Summary: After the death of her mother, Louise Gold goes off the rails, establishes her reputation as a rebellious bad girl and indulges in the world of alcohol, drugs and partying. But as their friendship slips away, can her best friend, Jake, help her?
Chapter One: Social Studies
The day had not been a good one for Louise Gold. It was only the second week back at school and she was tired already, the early September autumn sunshine had been replaced with drizzling, cold raindrops and blustery gusts of wind and, to top it all off, she had received detention from one of the most horrible teachers in school, Dr Faust, just for passing a note in class to her best friend, Jake Harris.
Thankfully, to her relief, Louise wouldn't be serving detention with Dr Faust; as he had unfairly given her and after school Wednesday detention she would be locked inside the prison like detention classroom for one hour with all the other juvenile delinquents who had stepped out of line in the first eight days of the new school term, supervised solely by the Headmaster, Mr Rogers, who, luckily, wasn't actually that scary.
Louise stood outside the door of Room 16, the detention room, and raised her left arm to check the watch on her wrist. It was 2:47pm. Dr Faust's words echoed through her head, "Room 16, 2:45pm. You are expected not to be late."
"Well, two minutes doesn't count, does it?" Louise muttered anxiously to herself.
Jake had given her a pre-detention spirit-boosting talk saying that detention wasn't really a bad thing, that she shouldn't be worried and then he promised that he would meet Louise later at 'The Social', a coffee place in town, where he would buy her a cappuccino as a celebratory gesture for getting and surviving the afternoon.
The only upside in the whole detention drama that Louise could find was that her Dad need not even know about it. He was still working unbelievably long hours at his office in the city and he probably wouldn't be home until very late tonight. Then, he would disappear again early tomorrow morning before Louise woke up for school and even before the morning rush hour. At least her Dad wouldn't be 'disappointed' that she had gotten detention – even though it was just for something as trivial and unimportant as note-passing.
These days Louise's Dad was around less and less and the times that he was around he was becoming more and more withdrawn. Coming home to an empty house every day after school, knowing that no one would be home, made Louise want to cry. She had even taken to staying over at Jake's house until past 10pm. Jake's Mum, Annette, had offered to 'have a word' with Louise's Dad but Louise had said that it was okay. But that was only a half truth.
Louise was suddenly pulled from her thoughts and remembered where she was as a sullen looking boy pushed past her, opened the door to Room 16 and disappeared inside. She took a deep, calming breath and reminded herself that it was only one hour. One hour was bearable, right? Louise undid the zip on one of the pockets of her school bag and carefully pulled out the now scrunched up detention slip which Dr Faust had smugly presented her with earlier in the day. She stared at it, still not believing that she had gotten an after school Wednesday detention for one of the first things she had done wrong.
She flicked her long, straight, brown hair out of her light hazel eyes and placed one hand on the door handle of Room 16, bracing herself for detention. She took another quick look at her watch (2:48pm) and pulled open the door.
Once inside Louise was greeted by an unexpected, surprising sight. Mr Rogers was sitting at the teacher's desk at the front of the classroom, reading some trashy tabloid paper, totally ignoring the students who were sitting at desks chatting to friends or throwing things around the room. This was detention? Louise now felt slightly stupid for being so apprehensive and nervous about it before hand. She slowly walked up to the desk where Mr Rogers was.
"Um, excuse me, Mr Rogers," she said quietly, "I'm here for detention."
Without looking up Mr Rogers motioned to a sheet of lined paper and pile of detention slips on the desk next to him, "Your slip goes on the pile with the others and you sign your name and form group on the lined paper," he answered in a bored voice, as though he'd said it a million times before.
"Thanks," Louise muttered, as she put her detention slip down and picked up the pen to sign her name. She paused when she noticed the two names at the top of the list; Heather Johnson and Roxanne Le Saux. Louise turned around to find a seat. She chose one in the back corner of the room; Heather and Roxie were sitting in the opposite corner talking and laughing. On the blackboard were the words "You are in detention; you are being punished for your bad behaviour!" To Louise it didn't look like they were being punished. They were apparently free to do whatever they please as long as they remained in the classroom.
Louise slunk down as far as she could into her uncomfortable, blue plastic seat and tried to make herself as unnoticeable as possible. It didn't work. Roxie, closely followed by Heather, was walking in her direction. Louise didn't know what to do; she couldn't get away because she was stuck in this room for about another hour. Roxie and Heather sat down at the desk in front of her; they still hadn't turned around yet and she could see little strands of gold in Roxie's dark hair. Louise self-consciously tucked her own dark brown hair behind her ears.
Suddenly Heather and Roxanne turned around in their seats to face Louise. She saw that both girls were wearing heavy eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow, Heather's blue and Roxie's purple; the only make-up that Louise was wearing was a light layer of mascara she had hurriedly applied that morning in the rush to get ready for school. Roxanne and Heather had also customised their school uniform to make it seem more fashionable. Their navy skirts were several inches too short, half the buttons on their white school shirts were undone and the regulation blue, green and silver tie was fastened loosely around their necks.
