Between the Lives - By Jessica Shirvington Page 0,1

little chuckle behind her hand before she could pull herself together. No, she all but wet herself, sliding down beside me as I tried to cradle an arm that felt like it could, at any second, fall off my shoulder.

Eventually, and mostly due to commuters making grunting noises about the fact they had to go around us, I pulled myself to my feet. Capri was still laughing, pausing every now and then before obviously replaying the moment in her mind and cracking up yet again.

Jesus. I wished I was in my other life at that moment. This was not the type of thing to let happen in this one.

‘I think I’ll need to go to the medical centre,’ I told Capri, who was only just beginning to realise I’d genuinely hurt myself.

‘Oh shit. Sorry, Sabine. I thought you were okay.’

I shrugged, instantly regretting it when a searing pain shot up my arm. ‘Probably just a sprain.’

Luckily the medical centre wasn’t far and we could walk. The idea of being crammed into a train carriage with a funky arm didn’t work for me at all. Capri sent Angus, her sort-of boyfriend, a text to let him know we wouldn’t be meeting up at our usual after-school caffeine haunt. If it weren’t for the throbbing pain in my arm, I’d almost have been relieved. Capri and Angus had been trying to set me up with Davis for the past month. Nice guy, no spark.

‘It was pretty funny though,’ Capri persisted as we walked, still slipping into bouts of memory giggles. She could be a bitch sometimes, but deep down she was okay. And she was the only friend in this life I’d managed to keep hold of, mostly because she didn’t care that I seemed … well, to put it in her words, like I was somewhere else half the time.

I flashed her a smile. ‘Lucky I was wearing hot underwear!’

Which I hadn’t been, of course. And thanks to my ass-in-the-sky display she, and more than a handful of Boston commuters, knew it.

Capri laughed so hard she snorted. ‘Yeah. Floral print is making a comeback.’

And then my arm hurt, because I was laughing too. Even while dreading that some bastard with their iPhone might have already uploaded footage of my floral booty to YouTube.

Broken.

At least it was only my wrist. But I’d be plastered up like a disaster zone for the next six weeks. Capri had already drawn some weird screwed-up bat-thingy on it. She was into Goth currently. On top of the half-dreadlocks, she’d dyed her beautiful blonde hair black and persisted with floor-length skirts even on the hottest days.

I was happy sticking with my street-wise look. I wasn’t as fanatical about it as Capri, I just made sure I perfected the don’t-mess-with-me part. It was important, especially around Roxbury – which was still categorised as one of Boston’s ‘due for regeneration’ areas. And although Mom and Dad would have preferred an extra five inches on my skirts, my look didn’t send them into complete freak-out mode.

By the time I got home it was after 9 p.m. As soon as I opened the front door, I could hear Maddie bounding from her room towards the stairs. The door was barely closed behind me when she came barrelling down the steps three at a time.

‘Binie! Binie!’ She was just about to launch herself from the bottom step into my arms – one of her signature moves – when she saw the cast on my wrist.

‘What happened?’ she asked, coming to an abrupt halt.

To Maddie, I was invincible. Probably because half the time when I was sick I pretended not to be, always worried about unintentionally overdosing if I took medication in both worlds. It wasn’t easy when I had tonsillitis, but I couldn’t very well have that operation twice. And I’d certainly never broken anything before.

‘It’s okay, Mads. I just broke my wrist when I fell over.’

She looked mortified, the corners of her mouth trembling. Having a six-year-old kid who worships you look so grave caused me the worst pain of the day.

I smiled one of my goofy numbers for her. ‘Hey, kiddo, check it out!’ I pulled my arm out of the sling, revealing the plaster and Capri’s bat-thingy. I twisted my arm to show her an untouched expanse of white. ‘I saved this whole area for you. You think you can draw something on it tomorrow for me?’

Her eyes lit up. She took hold of her long strawberry-blonde plait hanging

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