So I had sex with Fletch again last night. It was all right, better than last time anyway, and Fletch is a laugh. And he’s not so bad-looking . . . although not so good without his clothes on. We didn’t cuddle afterward—that’s not really how it is with us. We were dressed and downstairs with our history books open by the time his mom came in, although you could tell she didn’t buy it the way she gave me evils when Fletch’s little brother ran over to show me the crown he’d made at school. Whatever. She might think she knows me by looking at the length of my skirt, but it’s her youngest son who’s got me sussed. Kids see all the way to your soul. What you wear and how you look mean nothing to them.
I showered as soon as I got in. No one questioned me about it. Why would they? I shower a lot. Mom asked me about my homework, so I lied, but she asked to see it and we had a fight. There was a lot of screaming (her), a few tears (her), and finally a grudging “I’ll do it after EastEnders” (me—although I wished she’d offered to do it). I never even got started I was so knackered.
This morning I’d planned to get it done before school, but Lola threw a tantrum because she’d already eaten all her favorite cereals from the variety pack. Mom’s attempt to make it better by adding chocolate milk to cornflakes was an epic fail, and Lola ended up spilling half of it on her uniform as she poured it in the bin. Guess who had to clean it up? I barely had time to grab my cold toast as Robert hustled us out and into the car.
I’ve no choice but to do my homework now.
Robert holds off for all of five minutes before it starts.
“I thought you did that last night?”
“Well, I didn’t,” I say, my eyes still on the worksheet I’ve got flattened on my thigh. Despite Lola’s tuneless singing in the back, I hear Robert take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“You lied to your mother.”
“No, I didn’t. I said I’d do it after EastEnders—this is after EastEnders, isn’t it?”
“Don’t be so clever.”
I nearly point out that clever is exactly what everyone does want me to be, but I don’t want a fight.
“She just wants what’s best for you.”
“Mm-hm,” I reply, my lips a tight line as I bite down on any more comebacks.
“You need to stop being so hard on your mom, Hannah,” he says, tapping the turn signal with his middle finger.
“She needs to stop being so hard on me,” I reply.
I swear I just heard a sigh.
“It’s true,” I say. “She’s always on at me about something.”
“She loves you. She worries about you.” It’s only because Lola’s too young for them to worry about—give her another ten years and she’ll be getting the same shit as me.
“Tell her not to bother.”
That was definitely a sigh. “Perhaps if you tried applying yourself to your schoolwork a little more . . .”
“What makes you think I’m not?”
“You spend so much time out with Katie and . . .” I look up to see a frown crease his forehead. He has no idea who else I spend time with and opts for a lame “. . . your friends. And your marks aren’t what they should be.”
“Should they be more like Jay’s?” I say, changing a “4” to a “7” in my last answer. Now it just looks like a weird Chinese symbol.
Robert rubs the gap between his eyebrows with two fingers—a sure sign he’s sick of the conversation. “I don’t want you comparing yourself to him.”
We all know why. Robert might have the perfect son, but Mom certainly hasn’t got the perfect daughter.
I write over the “7” again. It looks even worse now.
By the time we’ve dropped Lola off at her school and pulled up near the front of Kingsway I’ve done enough to get by, although I’ll get some snarky comment about presentation when I hand it in. I tell Robert that I’ll be going around to Katie’s after school and open the door, swinging it straight into some boy walking past.
“Sorry,” I say once I’ve got out and slammed the door shut.
“No worries.” It’s Aaron Tyler, the new history teacher’s son. He looks through me, an elastic-band smile stretching tightly across his face for a second before pinging back into nothing as he carries on walking down to the school.
I watch him for a moment. He’s quite cute behind that tucked-in shirt and perfect-length tie. Anyone else would get flak for looking so smart, but there’s something in the way he wears it that stops anyone—even the basketball boys—from taking the piss. He only started this term, like his dad, and there’s plenty of rumors why Aaron Tyler’s moved schools halfway through his GCSEs. Gideon reckons he’s gay and got bullied—I reckon that’s just wishful thinking. I asked Katie what she thought, but she wasn’t interested in why he’d left, only whether she was in with a chance. Although I know she Googled him after that to see if she could find anything. She didn’t, but knowing her, she wouldn’t have bothered reading beyond the first page. She’s not that interested in him.
My phone beeps a text. Katie. Obviously.
U shag Fletch again??? He’s giving ur “homework” session 10/10!