AN: Hi, my names Ellie and this is my first story, The Blue Hours.

I do know that this title has been used in books/movies/fics before, it's just it fits so well with the story and I've worked really hard on this story so y'know…..go easy on me XD

Special shout out to Eilidh, I wouldn't have put this up without her and she's really helped me with this, thank you

If there are any mistakes or spelling errors then please contact me and I'll fix them as soon as possible.

Reviews are very welcome…*hint hint* XD

The Blue Hours

1. Choke

It was the same dream every night.

I was drowning, falling into the blanket of water. My lungs would scream out for air and my legs would grow numb. Whenever I tried to push myself to the surface, a hand would grab my head harshly and shove it back down. The hand would still remain in my hair, fingernails clinging onto my scalp. Water would crash into my mouth choking me as my arms would flap about like a seal. Then all of a sudden the hand would pull my hair, bringing my head up to the surface. My vision would be blurry so all I could see were smudged shapes, but I could hear. There were distant screams, smashes, church bell chimes but one sound would always stand out. The person who was drowning me would shout in my ear insults and countless accusations that I wouldn't remember. Their spit would shoot into my ear and their coarse voice would send tremors of fear through my body. I would start sobbing loudly as my black dress clung to me like a second skin. The blurry figure would continue shouting into my ear as I squeezed my eyes shut to stop the tears. Then, the voice would suddenly stop. There would be a few moments of silence from the blurry figures as the smashing and screaming would continue. Until, a different voice would harshly whisper something into my ear….

Then before I could take a breath, my head was pushed back down into the water. My head would remain being pushed lower and lower until my lungs would squeeze tight and my stomach would ache. Then the hand would let go, freeing my hair. I would slowly rise to the top but my lungs would be so tight. I'd flap about helplessly, wanting to scream or cry but before I knew it darkness would swallow my eyes….

I felt my eyes shoot open. I skimmed my eyes over the royal blue ceiling. My body relaxed a little, realizing I was in my room. I breathed out slowly as my bottom lip quivered. What happened? It was the first question I asked myself every morning, ever since I could remember. I had the same nightmare every night but recently they had become more….vivid. I could feel my lungs squeezing for air and my legs go painfully numb that night and sometimes, when I woke, I would be gasping for air like a fish out of water. Even though I could remember myself being drowned, I couldn't see who was drowning me. I couldn't even remember what the person said to me. It scared me waking up and sometimes not remembering it at all but it would always seep back the next night and be as real as ever. I breathed out once more and glanced at my alarm clock, seven o'clock. I stayed still for a moment, breathing deeply and blinking a few more times. My mind was still haunting me from the nightmare but my body was tense, ready to get up.

I took a breath and shoved my thick, purple covers over and winced as my bare feet brushed the wooden floor. Once my blood rushed back to my feet, I plodded out of my incredibly messy room, across the landing and into the sparkling white bathroom. I shut the door and locked it. I looked at my reflection. I looked…dead. My eyes had bags under them and my mouth was dry and cracked. My hair looked more like straw with my bangs hanging in front of my face and my complexion had several explosions of pale and red blotches. My eye lids refused to open properly so I ran the shower hoping to wake up soon and stop being a zombie. The falling water filled my ears as steam gently rose from the glass cubical. I continued looking at my reflection lazily. My blue eyes looked different somehow and my blonde hair looked almost white. I picked at my hair slightly, feeling the rough texture.

I looked at myself a little more, trying to smile but failing, miserably. Then the sound of falling water seeped back into my ears and I twitched suddenly, remembering the shower was on. I shrugged off my pajamas (consisting of black leggings and a yellow t-shirt with a banana print on it) and gingerly stepped into the shower. I almost apologized to the shower for melting the Antarctic and probably wiping out the last population of polar bears. I turned the toggle to cold and grabbed the apple shampoo. I suddenly stopped. The touch of water suddenly sent a tidal wave of memories into my mind. I stood there in the shower, letting the water soak my skin and hair. Perhaps it was a sign, or maybe I ate too much cheese. After all, everything happens for a reason. That's what I believe anyway. I shuddered slightly as the shower eventually turned cold and I began to wash my hair.

