# Chapter 3: Life Goes On

The locket bounced against my collarbone as I jogged down the St. James’ street. I didn’t particularly want to go to school today but my maths A-level paper was calling and this wasn’t something I wanted to miss. The pressure of exams hadn’t really hit me, and I reckoned this was because my mind was so caught up in other things. I had quiet words to the head of exams, he promised to write to the exam board explaining my situation and thus hopefully giving me some sympathy with my pitiful mark.

“…You are not permitted to talk or attempt to contact any other pupil in this exam hall…” the head of maths told everyone in the exam room. It was a revised speech which was repeated before every exam and by which most students knew by heart. Chloe caught my eye from across the hall; she smiled sympathetically and made a heart with her hands, showing it to me. I rolled my eyes and made sure the laptop was working. “The time is nine am you have two hours, you may now begin.”

The commutator of two functions is defined as... [f,g](x) = fg(x) – gf(x)…prove that…

My mind went blank, what was a commutator? What was a function? What was x? I looked up to watch the digital clock tick slowly, 9:07…9:19…9:32. I was running out of time and I couldn’t concentrate, I sent a silent prayer up to whoever was listening.Please let me concentrate; please let me finish the question.

By 11 O’clock I had thankfully finished the paper, it hadn’t been my best but it was over and I could go back to moping around home until my next exam. Chloe and Charlotte came up to me,

“How are you doing Ella?” Chloe asked, she put her arm around me, “We were thinking about coming round, but we didn’t know if you wanted us to or not.” I slung my bag around my shoulders and shrugged my straps higher up my back.

“I’m as good as can be expected,” I said diplomatically, “that maths exam was hard though, wasn’t it?” I tried to change the subject but failed.

“It was nice to see you so together at the funeral,” Charlotte voiced, “you’re so brave, we’re so proud of you.” The traitorous lump grew up in my throat; I tried not to gag as I spoke.

“It’s not been easy,”

“Oh no!” Chloe cried, “We weren’t saying you looked unaffected, we’re just saying how brave you are,” she smiled; I clenched my teeth for no reason.

“I should get going,” I muttered pushing passed them and through the crowded exam foyer outside. Just outside Josh caught my shoulder and stood in front of me, blocking my escape.

“You haven’t returned my calls,” he stated, “I’ve been so worried.”

“You needn’t be,” I told him trying to pass by,

“You just cut me out, I didn’t know how you were coping, I was worried and you just ignored me,”

“Oh I’m sorry!” I cried, “How selfish of me; my mother just died but how could I have been so rude to just take some time out to mourn?!”

“I didn’t mean that…” Josh muttered,

“It sounded like you did,” I replied, he leant wrapped his arm around my shoulder and I shrugged it off. “Just do me a favour and leave me alone, okay?”

“Come on Ella, you don’t mean that – do you?” Josh asked, his eyes pleading.

“I meant every word I said.” I replied before walking off, I climbed into the car and Dad drove home in silence.

The End