Chapter Twenty One

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From the diary of Leo Harwood

Dear Diary,

Amber is lying to me. It’s obvious, embarrassingly obvious. Ever since the gig in Brocksburn I’ve known there’s something up with my baby sister. That day, when I went to meet Tony for the first time, I came back to the hotel and she wasn’t there. She’d been gone for ages, doing what? I couldn’t work it out at the time.

I’m not a crazy nut about my sister. It might look like that. Won’t let her go out on her own, practically want to kill every male who looks at her the wrong way. Yeah, I can see from the outside, it looks bad. I look bad. But that’s not it, that’s not it at all.

Amber and I are not your usual family. It might as well just be the two of us. Well, yeah, there’s Granddad and we love him and all that, but who else is there? Mum had no brothers, no sisters. Dad had a brother much older than him, but he vanished off the face of the Earth in 1987 or whenever. Never met him.

As far as I’m concerned it all boils down to Amber and I. The last remaining Harwoods. I’ve looked after Amber in a way that goes much further than being a brother – ever since the moment Mum died. I can remember her sweet face crumbling when she finally realised that Mum was gone, never coming back.

I took a vow right then that I would do all it took to look after her and protect her and make sure she never had to feel that bad ever again. Since then we’ve been together all the time. I remember how the teachers at school used to try and have a “quiet chat” with me from time to time.

It would usually be some concerned teacher, face all frowning with sympathy – always a woman – sitting me down and asking me lots of questions about us. Then they would try, in the most tactful way possible, to suggest that we spend less time together. I remember one teacher saying she didn’t think it was healthy, us being joined at the hip the way we were.

I got wise to it all and just said I would see what I could do, just to keep the peace. I’d tell them that Granddad was doing a good job of looking after us at home, even though he wasn’t. He was too old. But we were fine. Just fine. We can both cook, we can clean, we keep the house nice. We know how to make a killer cup of tea. I like to think Mum would be proud.

Even though she’s my sister, and this might sound weird but it’s true – she is beautiful. It's just a fact. When she was younger she still had the same caramel coloured hair and she was cute, like most little girls are. But when she got to about fifteen, a couple of years ago, she sort of bloomed into this stunning young woman. It took me ages to realise it myself, I think I still saw her as cute little sis.

When the reactions from the boys changed, that’s when I really got it. She suddenly started getting asked out by them all. There was this one boy, Gavin Pickering, who just wouldn’t give up. I was never mates with him in the first place. He was one of those Maths genius types.

It got really creepy. He was sending her notes three or four times a day. Every corner we turned he seemed to be there, blinking out at Amber, monitoring her every move. She didn't know what to do. I told him to go away loads of times but he just kept coming back. I ended up having to threaten him with Cheryl, Jez and Lambert in tow. That got rid of him. Nerdly little creep.

All this forced me to see Amber in a new way. She wasn’t this sweet baby girl anymore – she was a desirable female, maybe the most desirable female in the school. I know what boys are like. I know what they think. I am one. There was just no way I was letting some filthy boy get his paws on my sister.

But here we are now, we’re not at school anymore. We are The Dovetails. We have a calling in life – to make music. I’m not thick, I know that being in a band draws more attention to us, more attention to Amber. And this is why I always say we concentrate on the music. If we get that right I think it will all turn out alright, somehow.

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