It took until lunchtime for Nate Phillips to make his first appearance at Harley Falls Sixth Form.
Jen was sat at the back of her English class, not really paying attention to the teacher and instead absentmindedly staring out the window. She wasn’t focussing on anything in particular, her eyes wandered from one thing to the next, so when she saw a figure crossing the quad, she didn’t pay it much attention. But then the figure got closer and seemed to stop where they were. For the first time, Jen’s attention was trained solely on this one person. Her stomach seemed to do a slight somersault as she realized who it must be.
She couldn’t see him that clearly from the top floor, she could just make out a tall, lean body and black hair. His head was bent over, staring at a white piece of paper intently. Then he shifted slightly. His head turned upwards and his eyes met hers for a few fleeting seconds.
Jen looked away quickly, swallowing. She told herself she wasn’t interested who he was; he was just a boy who was going to cause mayhem in the school for the next few weeks.
By the time she had mustered up the courage to look back down, he had disappeared. Okay, so he was now in the building, obviously.
The lunch bell rang out loud and clear and Jen jumped.
‘Dammit,’ she muttered, embarrassed, collecting up her things quickly.
Elle met her at the door, shaking with excitement. ‘Here’s here! He’s actually in this building! Oh my God Jen I’m in the same building as Nate Phillips. I don’t think you understand how big this is!’
‘He’s just a guy,’ Jen said exasperated, despite the reaction she had just had.
‘To you maybe, Miss-I-Don’t-Know-Who-Any-Famous-Person-Is.’
‘Original,’ Jen nodded, heading for lunch. Elle stopped her by grabbing her arm.
‘Wait! How does my hair look?’
Jen had always secretly been jealous of Elle’s hair; light blonde and fluffy it always managed to catch the light at the right angle illuminating lighter strands and hanging in natural waves past her shoulders.
‘And my make up?’
‘Looks perfectly naturally. Let’s go, I’m hungry.’
They descended the sixth form steps and walked through the wide set hallway towards the common room. Elle was a nervous wreck; she was physically shaking. Jen grabbed her friend's wrists and looked her directly in eyes. She had just been about to give her some motivational speech about remaining calm when someone spoke from behind them.
They both turned at the same time.
Nate Phillips stood there, clutching his timetable with a puzzled look on his face. Jen noted how good looking he was; he looked a lot like his father except Nate's features seemed somehow softer, as though the effects of stardom hadn’t quite taken its toll on him just yet. Forest green eyes were set in a face that seemed somehow both innocent and devious at the same time. The corner of his mouth tilted up uncertainly, in an attempted smile. Jen looked at her friend. Her face had gone white and her mouth kept opening and closing like a goldfish. It seemed as though she wasn’t capable of speech just yet.
‘Yeah?’ Jen took the opportunity to speak instead. The boy’s eyes shifted to hers and something like recognition passed through them as he realized she was the girl he had seen minutes earlier.
‘Could you please tell me where Miss Tristan’s office is? I’m completely lost,’ he smiled shakily. He spoke with a strong American accent and he gave a little laugh that seemed heavy and husky.
‘Elle?’ Jen shook her friend. ‘Why don’t you show Nate to Miss Tristan’s office?’
Elle was completely and utterly star-struck. She let out a high pitched giggle that even made Jen cringe before speaking.
‘Sorry, yeah um. Yeah. This way.’ She turned on her heel quickly and Nate had to hurry to catch up with her. Jen watched them both head off and she smiled at how clueless her friend had been. She made her way into the common room where ten pairs of eyes were all staring at her.
‘What?’ she shrugged her shoulders.
‘How is he?’ Amber raised an eyebrow. ‘Is he superficial?’
‘He seems alright,’ Jen admitted. ‘Not as stuck up as I thought he’d be.’
Another girl sighed dramatically. ‘Elle is so lucky! He is gorgeous.’
They all began chattering amongst themselves and Jen took herself over to sit beside Amber. Amber was a lot like Jen as the fact that a celebrity was attending the same school as her didn’t seem to faze her in the slightest. Amber was a very level-headed girl, very down to earth and practical.
‘What’s he really like?’
‘Honestly, he seemed okay,’ Jen told the girl. ‘I don’t know what he’s going to be like once he becomes settled though. He’s completely out of his comfort zone here, but I’m sure that’ll change.’