Read Love-Struck Online

Authors: Rachael Wing

Love-Struck (7 page)

“So what's your type, then?” I asked slyly. “Rich, gorgeous…? Anything else?”

She looked up from her book and grinned at me. “Erm … I guess … I guess he'd have to be tall! Tall and with dark hair?” I nodded encouragingly. This was exactly what we needed!

“Anything else?” I implored. “I like funny guys, guys that make me laugh?”

I was improvising, but she seemed to lap it up.

“Yeah, yeah, ditto! I like to laugh. But I don't know … what gets me every time is a bad boy.”

Oh no. The one thing I was hoping she wouldn't say was ‘bad boy'. Wes isn't really the bad boy type, is he?

“Hmm, yeah. I get you.” I trailed off, enthusiasm lost.

“Like,
that
guy,” Emily continued, gesturing out of the window next to us.

I followed where she was pointing to a guy walking up the front path, a guy wearing dark jeans and a light T-shirt—

“Jonah?!” My voice came out a little higher than I would have liked. I cleared my throat. Stay calm, Holly, take deep breaths. “Ahem, sorry; you mean Jonah?”

Emily looked back and nodded. “Yeah, he's so amped! I dropped a textbook yesterday and he picked it up for me. I said thanks for the help and he gave me this little smile – he has a lip ring, it's so hot! – and he said that he'd help me anytime.”

I watched Jonah walk over the car park and frowned. Why was he being so helpful to Little Miss Perfect when he asked me out this morning?! As I watched him disappear around the corner, I decided he must have just been being really helpful because she was new, and he might have seen her around with me. I mean, he said he couldn't stop thinking about me! Him offering his helpful services didn't mean anything apart from the fact that he was just a nice guy. He was sensitive – this morning proved that.

“Yeah, he's a nice guy like that.” A thought hit me. “Yeah, actually, he's a really
nice
guy. Not so much of the bad boy, no – if you want a bad boy, you look to Wes.”

Emily turned to me, frowning. “Wes?” she asked, looking over to where Wes was in deep conversation with Mr Canty and Mary Adams. Not the time to be looking a bit swotty, Wes dear! “Really?”

“Yeah,” I nodded. Think fast THINK FAST! “Yeah, he lives up Millionaire's Row, y'know? And his dad had this old-school Mercedes, but one night Wes decided he was bored, so took it out for a spin.”

“No way, shut up!” Emily exclaimed. “What happened?”

“He went speeding around the town, but then came home later because he had to meet his skater crew to go to some rave; he's always out at some rave or gig… Anyways, he put it away in the garage but then a few weeks later his dad got this hefty fine because the car had been caught on a couple of speed cameras, and Wes got grounded for months, but he just snuck out whenever he wanted, because he could.”

Where on earth was this coming from?! I had no idea. OK, well, I did have an idea. The story was based on truth! His dad did have an old Merc, and one night in his rebellious stage, Wes was bored and did try to take it out for a spin, but he took off the hand brake and rolled to the bottom of the drive, not knowing what he was doing, and so crashed into a pillar. And he was grounded for months because the car was pretty damaged.

But that story makes him look even more of a wuss than normal, and besides, I was enjoying this story and Emily was lapping it up.

The Barbie was now looking at Wes with a kind of awe, like she was seeing him properly for the first time.

“Wow, I don't believe it! Wes a bad boy? I wouldn't have guessed it!” she exclaimed, and went back to her book.

“Yeah, who
would
?” I nodded, and went back to my book too. I needed to warn Wes about his shady past. Fast!

I filled Wes in, and we spent the next few days playing up his “bad self”, as he liked to call it. We dressed him in darker colours, he wore skater shoes, I made his hair a little bit messier – I even tried to get him to wear contacts, but he just flat-out refused, drew the line at that. He hates putting his fingers in his eyes.

“Oh, don't be such a wuss! Look, I'll even do it for you…”

I practically straddled him with contacts in one hand and solution in the other whilst he cried out, “No! No, no, NO! I'd sooner let you …
pierce my ear
than stick your fingers in my eye!”

I paused as he struggled underneath me and thought about Jonah's lip ring (hmm, lip ring). Jonah's a bad boy. It wasn't a bad idea.

So that was how ten minutes later, Wes was sat with a bag of frozen peas stuck to the side of his head (we couldn't find any ice), and me sat on the bed next to him with an apple, sterilizing a needle with a match and some TCP.

“Done!” I murmured, wiping the needle once more with TCP and then setting it down on the sterilized tissue on his bedspread.

Wes looked at me with a disgruntled expression, peas still on his ear.

“I have a headache,” he explained, taking the peas away. “Why do I let you talk me into these things…?”

I grinned. “Because you know that I'm always right. And because this time, if I'm right, you're going to look really, really hot!”

He looked like he was going to be sick.

“OK. So are you going to give me something for the pain, Nurse Hockers?”

