New girl Allie jumps into modern Chalet School life, where a lot has changed...
8/4/18 - Apologies to anyone expecting a new chapter; I was testing something and deleted my test chapter but for some reason this drabble has stayed up top. (and my test chapter was unrelated to this drabble)
St Clare's House Characters:
05 Feb 2013 Updated:
08 Apr 2018
1. Chapter 1 - Introducing Allie by Minim
2. Chapter 2 - Allie's First Day - Part 1 by Minim
3. Chapter 3 - Allie's First Day - Part 2 by Minim
4. Chapter 4- Getting More Settled by Minim
5. Chapter 5 - Althea by Minim
Chapter 1 - Introducing Allie by Minim
The station was busy - not in a pregnancy sort of way, but a "Oh my God I'm going to explode if I don't get there quick enough so let me budge up through this TREMENDOUS CROWD!!!!!!" sort of way. But on one platform was a gathering of identically dressed female children hiding the lower population of adults dressed a bit differently.
A new girl was talking to one of these adults. It was obvious that she was new because no matter how she looked - she seemed to be very relaxed even with the bustle and hustle, yes, some of those girls were con artists - but it was the unfamiliar glances of everybody else that discerned her.
"...But it's Allie," she said. "Not the other name, I only ever answer to Allie,"
"Allie," the teacher said. "I'll make sure that the other teachers are aware of that, then,"
"Thank you," Allie said. "Well, I'm just going to go and meet some people before term starts, so see you around,"
Kathie Ferrars sighed as the pupil zoomed off into the crowd. She'd not even had a chance to assign a sheepdog.
'Mind you,' she thought to herself, watching the crowd without really watching, 'She seems to be able to handle herself fine,'
Her mind was turned off of the topic when two girls started a loud shouting match that the whole of the station could hear. It didn't seem so busy now, although the pause when the girls were cornered and submitted into silence by looks was.
Allie hummed to herself as she walked down the corridor, looking through the compartment windows to see who was inside. Often it was the odd older girl looking totally just excellent and awe-inspiring, often it was a titch looking all sad and staring out of the window. It was almost heart-breaking to see those faces, and although Allie tried not to think about it, she ended up surrounded by a crowd of sad juniors, comforting them and getting them to talk to each other. The train had moved well into the countryside before she felt ready to leave them, to find some girls her own age.
Peering through the windows soon brought a result - a group of girls her age all chattering and talking. She opened the door and held on to the door frame, her body leaning away from it although her feet were close to the frame. Her hair, which reached halfway down her back, swished into view.
"Hi, I'm Allie," she said.
The girls in the compartment fell silent, and stared at her as she hung in the doorway. They all looked back at another girl, who seemed to be their leader.
"And what's that short for?" that girl asked.
"I don't want to say," Allie replied calmly. "And if you wish to call me by it, you won't catch me responding. What's your name?"
"You think I'll tell you?"
"I think I'll find out anyway," Allie said. "After all, the teachers will call you by it, won't they?"
"My name is Avril," the girl said. "You gonna be in our form?"
"If I knew which form that was, I might respond," Allie replied coolly.
"It's Lower IVc, idiot," Avril replied.
"In that case, yes I am," Allie said.
"Well, then, you better sit down," Avril glared at Allie. "And keep that big trap shut,"
"I'm sorry," Allie grabbed a seat. "I don't take orders if I don't see the logic behind it,"
Avril scowled and started to talk with the girl next to her, and the less-than-gentle hum of conversation gradually heightened in the compartment.
By the time the journey was ended at a fairly large building in Carnbach, Allie was well acquainted with Xanthe, who was fed up with her nagging sister Althea and just wanted some breathing space, Clara, who felt that the number of detentions she got per term was "seriously unfair, I mean, like, I didn't do nuthin' and then, like, teacher gives me all these punishments, like, for nuthin," and Mildred, who smiled even with those massive bags under her eyes. Allie resolved to keep an eye on each of those problems but for now, here was Carnbach.
The main school had moved from Switzerland to here a couple of years previously. It had seemed to take no time at all for them, but many reports over that 40-50 year period had made theories about what had happened to that train. It had, finally, emerged but the old mystery and this new phenomenon had somehow never been linked. Probably due to the fact that they all had memories of the recent times and they all had modern devices.
The girls were all enjoying their Kaffee und Kuchen (or how they may say it, Tea) now and were chatting amongst themselves.
"Hi, I'm Allie," she said to the girl beside her, offering a hand.
"Yes, I know who you are," the girl said. "Dorrie is who I am,"
"Cool," Allie said. "So, how are you feeling, brand new term and all,"
"To be honest, not too brilliantly," Dorrie said. "Everyone here hates me,"
"I'm sure that's not true," Allie replied.
"Well, Avril does, and everyone follows her lead," Dorrie muttered. "It means about the same thing,"
"Why does Avril hate you?" Allie queried.
"Because, when we were younger, there was an incident, and..."
"Hi, you're Allie, aren't you?"
"I am," Allie replied, turning to her other side. "Very pleased to meet you..."
"Jenna," she said. She indicated the person on her other side, "and this is Katrina,"
"Nice to meet you both," Allie said.
"Want to tell us what 'Allie' is short for?"
"Not particularly," Allie replied. "But it's not Alexandra, I will tell you that,"
"It's what Avril kept on calling her on the train," Katrina spoke for the first time. "Jenna here's dragged here by car. But then, her first term-"
"Annnnnnnyway, it's nice to have you here," Jenna cut across Katrina.
"She doesn't like it to be told," Katrina muttered. "But you're gonna find out anyway, it's in the Legends book, under the title of-"
At that point the Head, Miss Annersley, dismissed the girls and they all trundled out happy and fed. Allie hummed as she went in an entirely different direction to her form, intent on exploring the building.
