JULIA JONES - My Worst Day Ever! - Book 1: aged 9 - 12 (3 page)

 
The
take-over begins…

 

Our early morning rehearsal didn’t turn out
quite as I had expected.

When I arrived at the prearranged time, I
was very surprised to see Sara and the rest of the group already there and by
the look of their sweat drenched faces, it appeared that they’d been practicing
for quite some time already.

“Where have you been?” Alex asked. “Did you
miss the bus or something?”

Looking confused, I checked the time on my
watch. “I thought we’d arranged to start at eight am,” I replied. “And that’s
still five minutes away.”

“Hey guys!” called Millie as she approached
from behind me. “Have you already started?”

I looked from Millie to Alex to Sara and
then to the rest of the group, shaking my head in confusion. I could see that
Blake had a weird look on his face but then Sara’s voice broke the silence.

“Oh, Julia!” she exclaimed. “I called Blake
last night and we decided to get an early start. I thought that someone would
have contacted you girls to let you know.”

Blake frowned and looked in Sara’s
direction, obviously confused about what she was saying. But without missing a
beat, she continued, “Well, never mind! You’re here now, so why don’t you just
join in? We’ve made a few changes to the routine. I hope you like it. Everyone else
thinks it’s really cool!”

Glancing towards Millie who was shrugging
her shoulders as if to indicate that she had no idea what was going on, we
stood back and watched as everyone demonstrated what they’d been working on.

“The guys are keen for me to be in the lead
at the front,” Sara explained, while trying to catch her breath after they’d
finished what I had to admit was a very impressive routine.

I looked around at the group and they all seemed
to be looking in any direction except towards me. So I replied in a quiet
voice, “Well, if that’s what everyone wants, then I guess that’s how we’ll do
the dance.”

Trying to muster some enthusiasm, I joined
Millie in the second row to rehearse the new moves a few more times. All the
while, my head was spinning. “I know I’m not in charge,” I thought frantically
to myself, “And everyone should certainly have a say in what we do. But I’m
really not sure what’s going on here!”

“Ok!” called Sara brightly, about ten
minutes later as she suddenly called the rehearsal to a close. “That was great
guys. This new routine is really coming together. Let’s meet up again early tomorrow
morning. Sara and Millie, do you think you can make it by then? If we all
arrive by seven-thirty, we’ll have plenty of time for a good rehearsal!”

And without even waiting for an answer, she
strode off towards the locker room, to have a quick shower before heading to class.

“What just happened?” Millie whispered, a
frown of misunderstanding still very evident on her face.

“I have no idea!” I replied and then
followed her into the locker room so we could also get showered and changed
before the bell went.

Walking slowly back to class, I watched
Sara striding alongside Blake, just ahead of Millie and I, chatting away in her
usual animated manner. Then when we sat down at our desks, she smiled towards
me as if nothing unusual whatsoever had happened. I looked at Mrs. Jackson who had
begun explaining a new Math concept but found it very difficult to concentrate.
Visions of the morning’s rehearsal were floating around in my head and I could
not get Sara’s confident voice out of my mind.

“Julia!” Mrs. Jackson repeated in an
annoyed tone. “Are you listening or not? I have just said your name three times
and you still aren’t answering my question. Would you rather do this work
during break time?”

“Sorry, Mrs. Jackson!”  I replied in a
worried tone, “Is the answer twenty-two?”

“Oh my goodness, Julia!” she explained.
“You haven’t been listening to a word I’ve said. I think you’d better stay
behind and complete this activity during morning tea break. Maybe then you’ll
decide to concentrate!”

Glancing towards Millie, I felt grateful
for her genuine look of sympathy but the grin that remained on Sara’s face was not
something I had expected to see and a worried knot started to form in the pit
of my stomach.

 
Am I
being paranoid
?…

 

Sitting at the dinner table that night, I
didn’t feel very hungry at all. I sat there picking at my food, while my
brother, Matt went on and on about the goal he had scored at footy training
that afternoon. As if I was interested in his football game! I really don’t
like football at all and was so glad that I didn’t have to suffer being dragged
along to his training sessions and games anymore. Finally, I’m old enough to
stay at home on my own, rather than facing boredom at the football field every
weekend.

My parents however, both love football,
especially my dad and they took great interest in Matt’s conversation about the
season and how well his team are doing in the competition. In a way though, I was
glad they had something to occupy them which took their attention away from me
as I really didn’t feel like talking about the day I’d had.

Morning tea break had consisted of me
having to sit at my desk eating the food from my lunchbox, while doing extra
Math. That was my punishment for not listening during the morning’s lesson.
Then when I was finally allowed to go out, Millie and I had to attend a meeting
for the committee in charge of the musical. We were asked to report on the
progress of the dances we’ve been choreographing and practicing. Then we were
informed of a dress rehearsal which was scheduled for two weeks’ time and were
given information to distribute to everyone.

So overall, it hadn’t been the best of
days. Although Sara had maintained her friendly manner and continued as if
everything were normal, I wasn’t so sure. Well, in the scheme of things, I
guess everything was ok and I wondered if it were all in my imagination. Was I
just being jealous and immature? And was I being a total control freak? Even
though I had organized the dances and the choreography, along with Millie’s
help, it didn’t mean that I had to be in charge of our group’s dance.

Sara is an exceptional dancer, and I really
have to admit that she is very talented. I should be grateful for her support
and the way in which our routine has improved since she joined us. But I just
couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that I had been overcome with since arriving
at rehearsal that morning.

