“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labours of life reduce themselves.” - Edwin Way Teale
A car pulls up out the front and I frown. Clara climbs out of it and waves as the car drives away. That must have been ‘Jer’ driving. I open the front door and lean against the frame. Clara faces me and I’m surprised to see an actual smile on her face.
“Why were you with Jeremy?” I ask.
”You texted me,” Clara scoffs. “Unbelievable, Layne. Harriet isn’t here is she?”
“Harriet went out with Luce, Zeke and Nick.”
“You’re mad at me.”
“You only call Harriet ‘Harriet’ when you’re mad, Layne.”
Clara sniffs. “What’s burning?”
I face palm. “Shit!”
I bolt into the kitchen and take the ‘toast’ from the toaster. Clara sighs and follows me into the kitchen, closing the door behind her. I throw the ‘toast’ in the garbage and Clara laughs. I grin at her and she rolls her eyes.
“Charcoal again?” Clara asks.
“Yeah,” I reply.
“Har should’ve taught you how to cook.”
“Well, she obviously didn’t.”
“Do you want me to?”
“You can teach me if you want.”
Clara grins and starts by teaching me how to use a knife properly. We then start to make scrambled eggs and I realise that I can actually cook. Clara bumps into me and the chopped tomato and onion goes everywhere. We laugh and pick up the lost food, unaware that we had an audience.
I add the tomato and onion to the eggs and mix them together. Clara places two plates on the bench and I plate up the food. We put salt and pepper on the eggs and I grin, pulling her into a hug. I didn’t burn anything.
“Good job, Layne,” Clara praises.
I hug her tighter. “Thanks for helping.”
“L-Layne?” Harriet stutters.
Clara and I spin around.
“Did you seriously cook, Layne?” Zeke asks.
I nod sheepishly.
“It looks good!” Nick exclaims.
Clara rolls her eyes. “All food looks good to you.”
“Layne is growing up!” Lucy exclaims. “I think I might die of shock!”
“No, Lucy!” Zeke cries, catching a falling Lucy. “Don’t you dare die!”
“It’s too late, Zeke.”
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
“Zuce,” Clara mutters.
“Zuce,” Nick agrees.
“Will you do one thing for me?” Lucy asks.
“Anything, Luce,” Zeke says.
“Be my partner?”
They kiss and Luce stands up.
“She lives!” Harriet screams, hiding behind me.
“Do you want me to tell them?” I ask.
“Well, guys, Harriet and I are together.”
Lucy, Zeke and Nick pull us into a giant hug and Clara smiles sadly at us, like she knows something is going to happen. Nick pulls away and clears his throat. Oh, shit. Nick has an announcement, and, from the look on Clara’s face, it isn’t going to be good.
“I have a girlfriend,” Nick announces.
I swear Zeke squeals like a girl at that comment. A grin spreads on Lucy’s face. Harriet’s face half drops before smiling again.
“What’s her name?” Harriet asks.
“Clarity Thyme,” Nick answers.
Harriet, Lucy and Zeke swamp Nick, and Clara vanishes from sight. I run up the stairs and into her room. All I can hear is the lads downstairs and the faint sound of music. I hear a hiss of pain and I trace the sound to her bathroom. I open the door and my stomach drops at the familiar sight.
“C-Clara?” I stutter.
“Layne, you weren’t meant to see this,” Clara says, her eyes dark.
“I know how hard it is for you.”
“And you think this isn’t?!”
“I know it is! That’s why I didn’t tell you!”