By pswales All Rights Reserved ©


A Whole Lot of Introductions

Saturday 8 September

My first day of keeping a diary, a lot is changing and I have no idea what I am doing. One more day and I will be leaving Harrogate, but I’m only 18, surely I’m not old enough or mature to handle life on my own. I don’t want to say goodbye to the girls, I don’t want to not see them every day. Ugh.

15:00: Why! Why? Why. I have never known a summer to have come and gone so quickly like this one, the year of 2012. Now after all the excitement I am faced with the daunting reality that I am leaving tomorrow, I am starting to feel like this isn’t one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. Let’s be honest, I am shitting myself. Me, University, who would have thought it.
Not even to mention the fact that I will be thrown with 4 people I have never met and be expected to experience new things and “enjoy” myself with, I don’t need any NEW friends, the ones I’ve got are perfect, why would I want to change that.
Sitting on my bedroom floor, gazing around me, thinking about all the memories this room holds… adolescent sleep overs, making up dance routines not having a care in the world, even the moments before falling asleep being so excited to wake up the next day and go to school to spend the day causing chaos with the best set of girls anyone could ever ask for. But now there are boxes everywhere, it feels so cluttered yet so bare, it’s weird how quickly things can change. God knows what to expect of my new room but I doubt it will be furnished in all white with a big fluffy carpet and a double bed.

The last day, how is it here already and how is tonight the final goodbye with the people I have spent the last 7 years with, my best friends. At least we’ve had this summer, I never thought it possible but it has brought us all closer, it’s safe to say I have never laughed as much as I have over the past 3 months.

Reminiscing Summer: To kick it off we went on a long weekend break to the Lake District where 22 of us (The Lakes Hoes) spent the time getting drunk in a large bunk house, we had the idea to start mattress surfing down the stairs until Dan decided to attempt it backwards and ended up splitting his head open, leading to an night spent in A&E for him and a couple of the lads. On the second night the excitement was running high and the group games were in full swing, typically Hannah was enjoying herself a little bit too much which lead to her pissing herself on the fire escape staircase. By the time it was to head home Kirstie had reached breaking point as her and Liam were on the rocks, she psychotically reversed, more like threw, her car into a tree, luckily for her the tree stopped her from falling down a steep ditch. Charis in the passenger seat was not impressed and of course. It was the perfect way to celebrate before we all had to go home and attend our leaver’s prom.

Magaluf (First Girls Holiday): Myself, Mez, Robbo and Hodgson shared one room and Charlotte, Charis, Mollie and Kirstie in another (The Green Peace room we called it as we always caught them walking around naked). Our afternoon flight first got delayed for 4 hours so we ended up getting drunk at the airport, as we arrived and were on the transfer bus we all shit ourselves as it headed up the strip, I have never seen so many people in my life. Kirstie, Robbo and I were the only single ones so in polite terms really let our hair down. Kirstie obviously had a full blown holiday romance which continued for a few months when we got back. There are so many photo’s which make me laugh, remembering when Hodgson got bitten by an owl at the water park, buying flashing Nemo’s and rings from the ‘lucky lucky men’ and when Charis had toilet roll sticking out of her skirt while grinding on the pole. There were so many funny things that happened on that holiday but one I will never forget is when half of us girls went skinny dipping on the beach and someone stole our valuables whether it be phones, camera’s or designer watches. We then got back to the hotel and Charis was in a state as both her camera and phone had been stolen, her boyfriend rang her on Mollie’s phone and then asked if we were OK from being evicted from our hotel, what the fuck… god knows where that one came from it was hilarious.

17:00: As this is the year we all turned 18, we have really made the most of it. There wasn’t one weekend that went by over summer that we didn’t go out going out, even when we were doing our A-Levels we would skip to the pub during free periods to sit out in the sun and drink, something else that I will miss. There are a lot of things I have to say bye to this year but one of the hardest is finally closing the chapter on High School but thankfully I get to take the best of it with me, the girls. Enough of being emotional, I need to start getting ready because I am hosting girls night at mine before everyone starts heading off. We all have a lot to celebrate, we are all on our own pathways to do exactly what we want to do with our lives, whether it be furthering our education at university or getting jobs in the areas that we wanted our careers to go. I am so proud of every single one of them, they are all such intelligent and well-rounded girls, I am so so proud. ​

20:00: It is an amazing hot summers evening, a perfect night for all the girls to be in summery dresses and heels enjoying pre drinks on the patio with jugs of pimms and bottles of prosecco at our fingertips.
The girls are due to arrive in about half an hour so at least I have enough time to make sure that the house is clean and ready for their arrival, I suspect Mez will be the first, she always is.

20:30: Just as I suspected, Mez is the first to arrive looking as gorgeous as ever, she has the longest most perfect hair you had ever seen just like Pocahontas the bitch, why am I so ugly?
The thing with Mez, not only is she stunning she is always the life and soul of every party, her boyfriend really is a lucky guy.
“Hey babes how are you”, she asks with a big smile on her face.
“Good thank you, are you looking forward to tonight?” I reply while giving her a hug.
“Always, are you ready to get drunk?” She smiles, knowing full well what my answer is going to be, everyone knows that I am no stranger to the bottle and neither is Mez.
I lead her outside and pour two flutes of Prosecco, we both cheer to the occasion and patiently wait for the rest of the girls to arrive. Not much time passes until this starts to happen and the girls appear in their groups, Naomi and Amelia, Hannah and Charis, Mollie and Charlotte, Hodgson and Robbo and finally Kirstie. Kirstie my longest friend, we were in the same form group all the way through High School. The biggest dread of tonight is having to say goodbye to her, she is one of the more dramatic characters in the group but despite all the agro she has caused me, she does make my life more entertaining and I love her to bits but I am secretly looking forward to the break... just kidding. I see her march straight over to me with a card in hand. Shit is she going to attempt to make me cry already?
“Don’t open it until I’m gone because you might cry and then I will, and I’m not ready for that yet,” she chokes.
I smile back at her and put it on the side so that I am reminded to read it later, I knew it, the bitch.
“Naomi, where is Lo?” I ask as I notice that she is yet to arrive.
“She’s coming a bit later, why aren’t we good enough?” she replies sarcastically.
Thank god Naomi is here to keep the mood light. She has the driest, yet possibly one of the funniest senses of humour I have ever come across. Her filter is non-existent but this is what I love most about her, I wish we were going to the same Uni so we could comment and judge everyone we meet. I start to look around the room and I can feel myself getting emotional, every single one of these girls have such an impact on my life, they all make me the person I am today. As a group we have all been through a lot together and we have always come back stronger and have still managed to remain as close if not closer, it really is a rarity, 7 years, fucking hell.

21:30: The drinks are flowing, the music circulates the room and Lo has finally arrived, it is perfect, the whole gang together. One of my worst traits is the fact that I am so emotional especially after a drink. Now I decide to make the idiotic decision to walk over to the speakers and turn down the music to give a speech, the devil in my mind is willing me to stop now while I can. Surprisingly I ignore her for once in my life…
“I would just like to say that I love you all to bits, and I know it sounds stupid because it won’t be long until we are all back together but you all mean so much to me.” As the words leave my mouth I begin to well up and with every word my lips tremble, I pray that the girls will go with it and not take the piss.

23:00: “Taxi!” Kirstie shouts across the room to let everyone know that it is time to get rid of any evidence of crying, it turns out it isn’t just me who is emotional tonight. We all pile into the minibus and start our 10 minute journey to our favourite starting place, Wetherspoons where the drinks are cheap and you are guaranteed to see someone you know, especially if you are from Harrogate.

23:10: Arriving at our destination we clamber out of the taxi and prepare ourselves for our weekly drill, I.D check and head straight to the bar.
“TEQUILA”, Mez shouts at the top of her voice.
12 of us line up at the bar tequila in hand, in this moment I realise that tonight is going to be messy, even Lo who isn’t a big drinker is getting involved, it definitely is a special occasion.

00:30: Like every other group of girls out there we are no exception, as soon as Beyoncé or Jennifer Lopez plays in any night club we all do the same thing. It starts with the whole group running to the dance floor to get into position to show everyone what we are made of. Then the ‘slut drops’ begin, it is like a mini competition to see who can do the most in the time that the song plays for, it is a great work out… who needs to squat at the gym?
I on the other hand consider to myself to be more ghetto than the others, don’t get me wrong I love dancing to Beyoncé but I really lose my shit as soon as I hear Kanye West and Jay Z, or any kind of rap music for that matter. Also being the least attractive of all my friends, a little bit over weight and not as feminine I do my best and my winning personality always gets me some sort of attention from a boy, it helps knowing a few people as well. You know what they say, the fat girl is always the nicest and most fun. You can’t be attractive and funny for god sake so therefore I am single.

02:00: Now it is time for us all to head off to Moko, the place where regrets are made. Luckily for us the majority of our school friends work as door men on the VIP section so we are pretty in control of who we socialise with, the ultimate socialites we call ourselves, joking of course. As tonight is our massive celebrator night out we have organised bottles of Vodka, Champagne and a booth, the real VIP treatment. We are really living for ourselves, go hard or go home as we learned in Magaluf.
Not ashamed to dance, Lo and I are outdoing ourselves with the moves we are pulling out of the bag tonight and then the music changes, ‘Niggas in Paris’. The rest of the girls run and join us on the dancefloor and we all begin to scream the lyrics, taking lead vocals I am getting into my zone reliving nights on the balcony screaming down a mega phone until security came and confiscated it, ah Magaluf memories… again. I can’t control what the music is making my body do, all I know is that I will regret it in the morning. I feel myself flick my hair around like ‘Willow Smith’. Totally regretting it as soon I start I notice a tall shaved headed figure stood at the bar… oh no, I completely forgot about him. It is Connor, the only boy I have ever really counted myself as seeing, I mean it was nothing intense, we never really saw each other outside of a Saturday night but it was the closest thing I’d ever had to a relationship. No real wine and dine, no meeting of the parents, apart from the awkward morning after he once stayed at mine. I cooled things off with him not long ago because, well what’s the point when I am moving away for 4 years, but I suppose one final goodbye wouldn’t hurt anyone, would it?
At this point I am incapable of remembering my own name but I still decide to walk over, trying to compose myself on the way, this is going to be good.
“Hello Connor.” I whisper in his ear, he turns around and smiles.
“Alright.” He nods.
What is his problem? I can’t understand why he is always so shy around me? He never has a problem when it comes to making a move on me. When he’s with his friends he is more than happy to be laughing and joking but with me, nothing but a cheeky smile and the odd word. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise, maybe it is the universe telling me that I need to find someone more outgoing, maybe this is what my new adventure has in store for me…I should be so lucky.
Back to Connor, he looks nice, he is wearing tight navy jeans and a grey oversized jumper which hides his slim frame, he is really cute though with is big droopy puppy eyes. He moves closer to me and bends down so that his mouth is parallel with my ear.
“So when do you go to Uni?” he asks, this surprises the hell out of me, it has really thrown me off guard, I think this is the first real question he has ever asked me.
I look up at him, sight and reply, “tomorrow.”
I can tell he begins to feel awkward, like he doesn’t know what else to say so in this moment he feels it is the right time to kiss me, it feels different this time, more sincere, like it real is for the last time so I slowly begin to step back.
He looks at me with slight confusion, “So I’ll see you when you’re next home then?” he hints.
Again speechless and a little breathless, I smile and nod, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt that he actually cares about me, had I got him all wrong?
As I walk back over to the girls this confusion begins to eat my brain, it must be written all over my face. I start to wonder if the two of us have made the right decision, could it work this long distance thing.
Kirstie keeping a close eye on the interaction notices instantly the change in my mood, she approaches me, takes me by the hand and pulls me to the bar. No questions asked, just shots lined up to get me back in the zone, and by god does it work.

