Tansey sat down on her bed. She took a deep breath. Her thoughts felt as if they were going round and round in circles. If only she could distract Gloria. Talk to her about clothes or something. But what did she know about fashion! Flatter her. But Gloria wasn’t that stupid. She would know something was up.

Slowly, Tansey lifted her writing book from her school bag, but her heart was beating wildly. She did think about making up another story altogether – as she went along. Imagination was her strong point. But even she couldn’t think that quickly, especially when she was in a tight corner. What was Gloria going to think when she heard this story?

“Come on,” Gloria said impatiently. “Time to read.” Still Tansey didn’t open her mouth. “Or I can read it if you like.” She put out her hand for the book.

“It’s OK, I’ll do it,” said Tansey quickly, clearing her throat. But just at that moment, her little sister saved her.

“Tansey, Ma needs you now, in the kitchen,” Mara said.

Tansey closed her writing book, leant over and slid it back into her school bag, which was resting against the bed.

“Want to come and help?” she said, looking anxiously at Gloria.

“Naa, but I need the toilet.” Gloria left the room with her and Tansey went to help her mom.

But Gloria didn’t go to the toilet. She waited until she could hear sounds in the kitchen. Tansey’s little sister also seemed to be there now. Then she crept back into the room and made for Tansey’s bag. Expertly, she felt around. It wasn’t hard to find the A4 creative writing book. She pulled it out quickly and transferred it to her own satchel. She made sure that she closed Tansey’s bag.

A few seconds later Gloria came into the kitchen. She was grinning from ear to ear. She swung her satchel over her shoulder. Tansey was putting mugs and dishes away in cupboards.
“I can help now if you want,” said Gloria.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be quick,” replied Tansey, giving her friend a broad grin. She was still so relieved about her ‘escape’ a few minutes earlier. Her face would be burning by now if she’d had to read that story aloud!

“Well if you don’t need me, I’ll go home. Cheers. See you tomorrow.”

When she had finished in the kitchen, Tansey went back to her room. She had decided to start again with a new essay. The story she had written about the two girls was just too dangerous. And she felt guilty about the things she had said. She would rip it out and throw it in the bin. But when she looked for her writing book in her bag, it was gone. Her heart beat faster. She looked again.

She turned the bag upside down and shook it out. Textbooks clunked onto the carpet, and rulers, pens and pencils bounced off onto the floor, and the pages of some small exercise books flew open. But there was no writing book. By now frantic, she looked under her bed – perhaps it had fallen out? But how? She was desperate.

The penalty for not handing in homework on time was detention. She didn’t mind the detention. What she did mind was being disgraced in front of Jonathan. Maybe her little sister had done something to the book, although she wasn’t usually mischievous.

“Mara, Mara!” she called. Her sister came running into the room.

“What?” she said.

“Have you seen my writing book?” Wide-eyed, Mara shook her head.

“You sure?”

Solemnly, Mara shook her head again. Tansey believed her. In that case, there was only one person who could have taken the book: Gloria. She rushed next door. Knocking hard, she cried out, “Gloria. Gloria.”

“Hey, what’s up man?” said her friend. “You look seriously freaked.”

“My essay. I can’t find my book,” she blurted out.

“Oh. Is that all?”

“That all?”

“Shame. I’d better come and help you look then.”

Maybe Tansey had been wrong to suspect her friend. She felt ashamed of herself. She decided to say something really nice to Gloria to make up for her suspicious mind: “You’re a star. You don’t know what this means to me.”

Gloria helped her to look everywhere: under the bed, in the drawer, on top of the table. Even in her clothes cupboard. “You sure Mara didn’t put it somewhere strange?” she said.

“No, I’ve asked Mara already. She hadn’t seen my book.”

Gloria looked for a little longer, then she shrugged and said, “Sorry friend. At least we’ve both looked now. It’s a pain that I haven’t been able to find it for you.”

That book couldn’t have just disappeared into thin air. Tansey knew she had put it back in her school bag. But of course Gloria couldn’t find the writing book, Tansey thought later as she lay on her bed. Gloria couldn’t find it, because she had taken it. She was the only person who could have. She had sneaked back into the room while Tansey was in the kitchen. How could she? Wasn’t she meant to be her friend?

Tansey knew why she had taken it, and it made her angrier than ever – to impress Jonathan. Jonathan – who was meant for Tansey. Gloria knew that. Tansey had heard the whispers that had swirled round the class, about Gloria trying it on Jonathan. She had willingly dismissed it as just more jealous gossip about her friend. But now…now she knew she had made herself deaf to the truth.

Gloria had even pretended she wanted to give her tips for getting to Jonathan. Some friend! Tansey felt hurt and very, very betrayed. And it wasn’t a great feeling. It made her feel so stupid. Why hadn’t she been able to see this before?

She also felt rising panic. Gloria wanted to impress Jonathan, but what would Gloria do when she read the essay? Tansey hadn’t changed the names yet.

She felt more exposed than ever. She didn’t want to think about what was going to happen next! Gloria and she lived next door to each other after all. This was really going to mess up their friendship.


Tell us what you think: What would you do if a best friend betrayed you like this?