Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Jemma Packman

Toyah’s POV

Two months. I’ve been looking for two months, and I still haven’t found Bradley. I’ve been to every party I can trying to find him. My Dad’s getting worried. My brother’s the party animal, not me. But what else can I do? Zoie won’t help me. She says it’s my chase. What the hell does that even mean? First, she stops me from kissing him, now she won’t help me find him. Some friend she is. I shouldn’t say that. She’s been kind of supportive. She hasn’t discouraged me, and she did help me remember most of that night. Total surprise, I couldn’t remember everything the next day. I could only remember those blue eyes and those two words. I’ll wait. He’ll wait for me to find him. I hope he doesn’t get bored. “Toyah.” I’d get bored, but I’m impatient. “Toyah.” Except about sex. I want to wait to do that. That’s normal, right? It’s a big deal giving yourself to someone like that. “Toyah?”

Some might call it old fashioned, but it’s about love. It’s about… Ouch! I turn to Zoie. “Did you just hit me?”

Zoie rolls her eyes. “Yes.” B***h. “You fazed out. How else was I going to get your attention?”

Seriously? “Oh, I don’t know. How about calling my name?”

“I tried that. Three times,” Zoie sighs. Really? Oops. “What were you thinking about?” Should I tell her? Yes, she’s been supportive, but she also gets annoyed. “Bradley?” Busted. Best admit it. I nod. What? If I speak, I’ll end up rambling. “Jesus, Toyah. Again? Can’t you give it up?” She what I mean about her getting annoyed? “It’s been two months. If this Bradley was interested, why haven’t they found you? Let it go already.”

Wow. Maybe I should take back what I said about her being supportive. “Zoie, I’ve explained this to you. I have to find him.”

“I know, but why?”

“You know why.”

“Yeah, yeah. The whole ‘I want to kiss you sober’ thing.”

“Yeah.” Make me smile just thinking about it. “Don’t you think that’s sweet?”

Zoie shakes her head. “It’s creepy.” How’s that creepy? I think she’s lost it. “It’s creepy because now he’s hiding. And I haven’t lost it.” I said that out loud, didn’t I? “Yes, you did.” I need to work on that. “Look, Toyah, what if Bradley’s not who you think he is?”

What is she talking about? “You saw him yourself. It’s him. I know it.”

Zoie throws her hands up in defeat. Ha, I win this round. “Let’s get to class before we’re late. Again.”

Oh, s**t. We’re in school. How did I forget that? Bradley is taking over my mind. Not that I mind. Those eyes have me under their spell. And those lips. God, I was so close to kissing them. Why are my ears ringing? Warning bell! Damn it. I grab Zoie’s hand and start running. “Hurry up.”

She pulls her hand from mine and takes off. “Race you,” she calls over her shoulder.

“Cheater.”

She sticks her tongue out at me. Child. “Can’t catch me.”

We run down the halls. Zoie’s using her athleticism against me. She’s around the last corner before me. I’m so going to lose. Wait. Is she on the ground? How did that happen? Don’t care, I’ve got a race to win. I get to the door of the classroom and dance a little to celebrate. “Woohoo! I beat you. I’m the winner.”

“Whatever,” Zoie groans. “Help me up.”

I hold out my hand. She takes it and I pull her to her feet. How did she get down there anyway? “What were you doing on the floor?”

“Losing.”

“Got that,” I laugh. “How did you get there?”

“Ran into something.”

I’m confused. I can’t see anything she could have run into. “What?”

“Me,” the floor speaks.

Don’t be an idiot, Toyah. Floors don’t speak. I look behind Zoie to see someone leaning against the wall. How did I miss them? Who is it? Before I can ask, the person looks up. “Braylee?” No wonder Zoie’s pissed. Not only did she lose, it had something to do with Braylee. She hates Braylee. Why, I have no idea. Braylee keeps to herself, I can’t see how she could have upset Zoie. “You ok?”

“You didn’t ask me that,” Zoie huffs.

Is she actually pouting? That’s funny. “You can take it.”

