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BOOK: Cathy Hopkins - [Mates, Dates 06]
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Practised doing a
new signature. If changing my image, then my handwriting is part of it. Covered
about ten pages.

Practised snogging
technique on the back on my hand. Think I may be going mad.

Tried on every
stitch of clothing I own and managed to work

out some pretty
cool combinations. Black and black mainly, with some silver jewellery. Some of
the tops I was going to throw out because I thought I’d grown out of them look
good on second trying. Used to wear my clothes baggy, but now some of the
T-shirts look just right — tight in the right places. Mum won’t like it. She
doesn’t like anything. Mainly me.

TJ and Lucy came
over and brought magazines. Amazingly, even though I was grounded, Angus let
them in on the condition that I didn’t tell Mum. He can be OK sometimes. Lucy
did fantastic make-up on me to go with my new look. Dark eyes and sort of grape
glossy lipstick. Definitely makes me look older and will look cool for the gig
on Saturday - that is, if Mum lets me go. TJ asked me to do a piece for her mag
on what to do when you’re grounded. Don’t think I’ll include ‘Practise snogging
on the back of your hand’, in case people at school think I’m a saddo. But I bet
they all do it.

After they left, I
practised my songs for the gig on Saturday. I’m only doing two this time, which
is fine by me as I like sitting and listening as well as performing. Please,
please God let Mum have mellowed by then.

Mum back at
seven-thirty. Waited for
le grando
telling off, but it never came. She just looked
disappointed, a look she’s got down to perfection, if you ask me, but pretty
upsetting all the same. Don’t really like it when she’s seriously mad with me

Ate a tiny bit of supper.
Tummy’s still a bit funny. Cleared table, washed up - even the pans. Said sorry
a million times. Smiled meekly at Mum and Angus. Am perfect daughter.

Called Nesta. Got
her voicemail.

Listened to music.
Worked on songs again.

Nothing on telly.
Slept like a zombie (not the cocktail).


Day Two:

Called Nesta’s
mobile as don’t want to risk her mum or dad picking up their home phone and
giving me another telling-off. Got voicemail. She’s obviously screening her
calls and is still mad at me.

Feel restless.
Surely two days in prison is enough? Called Mum at work to beg forgiveness, but
she’s in a meeting schmeeting. She’ll probably only say that I can’t go out
until I’ve learned my lesson, so I don’t really know why I’m bothering. Why doesn’t
she realise that I learnt my lesson on Day One? You don’t have to tell me twice
not to drink alcohol again. Never, never, never. I don’t want to go through
that again.

Colour coordinated
my wardrobe. Only took five minutes as it’s all black now.

Started reading
The Catcher in the Rye.
At first, couldn’t get into it as it’s about this boy called Holden Caulfield
who’s been expelled from boarding school in America. Thought I couldn’t relate.
But as there was nothing else to do, I got into it and then I couldn’t put it
down. Even though it was written ages ago, in the nineteen forties, he’s just
like any normal teenager, and like me, questioning everything. Is it the same
for teenagers the world over? Nothing seems to make sense any more and you
don’t know who you want to be, what you want to do, and in the meantime, you
manage to upset

Called Nesta. She
picked up. Phew. Talked for half an hour. She said I should try calling Mum
again as parents do tend to blow steam then calm down. Tried calling Mum again.
She said she is prepared to let me go out as long as I let her know where I am
and what I’m doing at all times. Felt very tempted to call her five minutes
later from the bathroom to tell her I was on the loo, but resisted as that might
be pushing my luck a bit.

So, goodbye diary.
Prison sentence cut short. Time off for good behaviour. Mum said I can go out
so I’m free! Ha ha, HEE HEE, cue maniacal laughter.


I put on my trainers
and shorts and decided to go for a jog. It was drizzling, but felt really
fresh, so I ran and ran and ran. After about twenty minutes, I heard a
motorbike approaching. It screeched to a stop next to me.

‘Izzie,’ called Josh
as I ran past him.

Murphy’s Law, I said
to myself as I stopped and turned. I
bump into him on the one
day I have no makeup on, my hair’s dripping with rain and I’m sweaty from
running. Not my most alluring look, I thought as a raindrop fell off my nose. I
decided to keep my head down and keep the conversation short.

‘Um, hi,’ I said.

He took off his
helmet. ‘Where have you been? I was hoping to see you in the park again. Didn’t
scare you off that night, did I? With the tree thing?’

‘Um, no, course not,’
I said to the pavement. ‘Been busy.’

‘What you doing

‘Not sure.’ Actually I
had told Ben I’d go round to go through my songs one last time before the gig,
and I’d planned to go to Lucy’s after that. But you
have to be
flexible in life.

‘A few of us are
getting together later, if you want to meet up. Come and have a drink.’

I pulled a face.

‘What?’ he said.


‘What about drink?’

‘Bad joojoo,’ I
answered, then decided I would tell him all about it without actually revealing
that it was the first time I’d tried alcohol properly. ‘Had a bit too much on
Monday night. Never again.’

Josh laughed. ‘Ah,
hangover, eh? You know the best thing for that?’