Her exploration started at a suitable distance from her form. She first discovered an old storage room, with plenty of papers, floppy discs, video tapes and DVDs. There was a layer of dust over the items. One of the bottom-most papers caught her eye, and she tore through all above it to take it. It was a play that no-one had heard of. Thinking that her Aunt might know who J M Bettany is or was, she put it into her bag. She then left the room.
Carrying on with her explorations, she found the lost property room, several form rooms including her own, a couple of computer labs, several storage rooms, and, one of those rare things in the Chalet School world, a toilet. She was just looking at the interactive whiteboard of a form room - most form rooms had these as well as basic whiteboards - when somebody came in.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm exploring the school to see where everything is," Allie replied, eyeing up the elder girl with interest.
"Why don't you go to your common room, where you're supposed to be,"
"If that's where we're supposed to be, why aren't you in yours?"
"Nosy little brat" the senior said.
"No, just interested why it's one rule for you, another for me,"
"Well, I've got exams,"
"So, I need to revise, thickhead!"
"What - before you've even covered it in class?"
"Oh - you - ack - *splutter* "' the Senior was crimson-faced by this point. "Who's your sheepdog, eh? Not that it matters, seeing as you're so imprudent,"
"I don't need a sheepdog," Allie kept her calm tones. "I'm not a sheep,"
The Senior spluttered. "All new girls have a sheepdog," she said.
"That might be because they're sheep?"
"The escort mistresses match up sheepdogs and newbies,"
Allie remembered how she'd sped off, then just sat back on a desk, looked at her nails, and said "It is such a displeasure to meet you,"
The Senior glared, and turned to leave.
"Fine. You won't mind if I lock the door, then, seeing as you like it in here so much,"
"Do as you wish," Allie said. "You can't actually lock the door, can you, because you're not staff, you're just a Senior, anyway,"
"Oh yeah, little girl?" the Senior sneered, holding a key in her hand. "Well, let's just see,"
The Senior stalked out, put the key in the lock, and twisted. "It really does work," the tones were in a slightly higher tone.
"You know you're pathetic, don't you?" Allie replied.
The Senior didn't reply. Allie headed to the door on the other side of the classroom, and walked into a mess of books and papers and piles and boxes. She navigated carefully through the debris, and opened the neighboring door. It headed into another classroom, and Allie slipped through that door.
The Senior was facing the other way. Allie sneaked up behind her, not making a sound.
"Like to apologize?" Allie asked.
"To a titch like you?"
"I'll follow you around until you do,"
Allie kept true to her word, following that Senior around. Even at Supper, Allie managed to sit right next to the Senior, the rules being very relaxed that first day. When the Senior went up to her common room, Allie followed, silent but very determined.
"Who's this?" another Senior said.
"I'm Allie," Allie said, holding out her hand.
"She's a pest," the Senior muttered, as the other Senior shook Allie's hand.
"Megan," the other Senior said to Allie. "So, why are you in here?"
"I'm following her around until I've got what I'm expecting to receive," Allie replied. "But when the time comes that I can no longer do that, I shall resort to other measures,"
"Yeah, like what?"
"Telling everyone I meet about it, whether it be mistress or pupil or random staff member or random person unconnected to the school. Don't think I don't know who you are, Andrea Morris,"
"Alright, fine, I'm sorry, okay?"
"I didn't hear that,"
"I am sorry,"
Allie pretended not to hear.
"What more do you want, girl, damn it? Okay, I am sorry for what I did and I promise not to do it again,"
"Thank you," Allie said. "See you around, Meg,"
And a whirlwind fell through the common room and exited through the door.
Chapter 2 - Allie's First Day - Part 1 by Minim
Allie woke up early that Tuesday morning. Thinking she would make the best of it, she got up and went for a good wash. She returned just as the morning bell rang and the girls groaned about getting up 'soooo early'. Allie sympathized - she hated to get up during the winter months - but carried on with her duties: dressing, brushing her hair, and making the bed being among them.
After performing these duties, Allie sped off out of the dormitory down into the grounds where there were some girls already. Allie didn't know that you had to get permission first before going out in the early morning, but it wasn't very well-regulated as girls couldn't go off-site anyway. The Chalet School had avoided some Health and Safety rules because it never was a problem (plus its fictional slant may have done a little to help). Allie had a run, a sprint, and a hop, and came in bounding, ready to take on the day.
She rejoined her dormitory and went down to breakfast, starving. There were cereals or toast or porridge on offer. Allie hated porridge, but ate some toast and some cornflakes, washing it all down with orange juice, and following up with an apple.
Then it was to the form rooms. The girls had their own pencil cases, with pens and things, but they were in the trunks that were to be unpacked that Thursday morning. Lower IVc had the newbie teacher Miss Peak, part of the Geography department. She had been helped by Kathie Ferrars, who, although she was mainly a Maths teacher, also taught Geography to younger students when help was required. Her partner Nancy Wilmot headed the Maths department, and there were four other maths teachers besides, but for now we needn't worry about them, for Allie at the moment had Miss Ferrars for that. And now after this ramble that may prove of use or not, let us get started with the events of that day.
Miss Peak first took register. Smiling when she got down to one of the names, she called out, "Allie," and that young damsel replied, "Yes, miss!"
Allie was sent off to the head's office and Jenna ended up being dragged along by her. Jenna had to shout "Wrong direction!" every time Allie tried to go in the wrong direction - which was very often - and also had to rush faster than she was used to, which got her cheeks red and her breath limited. She was glad when they got to the head's office, and had to wait in line behind the new girls. None of them were 11, that being the main entry age, although younger students did attend, and were waiting.
Time passed slowly for Allie waiting in that queue. Patience wasn't her best point and she did several things to stave off the long time in that line, not really wanting to talk in that oppressive silence. She hopped around the room twice, she did forward rolls and handstands, she jumped to see how high she could reach. Finally finally finally finally eventually finally finally finally finally finally at last and finally she was first in the queue and got into the office.
