“Party” : Extract from It’s A Wrap. Elektra has thrown a sixteenth birthday party that (against the odds) has turned out to be a very good night (not least because Archie has turned up with a puppy for her which is possibly the most romantic thing that will ever happen to her and Carlo (Elektra’s ex-co-star and unreliable on-set friend) is chirpsing Moss (her bff)), and then her mum turns up…
‘Here’s the thing,’ I said to Mum, stalling her at the door some painful minutes later. ‘It’s quite bad but it’s not a disaster.’ This time I felt like the captain of the Titanic.
‘I. Am. Not. Happy.’ She didn’t look happy. ‘There must be a hundred people in there.’
‘Definitely not a hundred,’ I said, employing a strange dance-y manoeuvre to let people out without her getting in.
‘There are at least twenty just hanging out of the windows,’ she spluttered.
‘No—’ It was unfortunate that at that exact moment a shoe fell to the ground from the second floor. ‘Er . . . it’s just that . . . everyone’s on this side of the building?’
‘And why would that be, Elektra? Is there a fire in the kitchen? A body in the hall? What exactly should I be prepared for before I walk through that door?’
‘I think the best thing is if you don’t walk through that door right now. Just give us a bit more time for ... a little tidy up.’ OK, Plan B was weak. How long could I hold her off?
‘I’ll help,’ said Archie.
‘We’ll help too,’ said Moss, who had reappeared with Carlo to join our human barricade. She wasn’t crying anymore, which was good, but Carlo was looking smug, which was . . . troubling.
‘No,’ said Mum without even saying hello. ‘This needs an adult.’ There was the unmistakable sound of breaking glass. ‘Possibly one in uniform.’
‘Have you seen the puppy, Mrs James?’ Archie reclaimed Plog from Carlo and held him out like a peace offering to a vengeful god. ‘Aaaaaw, he likes you.’
‘He’s good,’ whispered Carlo. ‘Don’t trust him, E.’ I ignored him. This wasn’t the moment to fill him in on the real facts surrounding Archie’s alleged straying.
Plog’s spell couldn’t hold for ever, or apparently even for very long. ‘Everyone still has to leave,’ Mum said grimly.
‘But Archie’s just got here,’ I protested.
‘I’ve just got here too,’ said Carlo, looking at Moss, who blushed.
‘Archie’s crossed seas and brought me a puppy,’ I added. Archie shrugged like it was all in a day’s work.
‘I don’t care if he’s slain dragons for you,’ said Mum.
‘That’ll be his next trick.’ I had a suspicion Carlo didn’t like anyone else playing the action hero.
‘If you ever want Archie, or anyone else, to come over to this house again, they leave now.’ Mum wasn’t lightening up.
‘Is it not still OK for me to stay over?’ asked Moss.
‘I’ll walk you home,’ offered Carlo, inching ever closer to her. She looked panicked, as well she might.
‘Everyone leaves except Moss,’ said Mum.
It was hard to say goodbye to Archie with her giving it the full Medusa.