‘Don’t drink the night

He laughed and shook
his head. ‘Nah. Hair of the dog. Back on the horse, and so on.’

‘No thanks,’ I said.
‘I’ve learned my lesson.’

‘You sound like an old

‘Last time you called
me a kid,’ I said. ‘I can’t win.’

He smiled. ‘It’s not a

‘I wasn’t…’

‘Come on - we’re
meeting at Pond Square in Highgate. See you there, about five-thirty?’

‘Maybe,’ I said. ‘I’ll
have to check with my social secretary.’

Josh laughed. ‘Your
mum and dad, you mean?’

,’ I said.
Actually I did mean my mum, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. She’d already
said that I could go to Ben’s, so to do a quick detour to the square wouldn’t
be going much out of my way. I’d set off early. Mum would never know if I
called her before I left, then again from Ben’s. It would be worth it. Just for
half an hour. ‘OK. I’ll be there.’

‘Cool,’ he said, and
with that he roared off again.


to Do When You’re Grounded


up on homework.

coordinate your wardrobe.

shoes in boxes. Take a picture/Polaroid of each pair and stick it on the
outside of the box for quick identification.

some Feng Shui on your bedroom and get rid of all the clutter. If you haven’t
worn something for over a year, chuck it.

Shui your computer (tidy your desktop and clear up old files).

your address book. Then update your diary.

your bestselling novel. If grounded for a loooong time, also finish it.

moving all your furniture around and redecorate your room
a la

to meditate.

your Christmas card list and plan presents.

out astrology sites on the Web and do friends‘ horoscopes for them.

the time as if you’re at a health spa - give yourself a facial, paint your
nails, condition your hair, moisturise and exfoliate.


to music.

music or lyrics.

to cook a new recipe (earns good brownie points if it comes out well and may
get you time off for good behaviour)

the house and do the garden (also earns brownie points).

Some books are pretty cool and it’s a way to escape from your personal prison
into other worlds.







C h a p t e r





Josh was already on a bench
with his mates at Pond Square when I got there. I felt a bit intimidated as I
approached, as I didn’t know any of the others, but Josh soon waved me over and
introduced me. There were two girls, Chris and Zoe, and a guy called Spider.
They looked like they were in Year Eleven. Spider was the one who’d been
chucking bread at passing joggers the week before and I didn’t much like the
look of him. He had very pale skin and was a bit hard-looking, but the girls
seemed OK. They sized me up (girls can be a bit funny sometimes when you’re not
part of their group) and must have decided I was all right, because Chris
rummaged in a carrier bag and pulled out a bottle of Malibu and a paper cup.
‘Want some?’

‘No thanks,’ I said. ‘I’ve
got a band rehearsal later.’

‘Oh, just have one.
One won’t hurt you.’

I didn’t really want
any, but I’d only just met them and I didn’t want to be a killjoy when they
were being friendly. Then I remembered what Tony said on the night of the
cocktails. Lesson Number One: don’t mix your drinks. That’s probably why I’d
felt so lousy. I’d mixed so many. Maybe if I’d just stuck to
, I’d
have been OK. Then I remembered what Josh said about getting back on the horse
after a bad experience.
I remembered Angus saying never say

‘OK. Thanks,’ I said.
I took the the cup she offered me.

I resolved not to
overdo it as I could still remember how rotten I felt after the cocktails, so I
stuck to my guns and I only had the one, even if Chris did fill the cup full.
It tasted quite nice, coconutty, and I imagined it was probably nicer than the
cider that Spider was drinking. I tried cider once at my stepsister’s wedding
and it tasted like apples that had gone off. Foul.

I sipped my Malibu and
this time I felt OK. Somehow the drink made me feel more confident about being
with strangers. I found myself feeling really talkative and told them all about
King Noz and the gig on Saturday. They all seemed impressed and wanted to come
along. At one point, my mobile rang, but I quickly switched it off. Probably
Mum checking up on me, I thought.

‘So do you rehearse
often?’ asked Chris.

‘Yeah, we’ve done
loads over the holidays,’ I said, checking my watch. It wasn’t until then that
I realised what time it was. The rehearsal at Ben’s was supposed to be at six
and already it was a quarter past. ‘Oh God,’ I said and got up from the bench.
‘Better get going.’

Josh walked with me to
the High Street and just as I was about to dash off, he caught the back of my
jacket, pulled me back and kissed me. Just like that. It took my breath away as
it was so out of the blue. After a while, he let me go and we smiled at each

‘Give me your number,’
he said.

I scribbled it down on
an old tube ticket that I had in my purse, then he gently pushed me down the
road. ‘You’d better get moving if you’re going to go and do an Anastacia.’

‘Not that kind of
girl… or music,’ I said, laughing, then ran like mad to get to Ben’s on the
other side of Highgate, down near the tube station. I felt totally exhilarated.
me. No awkwardness. No buildup. No thinking, Is he going
to? Isn’t he? Should I kiss him? He’d done it when it was completely
unexpected. It felt great. Sometimes getting that first kiss over with can be a
bit clumsy.

BOOK: Cathy Hopkins - [Mates, Dates 06]
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