‘You don’t scare me,’ Gheeta lied.
‘You should be scared,’ Courtney retorted, sharp as ice, her gaze still directed on the phone.
Gheeta looked at her friend, but still Keisha said nothing, did nothing but kick at the ground. Had the story meant nothing?
She turned to go.
‘Your photos are so lame,’ sneered Courtney.
The noise of the Snow Queen’s cackling laughter followed Gheeta as she walked back towards her home. Her head was hung so low that she practically crashed into Banaan.
‘Watch it, Gheeta,’ Bandit snapped then when she got no response added, ‘What’s up with you?’
Gheeta shrugged and kept walking. Banaan practically skipped to catch her up. ‘Tell me,’ she demanded. Gheeta sighed and nodded in the direction of Keisha and Courtney. Banaan saw Courtney dragging Keisha over to look at something on the screen.
‘That your phone?’
Gheeta nodded. ‘I lost it and my best mate too.’
‘To that witch?’
Gheeta nodded again.
Banaan looked over at them. ‘I can nick it back for you.’
Gheeta turned slowly, surprised at the offer, only just registering that Banaan was here with her when she didn’t live anywhere near to Park Hill flats. She studied Bandit’s face, looking for the tell-tale signs that she wasn’t being serious, but there were none. She wasn’t sure how to reply, so she didn’t.
Together they watched the other girls, a distance away, peering at the phone screen. Courtney’s fingers were swiping away. Gheeta wondered if they were still looking at the photos she’d taken. She tried to remember the ones she had on there. There were pictures of the birthday and different ones of her aunties and the rest of her family. She knew there were definitely some selfies of her and Keisha together, pulling stupid faces. Then she remembered the pictures she took of the chilli plants, both before and after Keisha ripped them up.
‘No, she’s not lost, look,’ said Bannan pointing.
Gheeta watched Keisha suddenly snatch the phone back off Courtney. The Snow Queen started ‘effing and blinding, turning the air black with her words. Gheeta’s heart thumped stronger. She saw Keisha shrug off Courtney’s scratching claws, as the older girl tried to take the phone back. Keisha waved an arm through the air, warding her off and began to stride towards Banaan and Gheeta.
‘Don’t look like you need me,’ said Bannan and Gheeta felt her move off. She felt a surge of gratitude.
Courtney scampered after Keisha, cat-like, snarling and spitting in protest, but BF marched on, the insults falling off her like water. The distance between Keisha and the Year Eight Goddess was getting bigger. Gheeta watched Keisha draw nearer, like a warrior returning from battle. This was it!
Once she was close enough to touch, Keisha handed back the phone to Gheeta, her eyes fixed on her face.
Gheeta took the phone from her friend’s warm hand and looked down at the screen. There was a selfie of Keisha and Gheeta, beaming back out at her.
‘Don’t want your stupid phone any way,’ Courtney said, gave a withering look over her shoulder and started to disappear. The departing Sheffield Snow Queen was closely followed by Bannan. The Bandit, fell into stride behind Courtney and was already reaching into the older girl’s bag for what she might help herself to.
The BFs were left standing facing one another in the slowly fading sunshine, the phone sitting between them in Gheeta’s outstretched hand.
‘Sorry for -‘ Keisha started to say, but she got no further as Gheeta pulled her into a hug and finally let out her smile that had been waiting patiently within.
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