Chapter One (Part Two)
Before throwing on a blue top and a pair of jeans – which made a change from the school skirt, shirt and tie, not forgetting the clumsy school shoes - Angie stood under the torrent of water that spewed from the shower head. The warm water cascaded in fountains down her body, and she regretfully traded the warm shower for a fluffy towel. Once she had dressed, she made her way into the kitchen, where her mum was seated at the kitchen table, starring wistfully at the oven.
“What’s wrong now, Madeline?” Angie’s tone was slightly irritated, and patronising. Anyone would have thought that she was the mother, and Madeline the daughter! Her mother looked up at her with big eyes, almost begging for help.
“How do you work the oven again?” Angie rolled her eyes, strode oven to the oven and turned a few knobs. She looked at her mother, rolling her eyes, as if showing how easy it was. “Thanks.” Her mother glanced away from her daughter, and down at the heat magazine that was open in front of her. It was plain from the look on Angie’s face that she was despairing.
Grabbing her bag, wallet and keys, Angie left via the front door, slamming it shut in obvious frustration at her mother. There was a Cadillac parked on the drive – but there was no way that her mother would ever let her drive that – and her mother was too stingy to buy her a car. Carless, Angie relied on Ethan for all the rides to school. And whenever they went anywhere other than school, too. Sitting down on the grey stone steps leading down from her house, waiting for Ethan, she pulled out her sketchbook; which she took anywhere and everywhere. Flicking through, she found a sketch of Ethan, and stopped. It looked like him – same tanned skin, freckled nose, and dark brown hair. It was longish and always thick and busy – it looked hard to manage and was always somehow mussed up. She’d captured his blue eyes that twinkled when he smiled, and the smile was like a photo; exactly the way he looked when he smiled. She’d drawn him one day, when they were sitting in a tree, whilst she had meant to have been drawing the sunset. Taking out her pencil, she added a few freckles from memory and the sat and stared at it.
She couldn’t remember when they hadn’t been friends. They’d stuck together ever since the day in reception, where he had rescued her from the wrath of a snot-faced four year old. She’d looked up to him like an older brother all the way through school, and she still did. He was her best friend, her father figure and mum as well. He was the best friend anyone could hope for – he’d held her when she cried, laughed with her when she cracked a joke, and celebrated when she got exam results, for as long as she could remember.
A familiar voice interrupted her trail of thought. “You couldn’t go that long without looking at me?” She shot him her famous look – the one that some people do so brilliantly, with the arched eyebrows – and thumped his arm. “Ouch. That hurt – you’ve got a strong punch, y’know.” And didn’t she know. Every waking moment, Ethan lived to remind of when she’d broken his nose. They’d been messing around, having a play fight, when she threw a punch which hit home a bit hard. Ethan had always joked about it – but he was lucky that he hadn’t got a crooked nose from it! Regardless, Angie still felt bad, hence the apologetic look she shot him.
“How many times am I going to have to say that I’m sorry?” She sounded exasperated and cheeky at the same time, and Ethan played along with her.
“Depends. How many times have you caused me physical injury?” He was really winding her up now, reminding her of all the times when she’d fallen out of trees onto him, and they’d both ended up with broken limbs.
“Hey – that’s not fair! You broke my leg, that time when you fell out the tree, not the other way round!” By now they had reached Ethan’s car, a rather battered old Mini. It wouldn’t have been his first choice of car, but it was the only one his parents had been willing to by him. Anyhow, he had jazzed it up a bit with a pop art inspired mural – and you could see the dazed faces of people when he drove around. Clambering into the passenger seat, she opened one of the CD cases, making a face.
“You can’t honestly tell me you still like McFly?” Her tone was mocking, but at the same time they both knew the reason why the CD was in the car – Ethan had reluctantly agreed to buy it, one time when Angie had gone through her ‘McFly phase’ – and it had lain unopened for about six years, until now. With a grin spreading on her face, she pushed the CD into the player and began singing along at full volume to Star Girl. Ethan rolled his eyes, and pulled his sunglasses down in front of his face, igniting the engine and setting out for town.
There were many restaurants in Sheffield, but seeing as both Ethan and Angie had a love of spicy food, their personal favourite was a little secluded restaurant on West Street called Las Iguanas. The staff were friendly, and the food was delicious, so they always made their way there, in their desperate bids to escape their parents.
The atmosphere was lively, music hummed in the background, like a veil which created a mood. The tables were packed – and Angie thanked God silently for the fact that they’d made a reservation. The waitresses and waiters beamed at them, in recognition that they were frequent visitors to the restaurant. Ethan slid into the booth opposite her, and a waitress handed them a menu. “Can I take your order?” The waitress had a squeaky voice, but a huge Cheshire cat smile spread from ear to ear. After ordered two cocktails and nachos, the waitress left the two of them in peace.
