The New Me

After a bad experience at her old school, Hayden Flack moves to Bradley Stoke determined to change everything about herself.
She knows how act, what to wear and from past experience, what to expect.
But on her very first day, seeing a long-lost childhood friend was something she definitely didn't see coming. Hayden quickly recognises Ellis but he can't even remember her... or does he? Why is Ellis acting so strangely, and why is he so different from what he used to be?
After a few months at her new school, Hayden seems to have settled in quite well and is living what appears to be a stereotypical popular girl's life. But not everything is going as 'well' as she thinks it is. Her 'friends' are acting weirdly suspicious, and when her long-lost brother suddenly comes in contact with her, she can't help but feel like there is something going on that she doesn't know about. How long will it take before she realizes what is going on beneath the surface? (PG-13)

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9. A-K-A

Oh, the joys of being a teen.

Aside from having to deal with spots and revision, and backstabbing and hormones, there’s also the insane, out of control arguments that you occasionally have with your parents.

My most recent argument resulted with a month’s grounding and no pocket money.
But the lack of pocket money didn’t bother me too much as I still had that part time job at the gift shop (even though it was very difficult trying not lose my patience each time Myra patronised me and an effort forcing an awkward laugh whenever she complained about teenagers).

Eventually Myra trusted me enough to look after the shop whilst she was gone. Just as long as I didn’t wreck anything (and at that point I couldn’t help but roll my eyes).

 Wouldn’t it be brilliant though? I pictured myself grabbing the stupid glass teddy bears and smashing them against the wall, shattering them into tiny pieces of glass.

I rested my head against the cash register, humming along to one of Declan’s songs that played quietly out of the speakers.

“What you listening to?”
 “Woah!” I jumped up from the counter, “I’m so sorr-”

Sophie.

“What you doing here?”

“Asking what you’re listening to. And then asking whether or not you wanted to come out later on today?”

“It’s the radio.” I lied, turning it off. “And I told you, I can’t go out. I’m grounded. I had a massive argument with Mum remember?”

She sighed, “aw but that was ages ago-”

“It was Tuesday.”

“Well… just come out now. Nobody will notice!”

“Sophie, I’m doing my job I’ll get fired if I leave the counter.”

“Not when Pig Face isn’t here. She’ll be hours. I bet she’s having another perm to match her piggy features right this minute.”

I snorted.

“Just come out for a bit,” she pleaded, “Cole’s asking about you.”

“I told him I was grounded, twice. Does he even listen to what I say?”

“Ugh. Why you are even grounded for so long Hayden? It’s stupid. You didn’t even do anything bad.”

 She couldn’t have been more wrong; not only was I failing in most of my subjects, but admittedly, I had also been a bit of a bitch recently.

   Eventually, once Sophie had accepted that there was no chance I would be going out that evening, or any other evenings soon for that matter, she left the shop, looking in slightly annoyed.

Oh well.

Once Sophie had left I was rewarded with about twenty minutes of alone time (since customers rarely came anyway) before Myra emerged back in the shop, sure enough with wild curls scattered around her wide face. (I imagined she had aimed for a Marilyn Monroe sort of look but she looked more like a seriously-out-of-shape Simba).

“Roar.” I muttered.

“Pardon me?”

“Nothing,” I shrugged, the corner of my mouth twisting into a grin.


Bored to death by Myra’s constant gossiping about the Her Rude Neighbour Next Door and her not so sly attempts at receiving compliments about her new, disastrous hairstyle, I was glad to arrive home.

Well, before I knew that Mum and Dad were waiting for me, with arms crossed in a I’m The Boss So I’m In Charge sort of way.

“You’re babysitting tonight, if that’s okay.” Mum said dryly.

The “if that’s okay,” amused me a little because whether I wanted to look after Evelyn or not, I’d be forced do it anyway.

“What about the babysitter?” I asked, although there was no point.

“Well seeing as you’re here…” Dad reminded (way to rub it in), “there’s no need for calling a babysitter.”

“Uh-huh.”

“So is that okay with you?”

“Yup.”