Braylee stands up, dusts herself off, and picks up her bag. She looks towards Zoie and me but shifts her gaze to the floor. “I’m fine,” she mumbles.

Is Braylee shy? Was that the late bell? Not again. Miss Yilmaz is definitely going to chew us out this time. At least we have a good reason. Running through the halls? May be best not to mention that. “Sorry, Braylee. We’ve got to go.”

She nods as Zoie pulls my arm. Zoie knocks on the door and we wait. Why hasn’t Braylee moved? “Why are you still here?” Zoie glares at her.

That was harsh. Braylee shrugs it off. “Like the view.”

That’s right. Braylee’s a lesbian. That can’t be why Zoie hates her. We have gay friends. “Why are you two always late?” Miss Yilmaz tone suggests she is unimpressed, but not surprised. It’s not like we’re always late. We’ve been on time at least twice. This year. It’s not our fault. It’s the first class of the day, and school starts really early. “Come in and sit down. I’ll speak to you both after class.”

Zoie and I walk to our seats. Of course we sit together, we’re best friends. “We’re so getting detention this time,” Zoie whispers.

I nod and put my head on the desk. Dad’s going to kill me. “It wasn’t their fault, Miss.” My head snaps up. Braylee? “I couldn’t find your room. They helped me.”

Why is she covering for us? Couldn’t find the room? Who would believe that? “Is that true, ladies?” Miss Yilmaz asks. Zoie nudges me, and I nod. “Fine. I’ll let it slide, but this is your last warning.” Phew. Thank you, Braylee. “Braylee. You too.”

“Yes, Miss.”

“Find a seat. I think there’s an empty one behind your tour guides.”

“Thank you, Miss. Sorry for the disturbance.”

Miss Yilmaz nods, and Braylee makes her way to the desk behind Zoie and I. “Still hate her?” I whisper to my best friend.

“Yes,” she growls. “And now we owe her.”

I shake my head and turn back to look at Braylee. She has a cap on, hiding her eyes, and is wearing a zip-up hoodie with a T-shirt underneath. Are those cartoon characters on her shirt? She’s not looking at me, so I gently push her desk to get her attention. Ha, got it. I mouth a thanks and get a slight nod and small smile in return. I smile back before I turn around. Leaning sideways towards Zoie, I whisper, “You should thank her, too.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Don’t want to.”

“Zoie, what’s your problem?”

“She’s my problem,” she snaps.

Wow, ok. I don’t understand. Zoie’s never mentioned anything about Braylee. No fights, no arguments. Nothing. She tells me everything, doesn’t she? We’re best friends, of course she does. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“Toyah, drop it.”

I look at Zoie. She has the biggest frown on her face. Why is she hiding things from me? And why is she so mad? I sigh. “You know you can tell me anything. If you have a problem, I want to help you.”

“Nothing to tell. I don’t need help. Now, shut up before you get us in more trouble.”

Cold, much? Zoie’s never been like this with me. Others, yes, but not me. I’ll get it out of her eventually. Whatever it is. I tune back into the lesson just in time to hear Miss Yilmaz giving instructions. “You will be doing this with a partner.” Doing what? Partners? Oh, good. Me and Zoie always work together in partner projects. She’s smart, and I’m… I have to work harder. I’m not stupid, I get distracted easily. “Toyah and Braylee.” Me and Braylee? What did we do? “Toyah, go sit next to Braylee.”

Picking up my things, I look to Zoie, hoping she will fill me in on what I’ve missed. “You’ve been paired up.” Her voice is lifeless. Something is really bugging her. “I’ve got some new kid, but they’re not here yet.” I put my hand on her shoulder, but she shrugs it off. “I’m fine.”

Don’t believe her, but she’s not talking to me, so I’ll leave her alone, and go sit next to Braylee. Braylee looks nervous. Why would she be nervous? I get that she’s not really a people person, but it’s not like I’m scary. “Hey, again,” I grin. A small smile again, better than nothing. Still have no idea what we’ve been partnered up for, Braylee will know, right? “So, what’s this project about? I kind of distracted myself.”

“Don’t know yet,” Braylee replies. Great, I didn’t miss much. “How did you distract yourself?”

