Authors: Stella Wilkinson
him covertly as he painstakingly painted a London Street on a huge canvas. He
wouldn’t even make eye contact and she was too proud to show how much it hurt.
He had gone
after Diana that night and then she hadn’t seen him again until breakfast. He
had sat at the far end of the table as usual, but she felt the distance
instantly. There would be no more quick smiles or winks coming down the table.
No more feeling a hand brush over her bum as he walked past her in the
corridor. No more sneaking off together and definitely no more kissing.
to cry, she wanted to talk about him constantly, but who could she tell? If she
told the girls then it would be all over the school in minutes. Maybe she could
talk to Alex? No, he would be horrified. He didn’t worry about the Flanagans
the way her dad did, but he would still think getting involved with Leo was a
wasn’t exactly experienced when it came to relationships. He had never had a
girlfriend, as far as she knew. Of course, he might get up to all sorts that he
didn’t tell her about, but she didn’t think so. She wondered if he had a crush
on anyone. There had been a couple of times when she had been sure he was going
to confide something of the sort, but had chickened out.
shrugged out of her jacket and a load of water tipped off her collar and down
her neck. Great! She wanted him to say something, but he didn’t look up. He was
such a tosser. Dumping her without any explanation. Not that they had had a
real relationship. But if it wasn’t a real relationship, why was she so
miserable that it had ended? Why did she lie awake late each night, wishing his
arms were around her? Why did it hurt so much? She couldn’t she stop looking at
him, needing him, missing him desperately. She loved him…
him and he didn’t love her. Could she feel any worse?
night, Diana watched Leo eating his dinner. He pushed the food around his
plate, just as he had the night before and the one before that.
do something fun tonight?” She asked brightly. He just shrugged.
forget homework and play a game or something?” She persisted.
like.” He gave her a strained smile.
to herself. Why was he taking it so hard? It wasn’t as if she was stopping him
for dating anyone else, she just didn’t want to see him with Rose Falcon. It
wasn’t totally irrational.
eyes went down the table to where Rose and Alex were sitting. They were both
looking at her. She met Rose’s eyes briefly. Rose gave her a look full of anger
then turned away. Diana looked at Alex, he wasn’t looking at her now. But he
was definitely blushing. Why? They were probably talking about her when she had
looked up and caught them at it. No wonder he looked embarrassed. She should
have known Rose would tell Alex all about it.
Rose hadn’t seen her crying the night she had discovered the two of them
together.. Rose was bound to think she had a secret thing for Leo, which just
wasn’t true. They weren’t talking to each other, but that was nothing new, she
and Rose had barely spoken in the last five and a half years.
been a time in their first year when she thought they might be becoming
friends. Rose and Sophie and Grace had been nice to her in those first few
months at Compass Court and though she was naturally very shy, Diana had wanted
to let her guard down a little and be friends with them. Then came that awful
Christmas, and she knew she couldn’t tell them, and had kept a distance. Now
she would never be able to bridge that gap.
girls were ok, but Diana resented Rose more than anyone else in the world. The
girl who had everything. Her cool cousins around her. The wonderful famous
parents, who wrote to her every week. The same parents who had indirectly
destroyed Diana’s life. Sophie and Grace would stick by Rose through anything.
And Alex. Rose was popular, Rose was great at art as well as being clever, Rose
was becoming more attractive to boys every year, and now Rose had wanted Leo
her resolve strengthen. Didn’t Rose have enough? She didn’t need to take her
best friend from her as well.
It had been
five days since he’d even spoken to Rose, and Leo felt the pain like a punch in
He knew why
it hurt so much. He loved her. He hadn’t meant to love her, but it had happened.
If it was love then shouldn’t he fight for it? Shouldn’t he tell Diana that he
was still her friend, that he would be there for her, but that he could be with
Rose as well?
would give him that kicked puppy look and he couldn’t do it to her. Diana had
been through enough, and though her hatred of Rose was ridiculous it didn’t
change the fact that he couldn’t have picked a worse girl to be with.
He just had
to get over her. Somehow.
next to Rose in Chemistry and wished for the thousandth time that she would
just tell him what was wrong. Her concentration was totally off. He reached out
and stopped her adding the litmus paper to the liquid in front of them. It was
so unlike her to make such a simple mistake. But she didn’t seem to care. She
just dropped it back onto the bench without comment.
women were up and down with their moods, but this was unusual. She had been so
happy a week ago and now she was so down. What could it possibly be that she
wouldn’t tell him? Was it something to do with him? He had tried to ask her,
but it was probably the only time she had laughed this week. He had been
relieved by that. For a short while he had suspected her feeling towards him
might be more than they should be. All that loud laughing at his jokes, and
wearing make up, and perfume, and playing with her hair! He knew those signs,
after all he had seen a lot of girls chasing Jack over the years. He had tried
to talk to her about it, but she had found his suspicions extremely funny.
Which was a good thing. But a minute later she looked like she was going to
tell him something and instead had gone all tearful and left.
, Leo thought, staring moodily at his plate. He
wanted to watch Rose as she walked past him to her end of the house table, but
he tried never to look at her. How embarrassing if his eyes were full of
longing. She was angry that he broke up with her and hadn’t explained himself.
