Last chapter. Finally. It's near 2 am and took me most of the night to write, review and edit. Hope the end product is worth the effort.
Silent Too Long
"Is it just me," Belle's fingers stroked idly through black hair, "Or are we actually getting clumsier with practice?"
Kelly lifted her head an inch from Annabelle's stomach and gazed around the destroyed Head Girl's room. (The room having been destroyed, not the Head Girl). The devastated quarters did rather look like a natural disaster with ADD had ripped through.
"It wasn't me that tore down the curtain rod." Kelly pointed out, resuming her relaxed position. She liked feeling the rhythmic flow of Belle's breathing beneath her head. She was starting to understand why Annabelle liked to fall asleep on her chest. There was something so incredibly soothing about the feel of another's breath.
"Well, I'm not the one that kicked over the floor lamp." the younger girl chuckled. Jones tilted her eyes up. Yes, the lamp was indeed sideways, crashed against the desk and the bulb guttering with gasps for life. She had a vague recollection of her foot colliding with something in that general vicinity.
"I don't throw things." Kelly retaliated, gesturing lazily towards a wall where a pillow had hit the collection of hanging pictures. One had been knocked down and the other two were skew. She was pretty sure that was from when her mouth had found the weak spot on Belle's ribcage. Recalling the magic location Kelly began trailing her lips across the naked skin of Annabelle's stomach, counting up the ribs.
"You kick." Belle laughed and pulled Kelly up to her face. There was no denying it had been Kelly that booted the desk chair over, then sent it shooting across the floor into the closet where it wreaked havoc on the shoe hangar.
"Would you prefer we switched to more sedate activities?" Jones' eyebrow arched playfully, bringing her lips within the distance of a kiss before pulling back. Belle hated being teased.
"Not a chance! I'm just surprised we didn't break the bloody window this time!" Annabelle laughed, both hands tangled in Kelly's black bob to pull her into a kiss.
"We still have the whole afternoon." Jones grinned when they separated. To date they'd broken the window of the Head Girl's room 27 times. Granted, the first 15 times were hardly their fault because the single pane glass was so thin. The ensuing dozen were more spread out and tended to relate to rather specific episodes of intensity. It was hardly their fault that a flung bottle could break through glass so easily. The Headmistress had recently told Annabelle that if the window was broken once more she was replacing it with bullet resistant glass. That would make for a fun challenge.
"Think Roxie and Chels have worked things out?" Belle wondered as Kelly slid into a comfortable position alongside her.
"They better had. Otherwise Matron is going to have to do some frostbite treatments. Maybe losing a few fingers would calm Roxie down. Is she always so difficult?" Jones wrapped her arms around Belle and pulled her close.
"As though she's the only problem! Chelsea is just as bad!" Annabelle quickly pointed out. She knew Kelly tended to take the Totty's side after being friends so many years.
"Right, the blind leading the blonde. Those two are a dangerous combination." Kelly sighed in irritation.
"You just don't like Roxie." the current Head Girl smiled faintly, reading between the lines of her lover's words.
"She's got two strikes on her, Belle. I see her come at you once more and she's not walking away." Kelly growled, thinking of the antagonistic rocker.
Annabelle chuckled, flattered and amused by this protective streak. As if she'd ever be in danger from any St. Trinian! She was in the process of kissing such thoughts out of Kelly's mind when the spy's cell phone went off. Old song too: Dreams in Digital. Belle lunged for the phone on the nightstand, knowing exactly who it was. Kelly caught her wrist, struggling to wrest the iPhone away. They wrestled across the bed, trying to pry control of the phone away from each other.
"Polly! How are you?" Belle greeted breathlessly, her body half off the bed and upside down before she managed to answer the call.
"Well enough, Belle. Mind, every time Kelly takes off I have to spend more time listening to Terri waste oxygen. He's the first tosser I've known that killed his laptop with STDs." the familiar voice of the red-headed Geek came back over the line. Polly tended to skip both preamble and context, as if everyone already had such information from the cloud.
"How's that?" Belle continued to fight Kelly away, the former Head Girl draped over her and still trying to steal the phone back.
"Caught too many viruses from bad porn sites. Completely fried his hard drive." Polly elaborated with a sigh of exasperation.
