Niqi, age 15, attends Islington Arts and Media School, where he enjoys English, Spanish and P.E. He wants be a published author one day. He has so many ideas, but this is the first novel he’s endeavored to put on paper. When he’s not writing, you can find him riding his bike or listening to music inspire. His other artistic endeavours include learning to play the acoustic guitar. He lives with three generations of women, and he’s the youngest and only male.
DAUGHTER OF REPRISAL
Nicola stood in front of her wardrobe mirror, applying her make-up and adjusting her school uniform, symmetrically aligning her blouse with her jumper. She made sure she was attractive, yet decent, letting the hem of her skirt rest slightly above her knee like most other girls at school did. She wasn’t like most of the other popular girls in school but she tried her best to fit in. No need, seeing as she didn’t even hang out with them. She hated them. They were so loud and annoying. She wasn’t shy, but she tended to be the quiet one most of the time.
The weekend had just passed and she was making an extra effort to get back into the swing of the school routine. She recited her timetable as she didn’t want to feel unorganised for the day. Neither did she want to be late, but she was quite a fast walker anyway, and she lived very near to the school.
She saw her digital clock in the mirror: 8:35 am. She jumped and grabbed her pre-packed bag and ran downstairs.
“Bye mum!” Nicola exclaimed.
“Bye honey, have a good day at school!”
Her mum, Suzann, sat at the dining table with her head sinking into her palm. A bowl of cereal sat beside her getting soggy. Her voice was gravelly and dull. She wasn’t the bundle of joy she once was. Everything had started to change since Nicola began her teen years. But it was Nicola’s father, Adrian, who was at fault. How could he have managed his job, his marriage and his parenthood for so long and then switched all of a sudden?
Nicola’s best friends, Natalie, Lauren and Rebecca, awaited her outside the school gates.
“I think she’s going to be late today,” said Lauren.
“No she isn’t. I can see her running towards us,” said Rebecca.
Nicola skipped over to her friends like a fox. “Hey everybody.”
“Hey Nicola!” they said almost harmoniously.
“I hope I’m not late. Becky, do you have the time?”
Rebecca pushed up her sleeve and checked her watch for Nicola. “It’s 08:48; we have a couple minutes to get to registration.”
“Hey Natalie, are you in my class for maths?” asked Lauren.
“Did we get any homework on Friday?”
“I don’t know I wasn’t in that day.”
“Oh faeces! We do,” Nicola interrupted. “We were supposed to complete the test paper we were given in class and I haven’t done it. Ms. Martin is gonna flip!”
“Haha. Chillax. She said she wasn’t gonna be in today because of some course thingy she had to do,” said Rebecca, putting Nicola’s worries at ease.
The four girls entered the classroom prior to the bell and sat in their usual seats at the back of the room. Their form tutor, Mr. Smith, sat idly at his desk playing eighties music from his laptop. Registration was only ten minutes long, so people would usually chat after Mr. Smith took the register, but today was different. Apart from the quiet whispering of a few students, the class was almost silent. An unfamiliar face sat at the desk nearest to Mr. Smith.
“Hey, check out the new guy,” whispered Lauren, whilst nudging Natalie and Rebecca.
“Wow, he’s so hot,” said Natalie. Nicola’s eyes were already fixated on the new guy, and she bit her bottom lip in awe.
“Okay class,” Mr. Smith began his intro. “We have a new student in our form and he’s a little shy, so I’d like you all to make him welcome. Everyone say hello to Doug.”
“Hey Doug,” they said in unison.
“I need someone to show Doug his way around the school for today. Who would like to volunteer?”
Out of several other hands, Nicola’s hand shot up like a bullet. Her friends looked at each other and giggled.
“Who’s that at the back? Nicola? Okay Nicola you’re going to be a guide for Doug today.”
“Yes sir,” she said.
She swung around on her chair and saw her friends trying to suppress their grins.
“Well you seem keen,” said Natalie.
“Love is in the air,” Lauren sang as she wiggled her eyebrows tauntingly.
“Oh shut up,” Nicola snapped in denial. “Everyone is looking at him, not just me.”
Everyone was looking at him and it made him feel a little uncomfortable and self-conscious. Just a little though.
“Okay guys and girls,” said Mr. Smith. “Make your way to lesson please, I’ll see you at PM registration, have a good day!”
Doug delayed putting on his coat and bag, so he could speak to Mr. Smith. Nicola waited outside for him. When he had finished talking to Mr. Smith, he headed for the door. Nicola peeked through the glass window in the door. Her heart skipped a beat every step closer he got to the door, but she took a deep breath and smiled. “Hey Doug,” she said, greeting him, as he stepped out of the classroom.
“Hey,” he replied timidly.
“My name’s Nicola. I suppose you haven’t got a timetable yet, so come to my lesson. I’ve got maths.”
“Urm… okay. I was just talking to sir about my timetable and getting it next week so… yeah.” Doug smiled sheepishly and followed Nicola to her class.
Maths was on the second floor of the other school block so she hurried there with Doug just on her tail. “Is this your classroom?” Doug asked.
“Yep,” she replied.
Although it would’ve been normal for Nicola to let Doug in first seeing as he was the new student, Doug pushed the door open from behind her and let her in instead.
“Ladies first,” he said.
“Aww thanks.” As she walked in, she looked back and smiled for a little bit longer than was considered usual. Some students, including her best friends, caught a glimpse of the romance and stifled a chuckle.
The cover teacher peered over her glasses. “Why are you late?” she questioned sternly in a strong European accent.
“Sorry miss. Mr. Smith said I have to take Doug here to my lessons, because he’s new and he doesn’t have a timetable. I had to wait for a couple minutes whilst he talked to sir after registration.”
The teacher’s voice softened. ”Fair enough. Take a seat over there,” she said pointing to the two available seats on the other side of the classroom.
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