Because of the presence of Jenna, I’m forced to steer clear of Robyn. I’ve found out her surname, Reed, so when I’m next on Facebook, I can talk to her. I can explain why I don’t talk to her as much as I want to.
“So, you coming over today, then?”
I tell Jenna that yes, I am. She smiles. I go to Jenna’s every Monday; every Monday that we can do.
The bus journey is much like the one arriving to school: Jenna messing around and trying to use Yasmin and me to get attention. Once the bus stops at Jenna’s stop, I trail behind Jenna as she twitters on and on about so-and-so.
We reach Jenna’s house: an attached house, wide and two-storeyed. Unlike most of the houses in the block, Jenna’s has been painted white, the brown brick-work covered up. It looks fresher and modern, apart from the mould starting to grow in the corners. The roof tiles have been tidied and are not loose like many other houses around it. The roof holds seven sun solar panels, draining the sun light and converting it into electricity. The windows, as Jenna has told me previously, are triple-glazed; not the original single-glazed windows. Jenna’s house is one of the most modern and tidy house on the block.
Inside, the house is eerily quiet. Jenna tells me that her dad is working late, her mum is in her office (like always), and her brother is probably in his room. We are welcomed by the living room first, followed by the kitchen and the twirling staircase.
Jenna leads me up the staircase, and along the hallway. She knocks on her brother’s door, which has hanging sign reading ‘Keep Out’.
“What?” he grunts from the other side of the door. Jenna gently and slowly opens the door.
“Hi Connor!” she smiles, deliberately trying to irritate him. “I’ve got a friend over.”
“I couldn’t care less,” he says, his eyes fixated on his laptop screen. I glance over his shoulder, seeing the recognisable blue band and white ‘f’ of Facebook.
“That’s mean to say to Ella-May.”
Connor’s fingers freeze, hovering over his keyboard. He turns his head slowly to see me, his eyes hooking onto mine. It feels impossible to look away. I stare into his eyes: the unforgettable green-blue colour, like the sea with a glimpse of emerald and gold. Like the boy’s eyes at the party.
Connor’s mouth twitches, before he breaks the eye contact and turns back to his laptop, seeming bothered. “Go away,” he orders, and Jenna obeys, giggling as she closes his door behind her.
“It’s so funny to irritate my brother,” says Jenna, as she walks to the other side of the corridor, and opens her door, which is labelled ‘Jenna’s Room’, with a hanging door-knob sign telling you to keep out.
Inside, the walls are painted white, with one wall a startling dark pink. Her queen size double bed is placed in the middle, the headboard against the featured wall. Her wardrobe stands next to it, mirrors on the doors; the dressing table is next to it, with four mirrors and jewellery holders presenting her vast amount of jewellery. Her book case, against the other wall, is half empty.
Jenna immediately goes to sit at her desk, which is on the other side of her bed. She opens up her white laptop, which on the lid it proudly shows the well-known apple sign. She presses the power button lightly, before going to sit on the stool in front of her dressing table.
I make myself at home and sit on her bed precariously, careful not to __ her made bed. I watch as Jenna applies more makeup: painting her lips a light pink and lining her eyes.
She attends back to her laptop, boosting up her webcam instantly. She beckons me over, and I perch on the end of her chair. She plays with the effects she has on her laptop, laughing at how it makes my face look weird. She settles on no effects, before she poses at the camera: pouting. I try to mirror her lips, which causes her to laugh when she views the picture afterwards.
“Your pout is like this,” Jenna laughs, impersonating my facial expression. “That’s not how you’re supposed to do it!”
After about half an hour of Jenna taking pictures of us, Jenna goes onto Facebook to upload some of them. She selects one where I’m laughing, my eyes squeezed shut tightly and my mouth wide open.
“No, don’t upload that one,” I say.
“I don’t want you to,” I tell her.
“Aww, Ella-May doesn’t want me to. Diddums,” Jenna sneers in a patronising tone. “Deal with it.”
I decide not to object. It’s always awful when I get into an argument whilst I’m at Jenna’s house.
“Can I have a drink of water?” I ask her.
Jenna shrugs, “Yeah, sure. Go get it yourself.” I’m not surprised that Jenna’s said that: she’s said it many times before.
I leave Jenna’s room, closing the door behind me. Walking past Connor’s door, I start to descend the staircase.
It’s a low, husk whisper. I turn around, and find Connor’s door ajar. “Ella-May?” he repeats.
Connor’s door completely opens. His laptop is still on his lap, with the lid almost shut. “Hi,” he says awkwardly.
I furrow my eyebrows, unsure as to why he wants to talk to me. “Hi.”
“I’m sorry, I hadn’t realised that it was the same Ella-May…” he drifts off, looking down at his laptop.
“Uh…” I pull my eyebrows closer together. I look down, swallow hard, pulling my school jumper sleeves over my hands.
“Sorry,” he apologises, “carry on.”
I turn around, and go down the stairs, confused to why Connor had to say that, and what he means by it. I’ve never spoken to Connor before; not properly, anyway. I may have said ‘hello’ to him once or twice, but he’s never properly talked to me. And what did he mean that he didn’t realise that it was the same Ella-May? What other Ella-May does he think I am?
I get a glass and fill it with tap water. I go back up the stairs, when Connor opens his door again.
“Ella-May, for a small girl, you dance pretty damn good,” he says, chuckling.
The chuckle sets off something in my mind. I know the chuckle well, but I can’t remember where from. “What’s your name?” he asks suddenly, before he chuckles. I told him Ella-May.
I turn to face Connor, staring into his eyes. Dark, ocean green, light sky blue, with a tint of gold. I look at his hair, which waves and has a slight quiff.
The boy I danced with. My best friend’s brother.
I bite my lip. A memory begs at the back of my mind.
“Oh, I know another rule!” Jenna says, her two pigtails at either side of her head bobbing a little, as she bends to write down rule number seventeen in her big, childish handwriting. She writes with ‘e’s and ‘s’s backwards, but I decide not to point it out. Her handwriting takes up three lines rather than the standard one line.
“What is it?” I ask, twirling my hair in my small, tight ringlet. My hair is cut in a short bob, which makes the curls spiral more.
“You can never marry my boyfriend or flirt with him,” she says, scrawling it down.
“What does flirt mean?”
Jenna giggles, “You don’t know what flirt means? Never mind. You’ll find out when you’re a bigger girl,” Jenna finishes writing the rule, before saying “We need to pinky promise!”
I hook pinkies with Jenna’s, “I cross my heart and hope to die,” we say in unison for the seventeenth time today. And the promise is made.
I tell myself to turn around and walk into Jenna’s room, but something stops me, and my mouth is ahead of my thoughts.
“You weren’t too bad yourself, Connor.”