Selected

The selection happens every year, five girls are picked to join Greybridge academy, 'The most prestigious school in England'. All i know is that i don't want to be picked.

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1. Before My Life Ended

Selected

The Selection takes place every year. All fifteen year old girls from Quentin, a small town on the edge of the border of Wales, are put forward to be selected for five available places at the Greybridge Academy For Young Ladies. Greybridge, from the viewpoint of my school, was regarded a fairy castle or a haunted house. There were rumors for both. Little children would say that Greybridge Academy turned peasants into princesses and they were right. Jenna Page was selected nine years ago and now at the age of twenty four she is engaged to the President Of the United States’ son, Jasper Timbers. Ok, she hasn’t quite made it to the Princess status but she’s definitely on her way up there. Then there are the horror stories, and it is my own in particular that scares me about the Selection. Four years ago my sister, Alys, was selected. At first she wrote letters about how rubbish the school was, according to her the food closely resembled that of a rabbits and it was super strict, the way she spoke, dressed  and who she was friends with was controlled.  To this day i keep the letters in the secret compartment of my bedside table, which my brother Josh installed. Every now and then i will take them out and read through them, visualising the days we spent together where she would tell me stories and dress me up in her clothes. When i do re read them i always find my self stroking where she had written my name in her silly way, Marley with an ‘i’, even though she knew it was ‘ey’. After a while the letters became less frequent and eventually she sent me the final letter, in which she told me how perfect the school was, how the food had improved and how she felt more in control, i got that letter when i was eleven and immediatly burned it because i knew that now her life was perfect at Greybridge she had no need for me as a sister, she could just easilly look after one of the newly selected students. Since that letter we haven’t seen her, apart from the televised graduation that happened two years ago. She looked different some how, her originally light blue hair had been dyed back to her original colour, a platinum blonde, her heavily made up eyes were softly covered in shimmering eyeshadow and a dash of mascara. What shocked me most was her clothes. Replacing her cutoff shorts, band t-shirts and spiky jewellery, she was dressed in a brightly pattererned dress, that clenched her thin waist and pushed out into a full skirt, black heels and a single solitary pendant that hung around her exposed clavicals. She walked elegantly over to the Headmistress, a bat of a woman who looked as though her face was being held up by her tight ponytail, and shook her hand before taking the graduation papers. As she walked down the stage she waved, posed for photos and then went to join her equally prim and proper friends. From that, one thing is clear. I do not want to be selected.

At my current secondary school, Quentin Oaks, the girls of the school fall into three categories, princesses, rebels and shys. The princesses are the girls that are as prim as the Jacobi girls but are not rich enough to afford the fees of the school, they are the girls that dream of being selected. They tend to come to school wearing black pumps and posh accessories, like pearl alicebands and expensive bags perched carefully on the inside of their elbows. Then you have the rebels, the rocker chicks, the punks, the tomboys and the people that are not made for St Jacobi. One gets chosen every year and is always taken into the school, more or less screaming. My sister was rebel, she had four ear piercings, dyed hair and a boyfriend with a tattoo, i’m pretty sure she had a small tattoo too, a small infinity sign on her back between her shoulder blades. I only ever got a glimpse of it, I accidently walked in on her when she getting changed after a hot day at school. Rebels are easily identifiable, usually they were fashionable trainers or boots to school, they were alot of make-up and are usually quite scary. Some of them are bullies but i know some of my sister’s old friends so they looked after me for the first few years at Quentin Oaks. Then there are the shys, girls that go around not really blending in with anybody, then there are subcategories, shy rebels, shy princesses, rebel princesses. Shy rebels go around with less make-up and less piercing and more clothing, they don’t want to go to St Jacobi’s but they won’t scream and kick and bite, they’ll going along quietly cursing their life. The shy princesses don’t go around so perkily they hide behind the other princess but also dream about being selected too. Then there are the confusing people the rebel princesses, they are rich rebels, they say they don’t want to go to Greybridge but they do, you can see it on their face, a gleam in their eye, while the mouth is open and screaming. 