“Thinking.”

“Ok.”

Ok? That’s it? “Don’t you want to know what about?”

“Your thoughts are your own,” she shrugs. “No need to share them.”

Why doesn’t she want to know? Why do I care? Why won’t she look at me? Seriously, why is this getting to me? I know. “Braylee?” Still not looking. “Why doesn’t Zoie like you?”

Braylee head turns so fast, I’m worried she’ll get whiplash. Still can’t see her eyes, though. “You don’t know?” A quick shake of the head will give her the answer. She looks towards Zoie, who is glaring so hard there could be lasers shooting out her eye sockets. I’m going to get it when this class is over. Braylee sighs. “If Zoie hasn’t told you, it’s not my place to.”

What is that look Zoie’s giving Braylee? Is she suspicious? Or does she need the bathroom? Either way, she faces front, and Braylee rubs her head. Is she upset? Wait. Does Braylee like Zoie? “Are you ok?” I ask. Braylee nods. Lies. Why is everyone hiding things from me? Are me and Braylee friends? No, but I’m not a gossip or anything. “You can talk to me, you know? I’m a good listener.”

Why am I doing this? “Thanks, Toyah.” Shivers? Is there a draught in here? “But this is for me to fix or avoid.”

I put my hand on her arm, and her body stiffens. Did I hurt her? Couldn’t have. The fall. Maybe she hurt herself. Zoie really does need to apologize. “You should never avoid a problem, Braylee. Especially if you can fix it.”

Braylee moves my hand from her arm. Static shock? Great, now my hand is tingling. “I’ll take that under advisement.” She talks funny. “Although, I think avoidance is the safer option.”

That’s funny, and I can’t help but laugh. It funny because it’s true. Zoie looks like she’s about to kill Braylee. What for though? Touching my hand? I know she’s protective of me but come on. My thought train derails when two large envelopes land on our desk, and Miss Yilmaz speaks. “Inside these packages are your project questions for your partner. Everyone’s is due tomorrow. No excuses. Your grade depends on how many questions are answered. Zoie, as your partner is yet to arrive, you have something different. You may get started now.”

I open the envelope and scan the questions. What is this? Some kind of dating profile? I kick Zoie’s chair. “Hey, Zoie, what have you got?” I ask.

Zoie turns to face me and rolls her eyes. “An essay. Five thousand words.”

“On what?”

“A topic that affects society.”

Isn’t that anything? “Like what?”

“I have no idea,” she shrugs. She seems calmer. Probably because she’s thinking about her essay topic. Maybe she’ll stop being mean to Braylee now. Why is that my first thought? “What the f**k is this?”

Ok, that was loud. Oh, s**t, Miss Yilmaz must have heard because she’s looking at us. Eyebrow raised, arms folded. Not good. “Is there a problem, Miss Quinn?”

Last name calling. That means trouble. Zoie, just say sorry. “Yeah. What is this?” God, woman, what are you doing? Stop waving that around. “it looks like a dating profile questionnaire.”

I grab my pack back from my crazy best friend as Miss Yilmaz stands behind her desk. “You’ll find out tomorrow. Everyone, get back to work.”

Damn, Zoie’s lucky. I shake my head at her. “What?”

She’s kidding, right? “Overreact much?” I scoff.

“Whatever,” she huffs and turns away.

What is with her? I’ll find out later. “So, Braylee, how do you want to do this?”

Before I get an answer, the bell rings. Stupid bell. No, wait, I don’t mean that. The bell is my friend, he releases me from this prison. Have I stumbled into opposite world and not realized? My classmates start packing up their things and Miss Yilmaz stands. “Remember, that is due tomorrow,” she reminds us. “Don’t even think about swapping papers to fill in the answers.” Groans and mumbles fill the air. “I will know if you do, so don’t even try.” Teachers shouldn’t smirk, it’s unprofessional. “Braylee, stay for a moment?”

Braylee hasn’t done anything wrong, why does she have to stay? Shake it off, Toyah, it’s nothing to do with you. Focus on the project. “Braylee, my question?”

