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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4. Nice Weather Today

  “Good night last night?” Cole asked, later that evening.

  “Yeah it was alright.” I mumbled. I sat down on the bench near him and glanced at Sophie, practically begging her to sit down in between us.

  But Sophie seemed oblivious to my exasperated glances. Her thumbs darted across the screen of her phone, “ I’m going to meet Morgan at the gates, be back in a minute,” she said, giving me a small, private wink before she left.

Oh no, oh no, oh no! She’s left us together and I don’t know what to say! Think of something a cool and popular person would say. Think think think!-

“Nice weather today,” I remarked.

There was an awkward moment of silence. Good one, Hayden.

"So..." Cole said, "You going to Samantha’s house party next Friday?” 

  “No?” I frowned, "I never heard anything about a house party."

  “Basically everyone in the year's going," He laughed. “You could come along with us if you want."

 “Yeah! Sounds like it will be fun.” I grinned, picturing a crazy house party, just like the ones everyone at Whitefields talked about.

  “So what’s your number?” He asked, pulling his phone out of his pocket, “We’re all meeting up before and I could text you more details about it later.”

My mouth had opened slightly in surprise. But when he raised an eyebrow, I gabbled, “Oh uh I’ll just get out my phone… Here.” My hands were practically shaking as I showed him the screen.

“Thanks,” he muttered and his thumbs moved like darts over the keypad.

  To my relief, Sophie returned with Morgan, who from the looks of it had tipped a tub of hair gel onto his head before her left. I spluttered, completely unprepared to see such a drastic style that looked more like a hedgehog than anything.

   “A bit too much hair gel today?” Cole asked, trying to keep a straight face. “It’s shiny.”

  “Shut up Cole,” Morgan snapped, “That’s all Sophie’s been talking about since she saw me!” He complained as she giggled helplessly. “Alright! I suck at doing my hair, okay!?” He glared at her furiously, “Sophie shut the hell up!”

“Sophie shut the hell up!” She mimicked in a high-pitched voice. “Honestly Morgan, you need to lighten up, and grow a bit-!”

Sophie screamed and disappeared into a hedge.

“They’re insane,” Cole muttered. He rolled his eyes at me and grinned.

After watching Sophie’s arms and legs wave around wildly for a few minutes, Morgan begrudgingly pulled her out. “About time!” she said, trying to hold back another giggle.

"Where to?" I asked, pulling a leaf out of Sophie's hair.

Cole shrugged," The park I guess, where else?"

 

What I first assumed to be a repeat of the night before, turned out to be a lot more fun without the rest of the large group. And towards the evening, Cole revealed two bottles of vodka that he had sneaked into his bag. We grinned, staring at the bottle in delight, knowing that this time, Sophie certainly didn’t need to do any pretending.

But the next morning , it was almost impossible to even lift my head from the pillow. 

Jesus.” I groaned, pulling a pillow over my face in hope that it may help. I squeezed my eyes shut to stop the spinning, knowing that if it didn’t soon, I would throw up all over the spotless, fluffy white carpet.  Why did I drink those shots, just because of that small smile Cole gave each time? Why was I so easily persuaded?

  I remembered arriving home muttering “Hi,” to Mum and Dad, and literally runnning upstairs into my room, knowing that the longer I spent in front of them in the  state I was in, the more suspicious they would get. I knew for sure that the police were suspicious when I had walked around Tesco, clinging onto Cole for support and giggling to myself. Especially when we had lost Morgan and Sophie, so it was just us two walking around the supermarket in our drunken state.

  “Hayden, Hayden… Hayden.” He mumbled as I rested my head against his chest.

  “Yes?” I giggled.

  “Tell me the truth.” He repeated for the umpteenth time, “Which boy?”

  “You,” I answered, “I like you…”

I sat up straight, my eyes widening in horror. No! I grabbed my hair, almost pulling it out in my frustration; why did I tell him? How am I even going to look at him now?

Note to self: Never tell your crush you like him.

He would have texted all his friends by now, telling them that I had a huge crush on him. And it wouldn't be long until the rest of the year found out as well...

 I groaned, resting my head against my wall. I had only been at Bradley Stoke for a month and had already messed things up for myself.