After I washed my hair I wrapped it up turban style and slipped on my fluffy white dressing gown that made me look like a yeti, and discreetly went into my room. I shut the door and blinked at the bomb site. The bomb site was my small, 'compact' bedroom. Piles of clothes were scattered among the floor and my desk was filled with pieces of paper and pens. My wardrobe was wide open and my laptop's wires were out in the open for all eyes to see. I could even see clutter appearing from under my bed, threatening me to clean up. I suddenly felt disappointed in myself. I sighed slightly and started drying my hair.

While my hairdryer blared into my ears, my eyes scanned the ceiling. My whole room was painted a deep shade of blue with clumsily drawn silver stars appearing from the corners. I smiled as I remembered my cousins, Shane and Mike, painting them on but then getting an earful from my parents for 'ruining the interior'. My smile disappeared as I remembered dad. My parents split up 7 years ago. I didn't know why and I guess I never will. My mum is now married to Dave, an engineer, for about 3 years now. He's a pretty cool guy I guess since I can go out as long as I want when he's 'in charge' and he doesn't tell mum if I've broken one of her 'expensive' china pieces. But the thing with Dave is that he's always trying too hard for me. Like when I'm feeling down he'll ask me what's wrong again and again. Of course, I respect his care but sometimes I notice he puts a forceful smile on as if he's…begging. Sometimes I just want to tell him to stop trying to replace my dad and giving himself a hard time but I know he'd feel offended anyway. I feel …sorry for him in a way.

Once I'd finished drying my hair I tackled it with my comb and stared at myself, again. The blotches on my face had disappeared but the bags under my eyes still remained. I frowned slightly. My face shape was, strange. I didn't look like a girl that much, I looked more like a boy probably because I hold a lot of my dad's features. The only 'girly' thing about me is my lips. They're small and always come out bright red in the winter. My dad used to call me 'cherry chops' when I was young. I sighed slightly as I lazily tied up my hair and peered into my open wardrobe. It was stuffed full with several shirts and trousers. I picked out a simple pair of jeans and my dark, green top with half-length sleeves.

Once changed, I opened my bedroom door and looked down the stairs. I could hear the TV blaring, my mum calling for Mollie, my younger sister, and strangely, a loud drilling noise. I frowned slightly and plodded down the stairs and came to the hallway where Dave was drilling holes in the wall. I didn't bother asking him what he was doing so I slipped past him. I opened the door to the living room where Mollie was sitting on the couch watching Dora the Explorer. I raised a brow. Mollie was 8 years old and she was still watching this crap? I shrugged and flopped down next to her. I watched the television carefully. The screen was illuminated a bright, emerald green colour blinding me and a talking blue monkey kept popping up on the screen. I felt around for the TV controller but failed. I then looked onto my sister's lap and noticed it lying there, calling for me. I looked up to my sister, hoping she wasn't looking at me. But she was. She snatched the controller away and glared at me with her beady blue eyes,

"I'll tell Mum." she murmured and turned back to the TV smiling innocently. I blinked. Even though the three words she said were so wimpy and so 'child-sisterly' like, I still felt scared. It was probably the way she said it. I sighed heavily and walked through to the kitchen. Past the couch where several sheets lay on top and our bookcase that was filled to the brim with…books. I saw mum sitting down at the table doing a crossword with a cup of coffee in her other hand, her short brown hair tied up. I reached up to the nearest cupboard and took out a box of cereal. Mum looked up from the paper and smiled,

"Had a good sleep?" she asked sweetly. I turned my face to her. My mind began filing through the overly-used drawer of excuses and came out with the usual,

"Yeah." I turned back to my cereal and mentally kicked myself for the sad excuse. I'll need more than that to get past my math's teacher. I carried my prepared cereal back through to the living room. I didn't want mum pestering me with questions. I slipped down next to Mollie, careful of spilling the milk. I began shoveling the cereal into my dry mouth and glanced at Mollie. She turned to me and glared icily at me again while shoving the controller under her school sweater. I scowled at her; no way was I going up there. I then smiled. I lifted my leg over the coffee table and jabbed a button with my toe,

