Chapter no 12 – Confession time Shannon

Binding 13

I was finishing up the last of my homework late Sunday night when a knock on my bedroom door broke through my concentration.

Folding my copybook, I slid it into my Math’s textbook and called out, “Come in.”

My bedroom door cracked open and my brother’s head popped through the crack.

“What’s up, Joe?” I asked, shoving my books back into my schoolbag. “I’m going to the shop,” my brother announced, taking a quick glance

around my room before his eyes returned to my face. “Do you want anything?”

“Where’s Aoife?” “In my room.”

“Is she staying over?” “Yeah.”

Aoife went to BCS and was in sixth year with Joey, so it wasn’t uncommon for them to stay at each other houses on a school night and head to school together.

They were at the age where sleepovers were allowed.

Or at least, no one ever said a word to Joey when he brought a girl home.

There was a huge case of double standards in this house – a house that had been exceptionally quiet this weekend.

My father was in rare form.

He was behaving like a human.

He even bought us all takeaway Chinese last night and passed me the remote control rather than just flinging it at me like he usually did.

I wasn’t naïve enough to believe that my father’s decision to not break up the house this weekend was because he had decided to turn over a new leaf.

No, I had been a member of this family long enough to recognize this quiet period as the calm before the storm.

He would erupt soon. He always did.

I could only hope that I wasn’t standing in the eye of the storm when it happened.

“Do you want something from the shop or not?” Joey asked, sounding impatient. “It’s closing soon.”

I glanced at the screen of my phone to check the time. 10:45pm. “Why are you going to the shop so late?” I questioned. “What do you need that’s so important?”

Joey grinned. “Do you want me to answer that honestly?”

“No,” I groaned, fake gagging when awareness dawned on me. “Go away.”

“Night, Shan,” he chuckled, closing out my door.

“Be safe!” I called after him. “I’m too young to be an auntie!”

My phone vibrated against my thigh, alerting me to an incoming call from Claire.

“Hello?” I said, pressing it to my ear.

“Hey chick-a-bee,” she said happily. “What are you doing next weekend?”

Climbing off my bed, I hurried over to my door and turned the lock. “Nothing,” I replied. Like always. “Why?”

“Because, my dear friend, Gerard Gibson passed his theory test on Friday morning and some demented idiot at the tax office decided to give him a provisional driver’s license.”

“Really?” I laughed, thinking about Gibsie behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“Oh yeah,” Claire sighed. “I’ve just spent the last hour and a half trying to shove him out of my bedroom.”

“Why was he in your room?”

“To gloat,” she explained. “Shaking his little green license around like he was king of the hill.”

“What does Gibsie getting his driving license have to do with next weekend?”

“His parents bought him a car for his birthday last week,” she explained. “He wants all of us to go for a spin with him.”

My brows shot up. “Who’s all of us?”

“The usual gang,” Claire replied breezily. “Me, Gerard, Hughie, Katie, Pierce, Lizzie, Patrick, Johnny, and you of course.”

My heart leapt at the sound of Johnny’s name being mentioned.

And then it rocketed even further at the prospect of spending actual time with him.

“Why me?” I managed to ask.

“Duh, because you’re our friend,” she replied.

I shook my head. “No, Claire, I’m your friend. Yours and Lizzie’s.” “Well, Gerard told me to invite you along.”

“Why?” I strangled out. “He doesn’t know me.” “You helped him with Brian?”

I shook my head. “That doesn’t make us friends.”

“Well, he knows you’re my best friend,” she explained. “Which means any invitations I receive automatically extend to you, too.”

“Well, he can’t fit all those people in one car.”

“Then maybe you can go in Johnny’s car,” Claire shot back in a teasing tone. “By the way, I saw you with him on the pitch Friday, you little flirt.”

“I was not flirting with him,” I practically spluttered. “He came up to me.”

“Better again,” she giggled. “He was the one doing the flirting.” “Nobody was flirting,” I choked out. “We were just –”

“You were just what?” Claire teased.

