Monday morning and another gorgeous day on the coast. I have double English this morning. Yuck! We have been put into groups, and we’ve had to do an English speech by today. Our group is just four; me, Emmy, Thomas and Jack. Emmy was in charge of the project. I hope she remembers to bring the draft in today! The teacher, Mrs Stames is a stickler for getting homework done on time, and she’s not shy of giving out detention if we don’t do it either!

Mrs Stames looks around the classroom with an inquisitive look on her face,
“Right then class 8. Who has their English speech draft ready for me to look at? Don’t all crowd me at once!” she walks up and down each aisle, and stops at my desk.
“Group B! Are you ready with your speeches? Thomas, show me your work so far!” She leans over our desk, peering over her glasses. By now,Thomas has a very concerned look on his face. He looks across at me, and then at Emmy to gauge our reactions. Emmy and I both look at each other. She shakes her head.
The teacher catches our glances. Turning to me she bellows into my face.
“Jenny! Any thoughts on how you have put together your group speech? Do you have any input for me at all?”
By now, all the class is watching me, as I shrink further into my chair. I can feel my face turning red, making me feel more anxious. Emmy giggles beside me. How I wished I could be more like her! Nothing seemed to phase my classmate and best friend.
Emmy and I had known each other since 6th grade. She was always the liveliest one in our friendship. You could rely on Emmy to be the one who would take any ‘dare’ she was given. Just last year, she led us into the haunted woods after dark without any fear. We stayed there at least an hour, until Jack and Stefan decided to make funny crackling noises right near us! We all thought that it was the ghost of the old woman who died nearby, and we screamed and run back to the road. Emmy didn’t run away though, and she ended the night by scaring them! What a giggle we had.
Now though, she has left me to answer the teacher’s questions. Trouble is, I don’t know the answer to this one.
“We are getting together later this afternoon” I stutter, trying to think of something good to say. Emmy nudges me.
“I saw that, Emmy Franklin! What do you have to say for yourself?” the teacher has now turned her attention to Emmy. “Too bust dreaming over boys all weekend to think about English homework! Is that it?”
Emmy turns on her best sorrowful voice.
“Please miss, our dog died last weekend! I was so upset, and the others came over to comfort me. We had to give the dog a sending off in the backyard, and we all thought that we could do the speech this evening, when we are more clear –headed. Is that OK, miss?” Emmy gave Mrs Stames her best ‘sad face’ look. I think she even had tears flooding her eyes at one point, but I was too scared to look!
Mrs Stames gives Emmy a sympathetic look, and says,
“Guys, I’ll expect it by tomorrow, instead!”
With that, she moves away to another desk and to the next group.

After class, we all sit around the picnic tables in the lunch area. Jack opens his lunch pack, and passes his biscuits to Emmy.
“Take this Em,” he said. “I didn’t know that your dog had died,”
“Nor did I,” she said, taking the offered biscuit. “It was news to me too!”
And she gives a surprised giggle.