Grace was, as usual, sat in front of her window with her legs crossed. The old pair of chunky headphones sat comfortably over her ears, shutting out the outside world. Her bedroom was hot and heavy, like the air outside. She had opened her window but it didn't make any difference to the temperature.
She hadn't heard the knocking on her door, but sensed it opening and turned around, slipping her headphones around her neck.
'Holly?' Grace said in surprise, 'why are you here so late?'
'It's only eight.' Holly replied. Her voice was raw with emotion and rugged like she had been screaming, 'your mum let me in.'
Holly's face was blotchy and the apples of her cheeks were burning brightly. Her eyes were puffy and she had obviously been crying, 'what's wrong?'
'Can we go for a walk, please? I need to talk to you.' Said Holly ruggedly, not meeting Grace's eyes as she scuffed her toes on the carpet. Her hands were clasped tightly together, making them turn white under the pressure.
They left the house, not saying a word to each other as Grace shoved on her muddy sneakers. Holly was silent, which unnerved Grace. She had never suffered such a quiet five minutes from her normally over-exuberant friend and didn't know what to say to break the tension. She felt this wasn't the time to crack a joke, not that she could anyway and couldn't bring herself to asked what was wrong again. Grace knew this was something Holly had to express on her own.
They reached the woodland path behind Grace's house and Holly stopped in front of her.
'My mum cheated on my dad. They're getting a divorce.' She said suddenly, her back turned. Her voice shook a little, but Grace could tell she wasn't crying; her shoulders were still straight and still.
Grace didn't say anything. There wasn't anything she could say. Nothing she would have said would make the situation better, it wouldn't ease Holly's pain - pity only made things worse in Grace's experience.
But it turned out she didn't need to say anything else because the story spilled out of Holly like a broken damn. She started the cry about halfway through explaining everything, her sobs making some parts of it impossible to understand. Holly had walked in on her mother and father arguing, there was smashed plates and her mother's face was red with an enraged slap she'd received from her husband. Her dad had been crying and told her to leave the house and never show her face again. Of course, this was cut short when Holly walked in on their fued.
Once she had finished she fell into a squat, her hands clutching her face as her cries grew only louder.
'Why aren't you saying anything?' Wailed Holly, as Grace stood there helpless as to what could comfort the bawling girl, 'why do you never say anything?'
'I... I'm sorry, Holly, I don't know what else to say.' Grace stammered, her hands shook violently as she reached out to place them on Holly's shoulders. But Holly leaped away from Grace's touch.
'You used to! You used to know what to say!' Holly cried furiously, 'I don't know who you are!'
'Holly, calm down, please,' she begged quietly, steadying her voice with some effort, 'you're upset, I understand.'
'No, no you don't! You don't understand! And I'm not saying this because I'm upset!' She spat, 'you irritate me. You never listen. You think because you tried to kill yourself that you're suddenly a special little cupcake? Well, you're not! I had to put up with you crying every single bloody day at school and now you can't even give me a shred of comfort after what I'm going through! You're pathetic!' Holly was panting by the time she had finished, her expression was ugly and contorted with hatred.
Grace's eyes were wide, they stung as the tears threatened to spill. Her voice shook, 'you're just upset... you don't mean those thing, Holly.'
'Yes I do.' Holly snarled, her voice was shaking like Grace's, except she seemed much more sure in her words than Grace did.
Biting her bottom lips with her fists clenched, Grace opened her mouth to try and rationalise with Holly but she beat her to it. Pushing her out of the way, Holly stormed back towards the main road her boots snapped twigs on the paths which left echoes throughout the wood.
The sun set over the horizon and the copse of trees was shrouded in a darkness which seemed to support Holly's vindictive words. With trembling fingers, she fished her mobile out of her hoody pocket, and pressed the first person on her speed dial.