We’ve chosen St Elmo’s pizzeria in the Grayston Shopping Centre because it’s an easy taxi ride back home to Wynberg for me. As long as we finish up before half past nine I won’t even have to ask my mom to come and fetch me.

There’s nothing like walking into a warm pizza place when you’re hungry. The smell hits me like pure temptation and I can feel my tummy rumbling. I already feel better than I have in weeks – all happy and relaxed. This is how a Saturday evening should feel.

“Should we sit over there?” Tendai asks, touching my arm lightly to steer me towards a table in the corner. 

This is mainly a takeaway place, but they have a few tables out front.

“Yes, that’s fine!” I give him a big smile and sit down. 

He leaves his hand on my arm for a moment, but removes it when a group of kids from school walk in the door. St Elmo’s is very popular with Innesfree High students. There’s normally a steady stream of them in and out all weekend.

I notice a few of them staring at us. Without really thinking about it, I move my chair just a bit further away from Tendai. It’s not that I’m feeling guilty or anything. I mean, we’re just friends, right?  You’re allowed to go out for pizza with your friends. And Jayden was the one who said I should get out more and meet new people. He even said Tendai was a cool guy.

It’s just that I wouldn’t really want anyone to misinterpret this and think it’s a date or anything.  Because it’s not.

We order two pepperoni pizzas and Cokes. While we’re waiting for them to arrive, Tendai asks me how I’m doing after the big announcement that Amanda and I are sisters.

“The gossip has died down a bit, thank goodness,” I tell him. “It was really hard to know that people were saying bad things about my mom and dad. I mean, I know they made mistakes, but it was a long time ago and they’ve both changed a lot since then.”

He listens as if I’m the most interesting person on earth, and then asks me another question. I feel myself starting to relax. This is wonderful. I haven’t felt so understood by someone in ages.