Rae was crap at drawing…well, she was alright at doodling random stuff, but when it came to drawing the boys she had the most epic of horns for, she found herself frustrated at her inability to do them justice, in her mind. When she’d fancied Archie, it was easier to define him and set him apart, what with his thick rimmed glasses and hair that spiked up a bit at the back, and her crush on him didn’t last long enough for her to have much time to doodle out her daydreams in great depth, anyway. Even when she’d done so, she’d been annoyed at how she couldn’t quite capture his cuteness well enough to do the job properly.
Then Finn crashed onto the scene with a resounding boom, gorgeous, lovely, cool, sweet, did she mention gorgeous(?) Finn, somebody she felt entirely different about. Her feelings for him ran a lot deeper than the feelings she had for Archie, and her frustration at not being able to properly convey his utter magnificence with a biro and her limited artistic talent was all the stronger.
She’d set him apart from her other doodled dream boats by giving him a six pack and bulging pecks. She could draw those easy enough (and enjoy the process, as it was a handy reminder of how lush his body was…) but when it came to his face, his beautiful face with his rich chocolate coloured, puppy dog eyes, his full, thick, begging to be kissed lips and those adorable freckles dappled all over his perfectly shaped nose…she was stumped. She didn’t even want to try, knowing her feeble attempts would just get her annoyed and frustrated. Yet it didn’t solve her problem. Her diary was still sadly bereft of all things Finn, and as he pretty much consumed her every waking thought, it was odd that her diary would only feature a few doodles. Albeit, she sort of made up for it with the near endless spillage of written gushes, but how was that going to help when she was feeling so super horny that she needed to see him and remember just how bloody amazing that boy was?
Little did she know that the perfect solution was about to present itself, fall into her lap, practically. Rae interpreted this happy state of affairs as a cosmic sign that Finn was meant to be hers, yet more proof that he was destined to be her Finn forever, eventually. If nothing else, it would prove to be a highlight of an already good night, spent with the lovely Izzy.
She’d invited Rae over to hers for a sleepover one weekend, originally planning for it to be all three girls in attendance.
“Come over at 5. Do you like turkey twizzlers? Dad bought a load on special offer and they’ll be out of date soon…”
Perhaps it was the promise of near expired turkey twizzlers that put Chloe off, or maybe she was genuinely ill, but Chloe had to duck out at the last minute as she was in the throws of a pretty nasty stomach bug, apparently. Izzy didn’t mind too much.
“It’ll be nice to spend some quality time with you, Rae!” she beamed, Rae sitting down on her bed and nodding in agreement.
“Yeah, it will.”
Izzy continued to beam as she went to the kitchen to get them some drinks, the turkey twizzlers already cooking away. Rae took the opportunity to look around, the smell of lemon scented laundry detergent in the air. (Lemon was Rae’s favourite fabric conditioner scent, so naturally her Mum never bought that type…)
Izzy’s room was what you would expect; colourful, bright, adorable, everything she was. The wallpaper was yellow and covered in a big daisy print. Cuddly toys covered her bed, as well as an array of multicoloured pillows. Her wardrobe was covered in stickers, featuring boy and girl bands alike, TLC, Boyzone, Backstreet Boys…
“I don’t listen to boy bands anymore…I just can’t get those bloody stickers off!” Izzy would assure her later that evening, Rae believing her, as the corners of a few of them had roughened under the obvious attempt to rip them away.
She had a desk opposite her bed, her passion for crafts made obvious by the mixture of objects there: felt, glue, pots of glitter, scissors, felt tips…
Rae looked at the polaroids stuck on the wall above it with a smile. They were mostly pictures of the family dog, Barry, but she had a few of the gang and some other people Rae didn’t know. Her family, she assumed, and other friends from school and elsewhere.
“Here you are!” Izzy sang, returning and handing Rae a glass of Vimto. They moved to Izzy’s bed, Rae taking off her shoes and getting comfortable, trying to find some space amidst the stuffed animals. They eased into their conversation, as always, talking about fit boys from school, TV shows they were both into at the moment, plans for parties, upcoming A levels, only pausing to eat their tea (which Rae couldn’t deny, was amazing…who doesn’t like turkey twizzlers? Sure, you could practically feel the years of your life drop away with each gristly mouthful, but they tasted so good, it was almost worth it)
They changed into their pyjamas when they returned, Izzy closing her bedroom door and putting on some music, the evening light a good opportunity for her to light some candles and set more of a slumber party atmosphere. Rae hoped she didn’t want to spend all night putting make-up on her, or braiding her hair or something. She’d end the night with a perm, she was sure of it. She seemed to be getting away with it, luckily, and she endeavoured to keep Izzy distracted with chatter so she didn’t get any mad ideas.
As the night progressed, the girls got more and more silly, taking advantage of the empty house by singing a cheesy pop tune or two at the top of their lungs whenever it came on Izzy’s stereo, only stopping at the sound of Barry howling downstairs. Izzy eventually let him in, the dog leaping up onto the bed with the girls even though he wasn’t allowed to.
“Just this once.” Izzy said in a baby voice, cupping Barry’s head in her hands as he panted happily.
