After the drama of the last chapter I wanted to just write something entertaining. I don't know why I find this as funny as I do. I think it's sleep deprivation. This is the last of the interludes - no plot movement, just fun. Been really busy/stressed this last week so I hope the style hasn't suffered.
Zoe stumbled into the upper dorm, walking like a zombie; even more than usual. It was after class time so the sleeping area was alive with activity. The bustle and commotion might've been on fast forward as the Emo moved on like a somnambulist, oblivious to all sight and sound.
"Are you alright?" Beth looked up from her book of runes when Zoe sat heavily down on her bed, still staring into space. The tribe leader's eyes barely even flickered.
"Oi! Have you lot done something to her again?" a few of the other Emo girls got to their feet, realizing something was awry and immediately assuming the Chavs were behind it. The Rude Girls turned from their improvised musical performances, ready to delight in yet another round of conflict with their favorite enemies.
"Looks cabbaged to me. You get into the wrong formula again, did you?" Bianca smirked, waving a hand in front of Zoe's unblinking eyes.
"Nah, she's just been chatting with the dead and found out they think she's tit boring too!" Jess bumped fists with another Chav, laughing.
"Wait, I think there's something really wrong. Look." Roxie had been drawn by the scene. Chelsea joined her, arm draped over her shoulders as they both bent close to scrutinize Zoe's expression.
"She looks stoned to me. Just not as angry as usual." Bianca shrugged, cracking her gum as her final punctuation.
"She doesn't have any signs of concussion." Lucy had come over and shined a light in the contemplative eyes while checking her pulse.
"I know what's happened." Chels chimed innocently.
"Oh really? What, is her brain off with the star fairies like yours?" the Geek gave her a tired glance.
"No!" Chelsea pouted, then crossed her arms irritably, "You have that tracker on Kelly's bike. I bet if you check it'd ping up on the grounds here somewhere."
"'Ping up?' You mean register GPS coordinates?"
"It pings when it shows on your screen! I see the little blue dot and it goes ping!"
"Whatever." Lucy glanced over to her tribe and saw a faint nod confirming Kelly was indeed on campus somewhere. Her motorcycle was parked behind the garden shed. Smart location, she could've cut across the pitch behind the brush without the lookouts catching her. They never could spot her bike coming in since the former Head Girl knew over a dozen possible routes onto the property plus the exact timing and location of the watch shifts.
"What's Kelly got to do with Zoe being wazzocked?" Roxie sometimes felt that keeping up with conversations in this school was like tap dancing on ice. Chelsea was the only one who could answer and she savored the triumphant moment, eyes dancing as she looked at her waiting audience.
"Same thing happened to Andrea last year. She got that exact same look after being the first - and only - girl to see Kel and Belle having a moment in the laundry."
"Oi, I remember that! She looked like she might have to be spoon fed for the rest of her life. Major brain damage that!" Bianca popped her fingers.
"What, are they that sick? Or did they attack her for spying?" Roxie stared at Zoe's traumatized expression. No signs of bruises or cuts. Of course, there were plenty of weapons that wouldn't leave a mark; a brick of soap in a sock was a favorite amongst the younger girls.
"Andrea never said. When she snapped out of it she refused to talk. Pretended nothing ever happened." Chels shrugged one shoulder. There were some mysteries just too great for them to unravel. Everyone stared at Zoe, looking for some clue in the vacant face.
"Kay. If it's Kel and Belle it must be they're in the first floor hopper again."
"Nah, Tuesday is first floor cleaning day. They're in the private gym!"
"No ways, there's no lock. They'd only be there after midnight. Must be the larder."
"Someone in the kitchen would've heard. Second floor art closet!"
The suppositions bounced around the room as everyone posited a theory. Zoe didn't hear them. The lead Emo was completely internalized, trying to absorb and explain what had just happened. She knew her nights were about to get a lot more restless. The image of Belle behind Kelly, long fingers caressing her pale throat while she moved her lips over the skin of her neck would war with the memory of Kelly gripping Annabelle's slim wrist, guiding her hand. Both mental images would slip into her dreams where blood and death were supposed to be.
