Read Love-Struck Online

Authors: Rachael Wing

Love-Struck (13 page)

And he ran off, leaving Wes and me with a few tent poles and a big sheet. Margo stalked past with Finn in tow, carrying her bag, the tent, his bag and a large bottle of Evian. God, she's so not festival material.

“Been left already? Well, dears, maybe you're better without them!”

She waved royally as she carried on walking past, turning heads as she went, off to find a space to put their tent. No doubt they would have a small picket fence to go around the outside, equipped with some kind of device that kept people away. She really continues to surprise me, that girl.

So we started putting up the tent. Everyone around us was doing the same thing. I saw one boy hitting another with a pole; a girl sitting in tears in a crumpled mess of tent poles whilst her friend was chatting up one of the boys in the next tent to help them set up; and a bunch of people laughing and joking as they gave up with their tent and just danced on top of it to the song coming out of the speakers.

I picked up the instruction leaflet. It was in German. Hmm. I chucked it over my shoulder and picked up a pole instead and pointed it at Wes in a fencing stance.

“Mr Stone –” I cried, “– are you ready?”

To the sound of various rave/chav/punk songs from all over the field, we managed to put up the tent. It didn't take as long to do as we originally thought – it turns out those Germans make stuff pretty simple nowadays! It was actually really fun, us working together in the sun, messing around and having a laugh. We hadn't done that in ages. We got lost under the sheet, and Wes managed to crack me on the head with a pole; we did some 20s-style dancing with some poles to some heavy-metal punk – it was funny! But finally, after I had got the main pole the wrong way around and managed to almost wreck everything, Wes fixed it and we ended up with a rather cool-looking tent. It was only when we stood back to admire our (oh, all right, Wes's) handiwork that we realized Emily and Jonah weren't back.

“I bet they've got lost!” I smiled easily. Wes nodded, but also frowned. “What's wrong?”

He snapped out of it. “Nothing, H'y Girl! D'you want to go find them?”

We set off across the field to the port-a-loos, but they weren't anywhere and it was getting close to midday, so I texted Jonah to tell him that we were going to see the first band and that they should come and meet us at the back of the field. We made our way with the crowd of people into the large field where the stage was. At the sight of it I couldn't wait for midnight to arrive. A whole twelve hours away! I didn't know if I could wait that long; the excitement was driving me crazy!

We found a spot next to a very visible tree, and in a few moments Emily and Jonah arrived, laden with food. Jonah sat down next to me and handed me my hot dog.

“One luxurious meal fit for a princess, as promised!” he grinned, and tucked into his own.

“Thanks!”

Emily gave a hot dog to Wes, and looked at me. “I'm sorry we didn't get you any onions,” she said with an apologetic smile. “They looked really greasy, and I didn't know if you were watching your weight…”

She trailed off and looked at my legs. I almost dropped my hot dog. I couldn't believe she'd just said that; my legs were absolutely fine! I looked at both of the boys to see if they'd reacted in any way, but both were engrossed (gross being the operative word) in their hot dogs. So I just forced a sweet smile.

“No, I'm not, but I don't like onions anyway – they make me feel
violently sick
,” I managed through gritted teeth, trying not to glare at her. This girl was either incredibly stupid, or just trying to rub me up the wrong way. From the glint in her ever-blue eyes, I suspected the latter. I was not liking this girl, not at all – not one bit.

After we had finished our hot dogs, the bands started to play about an hour later than planned. We all just sat there and enjoyed the music and the sun, chatting to the people sat next to us, and anyone from school who came over to see us.

“Lay-deez,” Matt supplied, as he sat down with the Lady-Killer Squad. They sat with us for a while, all the time staring at Emily's legs like they had just fallen from the sky, and only left when we told them someone was giving out free beer to underage kids on the other side of the field. Seriously, those boys had been kicked in the head with one too many footballs in their time.

During the third set, Jonah saw a friend and went over to say hi, and must have got lost in the crowd because he didn't come back, but I wasn't that bothered. I had just spent the afternoon with my head resting on his lap, with him stroking my hair, or us just having a chat, which didn't amount to much. I asked him about school, and he didn't say much, except: “It's rubbish, I hate it.” I asked him about his house: “It's rubbish, I hate it.” Family? “They're all right.” Like I said, not the most thrilling of conversations, so when he vanished I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take a look around.

