“Guess what!” said Amy. “It’s my birthday next week and my mum says I can invite all my special friends for a sleepover party.”
“Great,” said Bella.
“Fantastic,” said Chloe.
“Wonderful,” said Emily.
I didn’t say anything. I just smiled. Hopefully.
I wasn’t sure if I was one of Amy’s special friends. Amy and Bella were best friends. Chloe and Emily were best friends. I didn’t have a best friend yet at this new school.
Well, it wasn’t quite a new school, it was quite old, with winding stairs and long polished corridors and lots and lots of classrooms, some of them in Portakabins in the playground. I still got a bit lost sometimes. The very first day I couldn’t find the girls’ toilets and went hopping round all playtime, getting desperate. But then Emily found me and took me to the toilets herself. I liked Emily sooooo much. I wished she could be my best friend. But she already had Chloe for her best friend.
I didn’t think much of Chloe.
I liked Amy and Bella though. We’d started to go round in a little bunch of five, Amy and Bella and Emily and Chloe and me. We formed this special secret club. We called ourselves the Alphabet Girls. It’s because of our names. I’m Daisy. So our first names start with A B C D and E. I was the one who spotted this. The secret club was all my idea too.
I always wanted to be part of a special secret club. It was almost as good as having a best friend.
I wasn’t sure if Amy’s birthday sleepover was strictly reserved for best friends only. Amy went on talking and talking about her sleepover and how she knew she wasn’t going to sleep all night long. Bella teased her because one time when Amy spent the night at Bella’s she fell sound asleep at nine o’clock and didn’t wake up till nine o’clock the next morning. Chloe said she sometimes didn’t go to bed till ever so late, eleven or even twelve at night, so she’d stay awake, no bother. Emily said she always woke up early now because her new baby brother started crying for his bottle at six o’clock every single day.
I still didn’t say anything. I tried to keep on smiling.
Emily looked at me. Then she looked at Amy.
“Hey, Amy. Daisy can come too, can’t she?”
“Of course,” said Amy.
My mouth smiled until it almost tickled my ears.
“Whoopee!” I yelled.
“Really, Daisy!” said Chloe, clutching her ears in an affected way. “You practically deafened me.”
“Sorry,” I said – though I wasn’t. But you have to try to keep on the right side of Chloe. She’s the one who tells everyone what to do. The Boss.
She even tried to tell Amy what to do at her own sleepover. “You’ve got to get some seriously scary videos, right?” she said.
“My mum won’t let me watch seriously scary videos,” said Amy.
“Don’t tell your mum. Just wait till she’s gone to bed and then we can all watch in your bedroom,” said Chloe, sighing because she thought it was so simple.
“I don’t have a video recorder in my bedroom, just a portable television,” said Amy.
“I haven’t even got my own television,” said Bella comfortingly. “Never mind. Hey, what are you going to have for your birthday tea, Amy?”
Bella likes food. She always has big bars of chocolate at break-time. She eats eight squares herself. She gives Amy three squares because she’s her best friend, but she lets Chloe and Emily and me have one square each. Chloe sometimes gobbles the last square too. Chloe gets away with murder.
“Mum says I can have a big birthday cake,” said Amy. She smiled at Bella. “Chocolate cake!”
“No, have an iced cake in a special shape. They’re seriously cool,” said Chloe.
“Amy can have what she likes. It’s her sleepover,” said Bella.
“We can all have sleepovers on our birthdays,” said Emily quickly. “Then we can each choose the way we want them to be. If we’re allowed. My mum’s going nuts looking after my baby brother but I think she’ll let me have a sleepover.”
“Mine will too,” said Bella.
“My mum lets me do anything I like,” said Chloe. “So does my dad.”
I didn’t say anything. I hoped they wouldn’t notice. But they were all looking at me.
“Can you have a sleepover too, Daisy?” said Emily.
“Oh sure,” I said quickly, but my heart started thumping under my new school sweatshirt.
It wasn’t my birthday yet, thank goodness.
I couldn’t have a sleepover party. I didn’t want to tell them why. I might have told Emily by herself. But I didn’t want to tell the others. Especially not Chloe.