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)


7. In The Bin

Dating Cole was pretty exciting.

I had lost count of the amount of times we sneaked out during class and spent the hour at the park or the Mall instead - it was surprising how oblivious the teachers were. Although I knew that I may have been marked absent for most of my lessons, Cole had insisted that half the teachers don’t even pay attention to attendance. So while the rest of my class spent their lessons in sweaty classrooms doing sums and symbol equations, me and Cole hung out at the park.

It was becoming more obvious that my levels from my recent tests were pretty shocking for a top group student. And some of the teachers had come to realise what excellent results I was getting in my subjects. Whilst some had just given me detentions and kept me behind after class, Miss Foster had completely given up on me.

One day, she called me back at the end of another Chemistry lesson and she sat me down. “Any idea why I called you back?” She frowned at me.

“No?” I replied, innocently.

She sighed. “I’m not happy Hayden.”

My eyes widened in my fake surprise and innocence, “oh why?”

She sighed, swivelled her chair towards her drawer and pulled out a few files. She tossed them onto the table. “To be honest, I would be pretty ashamed if I were to get these grades myself.”

On each sheet of paper F’s, G’s and even U’s were written in bold red, and circled to emphasize them even more. I stared at the red writing that seemed to burn through the paper, and annoyingly I could tell that I was reddening all over.

“These grades are unacceptable for a top group student,” she went on, “especially if you have so many of them. I’ve checked with your other teachers and your other grades are pretty much the same. …Well, apart from music, which I find particularly strange. Why is it that you can get A*’s in Music but not your other subjects?” Miss Foster demanded.

I shuffled in my seat uncomfortably, wondering how on earth I was supposed to get out of this one.

“I see that you’ve got it all sussed out.” She sneered, “You don’t think you’re going to need any of these grades do you? I bet you can already see yourself strutting on stage and singing to thousands of people -”

“Well, actually…” I tried to correct her.

“Why would you possibly need to learn in any of the other subjects?” She interrupted. “Well listen to me Hayden Flack. It is never that easy and you are going to need those grades. I don’t care how talented you are, you need something to fall back on. You clearly don’t believe me now, but when you have a rent that you can’t pay for, you will then.” She grabbed my test results and tossed them in the drawer as if she were chucking them into the bin. “I’m not stupid Hayden, “she continued, “I’ve seen your results from your old school and you were getting pretty high levels there. And I know that it might seem pretty overwhelming, moving schools in your final year, but this is getting ridiculous.”

I sneaked a glance towards the window where Cole and Morgan stood waiting for me. Morgan stuck out his teeth to make a goofy expression, which also happened to be a pretty good impression of Mrs Foster. I had to force back a giggle.

“I really don’t know why you’re smiling Hayden,” She said in irritation. “For goodness sake, you have your GCSE’s this year yet you don’t seem to care at all. To be frank, you don’t deserve a place in my class, there are many people who work so hard and deserve to be in this set.” She sighed. “So I’m moving you down … and since the other groups are pretty much full, you’re going to have to go to bottom set.”

I sat in silence, not knowing how to respond. “I really do hope you learn from this Hayden, I know you’re an intelligent person. It’s a shame.” She sighed. “Right… off you go now.”

“Yes Miss,” I mumbled sheepishly and I exited the classroom as fast as I could.

I slammed the classroom door shut. “For goodness sake, Hayden. You have your GCSE’s this year yet you do not seem to care at all.” I mimicked. I rolled my eyes at Cole and sighed, “Miss was giving me a lecture about my grades.”

“Unlucky!” Cole grinned, “so what’s she going to do? Is she giving you tutoring lesson or something?”

“Nope. I’m moving down," I replied,“about time.”

The only disadvantage of moving down was that I was going to struggle learning everything from the Higher Tier since lower set were only going to be taught Foundation. Miss Foster still insisted I had to do the higher paper which I was slightly pleased about; I still wanted to do well in my exams, and getting a few B’s and A’s wouldn’t be too bad at all. However, Sophie had warned me that since I moved, a letter would be sent home from school to tell Mum and Dad. But it wouldn’t be too difficult to throw it out before it reached their hands.