The girls resumed their giggly banter, Rae making Izzy scream with laughter once or twice with her filthy quips.
“Oh God Rae, you’re gonna bloody kill me one o’these days!” she grinned, red faced, eyes wet with hysterical tears. She looked around for a tissue.
“I think I’ve got a packet of kleenex in my bedside drawer…” she said thickly, sniffing as she gestured. Rae twisted and leaned over to open it.
“Oh no, wait…!” Izzy began, pulling at Rae’s shoulder. She’d already opened the drawer, however, Rae knowing instantly why Izzy hadn’t wanted her to. Inside was a large rectangle, Rae assumed a piece of thick card, completely covered in cut out clippings of Chop’s grinning face. Rae recognised a few of the photos from a few times they’d been out, some pictures taken down the pub, some down at the chippy, some in the park…
They weren’t from the polaroids, but were instead taken with the instant cameras Chloe had bought for her holiday in Portugal. She’d wanted the film used up, so she’d given the leftovers to Izzy. Some of the photos Rae had even taken herself, not really thinking twice about where they’d end up. At the centre of the card was Chop’s entire body, quite a bit bigger than a regular 6x4. Rae thought Izzy must have had it blown up especially, thinking how impossibly sweet it all was.
Rae turned back to see Izzy’s face turn redder still, looking mortified. ”I should have hidden it away better.” she mumbled.
“Don’t worry Iz, your secret’s safe with me.” Rae assured with a sympathetic smile, Izzy managing a small smile of her own, glancing up at Rae with lingering embarrassment.
“C’mere.” Rae said with a tut, bringing Izzy in for a hug. Izzy held her tight, conveying her appreciation with the firmness of her grip.
“Thanks Rae. I know you’d never wanna embarrass me.” she said over her shoulder.
“Course not! Wouldn’t dream of it.” she said, Izzy squeezing her tighter still. She let out a sheepish chuckle as she pulled away, leaning over Rae to pick the mini Chop shrine out of the drawer.
That’s when Rae saw them, her heart leaping into her mouth as she properly beheld the hidden treasure that had been revealed to her…
Underneath the card were the photos Izzy had cut Chop out of, a pile of glossy prints with boy shaped holes in them…and who was that lady garden drenching adonis standing next to the spaces Chop previously occupied? Why Finn, of course, Chop’s best mate and partner in crime, always nearby whenever Izzy forced her crush to pose for her. Rae glanced at Izzy, who was gazing lovingly down at her lust fuelled creation, before she turned her attention back to the drawer of dreams, imagining the insides glowing like the treasure in Indiana Jones, a sound of distant angels singing as she got a sneaky closer look. He wasn’t even looking at the camera in any of the photos she could see. Who has time to stop and smile for photographs when you’re too busy concentrating on being a full time sex god? He had his eyes closed in one of them, which Rae couldn’t help but find deliciously adorable. She ached to touch them…more than that, she ached to HAVE them. She had to have those photos in her life. Izzy didn’t even want them - they were just left there, discarded. One girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure…
Rae had to play this cool. She glanced at the clock: 12:43pm. They’d be going to sleep soon, Rae already formulating a plan in her mind. She wasn’t leaving that house without those clippings. She also wasn’t leaving the house with Izzy knowing she fancied Finn. Sure, it might have evened the playing field, but Izzy and Finn were close in their own way, like brother and sister, and Rae couldn’t risk Izzy slipping up.
Izzy placed the collage on the table on her side of the bed, still smiling fondly.
“He’s just so lovely, Rae, isn’t he. So funny and nice.” Izzy commented, moving to get under the covers, Barry fast asleep at the foot of the bed. Rae followed suit, wedging her feet underneath Barry’s body, not sure she’d be able to sleep very well with that pressure there.
“He’s a good’en, is Chop.” Rae agreed, Izzy linking arms with Rae under the duvet, their heads gently touching, meeting in the middle of their pillows.
“He’s gorgeous, too. I’ve heard some girls say they don’t like his teeth, but I think they’re lovely. His whole face is lovely, actually…and his arms…that tattoo he’s got is so sexy as well…” Izzy rambled, Rae smiling in amusement. Let it all out, Iz.
“Don’t you think it’s cool that he’s not even in 6th form? And like, he can buy us drinks and stuff? He’s so cool.” she sighed, Rae giggling as Izzy’s sigh melted into a yawn. She followed it with a small giggle of her own.
“Is it really obvious that I like him?” she asked, dejection snaking into her voice.
Do bears shit in the woods?
“No, not at all. I had no idea you had a thing for him before I saw that collage.” Rae lied, Izzy exhaling in relief.
“That’s good. I don’t think he sees me that way, is all.”
“You don’t know that for sure…” Rae tried to reason.
“You’re so wonderful, Rae, you know that don’t ya?” Izzy said, and Rae could tell she was smiling. Rae felt a warmth expand in her chest, and she snuggled in closer to Izzy.
“So are you. Chop would be lucky to have ya. Don’t lose hope.”
After a few moments of silence, Izzy turned her head slightly.
“Do you like anyone at the moment?”