That wasn't what would keep her awake, though. No. She would be staring at the ceiling for nights to come remembering Kelly's smile. It shot straight through pleasure and out the other side to pure bliss. The beatific, euphoric expression that curled the corners of her mouth rocked Zoe to the core. She had never thought such a level of physical and emotional euphoria could be known, let alone seen. If that sort of ecstasy was possible in this world, maybe death wasn't the sweetest release in life.
Kelly shifted into 5th gear, enjoying the feel of the coastal highway coursing beneath her tires. She touched the remote for the coupe's stereo, releasing a blasting bass beat. Belle had sent her the latest tracks that the Banned of St. Trinian's was working on. Promising. With good music, blue sky and her engine smoothly humming at over 150 km/h, it was almost a perfect day. The only damper was the three cars ripping up the road behind her, bullets zinging off the paint.
"Would you get some distance?" Terri shouted, his torso twisted out the window to return fire. Kelly rolled her eyes. She rather hoped at least one of the morons chasing them was a decent shot and would nail her partner. She hadn't yet forgiven him for that episode with Belle last month. Stupid git.
She felt her jacket pocket vibrate as the opening notes of 'Love is a Many Splendored Thing' rang out. She smiled, shutting off the radio and feeling for her cell phone.
"You're answering? Now?" Terri paused his return fire long enough to stare at her in horror as the car swerved dangerously.
"Shuttup, Terri. And would you keep them off us? That last volley nicked my mirror!" Jones snapped right before thumbing the 'answer' button, "Belle! How are you, luv?"
"Bit of a . . . .here . . . .stupid slap- . . ." the answering voice was scythed with static. Jones frowned. What she could hear of Fritton's voice sounded stressed. She glanced at the clock and quickly calculated the time difference. It was barely 6 in the morning at St. Trinian's. The whole school should still be asleep. What could have the Head Girl up and worried so early?
"Belle, you're breaking up. Come again?" she veered to cut off one of the pursuers that had been trying to edge up.
"Chels' birthday . . . .all buggered -! . . .I was first to find. . . . Others don't know yet . . .gonna be piss-!" the few keywords that came through only made the confusion worse. Kelly scowled as Terri emptied his clip at the exact moment the line started to clear.
"Terri, you can't shoot worth a damn! Belle, I can't make you out, can you SMS?"
"What? Kel, . . .bad signal . . ."
"Can. You. SMS?" she repeated louder and more firmly. A barrage of fire hit their rear windshield, the bulletproof glass shrieking with ricochets.
"Kel! Have to . . ." the last of her words were cut off.
"Belle! Belle?" the line went completely dead and Kelly gritted her teeth, swallowing the surge of panic that was rising in her throat. What the hell was going on?
Two more shots ripped her side mirror off.
"Sod this!" Kelly shifted to 6th and slammed her foot to the floor. The convertible shot forward, a yelp announcing that the momentum had made Terri hit his face on the car. She watched their pursuers fall behind, caught off guard by the sudden burst of acceleration.
Pulling her weapon she kept one eye on the twisting road as she took aim at the two rear roof latches. Two clear shots blew the levers clean off. Terri shouted some confused protest, climbing fully back into the car as Kelly's fist punched upward, jettisoning the hardtop. The bulky metal flew backwards, skidding over the pavement and forcing the cars behind to swerve. The first wasn't quick enough and the collision forced them into the barrier rail. The other two veered, too preoccupied with avoiding a crash to watch Kelly pull a 180 turn.
"Think you can hit 'em now?" she demanded of Terri as she burnt rubber, racing straight towards the two remaining cars. Her partner just grinned and matched her bullet for bullet as they both emptied their clips at the astonished enemies. Kelly hit one of the drivers and smirked in satisfaction as the unmanned auto crashed into the last car, locking them both in a spin of screeching metal and shattering glass before hitting the cliff wall.
Kelly slowed to a stop alongside the carnage. Terri scanned the wreckage, satisfied there had been no survivors. Jones' phone vibrated once with a message. The words brought a line of worry to her forehead.
