Monday morning came too soon; and with it came the dreading thought of walking down the gossip-thriving halls, knowing that you are the one everybody is whispering about. By break time all the students would be aware of who dumped who, by lunch the rumors would have started. This was the way things worked at school.
My only hope was to plaster a smile upon my face and pretend that the break-up meant nothing to me - pretend that Adam was as good as dead to me. That way those story-inventing leeches could gain no satisfaction from my tears and those who thought they could empathise would back off and leave me alone.
I peered into my bedroom mirror and got to work on my hair and make-up. If anything declared I’m over you, Adam! It was looking fabulous after a rotten weekend. And even though that was big lie, I was going to have to convince my friends it was the truth for the next few weeks. Fortunately, my mass of red curls decided to be tame and go exactly the way I wanted. I discovered the peach coloured blusher I had been trying to find for ages, and for once I didn’t mess up my eyeliner.
I decided to skip breakfast that day. Grabbing my school bag and slamming the door hard behind me (Mike’s wake-up call), I headed towards the park where I would meet with friends to walk to school.
The four of them were all already there when I arrived, wearing identical looks of anxiety.
“I’m fine!” I assured them, waving a hand nonchalantly.
Rosy sighed, relief creeping into her worried expression. She was never comfortable dealing with people and relationships.
“Well if you’re sure you’re okay...” She put a timid hand on my shoulder and patted gently.
My eyes began to water. I blinked before the tears had a chance to betray me.
“Plenty more fish in the sea,” Phoebe said, striding towards me and pulling me into a hug.
“I guess so,” I murmured to myself. “Oh, you got your ears pierced again!”
I diverted the conversation onto something I knew would distract the others for the time it took to get to school.
“Oh yeah,” replied Phoebe, pointing to the silver hoop protruding from the top of her right ear, a defiant grin spreading across her face. “When I got home my mum absolutely freaked!”
“No kidding!” exclaimed Layla, crossing her arms in a disapproving manner and bursting into an imitation of an angry Mrs Hommes.
“You’re doing it wrong, ,” Phoebe said and proceeded to correct her twin.
Soon all of us were laughing at the twins’ impersonations of their mother as we walked through the park and down the road. Or at least that is what I convinced myself.
From the corner of my eye I noticed Martha watching me in such a way that told me she was not fooled by my act. But, like a loyal best friend, she was not going to give me away in front of the others. Instead she would wait until we were alone and then talk about all the things I was not saying.