03:30: The night is coming to an end there are only a few girls left uncoordinatedly dancing to Charlotte’s predictable request of the night Destiny’s Child. After the night that I’ve had I am more emotional than I ever thought I would be. I hate goodbyes.

Sunday 9 September

I vaguely remember hugging and kissing the girls cheeks telling them how much I love them, but I can’t be certain, it does sound like me though. The anxiety that alcohol causes must be kicking in already. Fast asleep, not knowing what time or how I got home, dreaming of paradise, beaches, sand and sun, alarm is going off.

11:00: Where am I? How did I get here?
I feel like horrendous, my head is fuzzy and my eyes feel like they have been superglued shut, I really should have taken my makeup off when I got home last night or should I say this morning. I drag myself out of bed for what I call the after night out ritual the sit down shower, or the shower of shame to wash off all of the stupidity, embarrassment and smell from last night, this one is going to be a long one.
11:15: I am still feeling drunk and doing my best to try and remember the events from last night but my mind remains blank. I need Ibuprofen and water ASAP.
“Dolly, you’ve got an hour and then we are leaving”, my Dad’s voice shouts from downstairs, rattling my brain the pain is unbearable. Hang on a minute… did he say we are leaving in an hour… Shit, moving day.

11:30: The alcohol is beginning to wear off slowly but surely the tablets are kicking in. My thoughts become clearer, I am having flashbacks from last night the deeper I think the more vivid they become. Last night was amazing and it’s made me realise how much I don’t want to leave. Why do all the best things come right at the very end? I hate change.
I come from one of the most comforting families, a family that would do anything and everything for me, how am I going to survive?

11:45: I have a tendency to worry about anything and everything, especially how I acted the night before, the alcohol anxieties are the worst. Well, I suppose the plus side of moving today is that it doesn’t really matter what I did or said because I am not going to see anyone for a few months, and by the time I return, hopefully everyone will have forgotten these idiotic things.

12:00: Everything I could ever need is packed and ready to go, my Dad has already started loading the car…this is it now, no turning back and no time to change my mind. The only thing left for me to do is to make myself look presentable so that I don’t scare my new flat mates to death, at least I don’t look as bad as I feel and these hangovers never get any easier to deal with.
I have no energy to do anything, never mind blow dry and straighten my hair so today it’s going to have to be air dry, which unfortunately for me leaves an uncontrollable bundle of curls, which have been nicknamed ‘the Wendy’s’ after the lads in the lakes discovered how curly my natural hair is.

12:15: My emotions are beginning to run high, the realisation is starting to hit me, in half an hour I am moving out. I don’t know if it’s because I am hungover, emotional or a mixture of both but I am absolutely terrified. All I want to do is run back in my bed, hide underneath my duvet and cry.

12:45: “Paige, Caroline is here!” My Mum shouts from the bottom of the stairs. Caroline is one of my Mum’s best friends and is my godmother. She never misses a big event in either mine or my brother’s life.
“I’ll be down in a second, Mum.” I call down and quickly head into my bathroom to pat my face to disguise the fact that I have been crying. Walking downstairs and into the kitchen trying to compose myself I notice Caroline is standing with a balloon and a bag of presents, bless her. As soon as I look at Caroline she notices that I have been crying and hugs me to hide me from my Mum knowing full well that it will set her off.
“I remember changing your nappies”, she jokes to try and lighten the mood, to which I break a smile.
“Dolly, go upstairs and say bye to Lewis, we need to go”, my Dad suggests.
I completely forgot about my brother, all the nerves, worry and chaos of this morning and I nearly forget to say goodbye to one of the people I will miss the most.
I put my bag down and run upstairs, each step makes me think more and more of how much I will miss him, we are only 11 months apart so have basically spent our entire lives together, he is the oldest which I never let him forget. As I open his bedroom door I notice that he is still asleep so I decide to jump on him and give him a tight squeeze.
“Have fun Paige, stay safe and don’t get into too much trouble. I love you.” He mumbles in his state of tiredness. We don’t express our love for each other very much but we know.
“I love you too Lew.”

13:00: The car is finally loaded, kitchen essentials and everything I could possibly need to move into a new home. My parents are in the front, Dad opting to drive and Mum in the passenger seat. The two of them haven’t said very much to me this morning but I can only imagine how they are feeling, their youngest daughter leaving home, it must be terrifying for them. As I look out the window I notice that it is such a lovely day, I’ve been so wrapped up in my own head that I haven’t noticed the little things such as the time or weather all morning. The sky is bright blue, not a cloud in sight, the colours of the tree’s glisten in the sunlight, Harrogate really is beautiful.
As we drive through the streets I inhale, and take in the Yorkshire view, the fields, the animals, the cleanliness, from what I remember about Preston, it is somewhat different. Until I received my acceptance letter I had never really heard of the place. I have only ever been to Preston once before and that was only because I had to attend the university open day… I have no real expectations.

13:30: I am lying on a beach with my Mum, Dad and brother, even Benson our dog is here. Looking out to the sea, it sparkles in the sun reflecting the colour of the sky. It is so peaceful, the water is calm and there are no disturbances. In the distance I see high waves rolling towards us, they are the size of a tsunami but nobody panics, nobody worries, nobody moves. The waves are beginning to get closer, they seem to be getting bigger but still the atmosphere remains tranquil. They are seconds away from crashing on top of us, the 4 of us hold each other, I have Benson gripped tightly in my arms. The wave drops but we are safe, we don’t move, we don’t drown, it feels like a spiritual cleansing. I look out towards the horizon again and I see another approaching us…

14:45: The car jolts in the line of traffic and I wake up abruptly… thank god that was just a dream. I wonder what all that meant… strange.
I slowly open my eyes and look around, all I can see are signs that read ‘Welcome to Preston’ and ‘New Students this way’ with arrows directing cars to the University campus. Driving through the streets of Preston is an eye opener, it is as if a grey cloud covers the town, there is rubbish all over the streets and it has a funny smell to it.
“You’re not fucking living here. We are not leaving her here.” My Mum hisses, she seems mortified as we continue through the streets, she really means it when she says that we are lucky to be from Harrogate.

14:55: Welcome posters cover the buildings of the University, Dad pulls up into a car park which is jam packed, there are students everywhere, everybody looks thrilled to be starting their new adventure, unlike me, I feel like my parents are abandoning me and taking every luxury I have ever had away from me.
“Derwent Halls, isn’t that where you’re going to live dolly?” Dad chirps but I am not having any of it, I just wish we could turn the car round and go home.
“Come on then let’s go get your keys and find out where we are going.” Dad encourages while I roll my eyes and drag myself out of the car. I put on my sunglasses to disguise the fact that I have been crying and walk over to an over enthusiastic ambassador wearing jeans and a grey UCLAN hoody to pick up my keys. I am definitely not in the mood to be dealing with this.
“It’s just across the road Dad, but apparently you can only park for 20 minutes.” We walk back to the car, I dragging my feet, to passers-by I must look like such a spoilt bitch.
On the drive around, I start to feel numb, I notice that it seems to be taking effect on my Mum but in her best efforts she tries to remain positive. She has always put her family first and focused all of her career choices around us all, I can’t imagine how it must feel to let go of one of the people she lives her life fully to support, care for and love.
As we get out of the car I make my parents aware that it is Flat 13 that I will be moving into and we all grab a box from the car. At the front door I take my keys out and swipe into the building as I push through the door I notice that there are only stairs…no lift. Is this a fucking joke, I’m just glad that I am not living on the top floor.

