Disaster - Part One

A vivid flash of blue in the corner of her eye caught Sienna Munroe's attention as she and her friends made their way through the Star Centre. She stopped in her tracks and looked longingly at the gorgeous summer dress in the window of River Island. She wanted it - she really wanted it - but there was no way her allowance would stretch that far. Not that her parents were mean. They just couldn't afford to give her that much money on a regular basis. Not with the economy as it was. Her mother was still looking for works after the company she had worked for folded and the hospital had cut her father''s salary again in April. They didn't say but Sienna knew they were struggling with the mortgage.

She stared at the dress a moment longer before sighing. She had to be frugal. Perhaps there would be something similar in New Look or Peacock's but she doubted it. Their clothes were nice enough but not as lovely as that. She only realised how long she had been admiring it when her friends, who had carried on walking, stopped and headed back towards her.

"I could make you a dress like that if you want," Lucy said. "Tailored is always a better fit than off the peg and buying the material would be a lot cheaper."

"Oh would you?" Sienna looked around at the athletic brunette who was one of her closest friends. She too was studying the dress as she sipped her banana smoothie.

"Oh, would you?" Sienna asked. "I really want it, but it's just too much."

"Of course!" Lucy said. "As long as you buy the fabric and notions and say that I can put the design in my fashion and textile A-level portfolio. It'd be a great piece to have in there. You've always had good taste."

"Of course you can," Sienna said. "Thank you so much!"

"Great!" Lucy pulled out her mobile phone and snapped a couple of pictures of the dress from different angles. "I'll need to draft the pattern of course but we can nip to the fabric shop after lunch. Speaking of which, isn't it time to eat?"

"You want to eat again?" Wendy - Sienna's other best friend - asked lightly.

"Good grief, Lu, where do you put it all? If I ate that much I'd balloon." The dark skinned girl grinned in a way that showed that she meant no malice.

"You know where I put it." Lucy also grinned. "Into training to jump over hurdles very fast. You could eat more if you spent less time holed up who knows where building junkyard robots with Martin."

"Hey, everybody should have a hobby," Wendy said. "And designing fighting robots and using them to smash up other robots in the arena is mine."

"That's because you're weird," Charlotte said. "I'm sounded by weirdoes. But Lu's right, it's nearly lunchtime, but can we nip to Boots first? I need some foundation."

"Good idea," Sienna tore herself from the window and smiled. "I need some lippy myself."

Boots was a little way away from the Star Centre, across the High Street and along the road. The four girls ambled through the shopping centre and out into the street where the stalls of the Saturday market were bustling with people enjoying the Spring sunshine. As they walked towards their destination they chatted about where to go for lunch.

Five minutes later they were standing at the make up racks discussing which colours to choose when Sienna noticed one of the security guards standing behind a pillar and trying to be inconspicuous but definitely watching them. She looked back at the rack and whispered about him to the other three. Charlotte glanced over and smirked. "Four teenage girls," she said wryly. "Clearly he thinks that we're planning a make-up heist."

Wendy shook her head and scowled.

"No, it's me the prat's watching. He's stopped me twice in the last month and searched my bag and seems very disappointed when the reeipt matched. He's done it Munira and Rashid from school as well, apparently. We think he's just racist."

Charlotte hissed sharply and made as if to turn around, probably intending to march over and yell at him but Wendy grabbed her wrist and shook her head.

"Please don't make a scene, Char," she said softly. "With things as they are you'll just make it worse. Let's pay for our stuff and go to Costa like we said."

Charlotte frowned at her for a moment but obviously took in the anxious way Wendy was looking at her because she nodded reluctantly. "Okay, but if he challenges us I am going to give him a piece of my mind." She popped the foundation she'd chosen into her basket before heading to tills.

Sienna gave the security guard one final long look, making it clear that they'd seen him, before following the others. He scowled at her before turning to follow a young Muslim woman in a brightly coloured hijab into the dental hygiene section. Sienna watched him a moment longer as she paid for her lipstick then she and her friends headed out into the street again where a couple of nervous looking activists accosted them with leaflets and tried to get them to sign a petition for the National Unity Government to reinstate full General Elections.

"We're too young to vote," Charlotte said as the others signed the petition. "What's the point?"

"Only for a couple more years," Sienna said. "I don't like this shower."

"No one does," Charlotte said. "But I doubt a petition will help. Let's go eat, politics makes my head hurt."

The other girls laughed and they headed across street to Costa.

“It’s such a nice day let’s sit outside,” Wendy said.

Sienna took the money with a sigh. Somehow Charlotte always managed to do this when their little group went shopping together, One day she would get to a table first. Charlotte must have read her expression correctly because she laughed.

"Not a chance," she said. "I am the queen of table snatching."

"Sounds like a challenge to me," Wendy said. "But one for another day. For now Lunch!"

Next Part

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