Chapter Twenty Six

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From the diary of Leo Harwood

By the time I got downstairs for breakfast this morning Amber was already gone. She mentioned it yesterday morning, she’d be out again today. I didn’t ask but I knew it was to see this guy, this new boyfriend or whatever he is. It was the way she told me, avoiding looking me in the eye, like I might flip out.

I made my own tea and toast but I couldn’t find the marmalade. I know we had some, I saw Amber take it out of her shopping bag the other day, I specifically watched her take it out and put it on the counter, thinking to myself at the time how much I was looking forward to having some. But this morning, when I really needed it, when my toast was fresh out the toaster and the butter was already melting in I couldn’t find the god-forsaken stuff. My mind was completely blank on where she had put it.

I searched every cupboard and every shelf in the fridge. I slammed the last drawer I checked so hard the knob on the front broke off. No marmalade. No Amber to ask. I still haven’t been able to ask her since then because she’s still not home and its way past the time I thought she’d be back.

So I ate my toast – bare and practically tasteless whilst sipping my tea and thinking about the gig the night before. It was good stuff. Not Wembley but its getting better. We’re no longer in the pathetic stage where a handful of hardcore friends turn up and everyone else wants us off.

I think almost everyone last night was there to see us play. I recognized the odd face from Brocksburn, Lord only knows how anyone could want to see us again after that fiasco. But there you go, a smattering of people must’ve seen through the nightmare and actually liked our music. Hats off to those people, we won’t forget you when we’re famous.

I’m not used to spending Saturday morning on my own. I’m used to Amber waking me up before I want to get out of bed then listening to her chatter as she makes us breakfast. Saturdays used to always be band practice day when we were at school. There wasn’t much time during the week to practice altogether.

Our first band practice was a shambles – I mean, the first time The Dovetails got together. Amber and I have made music all our lives but somehow, with the addition of Jimmy plus me having set up the living room properly for a practice with all the instruments – somehow it all got too much and we were terrible to start off with.

Jimmy showed up late and wouldn’t shut up about some demonstration he’d been on the night before, world peace or something. Amber was flouncing about being silly and I ended up storming out and sitting in my room until Amber coaxed me back downstairs. After a lot of twiddling about and arguing we did all come together that day – I remember the feeling of playing our first song as a band, in time, no one watching but knowing we had got it.

We don’t always have band practice on a Saturday anymore, we don’t need to now we’re not at school – we can do it whenever. So there I was this morning, on my own having eaten my marmalade-less toast, not sure what to do with myself.

I picked up a copy of this week’s local newspaper, the “Ellwood Leader” and flicked through it until a picture of a steam engine caught my eye. ‘LIVERPOOL EXPRESS COMES TO ELLWOOD’. There was a small article saying how this famous steam engine would be parking up at Ellwood station for the week.

I threw the paper down, put on my trainers and slammed the door behind me as I left the house. I couldn’t think of anything better to do. Maybe a walk would clear my head, get me out into the fresh air so I set off down our street towards the train station.

I passed loads of people as I walked through the village, there’s always someone about on a Saturday morning, getting their shopping or whatever. Always someone to say hi to. I mostly kept myself to myself but one thing I always do is check out the signs as I walk down the main street.

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