Chapter Seven

Harper’s Friday morning was going well, she had double English with the nice Ms Dalton, Mr Brody was away so she didn’t have to put up with him glaring at her, and best of all, that evening she would be able to hang out in the studio with Lois.

By lunchtime she had completely forgotten about yesterday’s cheerleading embarrassment. She walked into the cafeteria, picked up a tray and searched for some food that wasn’t from Eastern Europe. She settled for a strange shaped baguette that had some sort of pickle inside it and turned around to find a place to sit.

Of course all of the tables were full to the brim with juniors and seniors who had gotten their before Harper. She sighed, wishing that she hadn’t taken a detour to the toilet before coming to get her food. Now there was nowhere to sit. Harper sighed and pushed her way through the crowds towards the glass door that led to a small patio area. The big black clouds in the sky meant that nobody was risking sitting on the benches outside. Harper chose the bench in the corner as it was shielded from the cold northern wind that was battering the trees, knocking the last of the autumn leaves to the floor.

Harper took a bite of her baguette and promptly spat it out, “Yuck!” She exclaimed taking a gulp of her water to try and get rid of the taste. Harper sighed and looked at the remaining hunk of bread, the pickle-like thing oozed from the centre of the sandwich. She poked it with the finger just in case the thing was alive, before sighing and picking it up. She couldn’t afford to lose any more weight, which meant she just had to grin and bear it.

“You’re not going to eat that are you?” A voice asked from behind her. Harper jumped and dropped her baguette as she span to see who was talking. Charlie walked towards the table and took a seat, “Guess not,” he said as he took out a packet of crisps and pushed them towards Harper. She took them gratefully and ripped open the packet, the salty taste was like heaven in her mouth.

“Thanks,” she said, Charlie shrugged in reply.

The pair sat in silence for a while. Charlie looked out over the gardens, his head angled away from her. Harper listened to the muffled chatter of the canteen and she was glad that she was outside; it was so much more peaceful. She spent the time studying Charlie’s profile; even in the ugly school uniform he still looked good. At that moment Charlie turned around and Harper hastily dropped her gaze. She didn’t know if Charlie had caught her staring but when she looked up he had a slight smile playing on his lips.

“I’m sorry about what the girls did to you yesterday,” Charlie said after a moment, “It was out of order.”

Harper smiled; somehow it was better to hear those words coming from Charlie’s mouth than to hear someone like Lois say it.

“Thanks,” Harper said.

“You’re welcome,” Charlie replied with a smile, he looked at Harper for a moment more before going to stand. He leaned down and picked up his own packet of crisps. As he did so his shirt sleeve rode up and exposed the long scar on his arm.

“Why did Will do that?” Harper asked quietly.

For a moment Charlie didn’t answer, Harper wondered if he’d heard her but since he didn’t move away she assumed that he did. She then heard him sigh. Charlie sat back down and looked Harper in the eye, his expression was hard.

“Do you know what happened to Will’s sister?” He asked her.

Harper nodded, “She died.”

“Do you know how?” Charlie asked, Harper shook her head, “She jumped off the bridge down by the river.”

Harper knew which bridge Charlie was talking about, she and her Father had driven along it a couple of days ago.

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