Excerpt:“Look,” I began, knotting my fingers together to try and hide the blood, “those lads I was with… I don’t want anything to do with them really.”Faye bit her lip. “They’re bad kids,” she agreed, “I didn’t think you were like that.”“I’m not,” I promised, once again resisting the urge to grab her arm and insist, “I just… I didn’t know they were bad before I started going around with them. I only met them yesterday.”“Opinions can change quickly, can’t they?” she snapped, her mood shifting once more.“Charming, that is,” I bit back, throwing myself away from her, against the bench, “Well you can keep your changing opinions to yourself, because I know which way my mind is set.” I felt all my emotions bubbling up to the surface, brimming like a wave ready to crash against the sand. I tried for a moment to hold them back, but it was no good, all the agitation and anger spilled over and I couldn’t stop myself from speaking again. “You want to know why I went with them? Because they’re hard lads, apart from Freddie, and there’s four of them laying on the persuasion. And frankly, I quite like my face and I didn’t fancy getting it smashed in so I’d look like a mosaic for my sixteenth birthday, all right?”My voice had risen during the altercation and I found there were people looking at me as they passed us by on the bench. I imagined what a state I must have looked with dried blood on my face and only a vest on. I leaned away from the passers-by, upset to find that tears were once again escaping from Faye’s silent face. I felt awful instantly for exploding at her; I had no right to upset her after what I’d done.“Would they really smash your face in?” she whispered.“I reckon so,” I replied, gulping down a dry breath. I was grateful for the nosebleed in that moment; my face didn’t have enough blood left in it to glow crimson and show her how embarrassed I was.“Are you mad at me?” Faye asked, her lips shaking like they had on the Ferris Wheel.I let out a laugh, some of my tension going with it.“What would I be mad at you for?” I replied.She gave a little shrug. “For thinking you were a crook? For spying on you? For not telling you yesterday that I had powers of my own?”“No,” I said simply, realising that it was the truth, “I shouted at you for no reason and ruined your handkerchief, so I’d say we’re about even. Besides, it won’t do to be mad at you like that if we’re going to be friends.”She wiped her last tear away and gave me a more hopeful look.“Can we be friends?” Faye asked, like she wasn’t even sure that it was possible.“I think we have to be after all this palaver,” I said with a grin.A wave of thoughtfulness washed over her features for a moment, but then she nodded.“Right then,” she answered, “shall we go somewhere and get your face cleaned up?”I waved a hand at her. “I’ll dunk my head in the sea. It’ll be fine.”
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