15:15: After about 4 trips up and down the stairs the contents of the car is now in my new room. As I open the door a strong smell which reminds me of hospitals escapes into the corridor. The room is blue; everything is blue, the bed, the chair, the wardrobe, the carpet and even the blinds. It looks like a prison cell, well to what I imagine as I have never actually been inside one. I am watching my Mum look around my room in disgust trying to keep her opinion to herself and hold it together. She just stays silent.
“It’s alright isn’t it? You’ve got everything you need, when all your stuffs arranged it’ll look a lot better.” My Dad steps up, trying to reassure us with his positivity making sure that we know that this is going to be OK. Without him being here, I think me and Mum would have commit suicide by now, it is nothing like I have ever seen before, the apartment we stayed in in Magaluf was better that this and it had blood smeared on the walls… well maybe not but you know what I mean. As we all start unpacking the contents of my boxes and doing our best to make my room look “cosy” there is a knock at the door and I freeze. My parents look at me and urge me to open the door, I walk over, pull on the handle and to my surprise stands a light brown haired girl similar height to me, with amazingly vibrant blue eyes wearing leggings and a floral top with her lanyard around her neck. I recognise her, but why…oh yeah, she added me on Facebook the other month when we found out what accommodation we would be living in, weird.
“Hi I am Beckie, the rest of our flatmates have already gone to get their fresher’s bands. Do you want to come and get one with me?” she asks sweetly.
I am literally just stood starring at her, I am frozen with nerves, what is wrong with me? I really need to get it together. Feeling the burn of my parent’s eyes in the back of my head urges me to reply to which I say in a mousey kind of tone, “Hi, I’m Paige.”
Saving my life once again my Dad steps in and assures me that everything will be alright and offers to finish unpacking my room.
I look at Beckie and then again at my parents, “OK one second let me just get my bag.”
I close my door, pick up my bag and hug my Mum and Dad goodbye. The overwhelming emotion affects us all and brings tears to all of our eyes, I suppose this will be the worst of it and it can only get better from here.
“I love you dolly”, my Dad chokes.
“I love you Princess stay safe.” My Mum whimpers.
As I leave my new room, I put on my sunglasses and quietly say goodbye. It has finally hit me, I’m not going to see my parents, family and friends for 3 months, it will be the longest we have ever gone without seeing each other, but in this moment I know that I need to get it together.
Beckie is waiting patiently for us to leave, she politely smiles at me, it is comforting and she is the only other person who I have met so far who knows what I am going through. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t judge people from first meeting them, not in a negative way but I do try and figure out a person before I get to know them, I like reading people. My first impression of Beckie is that I think she seems sweet but also a little bit awkward…maybe that is because we have only just met. But then again who I am to judge because ever since I woke up this morning I have been a completely different person to the one I usually am.

15:30: Leaving the halls we have no idea where we are going but we think it is best to follow where the majority of people are walking, were all in the same boat aren’t we…?
In the distance I can see the sign for the Student Union which has a bar next door, a shop for essentials and surrounding little clothes boutiques, we have made it. Over the summer I have picked up a bad habit, when I drink I have started to enjoy a few cigarettes and now in the state that I am I feel it is the prime time and opportunity to buy some to calm my nerves and try get myself back to normal. If my parents knew they would kill me…oops. Leaving the shop we join the back of a large queue which is snaking throughout the hallway, there are groups of students who have just met each other everywhere, standing awkwardly together making small talk just like me and Beckie. I am starting to feel a bit better.
“See those three girls over there, the two blondes and a brunette?” Beckie points out.
“Yes”, I reply not having a clue who she is on about, everyone is in groups of blondes and brunettes.
“Well they are our flatmates!” Beckie beams smiling at me, even though I don’t feel as happy as her I return the smile trying to convince her that I am a nice person. The waiting time to get fresher’s bands isn’t as long as I expect, the queue is moving down fast and before we know it we are heading back to our flat, fresher’s packs in hand containing all the essentials for the next two weeks.
When we get to the front door I realise that my parents’ car has left, it feels like someone has punched me in the stomach, this is the perfect opportunity for me to have a smoke, a little cry to myself and relieve some of that built up emotion I have inside. I tell Beckie that I will see her in a few minutes, she smiles and heads back up to our flat. I just need some time alone to process everything that had just happened that is all, it is nothing against Beckie, my parents have left, and now I have to fend for myself, how will I survive, who the hell is going to do my washing for me now?

16:30: Walking into the kitchen I take a deep breath and see out of the corner of my eye the four girls sat around the table. I completely forgot that I had 3 more to meet...
“Hi, so I guess you’re the final flatmate, my name is Emma.”

Emma is a small 5ft 2inch petite blonde, she has blue eyes and is very pretty with dimples that stand out when she smiles. She stands in light blue jeans and a yellow kami wearing white converse, like everyone else in the room. I wonder if she is from Yorkshire too, she sounds like it to me.
“I am from Manchester.” She continues.
I smile awkwardly…thank god I didn’t say anything I would have made a right tit out of myself. I continue to gaze around the room locking eyes with the next girl that is sat opposite me, another petite blonde.
“Hi, I am Danielle and I am from Crewe.” She introduces herself softly. I have no idea where Crewe is but I presume it’s a nice area as her accent is not distinctive and she seems well spoken. She also has blue eyes and is wearing a similar outfit to Emma, jeans and a t-shirt. Danielle looks like she could be the baby of the group, the one that we will all have to look out for.
I am so nervous and don’t dare to say anything back, all I can do is smile, I am petrified of making a fool out of myself but this isn’t me, I am not a shy person, I really need to snap out of it.
Finally I turn to the only girl left that I have not been introduced to, she is smiling at me in anticipation.
“Hiya, me name is Leanne, what’s yours?” I instantly recognise this accent, the groups very own Geordie Shore cast member, she is definitely from Newcastle.
My gaze passes all of them nervously and in some sort of deep manly voice I reply “Paige.” What the hell is wrong with me, why am I finding this so hard?
All four girls look at me with doting eyes, like I am some sort of puppy that needs to be comforted, I don’t want peoples pity or to feel sorry for me, I need to sleep this off.
“I’m just going to sort the rest of my things out and then I’ll be back out soon.” I say nervously standing up and then head for the door and lock myself in my room. I throw my bag down on the floor and collapse on my bed and begin to cry, I am hoping this will help to release all the emotion trapped inside of me, I need to shake it. Why am I letting myself come across as this embarrassment, because to anyone who knows me personally knows that this is very out of character, where is the bubbly, confident Paige everyone knows and loves? Hopefully this nap will rejuvenate that part of me.

20:00: Urgh. Is it time to get up and get ready already?
I pick up my phone to check the time, I notice that its 8:00pm, god I have been asleep for a long time.
There is a knock at the door and my heart stops, why am I still so nervous? In this moment I decide to throw away all my emotional anxieties, pull myself off my bed and open the door…its Beckie.
“We are all starting to pre-drink in the kitchen at 9:00pm if you are up for it?” She offers kindly.
This is exactly what I need right now, alcohol and light hearted socialising. In my eyes getting drunk solves everything and I could do with some Dutch courage right about now. Before I close the door I notice that Beckie is wearing her fresher’s T-Shirt, the sleeves are cut to make it into a vest, it looks so much better.
“Please could you cut the sleeves of my T-shirt too?” I ask politely.
“Yes, of course I can.” She smiles and seems excited, she takes me into the kitchen, gets out a pair of scissors from the top draw and starts to cut.
“I hope this is OK for you,” she asks, she seems nervous.
“I am sure it will be absolutely fine, I won’t be a second I am just going to get changed. Thank you.” It looks so much better; bless her she didn’t have to do that for me. I head back into my room to sort myself out and get ready. I am beginning to feel more positive about meeting and socialising with new people, and actually having a conversation with Beckie is putting my mind more at ease.
I swap my black leggings for pink skinny jeans, put on my fresher’s top, touch up my makeup and freshen up. Just as I finish brushing my teeth there is another knock at the door. Is this how it’s going to be now, constant knocking at each other’s doors, unexpected visitors and no time to ourselves? It must be Beckie checking up on how the top looks, I head to the door feeling more confident and ready to be more like myself.

20:30: Oh god it’s Emma, I am not prepared for this. I feel myself slipping back inside my shell, I was so close. “We are all putting face paint on if you want some?” She asks with two pink stripes on each of her cheeks.
“Yes please”, I reply following her into her room and nervously sit on the edge of her bed.
“What colour do you want?” she offers holding the palette out so I can see the variety.
“Blue please”, I reply looking at the floor, still scared and nervous. The kindness these girls are showing me today makes me start to realise that they aren’t that bad and I can really see myself getting along with them. I start to feel myself loosen up and with this I hope that the person I really am will begin to show.
“So where are you from then Paige?” Emma asks as she begins to paint stripes on my face. I look up at her and smile; I am beginning to feel more confident and calm.
“I’m not sure if you will have heard of it but it’s a small town in North Yorkshire called Harrogate. Basically it’s near Leeds.”
“So do you think you are going to miss being at home?” Emma asks, I feel myself beginning to well up again and I do my best to cover up my tears... why am I so emotional?
I feel so embarrassed and profusely apologise for putting a downer on the mood… hold on, why am I apologising for feeling… surely I am entitled to feel the way I do?

21:00: All face painted up with our different colours, we all look like a real group of friends, like we have known each other for years. We are all finally ready and it is time to head into the kitchen and let the drinking games begin, if this doesn’t turn me into the person I am, I don’t know what will. I am the last one in the kitchen all the other girls have already chosen their seats and are sat around the table. I take the empty chair by the window where the speakers are placed, next to Emma. This favours me well, any of the girls back home will tell you that I love being in control of the music.
We are all wearing shorts, jeans or leggings with our fresher’s T-shirts. Everyone has their chosen alcohol in front of them. Danielle sits with a bottle of white wine…I wouldn’t expect anything less; she seems like the typical wine drinker. In front of Beckie are four cans of Carling, I wouldn’t have guessed this looking at her, she so petite and shy looking. You know what they say; the quiet ones are always the wildest. Emma surprisingly only has two bottles of Kopparberg in front of her, either she isn’t a big drinker or she is a super lightweight, but I guess time will tell… my moneys on lightweight. Finally Leanne, she has a bottle of Vodka and Dr Pepper as a mixer, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest as stereo-typically, Geordie’s are wild for vodka. I feel a bit uncomfortable with my selection, a complete idiot more like because in front of me are two bottles of champagne which have either been given as congratulations presents or birthday gifts from my 18th earlier on this year. As everyone begins to pour their drinks the noise of the cork popping out of my first bottle brings the attention to me… what must these girls think of me, they must think I’m a right arsehole? I sure as hell feel like one, if only I was at home.
“Do you guys not celebrate with champagne?” I can’t believe the words that are falling out of my mouth, I don’t mean to sound rude, but to me it is normal... we always drink champagne and Prosecco at home.
Thank god, the girls are laughing at me… I can handle this a whole lot better than the sympathy they were giving me before.
“Oh you drink champagne do you, is Harrogate posh?” Leanne asks, I can tell she is mocking me.
“It is actually”, Danielle interrupts.
“I’ve been there with my Dad, he loves it, and it’s a lovely place.” I look at Danielle in a way of comfort and relief; maybe it is she who is going to have to look after the rest of us after all… I should know to never judge a book by its cover. ​

21:30: “So does anyone know any drinking games?” Beckie asks.
“At home we play ring of fire, but everyone has different rules for different cards.” Danielle replies.
Emma tears a cereal box apart, she picks up a felt tip which is placed on the side and writes down all the numbers and characters possible in a deck of cards from Ace to the King. It takes us all about 10 minutes to come up with a set of rules which we all agree on. The card is now pinned to the notice board, this quickly becomes our essential information board, and the rules of ring of fire are definitely one. This information will be crucial for the whole university experience.

