‘He looks like Justin Bieber. Or that YouTuber that all the year 10 girls like – you know, that Dutch guy Henri…’
‘Oh yeah. Henri. He’s not Jon though, is he?’
‘Nobody is Jon.’
The girls continued their conversation as they neared school. Both had a short walk of about fifteen minutes to get to their high school and had been walking alone together since their first time there. They met on their trial day, and realised they lived only down the street from each other, despite not knowing each other owing to them having gone to different junior schools.
Anna was the taller of the two, with long hair a most unusual shade of red. It was totally natural and so were her curls. She was one of those girls who was into everything – netball, hockey, painting, drawing, guitar, climbing, cycling, reading.
Evie was the opposite. Small, with short dark hair, she was keen on reading and on making robots. One day she was going to make one good enough for Robot Wars on the television. It didn’t bother her that schoolmates would call her names. She’d just shrug her shoulders and say something sage and wise like “I am what I am”.
But attending the same school and living on the same street weren’t the only things that the girls had in common. They had Jon in common.
Evie dreamed of him while in her granddad’s workshop. She sighed.
Anna sighed too and wished that he would just like one of the portraits she’d drawn and posted on Instagram, or better still, if he would comment. But he never liked her pictures of him, and never responded to any of her messages – not even the ones in which she told him how much she loved him.
Her 14 year old heart was breaking.
As they reached the school, both girls walked into the yard and were met with a screaming horde of their female classmates. A whole pile of ‘Oh My Gods’ was erupting from this group of eight adolescent insane people.
‘He’s coming to Waterstones… he’s so gorgeous… Oh My God, my mum will never let me go… when are the tickets going on sale?’
That was the sum total of all the conversation the girls could come up with. Jon Nilsson the best YouTuber on the planet, was coming to Manchester Waterstones to promote his new book in time for Christmas. And the tickets would be on sale as of midnight that very evening!
In the entire school there were probably only twenty girls who weren’t bothered about going. Jon could have filled the entire Waterstones with girls from Bloom Academy alone. And people would be coming from all over the county, and even further.
The school day dragged as no other could ever drag, even one with double maths and last lesson physics, and both Evie’s and Anna’s parents would have been shocked to witness the speed of their daughters’ return from school.
Inevitably, the girls split and erupted into their respective homes, Evie into the calm of a quiet home awaiting the return of adults from work, and Anna into the chaotic rabble of a household where a toddler and an elderly gentleman uneasily co-existed.
Despite this variance in their personal circumstances, the first words addressing their parents to emerge from the mouths of both girls were precisely enunciated and exactly the same.
‘I’ve got to stay up late. I gotta get tickets for Jon Nilsson!’
And their parental reactions were exactly the same.