‘Is that a piercing parlour?’ I said. Kate’s eyes widened ‘you’re not suggesting that we...?’
‘We could get matching piercings! How totally cool would that be?’
‘But but- would your mom mind?’
‘I really doubt it. What about your dad?’
‘He wouldn’t notice. But don’t you have to be 18 to get a piercing without your parents consent?’
‘We could look 18’ I said.
‘Maybe you could, but I can’t’ she scoffed.
‘Sure you could. Here.’ I said, slipping out of my heels ‘Swap shoes with me, you need some height.’ She stepped into my mom’s heels and I squeezed into her small flats. We put on sunglasses for extra sophistication and awkwardly shuffled into the parlour. It smelled strongly of anaesthetic, kind of like a dentists, and it was cold, very cold.
‘You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to’ I said. ‘We probably won’t even get in.’
‘Your right’ she said ‘but it’ll be fun to try.’
We shuffled up to the counter to get some forms from a very bored looking woman with, surprise surprise, a lot of piercings.
‘What would you like done?’ She asked in a monotone.
‘What about a navel piercing?’ I suggested to Kate ‘Easy to hide.’
‘Let’s go for it.’
The woman handed us the forms and we sat down in the hard seats to fill them out. We ticked the box to state we were 18 and agreed to all the legal issues, etcetera. ‘I can’t believe we’re actually doing this’ Kate said as we handed our forms in. The woman gave them a brief glance and looked us up and down before saying ‘take a seat.’
Even I was utterly shocked.
Kate was almost hyperventilating next to me. ‘It’s not too late to back out you know.’ I said.
‘I know’ She said ‘It’s OK, I want to do this.’
We were both in fits of giggles as we entered her house with our newly pierced navels. ‘I can not believe I just did that’ said Kate. ’And got away with it!’
‘Did what?’ Asked Ryan, entering the hallway with Spencer following closely behind.
‘Uh...um...err...’ Kate said lamely. Ryan was staring at her with his arms tightly folded. She cowered under his gaze. ‘OK, OK’ she said ‘Promise not to totally flip OR tell dad?’ She raised her shirt up slightly to reveal the gleaming ring embedded in her stomach. Ryan’s eyes almost bugged out of his head. ‘B-but why would, why, but dad, and how...?’
‘We both got one.’ I said ‘It was my idea.’
‘Well there’s a surprise’ He said harshly.
‘What’s that meant to mean?’ I frowned.
‘It means that Kate doesn’t do this kind of thing.’
‘Are you saying I’m like what, a bad influence?’
‘Ryan!’ Said Kate angrily ‘I’m 16, not a baby, so stop trying to control my life. I made the decision to get this done entirely on my own, why should it even bother you so much?’
‘Whatever’ He mumbled, turning away and walking off, leaving us standing there in silence.
‘I think it looks nice.’ Spencer shrugged.