"Mum! Lydia's changing the channel!" I growled at my sister for shouting in my ear like that, I heard my mum shouting from the kitchen but I decided not listen. Mollie glowered at me and elbowed me. My cereal spilled. If I was ten years-old right now, I'd scream. But since I'm sixteen, I'll have to do something mature….. I nipped her. I didn't feel really guilty. It was almost funny seeing Mollie scream and run into the kitchen, wailing. I sighed roughly as I picked up all the fallen flakes and wiped the milk with a wet towel. I decided to leave home as soon as possible, since I didn't want to meet an angry mum. I put the bowl on the coffee table, grabbed my jacket, shoes, and bag and headed out the door. I called a goodbye to Dave as he gruffly replied since he had two nails in his mouth. I breathed out as I shut the door. Peace. I looked around me. Our house was situated outside of town so it wasn't that busy. The sky was a cold, light blue as the trees were a deep, dark color; mist lurked around the woods. I could see the lake's blue blanket of water in the distance, sending chills through me. I could also see the corner shop down the road with the shopkeeper setting up. The road was lined with several houses like my own, small and compact. There were passing trucks carrying wood, cars taking kids to school and buses. I contemplated about getting the bus even though school wasn't that far away. School, how could I forget? The most time I spend in a whole week, I've forgotten. I had been away for the whole summer break and also another five weeks, so it was no wonder I forgot. Suddenly, a familiar rumble of an engine came into my earshot. I looked down the road to see the all too familiar school bus. I smiled as the driver gripped onto the steering wheel, nose barely poking over the driving wheel. I decided to take the bus, I was feeling lazy. As the bus stopped in front of my house I noticed a lot of the bus occupants were staring at me. I swallowed hard as I braced myself for all the questions. The bus doors creaked open. I slipped in and showed my bus pass to the elderly bus driver, Maggie. She nodded and smiled as she closed the bus doors and began accelerating. I was suddenly bombarded with questions like,

"Where have you been?"

"Where's you tan?"

"How was the extremely long holiday?"

"Whoa, someone's gained weight!"

Many other questions were asked as I pushed past the luggage that clogged up the gangway. As I passed, I elbowed Ryan Darnell for saying I gained weight. I peered around to find a seat,

"Lydia!" I looked over to the shouting source and saw a grinning Beatrice. I smiled back as I shoved faster and came to the, thankfully, empty seat next to her. I sat down and dropped my bag and sighed slightly. All the students had stopped asking questions and continued shouting, chatting and throwing pieces of paper everywhere. I turned towards Beatrice who was raising a light brow at me. I smirked at her,

"I'm sorry." I said with a smile as she tittered. I'd forgotten to contact her in the last few weeks,

"It's okay," she tilted her head at me slightly, "How was it anyway?" I bit my lip trying to think of a good way to describe my holiday. It wasn't the best, but neither the worst,

"Delectable….?" Beatrice giggled at my clumsy use of words, her hazel eyes sparkling. I turned around behind me to look at the behind seats and saw Miranda and her boyfriend, Daniel, in a 'deep' conversation. Beatrice shrugged her shoulders,

"I think they're about to end soon…" She whispered. I frowned. Miranda was our best friend and she was predicting their relationship? I shrugged, usual Beatrice. I then noticed something different in the corner of my eye. Beatrice had a hair cut. I looked at her new hair. It was a short; pixie style that went quite well with her light, ash brown locks. She saw me ogling it and grinned,

"You like?" I raised a brow,

"Its different." she laughed, loudly as usual. She sighed as she plugged her earphones into her small ears and tilted her head side to side to the music. Thankfully, she knew about the holiday didn't need to ask all the annoying questions. I breathed out slowly as I looked out the window as houses, shops, cars and trees passed by. The sky still remained an enchanting hue of blue and the mist had spread across the town, giving it such an eerie look. The blue then reminded me of something. Last night. A strong gut feeling throbbed in my stomach as my mind cast back to the dream, or nightmare. I was suddenly feeling so alone and…..scared. I breathed out slowly as I tried to block the memories out. It was hard. I looked back to Miranda and Daniel; they were sitting still with plain looks on their faces. Perhaps Beatrice was right. Suddenly all the students stood up and barged out of the bus. Beatrice stood up and ushered me out. I looked up to the school. It was grey and plain. Pretty much like any other school. There were small pieces of shrubbery and plants dotted around the three parts of the school. Beatrice and I waited outside for Miranda. She lazily stepped down from the bus with a mild look of boredom on her olive skinned face. She brushed her straight, dark brown hair behind her ears,

