Tick Tock (1)

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Chapter One


“Tomorrow, we will continue our work on trigonometry – we’ve only got a year tocover the whole course, so we best crack on!”  Ms Smith droned on.

How I missed exam leave.  The freedom of only having to get dressed for an exam or if you were going out.  The ability to ignore your alarm clock at 6:30am, and sleep in until 11am, when you finally decide you need to revise.  But that was all gone until next year; Higher time.  But I, and every other student in Scotland starting S5, had a year in which to study five subjects.  The pressure was on – I already had three essays to be handed in before the summer holidays.  That was less than a week away!  It was ridiculous to make us work so hard, although the rest of the school (minus the sixth years, of course) were watching DVDs every lesson.

The school bells blazed – a welcome noise that signalled the end of yet another day at boring Balerno High.  Boring Balerno – alliteration used wisely.  Balerno was the most boring place in the world!  The only thing that made the small sleepy village set in the shadow of Edinburgh less boring was the friends I had here and the frequent buses that would take us up to the main city in half an hour for 70p.  Bargain!

I gathered my books together and hastily shoved them in my bag as fast as I could.  It was a regular thing on Wednesdays; a race to see which of us was faster…

“Jamie,” he said smoothly, sideling up to my desk.  Damn, he was faster today – but next week I’d be the champion of speed…  I digress.  He pushed his glasses further up his nose, and made that little snorting noise that geeks do – you know the one I mean.  “The boys and I would love you to attend today’s Maths Club meeting.  How about it?” he continued, oblivious that the snorting move had caused me to stare at his huge nose.

Chester Kingsly was a dweeb of the highest sorts.  Your classic science and maths geek – the one that went to play chess at every available moment, and said things that were ‘in’ a few months back.  He’d probably be the next Steven Hawking or Bill Gates or someone.  Everyone knew he was desperate for a romantic relationship of some kind, but he was really fussy and picky.  He had told his friends that he’d only consider going out with a girl with a brain.  This meant he’d probably die alone, seeing as any girl with a big enough IQ to please Chester wouldn’t be seen dead dating him.

“Sorry, Chester,” I replied innocently, “but I’ve got tonnes to do tonight – Wednesdays are really busy for me,” I’m going home and watching TV until five to seven tonight, I mentally added.  Wednesday wasn’t a busy night at all!  I walked home and then sat and watched all the Cbeebies programmes on TV pretending to ‘babysit’ my little sister.  Then at one point, when my brother or dad was home I’d have something to eat and casually stroll down the street to the church hall at five to seven.  Not exactly the most stressful day in the world, but I’d use any excuse to get out of Maths Club – I mean, come on!

“Oh,” said Chester, gutted as always, “okay then, Jamie.  Maybe next time?”

I made an ‘mmmm’ noise – if I were a person that didn’t like to disappoint I’d have said ‘mmmm no!’’ No way was I ever going to Maths Club!

I walked out of the classroom very casually, although my feet were dying to run far away from Chester and his group of nerdy friends with really bad BO – and I mean really bad BO.  I grabbed Tiffany’s hand and began to pull her down the corridor.  Tiffany was my best ever friend.  She and I had been friends since she moved to Balerno seven years ago.

Tiffany was a real girly-girl – she wore skirts and high-heeled shoes, she took ages to apply her make-up and sort her blonde shoulder length hair.  She was really dramatic – the drama queen of our school.  She was just about to be in the school production of Peter Pan and she was playing Wendy.  Tiffany was really into the performing arts; she danced, sang, acted, played the piano and the cello and featured in every school show, be it dramatic, musical or a dance show.  She was extremely popular and had great house parties.  But she was hilarious – and that’s why I liked her being my friend.  She was always cracking jokes and making me laugh.  I knew she wanted to be a stand-up comedian when she grew up, but she said it wasn’t going to happen.  She just didn’t realise the potential she had.  She could be the greatest comedian of all time.  I often asked Tiff why she was friends with a geek like me, but she’d just toss her perfectly straightened hair and laugh.  When I said things like that, she’d ask me if I was sure I didn’t want to be a comedian.

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