Chapter 1: Morning breeze isn’t a scent.
(And open windows would have to vary depending on what was outside your windows! The smell of mown grass is the only real one, and that’s a bit pointless! Just mow your grass, and open your windows in the morning, and voilà! You don’t have to buy a fancy air freshener!)
Full Name: Cassandra Gale
Nicknames: Cass, Cassa
Hair: Red auburn, long, curls up at the ends.
Eyes: Rich brown colour, flecked with hazel-gold.
Height: Five foot two.
Weight: Six stone.
Occupation: Secondary school student
Best Friend: Evangeline Coenen
Boyfriend: Matthew Days
Fiend(s): Nadia Goldthorn and co.
Favourite Phrase: Who/Why/Where/How/What in the name of triple chocolate cookies...?
Most Used Phrase: Angel! / Shut up!
I watched from my bedroom window as the rain fell heavily onto the ground, as it had been for the past hour. The sound of it landing on the roof had been annoying at first, but I had just stopped noticing it after half an hour.
The view from my particular pane of glass was of a section of deserted road that sloped at a steep angle, higher at the left, lower at the right, due to the fact it was built on a hill. Perfectly formed droplets pelted the tarmac relentlessly, so much so that the road now resembled a small river.
At least we wouldn’t get flooding. That’s the good thing about living in a house on a hill. No matter how wet it gets, you don’t ever get flooding. Or rather, if you do get flooded, then you have bigger problems to worry about, such as how most of the rest of the city would be underwater.
“Caaaaass!” my brother shouted up the stairs. “I’m going now, do you want me to lock the door or will you be okay?”
“Lock it please!” I replied, not turning my head from the window.
“Because- oh, do what you want! But don’t ask a question if you don’t want the answer in future!”
I heard the door downstairs open and shut, and then footsteps receding from hearing range as he walked down the passageway and left.
I yawned, stretching my arms and legs out out and wincing. My back was stiff and my left leg had gone to sleep. I got up and decided to unstiffen and wake up said aching parts by going and fetching myself something to eat.
I tripped over my black beanbag, which was no mean feat – it was huge and black, which stood out well against my grey carpet – but thankfully it was a beanbag, so it didn’t hurt too much. I got back up and kicked it, then left my room, closing the light coloured wooden door behind me.
I trudged down the stairs, across the landing and down the other set of stairs and into the kitchen.
I opened the fridge and peered inside. Okay, there was a fair amount of stuff in it, but please – waffles? Breakfast food. Bacon? I’m vegetarian. Cheese? Oh come on! You can’t have cheese for lunch.
I scanned the rest of the food, but it was all things that either I didn’t like, such as eggs, or had a sticky label on them that read ‘Don’t touch!’ or ‘Cara’s’ or something similar.
These labels have been put on food since my mother got annoyed at Sam (that’s my brother) for eating all the Yakult yoghurt, because apparently they’re the only kind she likes. So now she and my dad put labels on things that are theirs specifically.
I made a ‘hrrk’ noise, which is my own personal way of expressing annoyance, and slammed the fridge door shut. I heard a thunking noise from inside it, and I opened it again.
The shelf thing with sides near the bottom of the refrigerator door which we keep the milk, ketchup and various other bottles in had fallen off, most likely as a result of me shutting the door too hard.
“Oh, brilliant. Just brilliant,” I said sarcastically, watching two milk cartons and half a bottle of lemon and elderflower flavoured fizzy water roll out of the fridge and onto the floor. I was going to have to fix this before I did anything else. Well, I didn’t have to, but if I didn’t want to be lectured about the responsibilities of fourteen year old for hours later on, then it was sort of in my best interests.
I picked up all the things that had fallen out of it (three and a half two pint bottles and two one pint cartons of milk, the bottle of flavoured sparkling water, one full and one empty bottle of ketchup and, weirdly, a blue cat toy mouse) and put them on the table.
Then I picked up the shelf. I slid it back onto the plastic rails that held it to the fridge door and let go.
It fell off.
I tried putting it back again, and it fell off again.
That’s annoying, I thought. And not supposed to happen.
I raised the white plastic box to eye level and turned it round to see if I could figure out why it wouldn’t go back where it was supposed to be.
“Oh, f**k it,” I said, running my finger down the irregular edge where part of it hard clearly snapped clean off. That was really not helpful. At all. Ever.