"Can't be long before he does the same in the real world too." Belle laughed. Polly and Kelly were completely united in their distaste for Terri. It often amazed Annabelle that the man survived any mission with the two girls since it would be so easy for a couple of St. Trinian's graduates to arrange for an unfortunate accident.
"Let's hope. Is Kelly there? Wait, I know she's there, obviously. Is she available?" Polly corrected herself quickly. She'd once made the mistake of simply asking for Kelly and being provided with the sound effects of a moment far too intimate to be shared.
"Kelly is here but currently indisposed. I can take a message." Belle lied with aplomb, earning a whispered insult and further grappling as she kept the phone away from the spy's grabbing hands.
"Tell her we have a new mission and if I don't see her bike moving towards home base in the next hour I'm coming with reinforcements. Nice chatting with you, Belle." Polly stated firmly before closing the line
Always another mission. Annabelle sighed as she pulled herself upright and back onto the bed. There's never enough time! She chucked the phone aside before cuddling against Kelly. Or maybe no amount of time will ever be enough. She'd only come back for an emergency, true. It was just that once Belle had the dark beauty here, it was so much harder to let her go again.
"How long do I have?" Kelly inquired, recognizing the sadness in the touch of Annabelle's fingers on her skin.
"Less than an hour." Belle admitted, brow furrowed as her eyes looked down. Kelly paused, contemplating the timetable, the costs and the expression on her lover's face.
"That means at least two before she comes to get me." Jones grinned, tugging the happily surprised Head Girl back to the mattress.
Annabelle glared at her laptop screen. Clicking 'refresh' on her email page produced the same 20 second ripple of anticipation only to hit the same crushing defeat: no new messages. It was starting to feel like a personal insult.
No new messages
Polly's last invasion to snatch Kelly back to the real world had been entertaining. Usually she made a dangerous or noisy entrance; fast cars, caravans of equipment trucks, a military hummer, at least once she parachuted down. This last time she'd just pulled Kelly's car into the drive, stomped into the main hall and announced she had Terri in the rear seat and would release him into the school if Jones wasn't in front of her in less than 5 minutes.
No new messages
The Geek had secretly been hoping Kelly would resist. Then she could release Terri into the nearest pack of First Years and they'd be free of him forever. Sadly, Kelly had preferred to not let Terri anywhere near Belle ever again. He knew the younger girl had plans involving a rubber band and very sharp knife. Polly had blindfolded the git in the backseat so Kelly could kiss Annabelle goodbye on the front step.
Of course, any kiss goodbye turns rather easily into a whole nonverbal conversation. First it's goodbye, suddenly it becomes don't go, then I'll be back soon and before they could start promising what would happen when she did get back, Polly intervened. The Geek gave Kelly a scolding glance, apologized to Belle and shoved her wayward espionage agent into the car. Even with the heavily tinted windows, Annabelle could see Kelly's grin before they sped away.
No new messages
The last email she had received sat in her inbox, the succinct message the last she'd heard from Kelly. Going undercover again. Changing time zones. Will try not to wake you when I call. Dream of me? It had been so Kelly. The terse, weary professionalism suddenly broken with a note of sentimental sweetness. It had made Annabelle smile. Now every time her eyes ran over the words they went blurry with tears fighting for release.
No new messages.
The first two weeks were difficult but Belle had expected it. The last time Kelly went undercover it was 12 days before they were back in touch. The third week she forced herself not to think about it, that way she could just be happily surprised when a familiar phone call came. Except it didn't. The call never came. Neither did the email, or letter or SMS or any sign of life that would give her even a hint as to Kelly's well-being. After four weeks she called Polly. The Geek's number (the private one that didn't route through the agency) went straight to voicemail.
What part of 'no new messages' aren't you getting?
It had been six weeks. She hadn't heard Kelly's voice or seen her face or even had the comfort of a few words scrawled across a cell screen for 6 weeks. Belle wasn't sure when she shattered but she'd felt pieces of herself breaking and falling away for days now. She'd managed to pretend everything was alright for longer than she expected, only starting to show the cracks these last ten days or so. Close friends had seen the signs earlier but could only watch helplessly.
Belle didn't sleep because she either had dreams of Kelly alive and home, or nightmares of her never able to return and either way when she woke up she was in tears. Instead she either stayed up all night on Beverly's uppers, or knocked herself out past sleep, not entirely convinced she cared if she woke up.
