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The Girl on the Train Taster

April 27, 2011

As promised, here is a taster for The Girl on the Train

Chapter 1

“Last night I dreamt of Cronulla Beach again.”

Bobby sighed inwardly as Holly’s now familiar Australian accent broke the early morning silence on the train to Cannon Street. She’d just got into an article about Johnny Depp and she hated being interrupted. Turning to her friend she attempted to arrange her features into something approaching concern.

“Its OK!” snapped Holly “You don’t have to listen to me. Obviously Johnny Depp’s love life is more interesting than my problems!”

The pair of them giggled as they replayed what she’d said. A few of the commuters looked round but they quickly returned to their papers as Bobby’s haughty stare met them.

“Well I know who I would rather have in my bed!”

The next five minutes saw the two girls trying to avoid eye contact as even a glance was enough to start them off again. Once they had calmed down Holly continued.

“What am I going to have to do to fit in? What’s important at St. Ignatius? I know you’ve told me before but I think I need a pep talk.”

“Well it’s fairly lame most of the time like any school. I mean maths is maths wherever you are isn’t it?”

“I really like maths. It’s so interesting when you understand ….”

Holly trailed off as Bobby glared at her.

“Try to keep your enthusiasm to yourself! It might be cool in Palm Beach but…”

“Are you kidding? Australia’s worse than here. If you’re no good at sport you’re no-one. Isn’t this a top school? My dad says the results are brilliant.”

“At four grand a term you’re not allowed to be lazy but that doesn’t mean we like it.”

“Sorry Roberta!” Holly always used Bobby’s disliked full name when she was getting a bit patronising. “Is there anything I am allowed to like?”

“Don’t get sarky with me! Obviously choir as that’s our main claim to fame as a school. Sport too. I assume you’re good at sport?”

“What fair dinkum Aussie isn’t?” Holly replied in her broadest Northern Beaches accent.

Bobby smiled, knowing that her ability to laugh at herself would make life a lot easier for her as she settled into St Ignatius.

“Coolio. Just don’t get too excited about maths and you’ll be fine!”

Holly settled back into her seat and started murmuring passionately.

“Geometry. Algebra. Yes. Yes!”

Bobby had a furious fit of the giggles. Although she’d been on the receiving end a few times already, Holly’s wicked sense of humour still seemed at odds with the cute innocent face she possessed. Once she’d recovered, out came her Cath Kidston make-up bag as she prepared for school. Holly watched in fascination as she tried to commit the flowing strokes of the blusher and the precise shaping of the eyebrows to memory. Bobby gave her the blusher when she’d finished with it and watched as she looked for all the world like a young girl let loose in her mother’s dressing table. She smiled as she realised that that’s just what Holly was.

“Let’s have it back. You don’t need any make-up you lucky thing. Your skin’s perfect. In any case there’s no point drawing attention to yourself on your first day. Squirts aren’t allowed to wear make-up.”

“Nor are you!”

“Everyone in Year 10 wears some and they can’t give us all DTs can they?” 

“Who do I have to look out for?”

“Well the Year 10s should leave you pretty much alone. I’ll see to that. Year 9s can be real bitches but they’re usually all talk. Year 8s are up to you but I reckon you’ll be fine. The head, Mrs. Patterson, known as Fatterson for obvious reasons is cool for a head but get on the wrong side of her and she can shame you in front of the whole school. Never happens more than once. You’ve hit lucky with your tutor. ‘Stun’, that’s Mr. Gunne to you. He’s wicked and the nearest thing to a muffin on the staff.”

“What’s a muffin?”

“You’ll know as soon as you see him. He takes choir as well. He’ll ease you in but you’ll have to look after yourself after he’s finished registration. I can’t protect you all day but tell me if any of the Mean Girls give you hassle and I’ll sort it. Don’t look so scared. You’ll get through. Everyone else has. Wait till they hear that voice of yours! Pure Charlotte Church … before the booze and the rugby players of course!”

Holly smiled appreciatively then made a mental note to remind herself who Charlotte Church was. The British celebs could be pretty difficult to get used to for a girl who’d focussed on the Home and Away actors who filmed just down the road from her in Palm Beach most days.

Bobby returned to ‘putting on her face’ as she called it and Holly closed her eyes. Before her new life started in earnest, she wanted to sort out in her own mind how she’d got here.

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