Ocean Girl

When Toby meets a mysterious girl on a trip to the beach, he is facinated by her. Years later he has almost forgotten about this girl until he gets a chance to meet her once more . . .

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4. Sleet

Sara marched into the classroom ten minutes late – nothing unusual there. After muttering her excuses to Mr Verso, she went to sit in her normal place next to Amy, but froze two feet away from where her best friend was sitting.

Someone was sitting in her place – her place next to her best friend.

Struggling to control her anger, Sara said to Amy, ‘Who’s this?’

She pointed at the dark haired girl sat next to Amy, whose scared face betrayed her thoughts that she would have preferred to have sat anywhere else in the room.

‘Angelica - she's new,’ Amy moaned, acting like Angelica wasn’t there. ‘Mr Verso made her sit next to me. Pull up a chair, Sara; hopefully she won’t be in our Science set.’

Toby watched from a few rows behind them, listening to them talk about Angelica like she was a creature with the incapability to understand simple dialogue. He felt instantly protective over her, like she was his little sister or an old friend. Toby didn’t know why he felt like this – just that he did.

A bell rang, signalling the start of the first lesson of the day and everyone trotted off to their various lessons. Amy and Sara had abandoned Angelica at the first opportunity presented to them. Toby walked over to her with the intention of showing her the way to her first lesson, but Carmen got there before him.

‘Which lesson have you got first?’ beamed Carmen, who seemed to have a permanent smile fixed on her face.

Angelica examined the timetable Mr Verso had thrust into her hands before scurrying off to the Physics labs. ‘Chemistry,’ she said shyly.

‘Ooh! So do I!’ Carmen half yelled in excitement. She linked arms with Angelica and they both walked together down the corridor.

Toby walked a few steps behind them and could hear Carmen’s attempts at sparking off a conversation, which were greeted with mostly one word answers from Angelica.

When they arrived at the Chemistry lab, Carmen dragged Angelica off to sit with all of her friends on the front row. Toby went to sit by the bench on the other side of the front row. Alone.

He wasn’t exactly bullied, but you couldn’t say that Toby was the most popular boy in school. In the lessons, he did the work and he did the work well, but only because everyone seemed to ignore him and he had no one to talk to. He knew that if this wasn’t the case, he would be messing about and talking like everyone else. He thought back to the first day of Year Seven. He’d been very nervous about starting a new school where he didn’t know anyone, but the rest of the class were happy and confident. They easily made friends while he was left behind on his own. Not much had changed.

The teacher continued to lecture them on atomic structure and ions while the class were supposed to be taking notes, but for once Toby didn’t feel like it. He stared at Angelica. She was blushing while Carmen tried to introduce her to all of her friends, her blond ponytail swishing every time she moved (which was quite often). Carmen’s friends were equally friendly towards Angelica but also failed to get more than one word out of her at a time.

Toby wondered what she was doing here. It felt strange that after all those years of searching for the Ocean Girl, she should just appear one day at his school. He had a feeling that there was more to this than he realised. But above all, there was one thing which he was bursting to ask her: did she recognise him? He hoped that she did so he could assure himself that he wasn’t going mad or hallucinating – maybe she could answer some of his many questions? He wasn’t sure if she did recognise him though, because she had hardly spared him a glance despite his continuous stares. This thought put a heavy, sad weight in his stomach.

Toby gazed out the window for a minute. He saw that the rain had turned to sleet and watched it splatter pathetically against the window. It reflected exactly how he felt.

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