Me and my friend Skye do not belong to any of those groups.  We’re not rich enough to be princesses, not quiet enough to be shy and not daring enough to be a rebel, the most daring thing about Skye is that last year, when she went to Africa, she cuddled a lion club. We are outsiders and i like it like that, there’s more room on our lunch table and we are not defined by what we wear. “Do you think we’re weird? You know, like how we don’t fit in with anybody.” she asked one day whilst we sat at our table and i was drinking a mango smoothie. “I guess we’re puzzle pieces from a different puzzle. We just make the picture more interesting.” i had said thoughtfully.
“So your saying that we’re the giraffe in a mona lisa puzzle.”
“Yeah but i’m not tall enough to be a giraffe.” After that we burst into giggles, earning a disgusted look from the princesses and cold stare from the rebels. It suits Skye and I, not fitting in, it comes normayl to us. Whilst other students will spend there free time at the library, or at sleazy clubs or posh restaurents, Skye and I have a secret tree house in the middle of the woods beside our houses. We discovered it when we were little and that summer we spent everyday adding things to it until it was perfect. It’s not amazingly extravegant but it has a roof and the floor is littered with pillows. In the winter it’s normally too cold but in summer the view is amazing. 

For Skye and I the selection is five days away, my birthday only one, and although fifeteen is a good age, i find my self praying to anybody that will listen, that i won’t be selected. I’m happy the way i am, i don’t want to become posh and i don’t want to lose Skye as my friend.

Chapter One

Four days

I woke up early on the morning of my birthday, i couldn’t help it, it’s just something about birthdays that make me really excited, especially if it’s my birthday. I ran down the stairs taking two at a time and fell into the kitchen. I buzzed about, pouring enough water for four in the kettle and plucking four mugs out of the cupboard. Everybody has a specific mug, mine is a cream colour with LOVE painted on it in a dark burgundy, Aaron’s, my nineteen year old brother, mug is white and covered in doughnuts. Josh has a spotty mug and my mum has a mug with ‘World’s Best Mum’ printed on it. it was a christmas present from Alys before she was selected. I found myself guiltifully trapped in my thoughts when a husky voice startled me. “you know we’re supposed to do that.” said Aaron as he scratched his head. 
“mmh, hmm.” i said thoughtfully. Aaron pushed me away from the kitchen counter and i sat on a chair, pulling my knees up to my chin. “thinking about the selection?” he asked, dropping three bags into mum’s, Josh’s and my cup. 
“No, Alys.” He took a spoon full of coffee and flung it into his own mug
“You miss her, huh?” he said thoughtfully.
“don’t you?”
“yeah but Marley it’s not like she’s dead.” he poured the hot water from the kettle into the mugs and cursed when some splashed onto his hand. “I never said it was.” i said indignantly.
“I know, but i know it can feel like it. Can you get me the milk?” He extended his right hand towards me, i slipped off my seat and pulled open the door of fridge. “I just miss her you know, i wish she‘d get in touch.” i grabbed the milk and passed it to Aaron.
“Me too.” He poured the milk into the tea’s and into his coffee and stirred them softly, pulling out the teabags and chucking them in the bin. “This is no way to start a birthday, come on present time.” Said Aaron taking two cups. Without thinking i gave him a quick hug, awkwardly he tried to wrap his arms around me but the cups restricted him. “come on kiddo.” I pulled my arms away and picked up the other two mugs. 