"Hey…." Beatrice said cautiously. Miranda raised a brow at her, suspicious,

"We're not going to break up." She said stonily. Beatrice froze and turned to me slowly. I glowered at her for whispering about other people's business (giving the impression to Miranda anyway) and apologized to Miranda. She shrugged and walked off. It was official; Miranda was in a bad mood. I heard the school bell ring in the distance. Beatrice ran off after Miranda as I slowly followed, not looking forward to today's lessons.

A flurry of people filed into the school buildings as I reluctantly followed, noticing Beatrice and Miranda far ahead. I frowned. Why was I feeling so left out? Whenever I was on my own I felt….abandoned and the feeling of something about to happen wouldn't go away. I shook my thoughts away as I pushed the main building's doors open and came to the squeaky clean lobby. I walked down the stretch of hallway as students, first years and teachers pushed by. Once in my registration class, I sat in my usual seat, near the front. I dropped my bag to the side and leaned back on the chair,

"So how's the little skiver doin'?" I rolled my eyes, Ryan Darnell again. I mumbled a pathetic shut up and turned to the front to ignore him. I heard him snort beside me and continue his conversation nearby. I breathed out through my nose, frustrated. Why was I being so anti-social? Must have been Mollie….

Once I and everyone else had confirmed they were here the room was filled with voices. I slouched further down my seat as I glanced around the room. As I expected, everyone had moved about and went into little groups, even Beatrice. Unfortunately, Miranda isn't in any of my classes, except P.E and Geography. Then, the bell rang and registration was over,

"Liddie! What do we have next?" I turned to see Beatrice walking towards me; I could hear the music she was still listening to. I took out my timetable and looked. Maths. I groaned,

"What, what is it!?" Beatrice shouted, panicked. I mumbled a depressed 'maths' and walked off. I heard Beatrice's rushing footsteps behind,

"What's wrong?" I walked faster. I heard her shout behind me. I stopped suddenly. The memories were back from the previous night again. My throat clenched slightly as the feeling of something cool and slick delved down my throat. I winced. It went deeper and deeper, making it hard to even breathe. The sound of Beatrice's footsteps suddenly echoed through my mind waking me up. The feeling disappeared. Once she caught up she looked at me with pure disbelief in her eyes,

"Okay, you are so telling me what's wrong." I looked at her gasping for breath slightly. I then carried on walking, trying to forget the feeling. I could feel Beatrice walk faster beside me, following,

"Is it your monthly?" I froze and turned to her. She was looking at me curiously, not a smirk in sight,

"No. I just had….a nightmare last night, that's all." I carried on walking as I saw her solemnly nod,

"I see…" a small smile tugged on my lips as I saw her suddenly look at me, begging me to tell. I opened the door to Mr. Cooper's room, our maths teacher, and walked in, Beatrice still looking at me. I took my seat as other classmates filled their seats. I looked up to expect Mr. Cooper sitting as his desk but instead he wasn't there, just the desk with a considerably large pile of books. Suddenly, the door swung open and a young man walked in. The class fell silent as the man walked to the desk carrying a large red book and his bag. He flopped down onto his seat and leaned back. The class froze, staring at the man with intent. I too stared at him, wondering what the hell he was doing and who the hell he was. He pressed his fingers together, staring at his lap. After minutes of him pondering he stood up abruptly making some of the students jump suddenly and paced across the front of the classroom. He smiled,

"Good Morning class," the class didn't reply, "My name is Mr. Freeman and today, I'll be your maths teacher."

The class was silent. I glanced at Beatrice who was gaping at Mr. Freeman like he was from another planet. I glanced back to the 'teacher' who was smiling at the class, his hazel eyes glinting. A sudden awkward aura spread across the room as students shuffled about on their seats nervously and glanced from side to side. Mr. Freeman chuckled and pushed some of his sandy blonde hair back,

"Now I understand that Mr. Cooper was supposed to be handing some sort of maths test to you…" he paused as the class continued staring at him, "But I'm afraid the test is cancelled due to Mr. Cooper being absent."

