Layla is pretty much terrified when one of the most popular guys in school is sat next to her in English Lit. Somehow, she gets over it. But once you step into someone's world, you can't step out, no matter what.


2. it was just fun and games

Rejuvenated after half term, I walked into English with a spring in my step. I sat down at the desk, pulling out my pretty much empty textbook and pen. "Hi," I said, as Allo pulled out the chair next to me.

"Hey slut," he replied, smiling.

Somehow, mind-bogglingly so, I'd managed to become friends with him over the last 8 weeks. Music had just started conversation between, but soon we were talking about other things, films, tv shows, anything. Turned out that he was actually a really nice person, despite us being from two different worlds, and me still being ever-so-slightly terrified by him. 

"Morning twat."





He mockingly threw his hands up in surrender. "Can't compete with that language you've got."

"How was your half term?"

"Spent mostly passed-out. I presume yours was the same?"

"Got that right."

He passed me an earbud, as was pretty much ritual by now. "Did you get the new Potters album?"

"Shit," I cursed. "Forgot. Is it good?"

"They've done better."

"Shame, I was looking forward to that."

We briefly looked at the board, as the teacher went over the mark scheme for an exam we were taking soon.

"Listen, you want to come out with me at the weekend?"

My mouth dropped slightly. "Me?" Although we were pretty good friends within this lesson, he only briefly smiled at me in the corridor, and hung out with his friends in any other classes we had together, as I did with mine. 

"Did your brain cells die over the holidays? Fuck yeah, you. It's me and a couple of mates, figured we'd go to the park or something. Wanna come? They like good music too, you'll like them."

"Um." My brain whizzed, attempting to process all this. "Um, yeah, sure, don't think I'm doing anything."

"Cool, do you know where I live? I'll write it down for you," he scribbled something down on a shred of paper, pressing it into my blazer pocket. "Meet me there at 11, I can take you there."

"Sure, er, will do."

"Great," he beamed. "It'll be sick, promise."


Pushing my keys back into my pocket, I shut the door behind me. "Hi sweetie," Mum emerged from the living room, tape measure looped around her neck and pins in her jumper, threads sticking up from her hair. I squirmed a little as she hugged me, smelling of baking, as I knew most families weren't exactly this close. "How was your day?"

I ducked out with a small smile, dropping my bag at the foot of the stairs. "Fine, got a B in my chemistry."

"Well done!"

"Yeah, um, thanks. Can I go do my, er, English?"

Hoping she'd take the hint, I picked up my bag once more, taking a step towards my room. "Sure, of course you can."

"Oh, um, I'm going out on Saturday with some friends from school."

Her face fell. "Okay, then, yeah, that should be fine."

"See you," I muttered, walking to my room, feet heavy.

Dad left Mum when I was six for his best man's wife, moving to Morocco. I haven't seen him since, and I don't want to, but sometimes I think she misses him. No matter how much she hates him, she can't get over him, which makes me sad sometimes. In the ten years since she hasn't had a single boyfriend, and I don't know if that's normal, but I don't think so.

She says she doesn't need one, but I don't believe her.

With a sigh, I fell onto my bed, surrounded by the grim faces of singers and bands, books piled to the ceiling on top of cardboard boxes. My hand fumbled for the switch of my CD player; I smiled a little as something good came on, lifting my strangely heavy spirits. Why did I hate her so much sometimes? My mood had been in the sky when I'd come home, but from just a short conversation it'd sunk to lower than I thought possible.

I typed out an obviously desperately lonely text to Yasmin, hoping she'd reply, though she rarely did. Frankly, I didn't think she liked me any more, but I had to try, no matter how awkward I felt about it.

Yawning, I curled up on top of the duvet and tried not to think.

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