Freia Lockhart's Summer of Awful

BOOK: Freia Lockhart's Summer of Awful
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FREIA LOCKHART HAS THE ESSENTIALS FOR AN AWESOME SUMMER

Great new friends – check.

A supremely kissable boyfriend – check.

Plans for New Year's Eve (which don't include her parents) – check.

No school – check.

When her mum reveals some devastating news, Freia's plans for the summer of her dreams are crushed. Now she's trying to keep things together at home and salvage her holidays, but it's not easy when you've got secrets to keep, a little brother who's going off the rails and a nosy gran who won't stay out of your business.

Contents

Cover

Blurb

Year Ten in Numbers

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Freia's Peanut-Buttery Brownies

Thanks

Copyright

Dedication

Also by Aimee Said

Year Ten in numbers

Fights with Mum: 172 (well, that's how many it felt like)

Friends made: 3

Friends lost: 1 (I only count Kate; Belinda, Bethanee and Brianna were never really my friends)

Number of times I told people to f-off: 1 (and Belinda still hasn't forgiven me)

School activities participated in: 1 musical, 0 extracurricular sports

Jane Austen novels read: 3

Jane Austen novels hated: 3

Maths tests failed: 2

Brownies baked: 200-ish

Brownies eaten: 57-ish-ish

Boyfriends: 1

1

Everyone knows the last weeks of the school year are a complete waste of time. Since we finished our Year Ten coursework all we've done is listen to lectures about how the next two years will be the most important of our lives, play stupid games (I'm looking at you, periodic table bingo) and watch DVDs. I told Mum the last day of term would be a wipe-out, but she refused to budge on her you-go-to-school-unless-you're-dying rule. (Just like she wouldn't let me skip prize night when we both knew I wasn't going to win any awards.)

Even in English, which is usually my favourite subject on account of our teacher being both extremely dishy and actually attempting to make his classes interesting, Mr Naidoo's making us watch
Wuthering Heights
while he studies the
Lonely Planet Guide to Paris
(where he and the soon-to-be Mrs Naidoo are honeymooning). He doesn't bother telling off Kate and Brianna for turning round to chat with Belinda and Bethanee, even though they're sitting right in front of him.

The seat on Kate's left is empty, as it has been since I made myself persona non grata with her and the Bs halfway through Term Three. I don't mean to stare at the four of them; I just can't help myself. It's like when I watch a horror movie and I know I should look away because the sight of blood – even obviously fake blood – makes my toes tingle (and not in a good way), but I can't. When Belinda throws her head back to laugh and give her trademark double ponytail flick, she catches me looking and her eyes narrow in response. Whatever she whispers to the other three makes them stare back at me in unison. I turn my gaze to my notebook and add a line of scrawl to the list I was working on before the Bs distracted me, in an attempt to seem otherwise occupied.

Reasons why these will be the most awesome summer holidays ever

1. No school, obviously. And no schoolwork, unless you're a freak of nature like Vicky and love studying so much that you've already bought the Year Eleven Chemistry textbook “as a treat”.

2. No English tutoring. I love Nicky (despite her being hired to spare my parents the embarrassment of being the only English Literature professors in history to have a daughter who'd rather read
Charlotte's Web
than Charlotte Brontë) and I'll miss her while she's off researching the medieval libraries of eastern Europe, but I can't say I'll be sad not to write a practice essay for six weeks.

3. No Bs. I know I shouldn't care about Belinda Sinclair and her blond clones now that I don't have to hang out with them any more, but seeing them in classes five days a week reminds me of how hideous most of this year was.

4. Siouxsie, Steph and Vicky. Friends: I have them! And although we've only been hanging out together for a few months, I feel like I've finally met some people who
get
me (as opposed to being
out to get me
, see 3).

5. Daniel Taylor-Fairchild, aka Dan to his friends, Dan the Man when Siouxsie's feeling snarky. Lasagne lover, Ramones fan and the best kisser I know. (Also the only person I've ever kissed.)

6. New Year's Eve. For the first time in my life I won't be seeing in the new year with my family like Lonely McLoser. I'll be with my friends, having a moonlight picnic and watching the fireworks over the river, which can only be a good omen for the coming year.

I know I'm probably jinxing myself by looking forward to these holidays so much. Grandma Thelma has this saying, “No expectations, no disappointment”, which basically means, “If you don't get your hopes up, you can't be upset when it doesn't happen.” Unlike most of Gran's sayings (stuff about stitches in time and sucking eggs, which make no sense at all), I can see the wisdom in this, but I also think it's often the expectation that's the best bit. Take Christmas, for example. Every October I give my parents a list of the things I really want (this year: an MP3 player to replace my crappy portable CD player, a mobile phone, for my curfew to be moved from ten-thirty to midnight) and then I spend two months imagining how great it will be to have those things, right up until the moment I open my present and find yet another classic novel/bath gel gift set/ergonomic pen grip. I am
very
experienced in dealing with disappointment, so I think I'll cope if these holidays are not one hundred per cent made of awesome. Ninety per cent would be fine.

