This is Chapter 1
Dear Diary … Until now my life has had no meaning, but now I am going to make a change. It’s been almost six years since Eva left and I thought it would never change. But why would I want it to? I have everything a girl could ever want; rich parents, designer wardrobe, big allowance, late curfew, popularity, expertly dyed blonde hair and most importantly privacy from my parents. But now I realize that it’s not privacy. It’s ignorance, absolute ignorance. They would never change, but I will and this change began early this morning while I was sitting in class waiting for the morning bell.
Quarter to eight, it’s summer and rather warm. I was sitting in register as Mr. Smith read off the names, when the door opened and ‘he’ walked in. His dark hair damp from his morning shower, dangling over his face and curling near his ears. His soft, delicate ear. His pale skin flushed pink form the morning sun and his blue eyes twinkling as though he was thinking of some private joke and his smooth, strong lips moving as he apologizes to Mr Smith willed me to stand up and stroke my fingers along them. Then Mr Smith snapped me back to reality.
“Class, this is Leonardo Carter. He is joining us from Italy and is new to South Africa so please make him welcome.”
My friend, Candy, snickers, “I will make him very welcome.” And waggles her eyebrows at him. God, could she be any more predictable and pervish? She has a boyfriend, and more than one at that! Why is she my ‘friend’ again? She looks at me and gives me a smile, “I call dibs.” She mouths to me. Yeah, I really do not know why.
Mr S snaps her mouth shut, “Leonardo, this is my Grade ten class. Hmmm… now where can you sit?” I glanced around the classroom, great, the only open seat was right next to me. “There! You can sit next to Carmen. Carmen, raise your hand please?”
Rolling my eyes, I obediently raised my hand like the diligent student I am and twiddled my fingers. Leonardo glanced up at me and flashed a million dollar smile. “Carmen, look after him,” says Mr S.
I grumbled in response, trust Mr S to make me the one to ‘look after the new kid’. Although he is kind of hot. I could see the muscles in his arms flex and reveal themselves from under his white shirt as he shrugged out of his jacket and started walking towards me. I heard a girl behind me, Melissa I think, sigh. Then he was beside me sitting in his desk, “Hi.” I looked up and saw him smiling down at me. Oh my gosh! I smiled what I hoped was a friendly smile and said, “Hello Leonardo, my name is Carmen, Carmen Whister.
“I\ know,” he said and I swear I saw him blush as he smiled at me again. “Please call me Leo, Leonardo just sounds so … um … eighteenth century. Then he laughed. It was a gentle laugh, like tinkling bells chiming from all directions.
I heard a low whistle come from somewhere behind me and turned around. Everyone was staring at us, although Candy was actually glaring. I rolled my eyes again as Mr S banged on the board to get out attention as he continued his speech about how we should save water and recycle.
This was going to be a long day.
I walked from classroom to classroom with Leo, showing him which class is which subject, which teachers are the best, he wasn’t very interested in all that. Well, at least he didn’t appear to be as he didn’t tear his eyes away from my face once.
That afternoon when everyone left school to go home, I was the last one standing there as usual. I sat on a bench under an oak tree and began thinking about my English essay due next week, Time and Time Again. I felt a sudden cold shadow fall over me and my eyes shot up to look straight into the deep blue pools of Leo’s. “May I sit with you?” I saw his lips moving but it took a while to gather the words coming out of them.
“Um…of course,” I managed to stutter. What did this guy have over me? I have never been this nervous around boys, ever and here this new boy arrives and all of a sudden I’m becoming mute.
“So…,” I stuttered again. “How has your first day been?” I was trying to make conversation, but he cut to the chase right away.
“Good. So why do I get the feeling that you aren’t as narrow-minded as those other girls you hang out with?”
I blushed, “I guess it’s because I haven’t always been this way.”
“You haven’t always been insanely beautiful and not to mention insanely hot?”
I laughed, “I meant my family wasn’t always rich, but we were happier then. Me, my mother, my father and my older sister.”
“Oh, you have a sister? Nobody mentioned her.” His brows creased, deep in thought.
Nobody mentioned her? “ You have been asking about me?”
He smiled, “Just getting some background info, so where is your sister now?”
“She moved out about six years ago to live with my aunt in Italy.”
“Is she much older than you?”
“Six years older.”
“So why did she move out? She must have only been about sixteen.”
“Well, we weren’t always rich as I said. We lived on a farm in the Karoo, just out of Oudtsoorn. You will learn where that is. My moms parents lived there and when my dad lost his job, we moved to the farm.”
“What was your dads job?”
“He was a lawyer, though he never won a case.” I felt sad at the memory.
I looked up at Leo expecting him to look smug, but instead I saw interest and concern in his eyes. “How old were you when you moved to the farm?”
I continued, “I was one, my sister had just had her seventh birthday. We lived with my grandparents for seven years on that farm. It’s home, But my dad didn’t get on very well with them. When his parents died I was eight and he inherited the Whister fortune. We then moved down to Plettenberg Bay. And that is when things began to change. My dad bought a lot of overseas companies, so he was never really at home anymore. My mom spent a lot of time on her appearance and started going out with her friends drinking and coming home all hours of the night with various men. My parents pretty much began to ignore each other and us. I never really understood the pain I was feeling, but my sister was older and she did. She looked after me, but after two years she told my parents that she had had enough. I was only ten when she left for Italy with my aunt. I haven’t seen her since. She writes and sends pictures to me, not to my parents though. I felt alone. That’s when I began wanting to be popular, to never be alone again. So I started going to parties, dyeing my hair, hanging with the ‘In-crowd’ and became, well, this,” I finished while gesturing towards myself.
“Do you tell your sister how you feel?”
“So why doesn’t she come back?”
I sighed. “She said that she won’t come back until they work out their problems.”
“So I assume they haven’t?”
“No, they don’t care.” I suddenly realized what I had just told him and went red. Why had I told him all this? Everything that I had kept inside of me for the past six years? But I looked at him and he was looking back at me and I knew then that this was the beginning of a long friendship. “So tell me about you. I seem to have been holding most of the attention right now. Why’d you move down here? What do your parents do?”
He smiled a sad smile. “I would tell you, but I’m afraid your mother has just arrived so perhaps another time.
“What?” I turned around and sure enough, there was my mother pulling into the school parking lot in her flashy BMW. “How did you know that was my mom?”
He chuckled, “She looks like you.”
I rolled my eyes and sighed. It’s a bad day when you get told you look like a hateful hag. I stood up and picked my backpack up off the floor. “Well, bye I guess.” And I started walking towards the car.
I heard a whispered bye from him and when I turned around to wave he was gone. Just like that. I got into the car and closed the door as my mom reversed, shifted the car into gear and sped away.