Chapter Seven

The bell rang for the front door as if on que, Susan squeezed Ciara's had in reassurance as Andrew ran to buzz them up to the flat.

" How many are coming?" Susan asked her son.

" Only five, but Ciara, you'll like them, I swear!" seeing Ciara's worried look he smiled at her. The door suddenly came alive with a loud knocking. " That'll be them," he continued.

He opened the door, and three boys and two girls came through the door. He greeted them all with a hug and led them into the kitchen.

" Ciara," he said, his grin widening, " These are my crazy friends." He introduced, as one girl nudged him in the side.

" Andy, do you have to be so immature." She came forward to where Ciara was standing and held out her hand.

" I'm Sooz, short for Susan like Andrew's mum. Pleased to meet you Ciara. Now I can see why Andrew went to see you instead of us." Ciara felt uneasy until Sooz smiled again. She took her by the hand and introduced her to the others. " This is Stewart, Calum, Jamie and of course you know Andy. This is Jean and you know me now, so…what's planned for now Andy?"

" Uh, why don't we go into the sitting room upstairs?"

" Sure," Jeff replied as he led the gang up the spiralled staircase at the end of the hall. Ciara's eyes lit up as she reached the top step. The room was massive, with a high ceiling and a large window showing a sky-top view of the capital city.

Ciara soon felt relaxed in their company when they started to talk about New Year's resolutions. She had always enjoyed this as she chose the same one every year. Although it might have to change now as she was not in the same century.

" Do you have any resolutions Ciara?" Jean asked, " I mean, apart from trying to remember you're life."

" To find someone who likes me for me. Someone who doesn't want me to change for their own preferences."

" I hope you are meaning someone male." Sooz told her.

" Yes, of course. I don't like women that way."

" Pretty varied resolution. This is you saying you want to find a man?" Sooz laughed.

Jean looked at Sooz. " Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

" What's better than under the mistletoe at a Christmas party?" Sooz asked, a special glint in her eyes.

" Out on the pull at Christmas!" Jean yelled. The boys looked at her in shock.

" Guys, close you're mouths, it's rude." Ciara commented. " What do you mean by 'on the pull'?"

" A girl's night out, scouring the boys of the neighbourhood. Getting into clubs illegally and getting the Craic wherever we go."

" A perfect way for us girls to bond." Sooz said.

Someone cleared their throat. Everybody turned to the doorway. Susan stood their looking pointedly at Sooz. " When are you planning this night out?"

" How about Friday?"

Andrew looked at his mum. " You're not going to-?"

" It's a perfect idea. I approve. Not so sure about the illegal part but I remember when I was your age. As long as you don't get her completely pissed."

Sooz and Jean looked at each other. " This means only one thing."

" What?" asked Stewart. " Four hours in make-up?"

" Shopping. We're not trendies, I must remind you. We like to shop in the places which make you an individual. The best places in Glasgow."

" Flip and H&M."

" Let's scour the shops, scour the boys, and scour the best individuality."

" You girls are insane." Commented Calum.

" Insane and entirely proud of it." Jean argued back.

Susan was still standing in the doorway. " I was going to take Ciara shopping tomorrow morning, why don't you take her around the shops in the afternoon. I'm sure you can both fake dentist or doctor notes, right girls?"

" Sure, Susan. Right, that is us sorted. What were we talking about?"

" New years resolutions. I'm finally going to put a down-payment on a car this year." Stewart said.

" At last. Ciara, our Stu has been able to drive for the last six months, but has never done anything about it. He was kept back a year, so he can drive before us."

" What age can you start driving around here?"

" At seventeen. When's your birthday? Andy said you could remember that much."

" 19th July 1987."

" Meaning you're about 17 and a half."

" Almost."

" Why aren't you driving yet?"

" I have no idea. No car I guess." Ciara found herself settling into their slang as well as their company. It was nice to find people on the same wavelength.

For the rest of the night, the group talked their way through music, sports and the rest of the resolutions. The girls agreed to meet up the next afternoon around one o'clock, Susan would drop her off before shooting off to work.

" 34C…34C…ahh, here's one Ciara. Try this one on, ooh and you will need a black one as well. Do you want a colourful one as well? Purple? Pink? Red?"

" Um, just what I need Susan. I don't want to inconvenience you."

" It's fine Ciara. You're getting me a morning off work." She smiled and laughed. She was in her home territory anyway, the lingerie department.

" Quickly dear, you have to meet Jean and Susie in an hour. We still have to get some money out for you. Did you have a bank account when you were younger?"

" It was in the Royal Banking Society. Papa put it into the Scottish branch in case I needed something while I was here and my family were too far away to help."

" Well, we'll get some money from my account. I have enough to spare. You'll need money for a complete new wardrobe, I'm afraid. You simply can't wear Sarah's clothes all the time. They are slightly too small for you. We'll get your school uniform during the holidays. Right, it's quarter to one, we better pay for these and then we'll get you to the girls."

" Thank you."

The girls were in fact late, but only by about five minutes. Susan gave Jean the money for Ciara, because she thought she might be slightly more responsible than Sooz.

They waved Susan off before marching Ciara into Flip. " You need some style first." Jean led her to the mini-skirts while Sooz flicked through the T-shirt rack.

Jean measured up Ciara. " I think you're about a size 12 or 14. We'll try on a range of the two, okay. You need shoes to go with the skirt, and long socks. We're going to make you cool. Not trendy, but a sort of punky girl, like us."