This made Louise feel all the more self-conscious as her tie was neatly done up and her skirt fell down to just past her knees. She was also still wearing her blazer with the school crest on it.
"Hi Louise," Heather said in a friendly voice as Roxie smiled next to her.
Louise was uncertain of what to say. Here were two of the 'bad girls' of the school being friendly and nice and talking to her. Finally Louise answered hesitantly, "Hi."
"So," Roxie said conversationally, "Dr Faust is a total loser, right? We thought that your note was funny"
Heather nodded in agreement, confirming what Roxie had just said.
"Thanks," Louise replied tentatively, wondering why Roxanne Le Saux and Heather Johnson were talking to her. Although, if she was going to be stuck in detention for at least another forty-five minutes, until 3:45pm, she thought that she could be nice and not give Heather and Roxie a reason to hate her.
"I like your nails," Louise complimented, gesturing to Heathers manicure of light turquoise nail polish.
"Oh, these?" Heather asked, carelessly looking down at her hands, "My sister, Cassie, did them. She's seventeen and training to be a beautician. She gives me and Roxie loads of make-up tips and stuff. I'm sure she'd do the same for you if you wanted."
"Cool," Louise said, coming out of her shell and feeling a little more at ease.
"What do you think of detention, then?" Roxie asked with a smile, "Scary or what?" she added sarcastically.
"Bit pathetic, really" Louise responded truthfully and then added a bit of sarcasm, "Such a harsh punishment!"
Roxie and Heather both laughed and Louise joined in feeling happy that they weren't being mean or making fun of her.
Suddenly, Roxie turned serious for a minute, "Sorry about your Mum," she said looking genuinely sympathetic. It was now common knowledge around school that Louise was the girl with no mother. "I know what it's like," Roxie continued, "my Mum died too – when I was ten; I live with my Aunt."
"Thanks, it's good to know that someone else knows how it is, instead of people just feeling sorry for you and throwing you pitying glances," Louise said.
"I hated that," Roxie agreed.
"Do you live with just your Dad now?" Heather asked.
"Yeah," Louise replied, not minding that they were asking personal questions, "Except he's hardly ever home now, he's always working and practically lives at his office."
"Well, at least you have a Dad," Heather sighed, "Mine left before I was born and Cassie doesn't even remember him. Mum says he was a waste of space anyway but it would be kind of nice to meet him."
"Hey, come on, enough of this depressing shit," Roxie said in a cheery voice, "Let's change the subject: Lou, what are you doing later?"
Roxie and Heather looked expectantly at her and Louise completely forgot about meeting Jake for coffee. "Nothing, my Dad won't be home until past midnight, I'm totally free!" she said, feeling happy that Heather and Roxanne weren't as bad as everybody made them out to be.
"Great," Heather said happily, "You could come over to my house and Cassie could give you a make over. How does that sound?"
"Cool, definitely," Louise responded.
"Right, the first thing we have to do is to fix your tie," Heather suggested.
"Yeah, no offence but it is way too … neat and … smart," Roxie added.
"Ok," Louise replied doubtfully, as she undid her tie, "How should it be like then?"
Heather reached out and fastened it with a loose knot and then unbuttoned the top button of Louise's school shirt. She looked back to admire the effect.
"Hmm," she mused aloud, "Maybe you should lose the blazer too."
Louise slipped off her blazer and after a second thought she untucked her shirt aswell. She looked hopefully at Heather and Roxie, eager for their approval.
"Much better," Roxie agreed.
"Looking good!" Heather said with a giggle.
Louise smiled; detention wasn't that bad.
After detention was over at 3:45pm, Heather, Roxie and Louise had walked into town to do a bit of shopping. Heather had said that Louise would need some make-up supplies so that she's be able to do her make-up herself after Cassie had shown her how. All the while they had been walking, Louise had been complaining that she didn't have any money to spend.
"Don't worry about it," Heather reassured, as she and Roxie exchanged looks.
Louise had presumed that they would pay for it but when they reached one of the make-up boutique in town she was surprised at first to discover Heather sneakily slipping a lipstick into her skirt pocket.
"Come on, Lou," Heather said, answering to the shocked expression on Louise's face, "everybody does it."
Louise glanced at Roxie sceptically, looking for confirmation of Heather's statement. Roxie nodded in answer, her dark brown eyes set in a serious state.
"You try, Lolly" she suggested, using the nick name she had invented for Louise a few hours before.
Louise's heart was beating fast against her chest as she picked up an eyeliner pencil, pretending to inspect it as though deliberating whether to buy it or not, before sliding it out of sight into her pocket.
"Well done, you have begun your descent into bad-girl-ness!" Heather said as though talking to a child whilst she clapped her hands in congratulation. Louise laughed at the action as she watched Roxie admire some dark red nail polish and then put it slyly into her school bag.
