May Under a Cherry Tree

Jenna Indison, the girl with such, long blonde hair it reaches her waist, the girl with bright green-blue eyes. Jenna, the girl who seeks attention.
Ella-Maie Price, the girl with the brown hair and thing ringlets dangling at the bottom, the girl with such dark eyes it's difficult to tell where the pupils start. Ella-Maie, the shy girl who prefers to hide her secrets from Jenna.
But when Ella-Maie finds out her secret tucked behind Jenna, coated with caramel and eyes like the ocean, maybe there's not point to hide this time...


1. Chapter One

Always do what you want to do, not what anybody else wants you to do



My Mum always told me that. She says sometimes you can get muddled up with what you want to do and what they want you to do; you must always make sure you’ve got a goal, and aim for it. If the plan doesn’t work, she says, change the plan, not the goal.

            Jenna Indison always springs to mind when she says that. I tell myself that I don’t know why she comes to mind, but I know that I do: she’s always telling me what to do, and not understanding that I want to do some things and not do other things. She doesn’t understand that I’m a different person to her, and I don’t want to live in her shadow. I haven’t tried telling her this. She’s that type of person that would refuse to admit it’s true, and decide on fighting back. She always wins.

            The faint smell of oranges wafts up my nose as Jenna sits down, pulling her bag off her back as she does so. Her bag’s practically empty all of the time. Mine is almost always full, and it confuses me how she can pack so lightly with all of her school books.

            Jenna slides the bag onto the floor, adjusts her Miss Sexy trousers a bit higher (they always fall down), before flicking her long hair over her shoulder with a single hand movement.

            Her hair just reaches her hips, and past her bum if she holds her head back. It’s blonde; a dyed blonde, yes, but a blonde all the same. She had had brown hair, which was also dyed. It looked nice on her, but Jenna disagreed and dyed it back to her natural colour, blonde. She has dyed her hair a red in the summer holidays, but the school won’t allow it. If it did, Jenna would probably have a different colour every day (that may be a bit of exaggeration).

            “Hi, Ella-Maie,” Jenna smiles at me, running her fingers through the two sections of her lying in front of her. She looks up from her hair, locking her eyes onto mine. Her eyes are a wish-wash of green and blue, blurred together, but not quite a colour. Some parts are more green than others; some parts more blue that others. They’re lined thickly with black, framing them, but maybe a bit too much. Her eyelashes have been extended with mascara; her eyelids coated in blue eye shadow; her face has been smeared with foundation.

            Me? I’ve got a thin layer of mascara. That’s it.

            “Hi, Jenna,” I reply, returning the smile. I brush my fingers through the full-fringe lying on my forehead, before slowly teasing my fingers through the ringlets hanging at the bottom of my hair. I wish my hair was more like Jenna’s: blonde, and straight. Mine is a common brown.

            “OMG,” Jenna says, her new catchphrase. Lately she’s been talking ‘text language’, like ‘BRB’, or ‘GTG’, or ‘BTW’. It sometimes annoys me, but I know why she’s doing it. She wants other people to catch onto it, so she can announce that she ‘started it’, or she ‘made it up’, even if she didn’t. She’s done it before, by calling everyone ‘babe’. The thing that annoys me is that I have to stop myself from talking that way.

            “What?” I ask.

            “No, no, don’t worry. Doesn’t matter.” she waves her hand about, as if she’s trying to brush it away.

            I know I shouldn’t say what I’m about to say, but I can’t help it. “No, tell me.” Mia, my sixteen-year-old sister, always tells me I should say ‘Oh, okay then’ when Jenna says these type of things. Jenna’s just wanting attention, she tells me, and ‘Tell me’ is exactly what she wants to hear.

            Mia doesn’t like Jenna. She thinks that Jenna bosses me about too much. She thinks Jenna is bad influence on me. Jenna’s okay most of the time, but she can get a bit iffy, really. To be honest, I only really talk to Mia about Jenna when Jenna’s not been all that nice, so Mia gets the image that Jenna’s not nice all the time. She can be nice, but only occasionally, although she’s not as bad as Mia thinks she is.

            “Oh, I was just realising I’m going to see Austin today.” she says lamely, twirling her hair with her finger.

            “Oh,” I say. Austin’s her crush. He has been for a month or so, and Jenna’s mad about him. I just nod and agree when she talks about him. She does sometimes leave me to go and talk to him, but usually she drags me along too. I don’t talk then.