"Hello, Miss Annersley," Allie said.
"Good morning Allie," the Abbess said, with eyes that seemed brown today, still not needing glasses.
The talk wasn't a particularly satisfying one for the long wait. At the end, Allie did a twirl and a bow and whirlwinded out of the office, taking Jenna's hand and dragging her back down to the form room.
Miss Annersley smiled and changed her coloured contact lenses to her usual blue. She had found the conversation between herself and Allie stimulating, almost overwhelmingly so. It was nice to see a new girl who seemed so settled in this early, although it was also unnerving.
After not long in the form room, Allie and the others were called on to unpack. Allie in her cubey would have been happy to ram everything in where it went in, but the driblet of common sense she had said it was unlikely that it would be acceptable for her to do so, so she carefully and tidily put things in their correct places. She put a photo on top of the dresser, looked at it, and let a single tear roll down her cheek and splash onto the picture. Then, shaking herself, she put away a few more things, took out a bag and a pencil case, deposited her trunk where everyone else in her dormitory did, and galloped back to the form room.
No-one was there. Miss Peak had gone off to do unpacking inspections of her form's unpacking. Allie hadn't known that she'd had to stay, so she hadn't. Instead, she sat at her desk and positioned herself ready for whatever came next.
Miss Peak found it difficult to accept that Allie was a new girl. That girl seemed so settled, she thought, passing inspection on Katrina's drawers. Not scared, not frightened, not moping in the background like other newbies. She wasn't any more excited than anyone else, either, although it was hard to tell with all of that boundless energy.
Checking the unpacking was a dull job, but it had to be done, and so she let girls go one at a time back to the form room.
Katrina got back first (but after Allie, obviously). Seeing Allie, she hissed "What are you doing here, idiot?"
"Err... sitting, breathing..."
"Miss Peak is inspecting our drawers and we're supposed to stay until she's done ours," Katrina said. "Go, quick, to your cubey, hurry - she won't be impressed if you aren't there!"
Alert, Allie sped off quicker than usual, hoping to beat time.
"Do you think she'll be any good at sport?" asked another girl, who'd also been released.
"If she is," Katrina replied, "Then we have a good chance at winning the Sports Tournament this year."
Allie did just about make it in time, and she sat on the edge of the bed to let the air back into her lungs.
"You know you're not supposed to sit on the bed, don't you?"
"No," Allie jumped right off of the bed as if it was on fire and spikes had suddenly come out of it.
"Well, it's only the beginning of term," Miss Peak grinned.
The inspection was far quicker than it had been for anyone so far - evidently some of the pupil's energy had rubbed off on the mistress - and at the end Allie whizzed off again back to the form room. Her spot had been taken by someone Allie didn't know, but she didn't mind particularly. She sat near Katrina and Jenna.
"Hey Kat, hey Jen," she said. "What's next on the agenda?"
"Assignment of lockers, and the handout of Prep diaries and notebooks," Katrina said.
"And timetables," Jenna added.
Miss Peak entered the room and everyone shut up.
"I will be giving locker keys and timetables out one at a time," Miss Peak said. "Meanwhile, Xanthe, would you give out these, please, and Helen, if you give out these, that will be very much appreciated. Girls, make sure you write your names and forms on these. If Margaret would come to the front first, please?"
A low mutter tore over the class again.
"That's Helen?" asked Allie.
"Yep," Jenna said. "She comes last in the register, poor thing,"
"And Xan's second-last," added Katrina.
After all of everything was sorted out, it was break. Lessons began at 8:30 each day usually and ended at 12:30 for lunch, with a quarter of an hour for break at 10:00. Each lesson was three quarters of an hour. Lunch was half an hour, followed by any of the following: PE, Drama, Music, Art, Cooking, Needlework, Technology (Woodwork etc.), or extras. Extra coaching was also in these times for weaker pupils. Plenty of the Middles just had the main seven, and, apart from PE, they were once a week. PE was twice a week, and was totally compulsory, but if a student had guardian permission, and also wished to cancel any of the others, it was permitted, although only one could be dropped. The normal route added up to 8 out of 15 sessions a week - in the others, you were trusted to get on with some prep - most people didn't bother - or at least not disrupt anyone else's classes.
At 4, there was a break which ran for an hour. Drinks and biscuits and other food stuffs were available but non-compulsory. This was a popular time for clubs and societies to run. Some of the clubs, such as the STEM club, were organised by the teachers, but others, such as the Book club and most of the Sports clubs, were run by Prefects and other students. The teachers liked to let students have the hold over the clubs, but some clubs either needed an instructor or needed someone on hand to make sure that disaster didn't happen. Anyone had the power to start up a club, which often meant that they started but got discontinued. After this break it was Prep time until supper - 6 for the Juniors and 7 for the Middles and Seniors. Middles went to bed at 9 and Seniors at 10, Seniors were allowed to do any prep, work, or revision until 9, but no longer than that.
Allie spent her break with Jenna and Katrina and after that lessons would be in order, but for now they chatted away, Allie doing the occasional sprint up and down to release some of her infinite energy.
After Break on a Thursday came some English with Miss Derwent. Exercise books were given out first, and English books were blue - the exercise books were colour-coded so that it was easier for girls to retrieve the right books. They were instructed to put their names and forms - and yes, there were a mixture of Lower IV-ites in there - and to put English and Set 2 on them. Jenna and Katrina were in a different set, and Allie had two Lower IVb pupils on each side. The one on her left punched the air and high-fived her friend at this, while the one on her right groaned loudly.
They went over some grammar that lesson, specifically word classes. It was expected that they knew these, evidently, and Allie threw herself into work. She was so eager she almost tore through the paper, but somehow it managed to hold together. She noted the Prep on the day it was due - to revise and make sure to know the word classes - put her stuff into her bag, and moved off to the labs for Science.