“Wanna go dance for a bit?” I asked Emily and Wes.

Emily had lain down to sunbathe. She had her magnificently long legs out and her flat stomach bronzing in the midday sun, and every boy who walked past walked that little bit slower, just to get an extra look.

“Yeah, sounds good!” Wes exclaimed. “Coming, Em?”

She shook her head. “No, I'm sunbasking.”

I smirked. “Don't you mean ‘sunbathing'?”

She opened her eyes. “Nah, girls ‘sunbask'; only men sunbathe, Hockers.”

That nickname didn't sound as nice from her lips as it did from Jonah's. She made it sound derogatory. Bitchy. Mean.

I looked to Wes, but he still wasn't getting any of this; the stupid, subtle bullying that was going on. Blind and oblivious, that's our Wes!

We went off into the throng where the music was loud and the air was hot, and I started to move. We jumped up and down to the last few songs of an amazing punk-rockish set by a new-to-the-scene band, The LEDs, and applauded like crazy. I grinned wildly at Wes – his hair was all crazy and face shiny with a mental grin plastered to his face, but I didn't suppose I looked any better. I knew what he was thinking – this was worth the wait. And twenty minutes later, when a Latin-rave fusion band came on, we hauled ourselves up again and started to dance. I started a bit of hip rolling and Latino dancing, and then looked at Wes and almost died laughing. He had his concentration face on (i.e., scrunched-up eyes and tongue sticking out), arms up in the air, and he looked like he was playing with a hula hoop. Apart from the fact that he didn't have the hoop, Wes isn't the biggest dancer, it's got to be said. But by the time I had stopped laughing and he was just starting to get the hang of it, he felt his phone ring.

Wes looked up at me, shocked.

“It's nearly six o'clock!” he yelled in my ear. We'd been away for hours! “We should probably get back!”

I nodded, and we made our way back across to where we had been sitting before. Emily and Jonah were sat with their heads close together, talking about something. As we approached, they pulled away and waved.

“Where'd you get off to?” Jonah asked, pulling me on to his lap. “I came back and you were gone!”

“Oh, we just went for a bit of a dance!” I explained, looking around for water.

“We can see that! Your hair's all … crazy!” The digs were really starting to get to me now, and the annoying thing was, I could see it in her face. The snide expression beneath the mask of lovely angelicness. I felt like I was the only one who could see it. Like she was some kind of goddess to all men, but as soon as a woman got close she could see that under the beauty lay hard, cold scales and claws. Just like Wes's mother! I suppressed a gasp. “D'ya want some agua?”

Off you, devil woman? No way!

“Or I've got some Coke here, if you want it?” offered Jonah. I took the Coke.

We sat under the tree's shade and chilled for another hour or so, until the bloke came on to the speaker and announced that there would be a performance break before the evening line-up started, so we trundled back over to the tent.

“I think I'm just going to go grab some food from over there.” Jonah pointed to a Chinese truck. “Fancy something? I'll bring it back for you.”

“Yeah, sure,” I nodded. “Chow mein, please.”

This was so weird. He kept on almost waiting on me, and being affectionate. It was starting to freak me out a bit, actually.

Wes, Emily and I dodged our way through the sights and smells of the food field – guys shouting left, right and centre for people to buy their gourmet, all of it smelling very, erm
, festivally
. Maybe I didn't want anything, on second thought.

I touched Wes's arm.

“I'm just going to go back and tell Jonah that I don't want anything, that I've changed my mind. I'll see you in a few.”

I turned on my heel, and suddenly feeling a spurt of energy, I sprinted in and out of the crowd, over to the Chinese cart. The queue was long, but Jonah was nowhere to be seen in it. Just a lot of girls, some weird goth-boys, some people with so much hair that I couldn't see if they were girls or boys, and a black-haired boy and a redhead girl kissing about halfway down the line. I scanned it again, looking for Jonah. He should have been about where the kissing couple were by now, because the line was moving quite quickly. I was just about to turn around when the couple turned, so I got a profile view of their faces instead of the back of the girl's head.

It was only Jonah.

My heart skipped a beat.

I took a better look.

Yep, definitely him, lip ring and all.