After they had acquired enough make-up supplies (and a make-up bag for Louise to go with it) the trio made their way to a little café called 'Bobo's' in one of the back streets of town. It was nice enough but it had a bit of a cheap air around it. Roxie had said that she was going to treat Heather and Louise to milkshakes.
"You mean you're actually going to buy them?" Louise asked, half laughing.
"Well, not exactly," Roxie admitted.
"She knows this guy that works here, she can charm him into giving us what we want," Heather explained.
The tree of them walked into the dank little café and went up to the serving counter.
"Hey Finn," Roxie casually greeted the boy behind the counter, who was probably about eighteen. She flashed a flirtatious smile at him.
Finn had thick, blonde hair and bright green eyes. "Heya Roxie, Heather," he said. Then his eyes settled on Louise. "I don't think we've met," he said charmingly, "I'm Finn."
"Cut the bullshit," Heather interrupted, laughing, "This is Louise."
"Hi," Louise said, trying to sound as cool as possible.
"Anyway," Roxie cut in, "How you been?"
"Oh, you know, all right I suppose, you?" Finn replied
"We've been great," Roxie answered as she batted her eyelashes.
"Ok," Finn said, a smile on his face, "What do you want?"
Roxie smiled coyly, "Three chocolate milkshakes – please."
Finn rolled his eyes, "Is that all you use me for?" he asked pretending to be hurt before turning around to fix the order.
"So, Lolly," Heather said to Louise, "what do you think of Finn?"
Louise looked over to where Finn was before answering simply, "Nice."
"Sexy, huh?" Roxie supplied.
"You know," Roxie started saying, "Finn's single."
It was getting dark as the three girls walked back to Heather's house, sipping their milkshakes.
"Like he'd be interested in me!" Louise scoffed.
"Well, after Cassie has done your makeover, we can go see Finn again," Heather said, flicking her blonde hair behind her, "I bet he thought you were attractive! Did you see the way he looked at you?"
It was already almost 8pm. Louise was settled on the sofa in Heather's living room, squashed between Heather and Roxie and waiting for Cassie to come into the room so that the makeover could commence. She's gotten home about thirty minutes ago and had been fixing herself a snack.
Suddenly she waltzed into the living room. She looked exactly like an older version of Heather.
"Cassie," Heather said, motioning to Louise, "This is Lolly, she needs your help."
Half an hour later, Louise looked entirely different. She had on enough eye make-up to rival even Heather and Roxie; a thick layer of mascara, black, heavy eyeliner and an emerald green shade of eye shadow. Cassie had dabbed a layer of lip gloss onto Louise's lips and then moved onto her nails. She had painted them a sparkling silver colour and then finished the manicure by adding a little diamond gem to each nail.
Heather and Roxie both voiced their approval:
"Wow, Lou, you look great!" and "Finn will love you!"
When Louise finally looked at herself in the mirror she was astounded at the transformation. She thought that she actually looked pretty and Cassie said that she would be able to pass as an eighteen-year-old easily.
Louise thanked Cassie and then reluctantly said her goodbyes to Roxie and Heather.
"I'll see you guys tomorrow," she called as she walked down the front path of Heather's house.
To which Roxie called back, "You can sit with us in Science!"
As Louise walked the route home lit by the street lamps she thought about the day's events. She couldn't believe that only that morning she had thought how immature and stupid Heather and Roxanne were. She couldn't believe that she had made friends with them and found that they were actually nice. She couldn't believe that in her school bag she had make-up which she, Roxie and Heather had stolen.
Suddenly Louise remembered that she had meant to meet Jake at 'The Social'.
Finally, after about fifteen minutes of walking, Louise reached her front door. The car wasn't in the driveway so that meant that her Dad wasn't home. She reached into the pocket of her blazer, which she had put on because she was cold, and found her front door key. She was just about to put it in the lock when she heard her name called out from behind her. It was Jake.
She turned around, smiling, "Hey Jake."
But Jake looked angry, "Where have you been? We were meant to meet for coffee; me and Mum have been so worried about you – we didn't know where you were. Are you wearing make-up?" Jake's angry expression turned to confusion.
"Come on, Jake, I'm fine. I've been with Heather and Roxie, we just –"
But Jake interrupted, "Heather Johnson and Roxanne Le Saux?" he said in disbelief, "Them?"
"Yes –" Louise answered but was cut off again by Jake.
"I thought you hated them!"
"We got talking in detention; they're really nice."
"Nice?" Jake scoffed.
"Look, if you're just going to insult who I choose to hang out with then don't even bother talking to me." Louise said, getting angry herself.
"Fine." Jake answered.
"Fine!" Louise replied.
Jake turned around and marched away. Louise shrugged and turned back to unlock the front door.
If Jake was going to be like this then she didn't need him; she had Heather and Roxie.
For once she didn't mind coming home to an empty house – her Dad would have freaked out if he'd seen the amount of make-up she had on!
to be continued