Soon both girls were safely strapped into the back of Jenny’s car, and making their way across town to where Emily and her family lived. The slight awkwardness from the bedroom hadn’t lasted, and they were again talking non-stop about their plans for the weekend. The subject of Dan had also crept up again, although Lucy was relieved that Becks managed not to tease her anymore, probably because her Mum was so close by and listening to every word. They were curious about why he’d been so reluctant to come to the sleepover whilst at the same time seeming so keen. They all got on well, and Em was his cousin after all, so it was a bit of a mystery to them. Ah well, hopefully all would be revealed soon, assuming that’s what he wanted to talk to him about.
Maybe he just wants to declare his undying love for Lucy, Becky thought to herself, giggling out loud and causing the other girl to give her an odd look.
As they drove along, Lucy’s phone tinged, and pulling it from her pocket she saw a new message, and Dan’s name came into view. Quickly opening the message, but tilting the screen from view in case it said anything too private, she was dismayed to read what he had to say.
‘Not sure I can do this Luce. I really want to, but I just can’t. I’m sorry. X’
Lucy groaned quietly, really feeling for the boy. She didn’t know what demons he was battling, but clearly he was in a pretty bad place, and she wished she knew how to help him.
‘Dan I don’t know what’s the matter, but whatever it is I’m sure we can get through it. Me and Becks are on our way to Em’s now. Come as son as you can, and we will help. X’
After sending her reply, Lucy turned to Becky again, and spoke in a low voice so that her Mum wouldn’t catch the whole conversation.
“Dan’s having cold feet again. I dunno what it is, but something is really bugging him.”
“Oh no, I hope he’s ok. I’m sure we can talk him around, after all, we can’t have you heartbroken all weekend now can we” Becky grinned, but she did feel for Dan, and hoped that everything was ok.
“Oi, less of that! I’ll let you torment me about him once we’ve sorted whatever this is out, but not until then, ok? Don’t want to make him feel any more uncomfortable than he clearly already is.”
Becky nodded, but didn’t respond. She could see her friend clearly cared a great deal for this boy.
‘I’m still coming to see you three. But you’ll understand why I can’t stay after we’ve talked. You’ll probably not want me to then anyway.’
This time Lucy turned her phone to show Becks what Dan had said, and they both frowned. Either he had something REALLY bad to tell them, which they doubted, or he was getting himself all worked up over nothing. Neither of them could think of anything that he could tell them which would make them not want him to stay for the sleepover.
They were shaken from their thoughts by Jen calling from the front of the car “If you pair have finished fighting over boyfriends, we’re here. Come on, out you get and let’s get your bags sorted. I’m sure Emily will be excited to see you.”
Putting aside their worries about Dan for a moment, they both unbuckled their seatbelts and jumped out of the car, eagerly helping to unload their bags and running up the front steps to the house. They rang the bell, but Emily had clearly been waiting for them, as the for opened almost immediately and they were greeted by their friend wearing a striped summer dress with a large ’11’ badge pinned to it, smiling widely.
“Happy Birthday Em!” The two visitors chorused, and quickly handed over gift bags and cards to the delighted girl, before picking up their cases and following her into the hallway.
Jen was invited in too, but after meeting Emily’s mum to confirm that everything was fine with the arrangements, she made her excuses and left, keen to get her housework down whilst she had a little peace and quiet. Being a single mum, it wasn’t often that she had the house to herself, so she was looking forward to a relaxing weekend once the chores were out of the way.
The three young girls were soon bounding up the stairs to Emily’s bedroom, where they deposited their overnight things and spent a pleasant hour chatting and looking at all of the lovely cards and gifts she’d been lucky enough to receive so far. They were sat looking at some jewellery kits she’d been given when there was a knock on the bedroom door, and Lisa came in carrying a tray within 4 glasses of coke and a plate of chocolate biscuits.
“Thanks Mum, but 4 drinks? There are only 3 of us here so far, and nobody else will be coming for ages yet.” She had a horrible feeling that her mum may be thinking of joining them…and that was NOT happening.”
“Your aunty Val has just phoned, she’s on her way over with Daniel shortly, and I’ve asked them to stay for lunch. Thought we may put a few things on the barbecue whilst it’s nice, what do you girls reckon?”
All three nodded their agreement, and decided to leave the drinks and snacks until Dan joined them.
As her Mum left the room, Em turned to Lucy and asked “So, how on earth did you convince my cousin to come? I’ve been trying for…well, probably 11 years to get him to sleepover at mine, but he’s always had an excuse. I bet he fancies you!”
And with that Lucy blushed bright red, and all three girls burst out laughing. Becks couldn’t resist adding “Well I think Lucy fancies him.”4
Audio Version of Chapter