Taylor

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The trivialities of another school day  had almost washed away to the riff of whichever Placebo song had come on when the sound of Amanda on the phone floated up. For a second I thought I heard my name, and turned up the volume of my iPod. Resting my head back in the pillow, my left foot tapped into the duvet as the song reached its chorus.

"Oh, I know, Taylor's rather apathetic when it comes to school..."

'Just who is she talking to? Who could she talk to so cheerfully with my name and school in the same sentence? Wait, did I give my number to-''

Discarding my headphones, my foot connected with a stray CD on the edge of the bed, and it clattered to the floor as I lurched up. Limping from one stepping stone of clothing to another, I hobbled down the stairs, urged on as Amanda's light-hearted laughter grew louder.

Reaching the kitchen, I burst through the door and casually leant against it. Catching sight of me from her seat at the table, Amanda spoke into the phone, her voice still jingling with laughter, "Speak of the devil, just a moment."

The second she had placed the receiver against her shoulder, I hissed, "Are you talking to Lily?"

"Yes. She was asking about this physics homework that you've offered to help with, and we just got chatting-"

I cringed. God knows what my mother's been telling Lily about me.

"Great. Can I have the phone now to explain to her the physics, which is what she was actually calling about?"

"You can't explain that sort of thing over the phone," Amanda said, with the air of an expert on why you couldn't teach physics over the phone, before taking that frustratingly motherly tone, "so I invited her over for you two to go over your notes properly."

"You did what?" Raising a hand to my head, I attempted to process the information. Lily was coming to my house. She was going to meet my family. "Mum, what the hell?"

If I had ordinary parents, I guess I'd be getting told off for speaking like that. But Amanda, with her years of teen counselling, gave a shrug. "Well, if you don't want her to come over, just tell her now before she sets off."

The phone was thrust towards me. I stared at it until a hesitant hello, unmistakably Lily's voice, sounded and I begrudgingly took the phone.

"Uh, hi, it's Taylor."

"Hey, sorry to spring this on you, your mum said you'd be alright with it, but I can just borrow your book-"

"No, it's fine, really. Yeah, honestly. Okay, right, see you in fifteen then," Hanging up, I thrust the phone back to Amanda with equal vigour. My lips curled downwards as hers curled up.

I had fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes before the world ended.
Fifteen minutes that I then spent frantically searching my abyss of a  bedroom for my physics book.

The dreaded sound of the wind chime finally came. Despite anticipating it, I leapt from beneath my desk and cursed as my head met the wood. I slowly got to my feet and staggered into the hallway.

Having either got sick of leaving Lily waiting, or suspecting that I was hiding out in my room, Amanda had opened up the door. From the top of the stairs, I watched as she began to chat away to Lily again. Our guest earnestly clutched her physics book as she slipped off her school shoes with a free hand, even asking where to place them in that sugar sweet voice.

"Oh anywhere will do," Amanda replied breezily.

I didn't share her relaxed nature. Following Lily's gaze around the hallway, I suddenly became aware of how shabby it must have appeared to a girl who exuded middle class. The psychedelically painted walls reminiscent of the '70's and mismatching cabinets hardly screamed chic. As she took in the bright colours and car boot paraphernalia, Lily's gaze drifted upwards and landed upon me.

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