james liam carter, aged 13
The school bell rang through the empty school yard like a bullet in a silent battlefield, and the vast space of concrete started to start to empty of all students as they hurried to their registration period. The morning sunlight had started to shine through the trees that surrounded the English high-school, and the cold nip of the winter air was really getting to the thirteen year old that hopped across the icy ground. this one student, however, - with his tie loose and sporting a hoodie instead of the uniform blazer - was choosing to walk briskly in the opposite direction of the buildings as crowd dispersing into them, keeping head down and hood up.
It was not long before the now-desolate playground behind him turned silent, and this gave the boy the opportunity job forward to the tall wooden fence that surrounded the London high school's borders. With a quick glance over his shoulder to check he wasn't being watched, he moved one of the loose and broken slats to the side, making the perfect space for a person as skinny as him to get through. He was around 5"5 and still growing, so the boy still had to duck a little to get through, but he was skinny enough to manage.
He came into a little alcove between the trees and fence, as empty bottles of vodka and packets of tobacco cluttered the ground. Many students came here during breaks to smoke - the older ones usually, seeing as he was still in one of the first years - yet this was no surprise. What was a surprise to the boy, however, was the fact that he could not find the familiar face he was expected when he looked around. He started to pull out his flip-phone, squinting down at it to scroll through the walls of text he was exposed to, before he felt someone grab his shoulders from behind. "boo!
James jumped forward a little, not used to having to be focused on his surroundings or expecting any movements. Except the odd fight, of course, but he didn't expect that here. Spinning around quickly, James glared at the red head girl that was laughing loudly behind him. "Don't do that, Cara!"
he exclaimed, finding himself having to pant out of shock. After a minute passed of him glaring at his friend, he finally shook his head and allowed himself to laugh along, not being able to not find the situation funny after it had happened.
Once Cara had stopped laughing, she straightened once more, her long and curly red locks falling beneath her shoulders and tipping over her coat. She didn't really follow the same recreational uniform traditions either, and was wearing black jeans along with James, and trainers on her feet. The pair would meet up here every morning, before the buzz of older kids would get there later in the morning, and skip registration occasionally together. Although the two hung out many a time outside the grounds of their school, there was only so much you could do in London without money, so they usually just bummed about or went to the cinema if they had the cash. James had many friends - and many enemies - yet Cara was the only one that he actually trusted, and cared about her the most."God, Jay, what's happened to you lip?!"
the girl quickly exploded, her light brown eyes frowning at James features. Instinctively, he reached up to prod the lower lip with the tip of his index finger, yet squinted ever-so-slightly when the movement stung. The bust in his lip was fresh, only a day old, and still looking open and bloody. It was obvious that he had been punched or hit in someway. James' blue eyes flickered to the ground quickly before back up at his friend, shrugging."One of the pissheads that live in the flat above wanted a fight."
James let a smirk appear on his lips, already developing a habit of doing the action. A cocky exterior suddenly washed over the boy, and his body language screamed it, "You should've seen the other guy."
Despite the fact he trusted Cara, he couldn't help but feed her complete bull: there weren't any pissheads living above him. He didn't get into a fight with a total stranger last night. He had had the pleasure of coming up to his drunken mother's drunken boyfriend, whom had lost £20 on a football bet against Chelsea. James had been there, and it was not unusual for James to be Gareth's punching bag when he was angry. With a slap of his back hand, the thirteen year old had not had the chance to duck, and the moment Gareth's ring had connected with his lip, blood spurted down onto his spare school uniform. But he wasn't going to tell Cara that: he wasn't going to tell anyone that, because it couldn't been seen as weak
."you're always busted up in some way, james."
cara just rolled her eyes and pulled her bag off her shoulder, obviously not choosing to press on. this made james relieved somewhat, because he didn't think he could lie to her. his palms turned sweaty whenever she was around, even though she was his best friend: james had a case of puppy love - as most thirteen year old boys do - and it had hit him bad. "anyways, i found these in my dad's drawer last sunday, and i didn't think he would notice if we took two. so, i picked one up for you."
Cara produced two, slightly bent cigarettes from the front pocket of her bag, along with a neon pink lighter. James eyed it suspiciously, having never tried smoking before. Because his mother smoked, he knew what it smelt like, and he had spent a lot of time whilst angry watching her breathe it properly, finding it therapeutic. He had never really fancied it, and the thought of just puffing on something and knowing it would kill you disgusted him, yet he hesitantly took it from her anyway.
Watching as the girl held it to her lips and lit it up, he stared down at the lighter when it was passed to him. He was a strong-willed, cocky boy, and if he didn't want to do something, he just wouldn't. He didn't really care what people thought of him - at least, he pretended he didn't - yet the urge to impress Cara was driving him insane. He had only ever kissed one girl before, and it had been Willow behind the youth block when he was twelve. A few boys his age had already hit puberty, yet he was still relatively skinny and his voice was barely breaking. He was taller than Cara, and he had cute features, but most girls his age would follow after the ones that had already grown and broadened. He didn't care: he was able to beat most of these boys in a fight, so that's all he cared about.
Finally, he screwed up his forward and clenched his jaw as he went to light his cigarette. He took an inhale, a little too deep, and spluttered loudly. He knew from the moment the smoke had passed his lips that he didn't like it, and his body obviously didn't want to accept the smoke into his clean lungs. "Nah, screw that!"
he coughed again, squinted as he handed the cancer-stick back to cara, who was laughing once more, "i don't like it, or want it."
james was nothing but honest, after all. just as he started to feel a tinge of embarrassment for not being able to look 'cool' in front of cara, she eyed both cigarettes too, before flicking both of them down to the ground. "honestly? i don't either. i just thought you would've liked it. what a relief."
and with that, james grinned from ear to ear, the fact he was cold becoming an excuse from why he was blushing. with a small wink, cara turned behind her and opened the shaft in the fence, gracefully sliding through and motioning for james to follow back onto the school's grounds from the other side. "come on, loverboy, we've got a class to get to."