Gently, I sat the cups down and shook my mother awake. In sleep she looked pretty and young but once she had awoken, her features look tired and stressed almost immediatly. Alys closely resembles my mother; same platinum hair, same icy blue eyes, small prominent nose and the same pretty smile. Josh, Aaron and I appparently take after our father who took off just before i was born. We all have dark brown hair, dark blue eyes and deep pink lips. Aaron and I look the most alike, with curley brown hair, whilst Josh has straight wheaty brown hair. "Morning honey." my mum said as she stretched in her bed, her eyes half closed and a dazed look on her face. "Happy birthday munchkin." said Josh behind me as he stumbled into mum's room, his eyes still closed. I climbed into the bed next to Mum and Josh climbed in after me, his eyes only barely open. "Why are we up so early" he yawned, lying down. Aaron glided over to the wardrobe and pulled open the door, revealing a bag full of presents wrapped in brown paper and tied with navy string.He picked them easily up and out of the wardrobe, laying them down on the bed infront of me. Without looking in the mirror i knew my eyes were glittering.  I looked over at my mum and she gave me a nod of approval, Biting my lip, I clutched the first present. From the outside of the paper it felt sqiggy and I immediatly begin ripping open the paper. My mum says i've always been impatient, especially when gifts are involved. At christmas I always start the present opening and whilst Aaron, Josh and Mum (and Alys) are opening a present i am constantly touching and fingering the paper of my next present. Within fifteen minutes I have already opened most of the presents and i knew my mum has been extra generous this year. I had gotten books, CDs, films, clothes, a set of fairy lights for my bed from Josh and a poster from Aaron. Aaron and I have a tradition where we only buy items for each other that can be added to our walls. Last year i bought Aaron a series of photo frames, which he has hung all over his wall in odd positions. The year before Aaron bought me this wall sticker of the word 'Love' and so far all the photos and posters i have recieved over the years surround it. 
"Thank you!" i said after opening my presents, a giddy smile plastered over my face. 
 "There is one more gift." Mum said excitedly her eyes shining brightly. I tilted my head in confusion, but mum reached behind her and bought out a black box from underneath the bed. I took it from her soundlessly, my eyes glitsening in wonder of what the elegent looking box could be. I looked at mum once more and she smiled back, encouraging me to open the box. I took my time savouring the moment. I shook the lid off and carefully pealed back the black layers of tissue paper. Beneath the covering sat an utterly beautiful cream strapless dress. "Oh..my.. God." i whisper, taking in it's silky rich material. 
"It's for the Selection and you can have Alys' leather boots, the ones you would endlessly pester her over?" 

The memories of Alys flooded back with the pressure of a double decker bus, at the mention of her untounched things i felt as though somenone had just stabbed me in the heart with the heels of one of Alys’ shoes. When she was selected she wasn’t allowed to come and get her things, or her clothes or anything. When that little bit of information surfaced, girls began to sneak things under their dresses at the selection or wore as many clothes as they could, one girl walked onto the stage with a skirt on under her dress, a cadigan over her dress and a sweater over the cardigan. Oh and not forgetting the three pairs of socks and about twenty necklaces, seventeen bracelets and rings on all of her fingers.  She looked strangely cool but extremely hot, Skye and I were laughing for weeks about it. As well as Alys not being able to touch her stuff we didn’t either, her room hasn’t been cleared out or entered really, i once snuck into her room to retrieve her bracelet which i then sent to her, the letter back said it had been confiscated. It’s rumored that all selectees are given completely new wardrobes when they are eniciated. I’m not sure whether to believe this because although it explains why Alys left her clothes behind but the clothes must cost alot of money, then again its not like Greybridge is struggling when it comes to money. Alys wasn’t the best sister, yes sometimes she woke me up when she was sneaking in from a wild night out but i didn’t care. She was a rebel, she was powerful and had her own mind, she wasn’t a drone like the shys and princesses.  Thinking of Alys, my fingers instantly touched the thin scar behind my earlobe. 