For a second, I felt numb. I felt like a complete and utter fool. I thought I was going to cry. He'd used me – he'd used me for a place to stay the night because he knew that I would do anything for him.

But, wait – would I?

I thought about it.

No, I would have done anything for him about a week and a half before, but since then…

No.

I didn't like Jonah Jones.

So where were all these feelings coming from? All of the tight tummy feelings, the feeling sick and excited and miserable at the same time, and the jealousy, the one I'd do anything for—

Then it all clicked.

Looking back, it took me long enough.

I ran back to the tent, hardly seeing what I was doing or where I was going. I smashed into a boy blindly, who shouted after me like a crazy man, but I didn't stop. I didn't stop until I got back to the tent, and I threw open the flap.

“Wes?” I cried, gasping from the run.

Emily appeared. “He's not here, he's gone to talk to a friend. What's up? You must be really unfit. You're panting like Paris Hilton's puppy.”

“Oh, only I've seen Jonah getting off with some red-haired ho instead of me! Good times.”

She didn't even bat an eyelid. “So what if he's kissing some other chick. You two weren't exclusive.”

Her honeyed tones were gone. So was the angelic face. The shadow of the tent gave an ugly glint to her pixie features.

Suddenly it didn't matter if I was nice to her or not any more.

“Y'know what, Barbie, I've had it up to here –” I held up my hand to my head. “– with you being a snidey little biatch with me –”

“I'm sorry, up to where?” she asked, mockingly.

She was really pushing my patience. I carried on.

“– and I don't know why, because I've set you up here – I got you some nice friends, a nice scene and a nice guy –”

She snorted and walked out into the middle of the tent, about to push open the flap at the front like she was bored.

“Yeah, and that's what he is, a
nice guy
! There's nothing there! He's not buff, he's cute – he's not dark, he's, ugrh,
witty
– and y'know what? He's boring! He's a geek! He's got some serious money, though—”

But I didn't get to hear the rest of the sentence, because I'd grabbed her arm and used all of my tiny body strength to push her straight out of the open tent door, sending her sprawling on to the grass. How dare she speak about Wes like he wasn't worth her time! He may be cute, he may be witty and he may be a geek, but that's Wes! That's what makes him so great, and special and unique and—

I threw open the flap, livid, just in time to see Wes rush to her side, his expression one of deep concern.

“Get that crazy girl away from me!” screamed Emily. Somehow she had managed to burst into tears. Nice touch. She started to shake too. “Wes, she's been bullying me ever since I came here! She calls me names and threatens me, she's so jealous! Get her away from me, please!”

And for a big exit, she gave me a tremulous, wide-eyed, teary glance, like a terrified rabbit, and took off into the sea of tents without a backward glance.

Evil, conniving, cow-faced—

“What the hell, Holly?” Wes exploded. “Did you just
push
her? This isn't like you. What the hell do you think you're playing at?!”

Overwhelmed, I shouted back. “Yeah, well, I did, but Wes, she's not the girl you think she is!” I exclaimed. “She's the one who's been bullying me! She's the one who's been making snide comments! She's just said all this stuff about how you're boring and not right for her, but something about you having a load of cash—”

“Enough!” he shouted. “What are you trying to do! Why are you trying to ruin this? Just because you've got
Jonah
now doesn't mean you can do whatever the hell you please—”

“I just found Jonah sucking the face of some red-haired bimbo!” I cried, still only vaguely aware of the many pairs of eyes upon us. “So it's nothing to do with him.”

He paused for a second, taking in the new information, and I almost thought he was going to feel sorry for me.

“Are you sure it's nothing to do with him?” he shot back venomously. “Aren't you just trying to sabotage this so that you won't be alone again? Aren't you just jealous?”

“Of course I'm jealous!” I blurted out before I could stop myself. “She has
you
! And
I'm
supposed to be the one who has you –
me
, not
her
– because it's
me
who actually likes you, it's
me
who actually—”

I couldn't finish the sentence. Not in front of all those people. Not with him looking at me like that, like I was something nasty trodden into his precious tent. Not with Jonah walking back towards us, laden with Chinese food—

I ran for it in the opposite direction, not looking back, not daring to do anything – apart from run and run and run, until there was no more space to run in to.

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