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The bell rung slightly later on a Sunday morning, which gave a short lie-in for some of the girls. Plenty of them took advantage of this, so when it did ring, the dormitory was only slightly less busy than it was on any weekday. Bethany Stapleton got up with her usual amount of efficiency, dressing into a fairly normal outfit - they'd all be changing into their Sunday best after Fruhstuck - plenty of the Juniors, at least, had gone to breakfast wearing it with the express intent of getting out of the services (even if many of them soon learnt that the alternative, if possible, was even more boring than the services - a mistress who'd been to one of the early services would sit with them and have them do some of the most boring things devised by mankind).

The girls soon returned to their dormitories, however, and Beth went straight to the wardrobe to pick up her Sunday best. "It's not here," she commented.

"Isn't it?" Jean Morrison asked, collecting her own dress. "What have you done with it, then?"

"Err..." Bethany thought for a few moments. "Oh, I gave it to Matey last Sunday, didn't I? I forgot I'd left it with her,"

"Oh, yes, it got covered with dust, didn't it?" Jean said. "You'd better be quick, then, Beth,"

"I will be,"

Beth forwent with all rules as she ran through the corridors to Matey's room. She was lucky that nobody saw her running, or saw that she took what was, by all rights, a forbidden short cut (using the front stairs), but Beth herself knew that at this time of day there generally weren't any people about. She panted slightly as she knocked on Matey's door. Matey bade her come in, and gave Beth her dress.

"Get back and change quickly - and don't run this time, Bethany," Matey said.

Bethany strode back with her dress, and instead of using the front stairs she crossed through them as she was supposed to do.

"Bethany Stapleton,"

Beth's stomach filled with dread as she looked up those stairs to see Celia Everett, who, as a Prefect, was perfectly entitled to use those stairs. Celia had had a vendetta against Bethany since practically the beginning of term, and the glee in Celia's eyes was apparent as she apprehended the younger girl.

"Celia Everett," Bethany acknowledged the Prefect icily.

"Why are you on this staircase when you should be in your dormitory changing?" Celia asked.

"I'm not on the staircase, I'm on the gap between staircases where I'm allowed to be," Beth smiled at the Prefect. "As to why I'm here, I had to go get my dress from Matron - it needed to get washed,"

Beth showed Celia her dress.

"Why didn't you go and collect it before?" asked Celia.

"Because I forgot about it until now," Bethany said. "I don't need a Sunday dress except on Sunday,"

"Oh, you 'forgot,' did you?" Celia asked. "Is your memory that of a goldfish, or perhaps a leaky sieve?"

"Yep," Beth said. "Wait - what was your name again?"

"Oh, ha ha ha," Celia said, frowning. "I really do enjoy your impertinence,"

"Good," Beth ignored Celia's tones. "I wouldn't want to think I was inconveniencing you,"

"You dare act like that in front of a Prefect?!" Celia said, fuming.

"Yes, I dare," Bethany said. "I've given you an explanation for my whereabouts; if you think I'm lying you can go talk to Matron, else you can let me get on with changing which I need to do. Unless you want me not to be ready in time for church, which will get me in trouble. Anyway, I need to be ready, so unless you have any other quibbles, I need to go, and if you do, you can address them later,"

Bethany left the Prefect gawping there like a stranded goldfish.


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