Chapter NineMature

Chapter Nine

I woke up early Saturday and grabbed a shower. Once I was dried I glanced at my wardrobe, outside the sun was shining. I had one dress and three skirts, all of which I rarely wore. I had a natural aversion to being girly. The only thing I envied Amber over was her self-confidence to wear that sort of stuff. Eventually I wore quarter length trousers and a nice top. As a last thought I added eye-shadow and lip-gloss. I headed downstairs to the smell of a cooked breakfast. I half ran into the kitchen and grinned. Dad didn't get many Saturdays off, but when he did he was in a great mood and tended to take over the kitchen a little. I looked forward to getting home after today and having whatever cake or cookies he made.
“You need a lift to the train station?” Dad asked as he handed me a plate with food already on it.

“If you don't mind that'd be great,” I replied with a grin. He saw what I was wearing and did a double-take. I avoided short-sleeved tops because of my wrists but the scars had faded quite a lot. Unless someone looked closely or knew they were there, they should remain unnoticed. We mostly ate in silence, he read the newspaper while I checked my mobile. Darren had texted to double check where we were meeting up. I replied quickly and finished my breakfast. When I'd finished helping dad tidy up he grabbed the keys.
“You meeting up with Zack and your other friends?” he asked, I nodded. He remembered Zack, though like with me he didn't comment on the gay thing. Though I think it was harder for dad to ignore with Zack. He did do a lot to shout it.
I waved bye as I went into the train station to get a ticket into Cambridge. I starred out the window on the train, wondering what Amber was doing. Probably at some shopping centre with her gaggle of followers.

“Hey,” Kim yelled me over at the other side, her hand firmly in Anisha. They looked so cute together and I couldn't help smiling as I walked over.
“Hey, we taking a bus or walking?” I asked, seeing the traffic outside.
“It's too nice to go on a stuffy bus. And its only thirty minutes to walk,” Anisha said. We left the station and joked and laughed as we walked. We took the known short cut to the leisure centre and reached the bridge quickly.
“Are there any of the guys at the group you think we could set up with Derek?” I asked them both. Kim frowned and looked at Anisha who shrugged.
“I don't really know Derek well enough to figure out who'd suit him,” Anisha answered honestly. Kim nodded in agreement and I sighed. I wondered if Darren would let me skip one practise session. Severely unlikely. Darren would probably glare at me just for suggesting the idea. We reached the centre and saw that the others were already there, taking over the benches outside the bowling alley.
“Get ready to be beaten,” I said to Zack as we walked inside. The air conditioning was a relief after the heat outside.

“If that's what you believe,” Zack replied with shrug. Just to prove a point I got a strike first time round. I did a fist pump in the air and sat back down with a proud smirk on my face.
“Doesn't mean a thing,” Zack muttered, standing up for his go. He managed to knock down all but three. His next go was a gutter ball. I felt my grin widen as Zack's shoulder slouched, watching his ball fall uselessly into the gutter.
“You're enjoying this way too much,” Nick murmured next to me. I just beamed the grin his way and watched as he took his go. He got a strike too and I gave him a respectful nod.
“You having fun?” I asked Darren when Derek stood up to take his turn.
“Uh? Oh, yeah,” he said. I wondered why he was so distracted before shrugging. Probably none of my business. When the game finished Kim and Anisha headed off for a meal together. I put one arm over Zack shoulder, pulling him down to my height.
“I beat you,” I whispered with a grin. He shook his head, though he was smiling as well.
“Next time,” he promised. His phone beeped and he glanced at it.
“Ah, I need to go. Dad managed to get me a hills road interview sooner,” Zack said. I frowned.

“I thought you were going to long road?” I asked.
“I am, but dad insisted I put hills down as a college choice anyway,” Zack replied with a drawn out sigh.
“Well, have fun,” I said lamely.
“Thanks,” he said with a wave. I glanced at Nick. Derek and Darren had already left. Looked like the day out was ending a lot sooner than expected.
“How about I try beating you on some arcade games? I'm good at the gun ones,” Nick suggested, seeing my expression fall.
“Well, I don't have anything else to do. But you have to let me beat you at the guitar hero game after,” I bargained. He grinned and nodded. A few rounds of both later we were back outside on the benches.
“I should probably head back soon,” he said, checking his watch.
“So should I,” I said. If I was going to do anything now would be the time.
“I guess I'll see you on Monday,” he said, standing up. I stood up too, facing him. God dammit, I was not good at making the first move.
“Yeah,” I said. Nd to think I'd called Zack a wuss earlier.
“Cya,” Nick said, turning to leave, his hand waving. I clenched my fists and grabbed his elbow. He looked down at my hand in surprise. He opened his mouth to speak but I closed the distance between us and kissed him.

The End

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