Acting Friends

Acting Friends by Sophie McKenzie

Book: Acting Friends by Sophie McKenzie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophie McKenzie
her, then lost her in the crowd. I spotted her again by the hook-the-duck stall. She was looking up, chatting to someone.
    I took another step. No. It was Frankie Clarke.
    I sped up. Emmi and Shaz were on either side of me. We raced over, arriving at Grace’s side just in time to overhear Frankie.
    ‘Maybe I could see you later?’ he was saying.
    ‘That’s gonna get a little crowded,’ Emmi said drily.
    Frankie jumped back – into Shaz who was
    standing behind him. He glanced from her to me and Emmi.

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    ‘Fancy you being here, chatting to Grace,’ I said sarcastically.
    ‘What’s going on?’ Grace’s face was red as a tomato.
    ‘I haven’t done anything wrong,’ Frankie said defensively.
    Emmi raised her eyebrows. She looked at me.
    ‘What do you think, River?’
    ‘I think making out you’re hoping to see all of us again and taking a picture as a “keepsake” . . .’
    ‘. . . “of our first meeting” . . .’ added Shaz.
    I pursed my lips. ‘I think all of that is kind of doing something wrong . . . because . . . you didn’t really mean any of it, did you?’
    Frankie stared at me. He was blushing nearly as deep a red as Grace now.
    ‘Why did you take your picture with each of us?’
    Emmi demanded.
    ‘Why did you say you’d see us again – then not take anyone’s phone number?’ Shaz added.
    Grace turned to me. ‘Frankie was talking with all of you as well?’
    ‘Oh, yes,’ I said. ‘Pretending he liked all of us.’
    ‘I do like all of you,’ Frankie protested. ‘It’s just . . .’
    ‘Just what ?’ Emmi said.
    Frankie bit his lip. ‘It was a bet.’

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    ‘A bet? ’I shook my head. What was he talking about?
    Emmi gasped. ‘You mean, you took our pictures so that you could show someone else you’d been talking to us?’
    Frankie hung his head. ‘Yeah, me and the guys on the movie bet each other how many girls we could get our picture taken with,’ he said miserably.
    ‘So why didn’t you say that?’ I insisted. ‘At least that would have been honest, rather than going around . . . collecting us like we were stamps or something.’
    Frankie shrugged. I stared at him. He suddenly seemed very young . . . and a bit silly. Not that different from my little brother, really.
    I looked around. The smells and sounds of the funfair room filled my head. Shrieks and squeals from the go-karting area . . . a whiff of fried onions . . .
    the ping of the strong man bell as someone hit down hard with the mallet . . .
    A small knot of disappointment settled in my guts. I wasn’t sad anymore that Frankie wasn’t really interested in me. Just that he wasn’t what I’d thought.
    He was only an ordinary boy – not worth having a big crush on.
    ‘Er, I’m . . . I’m sorry.’ Frankie fidgeted from foot 69
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    to foot. ‘I can still email you the photos I took, if you’d like.’
    ‘Don’t bother,’ Emmi said. ‘I don’t want your stupid picture.’
    ‘Me neither,’ Shaz said.
    I sighed as it struck me that the fortune teller must have been totally wrong. Frankie’s name did begin with an ‘F’ and he was definitely an actor –
    but no way was he my ‘true love’. And in that moment I realised I had nothing to be embarrassed about. Nor did any of the others. It wasn’t our fault Frankie was a bit of an idiot. That was his problem.
    ‘Bye, Frankie,’ I said. ‘Have fun at your party.’
    Frankie slunk away. Emmi, Grace and I looked at each other, then at Shaz. She’d been okay just then, while we’d been talking to Frankie. Not bitchy or mean at all.
    She took a step away from us. I watched her closely. She was frowning, her face screwed up in a nasty scowl. But I was sure she was feeling more awkward than hostile.
    ‘Shaz,’ I said. ‘Do you want to get some candy floss with us?’
    Shaz opened and closed her mouth. She

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