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Hurry Up and Wait

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Michelle elbowed Erin: "There's David Donnelly"

"Oh aye" replied Erin barely looking up from the book she was reading.

The gang were in the café trying to cram for an test they had the next day.

"He's coming in Erin" Michelle elbowed her again.

Erin finally looked up: "I can see that Michelle" She returned to the poetry book she was reading.

What the hell was up with her? Thought Michelle. Any other time she would have been shaking like a shitting dog at even the mention of David Donnelly.

Clare had even picked up on Erin's lack of reaction: "Erin, he's comin over!"

"I haven't gone blind girls" replied Erin.

"He's looking at you Erin" it was Orla's turn to join in.

"Heyas!" said David.

"He's talking to ya Erin!" Orla continued.

"I can hear that Orla!" replied Erin in a low voice.

James felt a pang of jealously. He tried to observe Erin's reaction while pretending to read his physics book.

"Heya Erin, can I talk to ya?" he said placing a ciggie behind his ear.

"Of course, David"

Michelle, Orla, and Clare looked on.

Clare wondered whether she was on drugs. How was she so calm? Clare felt even more nervous than Erin looked.

David bristled; he had expected her to follow him to another table, but Erin was sat steadfast in her seat.

"Ok, so I was just wondering whether ya fancy going to this Hallowe'en thing. In town."

Michelle elbowed Clare and James with excitement.

James had fully abandoned the book and was hanging on Erin's reply.

"Oh, that's very nice of ya David. It really is, but I'm busy that night. Sorry"

"No bother, maybe another time yeah?" asked David.

"Aye, maybe. I really am sorry" Erin watched him leave the café. She risked a quick glance at James before returning to her book.

He had been looking. He quickly hid behind the textbook.

Michelle sat in silence for a moment. She looked at Clare and Orla and noticed the same look of shock: "Ok, what the fuck was that?"

"What Michelle?" asked Erin.

She knew exactly what she meant.

"You giving David Donnelly the swerve?" said Michelle.

"But I am busy Michelle. Sure, we said we'd spend Hallowe'en together"

She wished for once in her life that Michelle would shut up and let something go for once.

"Aye but there was a time you would have trampled your granny to go on a date with him?"

"Well, I've moved on Michelle" replied Erin.

"Since when?" asked Michelle.

"Do I have to run every thought past you Michelle?!" Erin looked up. Her eyes automatically went to James's.

He met her glance briefly and looked back down to his book.

The look didn't go unnoticed by Michelle.

She stared between him and Erin.

"Maybe she's not well Michelle? You haven't taken anything Erin, have you?" asked Clare.

"What?" replied Erin.

Orla reached over and placed her on Erin's forehead as if taking her temperature.

"Get off me Orla" Erin shoved Orla's hand away.

"Well, she's not burning up, but your face is all red Erin" she a grinning Orla.

"Aye, because you lot won't leave me alone" Erin packed up her bag and ran out of the cafe.

Michelle felt James move beside her to go after Erin, but she grabbed his arm to stop him.

"I'll go after her," said Michelle.

She went outside to see Erin flying up the hill. The young one could half move went she wanted to: "For fuck's sake! ERIN!"

Erin sped up but Michelle kept chasing her.

She was eventually able to grab on to Erin's bag, bringing her to a halt.

Erin froze and just stared at the out of breath Michelle.

"Wait..." Michelle was panting. She bent over leaning on her knees and held up a hand: "Give me...a second Erin"

"That's all that smoking has you like that Michelle"

"Is it fuck?! It was you running up this hill like a Ra head down the Shankill"

"Well, what did you expect Michelle when you wouldn't stop going on at me!" snapped Erin.

"What's got into you Erin?"

"Nothing Michelle"

"Is this about my absolute prick of a cousin?"

"No, Michelle!" It was. But she couldn't admit it to her. She had done as she had asked. She'd left James alone. Why couldn't Michelle just leave her alone about this.

"What then?!"

"I'm just not interested in David anymore, ok?"

"Why?"

"Because people change Michelle! Well, some of us do. Some of us grow up"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I did what you asked so will ya just leave me alone Michelle"

"What did I ask? Erin?" said Michelle.

God, she didn't even remember. Or she was pretending not to. Erin had nothing more to say to her. She turned around and walked up the hill to home.