All That Glitters

Free All That Glitters by Holly Smale

Book: All That Glitters by Holly Smale Read Free Book Online
Authors: Holly Smale
average teenager cries for two hours and thirteen minutes a week. Thanks to saving it all up, I’m very close to hitting that target in just one session.
    I cry until my face hurts and my pillow’s wet.
    I cry until my chest aches and there are no tears any more: just an exhausted ng ng ng sound.
    Never mind Jupiter: my heart is now on the sun. It’s on a white dwarf. It’s somewhere on a neutron star, weighing millions of tonnes and about to rip a channel to the bottom of my toes.
    Because there’s the massive lie I told Nat: one with a gaping, obvious hole in it.
    I am not OK at all.
    Finally, I stop crying.
    I wipe my nose on my duvet and sit up. I grab a piece of paper and a pen from my bedside table.
    And I start writing.

uickly, I cram the letter into an envelope.
    I scribble an address on the front and stick three rare stamps on it that will carry the letter far, far away: to a strange, foreign place I’ve never been before. Then I shove my trainers on and run down the stairs before pride or shame or hope can stop me.
    “Harriet?” Annabel says as I run through the hallway and fling open the front door. “I thought I could hear crying. Is everything OK?”
    “Yes,” I say as I close the door softly behind me. “At least, I think it will be now.”
    I run all the way to the postbox. Which isn’t saying much: it’s only at the bottom of the road.
    But still.
    And as I run, Nick runs with me.
    Home, Hertfordshire – January (10 months ago)
    “Did you know that snow isn’t actually white? It’s translucent. It just reflects light uniformly, which makes it look white.”
    “Jump,” he instructed, hopping over a large slushy ice puddle and squeezing my hand with his warm, dry fingers. I’d taken my left glove off, claiming it was because I had one randomly hot hand.
    This was a small white lie.
    Or possibly a translucent one, reflecting light.
    My stomach flipped over, and I jumped too late to avoid a totally wet and icy sock.
    “Like polar bears, right?” Nick continued as we kept running towards the train station. “They’re not actually white either, are they?”
    I was impressed: I told him that months ago. His ability to retain useless but fascinating information was getting nearly as good as mine.
    “Exactly,” I said, slipping slightly so that his arm went temporarily round my waist. “We – I mean they – aren’t what they look like at all.”
    Then I cleared my throat in embarrassment.
    Oops. It was one thing comparing myself to a misfit polar bear in a rainforest in my head occasionally: quite another to do it out loud to my boyfriend.
    “I was twelve the first time I saw snow,” Nick grinned as we started running down the stairs to the train platform. “I was so excited I got out of bed at 3am and tried to make a snow angel in shorts and a T-shirt.”
    I rolled my eyes.
    “Half of the world’s population has never seen snow, Nicholas. Considerably fewer would be that stupid.”
    He shouted with laughter and my heart squeezed shut for a few seconds, just as it had the first time he did it in Moscow.
    “Luckily, I’ve now got the world’s biggest smarty-pants to balance me back out again.”
    With a quick spin, Nick stopped, wrapped his arms round me and pulled me so close I could feel his breath warming the end of my cold nose. I had just a second to notice that everything was white and still and calm, like a snowglobe just before it gets shaken.
    Then he kissed me and it all disappeared: the snow, my wet sock and both my feet with it.
    When we finally stopped kissing, we’d missed the train.
    “I think I need to balance you faster, in that case,” I laughed, cheeks ridiculously warm. “It’s an hour to the next train and now you’re going to miss your Hilfiger casting.”
    “Totally worth it. Tell me something else about snow.”
    “Umm.” I rummaged through my brain for a few seconds while Nick opened his big grey coat and pulled me inside it so I wouldn’t get

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