Science exercise books were green and they also got textbooks. This time, for Set 1. This session was to be known as their 'practical' session and so was a double, but today they couldn't do an experiment mostly because it was their first session and so nothing along those lines had been planned. They went over the lab safety instead "For our new girls," Davida Armitage had explained, glancing at Allie and another girl, "and also for those who might have forgotten," specifically in Jenna's direction. Jenna made a face behind Miss Armitage's back.
"Just because of last term," she grumbled.
It wasn't particularly fun but it had to be done, and at the end they were told to make a poster of one of the safety rules for Prep. And now it was time for food - or, Lunch.
Allie walked with Jenna to lunch, meeting up with Katrina on the way. Katrina was evidently pleased at the moment, for she had got into the top English set. Jenna's place, Allie learned, was on the brink between the middle and bottom sets.
They ate gladly, their morning's work having made them suitably hungry for this delicious spread, and all in a magic puff of enjoyment it became time to head up to get their kit and down to the changing rooms for PE.
"Now we'll get to see if Al is any good at this," muttered Katrina to the girl she'd seen that morning.
Miss Fletcher, Miss Simons and Miss Austin first sent them for a jog around the field. The Lower IV collectively groaned and went for the lap. This proved to Katrina and other girl; I'm fed up of calling her 'other girl' so I'll give her the name of Ashley; that Allie was no good long-distance. Allie hated jogging, with her it was usually fast pace or no pace and jogging was slow pace, so she disliked it.
They then performed stretches, static, each one for 10-15 seconds. After stretching came some exercises, catching and throwing. Katrina and Ashley worked hard and forgot about Allie, intent on catching the ball and throwing it well.
Then came a rounders match, well, a couple of simultaneous matches, half of each form group against the other half at first. Somehow, Katrina, Ashley and Allie all were on the same side while Jenna was on the other.
Allie turned out not to be very good at rounders. She was enthusiastic, but she never caught the ball even when it was thrown to her and when she got it she threw it so badly that it may well have been faster for the recipient to run to her and be given it. Katrina and Ashley hoped that maybe she was a good batsman as a saving grace.
But here again they were to be disappointed. Each of them had two goes at batting. The first time, Allie missed, tried for first post, and got stumped out. The second time, she managed to hit the ball quite well, but was so surprised she almost forgot she had legs! When she realised she was supposed to run, she ran like a leopard on steroids and managed a run, but it was unnecessarily close. They gave up, but hoped secretly that it was just a bad day or lack of practice, rather than inability.
Straight after PE came art. Another new teacher to the school, a Mr Ogleby, took art - mostly instructed by Ros Yolland. The CS kept a one-term contract for new teachers to get a feel of how they were before accepting them or rejecting them. This guy was going to be rejected when that time came, but no-one knew that yet, and so the girls waited anxiously to see what he was like.
"Girls," he said. "Today you will draw this,"
He lifted a blanket-sheet-type-thing to reveal a plastic bowl of fruit. "Go," he said.
The girls all tried their hardest at it so that they'd impress this new teacher. But, the first time he came around the room, it seemed obvious that they just weren't going to get the grade. He criticized each and everyone's drawings for every tiny little imperfection. Allie came under an average amount of criticism, she thought, not really noticing that anyone got any more than what she did. But Allie wasn't bothered. To her, Art was just a waste of time and she never really bothered to hide that opinion, instead, she just grimaced and got on with it, making it worse than ever before. Each time he got around to her, the criticisms list just got longer and longer, until it was time to go.
"Thank goodness that's over," Jenna said, as they headed to the common room with some free time. "That man is just so... so..."
"Ridiculous? Worthless? Nasty?" Katrina said. "All he did was criticize my work and make me feel I'm rubbish at Art even when I know I'm average,"
"It looked like he was reciting the Bible to you, Allie," Jenna said. "What he said just went on and on and on,"
"Did it? I didn't notice," Allie replied, calmly. "I bet the nicest Art teacher in the world would have issues with me, though, so I don't really care. Most of that stuff just washed over me,"
"I bet it did," Katrina said. "Ah, well, shall we do some prep? And then have a very empty time of Prep?"
Jenna and Allie agreed.
Chapter 3 - Allie's First Day - Part 2 by Minim
After finishing their prep, Jen, Kat and Allie decided to make their way to one of the boards where there was a list of popular student clubs and societies. Jenna wanted to show Allie what was available and Katrina had nothing else to do.
"Badminton, no, Cricket, no, benchball, definitely not-"
"Why not?" Jenna asked.
"It's a rough game!"
Katrina stepped in. "The rules are probably different here," she said. "What was it like back home, then?"
"A whole load of fights for the ball and loads of dirty tactics, mainly. And quite a bit of physical contact. And you were lucky if you could stand on the bench," Allie said.
"It's not like that here," Katrina said. "There's a line of cones separating the two teams - those standing on the bench behind the opposition. And every time one of them catches the ball the benchies and the groundies swap places. We can go to the club when it's on next week, if you like, and you can play this version of it, if you like,"
Jenna rolled her eyes but Allie was agreeable to this. "Okay, I'll note that," she said, putting the date to her notepad. "Tennis club, no, Lacrosse, Hockey, gymnastics, none of those, trampolining, I must try that," and so it was noted. "Netball, no, basketball, no, Film club, no, singing, la la la,"
"No," Katrina said.
Allie fake-scowled. "Nyeh," she said. "There's a Drama club, I'll try it. Art, you couldn't pay me to go, Hobbies, I don't have a hobby, Magazine society, wait, that's a notice for articles, Writing club, no, Nature club, I'm in,"
"You've got four there to try out, I think we'll leave the rest for today," Katrina said.
"Hang on," Allie said.
