Read Paris Crush Online

Authors: Melody James

Paris Crush

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First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Simon and Schuster UK Ltd

Copyright © HotHouse Fiction Limited 2013

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
All rights reserved.

The right of Melody James to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act, 1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor, 222 Gray’s Inn Road

Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney

Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978-0-85707-326-6
eBook ISBN 978-0-85707-327-3

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

With thanks to Kate Cary



















Oh là là
. It’s French – the last lesson before lunch. I’m sitting at the back of class while Madame Papillon is trilling like a bird at
the whiteboard. Savannah and Treacle are either side of me, ducking low and gossiping in whispers about their boyfriends.

‘I let Marcus choose the movie last night.’ Savannah’s pale eyes are shining. ‘And he chose the exact movie I wanted to see.’

‘Jeff watched the City match with me.’ Treacle tucks a long, glossy black strand of hair behind her ear. ‘We were jumping on the sofa like idiots when they scored the final

Que faisiez-vous le week-end?
’ At the front of the class, Madame Papillon has stopped trilling and started grilling. Her Gallic gaze is toasting Ryan. He looks back at her

Je . . . suis . . . faire . . . un football?
’ he says hopefully.

Non, non, non!
’ Madame Papillon throws up her hands in despair.

Savannah leans closer to Treacle, her long chestnut hair wafting camomile and jasmine. ‘Marcus gave me the sweetest bracelet yesterday.’ She jiggles a glittery pink bangle on her
slender wrist.

Treacle admires it. ‘Jeff gave me his old football boots. They’re my exact size and they’ve got screw-in studs.’ Her eyes glaze. ‘I’ve never had screw-in
studs before.’

I bask in their happiness like the fairy godmother at Cinderella’s wedding. After all, it was me – or rather Jessica Jupiter – who brought these two happy couples together.

Jessica is my alter ego. Only Treacle and Cindy – the Ice Queen editor of the school webzine – know that I write horoscopes under the name Jessica Jupiter. It’s not the coolest
name in the world and the job of horoscope writer isn’t exactly what I dreamed of when I signed up to work on the school webzine. I’d been planning to write exposés that would
shoot me into my dream career as a world-famous journalist. In my imagination, I’ve already picked out my outfit for the Global Newspaper Awards – a sparkly gown that would shimmer in
the spotlight as I give my acceptance speech for my Journalist of the Year Award.

But it hasn’t quite worked out yet. I came close last month when I helped Will Bold (the webzine’s features writer and self-proclaimed god) uncover a bent businessman in a piece that
was picked up by the local paper. But Will hogged the limelight and Cindy put me back on horoscopes because I’m just a Year Nine (the rest of the webziners are strictly Year Ten) and
therefore not safe to use sharp pencils. But I’m determined to make the most of my role as Jessica Jupiter.

Thanks to a few lucky predictions that actually came true, Jessica’s horoscope page has become wildly popular – she’s even been getting fan mail. So I’ve been using
Jessica’s predictions to steer the love lives of my friends onto the Highway of Happiness. Savannah’s my latest success. While she was swooning over, shallow-as-spilled-milk, LJ
Kennedy, I – or rather
– was laying a trail of stardust that led her to Marcus Bainbridge, who is the sweetest, kindest boy in our class. Now she’s dating Marcus,
LJ is just a sour memory, and Savannah is as happy as a kitten with buttered paws.

‘And then Marcus said that one day he’ll take me to Disneyland Paris’ Savannah sighs.

‘Where’s Jeff planning to take you?’ I tease Treacle. ‘Wembley?’

‘Gemma!’ Madame Papillon suddenly glares at me like an angry poodle. ‘
Est-ce que vous m’écoutes?

Pas exactement la vérité.
’ I smile nervously, hoping she believes me.

Qu’est-ce que je viens de dire?
’ Madame Papillon snaps.

Where’s Google Translate when you need it?

Je ne
. . .
je ne
. . .’ I fumble for words. Treacle’s sitting up straight looking innocent.

Savannah pushes her hair away from her face. ‘
Je suis désolée. Il est de ma faute. Je disais justement à Gemma

Madame Papillon butts in and cuts the French. ‘I don’t care whose fault it was, Savannah. Please stop talking. I’m trying to find out what Ryan did at the weekend.’

