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Author's Chapter Notes:
I was chatting to Jenny the other day when she emailed to say she'd been reading Unholy Trinity. That set me thinking. Since you’re ALL still waiting for me to return to ND - and might have to wait a wee while longer! - how about re-posting Hilda’s Revenge in the interim?

I began posting it in 2006 and ended in 2008, so some of you won’t have read it, and those who were around at the time might relish the chance to re-visit it. It’s easier to re-post something, at the moment, than to try and type up several thousand words, which is how long some of the ND chapters are. My shoulder just can’t face it yet, but if you keep your fingers crossed, that might change.

Before Revenge, though, you need to read Turning the Tables, as this small drabble sets up the plot for the much longer Revenge. Meanwhile, Hilda is still slumbering peacefully under Matey's watchful eye.

Closing the first full staff meeting of the summer term with a gentle murmur of appreciation, Hilda Annersley picked up her books and returned to the Study, intending to finish at least one or two personal letters before Abendessen. The girls returned on the morrow, and a myriad other things would then be claiming her attention.

Alas, as she turned to close the door behind her, she realised she had been dogged by silent footsteps. Nell Wilson was standing there in the dim light, grinning at her like a loon.

“That face bodes me no good at all!” muttered Hilda. “I thought we’d covered everything and you were on your way back home with your staff…."

Nell simply grinned again, stalked into the room and settled herself on the settee placed near the stove, which was emitting a gentle heat to ward off the chill in the April air. Hilda set her belongings on the large desk before bestowing a far from welcoming glance on her friend and co- Head.

“A double whisky it is, then!” she said with heavy irony, knowing full well she was going to get nowhere trying to remonstrate with Nell in this sort of mood.

Repairing to the cupboard where she kept hidden her secret restorative, she heard Nell chuckle behind her. With a gentle sigh, she gave up all idea of letters for the rest of the evening. She splashed amber liquid lavishly into two glasses and settled herself in an armchair opposite Nell. Sit near her and get comfortable and the night would be long, she reflected, her face as impassive as always.

Nell took a large sip, rolled it round and over her tongue, swallowed, then raised the glass to Hilda in appreciation. “You’re quick! It’s not too often I get offered your best!”

Hilda sighed again and wrinkled up her nose at Nell. “It’s clearly important enough to waste both our evenings, even though we’ve already spent most of the day together getting things organised. So I thought I might need the best, to withstand the proposition you’ve all too obviously got in mind for me.”

“It’s so unfair,” Nell sighed in her turn. “You read me like a book every time – and I still never know which way your mind is jumping.” Hilda smirked and took another sip. “What are you doing on Saturday?” Nell asked abruptly.

Hilda choked over her mouthful of whisky, the question catching her unawares. Swallowing, she looked pointedly at her desk, the piles of correspondence, files and books weighing it down. “You need to ask?”

Nell glanced at the self-same desk, pursed her lips and nodded. “I take your point.”

When her eyes swung back to her friend, Hilda saw the sardonic amusement lurking there. What was the woman plotting in that devious mind of hers?

“If I help you with some of it, seeing as my own desk is clear for the moment,” Nell added, with emphasis, “I thought we might wander down to Interlaken to have lunch.”

She assumed an air of innocence which Hilda instinctively knew was totally false. She surveyed Nell over the rim of her glass, her mind working feverishly. It was nowhere near Nell’s birthday, or her own, and there was nothing else in the wind, so far as she knew.

Nell stared back at Hilda, fully aware of her partner’s suspicions. “You know you work too hard. I’m forever telling you off about it, dragging you away from your blinking correspondence, forcing you to eat because you’ve forgotten yet again. I thought I might help you turn over a new leaf. Take the first Saturday of term off and you might even get a liking for it.” A mischievous smile lit up her clear grey eyes.

Without warning, Hilda downed the rest of her drink in one, set the glass firmly on the table and smiled across at Nell. “Alright, you’re on!”

Nell started visibly, both at the sudden capitulation and at the very unwonted use of slang. Subversive amusement lit up Hilda’s keen blue-grey eyes at having achieved exactly the effect she had intended. She waited, ready to pounce.....

“You mean.... you mean…you give in? You’ll come?” Nell stuttered, in total disbelief at getting her way so easily.

“Well, you did say, if I agreed to whatever it was you wanted, that you would take some of the work off me. I thought we might start right now.”

Her face was devoid of expression as she watched Nell turn to eye the desk once more, with profound distaste. The next moment, Hilda’s musical laugh rang round her Study, and Nell knew she had fallen into her friend's very clever trap! Again!


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