Katrina had to stay put for another long while as Allie picked out some more clubs and societies to try out. What got added was the Charity group, Dance club, The Activists society, Computer club and the Camera club. Now all that had to be done was a trial of each of them and a cutting down on which ones to attend or not.
Prep-time wasn't too bad. Not having prep then meant you got to read a book if you wanted to, and while Allie was no bookworm, she didn't mind a good read once in a while.
Supper was delicious and was devoured by the willingness that school-girls have for food. However, not all of the girls willingly ate. Allie noticed a slightly older girl fiddling with the meal in front of her. The girl put barely anything in her mouth at all. No-one seemed to be talking to her at all, all of them seemingly busy with their conversation. Allie wanted to get up and talk to her, but the dining-room rules were strict.
"Who's that?" she asked.
"That's Margaret Jenkins," the tones Katrina replied with showed evidence of high dislike. "Likes to be known as Greta,"
She said this as though even the notion of using the nickname was A Bad Thing To Do.
"You evidently dislike her," Allie said.
"Everyone does," Jenna said, scowling. "She's a right b****"
"What's she done?" asked Allie.
"She wrecked Lillian Fox's photograph,"
"Hell, no," Katrina replied. "It was Lillian's only picture of her mother, who died only a year ago. It was spite, they'd been against each other for a while,"
"How do we know it was her?" asked Allie, curious.
"Only person with the opportunity," Katrina said. "It was in Lil's locker, and on the morning that it was sabotaged, Margaret Jenkins was the last person out. A misplaced or lost pencil case, presumably, but we all know different now. Plus she was late for form, 10 minutes, gave the tutor a note, the note was accepted. Whatever was on it, we know differently,"
"And there was no way that anybody else could have done it?"
"No, nobody's allowed access at Break, and it was discovered just before Lunch," Jenna said. "And a couple of people had Miss Burnett for remedials, but all of them were back on time, no-one could have got there and to class on time even without picture tarnishment,"
Allie was, needless to day, undeterred by her friends' dislike of Margaret Jenkins. People did do bad things, but this happened last term when Allie wasn't around, and it had simply gone on too long - 6 weeks of summer plus all of the time before that after the picture was discovered.
"I'm going to have a chat with her after Supper's over," Allie said. "Catch her side of things,"
"No point, I can recite the whole story," Katrina scowled. She put on a mocking voice to say, "Oh, no, I didn't do anything, I left just after Jane after I found my pencil case. I'd been told to see Miss Wilson about a science test I'd missed at 8, so I went, and from there I went straight to form. I didn't touch that photo, I'm sure, so why does everyone hound me about it?"
"I'd rather hear about it from her," Allie said.
"Well, don't," Jenna said. "She'll just lie about it. We all know she's guilty, but you won't get her to admit it, not in a million years. Because she lies,"
"I wonder what happened to 'Innocent until proven guilty'?" Allie frowned. "It's a human right, after all,"
"We've proven her guilty," Katrina said.
"All you've mentioned so far are things called coincidences," Allie replied.
"As far as this is concerned, she's a liar, a vandal and probably a thief as well," Jenna said. "Lillian is positive that something was removed from the locker as well, although no-one knows what,"
"And this is the way Chalet girls act these days, is it?" Allie asked, coolly. "Bullying someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time without truly proving the fault of that girl, so badly that the person in question barely eats? Not caring to trust in what another says just because they could have done something? My Mum and Aunt both came here, they said bullying wasn't condoned, they said that CS girls were honourable. This isn't honour, this is just preying on someone who can't defend themselves. An honourable person would stick up for that person. This business has gone too far and if this is the way CS girls act to their fellows, I'll only be glad to leave. If you valued in characters that my Mum and Aunt would have, then maybe the situation would have been resolved by now. Hopefully this type of cattiness will not persist once we can truly see the truth right in front of us. I only hope that something will stop this all together,"
There were a couple of seconds of silence - if seconds is the correct unit to what was felt - and then Supper ended. Allie whizzed into the crowd, and Jenna and Katrina watched as Allie met Margaret Jenkins. They saw Allie and Margaret Jenkins leave the hall together.
"Hi, Greta, I'm Allie,"
"Hello," Greta said. Allie could see she was taken aback by Allie, she was pale and as thin as a lamppost. Heavy bags were under her listless and red-rimmed eyes. Allie thought for a second she could detect fear.
"Nice weather we're having," Allie said. "Walk in the grounds?"
They walked out of the hall. Allie took the hold over conversation while Greta "Hmm"ed and "Yes"ed a lot. When they were out in the grounds, however, Allie decided to get more from Greta.
"So why are you here?" asked Allie.
"Mum sent us all to boarding school, better opportunities, and this place was highly recommended," Greta replied.
"So you've got siblings, then?" Allie said, smiling.
"Yep, two brothers," Greta said. "Nightmare, the pair of them. Luke's the elder, Jake's the younger, and if they're in a room alone together for more than 5 minutes then you might want to get the plasters out. Almost anywhere else with anyone else they're fine, but it's hard to keep up with two souls who always are outside playing and running,"
"What are your parents like?"
"Mum's very strict, do anything wrong and she'll know and she will lecture you until your hair goes grey. Dad's easy-going, and he's fun as well, but he is also a bit useless if there's a problem that needs solving,"
"Ah, well, you can't choose your family," Allie replied. "My older brother's great when he wants to be, but as soon as he's got a friend with him, he doesn't say a word to me, he just goes off upstairs with her. He hasn't been around all that often in recent times, though, he's at his university and doing well,"
"Brothers are brothers," Greta said. "But then, sisters are probably sisters, too,"
"True," Allie said. "It's been nice chatting, but I need to go now, because there's someone I owe an apology to. Talk whenever you feel like, though, I'll be around somewhere if I'm not in lesson. See you,"
"And you," Greta replied. Was it Allie's imagination, or did there seem to be a slight bit more colour in those cheeks?