She had every right to be angry. She had probably moved on to not even caring
by now. His stomach churned again. He just had no appetite.
He risked a
quick glance down the table. Rose looked tired. Still beautiful but definitely
tired. For some reason it made him feel a bit better. He wanted to think that
she still cared. He wanted to be the one to make her smile again. How selfish
he must be, if he really loved her, surely he would just want her to be happy?
watched Leo push his untouched plate away. He was losing weight. It had been
three weeks and he was still unhappy. She had never seen him so quiet and she
was getting really worried. It was all Rose Falcon’s fault.
wasn’t. It was
fault. Diana shared a room with Rose and she had lain
awake, listening to Rose pacing about when she thought they were all asleep.
She could see Rose in the darkness sitting at the window every night staring
out at the moon till almost dawn. She knew Rose was as miserable as Leo. She
hadn’t realized they were so into each other.
looked at Leo. He had done so much for her, and what had she done for him? She
looked at Rose. Could she tell her? She really didn’t want to, but perhaps she
It had been
three weeks and Rose still wasn’t sleeping. Her schoolwork was suffering and
her friends had stopped asking her what was wrong and were starting to get
irritated with her depressed moods.
Friday, Rose decided she had to tell Alex. After all, he couldn’t be cross with
her for going out with Leo, because she
going out with Leo. Not
anymore. She needed a friend and she needed some advice on what to do. She
wanted to have it out with Diana, but what was the point? Leo had already
chosen Diana over her. Which was fair enough, they had been friends for years.
She would show the same loyalty to Alex, if she had to. The trouble was she
couldn’t see any reason why she
As soon as
lessons finished she sent him a text, asking him to meet her by the front door
with his coat.
they walked away from the school down towards the river. It was a crisp day at
the end of January and Rose walked with her hands pushed deep in her pockets,
her shoulders hunched against the slight wind. She poured out the whole story
quickly, as she was afraid she might embarrass herself by crying. Alex went
through a range of emotions. Horror at her getting involved with Leo, then
indignant at his treatment of her, relieved to know what was bothering her,
then confused by what was going on with Leo and Diana.
Rose felt a
hundred times better after talking it through with Alex. Except that if she
hoped he might have some answers about the behavior of men, she was mistaken.
don’t understand!” she concluded, “Even if Diana has a crush on Leo, he doesn’t
have one on her, so why stop seeing me?”
looked thoughtful. “Would you stop seeing someone if I asked you to?”
you had a very good reason.” Said Rose honestly.
we not assume that there is a good reason?” He said fairly.
sticking up for them?” Rose bristled.
down, hot head. Leo seems a good guy, but he could be a total arse to women,
for all we know. He could be using Diana as an excuse.”
think so.” Rose hugged her knees to her chest. “He really seemed to like me.”
“Ok. Well I
still don’t think you should blame it all on Diana. She’s so sweet.”
Are we talking about the Ice Princess? She’s cold and hard and snooty and
‘My family are descended from Irish royalty, the rest of you are
” Rose began to mimic Diana.
say that, did she?” Alex looked disgusted.
actually she didn’t.” Rose confessed “But I can imagine her saying it!”
can’t.” Alex retorted. “She always looks so sad to me, and scared. Not at all
cold and hard.”
one who shares a room with her.” Rose asserted. “How would you know? You’ve
barely even spoken to her. Oh blimey – you fancy her don’t you? Alex!”
punched her on the arm. “I do not!”
her eyebrows to show she didn’t believe him.
“Can we get
back to my problem?” She huffed.
really see there’s anything you can do, Rosie. I’m sorry but I think you have
to be fair and accept that it’s probably not anything to do with you. Maybe
he’ll come round in time. But I think you should give Diana a break, after all,
you clearly don’t know the full story.”
sounding so grown up and reasonable.” She punched him back, giving him a dead
Bully.” He teased her. She did feel better. Still miserable as a sin, but
better than she had.
alone in their room when Rose got back. Remembering everything Alex had said to
her, she didn’t turn round and walk back out.
said between clenched teeth. Ok, it was a fairly unfriendly ‘Hi,’ but Rose felt
that at least she was the one who was taking the high ground.
sat up on her bed “Where are the others?”
Rose was a
little taken aback. “They said something about a birthday bash in the North
Tower Common Room. I can’t remember who. I wasn’t in the mood.”
know. And that’s my fault isn’t it?” Though Diana’s words seemed accusing, Rose
realized that Alex was right, her tone was more sad than anything.
know, Diana. Why don’t you tell me?” Rose pulled off her boots and sat down on
her own bed, looking at Diana.
looked acutely uncomfortable. Keeping her head bent so her hair masked her face
she said “Yes, actually I was planning to tell you.”
couldn’t hide her surprise “Really? Why?”
Diana spoke quietly “He’s so unhappy, and I would do anything to make him happy
again, even if it’s you that makes him feel that way.”
Rose hadn’t meant to sound so acerbic. Softening her tone she asked “He still
managed a small smile. “Are you going to tell me why he isn’t talking to me
nodded and Rose realized that behind her hair, Diana was crying. Rose was too
soft hearted to stay angry. She bounded off her own bed and on to Diana’s.