“We won’t be back until tomorrow morning so make sure you give Evelyn her breakfast. She’s already had her tea,” Dad reminded, grabbing his coat and throwing it on.

“What’s the occasion?” I asked.

Mum raised an eyebrow. “It’s our twenty-year anniversary…’

“Oh.” I replied, wondering how on earth that managed to slip out of my mind; they were talking about it for weeks (although coming to think of it, I hadn’t really spoken to them that much recently).

I turned to Evelyn who was busily colouring in, staring at the drawing as if her life depended on it. “I guess it’ll just be you and me then Evelyn,” I smiled, resting a hand on her shoulder which she hastily shook off.

“See you soon girls,” Dad called before closing the door shut.

“So, what you doing?” I asked.

Evelyn paused from her colouring, “drawing.”

“What you drawing?” I asked, frowning at the smudged mess of colours.

“Rainbows,” she giggled.

I smiled, “that’s really good Evelyn. Do fairies live there?”

She glared at me in an almost comical way and snapped,” No.”

I smirked, and watched her in interest as she enthusiastically continued with the colouring - tongue sticking out in concentration.
“You done yet?”

“No.”

“How about now?” I asked, once she had used her very last felt tip (a murky brown which she seemed almost reluctant to use but then scribbled with it anyway).

“Finished.” She announced, holding the smudged mess proudly.

“Right bed time,” I declared.

“Okay.” She said to my complete surprise. Was babysitting really this easy or was Evelyn simply holding back her tantrum until later?

But after brushing her teeth, getting changed and hearing a short bedtime story, Evelyn happily snuggled into her bed without any fuss whatsoever. I began to wonder why on earth I never considered babysitting before. If Evelyn could easily be persuaded to go to bed, then babysitting must be a piece of cake.
  
After tucking Evelyn in, I returned back into the living room wondering what on earth I was going to do that evening. I flopped back on the sofa and skipped through all the channels in search for something relatively decent to watch. As the range of programmes and adverts flashed and changed, I began to wonder what Cole, Sophie, Ellis and Morgan were doing right now.

Probably drinking. It was a Friday night after all. If was completely honest with myself, I was privately glad that I was cooped up at home; it was so much better than hanging around in the cold and running around like lunatics.

As if by coincidence, I received another text from Sophie. I groaned – didn’t she understand that I was grounded (and I didn’t want to come out anyway)?

From: Sophie
To: Hayden

Come out today?xxx

 

From: Hayden
To: Sophie

Can’t babysitting x

 

From: Sophie
To: Hayden

How long for?xxx

 

From: Hayden
To: Sophie

All night x

Once accepting that there wasn’t anything decent on TV, I scanned the DVD shelf in search for a decent film. My gaze fell on an old favourite.

 I grabbed The Lion King and played it almost immediately, before turning off all the lights and snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket.

 Ohhh! look at me Sophie, I’m watching a boring, babyish Disney Film I couldn’t help but think.

I imagined her pulling her face as “The Circle of Life,” began and the cartoon sun emerged from the horizon. But I hummed the familiar tune under my breath. Then I imagined Morgan and Aaron complaining about Pumba and Timon being totally unfunny and Cole joking about what sort of drugs the crazy baboon monkey was on. Then I pushed my friends opinions on Disney films to the back of my mind.

 I wondered whether there were any other teenagers who enjoyed watching Disney films. Or was I the only one? Instead I pretended that I was four years old again and  watching the film for the very first time. Without worries and without distracting thoughts running through my head... life was so much easier when I was younger.

I must have been about half way through the film when I first noticed it.

Fully grown Simba frantically gazed up at the sky whilst Mufasa in his weird spirit form echoed, “Remember who you are…”,  when an unmistakeable tapping sound caused me to jump.

I paused the film. I called out with a shaky voice, “Hello?!”

The tapping continued, although this time I could tell that it was from the window.

Was it a robber? A ghost? Mufasa’s spirit? …Declan? I edged towards the window as the tapping continued.  Gingerly, my fingers reached towards the curtains, and inhaled deeply.

I pulled the curtain. I screamed.

“What the hell Sophie?!” I yelled, yanking open the window.

