I stood at the bus stop outside school, smiling as I thought of how in less than ten minutes Carter would be here, and I would have a whole six hours before I would have to leave him again.
The bus came to a halt at the stop and people piled out, but the pavement cleared fairly quickly, and I found Carter just stepping off.
"What are you doing?!" he exclaimed, looking at me like he didn't expect me to be there.
I smiled. "Waiting for you. It's so lucky your bus gets here early."
"No," he moaned.
I was confused, was Carter saying no about me? No, it must have been that he doesn't think it's lucky for his bus to be so early because it means he can't have a lie in.
"I wrote you a poem," I told him, reaching for my notepad in which I had written the poem last night.
"I hate poetry," he said flatly.
I blinked. What? I was stunned and more than a little hurt. I felt like I might cry.
Carter saw my face and his expression softened. He reached out and took my hand. "Oh, please don't. I had a really late night and I'm just not in the mood. I'm sure your poem's lovely."
I brightened up instantly. I held his hand when he tried to walk away and started giving him a thumb massage.
"It'll be okay," I told him, smiling again. "What lessons do you have today?"
"I, uh, don't know my timetable off by heart yet," he said, a little awkwardly.
"Oh." I thought this was a little odd, as it was one month till the end of the school year and the six weeks holiday, after which I would be in Y10 and he would be in Y11, but I suppose some people have better memories than others.
I brightened again as I remembered my plan for later. "Hey, would you like to go for a walk this afternoon?"
"A ... walk?"
"Yeah, in the meadow. It's not too far away from here. And then my mum can pick us up. She baked some cookies this morning." They were very tasty. I had already eaten two of them.
"I can't. I have homework again."
I gave him a disapproving frown. "My friend said that if you work too hard, you'll lose your hair."
He sighed a very large sigh. "I won't work too hard - I'll do enough."
"Surely an hour won't do too much harm?" I said doubtfully.
"Oh, an hour is a lot."
"But Carter..." I said pleadingly.
"It'll be sooo romantic. And we need some way to show we've begun dating."
He suddenly jerked his hand away from mine. "We have not started dating," he said in an irritated voice.
I folded my arms and glared at him.
"You kissed me yesterday," I told him firmly. "Are you going to deny it?"
"No," he said, sounding annoyed.
"Then we're an item." I frowned at him again, but the my expression softened.
"I really love you, Carter. And I'm sorry you find me so annoying all the time but I really think we can make this work." I leant up and kissed his cheek. "Bye."
I walked away to put my PE kit in my locker and get to form. Then I realised I'd forgotten to tell Carter something very important. I whipped out my phone and sent him a quick text.
To: Carter Maxwell
Oh, I forgot to say. I love you.
I put my phone back in my pocket, but with no response after ten minutes it was back out again.
To: Carter Maxwell
Are you okay?! Why didn't you reply?!! Emily xxx
That got a reply within two minutes.
From: Carter Maxwell
I'm okay. I don't text much. My phone will be switched off till I get home tonight.
I figured he must have Science, and that his teacher must be Mr Kesray, otherwise known as X-ray for the fact that he could see when anyone was on their phone however well hidden it was, and therefore hadn't had time to add I love you for fear of having his phone confiscated.
School passed uneventfully, and well before it felt like it should even be lunch I was walking out of the school gates, alone. Kerry was simply 'absent', and I would ask her about it when I got home.
"Uh, excuse me?" said a voice that I didn't recognise from behind me.
I turned round. Standing behind me, looking nervous, was a girl who was only just shorter than me. I had seen her on the corridors once or twice, and I was fairly sure she was in the year below me. She looked familiar, more than just having seen her a couple of times before, but I wasn't sure why. She had bright topaz-blue eyes rimmed with black eyeliner and long wavy black hair with an electric blue streak running down the right side. Well, she was certainly balanced, that's for sure.
"Are you Emily Harrows?" she asked me, fidgeting.
"Yeah. And you are...?" I asked, frowning as I tried to think who she was.
"My name's Charlotte, Charlotte Maxwell."
"Charlotte Max- you're Carter's sister!" I exclaimed. That was why I recognised her.
She grinned nervously. "Yep, I am. Carter talks about you a lot and, well... I wanted to find out who you were."
Carter talked about me a lot? I grinned in happiness.
I heard the sound of the bus stopping, and Charlotte turned around.
"Oops, I have to go. See you!" she said, running towards the bus, waving at me over her shoulder.
I sat at my desk, colouring my art homework - rainbow colour scheme, of course - when suddenly I was interrupted by my mother yelling me to come down.
"Yes?" I said, bursting into the kitchen.
"We have a bit of a problem. The boiler's broken. Mr Clougher is coming round tomorrow to try and fix it, but till then we've got no heating or hot water. Can you find a friend to stay with?"
I thought that was quite sudden, but I went off back to my room and phoned Kerry.
"Kerry, it's Emily! Can I come sleepover at your house tonight? Our boiler broke and-"
"Emily, I'd love you to, but did you forget I'm in Australia right now?"
"Oh, dammit. I forgot."
"I thought you did. Oops, my phone's dying, talk to you later!"
She disappeared. I sighed, wondering who else to ask.
My thoughts were interrupted by a bleep from my computer as an MSN window popped up.
xXCharlotteXx: Emily? It's Charlotte, I got your email off Carter.
RainbowGirl: Hey, Charlotte, are you free tonight?