“Talking,” I filled in with a helpless shrug. “About what?”

“I don’t know,” I mumbled. “Just stuff, I guess?”

“And taking pictures together,” she added with a cackle. “I saw that, too.”

“Oh god.” I groaned in defeat and flopped back on my pillow. “I was caught so off guard,” I croaked out. “You should have heard me trying to talk to him,” I added, biting down on my lip. “I got tongue tied and literally bombed my way through the entire conversation, Claire. It was completely humiliating.”

“You got tongue-tied because you like him,” she pressed. Not bothering to deny it, I just sighed down the line.

“Oh my god,” she gasped, tone excited. “Are you finally admitting you like him?”

I nodded and then realized she couldn’t see me.

“I don’t think there’s any point in denying it,” I whispered, feeling my face burn at the thought. “I like him, Claire – I think I really like him.”

“Oh wow, Shan,” Claire replied gently. “This is big for you.” She was right.

It was huge.

And scary.

Absolutely terrifying.

“It’s ridiculous,” I muttered glumly. “I don’t even know him.” “Yeah, you do,” Claire argued.

“Not well,” I replied with a sigh.

“Well,” she mused. “I’ve never met Johnny Depp in the flesh and that hasn’t stopped me from falling madly in love with him.”

I rolled my eyes at her response. “Yeah, because that’s the same thing.” “I have his phone number, you know,” Claire offered then. “I can give it

to you and you could text him.”

My eyes widened. “Absolutely not.” “Are you sure?”

“Positive,” I strangled out. “There is no way on god’s green earth where I could be the type of girl who does that.” Chewing on my lip, I quickly asked, “How do you have his number?”

“Gerard is always borrowing my phone,” she explained. ” He is always calling Johnny when he uses my phone. Johnny’s practically his Siamese twin. So, I stored Johnny’s number under Call For Sex.” Snickering she added, “It was so funny. Gerard was so mad with me – demanding to know who I was hooking up with and why it wasn’t him listed under that name.”

“Claire, you can’t tell anyone that I like him,” I blurted out, feeling panicky that I had let the cat out of the bag. “Please. Not even Lizzie and

especially not Gibsie.”

“I won’t, I promise,” she vowed. “But if you did text him, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised,” she added. “I know Lizzie told you a bunch of stuff about him, but honestly, most of it’s just fabricated gossip. Johnny’s not the guy all the girls at school paint him out to be.”

“Yeah,” I whispered, “I’ve already gathered that.” He was better.

So much better.

“So, will you come with us next weekend?” she asked. “I won’t be allowed to go.”

“Come on, Shan, you can’t just say no,” Claire whined. “Not without asking, at least?”

“I don’t need to ask, Claire,” I croaked out. “I already know the answer.” “Then don’t ask him,” she quickly said. “Just make up an excuse or something and come over to mine. We don’t even have to go with the lads.”

I sighed heavily. “Claire –”

“We can have dinner at my house,” she hurried to say. “And you know, if Johnny just happened to stop by, because of a rogue text message sent from my phone, then maybe you two could go up to my room and –”

“Stop it,” I warned her, shivering at the thought. Claire laughed down the line. “I’m kidding.”

“You better be,” I grumbled. “Because I would die.”

“So, do you want to do that?” she asked, smothering her laughter. “Come over to mine for a takeaway and a movie? Or we could go to the cinema? Or out to eat at a restaurant? Whatever you want,” she told me. “It’s your choice and my treat.”

“I love you for offering,” I told her, biting down on my lip to stop it from wobbling. “But you know he’ll never allow it.”

Claire sighed heavily. “Shan…”

“Don’t,” I pleaded quietly. “Please don’t say anything.” There was a long pause before she whispered, “I won’t.” I sagged in relief. “Thank you.”

“I’m here for you,” was all Claire replied in a sad tone of voice. “Forever.”

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