Crisis. Come home.
"Right, tell Polly to get the jet ready. Let's get that bloody chip turned over so we can get the hell out of here." Kelly slammed the car into reverse, spun it round and peeled off down the scenic highway once more. The smoking patch of rubber was destroyed when the crashed cars both exploded.
Belle sat on a bench in the upper hall, watching the mayhem and chewing her fingernail. It had been nearly five hours since that failed attempt to call Kelly. The situation had definitely deteriorated.
"Damn it! Open the bloody doors!"
Annabelle winced as yet another resounding thud drove a spike into her headache.
The last hour had been especially hectic as only around 10 am did St. Trinian's truly wake up.
"Strongest we have." Zoe drifted up alongside her, extending a handful of painkillers. The Emos always had the widest variety of drugs and she trusted Zoe to pick out something appropriate. Even Anoushka used their pain pills for her hangovers. Belle gratefully tossed down three of the tablets.
"Right! Cavalry's here!" Bianca raced into the corridor shouting, making Belle nearly choke. She forced herself to finish swallowing, despite the stabbing pain, before turning on the Chav. The lead Emo had quicker reflexes.
"What, you think your tongs are gonna fix this?" Zoe hissed, baring her teeth.
"You're just scared of what I could do with 'em," Bianca shot back, "Specially to you. Besides, I didn't mean me. Lookout picked up Kelly's bike tearing through the village."
Belle smiled, feeling the muscles in her shoulders start to relax for the first time since dawn. Thank God for SMS. She grabbed her radio and opened the channel.
"You can't stay in there forever!"
"Tania, are your girls in position yet?" she demanded as she got to her feet.
"Almost, Belle." the young voice crackled back to her.
"Well once they are tell them to wait. It's a last resort. Tara," she turned to the other half of the deadly duo, "Same to you. Hold for my signal."
"Yes, Belle." they both gave their reply, still in perfect stereo even when they weren't in the same room. Annabelle ran from the hall, racing to St. Trinian's front entry just as a whirlwind of dust and tire smoke heralded Kelly's spinning stop. The spy jumped off the motorcycle without even bothering to set the kickstand, rushing forward to catch Belle as the younger girl leaped into her arms.
"Christ, Belle! What's happened?" Jones held her tight, urgently checking her over for signs of injury, abuse or disease. Fritton just laughed in relief as she clung to Kelly's black leather.
"I'm fine, Kel, really. It's not me." Belle reassured, seeing the worry etched in the older girl's expression. Kelly blinked a few times, processing. She'd spent the last 5 hours in transit and debriefing, unable to get through to Belle; her mind spinning out worst-case scenarios of escalating horror with each passing hour.
It took a minute for reality to sink in. Gradually her brain wrapped around the fact that Belle was ok. Which meant nothing all that bad could be happening. She let herself relax, loosening her panicked grip to more languid embrace. A deep breath brought back her coy, playful poise.
"So why'd you pull me from half way around the world? That desperate to perv my ass?" Kelly teased. She found it endlessly amusing that Belle's eyes were always glued to her anatomy, particularly when she thought Jones wasn't watching. The girl was always inventing excuses to fall behind when they were walking together, enjoying the view for a few yards before catching up.
"You think you'd still be dressed if I was after your ass?" Annabelle arched one brow, darting her tongue over her lower lip. Damn. She does that on purpose. Jones' eyes automatically flickered to the moistened gloss. The dark, glistening shade suggested the flavor of some rich berry or wine. Belle knew that Kelly's weakness was her mouth. For every minute the young brunette spent staring at Jones' shapely backside she knew the spy lost just as much or more time watching her lips. Anytime she wanted attention all she had to do was nibble on her pen; guaranteed results in less than two minutes.
Before Kelly could retort (or succumb to the temptation to taste Belle's lip color) a loud cracking noise from the first floor dragged her eyes upward. There was some loud shouting followed by someone hurling a length of wood beam out the window. It landed a few feet from the girls and Kelly could see it had split right down the middle. It looked to have once been the top of a sideboard.
