Erin and Chleo were doing laps around the school corridors, they had given up on the idea of learning Irish. They came to the library which was unlocked and went it. Erin shut the door and locked it. The library could hardly be called a library, it was a tiny room packed full of old, torn books nobody read. There wasn't even a librarian, or a system to find books, most people that came here came to hide from teachers, skip class or steal a book, if they could find one worth stealing.
''I cannot wait to be finished'', Erin said as she flopped down on a beanbag and took her itchy school jumper off.
''Me neither'', Chleo said glad she didn't have to wear the uniform anymore, ''can't wait to get away from all the whispering. Like you'd swear people here had never heard of pregnancy''.
''Or seen it'', Erin smiled pulling at a loose thread on her jumper.
''Like I never cared before what they called me behind me back'', Chleo said frowning and biting her nails, a new habit since smoking was out of the question, ''but when they're talking about my kid, that's not on like''.
They sat in silence for a while, listening to the teacher next door yelling at a student.
''It's a girl'', Chleo said suddenly, ''we're going to call her Katie''.
''That's great Chleo'', Erin said smiling.
''The doctor told us yesterday and we ended up going to Mothercare and I bought sooo much pink shit Erin, it's not even funny'', Chleo smiled.
The last few weeks of school passed by in a blur. Billy had been writing Erin letters from hospital, explaining why he started taking drugs, why he never told he was gay, but mostly apologising for not being the best friend he could have been. He wasn't going to sit his exams this year, he was going to wait till next year. Erin was glad he was feeling better, more than glad she was delighted. She had practically moved in with Josh's family, only going home every once in a while to check her Mother was still alive. She had often caught Josh's Mam staring at her arms, but she never asked her about them, Erin could see the pity etched across Marie's face when she caught her staring, but she didn't mind. She was living life and she was making plans.
It was graduation night, no silly gowns or hats, just the small 6th year class and their families shoved in the assembly hall. They all wanted to leave within minutes, it was too hot and they had other things to be doing. Josh, Chleo and Erin sat together holding hands as the Principal made his speech. Silent tears fell down Erin and Chleo's faces, this was it, the end of their childhood, they were being left to the big bad world. Erin looked at Chleo and felt for a moment sadness, Chleo was being thrust head first in the adult life, she only had 2 months left, and weeks 3 of that was exams. She thought of Billy, he should have been there too not in hospital dealing with something no teenager should be dealing with. She even felt sad for Frank too, she never liked the guy but he was so young. Too young to die. He'd never get a chance to redeem himself and now no one would ever know if he could have changed. For a moment she thought of herself, she thought of her life, of what Josh had to now deal with, the nightmares, the mood swings. Josh had grown up so much, emotionally. Here they all were, already grown up in so many ways, but afraid of being adults.
After the ceremony there was lots of hugging and crying, people who never usually spoke to each other hugged.
''We'll stay in contact'', could be heard everywhere, even though everyone knew that once college started most people would disappear.
They had decided not to go out after the graduation. It wasn't fair on Chleo to drag her to different clubs. Not because she couldn't drink, because her ankles were swollen, and that made her moody. So they went to Dan's apartment, they sat around on his sofas and told stories about school, the time Chleo set the school on fire because she was smoking in the bathroom, she was never caught. When they discovered the crumbled wall, the day they glued the staff room door shut, when Billy streaked and they told the teachers it was for charity, they stayed up all night talking and laughing.
''We never talked about 6th year'', Erin whispered to Josh when they were in bed, ''we talked about every year we've known each other except this year''.
Josh turned on his side and looked at her.
''Well this year wasn't a great year for us was it?'', he said brushing a piece of her hair back.
''It was the best year'', Erin replied.
Josh smiled and kissed her. He kept stroking her hair until she fell asleep, she had taken his news about Oxford suprisingly well, which in a way upset him. He wanted her to come with him, she wasn't planning on going to college anyway. They could move to Oxford together, they could get away from her Mother and be together. All the bad memories could be left behind.
''Come to England with me'', Josh whispered.
Erin didn't asnwer, but smiled in her sleep.