When the last bell of the year finally rings Mr Naidoo hits stop on the DVD and wishes us a hasty goodbye. I dawdle over packing up my stuff, surreptitiously checking to make sure Belinda and Co. leave ahead of me and Vicky, to avoid a humiliating confrontation.

It might've worked, too, if Siouxsie wasn't waiting for us at the door. “What's the hold-up?” she calls. “Steph's only got the keys to the art rooms for half an hour.”

“I won't miss
that
over the holidays,” says Belinda in a voice loud enough for everyone within a five-classroom radius to hear. “Six weeks away from this freak show is exactly what I need.”

“Freak show?” says Siouxsie. “Is that any way to talk about your friends, Bella?”

Belinda stops dead in front of Sooz and fixes her with the death stare. “I wasn't talking to you,
Morticia
. Don't you and the BOS have anything better to do than obsess over me and my friends? Surely there's some satanic ritual you've been saving for the holidays.”

The BOS is the Bs' most recent nickname for me. It stands for Bride of Skeletor, Skeletor being their nickname for Dan, on account of him being on the skinny side (especially compared to the thick-necked, thick-headed footy players the Bs hang out with). Siouxsie says I should be flattered the Bs feel I'm such a threat that they have to take cheap shots at me to make themselves feel better. On good days I believe her. Today is not a good day.

Luckily for me, Siouxsie's one of those people who has a comeback to every put-down. She smiles sweetly at Belinda and says, “I'd invite you to join us, but we don't need a goat.”

Belinda shakes her head, turns it into a ponytail flick and keeps walking. Bethanee, Brianna and Kate follow.

“Ready for Operation Time Capsule?” asks Siouxsie once they've passed.

The time capsule was Vix's idea, but it was Steph who suggested preserving it as a photo. The plan is that we each bring something that sums up the year for us and Steph will take a photo, and then the photo can be buried in a vault or the school archives or wherever. I've got my copy of
Pride and Prejudice
, since it was studying Jane Austen for English Extension that led to Siouxsie and me becoming friends (despite the fact that she's a certified Jane Austen nut), which is how I got to know Steph and Vicky. Actually, I sort of cheated and brought two things; I'm also wearing the silver guitar plectrum pendant that I haven't taken off since Dan gave it to me for my birthday in September.

While Steph finishes setting up her camera, Siouxsie slips on her Meat is Murder T-shirt (to mark becoming a vegetarian in April) and Vicky puts on the gold and silver medals she won at the Maths and Science Olympiad.

Steph lines us up in front of the camera and checks her light meter again. “Everyone ready?” she asks, taking a last look through the viewfinder of her fancypants SLR camera.

“Hang on,” says Vicky. “What did you bring, Steph?”

Steph grins and runs to join us, throwing an arm around my and Vicky's shoulders as she slides into position between us. “You!” she says, just as the camera goes
click
.

I'm sure I blinked when the flash went off – I was laughing too hard to keep my eyes open – but Steph says that what she wants to capture is the feeling of this exact moment in time, and if we do it over and over again, we'll end up looking like we're posing for a family photo, or worse, the Westside Grammar annual.

We walk to the entrance gates together before going our separate ways. As I unchain my bike, I bid a silent farewell to what has been both the very worst and very best school year of my life.

2

I head straight for the back room when I get to Switch, Parkville's only decent cafe. Dan's at his usual table, exactly where he was the first time I saw him, the day Nicky took me there for our weekly tutoring session and she pointed out the Parkville High boy with Mick Jagger's lips and Joey Ramone's hair. I wasn't sure it was such a great combination back then, but now I definitely see the appeal.

While Dan finishes his requisite daily serve of lasagne, we compare how little work we did in classes today and conclude that the last week of the school year was an utter waste of time. I don't mention the run-in with Belinda. Dan saw the Bs at their worst during the co-production of
My Fair Lady
our schools put on this year. He couldn't understand why I was trying to be friends with them then and he doesn't get why they still bother me so much now.

“At least I managed to put my last Computing Studies lesson to good use,” he says, pulling some printed pages from his folder. “I looked up all the bike trails within fifty kilometres of Parkville. I thought we could do a few long rides – take a picnic and head for the hills for the day. Somewhere parent-free.”

I smile my agreement. Dan's dad recently moved his child psychology practice to their house so that he can keep closer tabs on his wayward son. And uni holidays have started, which means that Mum and Dad are home a lot more, so the time Dan and I get to be alone has been limited to when we're at Switch or in the local park, neither of which is exactly private.

“Sounds perfect,” I say, suppressing the urge to add that spending time with him is what I'm looking forward to most these holidays.

BOOK: Freia Lockhart's Summer of Awful
10.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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