When Allie returned to the common room she looked around it. When she had entered Avril had stood up, and now the room was tense and silent.
"Hi," Avril said. "Want a quick word?"
"Erm... sure," Allie replied, hiding her taken-aback-ness. She went out of the door again and Avril came out a moment later, shutting the door.
Allie made to speak, but Avril held up a finger. "They're likely eavesdropping, let's move off," she signed. Allie was familiar with sign language as her brother had been deaf, and she signed off an agreement.
Once they were around the corner, Allie spoke. "What I've been told about eavesdropping is that Chalet School girls didn't do it," she said.
"I know," Avril replied. "But that lot don't seem to have much concept of, well, anything. They're almost all mindless sheep, they'll follow me around and do anything I tell them to as long as it isn't something like "Go away," or something. Many of them were like that from when I got here, the rest joined as new girls and were the only new girls. If I'm nasty to them or just plain miserable they still do it and it is really frustrating. And they all seem to be the same,"
"I see," Allie said. "So...?"
"So, I was completely unjustified in the way I treated you and indeed many of the other new girls in recent times," Avril said. "And for that, I apologize. It's just really irritating,"
"Thank you for that," Allie replied. "But why didn't you do this in front of all those witnesses?"
"In ront of those sheep?" Avril said. "When I publicly apologized to someone for something, they were all saying aloud things such as 'But it's not your fault, you didn't do anything wrong,' and it is really just tiring, especially when you know where exactly on the blame line you stand,"
"Oh, right," Alie said. "What was going on with that first one?"
"I was angry with someone all that term," Avril replied. "Thought it was her fault that I was sent away, but it really just wasn't,"
It wasn't a long time before bedtime after that all, and Allie joined Jenna and Katrina. They chatted for a bit and then bedtime kicked in.
Allie had a wash and scrub and changed into her pajamas and brushed her hair. She then sat on the bed and wrote in a book she kept.
Situations to keep an eye on:
The bullying of Greta
The bullying of Dorrie
Who's responsible for Lillian's destroyed photo
Mr Ogleby and Art
Xanthe and her sister Althea
Clara in lesson
After writing this, it was lights out, and Allie settled into a deep deep sleep.
Chapter 4- Getting More Settled by Minim
I seem to have neglected this rather! I posted this bit on the LGM a long while ago, and being reminded of it I am now copying that bit over here and making new notes for plot, etc. I am completely lost in this world again.
Thank you to the person who reminded me that this drabble still exists.
Friday was the first 'proper' day, as Jenna called it. It was definitely the first full day, with all lessons and so on. After breakfast, they went to the lockers, gathered their stuff needed, and rushed off to Tutorial.
Tutorial wasn't much, it was when registers were taken, notices given out and other such stuff. It would be on Monday when the Form Positions would be given out to relevant people, and so on, and assembly wasn't scheduled this Friday. It was nice when it was time for the next lesson to come.
Maths was taken in sets like English and Science, and Allie walked her way into Set 1 while Jenna and Katrina stayed down below. For Allie, this lesson was a doddle, and she was well ahead of most of the set.
She was sat in between Faye - or was it Skye? - of Lower IVa and Cindy of Lower IVb. Faye and Skye, totally identical, seemed a lot of fun, although it was hard to tell when you're in the midst of a lesson. However, Cindy seemed only to have glowers and glares for Allie in between working furiously hard - Allie had no idea what she'd done, but it appeared to be something bad. Prep was given out at the end and Allie went back to the Form Room for RE.
After RE drones came the thrones of Break. Allie hung around with Jenna and Katrina, but both seemed to want to rant on about Maths and Allie couldn't really get a word in about her Maths, so instead she wandered about, finding Faye and Skye by incident. Now she was face to face with them she could see the difference between them more clearly. Faye had dyed a streak of her hair pink while Skye had a blue streak. Faye used pink and red accessories while Skye had blue, green and purple accessories - and both had accessories - hair clips, ribbons, glasses, bracelets, and badges, to make the least of it. They were both happy to chat with Allie up until the end of break, when it was time to head back inside.
Languages at the Chalet School had changed somewhat. No longer did a person have to worry about language days of the week. Instead, a student could choose to have main lessons in either French, Spanish, or German, and could have lessons in free afternoon periods that could be in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Latin, or Greek. Other languages were also available in town as well, and many trips were available to go to experience the languages in the relevant places.
Allie had had to admit that she wanted to do all of these languages when it was time to choose, and she had had no idea where to go for main lessons, and then she could add on other languages later. She was proficient in French, so that could be kept ticking over by herself in any spare time. She had a bit of experience in Spanish as well, but nothing in the others, and she wanted something she could do a bit of for her main lesson already, so she could quickly progress enough to be allowed to do a second language. And so after that break she headed her way into Spanish, her head held high.
Español was taken by a Señora Ortega. Faye took this but Skye did French so Skye went off into her French class while Faye and Allie went Spanish. Jenna and Katrina weren't in that class, however.
Señora Ortega was a short woman, and always wore a smile. She could speak with amazing rapidity, but never usually did during class. When Allie left the class she was a good deal more sure about Spanish than ever, and she was already looking forward to the next lesson. But now it was onto Geografia.
The day went on well smoothly. Allie met up with Faye and Skye for her first free hour - she had two today, revolving around Cooking. Allie worked with Faye over their Spanish while Skye did some French. Allie got to look over this French, and corrected Skye on some basic errors. They also started on their Maths prep, but didn't have the time to finish it off then for Allie had to go off cooking.
After Cooking, Allie hung with Jenna and Katrina and they did some prep, before the break came along, and Allie sped off to trampolining club. She enjoyed it immensely and earmarked it as a definite, although after getting so used to the trampoline's bounciness, the floor didn't feel quite... adequate, even if she may not have spent that long on it.