Rae had managed to avoid a night of cosmetics and hair plaiting, but she hadn’t managed to avoid the million dollar question. She lied once again, the act setting her teeth on edge. I hate lying so bloody much!
“No, not really. There aren’t many interesting boys in Stamford.”
“That’s a shame! I’d love it if you met a nice guy, somebody like you, who liked the same music as you and stuff. I know how much you love your music.”
Rae felt herself beam. She had to be laid next to the sweetest girl in all of Lincolnshire, barr Tix. It was refreshing to have a friend so completely genuine, but with enough of an edge to her to set her apart from other girls their age.
“Thanks Izzy.” Rae smiled, letting out a yawn of her own. The girls chatted for a while longer, letting out a fatigued giggle here and there as they riffed, their energy waining more and more as the minutes passed.
They said their goodnights, Izzy unlinking her arm from Rae and turning off the lamp beside her. Rae fought sleep with all her might, the gem filled bedside table consuming her thoughts once more. Izzy’s breathing eventually became deeper and slower, and when Rae was sure she was fully asleep, she slipped out of bed as quietly as she could (which proved difficult as Barry had made both her feet numb. She could have kicked Izzy or anything, she’d have had no idea…) - she spied her denim bag a few feet away, waiting for the feeling to return to her feet before sneaking across the darkened room and picking it up with all the stealth she could muster, wincing as she unzipped it, the sound almost deafening in the stillness of the room. She creeped back over to the bedside, the drawer thankfully still open. Now was the tricky part, to lift the photographs without rustling them too much, or dropping them. She felt like she was in Mission Impossible, although she couldn’t quite imagine Tom Cruise hanging out of the ceiling just to steal a few photographs of a 17 year old boy.
She held her open bag under the drawer, slowly placing the pile of photos inside, hoping she’d got them all. It would niggle her no end to think she’d left even a corner of Finn’s face behind. She paced away, zipping up the bag with the same wince and ever so gently landing it on the carpet before returning to the bed, closing the drawer so Izzy didn’t notice the sudden absence of the forgotten scraps.
If Izzy did find out and ask her what happened to them, Rae would say she’d put them in the bin.
“Didn’t want you to get a papercut. Looked dangerous.”
This was the safety net solution she decided upon as she drifted into sleep, the smug happiness of having a bag full of lush pictures of Finn ensuring a pleasant slumber.
She wasted no time in getting to work after she’d returned home in the afternoon, saying a half hearted hello to her Mum and Karim before she made her way up the stairs to her room. She closed her door before sitting at her desk, opening up a two page spread of her diary before getting out her felt tips and pritt stick. She opened her bag with an excited grin, sighing deeply as she spread the photos of Finn over her desk, glad to have a proper look at them all at last. There wasn’t a bad shot of him amongst them, even the photos of him with his eyes shut still gorgeous in their own way. She analysed them for a good ten minutes before she got to work. She’d already thought about the layout during the morning, taking the big picture of Finn’s whole body and cutting it out, sticking it in the centre of the right page. She gave his image an adoring kiss before getting to work on the left side, pulling out some pink card from her desk drawer and cutting a heart out of it with a smile. She stuck it down, sticking a smaller heart cut out of white paper on top of it, wanting a blank canvas to appropriately host her Finn collage. She lined the edges with star stickers, relishing every moment, finding the whole process thoroughly entertaining.
“Oh, you gorgeous bastard, you.” she gushed, getting to work at cutting around his figure in the rest of the photos, sticking each down on the heart in what she hoped was a visually appealing arrangement. She was fully aware that nobody else would be seeing her creation, thank god, but it didn’t matter. It still had to look nice. Finn was important, and she had to emphasise, to her diary and by extension, herself, just how important he was by the easy effort she’d put into her own personal shrine.
She kept the paper around Finn’s figure on the right hand page purposefully blank, knowing that she’d be filling the space with her thoughts and declarations of love during the rest of the time she found herself gone on this plaid clad babe. Forever. She didn’t want to rush through the ‘Finn’ section of her diary, to get it all done in one evening, because there was still so much to experience with this boy, still so much she had to learn about him. She hoped he’d give her the chance to, the memory of his smile as they began to make their way to Knebworth giving her hope that he would, that he’d maybe stop being such a moody sod and would let her into his world a little bit.
She allowed herself to write his name above his head, dotting the eye with a love heart (naturally) and surrounding it with a cloud, her ovaries nearly exploding as she properly took in her epic creation.
“I may not be any good at drawing, but I am a sodding pritt stick queen.” she said to herself, her cheery disposition not waining one bit since the original discovery.
She jumped out of her little Finn daze at the sound of her Mum calling her from downstairs, telling her tea was ready. Rae looked mournfully at her open diary, not wanting to leave it just yet. She huffed, relenting.
“I’ll be back.” she whispered, the thought of how lame she must be sounding not lost on her. She didn’t care. She’d just spent her Sunday afternoon playing cut and paste with a hot boy’s face. Acting cool was the least of her worries.
"Oh, you gorgeous bastard, you….. I may not be any good at drawing, but I am a sodding Pritt Stick queen."!!!!!