None of this would have happened without the diversion. We were on the bus, me and my BFFs (best foster friends). We're not actually best friends or anything, but since we live together and all that, we figured we might as well go with it. It's them or no one, and you know what they say about beggars and choosers and all that.. Besides, the girls at school are not much better. I don't really have a wide choice. You don't get to pick and choose unless you want to be a loner freak like Ginger. Her name is Ginger on account of her ginger hair. I think she has a proper real name but no one knows it, except teachers maybe. Well, she's not in any of my classes so I've never heard her being called another name. Anyway, we were in the bus near London Bridge. Saoirse wanted to go to a bubble tea shop. Bubble tea is like regular tea, but with little fruity bubbles that pop in your mouth. It's the best thing but none of the shops selling it are close to where we live, so every time is like a mini trip. It's cool though, we get to mess about together and be like other girls.
The bus was so slow and most of us were getting frustrated. It was kinda hot in the bus, too, and smelt of old cars, if you know what I mean. Jana said "Let's just get off and do something else." I didn't think Saoirse would listen. She really wanted that bubble tea. But then the driver announced there was a diversion ahead and Saoirse thought it would take way too long to get to the shop, so we had to get off.
"So what now?" I asked.
"Let's get some snacks in Tesco's," said Jana.
"I have no money," I said. (I was going to use my loyalty card to get a free tea.)
Jana and Saoirse just looked at me all funny, but didn't say anything. I followed them inside. I figured they could just share some of their snacks with me. Isn't that what friends are for?
Jana and Saoirse spent ages in the sweets and chocolate aisle, going up and down a million times and more, but not even getting anything. I was getting really bored, especially as I couldn't choose anything for myself. I was just thinking of maybe asking Jana to get me some Jaffa cakes - I'd pay her back, obviously - when I heard them whispering loudly and then they pulled me away.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" I asked. I might be their BFF but you can't just pull me like that and expect me to be OK with it.
"Just act natural," said Saoirse.
I didn't think I'd been acting unnatural, but I couldn't be bothered to argue. We'd just walked out the shop when the security guard stopped us. I should have just left. I hadn't done anything wrong, after all. But I was almost in shock and couldn't make my brain work.
We had to follow the guy to a tiny room. At first I thought he'd realise it was a mistake, and we would be able to leave, but then Jana and Saoirse brought out packets of sweets and chocolate bars from under their jumper. I didn't even know how they had put them there without me seeing. I told the guy, "I didn't steal anything, so let me go", but he totally ignored me.
Raqib came to collect us. We had to give the security guard the number of the home, or he'd have called the police. Raqib was so mad, I could tell. He doesn't really show it, but I've been in that home for years and I know when he's mad. In the car, at every traffic light, he'd turn around and look at me all angry.
"What were you thinking, honestly?" he asked.
The three of us just shrugged, it's usually a good way to get people to shut up. Not now.
"Don't give me that shrug. Do you know how bad this could have been? Do you really want a criminal record? You're lucky they did not choose to press charges."
Saoirse was super Zen the whole time. I could tell she wasn't bothered. Then again, I'm pretty sure she already has a criminal record.
"It was just some sweets, chill," I said, giving a half shrug and looking out of the window to show how laid back I was. Sometimes if you pretend really hard to be not bothered by something, it works. It didn't this time. And Raqib was not at all laid back about it and lectured us the whole way back. He didn't even raise his voice or anything, but you could just tell how angry he was. His voice changes, and his face gets all scary. I was almost wanting to cry, so I scrunched up my eyebrows as much as possible and thought of how angry I was at Jana and Saoirse, and that stopped me from crying for that time.
"Why do you keep having a go at me?" I asked. "They were there too!"
"I'm not having a go at you. I'm talking to the three of you. You just happen to be in my line of vision," he said.
Well. He may have been telling all of us, but I was the one who got to see his angry eyes the whole car ride back. How is that fair?