'Gracie, I've got your lunch box! Don't forget to pack it.' Grace's mother yelled from the kitchen, her booming voice carrying throughout the entire life.
It had been two weeks since Holly's outburst. And in those two weeks Alexander had, for the most part, not left Grace's side. He was even with her now, helping her pack her bag for her first day back at school.
'Do you want me to go get it for you?' Alexander asked, putting down the maths set in his hand and looking up at her.
'Thanks, if you don't mind.' Grace nodded as she wrapped the tie around itself to create a tidy knot in the nook of her collar. She gazed at him through the mirror as he left the room and silently wondered if she was starting to take advantage of Alexander's kindness and rely on him too much.
Grace wanted Alexander to rely on her also but he didn't seem as though he had any serious troubles he needed help shouldering the burden for. It was beginning to make her uneasy.
I'll talk about it with him later, she thought.
'Wow, she sure spoils you! Cheese sandwich, salad and chocolate,' Alexander grinned as he entered her bedroom, plastic lunchbox in hand.
She half smiled, the nerves of returning to school were making it difficult for her to joke around. At school the only person she would hang around with was Holly, she didn't have any other friends to rely on for company in the school grounds. Alexander was going to be attending the college, not the high school's sixth form so she wouldn't be able to spend as much time with him. How boring.
'Sure will be lonely now the summer is over,' Alexander tilted his head and looked at Grace, a ghost of a smile playing on his lips. He sat down on her bed and flipped through the book on her bedside table.
'Yeah,' agreed Grace, pushing her arms through the sleeves of her school blazer. She patted herself down and stared at her reflection in the mirror. A pair of bright, blue, confused eyes stared back. The events of the summer had made Grace feel a little on edge, after spending so much time with Alexander it was going to be difficult to wear her fake smile and pretend everything was alright.
'What's wrong?' Alexander asked from the bed, his eyes set on her face.
'I don't want to go back to school,' she sighed, settling down next to him.
'It's your last year, then you can come to college with me.' He reminded her, handing Grace her messenger bag, 'do you want me to walk with you?'
Grace shook her head, 'no, you don't need to do that.' Taking the bag from him, she looped the strap around herself and stood up, 'but meet me in the park on the way home.'
'Of course,' he smiled.
Grace felt Alexander's worried stare on her back as she left for the main road. She knew he probably would have felt much better if he could walk her to the gates, but she couldn't keep making him worry. She needed to be strong enough to suppourt their friendship, too.
The long, familiar walk to school made her want to find somewhere to hide in anticipation for the coming year. It was going to be very busy, what with all the exams. They could always study together, but the pair would probably find some kind of distraction to draw themselves away from the books that needed their attention.
The school gates were fast approaching and there was a growing number of students around Grace, flocking towards the school's entrance.
I can do this. I'm strong.
(Sorry it took me so long to post, and sorry that it may not have the same "feel" as the other chapters. I'm hoping to wrap up with story over the coming weeks!)