|Lavender wandered along the empty side street, eating chips from a packet and looking down at her new iPhone. There was an icon flashing - she had just received a text. Now, who could it be from? Kirsty, or Rachel, or maybe Lauren. Or maybe... Lavender felt a twinge of excitement at the thought that her mum would go mad if she found out - maybe it was one of the boys! John, her boyfriend, or maybe Luke, or Carlos... He'd stared when she'd taken her jacket off in class... Yes, it was probably him.|
She opened the text. It was John's number.
"HEY LAV!" it read, "WE NEED 2 TALK. MT ME IN PARK AT 10."
"OK" she texted back. "SURE THING XXX"
On arriving home, however, Mrs. Oyle had other ideas.
"You are not going out tonight!" she cried, upon hearing her daughter's demand.
"But Mum-" Lavender was aghast.
"Not until you explain why I received a letter from the headmistress telling me that you surrounded, stole from, insulted and beat up a girl from the infant school!"
"Mum... I have to go and meet John-" She tailed off abruptly and clapped both hands to her mouth.
"You mean you are still in contact with that boy? After he was expelled? Give me your iPhone now!"
Lavender handed it over and fled.
Once in her room, she rummaged under her pillow.
She took my iPhone thought Lavender slyly, but she never said she wanted my BlackBerry.
She began a text to John: GROUNDED. CAN'T COME OUT TO C U. TXT ME. WHAT DID U WANT TO SAY?
A few minutes later came the reply, sharp, short and hurtful. HEARD U'VE BEEN FLIRTING WITH OTHER GUYS. WE R OVER.
Lavender stared at the text for a few minutes. There was no second response. Yes, she had been flirting with other boys, but John wasn't supposed to know that! How on Earth had he found out? Kirsty must have told him. How could she have done? Their friendship was over! Feeling that there was nothing good left in her life, Lavender put her head down on the pillow and cried and cried and cried.
"I just don't know what to do!"
Melanie Oyle had been speaking in this vein for quite some time. She picked up again. "Still seeing John, bullying other girls, just being...difficult!"
"Melanie." her husband said soothingly. "I've been thinking about this for quite some time. I don't think that the local comp is really doing anything for her."
"Well, what alternative is there?"
"But Eric, it takes months to choose a suitable boarding school! There are so many!"
"Do you remember that troublesome friend Lavender had two years ago - what was her name, Tasha?"
"Well, do you remember what happened to her after that bust-up with the police?"
"He sent her off to boarding school."
"Yes, and he was delighted with the result. When she came home for the Summer Holidays, she was still Tanya, but a much more polite, helpful, good-natured version of Tanya."
"Which school was it? Penrice Hall?"
"No, a much older school. Started up in the twenties. Now, what was it called - oh, yes, the Chalet School. We'll send out daughter to the Chalet School!
See chapter end notes for translations of all texts. I have a feeling that not every reader will be familiar with text speak - that is, of course, assuming I actually get any readers.