Extract from my upcoming book; Discover the Wood.
Joanna Dollbrook meets Cicely.
Joanna ran down a set of stairs, seeing no one around and turned a corner.
With a slam, she collided with someone, causing them to drop their book to the floor and stumble.
Reaching out a hand, Joanna caught the girl’s arm so she could get back to stability.
‘Thank you so much,’ the girl said. She had a twang to her obviously London accent, as if she spent some of her life in the North of England. She ducked down and picked up her book before standing up straight. ‘Oh my god,’ she gasped, looking Joanna in the face, ‘you’re Joanna Dollbrook. Awesome.’ She smiled.
Joanna was taken aback. She was not expecting this on her way to meet her friends. ‘Hi?’ Joanna said slowly.
The girl laughed. ‘My name is Cicely,’ she said, ‘I’m in your year. I sat a couple of seats in front of you in Mathematics and History.’
Joanna nodded. ‘Oh okay,’ she was not sure what to say to this Cicely. Their meeting was so sudden; it was a shock to her system.
Cicely was just an inch or so taller than Joanna with long, golden-yellow hair that fell down her back in thick curls. Her whole hair was a mass of serious curls, it was amazing! She had fair skin, with a honey tan that already told Joanna that she had gone on holiday somewhere hot for the summer. Her eyes were big and ocean blue. She was surely a typical beauty, but with a look to her that made her look so unique and different. Her hair and eyes were the same colour as Lyra Jonkins’, and yet Cicely and Lyra looked completely different in even the way they held themselves; Lyra with arrogance and Cicely with joy and a big smile.
‘Sorry,’ Cicely said quickly, ‘I shouldn’t have just jumped on you like that. You probably have no idea who I am.’ Joanna felt awful for not already knowing Cicely. She should know the people in her class after a year at most, but she did not.
The guilt must have reflected off of Joanna’s face as Cicely jumped forward, placing a hand on Joanna’s arm in comfort. ‘Don’t worry if you don’t know me,’ she said sweetly, ‘I’ve never introduced myself. How would you know me?’
‘Sorry,’ Joanna felt the need to apologise.
Cicely shook her head with a grin. ‘Don’t be silly,’ she said, giving a laugh that sounded more like a song, ‘anyway, I’m sorry for running into you like that! I was just not looking where I was going. I was engrossed in my book. I should have been paying attention.’
That made Joanna snap out of this guilt bubble. She gave a small gasp and shook her head at Cicely. ‘No, I’m sorry,’ she said sternly, ‘I wasn’t looking where I was going either. I didn’t think anyone was around so I just ran.’
‘Trying to make it to lunch before it closes, right?’ Cicely smirked.
Joanna could not stop herself from smiling back. ‘Something like that,’ she said, ‘I was going down to find my friends.’
‘Riley Baker and William Wilkins?’ Cicely asked.
Joanna blinked at her, astonished. ‘Er, yeah.’
Cicely nodded. ‘They’re down there,’ she told Joanna, ‘last time I heard they were talking about a Race that went on last week. Eugh, not my style at all.’
‘You know them?’ Joanna asked.
Not once did Riley or William mention knowing anyone from another house, let alone someone in their year. It made Joanna feel protective somehow, knowing that maybe she was not the only girl that was close to Riley and William. She was sure to quickly shake that thought from her head.
Riley and William could be friends with whoever they wanted to be, as long as they don’t forget about Joanna. Not that they would. Joanna never thought they would, anyway.
Cicely shook her head. ‘I don’t know them personally,’ she explained, ‘I just know of them. They were in the newspaper with you last Christmas.’
Joanna felt her cheeks go red. ‘Oh yeah,’ she said, sudden remembering, ‘that’s quite clear on who my friends are, isn’t it?’
‘Only slightly,’ Cicely joked.
Joanna found herself laughing, smiling at Cicely.
Cicely stuck her tongue out and crossed her eyes before laughing harder.
Joanna had just met this girl and already she was laughing with her in the middle of the corridor, as if they were best friends.
‘Anyhow,’ Cicely breathed, running her hands through her hair and brushing it from her face, ‘I better get going. I told my friend, Margot that I would meet her in the library at one. Whoops.’ She took a step away from Joanna, giving her a grin before making a start walking off.
She got a metre away before turning around again, walking backwards. ‘Hey Joanna!’ Cicely shouted.
Joanna turned to her.
‘If you ever get bored of the boys,’ Cicely called, ‘give me a nudge. You’re free to hang out with me whenever; I’m sure Margot wouldn’t mind. She was a bit funny with you last year, but she should be fine after I convinced her to apologise, even if it was through a corny note.’
Margot. That must have been the Margot that sent her a note last term.
‘That would be cool, thank you!’ Joanna called back.
‘No problem,’ Cicely winked, ‘see you around, Joanna.’ And she ran off around the corner towards the library.
‘See you,’ Joanna shouted into the space where Cicely had been, smiling from ear to ear.