Ring of Fire – Girls Rules:
A- Waterfall (Drink until the card holder stops)
2- Choose (Pick a person to drink)
3- Me (Drink yourself)
4- Whores (All the girls playing drink)
5- Thumb Master (Card holder starts, last person to put thumb on table drinks)
6- Chicks/Dicks (If only girls, girls drink again, if boys are playing they drink)
7- Heaven (Card holder points to the sky, last person drinks)
8- Mate (Choose a partner to drink with every time you do)
9- Rhyme (Card holder chooses one word for everyone to rhyme with, loser drinks)
10- Categories (Card holder picks a category e.g. chocolate bar, loser drinks)
J- Rule (A rule if broken person drinks)
Q- Question Master (If a person answers card holders question drink)
K- Pour (If pick a King pour drink into middle glass, last king picker drinks the middle drink i.e. shit mix)

It doesn’t take very long for us girls to get used to the rules, or it may have just been the fact that we are all becoming increasingly drunk. The conversation in the room between us all is becoming more in depth, we are all starting to find more things out about each other and more about everyone’s personalities are being revealed. Personally I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with each of these girls and worrying less about what they think of me…what they see is exactly what they are getting.

22:30: “So, is everyone excited to start their courses tomorrow?” Beckie asks enthusiastically. The drunken eyes around the room roll; we have all completely forgotten the real reason why we have come to university.
“So what is everyone studying?” she continues.
“Fashion and Brand Promotion with Business.” Danielle answers first as she finishes off the last drop of her bottle of wine, that certainly went down quickly.
“Ooo, well you can help me out with my fashion!” Beckie giggles, the rest of us join in with the laughter, we are not agreeing that there is anything wrong with her fashion sense but it just seems a funny thing to say.
“Acting.” Leanne shouts, trying to disguise the fact that she let out a loud burp, surprise surprise the Geordie is smashed.
“Ooo I used to do Acting at High School.” Beckie replies once again, making a real effort to engage and take interest in everyone else’s course choice.
“Sports Therapy.” Emma interrupts, hiccupping and struggling to keep her eyes fixed, she is by far the most drunk of us all. It all makes sense, this is the reason why she only brought two Kopparberg’s out with her…she is a lightweight. I notice myself staring around the room slumped in my chair sipping on my glass of champagne trying to disguise the fact of how drunk I am but it isn’t really working. I continually nod at the conversations going on around me doing my best to convince the girls I know what they are talking about.
“I study Law and Criminology.” I chirp up to Beckie’s original question, waiting for the popular reaction ‘really’! At face value I am well aware that I don’t look like the typical law student, most people all of my life have thought less about my intelligence, but this gives me the drive to prove people wrong.
“Ooo fancy,” Leanne replies with her sarcastic tone similar to the one when she called me posh.
To others, Leanne could come across as rude, but to me her humour is very similar, I throw her back a sarcastic smile and laugh and with this she understands me… she needs to be aware of who she is dealing with…kidding.
“I was going to study law, but I chose to do Counselling and Psychotherapy.” Beckie involves herself again.
We all look at her with a blank expression, either no one knows what her course choice is… me in particular, or the rest of the girls are scared of being put in the analysis chair having our deepest and darkest thoughts brought to the surface.
“This conversation is fucking boring us now, let’s get mortal!” Of course Leanne responds in this way, from meeting her I did wonder how long it would take until the famous Geordie Shore catch phrase was used... a few was all.
Completely forgetting that this is our first night and time we have all met, we all seem to be really clicking with each other. I can only speak for myself but I am absolutely smashed, laughing, dancing and taking the piss out of everyone and it seem like everyone else is too…just the kind of personalities I love being around.

23:30: 53 Degrees; where the entire fresher’s events are going to be held for these first two weeks at University. The building is very strange looking and made out of metal, it looks like some sort of time capsule, futuristic space station. Luckily, Derwent Halls is right on campus so it only takes us two minutes to walk from home to here. As soon as the fresh air hits us all composure is gone, this will either be the making or breaking of our friendships... well the foundations we have created in the past few hours.
Inside is massive; it looks like the kind of venue that would hold small gigs. Scattered around different parts of the building are groups of awkward looking students, just how we were when we first met, it is nice to know that everyone is in the same boat, luckily for us we have loosened up and feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with each other. The Derwent girl’s… which we are now calling ourselves, are starting to look like a unit, a true group of friends... I never thought I would say this but there is no place that I would rather be right now. Heading to the bar the only thing on my minds is… will the drink prices reflect the true meaning of student life?
“£1.50 for VK’s, Pints and Cider that is amazing!” I shout over the music.
Running to the bar we all buy a drink, turn around and begin our hunt to find the perfect spot on the dance floor, but being that we arrived a lot earlier than expected this is no trouble for us. Leanne spreads herself, pushing us all out which creates a circle so that we can keep our belongings safe, on the floor, in the middle.
The reveal is beginning; the music is loud and the alcohol has taken over. This is where I will start to get a sense of the types of people I’m dealing with, distinguishing the more posy girls from the girls who dance and act like nobody is watching. Everyone is excited and all five of us are jumping around like happy children, screaming the lyrics to whatever song is playing... some making the words up as they go along. I suspect the novelty will wear off for the likes of Danielle; I get vibes that she is very interested in male attention as she flicks her hair and keeps her eyes peeled weighing up the talent in the room.
I look up and notice that Emma has gone… where could she possibly be? Surely she would have told us is she was going to the bar or the toilet or something?
I step back, stand on my tip toes to try and spot her over the crowds of people. In the distance I see a petite blonde charging towards the rest of us swinging a T-Shirt around her head… It can’t be… IT IS!
Emma’s gone wild and like a bunch of excitable puppies the rest of us start grabbing and fighting over it, who were we? Fuck it, it’s hilarious.

00:30: My confidence is growing, I am starting to act more like myself but in the back of my mind I wonder what the rest of the girls will think, will they find it too much or will they be relieved that I’m not this shy antisocial mess I have been portraying. I can’t control myself, the music is overtaking my body, my brain is telling me to stop but my body speaks for itself I’m doing it, I’m really doing it!
The robot has come out to play.
Emma looks at me in shock her mouth and eyes wide open. She then begins shouting, laughing and clapping cheering me on… I can feel it, I know it, Paige, 18 year old Harrogate girl is… BACK.
I feel we both realise that we have found dance partners in each other, a common interest, a bond and perhaps the start of a beautiful friendship.
For a girl who had her doubts about coming to University, not really open to meeting new friends and moving away from home is doing alright. These four other girls are great company and ever so lovely, Danielle is very caring and has showed it today, she has payed special attention to me and has really made an effort to make sure she that I have been alright. Leanne is by far the wildest one judging her from tonight, she is very entertaining and knows how to have a good time, you can tell she has a soft sensitive side; I look forward to seeing that. Beckie always tries to find a common interest with each of us but it seems as if she has a lot more to offer… she just needs to be more confident and not care what other people think. As I look around the group watching them all do their own thing, it is apparent how different we are, we all come from all different walks of life but together we are about to embark on the same journey. I never thought or knew that I would feel this comfortable with another group of girls but I do. It is possible, maybe these 3 years aren’t going to be as scary as I thought.

Thursday 13 September

Over the past few days we have been out every night getting to know each other more and continuing to break the ice. One of those nights ended up in kitchen, things got out of hand and we had an alcohol fight leaving sticky liquid all over the ceiling. Emma was paralytic so in an attempt to be nice I carried her to bed unfortunately dropping her on her head I think she had slight concussion… Tonight the girls go on tour.

10:00: The first few days have proved not to be as difficult as I expected. This probably has something to do with all the excitement of meeting new people and actually realising that it hasn’t been as bad as I initially thought. Every person is starting a new course which will hopefully shape their future; everyone is meeting new people daily and creating memories which others could never imagine in a short space of time. To date for us in particular, there hasn’t been one night where we haven’t acted wild, drank our body weight in alcohol and entered a black out…we are really taking this “fresher’s” thing to the extreme and tonight will be no exception.
Apparently every year in the first week of fresher’s, the student union plan a trip to another city with booze buses and free entry into bars and clubs. This year is the year of Blackpool. Not one of us has ever been out in Blackpool before so it’s going to be exciting to share this together. We all decide that this will be the first night where we dress more formally and make more of an effort because the past few nights we have just thrown on any old outfit and trainers, well except for Danielle… she’s tiny she needs her heels.
20:00: The bus is due to pick us up from the student union at 9:00pm so we decide to be ready for 8:00pm, have a few drinks, make sure we’ve all drawn out enough money and have everything we need. On time, I feel quite nervous to see everyone dressed up…I walk in the kitchen, I instantly see it all over the other girls faces too. We are all in a state of shock and can hardly recognise each other. Beckie stands wearing a black crop top with a floral skirt which extends further at the back, her hair is curled and she compliments her face with feathered earrings. Danielle is wearing a white cami top tucked into a leopard print patterned midi-skirt with a pair of beige high heels which show off her legs…who knew she had them hiding under her jeans?
Showing off her figure, Emma is wearing a body-con dress with her hair also curled but styled half up and half down. Finally to my surprise Leanne is the most revealing out of us all, she is wearing leopard print hot pants tucked in with a black see through like shirt, her shoes are black peep-toe wedges. I on the other hand am wearing a cream floaty like t-shirt dress with a thin brown belt around my waist… this is one of my favourite looks at the minute. I opt to wear my Topshop leopard print shoe boots which I never really have an occasion to wear. Unintentionally it seems that there is some sort of animal print theme tonight... the psychic energy between us all has already developed.
Seeing everyone in their own styles really is an eye opener to another aspect of each of our personalities. We have all made an effort and this really shines through. We are the most confident we have been together but despite looking feminine I get the feeling this could be our wildest night yet.