There seemed to be no letter when I got home, excluding the taxes and college brochures, hanging out of the letterbox. As I sifted through the small pile, wondering at the back of my mind which college I was going to send applications to over the next few months, a small package caught my eye.

Recognising the hand writing, I concluded who the letter and package may have come from… although it didn’t seem to make sense at all.


To Hayden,

I decided that it would probably be better to send this by mail. I know that you have a passion and talent for music, and I would really appreciate your opinion on some of my band’s songs.

My band mate came up with the name Chasing My Shadow a couple of years ago. It’s a bit of a lame name for a band I admit, but we couldn’t think of anything better at the time and it sort of stuck. We tend to play pop-punk music although some of our songs are rock.

Anyway, I’ve burned three onto a disc just to give you an idea of our music and how we sound.


Annoyingly Declan hadn’t added his address - clearly because he didn’t want the letter to fall into the wrong hands. But that wasn’t what I was concerned about, because I was pretty sure I had never said that we had moved from our last home. Yet still, I was holding a package he had sent. With my address written on the front.



Ellis rolled his eyes. “You know that Chasing My Shadow isn’t a proper rock band? They haven’t even released an album yet… how do you even know about them? Anyway, I’d much rather do Linkin Park songs, their music’s better.”

“How could you possibly put Linkin Park and music in the same sentence? All they ever do is scream into the microphone,” I sneered.

He glared back at me, “Well they’re a lot better than Chasing My Shadow that’s for sure. At least they know how to write proper lyrics.”

“Well it’s pretty hard to hear the lyrics through their screaming.” I shot back, snatching away the laptop, displaying the homepage for Declan’s band.

“Are you joking? You clearly haven’t heard any of their music have you?” He replied sourly.

…Who were Linkin Park again?

Eventually Ellis gave in and sighed, “Put a ring around the Pop/Punk option then."

My eyes scanned the sheet that Mr Williams had handed to us earlier to fill in, but as usual we were the only group left who wasn’t finished.

Ellis hissed, “No, look, it’s there."

I ignored him and snapped, “You’re chewing your gum in my ear,” and I snatched the sheet away from him.

He smirked and blew a large pink bubble, at a size which I didn't even think was possible.

“I hope that’s not gum you’ve got in your mouth Ellis Bailey, “Mr Williams said out of nowhere, wearing a bizarre, multi-coloured outfit, with 3D glasses to complete the look.

The pink bubble popped and spit flied onto our worksheet.

"Ellis!" I exclaimed.

“For goodness sake Ellis, you’ve got bubble gum all over your face,” Mr Williams sighed wearily, “you better go and wash that all off.”

Ellis simply shrugged and walked out of the classroom, getting a few bemused glances from the other class members.

I frowned and stabbed the eject button on the laptop. I carelessly shoved the Declan’s CD back into its packet. It seemed that Ellis didn’t even realise how he had made himself more dislikeable than ever after insulting my own brother’s music. I grabbed our half-filled-in sheet and scrunched it tightly, wishing that it was Ellis' neck instead.  

I glanced towards Sophie who hadn’t seemed to have moved for the whole hour, but just stare into space, as if she was doing some sort of protest against working with Hanna. Hanna, who was desperately trying to get some sort of response out of Sophie, seemed like a much more suitable partner than Ellis.

After returning back to class bubble-gum free, Ellis seemed in a bit more co-operative mood than before, and even suggested in singing Declan's “unoriginal” and “cliché” lyrics.

I snorted, “You can’t be serious…since when did you sing?”

He narrowed his eyebrows, “I’ve been doing it for years. And from what I can remember, I’m a hell a lot better than you are.”

I blushed, picturing the times I said I wanted to be a singer, refusing to believe that my singing voice was absolutely shocking. But I quickly forgot about my embarrassment when I realised what exactly Ellis said.

“From what I can remember.”

There were a few moments of silence.

“So you remember me then?” I asked, scrunching the paper into an even tighter ball.

More silence.

Ellis paused. “Well, yeah… we used to be mates didn’t we?”

“Yeah.” I muttered, trying not to glance away from his intense stare that could see right through my confident persona.

“...But that was a long time ago,” I shrugged, chucking the paper ball into a near by bin, as well as our last opportunity of ever getting along.

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