I spent the rest of that week at home. I felt I couldn't face school. I couldn't face Mum either. Every single morning she'd come into my room, bring me breakfast, give me a sad look and leave. The worst of it was not having Dad there to let me lie in for as possible, never there to sneak a snickers into my bag before school and not having him to reassure me there'd only be one more year of Miss Thornton nagging at me to get on with my work. If I couldn't talk to Dad, no-one could talk to me, and that was that.
It was Sunday evening when I decided I'd go back to school. After all, there was nothing to do at home other than stare into space, always feeling down or angry. I needed something to distract me from my grieving.
When I got to school on Monday, I found Stella sitting next to Mollie instead of in her usual place next to me. I was very confused until a boy I didn't know took her place. He had wheat coloured hair and forest green eyes. "Hi," he said. "I'm Jay. What's your name?" I wouldn't tell this boy my name. I wouldn't speak to this boy. I just smiled at him. I'm still not sure what made me do it. I just got the feeling I could trust Jay. He didn't seem to think I was crazy. Instead he said: "You're the first person I've met who hasn't either started talking about football at 100 miles an hour or offered me a tour around the school!"
'It gets worse' I wanted to say. Suddenly I felt like I should talk to this boy. No, that was going too far. I'd wait it out and If he was nice enough I'd give him my number. Texting wasn't exactly speaking, after all.
Before I knew it lunch had come. Not feeling like facing the cafeteria, I trudged back to our tutor room, only to find Jay there. "Hi," he said, giving me a small wave. I waved back timidly. I wasn't the timid sort of girl, and I'm not now, but those first few months after the incident were torture for me and I couldn't help it.
"Do you have a mobile? I want a contact I can actually have a normal conversation with!" I knew he meant well, but the word 'conversation' made me feel a little uneasy. I slowly nodded and pulled my phone out of my blazer pocket before handing it to him. He pressed his mobile gently into my hand and we exchanged numbers, Just before the bell rang for fifth period. "Could you show me where G5 is? I have geography," Jay asked. I nodded. I had the same class.
" Thanks. I noticed we're both on free unlimited texts. Text me."
At home, after doing my homework, I heard my phone buzz. I picked it up and realised I had a message from Jay.
J: Hey. I never caught your name
I texted him back with practised hands.
C: Hi. I'm Chloe.
J: Nice name :)
C: U 2 :)
J: Heh, let's just say my mom has a thing for strange names
C: Strange is good
J: Not in my case xD
C: What homework have U got?
J: C ya l8tr
I think I've got a real friend in Jay.