(A/N: Here's the last chapter... I hope you like it, and please please review! It means so much. Much love to those who have done already!)
12. Mother Mother
Can you hear me?
I'm just calling to say hello
How's the weather?
How's my father?
Am I lonely?
"Yes, Mum… Of course… Yes, I'm keeping up with all my schoolwork, not getting too distracted…" Celia winked at Anoushka as she listened to her mother prattling on down the phone line. It was an agreement of theirs; she would call once a month, and in return her school fees and allowance would be paid, no questions asked. Of course, they both knew she was never entirely honest; everyone knew of the school's fearsome reputation. But as long as she made some pretence at normality, the setup worked just fine for both of them.
"Yes… How's Dad?... Good, good… I miss him too… Boys? No, nothing like that! This is a girls' school, after all!" She began to giggle, hoping her mother would join in, and she did, right on cue. Something in her knew that she should break the news now, give her mother time to deal with it, but why spoil the illusion?
Can you hear me?
Yeah, I'm sober
Sure, I'm sane
Life is perfect
Still your daughter
Still the same
When they had both stopped laughing, she began to volley the questions once again. "Yes, I'm being a good girl… (oh, the irony!)… The teachers keep an eye on all of that. No, I'm perfectly happy here… you should see the head girl!"
She had finally reached the stage where she could bring Kelly into the conversation, even make reference to her, without feeling her heart constrict. It had taken months, and Anoushka, but now she counted herself well and truly over her ex-girlfriend. They were on good terms now. The four of them went around, almost like a gang. The school joke was that Taylor would be the next to hook up with someone; a rumour which she strongly denied, of course. Life was good.
If I tell you what you wanna hear
Will it help you to sleep well at night?
Are you sure that I'm your perfect dear?
Now just cuddle up and sleep tight
But there had been an aim to this call. She had something to say, something that she'd been avoiding for a long time. Her friends had finally cajoled her into coming clean about what she really got up to on weekends. Well, not the graphic details, but the basic gist of it.
"Yes, yes… Mum? Before you go, there's something I need to tell you… no, I'm not pregnant! What do you take me for? No, it's not that… Mum, I've got a girlfriend."
In the pause that followed, she made her voice sound as cheery as possible.
"So, it's all good! Talk to you next month! Bye!"
She hung up, fingers trembling. Somehow it wasn't as scary as she'd feared. She always phoned home off the school payphone, which handily blocked incoming calls, so it would be another month before she'd have to face the consequences. And she guessed that if her mum hadn't chucked her out when she'd discovered her growing marijuana on the roof, she wouldn't throw too much of a hissy fit over her less-than-heterosexual status.
She walked over to where Anoushka was leaning languidly against the wall. "Well, I did it! Let's celebrate."
Her girlfriend swung an arm around the shorter girl's shoulders as they strolled off down the corridor. Celia grinned. Anoushka was so much taller than her, and she did little to help the situation by insisting on wearing stilettos so high Celia fell over when she just put them on.
Her Russian accent broke into her reverie.
"How did she take it?"
A sigh. "I didn't exactly… stick around to find out."
The famous folded arms, blocking her path. "I am ashamed of you. Is not good etiquette."
Another sigh, and hands running through tousled blonde hair. "Please, Anoushka. I don't need this right now. Give her a month, she'll calm down, come round to the idea."
A stony gaze regarding her for a moment. "I have to trust you, I suppose." Then lips on hers, kissing her forcefully, tasting not unpleasantly of vodka and lipstick. "Come on, little one. We go to see Kelly."
Grinning, Celia took her hand and let herself be half-pulled through the maze of corridors to the head girl's room. No doubt the four of them could have a little celebration. Kelly would have something for them to get thoroughly pissed on.
When they stopped outside the dark door, it was obvious at once that their friend was not alone. Certain noises that Celia recognised only too well were faintly audible. It didn't stop Anoushka from knocking, however, a sadistic smile on her face.
"Who is it?"
Kelly's voice – slightly breathless, perhaps, or was it just Celia's imagination?
"It's us, Kel," she called out, in answer. Somehow she could see Kelly smiling already, before Anoushka had pushed the door open, before they had seen Kelly lying on the bed, Annabelle (looking suspiciously topless) sitting across her waist, and both looking at the other couple with lazy half-smiles of content and mischievousness.
Kelly, of course, was the first one to break the silence.
"Well don't just stand there like lemons, any first year could walk past!"
She grinned, partly to show she was joking, and partly because of the words that followed.
"Come on in and join the fun."
And neither Celia nor Anoushka needed any encouragement at all.