The Real Fantasy

Kitty has always dreamed of her fantasies coming true . . .

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6. Art Room

‘Are you alright, Kitty?’ Jade says, jolting me out of my daydream.

‘You haven’t said anything for a whole five minutes!’ Suzie jokes.

‘What?’ I mumble, looking from one half-amused, half-anxious face to another. ‘No, no. I’m just tired . . .’

We’re in double Art, the first lesson of the day. Kelly, my other two best friends (Jade and Suzie) and I are all sat round one table, waiting for everyone else to arrive.

‘Did you finish your portrait?’ Kelly asks Suzie.

‘No, I didn’t have time. My person is still nose-less – I can never get it to look less like a sausage and more like a nose!’

I slip out of their conversation. I’d almost forgotten about the whole butterfly thing, but then that boy had turned up again and I can’t stop thinking about it. For some reason I feel dirty, like I don’t belong with Kelly, Jade and Suzie.

‘We’ll be moving onto a new topic today,’ says the teacher when everyone is here, ‘so I hope that you’ve all finished your portrait work, like I told you to do last week.’

‘Ahhh!’ Jade hisses. ‘I haven’t even started my evaluation yet!’

‘Quick – do it now,’ Suzie whispers back and Jade starts frantically scribbling in her book.

‘We’re going to start a project on collages,’ the Art teacher continues.

‘Yay!’ Kelly says in a mock-happy voice. ‘Cutty-sticky! No drawing skills required!’

This is my cue to say something witty back, but my mouth doesn’t want to move. I mumble something incoherent at Kelly and she looks at me with a worried look on her face.

‘I’ve got a box here full of bits of scrap paper, but you can bring in your own scraps to use if you like.’ The teacher produces a huge cardboard box, bulging with paper and fabric.

I go through the whole lesson in a daze, scared that someone will see the butterfly. I know it’s stupid though – how could anyone see through my shirt and my cardigan?

I tear up strips of coloured tissue paper again and again, until they’re just tiny slivers of pink, orange, green and blue. Slapping some glue onto the page, I scatter pieces all over it. I don’t care what it looks like.

‘Hey, that’s really good, Kitty,’ says a familiar voice from behind me. I look over my shoulder to see who it is. My face flushes with colour – it’s Jaden.

‘Everything you do in Art is always amazing,’ he continues. Why has my heart suddenly decided to beat at lightning speed? ‘How did you rip the paper into such tiny bits?’

I can hear Kelly, Suzie and Jade giggling behind me. They’re not helping – I really have no idea what to say. Please don’t let him see the butterfly, I chant inside my head, he’ll think I’m a freak!

‘Oh, you just . . .’ Say something already, Kitty! ‘You, um . . . keep tearing it over and over again.’

I cringe the second the words come out my mouth. He must think I’m an idiot now!

But Jaden just smiles at me, before changing the subject. ‘I finished Suzanna Newbridge last night.’

‘Really? That was quick! Did you like it?’

‘It was brilliant – even better than the first one,’ he says, his face lighting up so he looks even more amazing than usual. How is it humanly possible to be that hot? And he looks like he doesn’t even try half the time. How does he do it? His hair, his eyes, his voice . . .

Kelly kicks my shin hard under the table and hisses in my ear, ‘Kitty, you’re spacing out again.’

My cheeks burn and I look up at Jaden, hoping that he didn’t notice anything, but, no, he’s still talking to me completely oblivious.

‘. . . Do you have the next book in the series, Kitty? I don’t have it and I can’t wait all the way to the weekend before I can buy it.’

‘Yeah, I've got the third one – I have all of them actually. Do you want to borrow it?’

He smiles, showing off his flawless white teeth. ‘Definitely.’

‘I’ll bring it tomorrow then,’ I say. A thought suddenly pushes its way to the front of my mind. ‘Jaden, did you manage to catch the bus in time yesterday?’

‘Yep,’ he says. I sigh in relief. ‘And with loads of time to spare.’

He asks Suzie and Kelly if they're OK, thanks Jade for helping him with his maths homework, before going back to his table. The minute he’s out of earshot, we all gather round our desk for an instant debrief.

‘You know what this means?’ asks Kelly.

‘That Kitty actually managed to find a fellow book-nerd?’ Suzie teases. I throw a glue stick at her, but miss and it ends up rolling along the floor. She just laughs at me.

No,’ Kelly says impatiently. ‘It means that he likes you too, Kitty.’

‘Awww! Jaden and Kitty. They’re perfect for each other!’ Jade squeals.

We go back to our collages. I stare at mine with a newly found pride – Jaden said he liked it! And he likes me too it seems! I stand up and go to the scrap paper box at the front. Right at the bottom, I find a strip of purple fabric covered in pictures of butterflies. If I cut out some of the butterflies, I could make it look like they’re flying over a rainbow splashed sky. It’ll look great and maybe Jaden will come over to me to compliment my idea . . .

But then an icy fear spreads over me. The butterflies on the fabric – they’re almost exactly like the strange marks on my back. The butterfly. My butterfly.

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