            “OMG,” Jenna repeats, “I can’t believe I haven’t told you!”

            That’s a typical start. ‘I can’t believe I haven’t told you’: that’s what she always says when she wants a good reaction. Normally it’s something boring, or made up, like when she realised she’s going to see Austin. I don’t reply, remembering what Mia had said. I wait for her to tell me.

            “Ella-Maie,” she says, emphasising the second part of my name the way she does when she’s annoyed that I’ve ignored her or said something wrong.

            “Yes?” I say simply, innocently.

            Jenna doesn’t know what to say, so she continues babbling on with what she was originally going to tell me. “Mum said I can get a third piercing!” she says, tucking her hair behind her ear and pressing her index finger and thumb against the part of her ear that’s going to be done.

            “Cool,” I say dully, knowing this can’t be true. Her Mum wouldn’t let her wear mascara if she could help it. If Jenna came into her office one morning and asked ‘Mum, can I wear mascara?’, she’d definitely refuse. Her mum hardly comes out of the office, so she can’t really stop Jenna putting on makeup. She asked her dad whether she could get the first piercing, and the second, but then he said that she had to ask her mother if she could get the third.

            I admit, the two piercings side-by-side look quite cool. I would get another piercing if I had the guts. Now Jenna wants to get a piercing on the edge of her pinna, rather than the ear lobe.

            “We have PE, don’t we?” Jenna says, patting her PE bag by her leg.

            “Yep,” I nod, “I don’t like PE.” I sigh.

            “I do,” Jenna lies. She shakes her head, “No, I’m joking. I just like PE because Austin and Yasmin’s in the lesson.”

            “I thought you didn’t like Yasmin,” I say, tilting my head to the side. “That’s what you had said.”

            “No,” Jenna furrows her eyebrows. The conversation drops. I don’t bother battling with Jenna. I’m sure I’m right.

            Jenna tucks her feet up, and lays her head on my lap, smiling up at me.

            “Hello Ella-Maie!” she says. “You don’t mind me lying on you, do you?” she says this bit louder than usual, amplified, like you would if you were doing a quiet conversation on stage without any microphones, or if I’m foreign and she has to talk slowly, loudly and clearly to me.

            To her pleasure, a few heads peak over the bus seats to see her head lolling against my thighs. I sigh, but I don’t say anything. It’ll only make matters worse.

            The bus stops, and Yasmin comes onto the bus, sitting opposite from us.

            “Ha,” her laugh rings in my ears, “OMGeee,” she holds onto the letter ‘G’, her annoying twang to her voice showing through. “Ahh, Jenna, you’re so funny, because you’re, like, lying on Ella-Maie’s lap!” she starts laughing as if it’s the funniest thing she’s seen in her whole life. I can tell Jenna gets annoyed by Yasmin’s voice, too.

            “Careful you don’t fall off,” I tell Jenna when the bus stops and she rolls about on my lap. Of course, she purposely falls off, which causes Yasmin to burst out laughing her irritating laugh.

            “OMGeee!” Yasmin sneers again, “That was so hilarious!”

            Jenna gets up, sitting down next to me normally this time. “OMG, my hair’s messed up, isn’t it?” she says, frantically smoothing down her hair with the palms of her hands.

            The phrase ‘OMG’ starts to ring in my ears. I’m worried I catch onto it, that my tongue automatically starts making the shapes to say ‘OMG’. Mum wouldn’t be all that happy for me saying ‘OMG’ all the time. And I’ll annoy myself, anyway, if that’s possible.

            Jenna turns her body towards me, blocking Yasmin out. Jenna talks in a lower, hushed voice so Yasmin can’t hear.

            “Yasmin’s so annoying,” Jenna says, “I wish she wasn’t our friend. I mean, seriously, she’s always saying ‘OMG’, and that’s my catchphrase – everyone knows that!”

            “I know,” I say, in the same tone as Jenna was speaking. I can tell Yasmin’s getting annoyed now: assuming we’re talking about her. Well, she’s right – we are.

            Jenna’s very confusing, let me tell you now. One minute, she loves Yasmin, for example, and she wants everyone to start saying her ‘catchphrase’ by drilling it into our heads. Then the next minute, she hates Yasmin and gets annoyed when people say her ‘catchphrase’.

            But that’s just the way she is, and I guess I have to live with it.

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