“So, what are you doing for your art coursework? You know; the study on friends and family?” Ethan’s tone was suggestive, and Angie rolled her eyes. Of course she’d draw him – who else would she draw? She was already thinking about the contours, the graphite lines and the charcoal shading, indenting the paper that would secure her A Level grades. She smiled.
Angie retorted, “Well, I was thinking of drawing Madeline, but I suppose I could draw you… What about you?” Ethan grinned now, seeing how pointless his question had been.
“Well, now there’s a good idea if I ever saw one. Of course, I was going to draw you. When exactly were you thinking about doing the drawings?” Angie paused for a moment, in thought, and reached into her bag for her sketchbook.
“Spontaneity,” she told Ethan, who was looking at her in disbelief. Taking her pencil, she sat, sketching the rough outline of his face. Ethan sat still, chin in hand, looking slightly to the right of Angie. Moments passed, and the busy hum of the restaurant enveloped the two of them, like they were sealed off from the rest of the world in their own personal bubble. Suddenly, Ethan went green - not Frankenstein green - but that faint tinge, the one that people go when they’re ill. He looked at Angie, alarmed, and bolted for the toilet. She sat there, worried, twirling her pencil between her fingers.
A waiter came over, carrying a large portion of Nachos and two drinks. Angie looked up, to indicate her thanks. She caught her breath. He was gorgeous, in a very literal sense; his black hair was arranged in casual disarray, and searching brown eyes found hers. His smiled tugged at the corner of his mouth, exposing gleaming white teeth. She must have gasped out load, because he raised an eyebrow. “You on your own?” She shook her head, indicating towards the men’s room. He nodded. It seemed she had lost the power to speak. The waiter, whose name card read ‘Luke’, turned and walked off to the kitchen. Angie watched him go, and already her metal cogs were whirring, spinning and processing the information. He walked like he owned the place – his confident swagger started at the hips, and worked downwards. His longish hair, which partly obscured his eyes showed an element of secrecy, or he was shy. She doubted that he was shy, so she went along with the mysterious. His smile was confident – so he obviously knew how good looking he was. She sighed. He was the perfect model to draw – forget Ethan, there was so much she would be able to show, if only she hadn’t told Ethan she’d draw him… She sat alone, musing, and didn’t notice when a pale faced Ethan rejoined her.
“Angie? I’m not feeling good. I’m going to have to take a rain check, is that OK?” His voice quivered, and she could see how unwell he was. What had brought it on was a mystery, and she nodded sympathetically.
“Poor you. Why don’t you phone your mum? She could pick you up – there’s no way you’re going to drive when you’re like this! You can pick your car up when you’re better. Oh, I feel so bad now that I’ve never learnt to drive!” Ethan managed a feeble smile.
“Yeah, I guess I’ll do that. You alright clearing this up?” he asked, indicating to the Nachos. “I guess I probably won’t see you tomorrow, if this is going to hang around. I hope I haven’t already given it to you. You’ll be alright getting home, won’t you?”
Nodding, Angie replied, “Sure. I’ll phone a cab when I’m done. Get better soon, yeah?” Giving Ethan’s hand a squeeze, she watched as he walked out of the door. She was still gazing at the door, when Luke walked past.
“He bailed on you?” His voice was friendly, yet inquisitive. Angie shook her head, before she replied.
“Nah. He came down with some sickness bug of some sort… no idea what that was about. I guess I’m just going to have to eat this on my own.” She indicated to the Nachos and grimaced. It sure was a lot of food for one person to eat on their own.
Luke made a sympathetic sound, and slid into the booth. “You want some help, with this?” Making a grateful face, Angie nodded, but then looked at Luke. At least she had regained her ability to speak, now.
“Aren’t you working?” She sounded like she was interrogating him, but in all honesty she was just glad to have the company.
Luke, shaking his head, replied, “No, I finished my shift approximately one minute and twelve seconds ago.” Good, Angie thought silently to herself. She wouldn’t want to risk getting him fired for keeping her company.
“Well then, tuck in!” Angie felt at ease, when she talked to him, and so did Luke, so the conversation was light and bouncy. She felt herself smiling and laughing, despite the fact that somewhere, Ethan was lying feeling sick. She pushed Ethan to the back of her mind and focused her attention on Luke. He was devishly attractive – and he was flirting with her like hell. Despite never having gone out with anyone of the opposite sex before, she was clever enough to know when a guy was hitting on her. But it was mutual – she laughed at each joke he told, and found the knots in her neck loosening as the pile of Nachos got smaller and smaller.