Chapter Seventeen (part two)

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After showering away the beetle-juice splatters, I stared at the scrape on my knee, absent-mindedly picking at the scab that had formed and was healing unusually quickly. “I was thinking I would nip home today for a change of clothes, and to say hi to Beth. You weren’t planning to go straight away were you?”

 “No. I need to go into Carleigh, this afternoon, to discuss the trip with father. I’m convinced he’ll insist upon a greater number for the scouting party. He might even decide to join us.”

“You have to let me come.”

“Impossible.”

“Please.”

“No.”

“But…”

“No, Soph. It’s too dangerous.”

“Hear me out, please. Mathanway practically told you I should go, remember? She said my assistance would improve your chances.”

“I remember, but…”

“But I could. I mean you don’t know what I can do, and neither do I, for that matter.”

“Exactly, and until you do, I can’t take the risk.”

“You think she’s wrong. You think that I’m useless and will get in the way.”

“Of course not.” He faltered, and it seemed I was wearing him down. “I’ll think about it.”

God girl, it seems an age since I’ve seen you. You didn’t even take your mobile. I’m feeling kind of neglected,” Beth said, later that day.

“It’s only been two days, Beth.” I laughed. “And I bet, after Friday, you’ve spent most of the weekend asleep and didn’t even notice I’d gone.”

“Might have kipped a bit,” she said sheepishly. “Anyway, what about the mess? Someone had to tidy up, i.e. me. Where were you for that, huh? Conveniently with loverboy?”

“Jealous are we?”

“Always,” she pouted. “And what’s with the new look you’re rocking? Why didn’t you warn me you were thinking of doing something so radical?”

I stroked my hair nervously. “Um, it was very spur of the moment. I didn’t think about it at all really.”

“Did Seb take you to that little boutique salon we passed in Carleigh?”

No…but just as wacky.” I needed to change the subject. “So, did you pick up any juicy gossip from the party?”

“Hmm.” Beth thought for a second. “Justin’s found himself a boyfriend.”

“Yeah? Good for him.”

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