"I'm glad you decided to join us, Miss Chase." Katimski said, hardly pausing while he wrote the name of a sonnet on the blackboard. "Come on now, hurry up and sit down."
Rebecca Chase grimaced a half apologetic smile in the teacher's direction before heading to the nearest empty seat. To the casual observer, Rebecca looked completely unaware of the pair of eyes that glared at her from the back of the room but the girl who glared knew that Rebecca was aware and was just ignoring her like they always ignored each other. Amy Bradley and Rebecca Chase had been painfully aware of each other since they were born but it wasn't until they got to high school that they had been forced to spend every school day in each other's company. The resentment that they had for each other had been inherited from their mothers and over the years it had matured into a silent loathing which sat between them like a brick wall. The wall was so big that, most of the time, they couldn't see each other over it but occasionally they would spy each other through small gaps in the mortar and would be reminded of each other's presence.
"You know, one day your face is going to stick like that." Edward whispered from the seat next to Amy's. "Though that might be a good thing, Amy, 'cause at least we'll be able to spot you in a crowd."
"Who asked you, Chirski?" She replied, turning her glare in his direction. It only took a second for her glare to turn into a smile but her best friend always had that effect on her.
"Amy Bradley. Seeing as I can hear your voice, you've just volunteered to read. Page 14." Katimski said as he turned to face the class.
Knowing it was futile to refuse, Amy tucked her light brown, shoulder length hair behind her ears before standing to read. The class all turned in their seat to watch her as she spoke. To the casual observer she seemed completely unaware of the pair of eyes that glared at her from the front of the class but the girl who glared knew that Amy was aware and was just ignoring her like they always ignored each other.
Amy threw her English books into her locker and began rummaging around for the half finished Bio homework she knew was hiding in there somewhere while other students jostled past on their way to the cafeteria. She was in no such rush to get to the lunch room. As far as her mother as concerned, any where that served vegetarian chilli con carne didn't deserve to the honour of her presence so she was once more brown bagging it.
"Wanna swap? I've got cheese and tomato." Edward asked as he leant against the next locker.
"Yeah ok. Wanna do home work swap too? I'll give you Trig, if you give me Bio?"
Amy and Edward had been friends since before they could remember. Their mothers were best friends so they spent a lot of time in each other's houses when they were children. Somehow their friendship had managed to survive the awkward transition from child to teenager and at fifteen years old they knew that they would be friends for life. They didn't always look like the most compatible duo but somehow it worked. Amy, daughter of Angela Chase and Damon Bradley, took after her mother in appearance and demeanour. She had light brown hair and a slim build which verged on the skinny side and her introspective outlook gave her the tendency to frown as if in deep thought for the majority of the time. However, when she smiled, her eyes sparkled and she had her father's dimples. She had also thankfully inherited his maths skills rather than her mother's. Edward had a tall muscular build. If it wasn't for his addition to rock music he would have been a typical jock. As well as being on the football team, he was also a member of the year book and more than one social committee. He blamed his tendency to join things on his mothers over enthusiasm to sign up to any kind of group activity she could find. In a way he had to. He could hardly put it up to his father's genes when he had never met the man. Sharon Chirski had embarked on a whirlwind romance in her last year of university with a foreign exchange student. By the time she realised she was pregnant, Edwards father had returned home and was seemingly untraceable.
As he leaned back, patiently waiting for Amy to gather her things together, he realised that a very rare thing was happening. Rebecca Chase was walking towards them, in full view of any passing students. She had a slightly annoyed expression on her face and a purposeful stride
"Oh Shit. Incoming, Amy!"
"What?" she asked distractedly, still searching for her homework but the reply she got wasn't what she expected.
"Hey," Rebecca said, stopping just behind Amy and forcing her to turn around. Flicking her long, dark brown curls over her shoulder and looking as if she would prefer to be anywhere else, she continued to speak. "My dad said to tell you to tell your mum that we haven't got enough streamers for the party and can she make some more."