21:00: We have all got our seats on the bus; the journey will take just over an hour so we have all bought a couple of drinks so that we reduce the amount we spend while we are there and are merry for when we arrive. A member of the Student Union is standing at the front of the bus being over enthusiastic, similar to the one I got my keys from. The whole bus is chanting and singing and to my surprise I am joining in. I feel the bus slow down we must be here… I look to my left out of the window and notice a Ginger boy run outside, pull his jeans down and begin to wee on the side of the road… there is always one. We must be close now.

22:30: Finally we have arrive and getting off the bus is more challenging than I thought, I really should have eaten more today because those couple of drinks have already gone to my head.
Revolution is one of my favourite bars; we call it Revs back home. As we walk through the entrance we are handed free shots and a free glass of bubbly, this is something I definitely could get used to. It is absolutely huge inside, a bit like a maze and there are lots of different room’s mirrored ceilings and poles… yes poles. This is what I’m talking about.
Myself, Emma and Beckie seem to have the most carefree attitudes out of the group tonight, we don’t care how we look dancing or how much we are drinking. It seems as if over the past few days me and Emma have really rubbed off on Beckie and she has begun to come out of her shell, it is really nice to see. I turn to see if I can encourage Leanne and Danielle to join in when I notice the two of them eyeing up a couple of boys at the bar. One was ginger: the boy who jumped of the bus for a wee and the other had short dark hair. They are both athletically built and are well dressed in smart jeans and polo shirts…good work girls.
“Come on Danielle, I think we need a drink.” Leanne suggests. The two of them head towards the bar, their confidence is growing even more, they have seen something they like and are going for it... you have to admire it. Me and Emma both shake our heads and laugh at the two as they begin their quest until Beckie abruptly grabs our arms…what the hell?
“The poles are free!” She shrieks.
The three of us head over; well me and Emma have no choice because Beckie is dragging us. Leanne and Danielle spot what we are doing out of the corner of their eyes and instantly run over, not even a boy could stop them two from taking part in this charade, or is it a plan to entice them by showing off their moves… who knows?
Leanne prepares herself, takes one big deep breath and begins to run towards to the pole. It is like it is all happening in slow motion, she jumps…loses balance and hits the floor straight onto her back.
“I think I’ve fucking broken me back.” She sounds winded.
An explosion of laughter is heard amongst us five; she has definitely blown any opportunity of one of the boys buying her a drink. The best thing for her to do now is just to stay apart of the group, have a good time and move on to the next place…save herself anymore embarrassment.

02:30: The night is getting on now and we are all beginning to feel tired, we are not used to these early starts. We have been to five different bars but now it is time to get some food to build up some energy and sober up. We are in one of the biggest seaside resorts in the UK so it is mandatory for us to find the coast and see if there is a Fish and Chip shop open… please god please I am craving chips and curry sauce.
Luckily we all have our trays of chips and are sat around the plastic table inside the chippy.
“Shall we go sit on the beach steps?” Beckie suggests.
I agree and we all stand up… well I try but I fighting my way off the plastic chair as my bare thighs have stuck to it, why do I have to have big thighs?!
The five of us all stumble across the tram lines to where the pier is and head down the slope to get to the steps of the sea front. When the sea air hits us we become 10 times worse…send help.
This isn’t good for any of us, especially the biggest lightweight Emma. I can see she is struggling to carry her body on her heels… she loses her balance and rocks forward straight onto her knees. I’m not quick enough, I can’t save her. She is lying on her front, as I reach her I collapse on the floor next to her at this point I am crying with laughter. She rolls over and I see that she is too laughing. Our trays of chips are face down on the floor just like we are… god we really need help. We both aren’t even going to attempt to get up and carry on walking…rolling is the way forward and I tell you what it works.

03:00: Sitting on the steps looking out to the dark sky and sea is very peaceful, the stars are so clear; the smell of the ocean is reminding me of when I was younger. Even though we are all sat together it is like we have a moment to ourselves away from the madness.
“I want to go on the sand!” Beckie shouts… the moment over. She stands up and starts to skip down the stairs, “I’ll go make sure she is alright.” Danielle offers, following her down the stairs.
My heart stops, that is Beckie… what has she done?
Me, Emma and Leanne sit up quickly and rush down the steps. As we approach the figures our view becomes clear, standing is Beckie dripping head to toe in water. All five of us look around at each other, shock on our faces; we can’t understand how this has happened. As soon as all our eyes meet we can’t contain ourselves anymore, that familiar outburst of laughter has made another appearance. Poor Beckie, her camera and phone are completely water logged, her outfit is soaking and she leaves a trail of water everywhere she walks. I did feel sorry for the poor girl but in reality something like this was bound to happen. Heading towards the sea in the pitch black and drunk… I’d rather it be her than me.

03:30: It is time for us to head back to where the bus is picking us up from but we have no idea where we are. In a brave attempt we stroll through the dark streets of Blackpool hoping we will reach our destination. Danielle and Leanne seem distracted; they are both glued to their phones.
“So, who were the two lads you were speaking to before?” I ask the two while trying to support Emma as she struggles to walk.
“Sam and Francis, they live in Derwent too!” Danielle remembers giggling and smiling at her phone.
“So have you got plans to meet them later?” I continue.
“I don’t know we shall see how we feel when we get back.” Leanne interrupts while concentrating to text, smoke and walk at the same time, it really is a talent.
The five of us can see the bus in the distance, we are nearly there. It is safe to say that tonight didn’t go as planned. No-one expected someone to end up in the sea and another to nearly break their back attempting to pole dance, but this is the mystery that we face before every night out and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Friday 14 September

Today has not been a good day. I have been hungover all day; Blackpool really took it out of me. In my best attempt to sort myself out I have had a subway, hopefully all the bread will make me feel ready for tonight.
Fresher’s continues and the first week is nearly over.

21:00: All the girls are either in nice shorts or skirts looking all feminine for the night ahead which is Skoolies…the night which throws you back to your high school days full of cheesy music and school uniforms.
I on the other hand have my hair tied up in a Mrs Trunchbull bun; I am wearing legging shorts, a shirt, tie and a cardigan. Next to all these cute teenage looking girls, I feel like a lesbian not like there is anything wrong with that but it is really bringing my mood down and I am still so hungover which isn’t helping matters.
I suppose I better try and drink threw it.

00:30: “Please give a warm welcome to S Club 7!” The announcement echoes around the packed 53 Degree’s. “Ahhhhhhhhhh!” Beckie screams jumping around like a 5 year old girl with pigtails.
“I can’t see, I can’t see!” Emma being the 5ft 1 midget that she is contests while she jumps up and down to ‘Reach for the Stars’.
“Emma, spread your legs apart.” I say full aware it sounds completely wrong…with the way I look tonight if anyone heard me they would think I am a lesbian.
Emma doesn’t say anything she just does it and it surprises me that she trusts me like that. Before anyone knows it she is on top of my shoulders above everyone.
She is so light so I begin to jump up and down with her. I can tell this is scaring her because she is practically ripping my hair out of my head using it as handle bars.
“Put her down now.” A stern, tall, fat bouncer in a florescent jacket shouts… looks like the fun is over, bastard.

01:00: I completely forgot that Danielle is also the same height as Emma and obviously finds it difficult to see, I feel a bit guilty for not offering my shoulders sooner.
“Dan Dan, shall we go find a better spot for us all?” I whisper in her ear looking around.
“Yes, come on then.” She grabs hold of my hand and starts to drag me through the crowd. The two of us wade through the masses and are obstructed by two boys standing and blocking out way. I look up to see who it is and notice that they are both wearing skirts and have make up on but I do recognise one of them. While my brain is ticking over to try and figure out how I know this boy I turn and notice him kissing Danielle…ah the boy from Blackpool, Sam.
I feel like an idiot, I am standing in front of a random boy who I don’t know, on my own dressed like a lesbian and he is wearing a skirt…I might as well be polite.
“Are you a friend of Sam’s?” I ask the 5ft 9 looking dark haired boy with bright pink lipstick on.
“Yeah he’s a flat mate of mine, you live in our halls don’t you? I’m Chris.” He sticks his hand out to shake mine. As I reach out to touch him I feel an electric connection instantly…I let go quickly, what was that?
“Paige and yes I suppose I do.” I reply.
“I take it she’s your mate?” He turns around and points at the two who were locked at the lips playing tonsil tennis in the corner…Danielle and Sam.
“Yeah, she is a flat mate of mine, the two of them met in Blackpool.” I say nervously… what is wrong with me.
Chris looks at me with slight realisation, like he has heard about Danielle before.
“Anyway, it was nice to meet you. It’s refreshing to see a girl who isn’t bothered about dressing to impress anyone. I like that.” He says as he looks me up and down.
“Thanks, I guess.” I look at him awkwardly, cheeky bastard.
“Well if you ever want to come round for a drink, we live in flat 10. Just give us a knock.” He says before he turns around to walk over to Sam and then they both carry on to the bar.
Danielle runs back over and looks at me in a way to say, what do you think of him?
“I’d probably get with him, he’s got nice legs.” I respond playing it cool…there is no point mentioning that electric feeling I felt before. We both laugh and head off to find the rest of the girls.
I am a bit taken back by this encounter. I mean, I think he’s cute, nice eyes, quite charming really but I probably won’t ever see him again so there’s no point thinking too much into it.

02:30: Reach the other girls I notice that Leanne is missing. I presume that she has bumped into Francis again and has either gone back with him or is somewhere having some alone time.
“Shall we go home?” Emma suggests slurring her words…again. I put her arm around my neck for support and me Danielle, Beckie and Emma head on home.
Danielle opens the front door and by this point I am carrying Emma to her bedroom. We both make sure she is tucked in and then do the same with Beckie all the screaming has taken it out of her. Me and Danielle go put on our pyjamas and have the crazy idea to go knock on flat 10 to see whether Chris meant what he said… to our disappointment there is no answer.
“I suppose we will have to try another day.” Danielle sighs.
As I walk back up the stairs all I can think about is that boy in the skirt… does he actually live in this building or is he having me on?
Would I ever see him again? Would I ever be able to make sense of that connection when his hand touched mine?
Urgh, I am too tired for this, goodnight.

Saturday 15 September

Another day is upon us and luckily I am not feeling as rough this morning as I didn’t drink as much as I thought I would. I am finding it weird that I am still thinking about the boy in the skirt, I mean I know it was only last night but what is wrong with me?

