On The Outskirts Of The Gang

Rosa is a pretty, self-conscious girl who wants to be cool. She's a bit afraid of Jessica, the most popular person in the entire year. As she clings on at the edge of Jessica's gang, she notices things that slowly make her realise that there is something odd going on...

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33. Saturday 24th October

Even though it was only the second Saturday Roller-Disco Club day, there was a sign on the door of the hall to say that the leader was taking the day off. Sapphire was slumped back against the wall with a despairing expression on her face. I couldn't leave without trying to help her so I joined her.

"Hey, Sapphire. What are we going to do with ourselves now the club's off?" I attempted to sound lighthearted. Her expression brightened as I spoke and she lifted her gaze from the floor to my face. She gave a slightly bitter laugh.

"Yeah. It's not like I've got anything else to distract myself with." Her eyes were dark and she looked tired.

"I know how you feel." I said, sighing.

"Do you?" she almost challenged, but the response was so low that I didn't think she'd meant for me to hear. I answered anyway.

"My ex-best friend is in hospital. She got a good teacher fired to spite me and some other girls, and she got into a row with them. I think that they might have broken her leg in a fight after school. It's my fault because I argued with her for insulting some of the people I hang out with. That's what started it all." It was a relief to tell another person about it, someone outside of the school-gang-Annie circle.

"My mum's in hospital too. The doctor said she might have cancer." Sapphire didn't want face me. I understood the distraught look in her eyes. "Skating is my way of escaping for a while. I don't think I can cope without it."

"Why don't you come to mine? We can do skating in a park along the road." I wanted to do something to help her. She clearly needed a friend right now.

"Could I? That would be great." The tension was starting to ease out of her face.

"Yes, sure. You just need to ring somebody to tell them where you'll be."

She did that, and Mum drove us both back to the house. I sat on the garden wall to put on my skates, and then we zoomed down to the park.

When we had finally finished, and Sapphire had gone home, I rushed up to my room. Clumsily, I dived on to my bed.

As we had skated, Sapphire was telling me about her school. It didn't particularly have any 'cool' people, nor any unfortunate souls who were regarded as losers. It didn't mean people didn't get left out, but nobody was picked on because of their status. It had sounded like a much better place than my school.

"Its not too bad - if you have friends. Most people just tend to leave me alone. I guess I deserve it though; I'm not the best of company at the moment. You know, stress makes me snappy sometimes."

I thought over her words. Her only problem with the place was that she was lonely. That wouldn't be the case if I went there. It was a sensible solution. I could escape the mess with Penny, as well as avoiding the dangers of the gang. Sapphire wouldn't be on her own, and that would be a big help if her mum took a turn for the worse. Jessica's lot would probably miss me more than anyone else but they would get over it quickly. They would most likely be angry when I told them. I could deal with that. I had decided - I would move to Herstony High.

Now for the hard part. I have to break the news to Mum. Bye! Wish me luck!

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