I expected the class to cheer or at least sigh in relief but I only got silence for an answer. The class continued being quiet as Mr. Freeman cleared his throat. He picked up his big, red book and flicked through the pages,

"So instead I'll be teaching you about something else," several class members frowned as he continued flicking through the book,

"Ah here it is…Tales of the Supernatural." I blinked. Was this guy serious? He was going to teach us about fairies, vampires and what not? The class suddenly erupted with several whispers and mumbles as Mr. Freeman smiled. His head suddenly turned and next thing I knew his hazel eyes were set straight on me. I felt my face heat up and my heart quicken as he looked at me,

"Excuse me, could you hand these out please." Mr. Freeman reached his hand out to the desk and took a pile of books and handed them towards me, not looking away from me. I took the books, staring at his bright eyes. Then suddenly I froze. His eyes weren't hazel, they were more…..bronze. I didn't realize I was gawking, but I was frozen. I couldn't see anything but images, flashing through my mind like trees in the sunset, canyons that spread for miles and the still water of a lake….

I suddenly snapped as he looked away. I blinked for a few minutes, my mouth open slightly, dazed. I glanced down at the books he gave to me, 'Vampires, Witches and other mythical creatures.' I looked at the covers. Illustrations of gnarling looking witches and tall, dark figures with pearly white teeth were spread across the deep burgundy covers. I blinked deciding if this guy was kidding or not. I looked across to him. He was giving a lecture and strangely, the class listened. I stood up slowly pushing the chair with my thighs and started handing out the books, looking at each and every one carefully. Suddenly a sharp nip pierced my skin on my arm. I glanced at Beatrice a little dazed,

"What…?" I mumbled, caught of guard,

"That was for staring at Mr. Freeman like that!" she hissed. I blinked slightly, waking up thanks to the pinch and rolled my eyes. I then carried on walking, trying to ignore Beatrice's accusing glares. Once finishing handing out the books and avoiding questioning stares, I returned to my seat, drained. As I slid into my seat, I prayed that he wouldn't speak to me or even look at me for that matter, I didn't want to get sent into dreamland again, not like that….

The class had officially started by now as Mr. Freeman briefly explained why the heck he was doing this and how he wasn't wasting his time. He said he was a part-time 'supernatural expert' when he wasn't full-time teaching and was fascinated by the 'way of the night. As he carried on his speech, I couldn't help but feel edgy. Every time he glanced at the side of the room, near me, I'd panic and my heart with thump hard as his smooth, bronze eyes skimmed over the class. Suddenly, the class were picking up their books and flicking through the pages. I picked up the book carefully and slowly turning the pages over as if they were made of gold. Each page was crinkled and the actual back of the book was falling off. The pages were tinted a light coffee colour and several stains were dotted around on the covers,

"Today we will be learning about the myths of Lycanthropes, or mostly known as werewolves," the class had started murmuring questions and whispering to each other. Just then, I saw an amused glint in his bronze eyes.

God dammit Lydia! Don't look into his damned eyes!

I looked down onto the page quickly, mentally kicking myself,

"Now, a lot of you may not believe in these creatures. But I want you to tell me as much as you know…" the class glanced at each other wary until a classmate put their hand up,

"They change when a full moon appears." I turned around to the brave student and saw Matthew Clint, his soft brown hair, glinting in the blare of the flickering class lights. He smirked proudly as 24 eyes stared at him,

"Good start," Mr. Freeman said with a smile that would probably melt Beatrice's heart, "What about you?" I looked up to see who he was talking to and froze. It was me,

"You seem to like that book, are you an expert of any kind?" I felt my face suddenly become a lake of boiling hot lava as several other students giggled,

"….No" I croaked out as I saw Beatrice from the corner of my eyes staring at me almost accusingly. I refused to look at his eyes as he chuckled,

"I see. Do you know any other facts?" he asked politely as I looked down at the book. Several facts ran through my head but all jumbled up as my face heated up,

"They….hate silver?" the blonde haired man nodded. I still felt on edge though as his eyes bored into mine. I looked down directly at the book, praying,

"Well done, what about you, young man?" I relaxed as he asked another student on the other side of the room. Why was I so scared? It was just a substitute teacher, a substitute teacher who is teaching us complete crap, that's all.