‘That’s easy.’ Chelsea’s chewing gum. She hooks a wad out on the tip of her finger. ‘He’ll have been girl-spotting at the shopping centre with Chris and
as usual

Ryan flushes. ‘I’ve got better things to do.’

‘Like what?’ Chelsea twirls her gummy finger.

‘City were playing,’ Bilal chimes in. ‘Football beats girls, any time.’

Chelsea sniffs. ‘Is
a French word, Madame Papillon?’


I relax as Chelsea draws Madame Papillon’s fire.

My relief lasts about eight seconds. Suddenly Madame’s waving her arms and issuing orders. ‘I want you to split into pairs,’ she says, marching between desks playing pick and
mix with the class. ‘Chelsea, you pair with Anila. Sally, you have Josh.’

Sally flashes a look of triumph at Chelsea and sashays across the classroom. As she slides in beside Josh, Chelsea shows her teeth, and not in a smiley way. She hates any girl getting close to
her boyfriend.

I lean close to Treacle and whisper, ‘Josh should have
Property of Chelsea
tattooed on his forehead.’

Madame Papillon reaches our desk. ‘Treacle and Savannah, Zhang and Ryan, you pair up.’ She glowers at me. ‘And since you’re feeling so chatty today, Gemma, you can team
up with Rupert.’

I silently scream.

Rupert’s new. It’s only his second week at Green Park High and I’ve already heard all of his dumb jokes twelve times, and they weren’t funny the first time. He
doesn’t exactly fit in here. His super-posh voice and horse-snort laugh stand out like Victoria Beckham in Asda. Don’t get me wrong, Rupert’s a nice kid, but he’s trying too
hard. If he’d stop auditioning for the role of class clown (Ryan’s got that covered) and just be himself, we might get a chance to like him.

‘Gemma.’ Rupert’s head is jerking at me like he’s summoning his butler.

Treacle squeezes my hand. ‘Good luck, Gem.’

‘Thanks,’ I hiss and zigzag between desks.

‘I’m so glad I got you.’ Rupert smiles as I approach. He thrusts out a chair with his foot. It rams my shins.

‘Ow!’ My eyes water as I buckle and collapse onto it.

‘Sorry!’ Horrified, Rupert lurches forward and grabs my battered leg. ‘Are you OK? I was just offering you a seat.’

‘Next time, just throw it.’ I push him off and shift my chair as far away from Rupert as the desk will allow.

Madame Papillon is flapping at the head of the class. ‘
Je veux que vous prétendez que vous n’avez jamais rencon-tré et se renseigner sur l’autre
She catches the glazed expressions on our faces. ‘I want you to pretend you have never met and find out about each other.’ She glances at the clock. ‘Keep practising until the
bell goes for lunch.’

Après vous
.’ Rupert looks at me hopefully.

My shins are burning where the chair cracked them and shrivelling where he touched. I rub where it hurts and blurt out the only French question whirling through my brain. ‘
un idiot?

A frown crinkles his eyebrows. ‘
Je suis désolé

He looks so forlorn, I take pity. ‘
Pas de
problem.’ I think up a proper question. ‘
As-tu des frères ou des soeurs?

.’ Relief lights up his face. ‘And there’s no need to call me sir.’

I cringe. Pity was clearly a mistake. ‘
Quels sports aimes-tu?

‘Archery,’ he answers. ‘
J’ai un
perfect aim.’

‘Cut the jokes.’ My shins are throbbing. The bruises will be so big I’ll have to wear woolly tights for a week. ‘Let’s just get this over with.’ Up until now,
I thought Will Bold was the most irritating boy in school. I’ve been sticking imaginary pins in his imaginary heart since he took all the glory for our article on Dave Wiggins – the
dodgy businessman we exposed. We uncovered his stolen goods racket together, but Will wrote the story like he was the only one there. He didn’t even mention my name. Sam’s the only one
on the webzine who knows how much I helped Will with the story.

Sam is the nicest Year Ten I know. Unlike Will or Cindy, he talks to me like I can understand long words. But he’s been quiet lately, which is odd because he asked me to go to a Spider
Monkeys gig with him a couple of weeks ago. He’s in a band and is a total muso. I think he’s on a secret mission to convert everyone he knows to indie rock, which is probably why he
took me to see the Spider Monkeys.

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