I hadn't thought of that. I pulled up my school bag.

“Errm, I could give you some paracetamol?” I said, rummaging around. “Ooh! You could bite on this, too!”

I gave him my pencil.

“I think I'd rather have the drugs…” he said, reaching for them and taking two.

I took a deep breath.

“OK, let's do this! Lie down.”

“And you're sure you know how to do this?” he asked me as he leaned backwards on to his pillow.

“Yeah, sure!”

I wasn't about to tell him that I'd never actually seen it done in real life, or done it myself, but instead was basing all of my piercing knowledge on
The Parent Trap
where Lindsay Lohan pierces her twin's ears, even though it wasn't her twin because she doesn't have one, it was just Lindsay again. I have no idea how it was made, so that film blows my mind every time!

So I sliced a bit of apple off, shoved it behind his ear, and got my needle ready.

“Got the needle, got the earring, everything is sterilized, we're good to go!”

I leaned forward. Now was not the time to start feeling a bit sick. I put the needle to the dot we had drawn on his ear.

“OK, do you trust me?”

“What?!” he cried incredulously. “What are you doing to me? Of course I trust you, I don't trust anyone else! Just do it before I change my mind!”

I nodded and cleared my throat.

“On second thought,” he muttered. “Could I have the pencil, please?”

I gave him the pencil with shaking hands.

“Wait a second – are your hands
shaking
?”

“Nope. On the count of three. One, two—”

“AHHH! YOU SAID ‘THE COUNT OF THREE' YOU—”

The needle was through and I thought I was going to be sick. Never,
ever
again.

I backed off.

“Holly, what are you doing?” he yelped. “You've still got to put the earring in!”

I took a deep breath and went back to his side. He had bitten through the pencil. Yikes!

“Are you sure you want me to do this? I mean, I could just take the needle and bandage it right up if you wanted!”

He shook his head and scrunched his eyes. “Just do it. Now.”

So I did, and after a second go I pierced his ear. Then I pretty much collapsed by his side as he admired the ear in the mirror.

“It's good,” he whispered, smiling shakily. “It looks pretty good!”

He sat back down on the bed and pulled me on to his knee, giving me a big bear-hug squeeze.

“Thanks, H'y baby.” He grinned happily, looking into the mirror in front of us. The earring glinted back. He looked at me in the mirror and laughed. “I can't believe you did that!”

I watched him laugh off the tension of the previous few minutes, and then looked at my own reflection. I was white as a sheet.

“Yeah,” I replied humourlessly. “No worries…!”

I felt like I was going to faint.

 

It got to Friday. Friday night was gig night.

I'd been flying around at home after I'd got back from school – I had no idea what I had been thinking! I'd been so busy trying to sort out Wes that I'd forgotten about planning for tonight.

The past couple of days had gone quite well. Wes was actually suited to the darker side of life, and his charming wit was in the zone. But I had caught him holding the door open for Emily the day before, to which I'd shaken my head profusely. In horror, he just let go of the door, but it swung back and hit her in the face, leaving a small bruise. Not what I was going for, but she saw the funny side (crazy, always-happy American girl). Apart from that small glitch, Wes's makeover had become a success. He'd even managed to get her number, and they had been texting a bit—

“But don't text her too much,” I had warned him. “Because half the attraction in bad boys is that they are aloof.”

“A-what?”

“Aloof. Y'know, like, mysterious.”

“Ooh, right.”

I hadn't seen his texts, but I hoped to God they weren't over-the-top vague or “aloof”, or else she might just have thought that he was an astonishingly dim person and backed off like he had the plague.

So on Friday night after school I'd got home, chucked on a face pack and The Faeries' first album (
Ill Met By Moonlight
), ran myself a bath and opened my wardrobe – and felt like Mother Hubbard. Seriously, talk about bare cupboards?

“Mum!” I shouted, biting my nails. “Mum, could I go through your wardrobe?”

She popped her head around my door.

“Oh sorry, I didn't realize you were upstairs—”

“Holly Marie Hockers!” she exclaimed. “Your room is—”

“Mum!”

I rolled my eyes. She was looking around my total box of a room, and it was completely covered in clothes. Not kidding, I'm talking all of my clothes –
everywhere
. You couldn't see my carpet, you couldn't see my tiny single bed, you couldn't see my bedside table; the only thing you could see was the walls, but really you couldn't even see them because they were covered in pictures of The Faeries. OK, my room was a bit of a tip. So what?! Didn't she know this was possibly the most important night of my life, and so this was so blatantly
not
the time!

I took a deep breath, put down the cute netted skirt I had been holding, and pressed my hands together dramatically.

“Do you remember what tonight is?”

It was like the final question on
University Challenge
. Mum never remembers anything that I've got going on, and so when I ask her a question like that she always squints and thinks really hard like her whole future depends on it. Usually I think it's funny and bless her rubbish little memory, but this wasn't a laughing matter.