11:30: What the hell is that… oh just my phone, I wonder who it is.
Cig? x – Leanne.
We obviously have some catching up to do if she’s texting me this early after a night out, well she did go missing last night. I jump out of bed throw on my coat and some trainers and wait in the corridor for her arrival. Leanne walks out of the kitchen with two mugs in her hands, a cup of tea… amazing.

11:40: Both of us are sat outside the halls with our hair on the top of our heads, pyjamas on and Leanne is wearing her famous leopard print dressing gown that she very rarely takes off. We both put down our mugs, Leanne lights her cigarette and passes me the lighter. Just as I begin to spark up Leanne can’t hold it in anymore, she looks like she is going to explode.
“I slept with Francis last night.” I nearly choke on the smoke and start to cough, but to be honest I was expecting this, my turn to dish my gossip.
“I met another one of his flatmates, Chris, and added him on Facebook.” I stare ahead in a daze. The two of us both catch each other’s eyes and begin to laugh.
“Eee what are we like.” Leanne replies her accent more profound this morning.
“So was he any good?” I love winding her up.
Leanne’s head goes down and she stares at the ground with embarrassment.
“Danielle came in really early this morning as well you know?” Leanne swiftly changes the subject.
But I am sure Danielle went to bed when I did? Sam obviously text her when he got in last night, this has trouble all over it.
“I think she really likes Sam.” I tell Leanne.
She stares straight into my eyes and shakes her head, she must know something about Sam that I don’t. There aren’t many people in life that I can have a conversation with without talking but with Leanne I understand her perfectly. Another thing we can do is tell how each other is actually feeling even if we don’t say. I really get the feeling that she likes Francis a lot more than she is letting on. We both through our cigarette buds in the coffee jar that has been left outside and head on back upstairs.

11:50: Walking up the stairs Leanne stops me in my tracks, “Anyway so what about you and that lad do you like him?”
“Who Chris, well I’ve not got anything to go by, it was only one conversation.” I try to avoid eye contact. Leanne purses her lips and gives me the ‘I’m not buying your bullshit face’. She can see right through me, it is as if the way I felt when he touched my hand is written all over my face.

13:00: Cosy in bed, I have prepared myself for an afternoon of watching Disney films the best way to nurse a hangover and try and revive myself from all the tiredness that has built up. Just as I get out of bed to press play on the DVD player my phone stars vibrating surely it can’t be Leanne again so I decide to ignore it. My phone continues to vibrate, it can’t be one of the girl…it must be important.
Hey, how’s it going? - Chris.
Speechless… absolutely speechless, talk about catching a girl off guard this is something I was not expecting. We only met last night, no one has ever been this forward just after meeting me AND I have butterflies.
Hi, good thank you. How are you? x- Paige.
Shit, shit, shit. I put a kiss, why did I put a kiss?!
I sit waiting nervously for his reply, picking my nails. Have I messed it up? Does he think I am too keen?
I take a deep breath, bloody hell woman pull yourself together. He messaged me; of course he wants a reply. My phone begins to vibrate again. Shit.
I’m good thanks. Do you fancy chilling? Watch Finding Nemo or something? x- Chris.
I really need to snap out of this excitable teenage girl routine, this is not like me. I am sitting re reading the text over and over again just to make sure that I am not imagining it… Finding Nemo is he for real? It is almost as if he has my room wired and has seen that I am just about to have a Disney marathon of my own.
Ermm, yeah can do. I have just got out of the shower now so will need an hour or so to get sorted, is that ok?
Also, Finding Nemo, are you joking? x- Paige.

Exhale. I feel much better about myself, I don’t seem to sound too available and I am in control. But what if he thinks I am being rude you know taking the piss out of him for liking Finding Nemo?
Why are all these thoughts entering my head? Why am I overthinking it and why am I so nervous?
Yeah that’s absolutely fine with me. Why not Finding Nemo? I love that film. See you in an hour; just knock on when you’re here. x- Chris. Shit this is happening.
I decide against replying to his message, instead I get up and run straight to Emma’s room banging on her door in a panic shouting her name.
“What the bloody hell is wrong with you?” She asks as she brushes her teeth and has her hair wrapped in a drying turban.
I pass her my phone to read for herself, her eyes widened as she reads.
“Finding Nemo, are you sure he’s not gay?” She chuckles, spitting out her toothpaste in the sink.
…God I hope not.
Leanne appears at Emma’s door with Beckie and Danielle behind her obviously hearing all the commotion.
“What’s going on?” they all ask inquisitively.
“Chris wants Paige to go downstairs and watch Finding Nemo.” Emma replies with a smirk and a wink… cheers babes, cheers.
All four girls look at each other and laugh.
“Well, are you going to go?” Danielle asks. She is the only one who seems to be sympathetic and understand what I am going through.
“I told him, I would be ready in an hour.” I reply nervously.
“Well you better go and shave your legs!” Leanne jokes.
“We are all not like you Leanne.” I reply sarcastically.
I feel Leanne’s glare on the side of my head, she then lets out a false cackle. As I walk past her I give her a wink to which she responds with a comforting smile, it is all just banter… no love lost.

13:30: Standing in front of my mirror I begin to panic. I dry my hair take out my straighteners to make sure that it looks nice and tidy. Next I start to put on some make-up but not too much… I don’t want to look like I have made too much of an effort. Finally my teeth are brushed and my deodorant is on…now what will I wear. We are only going to be watching a film so I think comfort is the best option. Black leggings and an oversized converse hoody, yes this will do the perfect chilling outfit.
Now I am ready to go.
As I walk down the two short flights of stairs my heart starts to race. I feel as if I am moving in slow motion, trying to compose myself and forget about all the nerves and worries I have.
Flat 10… I have arrived.

14:00: There he is, standing at the open door. My heart is beating fast, I mean really fast. He is wearing a black T-shirt, black Nike shorts and running trainers…I prefer him in boy clothes.
“You alright? Follow me.” He asks as he leads me into his bedroom. It is a similar layout to mine but it smells like boys.
“I’m good thank you, how are you?’ I reply.
He sits on his bed and picks up his Xbox controller and resumes a game of FIFA.
“I’m good thanks; I just need to finish this game is that alright?” He asks.
Oh already making himself a priority over me is he… we will have to change that.
“Yeah that’s fine. Actually can I give you game?”
He pauses the game and turns around in shock.
“You. Play. FIFA?” he asks… alright alright no need for the tone.
“Well I actually play football as well.” I reply pretending to be embarrassed but from experience I know guys love a girl who is interested in football. He just looks at me which makes wonder what is going through his mind. Is this a deal breaker or is it a turn on... I’m guessing time will tell.
“Really, we will have to go for a kick about sometime out on the grass.” He seems kind of into it, bonding exercises maybe, who knows.
This game of FIFA is turning out unsuccessful for me. Surprise surprise Chris has beaten me 2-1 but then again it isn’t the most horrendous score line defeat.
“Anyway what’s wrong with Finding Nemo?” Chris asks defensively as he puts the DVD in the player.
“Nothing, I love it. I just expected something different coming from you.” I reply hoping that it doesn’t come off wrong.
“Never judge a book by its cover. Finding Nemo is one of my favourite films, and I bet I know it better than you.” He says playfully as he jumps on his bed to sit next to me…I could have said the same thing from his reaction to me playing football.
“I bet you can’t guess my favourite one though.” He says knocking his shoulder against mine.
“No I probably can’t.” I couldn’t care less.
“Bolt! Super bark!” he shouts enthusiastically.
I just look at him blank; he is beginning to annoy me now.
“Tell me you have seen Bolt!” His words are losing faith in me.
“I haven’t, I’m sorry.” Apologising I realise I may have just slightly broken his heart.
“Well we are going to have to change that aren’t we…next time we will watch it?” He orders.
Next time, so there is going to a next time. He must like me then, I begin to get butterflies again and his annoyance disappears from my mind… shit what is the effect he has on me.

14:30: The film starts and the both of us are sat with our backs resting on the wall. He wasn’t lying when he said he knew every word to the bloody film, I can hardly hear the TV. Why the hell do I feel so nervous, my body language is so stiff, I am hardly moving.

16:10: Thank the lord the film has finished. Don’t get me wrong I love it but I felt like I couldn’t breathe the whole time. Quickly I think of some sort of excuse so that I can leave. As I get up I give Chris a hug and thank him for having me round, he looks confused but I don’t let him wear me down… I head straight for the door. As soon as I am outside Flat 10 I feel like I can breathe again, what is wrong with me?
It was just two people watching a fucking film, well the majority of the time I watched him. As I walk back into my flat I hear rustling from the kitchen, there sat all four girls in a line… interrogation time.
“So did he find Nemo then?”

Tuesday 18 September

We are now into the second week of Fresher’s, still drinking every night but staying in and playing games round the kitchen table more. I have not really had much contact with Chris since we watch Finding Nemo but see him now and again in front of Derwent.

20:00: All of us girls are sat in the kitchen minding our own business, listening to music and chatting about things girls chat about.
What is that noise coming from outside, loud male screeches… what the hell is going on?
I am sat in my in usual spot next to the window, I stick my head out to inspect and am faced with the back of a brown haired boy who is also hanging out of his window. He is coming from the bottom floor kitchen. Beckie who is sat opposite me also has her head out of the window.
“Oi!” She shouts at the top of her voice this makes us all run to the opposite side of the kitchen so that we are not seen. We are all huddled and giggling around both openings and watch to see if we will get a reaction. In the spur of the moment I have an idea, I quickly walk over to the sink and grab the nearest container which happens to be Leanne’s sports direct mug which can hold a lot of liquid. I fill it to the top with water and head back over to the window.
“Shh, guys shh, watch this.” Acting like a clown I wait patiently until the boy turns his head around.
“Oi!” Beckie shouts again to get his attention.
Before I can stop myself the entire contents of the mug is now on the boys face.
“Shit that was Sam.” I say frantically. Danielle looks nervous yet excited.
“I wonder if they knew it was us.” She squeaks.
Leanne runs over to the switch to turn the lights off and Emma and Beckie close the windows.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
The noise is coming from our front door, shit we have been caught. All five of us quickly get back into a huddle trying to contain our laughter being as quiet as we possibly can.
“I know you’re in there!” The loud sound of a familiar voice echoes our corridor.
Shit, they are in.
Before we can run and hide we are faced with 5 boys standing in our kitchen. To the boys surprise they hadn’t quite realised that all five of us were friends never mind lived together.
“Oh Hello.” The ginger boy aka Francis says in his Leicester accent, I didn’t realise your flat was directly above ours.
“I had forgotten that you’d been here before.” I reply boldly feeling the burn of Leanne’s gaze in the back of my head. Francis just laughs; at least he has a good sense of humour.
“Seen as you decided to disrupt our night, we are making you join ours.” Sam pipes up.
“Give us 30 minutes then.” Leanne replies and heads off towards her room to get ready. Danielle isn’t far behind her, the two of them seem happy for the invite.
“What about you three then?” A dark haired boy asks… I don’t recognise him but he seems to be focussing most of his attention on Beckie. She notices this and heads to her room.
“Don’t think you’re getting away with it.” Chris smiles and addresses me and Emma. He walks towards me and Francis towards Emma; they both pick each of us up. Francis escorts Emma to her room and Chris carrying me to the bathroom.
“You’ve got half an hour to get ready, don’t be late.” He says as he closes the door behind him. I wait until I hear the sound of the main door closing; I run back to my room, grab my towel and quickly jump in the shower.
He wants to see me twice in one week, someone is persistent.

