A Vintage Friendship
A VINTAGE FRIENDSHIP
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd
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London SE1 9GF
First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPublishers 2020
Copyright © Cathy Hopkins 2020
Cover design by Claire Ward © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2020
Cover photograph © Shutterstock.com
Cathy Hopkins asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
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Source ISBN: 9780008295004
Ebook Edition © August 2020 ISBN: 9780008295011
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
That awkward moment when you think you’re someone’s close friend, and … you’re not.
The Rules of Friendship by Sara Meyers and assorted chums
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About the Author
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About the Publisher
‘We have to do something,’ said Jo, ‘like a ceremony or ritual where we make a promise that, no matter what, we’ll stay best friends.’
It was July, our last day of school, and we were waiting at the bus stop outside Woolworths on the High Street in Hulme, Manchester. Ally, Jo, Mitch and me. We called ourselves the Fab Four, but today we were feeling more weird than fab. Our A-levels were done, the familiarity and routine of lessons over, tearful farewells made to classmates and the summer holidays were stretching before us. I knew we shared the same thoughts. Our lives ahead. Would we be OK? What would become of us? Jobs? Homes? Love affairs? Would we meet The One? Get married? Have children? We would be going out into the big unknown and, for the first time in seven years, going our separate ways. It was unimaginable to think of days and nights without my three closest chums – no more sleepovers, no more discussing every intimate detail of our lives, no more being there on each other’s doorsteps to share, support, laugh or cry. It was Oxford to study English literature for Ally, Exeter for me to do social sciences, art college in Brighton for Jo. Only Mitch would be staying put and getting a job, having put off college for a year.
‘A ceremony to mark our friendship?’ said Ally. ‘For better for worse, for richer for poorer, to love and to cherish, til death do us part.’
Mitch sang the opening lines of ‘Going to the Chapel of Love’, and the rest of us joined in with gusto.
‘I’m serious,’ said Jo. ‘This really matters to me.’
‘Me too,’ I said. I looked at my three friends and felt a surge of affection. I loved these girls more than anybody in the world: more than my brothers, more than any boy I’d had a crush on. We knew each other so well. Soft-hearted Jo who was so pretty but didn’t know it or believe it, no matter how many times we told her. She had soulful brown eyes and a full mouth with a perfect Cupid’s bow. The fashion at the time was for boyish figures and straight hair; Jo, with her curves and wild, curly hair, was the polar opposite.
Only Mitch looked as if she’d stepped out of one of the magazines. With her long lean limbs, high cheekbones and straight, long blonde hair, she was the beauty of the four of us: easily the most confident and a boy-magnet wherever we went. She was the leader of our small group, the coolest girl in school, too, endlessly curious, the first to come back to the rest of us with a music track or a lipstick, or to suggest we experiment with our parents’ drinks cabinet when they were out. In later years she would roll up a quid deal of Red Leb to smoke while listening to Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead.
Ally was the smallest of the four of us. Neat and petite, with brown shoulder-length hair and grey, intelligent eyes. She was confident, too, but in a different way to Mitch. She had a calm about her; she seemed unruffled, always sure about who she was and what she wanted to do, the first of us to have a steady boyfriend, a boy she’d been with since fifth form. And then there was me, Sara Meyers, somewhere in the middle on the confidence scale. I had to work at how I looked. I scrubbed up OK, but only if I battled with my wavy chestnut hair by, much to my mother’s horror, ironing it under brown paper. Plus I’d been the last to lose any pubescent chubbiness, and I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left college.
‘We could go out to the woods and dance naked under a full moon,’ said Mitch.
‘In Manchester? Even in July we’d freeze,’ said Ally.
‘We could get tattoos?’ Jo suggested.
‘Yeah. Where?’ said Mitch. ‘On our bums? Or boobs? What would it say? What’s the symbol for friendship?’
‘A heart? Two hands holding?’ I said.
‘No way,’ said Ally. ‘I’m not doing