Braylee shrugs. “It’s up to you. I’ll be in the library for the rest of the day, so you can join me whenever you want.”

Picking up my bag, I stand. “I don’t really have a free period except for lunch, and that’s, well, lunch.” Braylee nods. “How about you come to my house after school? That way there’s no rush and no pressure.”

“Are you sure about that?” Of course I’m sure. I hate doing work at school. It’s better to work relaxed, and school does the opposite of relax me. I smile and nod. “Ok. Should I get your number or address?”

Zoie begins to pull on my arm. “Meet me in front of school at the end of the day, and I’ll give you a ride.” Did that sound dirty? When did I get this close to the doorway? “Good with you?” I only just hear Braylee agree as I’m thrown into the hallway. Ok, not thrown, pulled. Forcefully. “Zoie, what the f**k?”

“have you lost your mind?” She’s yelling. Why is she yelling? “You invited her to your house?” That’s why she’s yelling? “Yes, that’s why I’m yelling. No, you didn’t say out loud, I can tell you were thinking it.” Thank God. “Your house, Toyah. Where your family is.”

She’s starting to annoy me with this. “I know my house is where my family are.”

“Then why invite her there?”

“Why not?”

“You don’t know her.”

“And you do?”

That’ll shut her up. “Yes.” What? Since when? “And I don’t trust her. Not around you.”

Mind in a spin right now. How does Zoie know Braylee, and why doesn’t she trust her? How am I only hearing about this now? And what does she mean ‘around me’? “Zoie, is this because Braylee’s a lesbian? Because if it is, you’re being stupid. It’s not like she’s going to jump me. I mean, I know I’m hot but come on. She could barely look at me in class.”

“Not going to change your mind?” I shake my head. “Fine,” she sighs. I win. “I’m coming with you. You shouldn’t be alone with her.”

Getting confused over here, bestie. Please explain. “Why not?”

Was that the warning bell? Damn it. “Why are we always late? I blame you.”

Not my fault all the time. We start running to our next class. Yes, we have the same schedule. “You’re going to tell me what your problem is with her.”

“Don’t bet on it,” Zoie laughs.

That is going to mess with my head until I find out, which I will. Somehow, I’ll find out. I always do. Why is it bothering me so much? Why do I want them to get along? It’s almost feels like I need them to. Weird. Maybe Zoie’s right about me being out of my mind. Can’t think about it now, I’ve got to beat Zoie in this unofficial rematch. God, let her slip or something. What? It’s the only way I’ll beat her. Yeah, I know, I’m a b***h. A b***h that wants to win. Wish me luck.



© 2019 Jemma Packman


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Featured Review

Unreliable as always. Toyah. Love that.

This chapter reminds me of high school and makes me feel like a high schooler again. I don't know which genre this book is, but it seems like YA which is the perfect distraction from my own heavy writing (mature, crime, problems with society, etc.).

This time I caught two typos:

1. In the fifth paragraph,
"She what I mean about her getting annoyed?"
I think you meant "See what I mean...?"

2. The fourteenth paragraph from the bottom,
“have you lost your mind?”
You forgot to capitalize the first letter.

Looking forward to the next chapter!

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jemma Packman

3 Months Ago

It's meant to be YA so I'm pleased that's coming across.
Glad you're looking forward. The ne.. read more



Reviews

Unreliable as always. Toyah. Love that.

This chapter reminds me of high school and makes me feel like a high schooler again. I don't know which genre this book is, but it seems like YA which is the perfect distraction from my own heavy writing (mature, crime, problems with society, etc.).

This time I caught two typos:

1. In the fifth paragraph,
"She what I mean about her getting annoyed?"
I think you meant "See what I mean...?"

2. The fourteenth paragraph from the bottom,
“have you lost your mind?”
You forgot to capitalize the first letter.

Looking forward to the next chapter!

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jemma Packman

3 Months Ago

It's meant to be YA so I'm pleased that's coming across.
Glad you're looking forward. The ne.. read more

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Added on July 3, 2019
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Jemma Packman
Jemma Packman

Hull, East Yorkshire, United Kingdom



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A Chapter by Jemma Packman