When i was nine and Alys was fourteen she had just gotten her second ear piercing and thought that she was qualified to pierce my ear. I held the ice on my ear excitedly until it went numb and then i replaced it with the apple. Alys thrust the needle through my ear clearly but then slipped and the needle sliced the skin behind the earlobe. There was blood, alot of it, everywhere. Alys immediatly swept me up, ignoring my screams and the blood pouring from me and ran all the way to the hospital which is over a mile away. They stiched me up pretty quickly and gave me a strawberry lolly to shut me up. Mum came to pick us up later and grounded Alys but that night i snuck into her room to tell her i didn’t blame her and that she was the reason i got my lolly. When she began crying i didn’t know what to do, i was nine after all, so i just patted her shoulder. I never found out the reason for her tears, whether she blamed herself for the cut or if she was scared that she might be leaving me in a few months time, it didn’t make sense. Alys didn’t cry she was a rebel, she was strong. 

“Honey.” 
“Yeah.” i said dropping my hand. I zoned back to reality.  “That sounds amazing mum, thanks.”

*
Three Days

“Are you scared about the selection.” asked Skye as we sat beneath the treehouse. Skye was laying down observing the sky through her brown tinted sunglasses. Frank, Skye’s Bermese Mountain Dog, was sat on my lap. Repeatedly I stroked his head and braided his long fluffy hair. “Um.” i said thoughtfully my face screwing as i tried to look at Skye through the light. “I wouldn’t say scared... nervous maybe...”
“Mmh hm.”
“What about you?” I asked. Skye wriggled around, pulled at her shorts and rearranged her glasses. Frank also readjusted him self and whilst he sat up, i lay down like Skye. Frank’s head immediatly landed on my stomach as he lay down. “Yes, i am.” Skye paused in thought. “Everyday we get closer to the selection, i here rumors that seem to get worse and worse.” I closed my eyes. I knew of the rumors but Skye was a worrier so if i let her talk she’d probably talk sense into her self. “Like what?”

I zoned out why Skye vented, she was talking rubbish, i didn’t know why she got  so worked up by rumors, rich people pay to go the Acedemy so it couldn’t be that bad. Whilst Skye babbled through the rumors - why their true, why they are not, what would would happen if they were? - my mind driftsed to the Selection and in particular the school. Nobody apart from the teachers, students, selectees and benefactors have been in the actual school but everybody knows how the school is set out. The main building, the only one that can be really be seen, is like a castle from the tudor ages, it’s ‘H’ shaped and is where the core lessons take place. Behind, on the right are the girl’s dormitories and communal bathrooms, behind on the left is where all the eloucution and humanties lessons take place. Then at the back, rounding the school site into a rectangle, is the arts building which is surronded by Harpendale woods 

“And apparently they brainwash rebel students that don’t ajust quickly.” A seering pain burnt through my head like the fire that engulfed Alys’s last letter. My eyes burst open and i sat up, staring at Skye. She nodded as if she had to prove to me that she was right. I tried to think clearly but it was like my mind was full of smoke. “I.. it’s just rumors.” i stuttered, laying back down and ending the discussion. Skye was quiet for a minute or so but soon started talking again, this time on a safe subject. “I wonder if they wear uniforms?” I closed my eyes and listened to her talk  about how she hates tacky kilt type skirts and how she also hates  pencil skirts because you can’t walk in them.
“What are you wearing?” i said interuptting her. Skye looked down at her loose tank and polka dot jean shorts. “eh this.”
“I meant what are you wearing to the selection, you idiot?” I laughed, kicking her gently.
“Oh, my sister gave me her strapless floral dress, the one she wore.” Skye is practicly a clone of her sister, although neither of them like to admit it, they’re both extremely talkative and have this cute hippie style, however Lily’s two years older and is a head shorter than Skye who is rather tall for fifeteen. 
“I’m gonna wear and it with a shirt underneath though and it’ll be shorter because i’m taller.”
“Nice.” i said, visualising the dress on Skye’s slim frame.
“What about you?” i focused my attention onto Frank and stroked his head.
“My mum got me this creamy strapless dress for my birthday.” i said laughing slightly when Frank began to lick my hands.
“Speaking of did you like your present.”
“Yes.” i laughed. Rembering the fifty/fifty Jelly Beans and the t-shirt with a moustache printed on it. “You should of seen Aaron’s face when he got a dog food one, it was priceless.” My laugh sounded deep and weird with Frank laid on my chest. Skye gave a devious laugh and laid back down. I rested my head down, my hand warm from the light filtering through the tree’s. I spun my hand in a curly manner and watched as the light danced around my fingers. Satisfied I closed my eyes and basked in the cool breeze with the warmth of the sun, letting Skye’s faint breathing calm me.

