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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8. Crossing The Line

I pulled a face at myself in the mirror; where were these spots coming from?

Sophie had warned me that teenage skin and heavy makeup was a bad combo, but only now I was regretting not getting that BB Cream the other day.

I mean, when you get a spot, what are you supposed to do? Cover it? Then cover the more spots that appear out of nowhere? Or go barefaced and have to put up with people glancing at your spots when they talk to you?

Like hello people, my eyes aren’t on my chin.

“Sophie,” I whined carefully holding the germ-infested phone away from my face to prevent further break outs.

“Yeah?” she replied.

“They’re not going away.”

“Did you try that spot cream?”

“Yeah, it did nothing!”

“Concealer?”

“Barely works.”

“Ice?”

“Yeah… wait what?”

“Ice. It brings down the swelling. Loads.”

“Sophie, you’re a lifesaver!” I sighed.

“You might want to hurry up, school starts in like ten minutes,” she reminded before hanging up.

I scrambled downstairs, and almost knocked Mum flying in the hallway, but I was too late to apologise and was in the kitchen before Mum could even take anything in.

“Watch where you’re going,” Mum sighed, “…and you really should be leaving.”

“I'm putting ice on my spots,” I replied dryly.

“No one’s going to care whether or not you have spots Hayden, they are however, going to mind you turning up half an hour late for the third time this week.”
I shrugged and continued to hold the cold ice against my skin, “pretty much every one notices when you have a spot the size of a volcano on your face. The teachers are just better at ignoring it.” I rolled my eyes and chucked the ice towards the bin, pleased that at least now my spot wasn’t that obvious anymore. “Right, school starts in five minutes,” I said glancing at the clock. “I can make it.”

But I sometimes overestimate my abilities and how fast it takes me to get to school was one of them.I had completely missed all of morning tutor time, and arrived at Music fifteen minutes into the lesson.

“You’re late.” Ellis remarked as I sat down beside him.

“Well done.” I snapped and glanced at Mr Williams, shaking his head as he signed me in as late. “So what we doing this lesson?”

Ellis shrugged, “ We have to stay behind on Friday by the way, we’re way behind. I wonder why...”

“I get it, I was late. But I can’t stay behind on Friday, I’m busy.” I insisted, remembering that I was going out with Cole that day.

“What, you doing something then?” Ellis smirked.

“Yeah. Why can’t we stay behind tomorrow, or Thursday?” I suggested hastily.

“Football practise.”

“Both days and all evening?”

“Yeah.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“I play for a pretty good team and we have a really important match coming up next week.” He explained enthusiastically. How silly of him to think that I was interested.

“…So we’re trying to get as much practice as possible.”

“Since when did you even play football?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” Ellis frowned.

“Well…” I hesitated, “When you were younger you didn’t even like it.”

Ellis laughed coldly, “yeah, like years and years ago. But people grow up. They change. I’m not the joke I used to be.” He paused. “And you’ve changed a bit too.”

He was right about that.

“We should probably start,” Ellis suggested, sliding a sheet towards me, “you need to fill all this in.”

“Wait. No. We aren’t having the detention on Friday. I’m busy.”

“What, busy playing tongue tennis with Cole?” Ellis sniggered. “You do realise that he only likes you in… that way. If you get what I mean.”

“Well maybe I only like him in that way as well,” I replied thoughtlessly, and blushed. How stupid did that just sound?

This time it was Ellis’s turn to raise an eyebrow. But we continued to work on the project as if nothing happened, although I could tell that something was gnawing away at him and it took a sheet and a half later for him to ask, “Why do you even hang around with them?”

“By them do you mean my friends?” I laughed. It puzzled me to think why there would be any other answer than, “because I like them.” But I suppose Ellis was just a very confusing person.

“It’s just weird.” Ellis mentioned, “You never used to be into that sort of stuff.” He added, clearly meaning drugs and alcohol. It annoyed me a little bit.

“You never used to like football," I reminded.

“I’ve grown to like it.”

“Well I guess I grown to like alcohol.”

“Grown or just pressurised?”

I snorted, “if either of us were pressurised into something, it would clearly be you.”

There was an awkward silence, so I busily shuffled through the sheets we had managed to fill in at a pretty respectable amount of time. But I couldn’t get rid of the nagging thought at the back of mind.

“How come you haven’t told anyone about what I was like, you know, before?” I asked eventually.

“Because I know you’d just get your own back afterwards,” Ellis sniggered, “besides, I’m not that harsh. Although you were a bit of a retard back then.”

“You’re one to speak,” I giggled, “remember what they used to call you? Smellis-”

“Shut up.” Ellis snapped. “You dare tell anyone about that name then your deepest, darkest secret will be out before you can even think.”

Ellis smirked at me, stupid enough to think that the weird, freaky, ten-year-old me was my deep secret, because I suppose everyone’s a bit loopy when they are little.

After school, I arrived home and found the house to be weirdly quiet. Evelyn wasn’t running around squealing like usual, and Mum and Dad were neither talking nor laughing. They were sat on the sofa in silence. Mum was surrounded by mess of used up tissues, her head rested against Dad’s shoulder whilst he muttered to her in comfort.

I feared the worst.

“What’s happened?” I asked the panic showing clearly in the voice. I dreaded hearing the news that was sure to come; had somebody died? Did somebody have cancer? Had anything happened to Evelyn?

Oh God.

“Hayden…”Mum started.

“Your head of year phoned in.” Dad continued calmly, “apparently your behaviour at school is unacceptable. You’ve been skipping lessons and your grades… they’re just shocking.”

I stared at the pair of them; Mum continued to weep, grabbing tissue after tissue, and Dad looked at me in such disappointment I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined in too.

I knew exactly what sort of response they were expecting from me; a story about how much of a horrible time I was having. That I didn’t fit in, and that I was bullied, and the teachers were setting standards way too high for me. Perhaps they thought I'd grab a tissue a join in with the weeping. Hell, that probably would have been my reaction only a couple of months back.

My actual response was far from what they were expecting.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at the pair of them.

Mum’s eyes widened in horror. Her mouth opened and closed like a goldfish in a comical sort of way.

“I said, are you fucking kidding me?” I repeated.

And that was when I took a step too far.

I had broken the imaginary line between Mum’s patience, good temper and sanity and had entered the crazy you are so grounded for a month sort of zone.

Oops.

 I knew that before, I could only go so far with my late nights out, returning home at times that were not agreed, my snarky comments back at Mum when she said something stupid and my complete change in attitude.

But this time I stepped over the line.

And this time Mum exploded.

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