*

I soon found out when I had returned to school the next Monday, that there was no point in defending myself. Rumours about me and Cole had spread like wildfire throughout the school, each one getting worse each time.

 “Who’s been spreading all of this?!” I exclaimed to Sophie, after insisting to somebody that I didn't snog Cole, along with Morgan afterwards.

  Sophie sighed, “Whoever it was must have been very bored… or very jealous.” Then she nodded towards a girl walking ahead of us with damaged bleached blonde hair that was practically falling out. “That’s Melissa, Cole’s ex.” Sophie sneered, “I saw her around Tesco yesterday and she was glaring at the two of you. I have a slight suspicion it might have been her.”

Bitch!” I exclaimed, “I’ll go ask her what the hell her problem is!”

Sophie grabbed my arm to hold me back. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she said. “Mellissa Porter is possibly the most popular girl in the school. You’re lucky she’s only made up a rumour about you – if you get on the wrong side of her she’ll get everyone to hate you in seconds.”

And that was something I definitely didn’t want to happen.

Fortunately, me and Cole weren’t the only the topic of everyone’s conversation. Samantha’s upcoming party was frequently brought up - much to her despair. She had planned to invite no more than fifty people, but the number of people who were coming had now almost doubled.

Throughout the day, “Are you going to Samantha’s party?” and “Bring as much drink as you can to Samantha’s party!” was heard almost everywhere. I began to pity the amount of cleaning up she would have to do afterwards.

For the rest of the day, I avoided the many glances I got from a certain someone. And I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything during lessons but stare into space and infuriate all of my teachers. Until eventually, the final buzzer sounded and we were free to escape.

As soon as I was home, I turned on the laptop to check my Facebook. But Evelyn toddled into the living room and tried yanking back the lid, “I want to see!” Evelyn wailed.

  I sighed, picking up the laptop and trudging upstairs to my room. Evelyn’s screams and demands echoed around the house, and moments later I heard Mum yelling at me for upsetting her. I rolled my eyes and signed into Facebook, deciding to find out more details about Samantha’s party. But the “new message” symbol had caught my attention.

I clicked on it and I froze, staring at the screen with wide, surprised eyes. Then I read it over and over again.

Hi Hayden,

I’m so glad that I found you on Facebook, it took a while! I know that you don’t remember me well; you were only seven the last time I saw you.

 Anyway, I would like to keep in touch with you and get to know you better as we were very close when you were little.

I am currently working and living in Nottingham. If there is any chance you’ll be visiting Nottingham, feel free to pay me a visit.

I remember that you enjoyed playing the piano when you are little, are you still playing it?

Write to me about yourself, your hobbies, interests etc…

Your big brother,

Declan.

I sat, staring at the couple of sentences on the screen. To others, getting a message from your brother was something that was completely normal, but for me… that was a completely different story. I reread the message again, checking that it was actually from him and I wasn’t imagining things. Then a huge smile formed on my lips.

So Declan hadn’t forgotten about me.

I hesitated for a few moments.  What could I say? I hadn’t seen him in years, in fact the last time I saw him I was only a few years older than Evelyn. Why hadn’t he contacted me before? Why now almost ten years after he had left so suddenly? Then I sighed. There was plenty of time to ask him later.

Hi! :)

I’m so happy that we are in touch again; I haven’t seen you in so long! I do remember you quite a lot actually. You were always singing and playing the guitar really loudly in your room, remember how Dad used to hate it? :)

I still love playing the piano and I hope to be a musician one day, or maybe something related to music. 

I really hope I can see you soon. Do you like living in Leeds? Do you still play the guitar? Do you still sing?

Lots of love,

Hayden

Xxxxxx

As my fingers darted across the keyboard frantically, desperate to reply to Declan’s message, a small tear began to form. But I brushed it away hastily, almost ashamed at my sudden change of emotion.

I accepted his request and skimmed through his photos. Most of the photos were of him holding the same, battered guitar along with a few friends with their own instruments. It was surprising to see he had the same guitar that he bought ten years ago, and for some strange reason I could almost recognise his friend's faces.

 But what surprised most, was the carefree, genuine smile he had in every single photo.

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