“What are you doing?” Shouted a voice. My eyes burst open, my neck aching as i struggled to get up with Frank laying on my chest. In front of me stood a boy, his arms down by his side and a confused look on his face. Frank gave a groan as he got up and went to inspect the newcomer. “Well?” he asked. Frank moved around the boy and began licking his fingers. A flash of happiness passed over the boy’s face as he bent to Frank’s level. As he did i was given time to rearrange my self, i wiped the sleep from my eyes, smoothed down my hair and jumped onto my feet. Beside me Skye still lay fast asleep, her face away from us. “The woods belong to everyone.” 
The boy looked from Frank to me. A smile crept over his face as he stood up, suddenly i felt shy realising how tall he was. “It’s just i’ve never seen anybody around the treehouse.” He said, his smile spreading over his face. My cheeks blushed upon realising how good looking the boy was, in a skinny indie band kind of way. “I always hang around my treehouse.” I said defencively. 
“Ah so you’re Marlin Skye.” he said.
“What?” i laughed, trying to sound cool and not go over the top even though a very good looking boy was talking to me. The boy pointed to the tree behind me where the steps to the tree house were nailed in. I pushed away the moss from the seventh step up and ran my fingers over area where ‘Marli ‘n’ Skye’ was engraved. 
“Oh, no I’m Marley and that’s Skye.” I nudged Skye with my foot. “The n is like and, ya know as in Fish ‘n’ chips.” i said my cheeks going red
“Ah.” he said, a sparkle behind his deep brown eyes.
“So what’s your name and how do you know about the Treehouse.” I asked, playing with my necklace nervously. Keep it together, just be yourself.
“ Storm. I sometimes camp in the treehouse.”
“Storm.” i said, liking the way it sounded in his rich voice. “Weird, i’ve never seen you round here.”
“i usually camp out in the winter.” He added.
“And. I sleep out here during winter.” i lied. The boy scoffed. “What?”
He laughed shyly his face to the floor, he teeth flashing slightly.“You don’t look like the sort of girl that likes to camp.” 
“Well, i do.” i said indignantly. 
“Prove it then, meet me here tomorrow. I’ll bring the pizza.”
“Fine, i’ll bring the marshmellows.” I said quickly, without thinking. The boy gave me a final smile and turned away down the path. “See ya tomorrow... Marlin Skye.” 
I sighed in annoyance as he disappeared from sight, now i had to go and camp at night in the treehouse. 
“Who was that?” Said Skye, playfully.
“I knew you were faking, why didn’t you help me.”
“i didn’t want to disturb the flirting, Marlin.” she laughed.

