Matthew came out of the exam an hour later to the same reactions as before, only this time feeling a lot less confident. He’d had to write about ‘a memorable day out’ and though he’d given it his best shot –writing about his sister’s birthday party at the ice skating rink-, he’d found it impossible to write past lunchtime. Oh well, he thought, at least I did alright in the reading test. All the preferable answers to that had been stashed away at the exam office and it had taken him less than a minute to sift through those and select the ones with the highest marks. If only his brain could do the writing for him as well.
“-Yea, how about Saturday? We could stay over at Kate’s place. Kate, you have that field still, don’t you?”
“Yea, my field’s free. It might be a bit weedy though.”
As he shoved his way into the circle of teenagers, Matthew noted that half of them were missing, most probably in the canteen grabbing some lunch. Thankfully, he saw that Lily was one of the few remaining and he gave her a small smile before turning back to the conversation at hand.
“That won’t matter,” Abbey shrugged over the weed problem, “As long as there’s room for our tents. How many do you think we could fit?”
“Last time we camped there were about five tents, two ten-man and three three-man, I think,” Hannah put in. “There should be enough room for all our mates at least.”
“Yea, wait ‘till we tell the others- they’ll be so excited!”
Matthew glanced round at the three guys in his presence and to his amusement, found that none of them looked ‘excited’, and instead seemed rather unimpressed. Even so, he knew they would end up going, especially as the girls were always cooing over them. ‘Oh Will,’ they’d say, ‘You have to come! It’ll be rubbish without you!’ It would only be a matter of days before the whole year was fussing over this stupid party.
“So who are you going to invite?” Lily asked, glancing over at Matthew’s side of the circle. She caught his eye but he quickly looked down at the floor before she could find the emotion within them.
“Oh, I don’t know- we’ll have to discuss it with the others first. Do you think Saturday would be ok or should we have it a week after? We’ll need lots of time to plan it, you know, to get all the food and alcohol and stuff,” Abbey replied.
“Alcohol?” Lily questioned, biting her lip, “You think we should?”
“Yea, why not? We won’t take much- just a few bottles. Our parents won’t mind.”
The rest of lunch was taken up by just one subject; Saturday night’s camp. Matthew was amazed at how hyped everyone was about it but also surprised at how it had turned from just a small discussion to a major party in just a few hours. So far he hadn’t been invited but there were still three days to go; plenty of time to slip a comment in there. The only problem was that he’d probably never work up the courage to do so. Oh well, hopefully it wouldn’t come to that and someone thoughtful would invite him at the last minute.
The bell rang for fifth period and everyone hurried off to their classes leaving a buzz of excitement hanging in the air. Matthew wasn’t looking forward to science but was pleased that he’d be able to get away from the babble of his classmates. That was one of the positives of sitting near the front: the people next to you couldn’t talk about crazy camping parties without getting told off by the teacher.
Unfortunately, the science exam –along with all the other mock exams- was over and so their teacher wasn’t pressuring them as usual, meaning that instead of sitting in silence, the class was allowed to jump up on the tables and watch a film. Paul, one of his closer mates, had bought in X-Men Wolverine and after five minutes of persuasion from his pupils, Mrs. Hale had given in and started it on the projector. Luckily, it was engaging enough to keep most of the class amused and the only mutterings were from the back in the form of indistinguishable whispers from girls with no interest in the film.
After science, Matthew had electronics and though he usually enjoyed the subject, the lesson seemed to last forever. The alarm clock he was making kept falling apart and the circuit never worked, rendering it useless. In the end he ended up working on his paper work, deciding to leave the practical to a double lesson.
Forty minutes in there was a knock at the door. “Yes?” Mr. Woodall called loudly over the hammering and sawing in the wood tech area. The door opened and Lily stepped in, an uneasy look planted on her face. He glanced around at us all and smiled then walked over to the teacher to have a word.
“Yes Miss Jones, look over there on the shelf- that’s it; just behind those boxes,” Mr. Woodall called to her as she made her way over to the cabinet by the machines. “Just take as much card as you need- I’m sure the media department needs it a lot more than I do.”
Matthew grabbed his broken clock and went over to the drilling machine next to where Lily was pulling at the card. He wasn’t sure what made him do it but he felt the sudden urge to go up and talk to her.
“Hi,” he smiled, pretending to check over the machine. “What do you need that for?”
“Oh what- the card? We’re making leaflets about some kind of- oh crumbs!” Matthew glanced up just as the box alongside the card tumbled to the ground. He bent down automatically to pick it up but Lily was there already. “Thank you,” she grinned, putting it back on the shelf, “I’m so clumsy nowadays- I’m not sure what to do with myself!”
Matthew smiled back and muttered something about it ‘being a pleasure’ but before he could turn it into a proper conversation, Mr. Woodall was calling over to Lily.
“Shouldn’t you be getting back to class, Miss Jones?”
“Oh yes, of course sir. Thank you for the card,” she called back to him. She grabbed the pile then turned back to Matthew. “Are you going to Kate’s on Saturday?”
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “I need to check whether I’m free.”
“Me too,” she smiled, “I’m usually free though. Should be fun, shouldn’t it?”
“Yea,” he muttered.
“Well, I’d better get back; Miss Osborne will kill me. I’ll see you later.”
“You too,” he gulped. “Good luck with the leaflet.”
She hurried out of the room after that and Matthew wasn’t to see her until the next day. Speaking to her just then had given him the warmest of feelings; a sense of belonging he’d never felt before. She obviously wanted him at the party otherwise she wouldn’t have mentioned it. That must mean that the others wouldn’t mind him either, for wasn’t she best friends with all the girls in their group? Maybe this party wouldn’t be so bad after all.