The next day came, and it was a Saturday. Jenna, Katrina and Allie had all woken up early - well, two thirds had been woken up early - and were all chatting in the common-room.
"We don't have to get up so early on a weekend," Jenna was saying.
"But why would I want to hang around in bed?" Allie asked. "What's the point?"
Katrina made to answer, but Jenna shushed her.
"Meal times are flexible," Jenna said. "And we can go into town in groups if we like. Seniors only have to go with one other, but us middles can go out in 4s or 5s, so long as we are signed off by the mistress and we don't go to certain parts of the area,"
"Mistresses can take that away from you if you're bad enough," Katrina added. "And if you're caught in a bad area of town you also aren't permitted to leave except with a Prefect. Other girls can also influence if you can go out or not, because no-one is allowed out on their own,"
"Fair enough," Allie said.
"Shall we go into town, then?" Allie asked, once they'd gone in to breakfast.
"We'd need a fourth person," Jenna said. "And often, people are busy or just don't want to go out. Besides, I thought the Nature club was on this morning?"
"No - I asked Sheila, she said it's never on on the first weekend of term," Allie said.
"I forgot about that," Jenna admitted. "But who would we take into town?"
Allie looked over to a nearby table.
"Margaret Jenkins?" asked Katrina. "No way,"
"Suit yourself," Allie said. "Jenna, you coming?"
"We still would need a fourth person," Jenna said. "But yeah, I'll come. Come on, Kat, she won't bite,"
"Leave it," Allie advised in a mutter. "It's her prerogative,"
"But she's my best friend," Jenna replied.
"If she doesn't want to come, she doesn't want to come," Allie said.
"You should join the tautology club,"
"Sounds fun," Allie said. "But do you want to come into town?"
Jenna found herself with Allie and Greta as they looked for somebody to join with them into town. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful, and the decision was made to leave the dining hall and settle in a common room. However, they were undecided about which common room to go to.
"Oh, hi, Allie," Skye said, as she passed. "Hi - is it Jenna? Yep? Hi, random Upper IV girl,"
"Hi," Allie said. "Where's Faye?"
"Still in bed," Skye replied.
"At this time?" asked Allie, shocked.
"Yep," Skye said. "Shall we play a trick on her?"
"Why not?" Allie replied.
"I'm not sure..." Jenna said, elongating the last word.
"Yeah," Greta said. "With my reputation I'd be better off staying out of this type of thing,"
"Aww, come on guys," Allie and Skye spoke simultaneously. "It'll be fun!"
"Oh, all right, then," It was the other two's turn to be simultaneous.
"Right," Skye said. "I have a cunning plan..."
Her cunning plan, however, was not to be put into effect, for Faye had awoken and had got up by that time. As Faye ate through her breakfast, the other four sat talking.
"Want to come into town?" Allie asked the twins.
"Sure," Skye said, Faye nodding in the background.
When Faye guzzled her last crumb, they all got up and headed to get some of their pocket money. Allie had quite a bit of money to spend, for her friends at her previous school, when they'd heard that she was going to a boarding school, had all given her a small amount. She had been deeply touched by this, even if she had her doubts. Every time that she'd been given a bit the friend had asked what her real name was. She also had money from her parents as a gift and also from her beloved Aunt. Her Aunt had had lots to tell her about the Chalet School and all its wonders, and some of the mishaps that other girls had got involved with. Her Aunt had been the predominant woman in her life, after all, Allie's Mum had always stayed on the move and came home for flying visits, all the meanwhile Allie received letters from various locations which she kept safe. Those letters were few and far between which made them more of a treasure.
The five girls walked into town after talking to the relevant mistress and signing the book. It was about ten minutes walk into town and there was a shopping mall there, full of goodies to spend money on. Outside this shopping centre was a homeless woman with a coffee cup. Allie split herself from the group and gave the woman some money before rejoining them as they went inside.
A variety of shops were in the mall, a couple of more local shops but also loads of well-known brands. It was hard to take it all in at once, but Allie could smell a Lush nearby while looking straight at a Hotel Chocolat. And for Allie, choosing between the two was practically impossible.
"So, where should we start?" asked Jenna.
"I say Lush,"
"I say Hotel Chocolat,"
The twin's thoughts burst out simultaneously.
"I have no idea," Allie admitted, and Faye and Skye argued in the background "Lush!" "Hotel Chocolat!" "Lush!" "Hotel Chocolat!"
"I don't mind," Greta said.
"Hmm," Jenna said. "Faye, heads or tails?"
"Tails," Faye said.
Jenna took out a coin from her pocket and flipped it into the air. "Heads," she said, showing the coin around the group. "Hotel Chocolat it is,"
The group headed to the store and split to gaze at the gorgeous chocolate. Allie left with some caramel buttons and the others had tidbits of chocolate too. Now it was time to follow the luscious smell that reached their noses into the Lush store where they all bought products before going off and exploring some other shops, sometimes buying things and sometimes just browsing. When they perched themselves in a small cafe for lunch their bags were heavier and their purses lighter.
Returning to the School, Allie went off with Greta while Jenna took Faye and Skye off somewhere.
The grounds were tidy gardens, well-kept by the Gardening Club. There were also courts for sports, and various buildings holding different things.
"There'll be a new Swimming session in about 10 minutes," Greta said. "And there's a friendly match on at the hockey pitch at 2, between some of the seniors,"
"Do we ever play other schools?" asked Allie.
"Yeah, didn't you know?" said Greta. "We have quite a couple of different teams for different sports, managed by the prefects. But you're not sporty, are you? Jenna was saying earlier about how you proved to be useless on the rounders field, anyway,"
"Yeah, well," Allie replied. "That's rounders. That's one sport in about a billion,"
"Going to go to any of the tryouts?" asked Greta.
