“Emily!” My mother’s voice erupted from the darkness. My eyes were sealed shut with sleep, the sun searing through my eyelids.
“What?” I grumbled with more attitude than I intended. I opened my eyes and sat up. My mother was standing in her pyjamas, her hair sticking up – she looked a lot like a scare crow.
“Get up please, darling” she said soothingly after a moment; she stroked my face and walked away. I heard the hair dryer start and her bedroom door close.
The sun was too bright and I was too tired, I glanced at the clock and realised I had half an hour to get ready for school. I jumped up quickly, running to the shower. Why hadn’t my mother woke me up earlier? I thought angrily – blaming her instead of myself that I hadn’t woke up.
After my very short shower I ran a comb through my hair and dressed, not paying attention to what I was doing and missing three buttons of my white blouse. Getting a glance of my reflection in the mirror made me realise and shouting goodbye to my mother I began doing up the buttons and running to the bus stop.
The air whipped past me, making me shiver as my hair dried in the cold. I reached the bus stop just as the bus arrived. I paid and ran up stairs hoping the heating would come on quickly. What I wasn’t expecting was to see my friend Sophie sitting opposite me. She smiled a cruel smile; taking in my appearance - my blonde hair must have looked a mess because her eyes didn’t gaze over it but instead stared.
“Hi Sophie” I said, hopefully moving the attention from my hair. I flattened it with my hands.
“Hey Em” she smiled “do you have an exam today?”
“History!” I gasped smacking myself in the forehead. She giggled smugly and shifted her weight in her chair. She looked proud of herself
“Do you have any?” I said with less interest, I had a feeling she did and was feeling confident about it.
“I have mathematics” she said proudly with another smug smile.
“I would say...good luck” I mumbled, turning away from her.
The reminder of the history exam brought back everything that had happened yesterday with Luke. I remembered that I had promised to see him after my exam, and that thought filled me with excitement and also dread - what if he wasn’t at the library when I came? What if I had made him up?
I didn’t want to think about it, I pulled my iPod out of my duffel and ignored Sophie’s eyes as she watched me rudely. She was never very nice to me, unless she wanted something and it was quite apparent that she was picking holes in my alarming appearance of wet hair, un-ironed blouse and jeans with a hole in the knee. I looked at the hole irritated, remembering when I had fallen over and used my knee to break the fall.
I swept my blonde hair around to one side letting the morning sun warm it as much as it could through the thin glass of the window. The heat was calming on my face and I closed my eyes to savour the feeling. In the back of my mind I thought of Luke - remembering that he was a ghost and the kindest boy I had ever met unlike any of the boys at my school who were obsessed with football and the lengths of girl’s skirts.
The bus journey seemed shorter than any other when we arrived outside my school. I had been anticipating this day for weeks, the day of my history exam. I got off the bus with relief that the wind had picked up blowing my hair dry as I walked to register. My teacher – Mr Holes smiled kindly at me as I told him I had an exam.
“Well, best of luck Emily you’ll be fine I'm sure”
His kind words did nothing to stop the erratic beating of my heart as I took my seat. I was prepared, more than prepared I was over prepared for this exam. I had had possibly the best tutoring for the exam than anyone here – having spoke to someone born in the time period of Henry Viii. I had revised for this more than any other test.
I'm going to be fine I repeated over and over to myself mentally.
The papers were handed out and before we were told to open them, I’d started. I wrote my name and every date I had revised and every date Luke had told me about in yesterday’s lesson. The overseer eyed me curiously when I looked up satisfied that I had remembered all thirty dates and their relevance. I wondered whether she would consider it cheating and focused on not looking at her again.
The seconds ticked by as I waited for every other student to take their seats. I smiled to a few of my friends with unprepared expressions on their faces, Tom - my oldest friend entered the hall – a goofy grin on his face as he passed my chair and tickled me, making me burst into giggles - the overseer again eyed me rudely.
I turned to glare at Tom, who stuck his tongue out at me in reply.
“Hey smelly” he whispered, for he was only a few seats behind me. “Nervous?” his blue eyes sparkled.
“Not at all” I replied with a smile “you?”
“Well I was supposed to be –“
“- be quiet!” the overseer ordered angrily, her pale face turning red.
Tom covered his face with his tanned hands as I giggled noiselessly. I did not look at him again, for fear of getting into more trouble.
Finally, we were told to start and without hesitation I opened my paper and read the question, on the first read through I considered it easy, and then after a second read it was almost too easy.
“Assess the reasons for Henry Viii’s want to dissolve the monasteries”
I considered whether they had given us the wrong paper, possibly for a lower level class but seeing other students bent over their work and writing exuberantly, I checked the clock and started with an introduction.