The remainder of the school week passed without any real cause for comment. I served my detention. Oh, apart from about two conversations. One with Will and one with Scarlet.
“Anna? Do you get the maths?”
Joanna swivelled round in her chair to face Will in their homeroom. “Yeah. Don’t you?”
He shook his head mournfully. “No. Can you help?”
She rolled her eyes, and motioned for him to come over. “I’ll help.”
“What’s the catch?” he asked warily, as he knelt down next to her chair.
She smiled innocently, and then grinned. “Tell me about Gabriel?”
“How d’you know about Gabriel?” he asked, surprised.
“Maria,” Joanna admitted calmly.
“Last time I tell her anything, “he grumbled, but he nodded. “Fine. You know that café in town, with the good music taste?” Joanna nodded, as she bent over his maths work, writing on it in pencil. “Well, he works part time there and I go there every Saturday now.” He paused as she turned a page.
“And what does he look like?” she prompted without looking up.
“He’s got floppy blonde hair. It’s kinda white blonde? And his eyes are this bluey green colour. And his-“
“Who you talking about fag?” Ollie, a boy in their form butted in.
“Your brother,” Joanna replied, not missing a beat, and ignoring the glare that Ollie sent her “Go on,” she encouraged Will.
“Um, yeah,” he said. “That’s it really.”
Joanna nodded, handing back the completed work. “And have you talked to him?”
Will’s face flushed red. “I’ve ordered coffee from him.”
Joanna grinned and ruffled his hair. “I’ll speak to him in time for your birthday.”
And that was the beginning of the Will and Gabriel saga. Why in time for Will’s birthday? He was born on Valentine’s Day. So, the Scarlet conversation. You really wanna hear it? Really? Fine.
“Hi,” Scarlet said as she flopped down in a chair next to Joanna.
“Hi,” Joanna replied slowly.
“”You’re Joanna, right?”
“Yeah,” Joanna nodded, sliding her worn textbook back into her bag.
“Oh good,” Scarlet sighed, brushing her fringe out of her eyes just for it to fall back again. “Just checking. Can I ask you some questions?”
“Um…yeah, if you want.” Joanna was hesitant, glancing at the other girl curiously
“You’re fourteen, you used to live in England, you’re a cheerleader, you’re going out with Rick and you’re superb at Maths. Right?”
“Uh…yeah,” Joanna said, thinking through what Scarlet had said. “Why?”
“Because, “Scarlet beamed, “we’re gonna be spending time together ‘cause of Rick and Will. And I just thought you seemed ace.”
Joanna flushed. “Thanks.“
“Yeah, me and the boys go back a long way. Mikey too, but I don’t know him as well,” Scarlet said, running a hand through her long hair. Joanna nodded, studying her fingernails.
“So, you and Rick,” Scarlet commented. “How long has that been going?”
Joanna shrugged. “A couple of months.”
Scarlet nodded. “You’re quiet,” she observed.
Joanna shrugged again. “Did you miss them?”
“Honestly? No.” Joanna looked up sharply and was about to interrupt when Scarlet continued. “I was eight, I made new friends. I bet they never mentioned me.”
“No,” Joanna admitted grudgingly. “They didn’t.”
Scarlet smiled lazily, as she ran a hand through her extensive hair. “Is your hair naturally black?”
“Yeah,” Joanna replied. “Is yours natural?”
Scarlet shook her head. “Hell no. I dye it to match my name and it makes me individual. Normal colours are so common.” Joanna protectively ran a hand through her own hair. “So, are you gonna come see Romeo and Juliet? It’s gonna be ace.”
Joanna winced. “Not sure. Theatre’s not really my thing.”
“Aw, come on.” Scarlet persisted. “I’m in it, and Rick is. Will too. And Maria’s early designs are ace.”
Joanna shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe. Who are you again?”
“Juliet,” Scarlet grinned. “Ace part.”
Joanna raised her eyebrows. “Yeah, well it’s been ace talking to you, but I gotta go find Will.”
And I walked off muttering about how I had to find Will for a guitar lesson, and how ace it would be. But you don’t want to hear any more about Scarlet. Well, you might, but I don’t so I’ll skip to Saturday and New York.