Splintered Memory
Author:Natascha Holloway

Splintered Memory By Natascha Holloway

Matt was sat on the window ledge of Charlie’s bedroom. He had his feet on the large chest that she kept beneath her window, but for what purpose he had no idea, and he had his forearms resting across his thighs. He was leaning forwards, and he was laughing loudly at her expense.

Charlie was one of Matt’s two best friends. She was also the girl that he’d been harbouring a crush on since he was seven, and he’d found her sat on the curb outside his house nursing a cut on her knee. What was currently causing his amusement now though, was the sight of her in what had to be the ugliest dress that he’d ever seen. The moment was being made all the more comical by the fact that she kept wobbling and nearly falling over, but this was largely due to the fact that she was trying to balance on just one leg.

In fairness Matt knew that Charlie couldn’t actually stand up properly given that her left leg was currently broken and in a cast, but he was still finding the scene in front of him hilarious.

He’d been with her at the hospital when she’d had her cast put on. She’d initially wanted a blue one, but had ended up with the unsightly black cast that she had on now, and hated, because she’d obstinately refused to have a girly pink one or the traditional white. Sadly though these had been the only other available alternatives that the hospital had had to black, blue hadn’t been available.

“Matt, you’re not supposed to be in my room! If you keep laughing,” Charlie said sternly; “my dad’s going to hear you and kick you out.” Her voice though had still had a lightness to it that had made her tone difficult to take seriously.

“Sorry,” Matt said still laughing; “it’s just you look ridiculous!”

Charlie looked crestfallen, and for the slightest moment Matt felt guilty. That was until he was about to say something to make up for his comment, and Charlie started laughing again. She also began swishing the ugly blue metallic coloured puffy dress that she had on from side to side.

“This is just stupid,” she said dropping the handfuls of dress that she’d been holding and hobbling back towards her bed. “Plus this sodding leg! I can’t believe that it’s still broken.”

“Yeah, who’d have thought that after two whole weeks in a cast it wouldn’t be fixed by now? Plus I’m not sure the leg can be blamed for that hideous dress,” Matt said before laughing again.

“And sodding Rich has gone into Bristol without me,” she said; “and I bet Bex will be all over him.”

“Is sodding the word of the day or something?” Matt asked her sounding amused. “Oh and congrats on the prize for the most random and unconnected thought of the day,” he added catching the pillow that Charlie had just launched in his direction.

She smiled seeing him catch it, and he couldn’t help but smile back at her.

“Rich is an idiot,” he said throwing her pillow onto her bed. He also firmly believed, as he kept his eyes on hers, that what he’d just said was true. Charlie was beautiful, funny, great company, and he couldn’t understand why Rich would want to spend his time with any other girl.

Rich was Matt’s other best friend, and they were both in the year above Charlie at school. Everyone in their year, and in the year above them, had been eager to ask Charlie out. So when the rumour mill had circulated that Rich had gotten to Charlie before anyone else could, nearly all of the boys at their school had been jealous. Yet none quite so much as Matt, who’d been wanting to ask her out for long before Rich had ever shown any interest.

“No he’s not,” Charlie said defensively.

“Yeah he is,” Matt said looking at her pointedly.

There was the briefest silence between them before Charlie smiled and said; “you’re right he is. He broke my leg, and he’s not been an attentive boyfriend for the whole time that I’ve been cooped up at home. Plus there’s every chance that he’s cheating on me right now with my arch nemesis.”

“I don’t think you can blame him for the fact that you lost your balance climbing into Claire’s window and fell out of a tree,” Matt said grinning. He then added; “er, also since when has Bex been your arch nemesis? I thought you two were best friends?”

Charlie looked momentarily guilty. She knew that there was slightly more to the tree story than she’d let on to Matt, so she decided to change the subject. Although just as she opened her mouth to do that, he said; “he should’ve visited you more though.”

Charlie smiled and said; “well at least I’ve had you for company.”

“Glad I make a good substitute,” Matt said feigning mock hurt.

“That didn’t come out right,” she said apologetically.

There was silence between them again, but this one lasted for a few seconds longer than the last, and it was only finally broken when Charlie’s awkwardness made her feel nervous about the glances that she and Matt were trading with each other.

“Come on, you need to help me out of this sodding dress. Can you undo the buttons at the back for me please?” She asked standing up, and putting all of her weight onto her good leg.

“I’d be happy to,” Matt said with a glint in his eyes and a hint of mischief in his voice.

Charlie rolled her eyes at him, and then turned her back to him unsteadily. He undid the buttons on her dress, but noticed with embarrassment that his hands were shaking the whole time.

“There, all done,” he said sounding calmer than he felt.

“Thanks. Can you chuck me that top and then turn round?” Charlie asked.

Matt threw her the top that she’d just pointed to, and then turned his back to her. Although as he did, he made sure that he was positioned so that he could still see her in her mirror.

Charlie put the top on her bed, and as she leant forwards her long dark hair fell in front of her heart shaped face. She quickly swept it back behind her ears with her fingers, and Matt watched her pull her arms out of the stiff material of the dress before lowering it to her waist. He felt his face flush as he saw more of her body than he’d seen before, and he momentarily looked away from the mirror.

As Charlie struggled to keep the dress around her waist, put her top on, and not put any weight on her broken leg, Matt couldn’t help but smile. Yet as he did Charlie lost her balance, stumbled, and fell over. He turned around quickly, but he knew instantly that she was alright by the sound of laughter that was coming from the other side of the bed.

He walked around to where she’d been stood, and saw her on the floor. Her top was over her head and one arm, the dress that she’d had on was trapped around her cast, and she was trying desperately to untangle herself whilst stand up.

“Here,” Matt said reaching out his hand and hoisting her up onto her good leg.

As she stood up though, the horrible blue dress that she’d had on fell to the floor in a heap. Yet it took Matt a full second to notice. He had, as like so many times before, been distracted by Charlie’s beautiful face. He’d been sidetracked by her kissable lips, her sweet button nose, her flushed cheeks, and her big brown eyes that always seemed to pull him in and make him lose his train of thought.

“Thanks,” Charlie said with a trace of embarrassment in her voice. She also put her other arm into her top, and pulled it down around her to cover the top half of her body. She then quickly shifted her weight so that she could bend down and hoist the dress back up around her waist, to cover the bottom half of her body, but as she bent forwards her bedroom door swung open.

Matt who was stood just inches in front of Charlie, stared uncomfortably and somewhat guilty at the person who’d just walked into her room. Charlie though, who was still bent double, simply looked through her legs to see who it was.

There in the doorway stood her boyfriend and Matt’s other best friend Rich. Charlie smiled awkwardly, but she saw that the grin that had been on Rich’s face when he’d opened her door had quickly disappeared. He also wasn’t looking at her. He was staring daggers at Matt.

“Nice,” he said angrily to his best friend as his face turned to thunder; “real nice!”