I’m in the room between Danny and Heather on the opposite side of the corridor.
Mum thought it would be a good idea. I didn’t object. It’s huge compared to my room in our old house. I have a double bed and a flat screen television, which we brought with us, a large wardrobe and a dressing table with a faded mirror which was left by my great uncle; the previous owner of the house. It overlooks the sea. I can see the woods that lead to the beach, the cliff that will have steps that wind down to the shore. My feet itch to take a walk, but I know there will be no escaping until mum has the house just as she likes it. The sky is red when I close the curtains.
Mum says once we’re settled I can go furniture shopping. It’s a peace offering and I take it because I do need some stuff; maybe a rug? The floor is polished hardwood up here as well and it’s gonna get cold in the winter. It’s late and I still have tons of unpacking to do, but I don’t care, the internet is up and running. I have my laptop open and am logging on to Facebook as fast as my fingers can type.
I have eight messages. I scan to see who’s online and my heart gives a little skip when I see the green dot next to Liam’s name. I’m staring at it wondering if it’s too desperate to message him straight off, but then the memory of that giggle resurfaces and I know I have to speak to him. He’s the only one who understands, who doesn’t think I’m nuts.
I touch the keys and a box appears. It’s Liam. He’s sent me a smiley face.
I smile in return then feel stupid ‘cos it’s not like he can see me.
Hey, how you doin?
Good. The house?
Really? Can I come visit?
My heart does that skip thing again.
Course you can. Let me just go ask mum if I can have a boy to stay over. Lol
Lol. But I’m not just any boy, I’m your best mate.
He has no idea.
I send him a smiley face because I’m not sure how to reply without giving my feelings away.
Beth’s dating Ben.
I frown. Why’s he telling me this? Why would I care? And then I remember the lie. I told him I fancied Ben to throw him off. It’s stupid really. I went through this really paranoid phase thinking that Liam knew how I felt about him. I thought he was avoiding me because he didn’t feel the same way, things got awkward and then I just blurted it out one day and then he told me that his mum and dad were splitting up. I could have slapped myself for being so stupid and self-absorbed. If I’d paid more attention maybe I would have seen how upset he was. Anyway, now he thinks I have a thing for Ben. He thinks I’ll be upset. I should pretend to be upset, but something comes over me. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my adrenaline is still high from the spook I had earlier today, or if it’s the thirty miles separating us, but, I think, what the heck.
I don’t care. I never liked Ben.
There is a long pause as if he is measuring my words and then.
Yeah. I lied.
Because I didn’t want you to know the truth
I like you…more than just a friend.
There is a pause, so long that I begin to panic. I gnaw on my lip, I bite my cuticles and I think fuckfuckfuck, and then…
My heart is in my mouth. I can’t believe it, but it only gets better.
I’m coming to see you.
I don’t care. Just tell your mum I’ll be there in the morning. I want to tell you… I want to tell you to your face.
I want to see him so bad that I think of suggesting Skype, but I don’t. I want to see him, in the flesh for real.
We sign off and I close my laptop, not bothering to read the other messages. I get into bed and pull the covers up before turning off my bedside lamp. It’s only when I’m drifting off to sleep that I remember why I wanted to speak to Liam so badly. I remember the giggle, but it seems so far away now. Probably a trick of the mind. Yeah. My imagination. I drift off to sleep.
I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep when something wakes me. I don’t know what, and I lay there under the warm cosy duvet staring into the darkness. My heart is pounding real hard as if I’ve been running. I lie real still and listen, but there is nothing but silence.
Stupid, probably had a weird dream, can’t remember it now, but it probably woke me up. I roll onto my side and close my eyes.
I bolt upright and out of bed. Before I register what I am doing, I’m in a crouch.
My door handle rattles.
It turns and the door swings open with a creak.
Heather shuffles in, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
I realise I am holding my breath and let it out in a rush.
“Hey, Hev. Come here.” I hold out my arms and she stumbles into them. We climb into my bed and I pull the duvet up, tucking it around us. She snuggles into me.
“You have a bad dream?”
She shakes her head. “Was having a nice dream, but the little girl woke me. She wouldn’t stop talking.” She yawns and closes her eyes.
My scalp prickles. “What little girl?”
“In the mirror.”
I look down at her, but her eyes are closed, she is already asleep. For me, sleep is a long time coming.