"That would be the crisis?" Jones noted that there was industrious silence from above them.
"Part of it." Belle nodded. The loud thudding noises resumed.
"Best fill me in." Kelly shook her head. St. Trinian's girls were always coming up with such inventive ways to create pure hell. Belle led her to the relative safety of an alcove just off the main entry, from here even the noises of the siege overhead were dampened.
"Last night was Chelsea's birthday party, her 18th. It was quite the blow out, really spectacular! Now, you remember what she gets like when she's been drinking?"
"Vividly." Jones nodded. After three drinks Chels started to suffer from an excess of sincerity. At the five drink mark she felt compelled to express all her emotions to anyone in the vicinity. Past seven drinks she was officially leathered and wholly believed it was a good idea to start revealing secrets. Only her own but it still got quite awkward.
"She was well pissed last night. She makes a grab for Miss Dickinson and announces she's fancied her for ages and figures now she's 18 she can finally have a go at her favorite teacher. Then bang on kisses her."
"Bloody hell." Kelly groaned, passing a hand over her eyes.
"Good one too, I think Dickinson was too stunned to do anything. By the time Roxie spotted the debacle Chels had her tongue halfway down the woman's throat. Instead of being smart and realizing the Totty was 3 sheets to the wind, she gets all t'd off and retaliates by grabbing Miss Maupassant for a snog."
"Brilliant." Jones' eyes rolled heavenward. Not half an ounce of common sense between the two.
"Now Chels is angry too, starts shouting at Roxie cause what she did was totally wrong. After all, Chelsea genuinely has liked Dickinson for ages but Roxie was just being childish. Or so she says. This escalates to them both yelling at each about how they can kiss whoever they like."
"Oh no." Kelly knew that wasn't the sort of phrase you wanted to be throwing around in a party of drunk St. Trinian's.
"Bianca overhears and immediately says that with Chelsea's experience she could snog her way through the entire school before Roxie even finished the 6th form. Suddenly the bets are flying and those two are so drunk they're up for any game. It was well on 3 and everyone was toe-up before Chels was officially declared the winner. She managed to kiss every single person at the party. Besides Aunty and me," Belle quickly amended when she saw Kelly's eyes narrow, "She sort of won by default because everyone was too drunk to keep counting and nobody could find Roxie."
"Doesn't sound so terrible. Bit over the top for Posh Totty but hardly deserves the 'crisis' label."
"No, the crisis came this morning when I found Roxie. She was under the billiards table. Naked. With Harriet." Belle winced at the memory. The two had obviously passed out together but at what stage in their interactions was hard to gauge. The darker skinned girl was hard to recognize with her hair down and glasses missing.
"That's when you called me."
Annabelle nodded. Her loud attempt at conversation with Kelly nearly woke the two girls. She'd gone to find help but in the meantime a couple First Years and Geeks (who were always up all night) discovered the tryst and immediately told the whole school. The parts of it that were already awake, anyway. This led to a large number of passed out and hung-over students being forcibly awakened and dragged from bed.
Roxie was only just waking up when Chelsea stormed into the room in her raging, morning-after glory. The rocker didn't even have time to process where she was or what had happened. Chelsea just decked her (a proper right hook) and screamed 'Did it have to be a bloody Geek?' before she stormed out. That was the last anyone had heard her speak.
"So the noise you're hearing is Roxie trying to break through to the music room where Chelsea and the Posh Totty have barricaded themselves." Belle felt like her heartbeat had synchronized to the rhythmic thumping. She'd forbidden the use of explosives - much to the Sopranos disappointment - so Roxie had enlisted the Chavs to pick the lock. Unfortunately, the Totty had used all the furniture in the room to blockade the entrance so that even without the lock the doors wouldn't budge. The blondes weren't always terribly bright but they were experts at securing total privacy. Hence the battering ram. Those doors had withstood German invasion. Belle doubted the siege team was going to make serious headway.
"And that other noise?" Jones had picked up a secondary, background sound reminiscent of a cat being dragged through the guts of an amplifier.
"The one that sounds like Jimmi Hendrix and Satan fighting? That's Chelsea in the music room destroying Roxie's guitars."
