I turned and a little thrill went through me. O.M.G. Ryan was running towards me. No wait. Ryan didn’t wear glasses. James was running towards me, which made far more sense since I’d only just texted him. I stopped and waited for him, “Sleep in?” I asked.
He bent over with his hands on his knees and shook his head, gasping for air. Jesus, how fast had he run? “Ryan – Shreddies …”
I waited patiently for him to get his breath back. Finally he did, “My charming brother Ryan stayed out last night.”
My jaw dropped, “Out where?” I asked.
James raised his eyebrows and looked at me, “Where do you think?” he asked.
I stared at him, “What? All night? With Amelia?” My voice had gone all high and squeaky – partly with shock and partly indignation.
He nodded, “Yup,” he said, “And I had to be him this morning – which had him nice and early for school and has left me with severe stomach cramps and a mother planning to take me to a psychiatrist – so it’s all good.”
"...you don’t want me anymore – what happened, did you get a better offer?”
“NO!” he shouted, “Never.”
The tears started then, “Then why?” I asked helplessly, “Why did you break up with me? I thought everything was perfect.” My voice cracked on the last word.
He nodded, “It was,” he said, “But then your mum went nuts about me…”
I stared at him. So what? She’d get over it, “And?”
“And you we’re better off without me dragging you down.”
“Dragging me down?” I repeated, completely baffled, “Why would you be dragging me down?”
He stared at me. “Because you’re better off without me.”
“And you get to decide that, do you?” I asked angrily. “You’ve decided what’s good for me and what isn’t?” He had to be joking? How on earth had he managed to get into the same mind-set as my mother? This had to just be an excuse. No one was that stupidly impulsive… but wait a minute – this was James…