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...


23. Tuesday 14th October

Penny now goes to my school! It was a wonderful surprise to see her this morning. I was standing by the gate chatting to Katya when she just turned up, wearing uniform, totally prepared. She'd done a good job of keeping it a secret from me, though apparently my mum knew!

There hasn't been a timetable arranged for her yet, so she was told to just shadow me. I introduced her to all the teachers, and was able to give her whispered information and funny profiles about each one. I made sure every girl in my lessons knew her name so that she had every opportunity to make friends. I want to give her the best possible start at my school. Normally, new kids just get excluded from the main groups and are left to hang out with their rejects. I was determined that wasn't going to happen to Penny.

Megan seemed particularly interested in getting to know her. That was quite unusual for her; she's a naturally quiet girl. However, I thought that she was really being nice, and she's a reliable friend so it was a good thing that Penny was palling up with her a bit. And if she's rejoining the gang... but there hasn't been any evidence of that. I'll wait and see.

The only one of my classes with Jessica's lot today was English. I've come to the conclusion that it would be better to take Penny to meet them on Friday, when she's more used to how our popularity system is organised. By then, I will have prepared her and shown her the uniform loopholes - accepted skirt variations, Emerald Velvet cardigans, that sort of thing. That would give her a good chance of getting on their good side first time. Actually, I hope I don't bring her down! That shouldn't be the case because I did go to Jessica's sleepover after all.

The next Annie rehearsal is on Thursday, and I'm going to take Penny to it. We're going to ask Mr Julier if she can be added in to one of the choruses or something, because she's keen to join in the fun. I'm sure he won't mind one extra person in the cast, though I don't really know what Penny's acting and singing skills are like. Well, it can't hurt to try, and she really wants a part. She says it'll help her to get in people's good books as well.

This afternoon, Mum helped me bake some lemon cupcakes. They came out nice, so she says that I should take some in to share with my friends. I've got enough for my entire form, plus Penny because she hasn't really been assigned to a specific one yet. The school are quite messy dealing with new students. You would think they would set it up in advance, but no, they have to do it once she's started at the school. Honestly!

I'm really getting into this baking idea. Working with the ingredients is calming, and it helps when you're stressed because you can put loads of force into the mixing. Once you get started creating cakes, you get a proper feel for it. It gives me a real lift to think that I'm actually making something, and what's more, something that can be shared by other people. I find it very uplifting.

I think you've heard enough of my cake-talk. Goodbye!

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