It was the night after the morning before and the Minister for Education was a broken man. On the table in front of him was a half-empty bottle of whiskey: he had long ago forsaken the glass tumbler next to it.
"I don't know how she did it." He muttered. "How did that blasted woman set it up so perfectly, Darling?"
"I don't know, Sir." The pale man sighed heavily, and reached for the tumbler. Geoffrey slapped his hand away.
"I mean, how did she know that the press would be there? How did she make me open –" He took a swig from the whiskey bottle.
"The headlines were full of it, Sir. 'Education Minister Geoffrey Thwaites reveals all,' is the front page of the Times. 'Up front and personal with Thwaites' in the Mail. The Sun is calling you the worst page three model of all time." Alistair Darling quickly turned a stifled chuckle into a cough. It would not do to be caught laughing at his boss at this particular moment in time. Geoffrey groaned in response, and took yet another swig from his bottle.
"Something needs to be done about her, Darling." Geoffrey clunked the bottle down. "And those wretched students of hers. You know, they – oh!" He stopped short of admitting to Alistair that he knew that the girls of St. Trinian's had somehow both stolen and returned the 'Girl with the Pearl Earring' to the National Gallery from under the very noses of Geoffrey and the security guards. It was embarrassing enough that they had managed to beat Cheltenham Ladies in the final of that TV show and that he had been caught in a tryst with Camilla than admit that as well. He glugged another mouthful from his bottle.
"It can't survive, you know?" Geoffrey muttered. "It can't – Darling…"
Alaistair twitched. Even talking about the school was enough to set off his poor nerves, which were growing steadily worse as his boss's torment became more and more evident.
"How are we going to shut them down, though, Sir? They have at least £50,000 in the bank, as well as school fees.
"No…No, it simply cannot be allowed. That school cannot be allowed to survive." Geoffrey spoke with fervour, feverishly running his hand through his thinning hair. He would not stand to see that school, those girls, that – that Camilla! – win the day. Not after that.
"I'm going to find a way to stop them, Darling," he muttered, and drained the last of the whiskey from the tumbler.
"Yes we will…" Verity, peeping around the doorframe, clenched her fists. St. Trinian's was going down.