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Story Notes:

Slightly AU from 'Joey Goes to the Oberland', as I simply don't buy that the only staff involved in the school's move are Hilda and Rosalie. Otherwise, this might have taken place while Joey was en route.

 

“Well, come here and let me look at you,” Jack Maynard demanded, beckoning the Chalet School headmistress over to the nearest window, and Hilda Annersley huffed a little as she obligingly came.

“I’m not an invalid, you know,” she declared crossly as the doctor ran keen eyes over her. “It’s years since the accident, and I’ve been perfectly all right ever since I came back.”

“That’s as may be. With a head injury like yours, it’s still better to err on the side of caution,” Jack returned readily, then smiled. “Still, I must say, for a woman who hasn’t had a scrap of holiday, you’re looking remarkably well. Better even than when I last saw you at the end of term. The air up here must be suiting you.”

At this the Head’s secretary, Rosalie Dene, looked up from the correspondence she’d been sorting through and chuckled.

“Oh, it’s not the air that’s suiting her, Jack.”

“You be quiet,” Hilda ordered, flushing a little as she escaped the doctor’s grasp and came away from the window. “Now, we’ve any amount to be getting on with here, and I’m sure you have things to see to at the San, so…”

“Of all the generous welcomes!” Jack exclaimed. “Oh, I don’t doubt all that’s true, but I had hoped to see the rest of you people before you consigned me to the San.”

“Health checks all round, I should hope, if we let you stay to dinner,” Hilda countered severely, and the doctor chuckled as he acquiesced.

“If it makes you feel better. Though the man’s a fool who wastes precious moving time on giving Nell Wilson a health check—and here she is!” he exclaimed as the sound of footsteps echoed down the passage. “Well, Nell! And how’s it all going?”

“We’re getting along very nicely, thank you,” the tall, prematurely white-haired lady who entered the room answered, accepting Jack’s hand for a shake. “How was your own journey?”

“Unremarkable, thank goodness,” he responded, sharp eyes noting the way Nell moved to Hilda’s side once she’d shaken hands. “Goodness only knows what kind of a time Jo and the children are having! Still, we’ll hear all about it in a week or so, no doubt—provided there’s enough of her left to tell the tale!”

“Oh, Jo will be fine,” Hilda said easily. “She might be a regular magnet for adventures, but she’s got the lives of a cat.”

“Irrepressible,” Nell agreed with a wry smile. “And I should know!”

“You should tease her with that one more often,” Rosalie cut in with a grin. “Whenever it comes up, she’s quick to blame Corney Flower. I never knew a bait to make her rise so fast.”

“Oh, will it indeed?” Nell grinned wickedly. “Thank you, Rosalie. I shall bear that in mind.”

“As if you needed any more ammunition against Jo,” Hilda scolded, shaking her head. “Well, Jack, it’s wonderful to see you, and you must stay to Mittagessen, but like I said, we’re up to our eyes. So either pitch in and help or make yourself scarce, for we haven’t the time to entertain you till mealtimes.”

“Such a loving reception!” Jack reiterated, eyes twinkling. “All right, Hilda. Set me to work and I’ll earn my feed. What do you need me to do?”

Hilda cocked her head to one side, considering. “Well, there’s the new beds to construct—you might make a start on that. Rosalie is busy in here, and Nell and I are seeing to the library. We sent Biddy down to Interlaken for the day—she’s been working flat out since we got here—and Matey and Jeanne went down with her to see about the curtains. Grace Nalder is counting folding desks into form rooms, so you’ll see her at Mittagessen if you don’t run into her beforehand.”

“A good little operation you’ve got going,” Jack said approvingly. He grinned suddenly. “I suppose you and Nell have been seeing to everything together?”

“We make a very good team,” Nell responded, very much on her dignity though she had missed the earlier part of his teasing.

He chuckled again now, nodding his head. “Oh, I don’t doubt it. You’re doing a marvellous job, Nell—far better than any tonic I could prescribe!”

With a cheeky wink, he turned on his heel and strolled out to deal with the beds, chuckling anew at the muffled coughs which followed him.

 




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