"Why didn't he just tell her himself?"
"That's what I said but he told me to just pass the message on so that's what I'm doing. Like I've really got an overriding wish to speak to you, like, in public." Rebecca replied before turning around and heading down the corridor towards her friends.
Amy just resumed her glare as she watched Rebecca's retreating back.
"You know, it doesn't matter how many evil's you give her. The girl isn't going to go away." Edward chuckled.
"God I wish!" Amy said with a sigh. "I mean, it's just wrong to be in the same school as your grandfather's daughter. Let alone be the same age! I mean, I'm four months and 5 days older than my half aunt. She's a complete airhead slut. Probably takes after her mother."
"She's not that bad." Edwards started only to be met with a disbelieving look. " I mean, we've been sitting on the same bus every day for the last four years and we had to work on that science project thing together in 8th grade. You know, the thing with the mouse? Anyway, I don't really talk to her because she's like your nemesis, or something, but if you two got over this thing you have, I bet you'd actually get on."
"Oh, please! She's a cheerleader."
"So what if I don't want my cheers to be lead? What if I just want to cheer to myself, quietly?"
"Cheerleaders are like the entire basis of our culture. We can't get rid of them. Who would footballers mate with?" Edward replied, trying to get at least a grin. Unfortunately, his attempt failed so he decided to change the subject instead. "Anyway, what party and why am I not invited?"
"Believe me, you don't want to be there." Amy shuddered. "It's 20 years since Grandpa's restaurant opened and he want's to have this big celebration. It's going to be a complete nightmare though and I'm only going because Mum said I have to. Grandma's going too."
"Your Grandma is going to your Grandpa's restaurant party?"
"Oh yeah. It's going to be me, my parents, Grandma, Grandpa, Hallie Lowenthall, Rebecca and a load of strangers trapped in the same room for at least four hours. Grandma says she wants to go but she's completely lying. It's like she's completely incapable of owning up to the fact that she can't stand to be within a five mile radius of them." Amy replied as she closed her locker and they made their way down the corridor. " I'm kind of hoping that she drinks too much gin and starts referring to Hallie Lowenthall and Rebecca as 'the home wrecker and her demon spawn' like she did last Christmas. Nothing like a family row when you need an excuse to leave early."
"Oh, that's going to be perfect." Angela said as she held a simple but elegant black dress against herself and gazed in the mirror.
"You might as well keep it." Sharon replied as she flopped onto the bed. "it was a complete impulse buy. I've only wore it twice and I don't think I could actually get into it anymore. I feel like an ever expanding fat blob."
"You're not fat." Angela said in a practiced tone.
"And you're lying. It's my own fault. I've allowed myself to get addicted to that cookie dough ice cream. In fact, I feel the same way about that ice cream as I used to feel about Brad Pitt."
"I thought he was your one true love?"
"Nah. Since he left Jen and formed Brangelina he doesn't seem so reliable. Leonardo, however, is starting to grow in my esteem," she grinned.
Angela smiled back as she hung the dress up on the back of her wardrobe door. "If you can trade in your one true love, do you think I can trade in mine as well?"
"What's Damon done now?" Sharon asked, used to hearing about the trials and tribulations of her best friend's relationship issues.
"It's nothing really." Angela replied but the frown on her face indicated that it really was something. It only took a pointed look from her best friend to get her talking again. "It's just this stupid party of my dad's. No one is going to have a good time. It's going to be a complete nightmare. I mean, Hallie Lowenthall and my mother in the same room! They are both going to be doing that overly polite, pretend mature thing they do where they end up annoying the hell out of each other and everyone else while Dad and I nod and smile and act like we're all one big happy family when we both know that they really hate each other."
"Sounds like fun."
"Yeah, it'll be a blast. Anyway, Damon knew that the entire thing would drive me insane. Amy didn't want to go so we had the biggest argument and I basically told her that she had to go. During which he said not one word. He just kept his mouth shut. Do you know why? Because this morning he tells me that he won't be able to go. He has to go to some stupid conference for work which he conveniently forgot about and he won't get back in time."
