Natalie has long stopped tapping her pen on the pale wood table and instead has taken to fiddling with a key ring on her bag strap. She coughs lightly and examines her nails, eyes narrow as she taps them all with her black varnish. "So what did you do?" she asks.
"I thought we weren't supposed to talk in detention," I say, hoisting my self up to sit on the table once Miss Williams is out of the room, probably to hunt down Robyn McGoughn or Nathan Carlisle.
"When the teacher is here, maybe. Without her, maybe not so much." Natalie pouts her bottom lip and shakes her head, urging me to reply, though I stay proudly silent, causing Natalie to ask her question again. "So...what did you do?"
I take in a deep breath. It isn't exactly a dangerous thing, what I did, but all the same, I feel ashamed for acting anything like Natalie, and I am not at all prepared to tell her anything about myself. "I came in super late," I lie, trying to keep my voice from wavering.
"Wow," says Natalie, clearly expecting nothing more of me. "I totally never would have expected a narcissistic b****y popular girl like you to have done something like that."
"Should I take that as a compliment?" I ask with an arched eyebrow.
"Take it however you see fit," says Natalie, a smirk on her lips.
Eventually I speak up, though I am fully aware of my quavering voice. "What did you do?"
It takes Natalie a long, boring second to process the question, as though she is entirely brain-dead, like those 'zombies' Humans talk about that aren't real. "Oh, me? I'm innocent."
I must admit, I am rather taken back. I have seen Natalie in action on many occasions, and most times she has positively pulverised her opponent, mostly for no reason whatsoever.
"Alright, but you might wanna sit down for this, because a load of s**t went down and I'm still pretty p****d off about it." I'm already regretting asking her. "All of it pretty much just started when I was in Secondary School back down in England. I remember that first morning, when someone in the Sixth Form shoved into my mate, Kayleigh, so obviously I starting shouting at her, but the b***h didn't even care. Kayleigh's b***h of a sister, Mary, was there too, acting like f*****g royalty as she f*****g waved at f*****g teachers. When anyone bothered to wave back, she would squeal as though they were hot boys from California, the stupid b***h."
"Is this all completely pointless?"
Natalie gives me a pointed look. "No, it is isn't, so shut up and just listen. Yeah, so, anyway, they filled our school bags with jotters and s**t like that and reminders for homework blah-de-blah-blah, already talking about f*****g GCSEs and A-Levels. There were books in there too, from English, but I never bothered with them; they were all c**p anyway.
"It was quite funny, really, how many books we had, because Kayleigh - she's pretty f*****g messed up in her head, by the way - had somehow managed to track down the Sixth Former and hit her back harder, with her bag, going all crazy-s**t 'bout the colour purple and s**t like that.
"The next day, Kayleigh dragged me away from my spot near the assembly hall and to her table for lunch, beaming at all her new popular 'friends', even though it was pretty f*****g obvious they didn't give one s**t 'bout her.
"Each word the group uttered was like a f*****g knife to the head, except with more pain and a lot less blood. I shrugged at every s****y question the girls threw my way, not really caring about what they thought of this year's X Factor contestants, not really wanting to say anything except that I wanted them to go and marry f*****g Louis Tomlinson, just so I wouldn't have to speak to those b*****s.
"I really didn't want to be anywhere f*****g near them, but I was stuck with them for as long as I wanted to be with Kayleigh.
"One day, she got me to go with the library with her - just the two of us, and it was pretty f*****g fun.
"I liked the library. The walls were always bright in one room, and then in the next they were dark, and then there was a conservatory. The dark room always was my favourite, because there was a key there that I'd found, and I never knew what it was for, and usually when I went to find out, it was gone, like Narnia. That was a good book. The dark room always boasted the best books, and I once read one for myself called 'Wit's End', and it wasn't actually too bad, even though it had the worst ending ever.
"The kids' books were in the bright room, and those were my favourites, because they've got cool pictures, and they're all written in understandable English. In the bright room there is a picture of a teddy bear, and underneath that is a table and lots of chairs and stuff."
I huff, impatiently. "Can you please just get to the story?"
She grins a wicked grin, and continues. "Sure thing. Anyway, yeah, we went to the library, and it was pretty fun, but then after a while we had a messy fallout and s**t so I was pretty lonered at lunch and s**t like that.
"Then I met Sorcha.
"Sorcha was definitely not the kind of girl I had anticipated, when I was told to 'buddy the new girl' who 'needs a friend', but she was pretty cool.
"At first, she seemed innocent, like a fairy princess, kinda like Kayleigh. Appearances can be deceiving, I suppose. I should know that. Sorcha and I bonded quickly, quicker than was really normal, especially considering or first encounter.
"My teacher, Miss Braebrook, had left the room one morning (leaving the boys to be incredibly inappropriate about subjects which ought not to be mentioned) and returned with a tall, thin girl with brown everything. I'm not even joking.
"I don't know how long it took for Miss Braebrook to find Sorcha and force her to come in, but it wasn't important. She did take long enough for Mark to terrorise half the Year 9's, but not so long for us all to decay into ancient, crumbled versions of ourselves in the future. The only thing I could really be bothered noting was the girl she came back with. The brown girl.