Two Days

I swung my rucksack onto my back and began to climb up to the treehouse, the wood slightly slippy from the moss. Mum thought i was sleeping over at Skye’s, but Josh and Aaron knew where i was, in case of an emergency of something. I hauled my body into the house and laid out my sleeping bag, the marshmellows resting on my pillow. I looked out over Quentin my legs dangeling over the edge. The summer night was warm but the air was heavy and i knew it was going to rain. The sun was still out at seven and with a light blanket wrapped around me i was comfy.  Time passed and i eventually moved into the house, the blanket laid over me, reading a book. At twentyish past eight a voice rang through the blue tarpulin, i had put up as a makeshift door. I untied the rope holding it over the entrance and pushed it up. At the floor, Storm stood holding two large pizza boxes and had a rucksack over his shoulder. “How are you meant to get up?” i yelled down. He smiled. 
“Come here.” I followed his instruction and climbed down the steps, jumping past the last few steps. 
“Well.” i said, tapping my foot on the ground. “Are we having a downstairs picnic?”
“No. Hold this a sec.” he handed me the pizza’s and as he delved into the bag, i chucked what he had bought, pepperoni and magerita. “i stuck to the basic flavours.” he said his face deep in his bag. “In case you were fussy.” 
You got that right, i thought. 
“Ah here we go.” he exclaimed pulling a rope and a block of wood with four holes in it from his bag.
“What?” i asked.
“Girls.” he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. I looked down at the equipement taking it in.
“If your thinking of a pully system how are going to balance the pizza.” 
“Well.” Storm pushed his hand into his pocket and emerged with a pocket knife. I watched in wonder as he crouched on the floor and cut four small pieces from the rope. Carefully he pushed a bit of rope through each hole and tied it. Then he pulled all our bits together and tied them up. I lifted his hand and i passed him the pizza which he slipped onto the wooden plank. He handed me the rope. “Take this up there and swing it round the branch. I followed his instructions and stood in the tree house holding onto the end of the rope. From below he tied the long rope round the knot of rope holding up the block of wood and pizza. “Pull.” he instructed, and i pulled as he climbed up. 

*

“That was really clever, what you did with the rope and stuff.” I said, as we sat beside each other eating the pizza, the crust simply melting in my mouth. “This pizza is delicious, where did you get it from?”
“My friends dad owns this little italian down by where i live, not many people know about it but it is amazing.” 
“I raise my drink to that.” i said raising the plastic mug of hot chocolate Storm had bought with him. “So.” we both said at the same time.
“Sorry.” I murmured my cheeks burning. 
“Tell me about yourself.” Storm said placing his half eaten slide down and taking a sip of his hot chocolate.
“Well,  my name is Marley, not Marlin, I’m fifteen.” A look of shock passes over his face. “your eligible for the selection.” he mumbled.
“yeah.”
“Are you nervous?”
“yes.” i said confirming it to myself, after lying for so long it was a relief to get the weight off my shoulders. I had to be the strong one out of us. “i’m sorry you have to go through that.” Storm uttered his fingers clenched so tight around his mug, the knuckles had gone white.
“Don’t you think it’s stupid?”
“Yeah, i  guess, but i can’t change anything. Wish i could but i can’t.” I mumbled.
“Why do you wish.”
“My sister was selected five years ago, i haven’t seen her since and i miss her so much. But she won’t call, or write, or anything. But she used to write and then everything changed and then apparantly she could of been brainwashed or something.” i crumbled, pulling my knee’s into me and buring my face in them. Storm took my hand in his and held it for a while rubbing his thumb aginst the back of it. “I’m sorry to spring this on you.” I choked, rubbing a tear from my eye.
“Sometimes it just takes meeting a stranger.” He said, his face serious. Sometimes passed through his face, anger, sadness, but when he turned to face me his mouth was set in his beautiful smile. He was right sometimes it takes meeting a stranger. I wiped the tears away, sniffed and rested my head on his shoulder.
“Tell me something about you.”i mumbled, closing my eyes.  
 “Storm isn’t my real name.” I scoffed. 
“What is your name.” 
“Not telling.”