I dumped the broken piece of plastic on the worktop, along with a note that I wrote in blue Biro (which you never knew if it was going to work or not) on a piece of scrap paper, which read:
It broke and I can’t fix it.
And then I just gave up on attempting to get something to eat and decided to see if there was anything half decent on the television instead.
I went through to the living room and pressed the power button on the TV. I stared blankly at the dark screen for a bit, before realising that it had probably been left on standby, and I had therefore just turned it off rather than on.
I pressed it again. The screen went backlit black, and then the LCD flickered into life.
“Finally,” I said in an exasperated tone of voice. I swiped the TV remote from where it sat beside the screen, and then I went and flopped onto the end of our red three person sofa. I snuggled up against the slightly flat cushion, which was on the end so that you weren’t uncomfortable leaning against the frankly hard and lumpy chair arm, and pressed the menu button.
The screen filled with blue menu, that showed what channels we had and what they were showing, and at what time all the shows were. I flicked through the many pages of channels until I settled on the channel called Dave, which was showing back to back episodes of The Gadget Show. I pressed OK and the menu disappeared, replaced by the end of the Gadget Show credits. I had just missed the episode, but I was also in time to see the whole of the next one.
As the adverts came on, starting with an ad for an air freshener with three scents – Morning Breeze, Mown Grass, Open Windows.
Morning breeze isn’t a scent, I thought. And open windows would have to vary depending on what was outside your windows! The smell of mown grass is the only real one, and that’s a bit pointless! Just mow your grass, and open your windows in the morning, and voilà! You don’t have to buy a fancy air freshener!
My silent mental rantings were cut short as my butt started vibrating. I frowned, then realised I was being called, and dug my mobile phone out of my back pocket.
“Hello?” I said, flipping the screen up and pressing the phone to my ear.
“Whah? Say again? Didn’t hear that,” I said, holding up the remote and muting the sound on the TV.
“Angel! Hi. No need to yell, I couldn’t hear you over the TV. How’s life?”
“Life’s good. And you?”
“Could be worse. D’ya wanna come trick or treating tonight?”
“Sure. What you going as?”
“What kind of vamp?”
“Like, classic vamp, Twitty vamp, House of Night red or blue vamp, you know?”
“Oh! Classic. You know, the ‘I vill suck your blood’ kind. What about you?”
“Me? Oh... um... fire demon.”
“Sweet! So, what time d’you want to meet?”
“Uh... Shall I come round to yours at six? It should be dark by then.”
“It’s official. Don’t forget!”
“Like I would.”
“Knowing your memory, you might.”
“Just joking. Six o'clock. Bye. See ya there.”
She hung up.
I unmuted the TV again and sighed. Evangeline ‘Angel’ Coenen was good fun, and she was also the best make up artist ever, I swear. She’d look scary tonight, that was for sure.
My phone buzzed again, so I muted the TV again and answered it.
I recognized the voice, and only one person called me Cassa anyway.
Just as he was the only one who called me Cassa, I and I alone used the nickname Tew for the seven and a half stone of My Boyfriend, Matthew Days.
“Yup. Are you free tonight? D’ya want to come round to mine?”
“Omigod, I’m sorry, Angel just got me going trick or treating with her tonight. I’m free on Wednesday,” I told him.
I could almost hear the grin in his voice. “Wednesday night. It’s a date. Tell me if anything unavoidable comes up.”
This is what I love most about Matthew. He doesn’t put our relationship before everything else, and he’s great if you have something else that you can’t not do.
“Okay. Love you,” I told him.
“Love you too. Come trick or treating here, Cassa. I’ve got a treat.”
“Would that be a kiss?”
“Maaybe,” he said, in a way that said ‘yes it is’.
“See you later then. Love you.”
“You’ve said, and you know I feel the same. Later.”
I ended the call, and I was just about to put it away when it started buzzing at me again.
Is it National Phone Cassandra Gale Day or something? I thought as I pressed accept.
“Cassy! It’s Angel! I have nothing to wear tonight! Come with me to buy something! Pleeeeeeeease!”
“Uh... okay. Calm down, Angel.”
“Yay! I’ll come round to yours now, and we can get the bus into town.”
“I’ll-” I began, but three short bleeps told me she’d already hung up.