"Where's your aunt in all this?"
"She's in a bit of a strop. Geoffrey was at the party as well and got hold of a few bottles. He ended up on Chelsea's score list."
The last Belle had see of her aunt she was in the anger management classroom. She and Cleaver were shooting the eyes out of silhouettes that had Thwaites' face pasted on. Matron was also there, supplying them with fresh rounds of ammo and cocktails.
"Right," Kelly nodded, pursing her lips as she tallied all the facts before reaching a conclusion and getting to her feet, "Best show me what you plan to do, Head Girl."
Annabelle nodded, rising to her feet and smoothing her skirt. She straightened her blouse before taking a moment to comb her fingers through her hair. She wouldn't commence until everything was just right.
"Stage one." she announced, before grabbing Kelly and kissing her. Hard.
"I love how your mind works." Jones gasped for breath when she was finally released for air. Her hands had instinctively threaded into Belle's hair, hanging onto the silken strands.
"I've been thinking all morning about how wonderful you are. Thank you for coming so soon." Belle blushed a little. Or it might have just been the heat of the kiss.
"Maybe we should let them keep fighting so you can fully appreciate me." Jones' grin accompanied a salacious wink, bringing a throaty laugh from the other girl.
"I'm a bit worried the school would get burned to the ground while I'm busy expressing my gratitude. Come on." Belle wrapped a hand around Kelly's wrist and tugged her upstairs.
In the corridor outside the music room Roxie (sporting a shiner around her left eye) had an army of musicians slamming an empty armoire into the sealed doors of the music room. They were definitely making progress, a few inches of daylight visible through the doors where they had separated. Kelly sighed and hung back a little, keeping hold of Belle's hand to stop her stepping into the middle of an arse-load of trouble.
"You really want to get in the middle of this? We could just let nature take its course. Survival of the fittest after all." Jones suggested, cocking one skeptical eyebrow.
"I have to, Kel. I'm Head Girl; and I was far more supportive of your duties back when it was your job."
"You once tied me up with your brassiere!"
"Which was designed for extra comfort and support." Belle smirked and dragged the resistant spy into the war zone.
"Chelsea! Chels will you just come out and talk?" Roxie was shouting between each strike. The only answer was another episode of screaming notes and crashes as a guitar died.
"Ooh," Saffy's voice sang out from behind the doors, "I think that was the Martin!"
"Parker! Damn it, stop!" Roxie screamed, choking back a sob. Whether she was crying over Chelsea or the guitars was a mystery.
"Please tell me that isn't what we're like." Kelly grimaced at the spectacle.
"What, you two?" Bianca looked up from her Ipod, "Nah. You birds are the happy, deadly, shag bunnies. This lot are like the flippin' Gaza Strip!"
Zoe, from the other side of the room, nodded her agreement of the assessment. All the tribe leaders were either in this hallway or in the nearby area, an unfailing instinct for a bit of theater and gossip holding them all in place no matter the threat.
"Where's Harriet?" Kelly finally remembered the other victim in this fiasco.
"Soon as she was awake enough to realize what happened she started smashing computers and the Geeks had to pin her down. She's under heavy tranquilizers right now. I think the rest of The Banned are with her."
Jones nodded. It was an amazing phenomenon: the Banned of St. Trinian's. The first ever crew of girls able to cross tribal lines for the sake of a greater love. Eco, Chav, Emo and Geek; they all put the music first.
"Belle! Would you talk to her? Get her to come out of there!" Roxie grabbed Annabelle's arm, dragging her towards the door. Kelly slid to a spectator's distance, keen to watch how Fritton would handle this catastrophe. Even though the younger girl had called her for help, Jones didn't doubt for a moment that she already had a plan and was fully in charge.
"Why? She can hear you just fine." Belle pulled away from the grasp and maintained a total poker face. The Head Girl knew instinctively that of all the things the rocker had been shouting, an apology wasn't on the list. That was the one thing Chelsea might actually hear.
"What? Like I'm the only one that has something to say? She started the whole thing! She's in a snit and I don't even know what happened!"
