“Ezme!” I run out after Ezme.
She glances behind herself, but sticks her chest out and continues walking, as though she is proud of walking away.
“Hey? Come on, now. Talk to me.”
Ezme stops at the end of the corridor to open the double doors leading to one of the main staircases. Once she makes it into the heart of the school, there’s no way to chase after her; she’ll be lost in the wave of crowds instantly.
“Why should I bother? You’ll only end up telling the others.”
Only if the others demand it from me, which she knows they will. The others…the Year 11s…The scary ones who mock her…My thoughts dwell on them for only a second, as mousey-E slips away like her little metaphor.
I sprint (well, as fast as I can in my knee-length nerdy checked skirt and untrained legs) down the corridor, attracting a few stares, but luckily from uninterested passing Year 7s and other unruly Year 10s and 11s. I catch hold of Ezme-who is still casually walking away- on the final steps of the staircase.
“Listen, Ezme, it’s okay if you didn’t get the part you wanted. I’m sure your audition was really good.”
Ezme turns, furiously, with tears in her eyes and says, “I didn’t even get in! The part I wanted went to Dan’s sister, Bernice.”
Ah, Bernice. Daniel’s little pain-of-a-sister, in our year, and one of the only people who didn’t approve of his relationship with Ezme. She has been trying to split them up since a month after they had first started going out. Which was quite a long time ago, to be honest. Ezme and Daniel’s strong wall-of-a-relationship had resisted all her attacks…until now, that is. Maybe Ezme was just struggling through this year because Daniel, being a current Year 11, had taken the opportunity that he had been given to spend a month in a French exchange family and school. Suddenly I feel guilty for my doubts earlier; Ezme was feeling lonely or missing him too much to concentrate, and Bernice had taken this chance to cause Ezme more pain by springing into her place with that surprising acting ability.
“Oh, Ez.” I pull her into a close hug, feeling very motherly for a second.
“Bernice can go to hell.” I ignore the little nagging consciousness inside of me that tells me swearing is wrong. This one time, it doesn’t matter.
“I believe in you.”