The class passed on smoothly, his eyes hardly meeting mine, making me feel less edgy. I heaved up my bag as another student picked up all the books and handed them in. The bell blared out expectantly, fully waking me up. I speed walked down the corridor hoping that Beatrice wasn't following me.

Fate wasn't on my side today,

"What happened back there!?" she exclaimed loudly as I made my way to the gymnasium,

"I really don't know…" I groaned. Beatrice huffed behind me frustrated,

"Oh come on, you can tell me….." she said playfully. I stopped and turned around, knowing I couldn't multi-task very well,

"I'm serious: I don't know, Bea" I looked at her, almost pleading that she wouldn't pester me. I continued walking until I had arrived at the changing rooms, greeted with another flood of questions. I answered them with 'hellos' and 'fines' and gently pushed through the room of girls. I put my bag down on the space next to Miranda as Beatrice dumped her small, very compact 'school bag' next to mine. As I got dressed I noticed something strange. It was a purple blotch on Miranda's bare neck, staring out at me. I knew I should've minded my own business but I couldn't help it. I continued staring at it until she pulled on her dark red tee on, snapping my thoughts in half. I discarded my dark, green shirt and exchanged it for a sky blue tee. I pulled down my jeans and put on a pair of sludge, grey shorts. My shoulders sank at the sight of my shorts. I looked across at Beatrice and saw her pruning her hair in front of the mirror with several other girls. She was wearing a flashy pair of mini, black and fuchsia pink shorts with a white tank top, complimenting her slim figure. She saw me looking and smiled at me. I weakly smiled back and made my way into the gym hall. It was…big. The floors were a light wood shade and the walls were a deep cream. The floors shone brightly due to merciless amounts of polishing thanks to our janitor. Our gym teacher, Mr. Jackson, greeted us all gruffly and started off our work out with a 'light' jog around the hall. I jogged at a pace, hoping that I wouldn't get a stitch. I saw Beatrice fly ahead giggly with some other girls in my year. Miranda sidled up beside me,

"She's been hanging about with them a lot…" she murmured,

"Really…?" I said; trying not to sound displeased. But as usual, you can't hide anything from Miranda Hawke. Her dark, brown hair bounced in it's ponytail as she took wide strides,

"Yeah…..apparently she's going to Ashley Beale's house party," I blinked. Ashley Beale was one of the most popular girls in school. I know that sounds clique but it was annoyingly true. She had dark, coppery blonde hair and big, blue eyes. I used to feel so envious around her but soon I grew out of it, realizing that her life was just the same as mine….just a little richer. She would always have her two followers, Caitlin and Georgia, tagging along. She was far ahead, jogging next to her latest boyfriend, Matthew Clint. I had to admit though; they made a pretty good couple,

"Are you going?" I shook my head slightly as I stopped dazing off,

"Probably not….Unless Bea forces me to, and then I'll have to go." I grumbled as the thought of me going inside Ashley's flashy pad and seeing her flashy car and whatnot.

Miranda laughed,

"I suppose." I glanced at her, confused. Miranda hardly ever laughed. After taking a few more laps, Mr. Jackson called us all in to assign our first activity….

High jump.

My heart punched my chest violently. This was bad. I hated high jump, with an undying hate. While everyone would sail over the bar effortlessly, I would wallop over like a hippo, feeling as if I'd snapped in half. I groaned as I thankfully heard others. I saw Beatrice cling onto Caitlin, jumping up and down like kangaroo on speed. As he sent us off, I started thinking of a way out of this, perhaps I could pretend I was ill or sprained my ankle or something….