Sooz came over. " Did Susan tell you what size of chest you were?" she asked quietly.

" A 34C."

" Not bad. You're the same size as me. Size 14 to 16 on the top size, Jean."

" What about this one?" Sooz asked, leaning over to the skirt rack, and picking out a black mini with small pink dots.

" It's so pretty! Especially this fishnet-like material underneath. That's so cool. We have to find a top to match." Ciara agreed.

The girls searched through a ton of clothes, tried on loads of outfits and ended up with that skirt, three tops, three pairs of stockings, a billabong bag and some patches.

" H&M now. Ciara this shop has to be the place with the cheapest clothes, but the coolest bargains." Sooz said as she let Ciara into the store, past the men's section and into the trousers and skirts.

" We need to find you some trousers for the colder days. I suggest flares or maybe we should have got you some Baggies in Flip." Wondered Jean.

Jean's own dress sense consisted of baggy jeans and tight tops, perhaps a wife-beater or two in the mix. She was generally a funky character, whose inner personality was quieter than her outlook.

Sooz was the same, except she liked to wear flares with cute t-shirts or with hoodies. Sooz's inner character didn't contrast her outer self like Jean, her personality was reflected through what she wore every day.

" You know what, we forgot shoes. We so have to get you a pair of converse. Pink or purple?"

" I don't know. I generally wear pale colours." Ciara said thoughtfully, thinking back to her brown skirts, cream tops and light blue dresses.

" No, girlie, you have to stand out from the crowd with us. You want to get noticed, not in a slutty way, in a punky way, when we're out on the town. On the pull, I mean."

" We have to get you some fishnets as well. Come over here, I just spotted some. £2 a pair, not bad at all when you have £20 to spend on tights." Sooz put in.

" We can't spend everything on clothes. We have to get accessories and make-up as well." Jean replied.

" £30 on converse, say £30 on make-up…how much have we got left?"

" Well over £200, Susan must really like you, Ciara. Hey Jean, you don't think Susan might want to pair Andy off any time soon?"

" Pair him off?" Ciara asked, " Like an arranged marriage?"

" Sort of, well, not really. Susan usually says whether she likes the girls Andy brings home. Like for dinner, I mean. But we like you, and Susan likes you."

" But Andrew doesn't like me like that, he's a friend, like he is to you two."

" I'm his cousin." Jean answered. " Stewart is my brother."

" Calum is my best friend from primary school, and Sooz is my best friend from High School."

" What about Jamie?"

" He's a newbie into out group like you. He's not related. He moved here from Canada three years ago, he's really shy but has so much energy to have fun. That's why he sticks with us, you should see him dance at gigs, he's so funny!" The girls reminisced about past dances. Ciara thought about Claire-Louise and Neil, they would be getting ready for the Christmas dance at Franz Academy about now, only 117 years ago.

" Now, as you know, most guys can't dance. So don't expect to find a good dancer on Friday. We'll steer you clear of the neds, and of the people who are likely to cause a fight. Hey, we could start off at the school disco, and then head into town. There's a gig on in King Tut's, we could go there."

" What are we going to do about ID's?" asked Jean, suddenly worried.

" Sorted, don't worry. We get a photo done in the bus station later, leave them with me, and I'll do them for you. Free of charge."

" Come on, let's finish shopping before we discuss all this in the middle of the shop!" Sooz continued, before dragging the girls off to another side of the shop.

Three hours later and the girls stopped at Costa Coffee before heading home. " I forgot how tiring shopping really was." Ciara commented as paid for an orange juice at the counter. The assistant smiled at her as he gave her, her change.

" Johnny, didn't know you were working today." Jean called over.

" Bug off Jean. Stewart was in here earlier, how come he isn't hanging out with you. Hey, aren't you supposed to be in school."

" My friend here, Ciara, is new. We wanted to show her Glasgow without all the crowds, i.e., not on a Saturday." Jean explained.

" Ciara, meet Jean's stepbrother Johnny, Johnny, this is Ciara."

" Please try not to chat up another one of my friends, Johnny, Sooz has had enough of it already."

" I have?" Sooz asked, but laughed to show she was joking.

" No offence, Johnny, but you're not exactly my type." Ciara told him. She turned away before she could see his face fall.

" Unfortunately that jerk is in our year, meaning he might be in some of your classes next year." Sooz said.

" He's not too much of a jerk. He doesn't get out of control like some people I know." Jean answered back.

" When pissed. So I get a bit drunk, so what? There's no harm in that. I don't snog random boys for the hell of it and I don't have promiscuous sex with strangers." Sooz argued.

" Okay, so you're not Joanna, we know that. Ciara, Joanna is what we call a slapper, someone who sleeps around really, and is a complete bitch to everyone."

" She's also one of Johnny's ex-girlfriends." Sooz commented.

" So…how much school have you got left?" Ciara asked.

" Four days." Johnny answered from behind them.

" Go away, Jonathan. Girlie chat here."

" Talking about me and my ex-girlfriends?"

" Ciara is new. We're just telling her who the scum-bags are."

" Why don't you let her make her own decisions?"

" We're just warning her against Neds and the like."

" Really, Johnny, I need to know all this." Ciara stated.

" Why, you should know it already!" he said, almost appalled.

" I can't remember it, Johnny, I have amnesia." Ciara calmly told him.