The Real Fantasy

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

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3. Phone Call

I slide my key into the front door and jiggle it around a bit until I hear the dull ‘thud’ of the lock sliding out of place; but when I twist the handle, the door doesn’t budge.

‘Bloody thing,’ I mutter, ‘it’s jammed again.’

Sighing in exasperation, I turn sideways and push against it with my shoulder. I hear the hinges creak slightly as the door opens mini-metres at a time. I give it an extra shove of encouragement and – about time too – the door swings open. With no way of stopping myself, I collapse into the hallway, making such a loud noise that Mrs Burnett from across the road looks up from her afternoon tea to see what the commotion is. I pick myself up and shut the door, hoping that no one else saw.

Our small terrace house is in some serious need of restoration. Inside, the paint is peeling and the carpets are faded, with all the furniture chipped and dusty. The thin strip of garden round the front isn't much better -  it's overgrown and riddled with weeds. All the neighbours look at it disdainfully, like its untidiness is contagious to their own immaculate gardens. And if they think the front garden is bad then they should have a look at the back – it’s more like a jungle. Finicky Mr and Mrs Gibbons from two doors down would have a fit if they saw it.

But Dad and I don’t care. What’s it to us what the neighbours think? Neither of us is bothered to do anything about it and besides we’re a bit tight on money right now. I mean, we’re not going to go round spending money on new furniture and carpets when there are slightly more important things to buy - and the mortgage isn’t exactly going to disappear, is it?

I make my way upstairs to my room. Since I was about five, I’ve slept in the attic. Obviously it’s been made into proper room with curtains, a carpet and stairs leading up to it – I’m not Sara Crewe, am I? I like my bedroom. It’s the biggest room in the house and it doesn’t have too much furniture clogging it up. There’s one window opposite the door with a nice big alcove underneath it. On the left, is my bed (it creaks when I roll over at night and annoys my dad). On the other side is my dresser with most my school stuff on and a mirror (it’s cracked in one corner). Next to it is my wardrobe (one door is falling off its hinges) and my chest of drawers (things are always falling down the sides of it and getting the drawers stuck).

I dump my bag on the floor and sit down on my bed. I’ve got an hour and a half to kill before my dad gets back from work. Usually this time is filled with Kinetica (lately it’s been my DVDs since Series Seven has finished) but when I remember that they’ll never continue making the TV show I really don’t feel like it. I suppose I should ring Kelly and apologise for wrecking her shirt in Art. Reluctantly I pick up my phone and press Kelly’s picture on my contact list.

The phone rings.

The phone rings again.

I drum my fingers against the wall.

The phone rings.

‘Come on, Kelly,’ I whisper, ‘answer the phone.’

The phone rings.

I’m about to give up when the ringing stops and Kelly’s voice comes out the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Hi, Kell,’ I say, ‘it’s Kitty.’

She doesn’t reply.

‘Well, I was just calling to say sorry for getting paint on your shirt in Art.’

She stays quiet for so long that I think that she’s not going to answer, but then she says impassively, ‘Were you?’

‘Uh, yeah . . . I was just trying out a, err, different technique, you know? And I . . . I . . .’ I’d better think of a good excuse quickly so she doesn’t think that I’m completely insane. ‘But I think I got a bit carried away.’

I wait like a cat on a hot tin roof. The explosion’s going to come any time soon.

A bit carried away? Just a bit? My shirt is covered in paint thanks to you and it’s completely ruined!’ And there’s the explosion. ‘I had to wander round with paint all over me for the whole day, you know? Everyone was laughing at me like I was this stupid little kid! Do you know how embarrassing that was?’

I don’t say anything for a few seconds to make sure that she’s burnt off all her anger.

‘Look, Kelly, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to do it – it was an accident. So are we still friends?’

She sighs loudly. ‘Yeah, we’re still friends.’ I smile – I know this girl too well. ‘Doing anything tonight?’ Kelly asks calmly like her anger explosion never happened.

‘Nothing much,’ I say. ‘Kell, I know that this is going to be a weird question, but I don’t know what else to say and I really need to know. But anyway, what exactly counts as weird, because my weird and your weird might be completely different and what does the word weird actually mean? I–‘

‘Kitty, what’s the question?’

She also knows me too well.

‘Oh, erm, heh heh, straying off the point there. Well, anyway, I was just wondering if Jaden Cooper was on the bus today.’

‘Jaden Cooper, eh? The one you like?’ she teases.

‘Shut up. It’s just that I bumped into him after school – literally – and we got talking.’

‘Ooh! You got talking? Tell, tell.’ Loves a good gossip, does Kelly.

‘Well, we were talking about, you know, stuff and then Jaden remembered that his bus was about to leave and I was just wondering if you saw him on there because I think I might have made him miss it.’

‘Err . . . I’m not sure. I always sit on the top deck and he usually sits on the bottom so I hardly ever see him. Sorry – I don’t know if he was there.’

‘That’s OK. I’ve just got to hope and beg that he caught the bus or I’ll have blown any slight chance I had with him.’

‘Nah, you won’t have. I hear that he likes you.’

‘He does? Since when? Why didn’t you tell me, Kelly?’

‘Oh, that’s my mum calling for tea. See you tomorrow, Kitty! Bye!’

‘No! Don’t go yet! What do you mean he likes me? Who told you?’

But she’s already hung up.

‘You’re mum finishes making tea at the most inconvenient times, Kelly,’ I mutter into the phone.

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