With a dejected sigh, I excused myself from
the table under the pretext that I had homework to complete. Luckily my mom was
still so absorbed in Matt’s excited ramblings that she neglected to remind me
it was my turn to do the dishes.

I headed up to my room and tried to
concentrate on the homework that was due the following day. More Math! That was
certainly not what I felt like doing, but rather than having to face the wrath
of my teacher the following morning, I forced myself to concentrate so I could
just get it over with.

When I turned out the light a couple of
hours later and hopped into bed, I decided that the next day I would join in
with everyone else and focus on a good rehearsal. “I’m not going to let Sara
bother me,” I thought to myself as I closed my eyes. “I’ll just be my usual
friendly self and I’m sure that everything will be fine!”

We had the school musical to look forward
to and it was the highlight of the year so far. I was determined that nothing
was going to spoil it!

 
She’s like a Super Hero…

 

An unexpected surprise awaited us when we
entered the school grounds the next morning. Millie and I had caught the same
bus and as we were determined to be on time for rehearsal, we raced off the bus
and through the school gates in an excited rush.

In the school car park however, where there
would normally only be a few cars belonging to teachers at that time of the
morning, we discovered several vans parked haphazardly and a large crowd of
students milling around trying to find out what was going on.

Pushing through the crowd, curious to find
out what had grasped everyone’s attention, we spotted two policemen questioning
our school principal, Mr. Davis. Then immediately behind him were a couple of
men with large microphones and some sophisticated looking camera equipment.
They appeared to be from the local TV station and were interviewing a group of
kids. When I managed to get closer, I realized that right in the middle of the
group with the microphone pointed directly towards her, was Sara Hamilton.

“It was so scary!” Sara was saying. “But as
soon as I heard the smash, I ran to the office to get help.”

“You are a very quick thinking young lady!”
the reporter acknowledged Sara with a look of admiration.

“Well, I just did what I thought I should,”
Sara explained. “When I saw the smoke coming from the broken window, I knew
that something was terribly wrong!”

“If Sara hadn’t acted as quickly as she had,
the whole building could have burnt down!” exclaimed Miss Fitz, the drama
teacher who was standing beside her.

“You’re very lucky to have such a
responsible young lady attending your school!” the reporter who was conducting
the interview commented enthusiastically.

“Yes, we are very proud of Sara, she is a
new student and as you say, we are very lucky to have her here as a student!”
chimed in Mr. Davis, beaming with pride in Sara’s direction.

The reporters asked Mr. Davis a few more
questions and ended the interview. Sara was then quickly surrounded by a surge
of kids trying to get close to her in order to be captured on camera. By that
time, more kids had arrived for school and the car park was ablaze with
excitement. It was not every day that a television camera crew along with
several members of the police force turned up at our school and everyone was
keen to get in on the action.

Mr. Dawson, the physical education teacher
blew his whistle and told everyone to go to class or wherever they should be at
that time of the morning. Then it wasn’t until we reached our classroom that
Millie and I could actually find out the exact details of what had happened.

Mrs. Jackson explained to us all that Sara
had been at school early, in preparation for our dance rehearsal. Apparently as
she had walked across the car park, towards the Performing Arts hall, she’d
heard a loud smash of glass. When she went around to the rear of the building
to investigate, she noticed smoke and flames billowing from the window.

She had then rushed for help and very
luckily, had bumped into the janitor who happened to be cleaning the area
around the office, which was still fairly deserted at that time of the morning.

He and Sara had raced back to the building
where they spotted a couple of teenage boys running from the scene. Between the
two of them, Sara and the janitor had managed to get a nearby garden hose
connected and put out the fire. Without their quick thinking, the building
could have burnt down and that would have been the end of the musical, as it
was the only building that was suitable for the performance.

Just as Mrs. Jackson finished sharing the main
details, Sara walked into the classroom. Everyone stared in her direction and
then a loud burst of applause and cheering erupted. “Three cheers for Sara!”
someone at the back of the room called out.

“Hip, Hip, Hooray! Hip, Hip, Hooray! Hip,
Hip, Hooray!” the applause was deafening and Sara sat down at her desk, beaming
proudly while kids rushed to pat her on the back and give her high fives.

I spotted Blake looking at her with open
admiration. She really was a hero and deserved all the accolades she was
getting. It would have been disastrous if the building had burnt down. It could
even have led to the whole school going up in flames.

As everyone returned to their desks, I
congratulated her warmly. She was the most popular girl in the school at that
moment and I could see that everyone wanted to be her friend.

When Mrs. Jackson directed us to take out
our Math books so we could begin work, I caught Sara smiling happily in Blake’s
direction. He was grinning widely across the room towards her as well and it
was obvious that they had certainly become close.

I looked at Millie who had also noticed the
exchange and she raised her eyebrows questioningly. Sara glanced at me with a
smug kind of grin, maintaining intense eye contact for a few seconds and then
quickly refocused her attention on her math book.

“Pay attention please, Julia! It’s time to
get on with our lessons now.” I heeded Mrs. Jackson’s warning and looked
towards the board. It was full of Math equations but once again, I struggled to
concentrate.

I really wasn’t sure whether I had a real
friend in Sara or not. I started to suspect that she may not be the girl she had
so far portrayed herself to be and I wondered what agenda she had in mind. But
then once again, I questioned myself. Did I just have an over active
imagination or were my instincts picking up on something that was not as it
seemed? I guessed that only time would tell!

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