Finally, she took a stab in the dark.

“You're … going out?”

I nodded with wide eyes.

“You're going out … to a gig?”

I nodded faster.

“You're going out … to a gig … with…” Then her mouth dropped and she squealed. “Ooooh, I remember, you're going out with
Jonah
!”

And the winner is…!

“Yeah!” I squealed back, the excitement filling me up – but then I looked back at my room filled with clothes, none of which I could wear, and the dread deflated my bubble. “But I have nothing to wear! Nothing, nothing, nothing!”

Mum pushed the door open (with a struggle) and came and sat on my bed.

“Hol, you've got more clothes than me, Liz and your dad put together. How can you have nothing to wear?”

I pouted.

“I know I have clothes, I just need something different! I have to look good tonight. But not just good, like – super good. Amazing! So drop dead gorgeous that I sparkle and shine like some Christmas fairy and light up the floor. But maybe not so festive, because if I turn up looking like a Christmas tree I'm pretty sure I'll get jumped, or laughed at, or—”

“Stop! Take a deep breath, you're rambling.”

I took a few deep breaths whilst she continued.

“What were you thinking about wearing?”

I looked around my room.

“I don't know… A skirt, 'cause it will be hot inside? Or some tight jeans? Or … oh, I don't know!”

I collapsed into my pile of clothes, panicking.

“Right!” Mum declared, picking up the clothes off my bed. “You're going to go get in your bath, take off that face mask because you look like Frankenstein's bride –” I touched my face and looked in the mirror. I did look a bit dead with the grey mask on. “– and I am going to pick you out something to wear!”

Hmm.

“Erm…”

“It's OK!” Mum exclaimed. “I'll fix it, you'll see! You'll look hip!”

Oh dear. I was a little bit worried, but she practically ushered me into the bathroom and shut the door on my stuttering face. So I just gave up, got in the bath and listened to my iPod.

You make me feel seasick

Because you're so unpredictable

One day you're on my side

But the next you've swam out with the first tide

With all of my pride and confidence.

I just can't keep up the pretence

That you and me are meant to be

Because:

You're just the thorn

In my side.

I got out of the bath feeling good, and took my iPod back to my room, which was tidy (wahey!) with some clothes on my bed.

I walked up and found my new tight jeans, all washed and ironed so they would make my bum look good (RESULT!) and a T-shirt.

It was black, with frayed short sleeves and front ripped diagonally across the top of the chest. It was really hot. I picked it up, but something was weird on the back. I turned it over and saw that the back was sliced horizontally four times, so that it would hang off my back a bit.

It was really, really,
really
hot.

I dried my hair double-time, curled it and then pulled on my jeans. I looked at the top on my bed. Where on earth had Mum got it from?! I made a mental note to tell her that she was my favourite mummy and that I would love her for ever for this amazing act of … amazingness! I pulled it over my head and admired myself in the mirror. Oh my God, I looked awesome! I was going to kill at the gig.

I was really tempted to take a picture and send it to Jonah, but Wes rang.

“Hey babe, guess what? I'm wearing the best shirt ever!” I exclaimed, still admiring myself in the mirror. “It's soo awesome!”

“Erm, good for you…?” he replied. Huh, boys! They don't get excited like girls do. I'd have to ring Jessi later and tell her, she'd get excited. “Look, I was ringing because we've got a slight situation with The Plan.”

The Plan was that Wes, Emily and I would all meet outside The Venue at seven-fifteen. Well, that's what Emily thought the plan was. The more detailed plan was that Wes would text Emily and ask her to walk with him, then stop by Emily's at seven, so that they could spend a bit of impromptu time alone. Genius!

“Why, what's up? Is Emily not walking with you?”

“Yeah, she is,” he said quickly. “That part of the plan is going OK. She said we could walk together, so we'll be seeing you there.”

“Oh, that's good!” I exclaimed, but then panicked. “So what's wrong? Is Margo not getting her in any more?”

“No, she is,” he murmured, a bite to his tone. “Margo disappeared a while ago. She's probably gone to make some kids cry somewhere,” he muttered darkly. “The problem is that before she went, she told The Mother that I ‘have a date' with Emily. She just loves to stir that pot; she knew it would wind me up – she knows I hate Mum knowing my business. Anyway, The Mother apparently found out that Emily was the newest money in town, and was so happy that I seemed to be taking a interest in someone ‘right for me' that she said –” Wes put on his best “Mummy” accent. “– ‘Dear, you simply must bring her home, I'd love to meet her, she sounds just darling!'”

“Ohmigod!”

Disaster!

“But your mum … she's … she's…” What was the best way I could put this? “She's scary!” I blurted out. “And a little bit crazy! She can't meet her, she actually can't, she'll scare her off and then the entire plan will fall to pieces!”

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