"I don't know when or where they are," Allie replied.
"They're next weekend," Greta said. "At different times. There's a timetable on one of the boards,"
"I might go," Allie said. "If only to watch,"
Sunday went peacefully along. Allie spent the day with what had ended up as a social group, consisting of herself, Greta, Jenna, Faye, Skye, and Katrina. Katrina still couldn't show anything but dislike for Greta, and Greta barely spoke when Katrina was around, discouraged by that young lady's attitude. Allie decided that it would take some sort of action to resolve this, but not just yet. She couldn't tell if there was any background for Kat's dislike, and if there'd been problems before the whole photo thing then it would take different steps.
Monday brought the first full week of lessons. Allie had decided to observe Clara in classes. Not in Science because Clara wasn't dealing with respiration there. In Maths Clara settled down to mode, median and mean just like the rest of them. And then it was Break, when Allie joined her friends until History came.
By the time that History, English, and dull old IT had finished, Allie knew what she'd have to talk to Clara about, but it would have to wait until Wednesday. In the meantime, it was Lunch, and then the chance for her to accidentally poke herself with a needle time and time again. By the time Needlework was over, Allie had a fair few plasters on her fingers and all of the progression she'd made had to be undone because it was so dreadful.
The free time period that came next was spent with Faye, Skye, Jenna and Katrina, doing some Prep, before PE came around again.
And today was to hold Hockey, and Katrina and Ashley were again consulting hopefully.
Allie, Ashley, Clara, Faye, and some other girls were put into one team and Jenna, Katrina and Skye were in another. Play ensued.
Allie ran up and down the pitch, enthusiastic as ever. She barely had the ball in possession and when she did it always ended up with the other team somehow. This let Katrina and Ashley fall into hopelessness with the new girl's sporting abilities and instead they decided to battle each other with total intense-ness. It got so intense that Miss Austin decided to do some rearrangement and Allie ended up in goal.
6 saves later and hope was again renewed. How a person could be so useless except in one position that they oughtn't to be was a bit of a mystery, but then, almost everything about this particular new girl was a mystery. What was her real name? What about her family she rarely spoke about? And how come she was always ready and willing to oppose the crowd?
Wednesday break came.
"Hey, Clara, can I talk to you for a sec?" asked Allie.
"But I was going to... oh, okay then, just a sec," Clara replied. "What about?"
"You know how you feel that the teachers always pick on you when you think you've not done anything?" Allie said.
"Yeah..." replied Clara.
"I think I know why,"
"It's your friends, the people you sit with," Allie replied. "They start talking, and then you end up being consulted and end up joining in,"
"But it's not my fault if I do,"
Allie knew what she wanted to say, but she knew not to say it. She decided to say the Other Thing.
"Whether it is or isn't, I don't think the teachers would pick on you if you decided to move somewhere else,"
"I'm not splitting up with my friends just to stop teachers picking on me," Clara said coolly. "Now if you don't mind not interfering with my business, I'm going to talk to said friends,"
And she left.
Chapter 5 - Althea by Minim
Soon everyone was settled into Chalet School life, either again or for the first time, either way, life was going fine.
Allie was doing well. She was easily the best in the year at Maths and was doing decently at the rest of her academic subjects too. Sports didn't show her best side, and the less spoken about Art and Needlework, the better! She'd spent a lot of her time outside of class testing out all of the clubs, and had given up on attending more than one. She had settled on the Trampolining Club as the most fun, even if most of the time you had to stand around the edge of the trampoline ready to push the person on the trampoline back a bit.
"Oh, hi, Althea," Allie said as she made her way back to the common room after a good bounce. "Going to talk to Xanthe again?"
"Err... yes," Althea said. "Sorry, who are you again?"
"I'm Allie," Allie responded. "I'm in the same form as your sister,"
"Oh, right," Althea said. "How did you know I was going to talk to her?"
"Because you always are," Allie replied. "Seriously, do you spend half your time with the Lower IVth? Because it seems like it,"
"What do you mean by that?" Althea's tones had gone cold.
"You spend a lot of time talking to Xanthe and it's unusual," Allie was undeterred by Althea's tones. "Plenty of the others have older sisters and hardly any of those sisters talk to their sisters as much as you do,"
"Well, none of the other girls are as irresponsible as my sister, I have to make sure she does her prep, keeps her cubicle tidy,"
"Actually, plenty of the others are more irresponsible than Xanthe," Allie said. "Ashley, for one, she used to have a zero percent chance of handing a piece of prep in on time and if Matey wasn't so diligent her cubicle at the moment would be in a right state. She spends as much time as possible outside training in Sports. The point is, Ash gets in trouble for not doing as she should. She knows she will, and she has admitted that. So she makes sure to do these things so that she can spend more time on the Sports field, and less time in detention or her dormitory fixing what should be fixed by now,"
"But I don't want Xanthe getting into trouble,"
"It's a better alternative than you nagging all the time," Allie was firm. "No-one here wants to be in trouble, so we mostly avoid it by getting our work done and our cubeys tidy,"
"Oh, God. She's put you onto this, hasn't she?"
This unsettled Allie somewhat. "What do you mean by that? No-one's put me onto anything,"
"Then why are you so interested in this?" Althea said. "Why would you, a random new girl, care about something like this, huh?"
"Well, I..." Allie said. "Xanthe never put me onto this, I swear. I'm just curious. I also may be nosey, but I'm not that bad, honest! I can tell Xanthe's uncomfortable with this arrangement as well,"
"I think you're a liar," Althea said. "What's your proper name, anyway? Alexandra? Alicia? Alette? Aline?"
"None of them," Allie responded. "It's not even Althea. And I'm not a liar,"
They had reached the common room. Althea stormed in, presumably to hunt out her younger sister. Allie hesitated outside the door, before following her in.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.