Title: Take Two
Disclaimer: Own nothing
Notes: Takes place through St. Trinian's II, keeping our favorite girls together and moving them forward. Might be a bit slow in places - sorry! Review if you like.
Many Happy Returns
The month of summer break passed achingly slow. Annabelle thought she'd never see students at St. Trinian's again. Her aunt had kept her quite busy, helping with the annual repairs, renovations and security installations that had to take place before a fresh year could begin. Just getting all the walls coated in fireproof paint was a five day process. She'd also made Belle spar with her daily and was constantly handing her some new book that she thought the girl might like. Annabelle knew Camilla was just trying to keep her distracted from Kelly's painfully obvious absence. She also knew her aunt was just as upset about her situation with Geoffrey Thwaites - she was even more rightfully heartbroken. They were both doing their best to maintain the infamous 'stiff upper lip and soldier on' attitude of all Fritton women. Only at night did they drop the charade, reclining in Camilla's studio with bottles of wine to commiserate over the miseries of the heart.
It was a relief to see the line of cars arriving Monday morning, filling in the drive. Finally. Life could get back to normal. Belle strode out to the main hall, watching as the busses, shuttles and taxis all warred for space - the poor commercial drivers being pressed into hedges and trees by the actual Trinian's girls' cars. Luggage was stacking quickly, creating perfect cover for the girls to have last minute snogs with boyfriends before they drove away.
All the new First Years had the stunned expressions of deer in headlights as older girls piled off busses, hockey sticks high and screaming battle cries. The few new girls who immediately jumped into the riot would fare well. The ones who hid behind their baggage would have to learn survival the hard way. At least one girl had already crawled under a bus. At first that might've been a bad sign until Belle realized she was cutting the brake lines. A natural.
Annabelle stayed in the relatively protected safety of the entryway, watching the three matching VW's force everyone else out of their path as they veered in synchrony into the drive. The Totties couldn't be distracted from applying their mascara in the rear view mirror. Chels had elevated Bella and Saffy to her wing-girls. The two blondes were like mini-Chelseas. Bianca - who'd inherited the Chav tribe from Taylor - had already managed to construct a makeshift stage of suitcases. Fifty Ipods at full volume blasted Kaiser Chiefs and the girls danced.
The mini cooper that sped into the grounds did an E-brake turn, black smoke filling the air around the tires as they spun to a dead halt. Tania and Tara leapt out, rejoicing at their new speed record. The Twins surveyed the chaos with an air of pride and gave quick orders to their tribe. They were now Second Form but that didn't change their supremacy over the primal First Years. It just doubled their ranks. The Second Form raced off, on a mission to debag every one of the new students and willing to involve duct tape and grappling hooks where necessary. Satisfied with the delegation, TnT ran over to Belle, both hugging her from either side.
"Annabelle!" the sweet voices chimed up at her and Fritton Jr. thought she might cry, so happy to have the deadly dynamos around again.
"Did you have a good summer?" Belle beamed down at them.
"Oh yes! Only caught twice!" they replied, "How's Kelly?"
"She's good," Belle chuckled at the eagerness in their voices, "She's off creating havoc for some good cause."
"Will she come say hello?" the hope in their faces was heartbreaking. Belle could barely stand to tell them she didn't even know where Kelly was, let alone whether she'd be able to come home to visit everyone.
"She will be here the first moment she's free. She thinks of us all the time." Belle assured sincerely. That was as much truth as she could offer and it seemed enough for the girls. The Twins nodded and raced off; their tribe had taken two taxi drivers hostage and they had some plans that involved vacuum hoses.
Belle withdrew deeper into the main hall, resting against the pillars as her emotions surged up like vomit. It hit home so hard, so fast. Kelly wasn't coming. Everyone else was back and there were happy reunions everywhere as all the girls returned but Kelly wasn't coming home. Without Kelly, it wasn't home for Belle. She sighed, rubbing her forehead and thinking of that conversation ages ago. It was the first week after Jones had left.
"What is this number, Kel? Where're you calling from?"
"Corner chemist. I'm working for the government now, Belle. First thing they do is bug your phone lines. You want them overhearing some of our chats?" the sultry voice replied playfully. Just the way her tone washed over Belle felt like sex.
"So I guess I can't call your cell when I'm in the bath?" Fritton teased, relaxing against her bed and imagining Kelly beside her again. She still slept on the same side of the bed, as though Jones might slip under the covers in the early morning as she had so many nights. She would've been thrilled to know that whatever bed Kelly slept in, she did the same.
"Not if you want to play nice. These aren't the sort of people that like outside attachments. Best not let them know I have any. Least of all someone like you."
"You mean a girl?" sadness warred with anger in her voice. Belle didn't plan on being anyone's dirty, little secret. Kelly's soft laugh came back over the line.
"Nah, that'd probably be a relief for them since they have such a time making the boys keep it in their pants. We just can't let on that I'll be bunking the occasional assignment or cutting corners to come see you. They want us married to the job."