21:00: We are finally ready; we all grab our alcohol from the kitchen and head down to Flat 10. As we arrive Chris and another dark haired boy are heading outside. “We’re just heading outside for a smoke if anyone fancies.” Chris invites us as he dances to the music that is playing from their flat. Me and Leanne follow them and the other girls head to the boys kitchen lead by Danielle.
“Hi, I’m Matt.” The unfamiliar boy put his hand out to shake mine and Leanne’s. Matt has swooping brown hair like Justin Bieber’s iconic first hairstyle, he is wearing grey cotton shorts, a black coat and the brightest blue trainers I have ever seen.
“Hi, I am Paige. Are you not being forced out tonight?” I ask as I pass him a lighter.
“I’m not sure yet, I will decide later, see how I feel after a few drinks.” He replies.
He seems sweet but a little bit nervous but who am I to judge…five girls have just come and invaded his flat and remembering how I was when I met everyone for the first time I can completely understand. I bet he’s an Aries like me.
Chris walks over to me and gives me a hug in a sort of way to say that he already knows me. He looks and smells amazing, it is the first time I have seen him dressed up for a night out and he does not disappoint. He is wearing navy skinny jeans, white Ralph Lauren Polo and navy Vans.
Forgetting that there are people inside the four of us are completely lost in conversation. We all feel so comfortable being together, it is like we have known each other for years, like we were meant to meet.

21:30: Walking back into the kitchen, Sam and the other dark haired boy who I have not yet met are filling balloons with laughing gas.
“Who is the other guy?” I whisper to Emma.
“His name is Jordan and he went to my high school.” She replies as she records the two on her camera.
“Do you girls want one?” Jordan asks looking at Beckie and Danielle. Danielle shakes her head but Beckie says yes. It is quite clear that this is the first time she has done anything like this. As she inhales and exhales the balloon she falls to the floor and lets out a shriek of laughter snorting in between. The room freezes and everyone stares at her.
Matt is lent up against the kitchen counter standing with his arms crossed not looking impressed. I approach him as soon as I notice his music taste is very similar to mine, I instantly grow fonder of him. When Leanne stops paying attention to Francis for a second she realises that Jordan is in fact on her course and in her class. She runs over to him and jumps on him. In some way both our group and the boys have common connections between each other. Will this be the merging of the two, have I made more friends for life?

Sunday 16 September

Today is Leanne’s birthday and the final night of fresher’s. Last night we bonded with the boys who live in flat 10 after a rude interruption. They all seem very lads and I can’t wait to get to know them better. I thought we would have ended up out last night but strangely I wasn’t feeling it so instead we carried on the rest of the night how we started.

11:00: It’s the morning of Leanne’s birthday. I walk in to the kitchen to the rest of girls having an engaging conversation but I feel as if I am the topic. I mean I know I left early las night but surely I couldn’t have missed out on that much.
“So I was talking to Chris last night and it turns out that we are from the same area and have a few mutual friends.” Danielle begins to say while she eats her toast.
“Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that, he said he was from Crewe.” Why are the girls intensely staring at me?
“Just tell her.” Beckie interrupts.
“Well, my friend Grace knows him and says that he has a girlfriend who is at a different University.” Danielle looks upset by the words that she spoke, bless her I can really tell she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. I feel calm but obviously it hurts a little bit.
“Well, nothing has happened between us so there is nothing to worry about. But I will ask him the next time I see him.” I try to mask my devastation, but why do I feel this way…I have only just met the boy…I kind of knew it was too good to be true.
At this moment in time me and Chris are just friends, we have only spent a small amount of time together, why should a potential girlfriend ruin our friendship?

16:00: After spending the day spoiling Leanne with all of our attention we decide that tonight is the night for a home cooked meal and tonight is perfect for a roast dinner. We start by raiding all of the cupboards in our kitchen to find items to contribute to the meal…luckily being so close to when we moved in not much food has gone.
“So who knows how to cook one?” Emma asks clueless.
“I only know how to cook chicken nuggets and smiley faces.” Leanne admits, the rest of us laugh…she is such a young child at heart.
“Well I guess I will have to take the reins on this one. But you are all helping and learning.” Knowing how to make a roast dinner is a vital skill in life. I start to hand each of the girls a job…peeling, chopping that kind of thing. Beckie seems very domesticated and she knows what she is doing being the only one to have cooked properly in the kitchen to date…she too is making a real effort to help the other girls out.

18:00: Dinner is served and it isn’t taking us long to devour everything that has been cooked. Chicken, vegetables, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings, everyone’s favourite… it is so lovely to have vegetables, we are so ready for a heavy session later. Everyone is in high spirits and now it is time to start the process of getting ready. I almost forgot that I may run the risk of running into Chris tonight… I can’t be bothered to deal with that, I don’t want anyone to ruin or take anything away from Leanne’s night.

00:00: We have made our nest for the evening on the centre of the dance floor. Tonight it is packed, there is hardly any room to breathe never mind move but it as if the crowd is moving together as one. There are five boys behind us practically leaning on us… this could be interesting. I turn my head flicking my hair to try and entice the boys behind us; I have no idea where this confidence is coming from… oh shit its Chris and the boys…why why why?!

00:30: Pendulum is the headline act for tonight and they have just taken the stage… ‘Happy Birthday Leanne!’ echoes around the club…Beckie and her mysterious disappearing, bless her.
As the bass of their popular song ‘Tarantula’ drops… out the corner of my eye I notice Francis and Sam starting to push each other. I nudge the rest of the girls and our attention turns to them… what the hell is going on. It looks like they are at each other’s throats, about to brawl in the middle of the floor… oh my god. A gap has been formed, a mosh pit amongst the massive crowd…limbs and bodies are flying around all over the place. Jordan turns around and notices that we five girls are in the danger zone and walks straight over to our rescue… he is paying close attention to Beckie.
“Where’s Leanne?!” Emma shouts over the music.
Oh hell…the mosh pit has taken her in, the force is so strong…I wonder if we will ever see her again.
Leanne flies back into our small circle covered in bruises and her hair has been pulled everywhere.
“Are you ok?!” I shout over the music concerned.
Before Leanne has time to answer Francis drags her back in the middle to her excitement…she loves it. The adrenaline in the room is rising which is helping us girls see clear and we begin to start sobering up. As I look around I had completely forgotten that it was a super hero themed night and we are all painted green and dressed like the incredible Hulk.
“Best Birthday Ever.” Leanne screams.

01:30: The mayhem of the mosh pit has finally ended, the music has resumed to more civilised chart hits and we are all together…girls only. Danielle seems to have lost her carefree attitude… I wonder if it has anything to do with her watching Sam out of the corner of her eye as he talks and looks close with another girl. Leanne grabs Danielle’s arm and takes her outside away from it all. I begin to follow the two of them but I am interrupted by the feel of a tap on my shoulder…shit its Chris.
“Can I buy you a drink?” he asks smiling… he is so cheeky. The plan to ignore him has definitely gone out of the window, one smile from Chris and I could forget my own name.
Emma notices this interaction and gives me a motherly ‘be careful’ look. Chris grabs my hand and pulls me to the bar.
“You look good in green.” He says with a twinkle in his eye. At this point I am speechless…literally I can’t say anything, I am just standing here staring into his eyes. I don’t know why but the tension in between us is rising, it’s making me nervous but why… shit, here it is…he kisses me.

02:00: Surely he can’t have a girlfriend, why would he have just kissed me like that or am I being naive?
“I suppose that could have been better.” I say flirtatiously wiping my mouth… at least I’ve got my humour to hide how I am really feeling. Chris grabs me behind my neck… he kisses me again, more passionately than the first time.
When he’s quite finished he smiles at me, he grabs me by the hand and leads me through the crowd to find the rest of group… my hands are sweating, am I nervous?
I can’t understand what he is doing; surely the rumours about him aren’t true.
The two of us circle the whole of the club numerous times but the rest of the girls are nowhere to be seen so the only things that’s left for us to do is to head back to Derwent.

02:30: Chris follows me up the stairs to “make sure that I get home safely”… when he clearly knows that I am as we are in the building, he obviously wants something more. Everyone including all four boys are sat on Emma’s bed trying to cheer Leanne up… I wonder what I’ve missed. Emma is sat at her desk taking off her make-up but as soon as she realises that I walk in with Chris she turns to face me and smiles.
“Come on lads, let’s go.” Chris suggests, knowing that us girls need to be alone.
“Paige, are you going to let me out?” He asks as he opens Emma’s door… jeez he is persistent. I take out the keys from my bag and direct him to the front door.
“Tonight was fun. We should do it again soon.” He says gazing into my eyes… he’s going to do it again isn’t he.
“Yes it was. Good night.” I open the door to let him out while he chuckles to himself as he leaves…not today.
Closing the door behind me I try to shake off the weird feelings that ripple through my body and head back into Emma’s room.
“You alright Leanne?” I ask sitting beside her.
“Yeah, I’m just tired, I am going to bed.” She gets up abruptly and swings open Emma’s door glaring at her on her way out.
“What’s going on there?” I ask surprised…what has gone on there.
“Francis was picking Emma up and dancing with her all night after you went to the bar with Chris.” Beckie filling me in.
“Oh shit really, I am sure she will be fine in the morning. I am going to bed too, night.” I get up to take myself away from the situation as quickly as I can, I don’t want to get involved and I have enough on my mind right now. It’s also inevitable that the longer I stay in there the more questions they will ask me about Chris… I need to cool off from the tension…another time…another time.