"How did he think he'd get away with that? 'He forgot'? Please!"
"I know! And as soon as Amy hears that he managed to get out of it I'm going to have an argument with her all over again. What are people going to think when I turn up with an AWOL husband and a teenage girl who would very obviously prefer to be hanging out with her friends somewhere else." Angela flopped down on the bed next to Sharon. "Oh god! It's finally happened. I've turned into my mother."
"Why is your mother even going to this thing?"
"God knows. She was here the other weekend and my dad came over to ask me to make those awful streamer things and he asked her. I don't think he actually, like, meant to but it just came out and I think my mother thought he only asked because he knew that she would refuse so she of course said yes. Now, he's too polite to uninvite her and she's too polite to just not turn up."
"Well, I hope you're making Damon suffer for leaving you to referee on your own."
"Wifely duties such as ironing his shirts and cooking have been suspended indefinitely." Angel replied, wondering when she had started to barter household chores for moral support from her husband. She had been married to Damon Bradley for sixteen years and honestly thought that she loved him more than any other living person, apart from their daughter, but the excitement and passion they had for each other when they met in college had calmed over the years. Angela supposed it was just another sign of their descent into their middle ages. She just hoped that they both managed to avoid the kind of midlife crisis which had destroyed her parents marriage. "Do you fancy being my plus one? I might need the moral support."
"I would but I kind of have plans. I sort of have a date." Sharon admitted
"You have a date! Why was this not the first thing you told me when you arrived?" Angel asked excitedly. "Who is it and how did you meet? I want all the details"
"Well, it's someone we already know. We went to high school together." Sharon replied, unsure whether she should say anymore.
"Please tell me it's not Brian Krakow!" Angela joked as she propped herself up on one elbow and took in Sharon's slightly worried expression. "Come on, who is it?"
"It's Shane Wright. I didn't really know him much back then but I think you did because he was a friend of erm…"
"Yeah. You're not mad are you? Chase-face?"
"No, I'm not mad" Angela said after a slight pause. "I guess I just haven't thought about Jordan Catalano for a while. It's not like you're going on a date with Jordan and it's been, like, a really long time since high school. I mean, they probably don't even hang out together any more. Right?"
"Yeah. They probably haven't seen each other for years. There're loads of people from high school we never see any more and boys are so much worse than girls when it comes to friendships" Sharon eagerly agreed.
"Yeah, boys are hopeless." Angela said, thinking about one boy in particular. It was strange how hearing his name for the first time in years brought back so many memories that she thought had been forgotten long ago. Practically shaking her head to clear her mind, she turned to her best friend and tried her best to sound enthusiastic at this turn of event. "How the hell did you end up having a date with Shane Wright?"
"I have a leaky tap and it's been driving me nuts with its drip dripping all the time but calling for a plumber for one leaky tap seemed really stupid, you know? I mean, I'm a single mother living in a post-feminist society. You would think I'd be capable of fixing a tap."
"Yeah, sure…." Angela replied giving Sharon a sceptical look.
"Anyway, I went to the hardware store and there were all these tools and I had no idea what I was looking at or what I needed so I just started wandering around trying to find something that looked like it would fix a tap and one of the store employees took pity on me. Turns out Shane works there and he also has a handy man business that he runs on the side and he offered to come over and fix the stupid tap for me. To cut a long story short, after he fixed it I asked him for the bill and he said I could consider it a freebie if I'd agree to go out for dinner with him."
"Yeah, I know. I've got no idea where he's actually taking me out to dinner though. I just hope he's moved on from hanging out at Louie's."
"You never know, you could end up at my dad's restaurant after all." Angela laughed.
A/N - Thanks for reading. If you're wondering where Jordan Catalano is, I can promise that he will be making an entrace eventually. Anway, hope you enjoyed chapter one. Please R&R