"She found you naked with another girl. Seems pretty obvious."
"I was bloody pissed! She was still close to sober when she started snogging everyone with a pulse!"
"So you slept with Harriet for revenge?"
"I don't remember! Are you even listening?" Roxie threw her hands up.
"The Fender! Shame, it really is so pretty." Saffy's voice interrupted right before another chorus of tortured notes and crunching wood ricocheted from behind the door.
"You crazy slag! Stop it!" Roxie slammed both hands into the door. Her knuckles were bruised from hitting the walls and her palms were raw and chafed from gripping the wood. Even her voice - powerful from years of practice singing at full volume - was hoarse and cracking. Belle met Kelly's eyes. There was no way these two were going to work it out like this. They weren't even at the stage of miscommunication yet.
"Rox, this has to stop. You have to calm down!" Belle made a grab for the musician but found herself angrily shoved away.
"What do you know? You think seeing your bird once a month makes you some expert?" the blonde snarled and went back to pounding on the door. Kelly bristled at the comment but refused to show her irritation. She just really, really didn't like this girl. Belle was more practiced at ignoring Roxie's random insults. Over the past months they'd actually developed a decent friendship, it was just that her anger tended to scatter over a wide area like birdshot.
"Right, Sopranos?" Belle called out, certain her voice would carry to the ears awaiting orders, "Get her."
At once a flood of tiny students burst into the corridor, tackling Roxie to the ground and swarming over her. From the noises beyond the door Kelly could tell a similar invasion force had launched in through the windows and taken Chelsea and the rest of the Totty down. Roxie cursed as she fought, trying to get clear of the dozens of bodies pinning her limbs. The loud scraping sound of furniture being dragged across wood accompanied the barricade being dismantled and in a matter of minutes the massive double doors fell open. The triumphant First Years scrambled from the room, a captive Chelsea held aloft.
"The meat locker should be perfect now. Double time." Belle snapped her fingers, urging the girls along. Roxie was hoisted into the air as well and writhed in midair as they obediently trotted her downstairs after Chelsea's captors. Kelly sauntered to Belle's side, joining her to walk lazily down the stairs in the wake of the blitz.
"The meat locker?" her brow twitched up in question.
"Lucy dropped the temperature a few more degrees. Can't be stubborn when you're about to freeze." Belle shrugged. This would be resolved one of two ways: the girls would talk and sort things out to gain release OR they'd decide to combine body heat, which would inevitably lead to an equally satisfactory resolution.
"Diabolical little mastermind, you are." Kelly nodded in admiration, looping an arm around her waist.
"Just like you hoped." Belle smirked. They paused in the kitchen to peer in the window to the walk-in meat freezer. Chelsea and Roxie were glowering at each other but with their own breath turning to vapor before their eyes the hate was losing steam, literally.
"Ten quid says they get frostbite in there before they come 'round!" Bella waved a note in the air as a throng of students followed the miniature soap opera into the kitchen.
"Nah, I bet 20 they're shagging in less than 5 minutes!" Bianca shook her head. The First Years were already clearing off the butcher's block to set up a betting counter. Esme and Jemima were writing up the odds, using mustard stained fingers and the stainless steel surface of the freezer door. The Sopranos smiled as St. Trinian's returned to its usual business.
"Did you intend to stick around and supervise?" Kelly's fingers were teasing the sensitive skin of Belle's neck, right above her collar where it made the hair tingle.
"You have another idea?" she forced her voice to stay even despite the shivers running down her spine.
"I thought we might resume our conversation about how wonderful I am." she spoke low, both to keep the other girls from hearing but also for the effect on Belle. There was a particular register that made every inch of her skin flush. The other girls were all too busy laying bets and watching the scene in the freezer anyway.
"You're utterly wicked." Belle sighed, turning towards the familiar feel of breath on her skin. She wondered if everyone in the room could hear her heartbeat or it was only loud in her own veins.
"Just what you like." Jones winked. Belle surrendered with a laugh, ordering Lucy to keep charge as Kelly pulled her from the room.