Sunday 23 September

I can’t believe that tonight is the final fresher’s event…it has been a hectic two weeks. I am already having problems of the heart which is not like me, I’ve never experienced this in my life… must squash quickly. This afternoon me and Leanne spent the day at the fair where we had a shot of frozen Jaeger for lunch. I can quite happily say I am enjoying myself more than I would have ever imagined… bring it on.

17:00: Sitting around the kitchen table, I can’t believe that the first two weeks have nearly come to an end but tonight is the paint party. Look at us, five girls who have literally only just met each other, the memories we are making… they are one of the reasons I get up in a morning. Finally I have stopped morning home. Despite all my worry at the beginning, the past two weeks have reassured me that I am going to be just fine and spending the year with these girls will be an absolute pleasure…not a chore.

20:00: We are all dressed wearing leggings or shorts and a top that we don’t mind getting ruined underneath a white boiler suit. Everyone is in high spirits but it seems that Beckie isn’t as happy as she could be; her recent break-up is finally beginning to hit her. In preparation for tonight we haven’t eaten anything, abiding by the new rule that we have learned…eating is cheating.

23:00: We are heading out earlier than usually as we suspect that it is going to be very busy and we don’t want to waste the majority of our night queuing. Entering 53 Degree’s for the very last time is monumental, how has it been two weeks already. Thinking about the first time we came here to now…we are all so comfortable with each other, even more so than how we felt that very first day. Everyone around us is already covered head to toe in paint which is making the floor very slippy. All in a line holding hands for stability, we make our way to the bar. The problem with us all being connected in this way is that if one person goes down we all do. The bar is in view, we are nearly there…we can do it, we are making it. Leanne’s favourite song starts to play; she is losing her mind and starts dancing erratically… oh shit I spoke to soon. As she jumps to the beat her foot slips and she drags Danielle down which starts the domino effect…we are all in a heap on the floor…fantastic, what an excellent start to the night.

23:30: With my recent activity with Chris playing on my mind tonight I need a distraction, preferably a tall dark and handsome one, one who is just in my eye line…I’m going to do it, I am going to make my move. He spots me as I head towards him and smiles.
“Hi can I buy you a drink?” The mystery man leans over and whispers in my ear. What a perfect opportunity this is to take my mind of things…Chris who?
Leaving the girls I head to the bar with this stranger, this could be dangerous but I don’t care, I feel safe, there are plenty of people around. As long as I stay in the building nothing can go wrong. This guy is gorgeous, I can’t help looking at him I mean I am engaging in conversation with him but I don’t really care about what he is saying. I watch his lips…kiss me, go on you know you want too.

01:00: I got my wish and for the past half an hour he has had me up against the wall, I don’t even think we stopped for air. Becoming bored I start to worry where my friends are, it must be written all over my face because the mystery man realises this and helps me search the entire premises for them. I realise that the place is too busy to have any chance of finding them so I think it is best if I head home…for once take the safe option.

01:30: Swinging open the kitchen door as I return…oh look its Francis and Emma making toast…its smells amazing.
“Fucking hell you scared me. Do you want some?” Francis asks.
“Go on then, where’s everyone else?” It seems strange that it’s only the two of them around.
“Jordan is putting Leanne in the shower, Beckie is in bed and we haven’t seen Danielle so I presume she is at Sam’s.” Emma catches me up.
Jordan shouldn’t be the one helping Leanne in this situation, that’s not fair on him. I decide I would be a better fit; I put down my toast and head to the bathroom. The door is slightly open; I look through the gap and see Leanne on the edge of the bath fully clothed…asleep, great.
“Do you want me to take it from here?” I tilt my head signalling him to the door.
“Cheers mate.” He sounds relieved.
Struggling to get Leanne out of her clothes, she isn’t waking up… it feels like I am manoeuvring a dead body, well to what I can imagine. I finally have her down to her underwear so I turn on the shower in hope that she will ask me to leave and sort herself out.
“Are you going to be alright now?” I ask.
“Yes.” She mumbles.
I close the door to make sure that no one goes in, thank god I interrupted I can’t imagine what Jordan must have felt like. Finally I can go and finish my toast, I turn to head back to the kitchen when…bang.
“Ahh, FOR FUCK SAKE.” Leanne shouts from the bathroom. I quickly run in to find her in a heap at the bottom of the bath still in her underwear, the shower still running.
“I fucking slipped like.” She slurs in her Geordie accent. I then help her back up, make sure she is stable and leave her to it. I did a pretty job of keeping my serious head on while in the room with Leanne but as soon as I close that bathroom door I can’t hold it in anymore…what a tit.

01:45: “Where’s Jordan?” I ask as I notice that he has disappeared.
“I thought he was helping Leanne?” Emma replies.
“No, I told him I would sort it.” That’s strange surely he would have popped is head in to say bye to Emma and Francis… I mean the kitchen is next to the front door. “Has anyone checked on Beckie?” I’m concerned now… maybe Jordan’s gone to see her. I get the feeling he has a soft spot for her. Emma and Francis jump up immediately and we all race to Beckie’s room and frantically knock on her door but there is no reply. I try her door handle and strangely it is unlocked, opening the door slowly just in case the two of them are in there… we all creep our heads round but there is no one to be seen… where the hell is she?
“We haven’t even checked all our bedrooms yet.” Emma points out as we head towards Leanne’s room. I knock first before entering to find Leanne passed out on the floor.
“Leanne, come on let’s get you into bed.” I grab under her arms and attempt to lift her on to her bed.
“Where’s Francis, I want Francis.” She slurs as her head flops on to her pillow. I’m sorry Hun but Francis is too valuable to me in our quest to find Beckie so I have to be selfish, his ours for the night. As I walk back into Emma’s room I find her and Francis lying on her bed laughing and joking… it is all innocent.
“Are you joining us?” Francis asks.
I walk over and get in the middle of them where Francis has made space for me.
“But seriously guys, has anyone else got any other idea where Beckie could be?” Where the hell could she be?
‘Well, I thought Jordan was still here so what if she left with him thinking that we would all be at mine. I mean she left her keys and phone in her room so she can’t have gone far.’ Francis cleverly suggests.

02:00: “Jordan!” Francis shouts as we enter his flat. Jordan quickly appears as he open his bedroom door looking a bit awkward.
“Yeah?” He replies.
“Is Beckie with you, she’s gone missing from the girls flat.” Francis leans on the wall opposite Jordan’s bedroom door.
“Well…I I I found her lying outside her bedroom and she insisted that she didn’t want to go back in her room. The only thing I could do was bring her here to make sure she didn’t injure herself and gets a good sleep.” He says sincerely but he sounds nervous to what we will think, assuming that he is trying to take advantage but that never crossed out minds.
“It’s alright, thanks Jordan we will take her off your hands.’ Emma replies, she knows him better than anyone else does. Emma and I walk into Jordan’s room to attempt to pick up Beckie and carry her back to our flat. She is lying in his bed all nice and tucked in. On the floor he has made himself a bed to sleep on made of towels and bed sheets; he really is a nice lad.
I have Beckie held by her arms and Emma has her by the legs, this should be fun.
“Thanks again Jordan, see you later Francis.” Emma whispers as the three of us head back upstairs, Francis salutes us goodbye and Jordan smiles.
Are things starting to heat up between Jordan and Beckie? Are Emma and Francis more than friends? Will I ever see that mystery man again?
Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday 29 September

Over the past week Uni work is getting more intense, assignment and seminar preparation are coming in their masses…it’s only first year though right?
Last night I went out with the girls and we went to Lava for the first time, the drinks in clubs in Preston are so cheap. We ended up bumping into the boys and spending a lot of the night with them; I did well and kept Chris at arm’s length. This weekend I get to go home and see my family and the girls, I am beyond excited.

15:30: It has been four weeks of drinking, memory making and constant fun but I am so ready for a weekend break away. Sitting in the car on the way home I start to process everything that has happened and contemplating whether to tell my Mum about my potential feelings for Chris. That isn’t important this weekend, the main reason for my return is because Mez and Lo are going to Spain travelling for a month, driving around to see as many of the sites as they can. They don’t know I am coming but what sort of a friend would I be if I didn’t make an appearance.

20:00: Back here again, it’s like no time has passed Wetherspoon’s it is always a pleasure. Walking through the back entrance I try and contain my excitement that I am seconds away from being reunited with the girls… I am home with all the girls, I am home.
“OH MY GOD!” Kirstie is the first one to spot me. Breaking down crying she runs over and jumps on me. This is causing quite the stir I can see it on the other girls faces that they are wondering what the hell is going on. As soon as I get Kirstie off of me I head straight over to Mez and Lo and give them a massive hug, they can’t quite believe I am here, tonight’s expectations has just gone up a level. It is the perfect opportunity for a catch between us all. Hannah and I are sat gossiping and exchanging stories about our first month, we both can’t believe the things that are coming out of each other’s mouths.
Back to civilisation all the girls are sat drinking wine and planning the night ahead.
“I am really in the mood for dancing.” Lo says wiggling her shoulders
“How about Revs?” Mez suggests.
“Let’s go!” Naomi shouts, the wine has definitely gone to her head.

23:00: Standing outside Revs on my own finishing my cigarette, I am gazing out to a group of lads across the street getting rowdy. Some of them look familiar but I can’t put my finger on why and it even sounds like some of them are shouting my name.
“Paige…Paige!” The shouting is becoming louder and clearer…they are shouting my name.
“Lads look, its Connor’s bird.” Shit.
I politely wave before heading inside, I don’t have time to entertain this situation especially because they will probably ask me how Uni is going and I would have a lot of explaining to do. The bad thing is, while I have been away I haven’t really thought about Connor, I mean obviously he has come up in conversation when talking about our pasts with the girls but that is it. While I’m at Uni I feel like I am in my own little bubble and the outside world is irrelevant, it is strange.

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