“Sorry Hayden!” she giggled, “I knocked at the front door, but you didn’t hear and I saw light coming out from the window.” She glanced towards the TV and wrinkled her nose, “The Lion King hey? Didn’t know that was your sort of thing Hayden.”

I found it difficult to hide the irritation in voice. “What you doing here Sophie? I’m babysitting. And grounded.”

“I know! How come you didn’t tell me earlier?”

“Huh?”
“Why’d you tell me you’re babysitting so late? I barely had any time to get everyone.”

“Hang on… what?”

She laughed, “You’re babysitting! A-K-A you’re home alone and you’re about to throw a pretty awesome house party!” She whooped and clambered in through the window, knocking several of Mum’s ornaments onto the floor.

Thank God we had a carpet.

“Sophie wait!” I exclaimed, grabbing her by the shoulders, “I’m babysitting. A-K-A I’m not home alone, meaning that I can’t have a house party. Evelyn will just wake up!” I grabbed the ornaments from the floor and assembled them neatly in their original place.

Sophie paused. “Well… we’ll just try to keep the noise down.”

“Oh my god you know that’s not possible. Evelyn’s just gonna wake up and tell my parents. I’m grounded as it is for fucks sake!”

“Who’s grounded?” A familiar voice called from outside.

“Morgan, don’t come in through the…”

The ornaments scattered like a bowling pins. I slammed the window shut and grabbed the fallen ornaments. “Guys. I’m not having loads of people here and trashing the house…okay!?”

“So you just want the three of us?” Morgan smirked, “I’m not complaining, I’ve got a pretty decent idea to get the party started.” He stuck out his tongue and waggled it.

“You’re disgusting,” Sophie giggled, shoving him.

“Guys. Are you deaf or something? I’m. Not. Having. A. Party.” I repeated.

Moments later the front door rang. “Are you gonna let us in or are you going to leave us out here freezing our balls off?” A voice yelled.

“Don’t tell me Cole and Aaron are here too,” I sighed, running towards the door and opening it.

“Finally!” Cole exclaimed, walking in holding a six pack of beer in each hand. “Everyone’s coming in about half an hour.”

I face palmed.

Sophie giggled awkwardly, “umm Hayden said she wasn’t planning on having a party.”
Cole raised an eyebrow. “But you said you were babysitting?”

“Yeah, but I can’t wake my sister up.”

Cole glanced towards the TV. “Hey The Lion King! I love that film - it’s got that crazy druggy monkey in it.”

“Cole.” I snapped.

“What? Oh…” He hesitated. “Well apparently loads of people are turning up, I dunno what we’re going to do about that!”

Morgan let out another one of his weird, high-pitched hyena laughs. “Hayden, you’re screwed!”

“Perhaps if we keep everyone downstairs and shut Evelyn’s door, she won’t even hear us.” Aaron suggested, speaking for the first time. “Maybe one of us should go upstairs into her room, and then get somebody else to shout really loud downstairs and we’ll see if they hear anything.”

“Good idea,” Morgan nodded, “I’ll go upstairs,” he said, and he dashed up the stairs before I even had time to think.

Sophie shrugged. “So who’s going to shout?”

To our surprise, Aaron yelled at the top of his voice at a volume that seemed almost impossible ...well for him anyway.

“Wow Aaron,” I said, trying to hold back a laugh. “That was unexpected.”

“He drank a load on the way,” Cole sniggered.

Moments later, Morgan thudded down the stairs with a grin on his face, reminding me of a six year old being promised an ice cream after tea. “Didn’t hear a thing.” He cheered.

Sophie whooped and tossed me a can of beer, “tonight’s going to be awesome Hayden!”

But I could only smile because I was too distracted noticing Morgan’s mischievous expression when he whispered something in Cole’s ear.

Cole hooted with laughter.

 

---Author's Note---

I can't believe how quickly I wrote this! I literally just sat down and instantly knew what to write... so yeah, I'm pretty proud of this chapter :)

By the way, any ideas what Morgan's been up to? And why Hayden's becoming so fed up with her friends? Tell me what you think's going to happen in the comments :)

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