â€œI look dead!â€ Sophie squealed, grabbing the still developing polaroid picture from her best friendâ€™s hand.
The two girls were sunbathing on towels in Lauraâ€™s back garden, and Laura had taken Sophie by surprise with a picture while sheâ€™d had her eyes closed. They were supposed to be studying, but they both only had one exam to go: history, the following afternoon. Laura would walk it; everyone knew that she was the cleverest girl in their year. Somehow she just didnâ€™t need to study. Sophie was a different matter, but she maintained that she didnâ€™t care how she did in her exams as she was going to get a job as soon as the summer was over and be earning heaps and heaps of cash by the time Laura was finished at university.
â€œCome on,â€ Laura said. â€œIâ€™m bored of sunbathing. Sammy and Iâ€™ll walk you home.â€ Sammy was Lauraâ€™s dog, an English springer spaniel, and he was very energetic. Sophie lived over the hill from Laura, so they often took Sammy along, the three of them walking to the top of the hill, half way between the two houses, and then heading off in their separate directions, Sophie down the hill to the estate her family lived on, and Laura and Sammy back down the other side of the hill and across the field to their farmhouse.
Sometimes the girls would be so engrossed in their conversation that theyâ€™d get almost all the way to Sophieâ€™s house and Laura would have to walk all the way home alone. Sometimes they stayed at the top, sat on the bench chatting while Sammy ran in and out of the undergrowth sniffing out the rabbits.
On the way up the hill Laura talked about James, they boy sheâ€™d been in love with all her life. His family were friends with her family, they were the same age, theyâ€™d grown up together, and they were destined to be together forever. James had only realised this and started dating Laura a few months ago, but Laura had known for ages. Recently theyâ€™d been talking about taking their relationship further, making it special before they went off to college. James was away at boarding school but they wrote often and saw each other on his weekends home. He was due home again the following weekend, and Lauraâ€™s parents had a dinner party to go to on the Saturday night, so would be out late. Naturally Sophie knew all about the relationship and how things were developing. Sheâ€™d had a few older boyfriends and was more experienced than Laura.
When they reached the top of the hill Sophie said that she was running late, so would have to go, but would see Laura the next morning for their exam. Laura called for Sammy and turned round to head home. She was half way down the hill when she noticed that he wasnâ€™t following her, so, with a heavy sigh, she trudged back up to track him down. This wasnâ€™t the first time it had happened, heâ€™d usually just found an interesting smell and didnâ€™t want to leave it.
As she reached the peak of the hill she saw Sammyâ€™s tail disappear down into one of the old chalk pits that pockmarked the hill, so she headed towards it to fetch him, taking his lead from where sheâ€™d been wearing it around her neck as she went. She called him but knew from experience that it would make no difference; she was going to have to go and get him.
As she approached the gap in the bushes surrounding the pit she heard a rustle, and Sophie appeared, looking flustered. â€œLauraâ€¦ I â€¦ ermâ€¦ needed the loo.â€
Sammy barked and Laura pushed past Sophie. â€œHold on, let me just get Sammy,â€ she said, as she followed the direction of his bark. Thatâ€™s when she saw James, looking flustered too, trying to pull up his jeans and hide from Sammy, who was greeting him enthusiasticallly.
â€œLauraâ€¦ shitâ€¦ babeâ€¦ itâ€™s not what you thinkâ€¦ you wouldnâ€™tâ€¦ sheâ€™s just a shag, thatâ€™s allâ€¦ everyoneâ€™s slept with herâ€¦ I love youâ€¦ Iâ€™m sorry.â€
Laura grabbed Sammyâ€™s collar and clipped his lead into place. She looked at Sophie, who started to cry. â€œIâ€™m sorry.â€
â€œHeâ€™s right you know,â€ Laura was amazed at how calm she felt. â€œYou are a slag, everyone knows it. I shouldâ€™ve seen this coming. I trusted you. I told you everything. I thought you were my friend.â€
Laura strode off home, dragging Sammy along with her, ignoring Jamesâ€™s pleading from behind her. She was gratified to hear him tell Sophie to leave him alone and that he didnâ€™t want anything to do with her, but it was small compensation. On the way down she pulled the picture of Sophie out of her back pocket. She stuck it into the post that held the barbed wire fence together, and went home to her mum.
This was written for Flickr Fiction Friday. I’m not sure who else is participating this week, as people are off travelling, but usually taking part are: Elimare, Donal, Chris, Littlegoat and Aquafortis.