One Day

Waking up with someone’s arm around me was weird, with it being a boy was even weirder. I looked over at Storm and then at my watch. 10:30. “Oh... I’ve got to go.” i stuttered waking up Storm, he looked up, his glases eskew and his hair sticking up in weird places. “I had a really good time.” i said, my sack over my shoulder, as i started to climb down the steps. “Can i at least have your number.” he asked confused and tired. In a moment of bad judgement and recklessness as i climbed down the steps, shouting out my number. When i hit the ground i began running. Although i had nothing to be ashamed of, afterall i had only slept in the same room with him nothing happened girls and boys always have sleepovers. Right?
*
“Where were you and don’t say at Skye’s because i phoned Skyes mum.” My mum shouted as i slipped through the door at 11:00. I dropped my rucksack on the floor and melted into the sofa. “Marley?” My mum crossed her arms and began to tap her foot against the floor. Josh and Aaron were no where to be seen. Cowards. I sighed loudly. “ I spent the night in the treehouse. Come on mum let it slip, it’s not like i go to rebelious parties i justed wanted a night to myself before the selection.” It wasn’t lying but an aching feeling formed in my stomach, punishing me. When my mums face dropped i knew she had forgiven me. She too fell into the sofa wrapping her arms around me. “I’m sorry i erupted. It just felt like the night Alys had gone and i knew she wasn’t coming back.” Mum covered her mouth with her hand. 
“I know Mum, i miss her too.” An idea burst into my head. “Why don't we clear out Alys room. Make it into a study or something. Alys is gone, she could of come back but she didn't we have to let it go." I thought of Storm for a second, ‘sometimes it just takes meeting a stranger'. 

That day we all chipped in. Josh was on tea duty and Aaron had gone down to the local supermarket for boxes. Mum and I started by taking down Alys' many photos. My music blaring loudly from Alys' work deprived Stereo. There were so many photos, photos of Alys posing in several outfits, pictures of Alys with her rebels, all pulling funny faces. She looks happy in all her photos, she looked free. One picture in particular caught my eye, one of an infinity sign. I take it down myself and push it into pocket hiding it from my mother, she didn’t know and the picture wouldn’t make a difference to her. 
“Boxes.” Shouted Aaron, i jumped back in surprise. 
“Ah great. I’ll finish the photos and Marley you start on the clothes.” My mum said, pulling her hair into a messy bun.  She was taking this better than i had thought she would. Upon instruction, i pushed the photo deeper into my pocket and began on Alys’ clothes, and there were alot. What wasn’t hung up was piled messily at the floor of her wardrobe. There were shorts, t-shirts, shirts, shoes, jeans, all in states of disrapear both intended and non intended. I began at the bottum pick up the clothing folding it and putting it in the box. “You can keep anything you want.”
I plucked up a sheer shirt and held it up incriminatingly, “yeah i don’t think so.” 
 
We finished at eight a clock, the room full of crammed boxes. From the whole room, I only kept five items. A pair of cream heels for the selection, a photo of the whole family, the infinity sign, a pillow with the definition of elegance sewn on it in a cursive script and finally i kept the only skirt in Alys’ wadrobe. It was a tulle design that hit the knee, died from white to burgundy by my sister. When i found it, pushed to the back of her wardrobe, i knew where i had seen it before.  Alys had pinched it from the underneath of my mums old prom dress and died it burgundy, for her first date with a boy who soon became her boyfriend. That light she came home with giddy smile plastered over her face, her heels in hand and happiness dancing through her voice. Although I’m not really a skirt kind of girl, like Alys, if i wore it i wanted it to make me as happy as she was. Secretly i hoped that i too woud where it on a date with the mysterious musical boy i had woken up next to. 

For a while i sat in Alys’ room admiring the plain walls and big empty space. I just sat, my earphone playing beautiful music, and although i don’t want to hide within the notes like Storm, i can see why he has a love of music.

That night we camp out on the sofa, order a take away and watch a movie. I can’t remember the last time we had a night like this. Mum laughed at Aaron’s jokes whilst Josh moans for them to be quiet. In silence i watch my funny, amazing family whilst i dipped my pompadom in my curry. “You ok Marley.” Mum asked her head tilted in my direction.
“Yeah, I’m great.” I smiled. Deep inside i am worried because i don’t want the Selection to tear me away from my family. I don’t think mum or i could take it, she has already lost one of her babies it’s not right for some posh school to take another of her children. I don’t want to leave, ok my family have annoying habits, like taking too long in the bathroom and leaving the belongings everywhere, but they have shaped me to be who i am.

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