A tale of two friends whose friendship is tested when devilish Luke comes along. To hell and beyond, with the Devil involved, things are going to get hot...
Chapter One (Part One)
“Right class, settle down.” The balding teacher fought to be heard amongst all the chatter. Once the noise subsided, he limped to the front and began sketching a woman. The features were very plain, the hair style limp and un-lifelike, and in all honesty, for an art teacher, it was a pretty poor effort. After his feeble attempt to explain the task to the class full of enthusiastic A Level students, the teacher - who went by the name of Mr Bradewell – retreated to the comfort of his leather swivel chair, and surveyed the sea of artists before him.
Most of them had their heads down in concentration, some staring fixatedly at the photo they were drawing from; others were delicately sketching in pencil, whilst others scrubbed daringly at the paper with thick, sooty charcoal. They were a good class – they always knuckled down and got on with the work, eventually – and there were many talented artists amongst them.
Mr Bradewell, although all teachers should never have favourites, had found his golden gem of them all – quite literally in the sense that Angie’s blonde hair gleamed as the sun rays from the big bay window refracted off it at different angles. She was a quiet, hard working student, and she had talent like no other. She didn’t even have to look at the paper as she drew – her hand glided over it effortlessly, staining the cream parchment with graphite lines etched with accuracy and depth – and she spent very little time on each piece. Mostly, Mr Bradewell left her to her own accord, for there was nothing he could teach her, and he did the same for her friend, Ethan.
Whilst Ethan wasn’t quite as talented as Angie, he had the same raw gift, that when nurtured could blossom into something as full of potential as Angie. The two of them were inseparable – they went everywhere together, did everything together, and told each other everything. The strength of their friendship amazed both their peers and adults. The automatic presumption was that they were a couple – how often do you see a boy and girl who are best friends at seventeen? – But they were just incredibly good friends. They’d picked up that freaky habit that twins sometime have – they knew what the other was thinking before they’d even said it – and they could often finish each others’ sentences. Whether it was their shared appreciation of silence, or their ability to draw and paint like no one else that drew them to each other, no one knew. There was no why, how or what about it – they were just there, existing, parallel to each other; Angie and Ethan.
Mr Bradewell’s face creased as he smiled as he surveyed his star pupils. No matter how bad a day he was having, they always managed to put a smile on his face. As the black second hand crept around the clock face, etching towards the bell, he sighed. It was such a shame really – the talent that those two had was undeniable – and yet neither of them wanted to follow art into the career paths it created. Angie had her heart set on being a psychologist – she loved analysing the way people acted and spoke, and he could tell from looking at her that the way that she read people affected the way she portrayed them in her art. That was part of what made her work so real – the depth was created as a result of all the analysing that went on inside her head – as well as the raw skill. Ethan on the other hand, he had no plans whatsoever – and Mr Bradewell hadn’t managed to get anything about his life plan out of him, when he’d interviewed them both about scholarships – he was one of those happy go lucky people who live for the moment.
He would be leaving this class soon, as he was retiring, and he watched them leave the classroom with a sad smile on his face. Such a waste… Mind You, he thought to himself, these things happen for a reason.
Angie walked side by side with Ethan out of the classroom, and down through the corridor. They didn’t speak to each other – at least at school – but that wasn’t because they didn’t have much to say to each other; quite the contrary, it’s just that they were both deep thinkers, and sometimes, thinking’s more productive than holding a conversation with someone that you could probably map out in your head anyway. Besides, Ethan and Angie made up for the lack of conversation outside of school. They spent every waking moment in each other’s company – be it up a tree, sketching a sunset, or chilling at Ethan’s house watching a silly movie and eating popcorn – and were rarely seen apart. However, this one lesson they were separated – Angie took psychology, whilst Ethan took Advanced Maths – so they hugged each other goodbye and went into different classrooms.
Angie’s class was alright – she had a good mix of people she knew – and she had a decent teacher. However, due to not being a conversationalist, she chose to sit at the back desk, where there was no one else. That way, she could drift off into one of her reveries and not be interrupted by some dull teenage girl moaning about the state of her love life. She preferred it that way, and wasn’t bothered by the odd looks that people cast when she chose to work individually than in a group, when the teacher proffered the choice. She rarely answered questions, and she’d probably fail the class altogether if it wasn’t for her ability to analyse people near perfectly. She had scared her teacher, Ms. Farheigh, on the first lesson, when she had guessed that she was stressed, probably due to a recent divorce – but then again it wasn’t hard to work that out; the middle aged woman walked with her shoulders hunched, and bowed over like a tree, and if not the Ms. in her title was even more of a giveaway.
Snapping out of one of her daydreams – she’d been thinking about a watercolour wash she was working on at home – Angie turned her attention to the mouse haired teacher who was rambling on about some project.
“All you have to do is ask a member of the opposite sex – yes, I’m afraid that is necessary – these questions in a relaxed environment. It won’t take long to do, but the reason I’ve given you such a long while to do it is because it’s important that you ask the right person; after all, this is going towards your A Level coursework. Oh, and don’t forget to turn that paper in on Emotions tomorrow - !” She was cut off by the bell, as the sea of students swept their belonging into bottomless bags, and filed out of the door in a desperate bid to get the best seats on the buses.
Ethan was waiting outside for her, and he held her arm out for her bag. Angie declined. It was a very macho thing to do, but Angie knew as well as Ethan did that he didn’t really want to carry her bag. Besides, why should he? It was her bag. “How was Maths,” Angie enquired.
Ethan shot her a painful look in return. She smiled. She still couldn’t figure out why he had chosen to take the course – and she didn’t envy him and the truckload of coursework that he was given. “Awful. I’d rather not talk about how it was, thanks. What about you?”
Back in her reverie, thinking about her watercolour wash, Angie replied in her usual nonchalant tone, “Fine. You still up for dinner tonight?” Distracted, she forgot to mention the term paper that she would need Ethan to answer. Ethan nodded. “Good, because I don’t think I can handle Madeline for much longer.” Ethan chuckled in sympathy, and they continued up the gravel drive in companionable silence.
Madeline was Angie’s mum – she preferred to be called by her first name – and she acted like her sister. It was kind of embarrassing to Angie, to have a mum who was so flamboyant; so out there. She was an actress, and she was always away on tour. She never bothered phoning or visiting; she just left Angie to her own devices, which suited her just fine. The times when she was home, though, she drove Angie insane, with her loud friends and OTT parties. Whenever she was home, Angie did her best to stay out of the house as much as possible, even resorting to sleeping on the couch at Ethan’s.
That was the reason for tonight’s dinner – Angie’s mum was having all her wacky actress friends over for a party of some sort, and Ethan’s parents were at home – so in order to escape hectic home life, Angie and Matt were going out to a restaurant and to see a film. They often went out and did the kind of things that couples did, but it never occurred to either of them as odd. They just laughed, when people asked how long they’d been together, they were just friends. Nothing more, nothing less; just Angie and Ethan.