"So how can I talk to you? Doubt you can pop to the chemist every day without them noticing." Belle felt like her tenuous grasp of Kelly was slipping ever further away. How were they going to stay in each other's lives if they couldn't even talk?
"You can still call, Belle. We just have to keep the chatter light. Anytime I've got a clear line I'll call. I promise. Most places I'm on assignment I can find net cafes. They don't know my account so they won't be watching online. Email me. Something good." she emphasized the last word with a little extra husk and Belle shivered. She was definitely going to cultivate some writing skills. Immediately.
"I miss you already." she murmured, hearing the answering sigh on the other end. She curled over onto her side, unconsciously tucking into fetal position.
"Me too, Belle," Kelly's voice hitched with emotion, "I'm going to be all over on jobs and tests but headquarters is still London. Soon as I get a spare day I'll be back out, I promise."
"I know." she nodded. They traded a few more affections before Kelly noticed the teller watching her suspiciously and she signed off.
Kelly had yet to find any spare time to come for a visit. But her emails were full of constant reassurances. Training wouldn't go on forever. Eventually she'd have time that wasn't sucked up in exercises, studies or tests. One day she'd be able to slip away and come home for a visit. For now they had to be happy with regular, superficial conversations on the cell. The occasional deep, sincere connection was always rushed with Kelly having escaped to a phone box for a few stolen moments. It was email that kept them sane, able to really share news, thoughts, memories and feelings without time limits or scrutiny. Belle just wished she could see Kelly's smile. The way her eyes danced and flashed when she was amused. Or smoldered when Belle's fingers grazed the tender skin just under her collar.
With the chaos on all sides (Posh Totties going berserk over some new girl, the Eco's already fighting with Flammables over their use of non-recyclable polyester, the Emo's arguing with the Geeks about having to put their coffins through the metal detector) Annabelle might've thought no one would see her slip away into herself, into the past. But her internal regression didn't go unobserved, Camilla having noticed from her office the way her niece had transitioned from happy excitement into nostalgic sadness so abruptly. Barely able to muster enthusiasm for her greeting to Beverly, she was off in her own little world. Fortunately, Fritton Sr. knew a way to cheer her up. The Headmistress had been saving one last surprise for Annabelle. Time to pull it out.
Summoning her niece into the office she proudly appointed her Head Girl, it was only right that a Fritton reign in St. Trinian's. She was a little surprised that it didn't seem to enliven the girl as she'd hoped, Belle took the news with a certain amount of surprise and goodly dose of trepidation. Oh dear. Camilla sighed. What had happened to the dauntless girl of last year? Had a month without Kelly Jones really cost her that much confidence? She seemed to have lost some fundamental piece of herself.
Pulling out the letter from Kelly she watched Belle's eyes light up, eager fingers already tearing it from the envelope as she left the office. Annabelle smiled as she imagined Kelly's own voice speaking the words of the letter to her. Of course, she'd known this letter would be read by the Headmistress and deliberately kept it professional - as she did with anything that went thru the post since her supervisors snooped it all. Belle smirked, wondering if Camilla had any clue that her own scrutiny of their correspondence was nothing compared to Big Brother.
She greeted the girls on the stair and went swiftly to her room. She felt a wash of relief, knowing she'd continue to sleep and live in the same space that held all her best memories. She wasn't sure how she might've coped had someone else moved into this room. Christ, Belle would kill herself if she had to spend her last year of school watching a Chav throw parties in the Head Girl room.
She sat on the bed, pulling the small penlight from her bra. The mini black light had arrived two weeks ago in a parcel with a most unusual courier. Flash had just grinned and winked as he handed it over, telling her Jones threatened to have his balls if he didn't deliver it post-haste. Her initial surge of jealousy that Flash Harry had seen Kelly was washed away as soon as she opened the letter. Kelly had devised the perfect work around for Big Brother's tendency to read all her post. She dropped any letters and parcels under a dumpster behind the Starbucks where she got her morning latte - throwing away some rubbish at the same time so any surveillance team wouldn't get wise. Once a week Flash would collect the bundle and bring it - in person - to Annabelle. His regular 'business' trips to London made him the ideal accomplice, and Kelly's indisputable power over the spiv made him a willing participant.
The UV light was for all the letters that came thru the usual post and therefore had to be censored. Belle turned off the room lamp and ran it over the page in her hands, seeing the words that Kelly had coated in a chemical ink pop out of the page.
Annabelle, I think about you. If you want me, call me.
She smiled, fingertip tracing over the words. She'd call Kelly tonight, fill her in on the new arrivals, say hi etc. They'd developed their own sort of routine already. She could count on at least 3 letters every week; two through the usual post and one with Flash. They spoke or texted on Kelly's cell every night, even if it was just to say hi and goodnight (which was about all they could say). On top of that, Kelly had made a point of calling Belle at least once a week, never at the same time or from the same number. Last week Annabelle was sure the 14-digit incoming call put Kelly somewhere in eastern Europe.
With the fresh strength of the words under her fingers Belle rose. She wasn't sure she was up to it, but it was time to take on St. Trinian's again.