I tried to spot her all day, but it appeared that she wasn’t in many of the same classes as me. I suppose that wasn’t too surprising as she seemed to be a league above me when it came to intelligence. I asked Jake about her. When it comes to girls he’s been around, he knows every girl in the school, and most of their phone numbers were stored in his mobile. Jake was the great stud, girls fell at his feet with annoying regularity. He once told me he ranked girls on a sliding scale of 5 with 5 being the most desirable and 1 not worth reaching for the phone.
Jake looked me up and down and scratched his head.
‘What that girl in Spanish?’ he questioned.
‘Yes, the one who sat next to me’
‘You sure have a weird taste in females Tom. She’s a bit gawky isn’t she?’
I bowed my head. Here was Jake, the great girl magnet telling me that the most beautiful girl in the world was a bit of a dog. I closed my eyes to view the mental picture I had stored of her. The moment when she’d smiled and handed me back my phone. No I was right, she was beautiful.
‘So you fancy this girl’ he said quietly.
I nodded and looked at him.
‘Bloody hell, you’ve got some crush for someone you’ve only just met’ he said
I felt myself blushing.
‘It’s Ok kid, we’ll sort something out’
It wasn’t until nearly the end of dinnertime that I spied Sinead again. She was sat in the far corner of the dining hall on her own. She was eating a sandwich with one hand and appeared to be drawing in a notebook. She looked up, seeming to sense that I was looking at her and looked me straight in the eyes. I felt a push in the shoulder as Jake propelled me forwards.
‘Go for it Tom’ he said
My heart pounded as I crossed the hall towards her. I stood in front of her table wondering what to do next. She looked up quizzically at me.
‘Want to sit here?’ she said shyly, clearing away her bag and closing her notepad.
‘Thanks’ I said sitting down.
We sat in silence, each waiting for the other to speak, each trying to avoid the others glare. Eventually I plucked up the courage.
‘Are you new here then?’ As soon as I’d said it, I realised how lame that must have sounded.
‘Yes, we moved here last week. My father used to live here years ago and he wanted to move back.’ she said. Her accent appeared to be somewhere south of Stockby.
‘How are you liking school?’ I asked lamely
‘Well, it’s different from my last one. There we could wear what we wanted, not get stuck in this dreadful uniform’ she said indicating the blazer, shirt and tie we had to wear.
‘Yeah, we all hate it’ I replied. The conversation although barely started had become stilted. I paused
‘What are you doing in the notebook?’ I asked nodding my head towards it.
‘Just drawing’ she said coyly.
‘Can I have a look?’ I asked.
I could see her hesitate. She bit her lip slightly. Weird, I thought, I did that.
‘It’s OK if you don’t want to let me’
She slid it towards me half reluctantly.
‘They’re not very good’, she said
I opened the book, aware that Sinead was watching for my reaction. The book was full of sketches. I turned page after page. Some were rough sketches, obviously started and never finished. Others were fully coloured sketches, the time put in must have been considerable. The theme throughout was manga style, very cleverly done. I recognised a few of the characters that she’d sketched. There was a wonderful drawing of my favourite Final Fantasy character Lightning. We obviously liked the same sort of games and anime’s. Elsewhere there was a preponderance of drawings of this young boy with spiky hair, which I didn’t recognise at all. Maybe it was her boyfriend or someone she knew.
‘These are awesome’ I said truthfully, ‘you’re a fantastic artist’
She smiled a half smile, obviously I’d said the right thing.
‘Thanks’ she said
‘Which character is the boy?’ I said pointing to one of the sketches. She flushed and hesitated. Maybe I’d been right about it being a boyfriend.
‘It’s a character for a book I’m writing’ she said quietly looking to gauge my reaction. My eyebrows went up.
‘I write as well’ I said, ‘not very good but don’t tell anyone, they already think I’m weird’
She laughed. It was the most wonderful laugh, almost like a peal of bells ringing out.
‘OK, I won’t. Anyway weird is good’
The bell took that moment to ring out. The noise level in the hall rose with the sound of chairs being pushed back and everyone leaving.
‘I’ve got English now’ she said, ‘care to show me where to go’
I walked out of the hall feeling ten feet tall, Sinead was the most wonderful person and she was not only talking to her but was going to lessons with her. Alas that’s where it ended as she was in the top group and I wasn’t.
That night however I had this weirdly disturbing erotic dream where Lightning kept morphing into Sinead and then back again.