Allie is born with a facial disfigurement. She decided from the age of nine she would be single forever. Then Tom comes along.


5. Brave

After school the next day, Tom actually waited for me outside the gates. I wasn't sure it was me he was waiting for at first, but then he waved me over.

'Hey there,' He said. 'Walking home again?'

I smiled. 'Sure!'

We continued our discussion on the best films we'd seen, which actors we loved, and what we wanted to see.

It was all going amazingly, until we crossed the bridge.

Up ahead, sat on a wall, were the group of boys that had whistled at me. They were all smoking. I quickly looked straight at the floor. But it was too late.

'Hey! Look who it is!' They'd noticed me. 'That gorgeous girl. Wait, is it even a girl?'

They all guffawed at this. My cheeks turned scarlet with humiliation. Tom was looking at the boys with narrowed eyes.

'Oooh, it has a friend!' They all sneered at Tom. 'Be careful with it, it might eat you!'

I could feel his anger simmering beside me. He stopped dead in his tracks, his face set. I tried to pull him away with me.

'Come on, Tom, it's really not worth it! I don't care, honestly!'

'Allie, these guys are complete jerks.' He said, quietly. 'And I need to tell them that!' He took some paces towards them, keeping some distance, in case they decided to start a fight. I noticed with some satisfaction that Tom was at least an inch taller than all of them, despite the fact he was outnumbered.

'What did you just say to my friend?' He said, his voice surprisingly calm and collected. This obviously scared them a little. They hadn't anticipated being stood up to.

'Mate, she isn't much of a looker.' One of the boys said.

'You assholes think you're so funny, don't you? Well let me tell you something. Shallow jerks like you will never get anyone with half the amount of inner beauty this girl here has!' He gestured towards me. My heart literally did somersaults and the butterflies in my stomach flittered about violently. Did he really mean that? I didn't have time to think as he stormed back towards me, away from the pack of stunned boys. He showed them the finger before taking my arm and marching me away from them.

We spent the rest of the journey in silence, walking quickly, before reaching Tom's road and slowing up.

'Tom...' I said. 'Thankyou...'

'No problem. I hate shallow people.'

I made a mental note to stop thinking so much about how completely gorgeous Tom was.

'You didn't have to do that for me, you know!'

'Yes, I did. You're my friend. It's what friends do!'

Did I really have a friend now?

We said goodbye at his front gate. As he was walking up his driveway, he turned around.

'Allie?' He called. 'Do you have a mobile phone?'

'Um, yeah.' I said. Was he about to ask what I thought he was about to ask?

'Well, could I possibly have your number? It's just, I don't think I really get the english homework. I might need some help.'

We exchanged numbers. I almost pinched myself to see if I was dreaming.

'Well, bye then.' He smiled that mysterious smile.

'Bye.' I said. I skipped down the road again.

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