Yeah right! As if Mr. Jackson's gonna fall for that. And you know what happened last time you faked ill…

Thoughts of my previous 'illness' sneaked into my mind. Mum is very, very hard to convince. My heart thumped deeply Mr. Jackson and 2 other students set up the bar as the dragged out the inflatable mat,

"That'll take ages to set up, don't worry." I jumped at the voice of Miranda. I nodded in agreement. She and Beatrice knew about my fear of the High Jump. Suddenly, Mr. Jackson blew his whistle loudly, getting everyone's brief attention,

"Thankfully, the school recently funded the P.E department so that we could all buy new equipment. So, I suggested we should buy this….," he brought out a large pump that had a long cable coming out of the back. I didn't feel so relaxed anymore. He plugged in the contraption and connected it to the mat, his eye-blinding white trainers squeaking against the shiny laminate floor. He flicked the switch and stood up with flamboyant look on his old-ish features. The mattress groaned and squeaked as it started rising and rising. I blinked as it rose and rose, higher and higher. It was so fast; it was like it was played fast-forward. The class followed Mr. Jackson's instructions by standing at either the left sight or right, depending on what you liked best. I went to the right reluctantly, hoping to God that I'd be okay. I never was religious though. Mr. Jackson blew his whistle and the first person started off. They ran up to the small, blue matt laid in front of the large mattress, jumped, flicked up there legs and landed on the mattress. The left side then started and soon the pattern continued, only a few people messing up. Soon, it was my turn. I swallowed deeply as my stomach heated up as did my face. I ran, pathetically, to the matt and jumped. Instead lying down in the air and flicking my legs up, I stepped over it. My right foot landed roughly on the incredibly slouchy mattress and twisted. I hissed as I fell onto the mattress. I clutched my ankle and squeezed, trying not to screw my face up.

Be brave. Please, just be brave for once.

I stood up gingerly as I heard Mr. Jackson's squeaking trainers come closer,

"What's wrong here?" he said plainly, probably disappointed at the fact he has to teach me,

"I twisted my ankle." I said, slightly louder than most times. He peered down at my foot, as if expecting blood to come squirting out. I looked deep into his face, trying to send a brainwave into his mind,

Let me sit out. Let me sit out.

He turned away shaking his head,

"Walk it off." He shouted back. I felt pretty pissed off at him at that point. I gritted my teeth at the back of his head as I stepped of the wobbling mattress and slowly walked it off. I felt a few eyes on me but I ignored them. I looked to the side bench where I saw a few students sitting at the side. One of them, a girl, reached under the bench and took out a translucent, plastic bottle with clear liquid in it. I gulped. She drank the water greedily as I stared at the water. Suddenly, a feeling of rushing water in me froze me. It traveled up to my lungs and bubbled viciously. It was like a monster, trying to escape from its cage. The feeling of water stinging my eyes started. It pricked at them delicately at first but suddenly jabbed my eyes, making me blink constantly,

"Lydia?" I glanced to my side. It was Tracy Allan, an old friend of mine, "Are you crying?" She did hold pure care in her eyes. I frowned at her for waking me from my hallucinations. I quickly smiled seeing her confused face,

"No….just an itchy eye." She giggled and I smiled. She then glanced at Mr. Jackson then me,

"How was you're holiday?" I smiled at her again,

"Fine…" she nodded. I felt an awkward pause drift between us,

"Where did you go again?" she blurted out,

"London." I said, a little loudly. She then smiled and bounced back to her place, on left. I frowned slightly, feeling abandoned. London. I went there for my holiday, and some holiday it was. I remember going on the wheel and all the other attractions (including Big Ben) and shopping at Harrods. Mum and Dave stayed in a hotel while Mollie and I stayed with dad. Since I'd lived in London for about 6 years, I knew my way around pretty well. He lives in an Edwardian flat, not far from the main high streets. It was decorated with quirky and antique furniture and some modern features. My dad works in a bank. Although bankers are supposed to get lots of money, my dad doesn't. Probably because he spends a lot of money on his holiday home in Scotland, even though it's a tip…..

I stayed cemented into the gym floor and watched the other students floating over the bar. Mr. Jackson's eyes shot at me. I jerked my foot up and began twisting it round and round trying to look innocent. It didn't work,

"I think you're ready for another shot, Lydia." He said sternly, his dark eyebrows furrowed making several lines on his forehead. I stopped staring at his wrinkles and walked up to the starting spot. I eyed bar accusingly. I was going to make it. I was going to successfully (and gracefully) make it over. I stretched out my legs in the starting position and pushed. The start had given me quite a boost but before I could even sort my footwork, the bar was right in front of me. So I stepped over it again. Mr. Jackson exhaled out in irritation,

