'Just Don’t' by Jemma Morriss

The choice had been made online but Ryan wasn’t going to rush this. His gaze skimmed over the unthinkably cheap ones and then began to rest a few seconds on each style. Six columns across from the left and two rows up was where the price limit was set but he allowed himself a wishful look at the Air Max 90 Ultra. He glimpsed his mum, woolly hat and parka by a display of pastel lycra, and turned back to the trainers.

He picked the red and silver one, light as nothing, from its perspex pedestal, turned it all ways and stroked the smooth Nike swoosh. “That’s the one is it?” she said now standing next to him. “Yeah.” A tracksuit-clad assistant appeared and Ryan’s mum asked for a seven.

He winced at the way she kneaded each note between her fingers before placing them one by one on the glossy counter. But when the branded bag was handed over, Ryan couldn’t stop from grinning.

“Happy now, Ronaldo?”

“Mu-um. Just. Don’t.”

At the door she said “‘Just don’t?’ Well that's not very Nike is it,” making to cuff him but then ruffling his hair.

They were approaching the statue outside McDonalds, where Dean Ross and his crew hung out. Clocking the familiar figures, some astride bikes, all in the right trainers, Ryan instinctively slowed to widen the gap between him and his mum but instead found it closing. The hell? She was looking in the Heart Foundation shop. “We just need to pop in here.” Face flaring, Ryan yanked his hood up. “I’m not.” He glared at the ground but not before seeing the look on her face.

When she’d gone, he edged away, the Nike box bumping his leg. He scrutinised the paving slabs until the door dinged open again. She looked until he looked back, turned and strode up the street. Ryan had to jog to catch up. “What d’you have to go in there for? It’s so embarrassing.”

She kept her eyes straight ahead. “I know it is, love. But I needed shoes too.”

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