Sue Limb shares with us a day in the life of Jess Jordan, main character from the Girl, 15/16 books..
As usual I wake late – Mum calls me three times and if I don’t respond, the final solution involves fruit. This time it was a ripe banana up the nostril. A kind of Caribbean torture.
All thoughts of Barbados vanish when I yank back the curtains and survey the sky – deep grey with just a dash of hail in the left-hand corner. Deep horror floods through my being when I realise I haven’t managed to finish my History essay. Well, I haven’t managed to start it, to be honest. I was having a row with Fred on Skype last night. It was a row about nothing. All I’d said was I wouldn’t mind having my neck sucked by Robert Pattinson and Fred went off into a massive sulk. Get real, Fred! Every girl in the world – and loads of boys too – fancy Robert Pattinson. It’s one of the vital signs that you’re still alive.
Anyway, Fred started making silly references to Angelina Jolie’s lips and whether I could arrange a lip-swap with her – sooooo beneath him, honestly! Then he pulled some really gross faces and hung up on me. Boys are so immature, even Fred.
The tempting smell of toast is drifting up the stairs but what I most want is to fall back off to sleep – once I’ve picked the bits of banana out of my nostrils. But first I have to run the idea past Mum. I lurch out of bed and jolt downstairs in my crumpled PJs.
‘I feel really ill, Mum, can I stay home today?’ I croak. Granny looks up brightly from her boiled egg. Mum glowers from the hob.
‘No you damn well can’t!’ she spits.
‘But I’ve got a really bad tummy ache!’ I moan. Mum ignores my pleas.
‘Get dressed!’ she hisses, struggling with some baked beans.
‘There’s been a double murder in a Derbyshire beauty spot!’ announces Granny gleefully. She’s such a murder junkie. Somehow this piece of news makes me feel better, and I go up and pull on my school togs (still smelly from yesterday – but who cares, my boyfriend is going to stay on the other side of the classroom today.)
At school Flora greets me with rapture. She has got an idea for a comedy sketch involving a talking potato. I pretend to be impressed, but secretly I am watching Fred across the yard, clowning around with Mackenzie and Ben Jones. Ben glances across at me. Our eyes meet. A year ago this would have caused my heart to bounce right out of my mouth and perform three circuits of the football pitch but somehow, just as Ben got interested in me, I realised it was Fred I adored. Even now I adore him, in the depths of my hatred.
We ignore each other frostily all morning and at lunch Fred sits with a gang of chavs from his economics group. Hayley Murray laughs raucously in his face and paws flirtatiously at his sleeve. It puts me right off my grub and I can’t force down a single chip. Flora is gassing away about some plan she has to get a Saturday job in Browne’s, the big department store in town.
‘Just think!’ she swoons, ‘we could get discounted cosmetics and makeovers!’
I am tempted to inform her that nothing short of a head transplant will do me any good, but refrain.
Jodie bounces up and tells me I’m looking tired. Bitch! I’m not tired, just dreading History when Miss Broadhurst is going to humiliate me big-time. She’s such a sadist. Utter silent prayer, ‘Please God, get me out of this jam, and make Fred love me again and let him not fancy Hayley Murray despite her massive boobs and coarse but attractive laugh.’
I am cringing at the back of the room at the beginning of History when instead of Broadhurst, darling old Mr Fothergill minces in, all chins flapping.
‘Miss Broadhurst is away,’ he informs us. ‘I’m not sure what you’re supposed to be doing but as long as it’s history and you don’t make a sound, I couldn’t care less. I’ve got a pile of marking to do.’
Phew! Re-sult! Part One of my prayer answered! Dear old God, and his agent Fothers, have transformed today from a hell on earth to something almost divine.
Plop! A scrunched up piece of paper lands on my desk. I un-scrunch it and smooth it out. It’s from Fred.
OK, you win, it says. You are the Queen of Sulking after all – how could I ever compete? If that Pattinson creature does ever sweep you away to his lair in Malibu or wherever, I will sportingly wave you goodbye. But until then, may I escort you home and, as a gesture of apology, I will clean the pavement beneath your feet with my tongue.
Hooray! Fred’s back on board. I don’t reply right away, though – I just stare ahead trying to look enigmatic and grand. When the bell goes I’ll bestow a friendly glance on him, but till then I will pretend to read my history book. And utter a silent prayer of thanks. Planning to adjourn to the Dolphin Café after school for a massive celebration falafel – absolutely starving!
Thanks, Sue – brilliant! There are several Jess Jordan books, with the latest, Girl 16:Five Star Fiasco out last month. You can find out more by visiting Sue’s website here. Pop to our shop and, using search, you can find all of Sue’s books.