"Come on! My dog can do better than that!" I pushed my self up again. Luckily, I didn't twist my foot again. I saw most of the class looking at me questioningly, asking how the hell I couldn't do this. I sighed quietly as I made my way to the back of the queue. But when I looked down it, it wasn't that short. The class droned on the same. I asked if I could sit out because my foot still 'hurt' but Mr. Jackson didn't buy it. On the other hand though, this gave me the chance to go to the back of the queue, losing more time. At last, the bell gave its glorious call. The class darted off to the changing rooms, probably noticing that Mr. Jackson was in the store cupboard. I squeezed through the bunch of girls quickly changing girls and arrived at my place, clothes piled on top of my bag. I threw off all the clothes that weren't mine and got changed. I waited for Miranda since Beatrice had gone away with Ashley and Co. again. She came out looking tired but with a little touch of amusement on her face,

"Let's not talk about it." I said to her clearly. She shook her head,

"Whatever. Are you coming with us for lunch?" I frowned at first when she mentioned us but figured it out,

"Sure. But as long as Beatrice actually eats something, I hate seeing her waste herself away like that." I said while pushing through the gymnasium doors open. I felt a big smile appear on my face as I felt the chilly wind cool my nostrils. I let out a dreamy sigh as I waltzed towards a bench and flopped down, staring up at the now blue sky. Miranda chuckled and sat next to me, taking out her English books.

The rest of the classes droned on slowly. English was a bore since Mrs. Chippendale made us recite the words of Shylock from the Shakespearean play, The Merchant of Venice and note them down in our books making sure we added each and every word in. Chemistry wasn't all that bad though. Mr. Welch did give me hard time since I missed 'precious revision' for our upcoming tests. When the lunch bell rang I felt like running out the classroom and celebrating, I felt so locked up in those classrooms that day. I put my stuff in my bag and trudged along to the stairs, near the cafeteria. Melanie and Beatrice appeared the bottom of the stairs waving at me. I ran down the mossy steps and met up with them.

Lunch was surprisingly quicker than normal. Beatrice had obeyed her promise from before the holidays (eat at least four pieces of food at each meal) and Melanie was busy reading her Geometry maths book,

"Oh by the way, we have soooo much to tell you!" buzzed Beatrice. I raised a brow, why didn't she tell me on the bus? She glanced at Melanie, who shrugged her shoulders at her and continued peering at her book,

"I'm going to Ashley's party right?" I nodded,

"Well….I was hoping you'd come with me!" she announced proudly. I nodded again slowly. I looked at Melanie who was covering her book over he face, obviously laughing. I turned to Beatrice with a pleading look on my face,

"Bea, look I-."

"Your coming!" she shouted with a grin on her face, "Whether you like or not! I need support." I snorted,

"Support for what exactly. Support for when you're throwing up in the bathroom?" her face stayed in its grinning position for a few seconds. Then it fell,

"What? Noooo!" she shouted accusingly at me, "Lydia, I told you, I'm not drinking. It's a garden party." Although there was a promising look on her face, I wasn't convinced,

"You promise?" I said taking bite out of my egg salad roll,

"I double promise." she said solemnly, her hand on her heart while the other was held up in the air. I looked away wanting to drop the subject. I didn't want to go to the party, no way. I'd have to wear what Beatrice wants me to wear and god knows what she'll choose. Melanie put her book down and turned to Beatrice,

"Bea, when is the party anyway?" she asked. I looked up to Beatrice, suddenly remembering the all important question. She smiled,

"In a few weeks, she's already handing out invitations." She said simply and continued nibbling on her piece of biscuit. I blinked. In a few weeks? That was pretty soon to be organizing a party, especially when you're Ashley. Melanie raised a brow,

"Wow…must be some party then." she murmured. Beatrice nodded eagerly like a child, oblivious to Melanie's sarcasm,

"Yep, it will be. I promise." she looked at me when she said the last few words. I shook my head, still not convinced.

Once we'd finished our lunch (Beatrice binned hers), we all exited the cafeteria and made our way out. Beatrice pushed the grey double doors, chatting non-stop to Melanie about the party. Suddenly she gasped and started tugging my sleeve. I frowned at her,

"What?" I said bluntly. She bit her lip, her smile showing through and nodded towards my left. I turned to my side wearily.

And that's when I saw them….