My phone rang again as we left the shop and I had to stop and rummage around in my bag to find it.
'Hello?' I said, smiling apologetically at Alex.
'Hey Nessie? It's Pippa.'
'Oh.. hey, what's up? Where did you get my number?'
'I'm on Luke's phone,' she explained. 'Listen there's something I need to talk to you about, it's quite urgent. Can you meet me somewhere?'
'Can it wait until tomorrow, I'm with Alex at the moment and we're about to head back to her place.'
'I really need to talk to you as soon as possible. I'm not sure what I should do.'
'OK then, tell me now,' I said, pulling a confused face at Alex to communicate what was going on. There was a moment's pause and I heard the low rumble of Luke's voice in the background. I felt a sharp pang of jealousy. Why was Luke with Pippa? Was there something going on between them that I didn't know about? Had he already replaced me?
'OK, but you promise you have to hear me out before telling Alex.'
'I promise. You're scaring me Pippa.'
'It's Logan. He's cheating on Alex.'
'That's not possible, he would never do that.'
'I saw him with Ellie in the car park after our detention. They were kissing. Then Luke turned up and he said I should talk to you about it before approaching Alex-'
'Well there is no need to worry about it because I know Logan and he would never do anything like that.'
'Do anything like what?' Alex asked. 'Who's on the phone Nessie?'
'It's Pippa, just something stupid about Logan. Don't worry about it.' I tried to brush it off, feeling so stupid for saying something like that when Alex could clearly hear what was going on.
'Give me the phone Nessie.'
'Alex I really don't think-'
'Give me the phone Nessie.' She practically snatched the phone from my hand and held it to her ear. 'What were you saying about Logan?' There was a pause as I assumed Pippa was trying to explain her way out of it. 'I need to know what people are saying about my boyfriend.'
My stomach clenched as I saw Alex's face drop, probably because Pippa had told her what she'd seen.
'That's not true. He'd never cheat on me.' After a few moments she held the phone out in front of her and stared at it like she'd suddenly forgotten what a mobile was. I wasn't sure what to do. 'I need to find Ellie,' she said suddenly, handing me back my phone without even looking at me.
'Alex what are you going to do?'
'I have to speak to Ellie and she what she says.'
'I'll come with you,' I said, shouldering my shopping and walking after her.
'I need to do this alone,' she said, her voice firm. 'I'll see you at school tomorrow.'
'But Alex I don't want-'
'I'll see you tomorrow.' At this point Alex broke into a run, which was very surprising given her choice of footwear, but I couldn't run after her so just watched her disappear into the distance.
I pulled out my phone and redialed Luke's number, hoping Pippa would still be on the other end of the line.
'Hello?' I asked eagerly as someone picked up.
'Hello Nessie,' Luke's voice replied coldly.
'Oh, Luke it's you. Is Pippa still with you?'
'No she's just driven off.'
'Oh right.' I wasn't sure what I should say. I wanted to apologise for our conversation earlier but wasn't sure how to bring it up.
'Was there anything else you wanted to say? I'm running out of credit on my phone.'
'I'm sorry for what happened earlier,' I said, deciding to throw myself in or I would never say what I wanted to say. 'You mean so much to me and I know I probably take you for granted but it's only because I'm so used to having you around.'
'That doesn't make things better Ness.'
'I know it doesn't but the truth is...'
Here we go, I thought. I'm going to say it. Those three little words.
'You're the best friend I've ever had.' I immediately felt disappointed with myself for not going through with it and saying what I felt.
'You know what,' Luke said, his voice a bit brighter. 'You're the best friend I've ever had.'
'So we're not fighting any more?'
'I don't think so. You wouldn't last five minutes without me,' he laughed, making me smile on the other end of the phone.
'Well Alex has just run off without me to find Ellie. Is that offer of a Lord of the Rings marathon still open?'
'It always is. I'll see you in five?'
'Make it ten,' I said. 'I've got to go home and get changed. Alex has picked out some new clothes for me and I need your opinion.'