The girls debated – well, argued might be a more precise description – long into the night about where they would go with the money. Well, actually, two girls argued. Fought. Now Andrea was asleep at one end of the dormitory, missing several pink extensions. Taylor, sporting a black eye, was curled in her bed at the opposite end to Andrea, quite contentedly clutching a fist full of bubblegum coloured hair. The other girls slept, or sprawled on their beds, chatting quietly lest they woke the warring sixth formers, or gambling in their tight packs.
The relative peace, though, was shattered by a loud gasp followed by the gasp of, "Kelly? Kelly! Come here, quickly." It was Polly.
Leisurely, Kelly extracted herself from the fifth year emos she had been scolding for getting involved in Andrea's fighting. With a final point of her finger, and a dead-eyed glare that she reserved for those who annoyed her, Kelly moved over to the Geeks' section of the dorm, where she found Polly, pale-faced and pacing.
"What's up, Pol?" Kelly looked with interest at the various computer projections on the dorm walls. "Stock market taken a plunge?"
"No, Kelly. Worse. Way worse." Polly replied, spinning the Head Girl to look at her computer. "You're going to want to sit down," she muttered.
"What am I – oh!" Kelly fell silent as she quickly scanned the news article Polly had left open on her laptop. "Holy sh-" she breathed as she finished.
"We're doomed, aren't we?" Polly was still pacing. "This is it. No more Oxford. No Harvard. No prospects. I'm going to end up stacking shelves and eating microwave burgers every night."
"That's if you're lucky," Kelly replied grimly. If the police read the clues – and Kelly was sure that they would – the girls would be lucky if any of them saw the light of day for at least ten years. And those that'd be fingered as ringleaders – her and Polly included – would face longer than that.
"What are we going to do?" Polly asked, wringing her hands.
"We're going to tell the others." Kelly stood up abruptly. "OY!" She whistled piercingly, and at once, the girls stopped and looked over at her. "Girls, I need you to clear out for a bit. We need to figure out what's going on. And when there's a plan, we'll tell you, right?"
There were a few discontented mutterings, and not for the first time did Kelly wonder if she'd handled the situation well. But, it was done. Slowly, the girls filtered out, until she and Polly were left alone with the Posh Totty, Celia, the twins and Annabelle.
"Time to wake 'em up," Kelly headed for Taylor's bed, ready to hold the angry chav back from battering the emo, whilst Celia woke Andrea. Soon, all eleven girls were crowded around the computer.
"What's going on?" Andrea asked, fairly certain that this was about the fight.
"Yeah. Hurry up, Kel," Taylor whined. "There's a fat stink here and I wanna go."
"Oh yeah?" Andrea leaned forward, and coughed, hard, in Taylor's direction, before exhaling as hard as she could. "Enjoy." She grinned sweetly.
"Shut up!" Kelly glared at Andrea even as Celia put a warning hand on the emo's shoulder to push her back into her seat. "We've got a problem."
"Yeah, and I've got it's hair," Taylor shot a spiteful look at Andrea.
"Taylor! Last time!" Kelly was growing exasperated.
Taylor rolled her eyes, and muttered a swear word under her breath. Kelly glared at her for a moment, before turning back to the laptop.
"Right, girls. Listen. Last night, the Millenium Diamond, the largest diamond in the world, was stolen from the British Museum, where it was on show as part of a special exhibition."
"So?" Chelsea asked. "Why are you getting your panties in a twist about that?"
"Because of what the police have found at the scene." Kelly glanced at the laptop again. "Polly's hacked into the police report. A long, pink hair. A gold stud earring – heart shaped." Andrea and Taylor glanced at one another.
"I lost my other gold heart ages ago," Taylor whispered. Kelly lifted a warning finger.
"A red lipstick – it was found in the bin, apparently – and, just to tie it all together, a fragment of black and white material – a tie end, perhaps."
"O. M. G." The Posh Totty performed their hand gestures, perhaps without actually realizing what they were doing.
"So that's us," Andrea slumped back in her seat.
"And once they get us three, they'll finger you lot too." Taylor added, glaring defiantly at Annabelle and the Posh Totty.
"But who?" Chloe asked. "How?"
"Only one person I can think of with a grudge against us," Annabelle bit her lip. "I'll go and tell Auntie."
"Buggeration." Camilla's favourite phrase echoed around the art studio, causing several pigeons, which had settled on the windowsills, to start, which in turn made Annabelle jump.
"A firstie's art project," Camilla explained, gesturing with her paint brush.
"Never mind that, Auntie. What are we going to do?"
"Well, we can't go on holiday anyway," Camilla went back to her painting, carefully painting a shadow down the crack of the Minister for Education's buttocks.
"Who would try to frame us though?" Annabelle pressed.
"Well…" Camilla dipped her paint brush into a jar of water.
"You think it's Daddy, don't you?" Annabelle's voice was filled with rage.
"Actually, dear, your father has brains no bigger than a flea. Dear old Carnaby couldn't pull off a scam like this."
Annabelle sighed in relief. "Then who…?"
"Come on, girlie, use your nonce." Camilla tapped Annabelle's forehead with the handle of her paint brush. "Who hates us? Who wants us closed down? Who wants revenge on the both of us?"
"Geoffrey Thwaites," Annabelle breathed. "Of course. What are we going to do now?"
"Do? What can we do?" Camilla peered again at her painting, and dipped her brush once more into the black paint to carefully forge the signature on the bottom. "We must simply wait, my girly. Watch and wait."