"Her shoes were brown like s**t, her cardigan was brown as c**p, her tights were brown, her dress was brown, her skin was brown, her eyes were brown, and her hair was brown, camouflaging her f*****g two brown hair bobbles. I think her underwear was probably brown, too. Incidentally, her second name was Greene." She is really boring me now.
"Miss Braebrook introduced her in, like, two seconds, and then she talked about s**t that I didn't care 'bout, so I sorta just zoned out.
"Sorcha's gaze met mine, and she nodded in a bored fashion at the corridor she had entered from, examining her green nails. I swear it was the only colour she knew of. "Are you going to show me around this dump or what?" she asked impatiently, pursing her brown lips, the rude little piece of s**t." As if she believes that is true.
"We walked in silence for minute or so, Sorcha stalking forward as if she already knew the way, grabbing my limp arm as I trailed along behind her. Occasionally, I would stride ahead, but only for a few seconds. Really, I think Sorcha just followed the crowd.
"I offered her my hand, but she simply glared at it lazily, as though I was beneath her totally superior notice. She just kept on walking away, in the f*****g wrong direction, too, like she was trying to get away from me. I tried to tell her, but I don't think she even f*****g cared.
"She was leaving the school, heading out into the pouring rain without a f*****g care in the f*** **g world. I told her she was going the wong f*****g way, but she just didn't f*****g listen and was really starting to p**s me off. I knew that the Year 10's had double PE that morning, and if she went any further left she'd be stuck right in the middle of them, which was not a good thing. Anyone sucked into that wold need, like, five lifetimes of counselling to get over it.
"To be honest, I had no idea why I even cared 'bout her. I must have been out of my mind, and I somehow managed to f*****g disappear into a f*****g hole. Well, I didn't actually fall into it or disappear, but I did manage to catch my foot and face-plant the floor and give myself a headache for a few days. And a chipped tooth. And a series of spectacular nosebleeds. Not the best thing to do when trying to act tough.
"Her hands were like claws, pressing into me with great fortitude, drawing blood as I had never seem before. Holding my crumbling wrist, she slammed it into the sharp, gravelly wall, piercing me as my head too was struck. Hurling me to the ground, she found a stone to hit e with, and I thought to myself how wise she actually was, to kno the perfect location to hurt me. We were hidden, and no doubt any sound of ou battle would be muffled by great walls." Is she always this descriptive? I don't understand it.
"Just get on with it!" I shout at her, and this time she looks really irritated.
"Fine, b***h," she growls. "Yeah, so, Sorcha held her hand against my throat, as if I was trying to escape.
"I croaked pathetically, fliling my arms like a penguin trying to take flight. And then, just when I thought she was about to hit me, she didn't. Instead, she - she kissed me. And then I kissed her back."
"I still don't get how this relates to you being landed in detention."
"Right, these a*******s in my class thought I was f*****g lesbian (I'm actually bi), so then I went all crazy 'cause they're all a*******s and hit them, and my f*****g teacher told me to f*****g stand outside, and I said no, so yeah I'm here."
Well, that was a boring story. She could have just told me that last sentence and been done with it, but no, obviously not. Humans are incredibly annoying when they do things like that. "Natalie, you are seriously incredibly annoying, though one day you might actually make a half decent order, or whatever the Humans who write books are called," I say, glancing up at the clock. At least my half hour detention has been wasted by Natalie's babbling and Miss Williams' lack of presence. "Bye!"
"Oi, Layla!" she shouts, then when I don't reply, she shouts, "Kear!" That gets my attention.
"What?" I snap, turning around in the doorway.
"Just -" she pauses, stops speaking as her face flushes with embarrassment. "Just know that, well, you - you're kinda alright, really. Thanks for listening."
A sly grin playing on my lips, I leave, immediately heading for Eliza's house, my long legs giving me extra speed as I run, not entirely sure why. "Hey, look, it's the dead girl's friend!" a boy shouts, laughing with his friends, probably already drunk at four o' clock. I don't ike this neighbourhood; it smells wrong, a stuffy air of alcohol, smoke, and sick, opposed to the freshly mown grassy smell of nearby.
"Aye, lass, come over 'ere," a man crows, beckoning me with a shrivelled, prune-like finger. "Aye, I'll give you a treat." Quite frankly, that is absolutely disgusting.
"N-no thanks," I stammer, smiling weakly. "Um, I'll - I'll just be going now."
I'm already away by the end of my sentence. "Stupid Humans," I mutter, crossing the busy road from Laird Road to the high street.
"Watch it !" a man shouts out of a window , and I consider sticking up my middle finger , then think better of it as I realise that would be the reaction of a Human. Instead, I walk on, the beat of hardships thumping in my head.
The painted door is flung open almost as soon as I knock at Eliza's house, and her stormy eyes greet me with a sense of foreboding. "Come on, b***h," says, shoving me out the door. "Let me give you a lesson in my sister's life." So this must be the twin Eliza tol d me about - Elsa, I think her name is. "Firstly, she hates people who are rude, so don't forget your manners." Oh, wow. Perhaps this is actually a well-brought - up Human here. "Second, if you hurt her at all, you will have me to answer to." From what I have observed, this is the kind of thing a father would say to his daughter's first boyfriend. "Lastly, you will not ditch her if Jade is a b***h."
And then, for extra measure, she punches me in the face.