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Page 6

Suzanne Frankham

Katie, who over the years had become expert at hearing what wasn’t said, knew exactly what her mother meant. She was wearing a dress which screamed ‘look at me’. Fire- engine red, it moulded to her body.  She had slicked her hair back off her face and teamed the dress with matching lipstick and sky-high heels. The word her mother had been searching for was ‘hot’. Yes, she, Katie Plumberton, who for years had tried her best to fade into the background, to be as invisible as possible, had decided to launch out in style.

‘Well, my goodness, darl, have a good time,’ her mother said, trailing behind her as she went to meet Chloe. ‘Yes, have fun …’

He was there of course. In a town as small as Johnsonville, with only one decent pub, naturally he’d be there, this time propping up the bar with his circle of acolytes. 

‘Oh, Plumpy, thought you’d finally turned tail and scarpered. Haven’t seen you around for months. And look at you, all plumped up for tonight I see.’ He sniggered at his own joke.

Katie took her time. She turned towards him and walked through his phalanx of guards. In her heels she looked him straight in the eye. ‘I’ve never really noticed how mean and nasty your beady little eyes are.’ She leant closer, and he jerked backwards. Almost tripped. ‘Going to notice them more as your hair falls out. Specially with that beak of a nose. You’re going to end up looking like a weasel. One year I reckon.’

She turned away and walked towards her group of friends.

‘Trying to hook up tonight are you, all flashed up. Huh, you’ll be lucky,’ he yelled after her.

‘Oi, I’m available,’ one of his friends called out.

Jimmy scowled. ‘Piss off, Jet.’

Katie clocked it all as background chatter. What she was listening for was the worm, to see if it was chomping. It had wiggled a bit when Jimmy had first spoken to her, but that was all, and as she walked over to her friends she could see a scruffy bloke in a white T-shirt detach himself from the group and move towards her. He didn’t say, anything just winked, and she smiled, linked her arm through his and went to join her friends.

Tomorrow the two of them were going for a picnic by the river.  Then she’d tell him all about the sessions she’d had with his aunt’s cousin, who had indeed been a top bloke. She’d tell him about getting back enough confidence to square off with Jimmy. She’d try and explain that Tim Minchin’s words didn’t frighten her anymore. In fact she’d come to understand that some level of self-doubt could be useful. There were a lot of things she was going to tell him. It was going to be a great day. Tomorrow. 

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