She ate only when someone noticed her absence from too many meals and sent a tray. Her aunt couldn't lure her to the sparring ring. The Twins couldn't make her laugh. For the first month the empty bottles clinking in her rubbish worried the girls who knew her. For the last two weeks it was the full, unopened ones on her shelf that worried them more.
Celia, Chelsea and Anoushka sat together comparing notes on Belle's activity or lack thereof. They were her three closest friends in St. Trinian's and none of them knew what to do. There was no enemy to attack, no war to wage, no pill to fix the illness devouring Belle inside out.
The Head Girl was dying, by moments and degrees of silence.
Kelly Jones was not a fool. She'd been people-savvy and worldly wise from the womb. Continually beyond peers. Always three steps ahead in any game she played.
She wasn't a coward. The only person in the world she feared was herself because she was her only true threat. She put the fear of God into her enemies. Then she introduced them to the devil.
So how did this happen? How had she been this stupid and spineless? How had she not seen what she was doing? Her jaw was clenched so tight it felt like her molars were going to crack.
The coupe shot around a curve on only two wheels, bringing a sound of irritation from her passenger that Kelly ignored.
"If you refuse to drive right would you just let me?" the exasperated voice barely registered over the phone pressed to Jones' ear.
"Shut up, Polly." she growled. The moment she'd stepped off the plane she'd checked her voicemail. The scores of messages had formed the urgent soundtrack to her increasingly hazardous homecoming. She could track Belle's heartbreak through the sound of her voice with each succeeding communication. From easy-going and playful (just remember I still have your favorite lipstick) they began to degrade towards loneliness and worry (I know you're ok but when you get a chance, please drop a line.) Then the emotions had spiraled downward. Fear, anger, pain had all escalated in intensity and frequency until something broke. There was nothing left to say. The last messages were just silence. Belle had called only to hear her voice on the mailbox.
"Kelly!" Polly yelped as the coupe threaded under a massive lorry.
"Have you gotten into the network? Are the sensors deactivated?" only Jones' lifetime of emotional control kept her voice even.
"If I turn them off too soon they'll notice. When we're a few minutes away I'll activate the program." Polly gritted her teeth and squinted her eyes to weather the suicidal drive.
She'd known to keep her mouth shut this trip. From the moment she'd seen the determined glint in Kelly's eyes after their mission ended she'd known better than to say a word. 'I have to get back,' was all Jones had said as she marched past her. Polly had silently fallen into step with her friend, both girls leaving a bewildered Terri behind to explain matters to the superiors. The femme fatale had never been more grateful for a display of loyalty and tact.
"I did it all backwards." Kelly muttered, mostly to herself but with a slight glance at her Geek partner. Polly recognized the comment for what it was: an apology for not listening, an admission that she'd been right all along. The red head didn't even smirk, just nodded sympathetically. Jones didn't admit she was wrong easily; mostly because she never was.
It had taken Kelly forever just to admit her feelings to herself. Takes a while for someone as fiercely independent as a St. Trinian's Head Girl to admit she's getting emotionally tied to anything other than the school she rules. Then it took even longer to be sure of Belle's feelings since neither of them were willing to admit vulnerability first. They played and teased around each other so artfully that it was like playing blind tag, feeling for the edges of the truth by listening to what wasn't said. By the time Kelly knew for a fact that they were both hopelessly, stupidly, deliriously in love they had run out of time together. Voicing her feelings felt too much like a promise and Kelly Jones didn't make promises unless she knew she could keep them.
After so much time had passed, so many unspoken confidences and intimacies exchanged, it seemed a bit preposterous to just blurt the words out over the jam jar. Kelly had wanted to make the moment of truth special, make it memorable for them both; as epic as the feelings deserved.
Completely sodding backwards. Jones had to bite her lip to keep from swearing at herself. It was so obvious now. She should've told Belle the instant she knew. Just saying the words would've made that moment in time special and unforgettable, no matter where they were or what they were doing. 'I love you,' wasn't a promise, just a truth. It still would've hurt like hell to leave but they could have been working on the future together instead of worrying about it apart.
"We're close. I'm activating the disarm program," Polly announced, watching the symbol for St. Trinian's loom closer on the GPS screen, "Go round the stables. East side has no surveillance right now."
"Right." Kelly nodded, yanking the wheel and skidding down a small dirt path off the main road. She'd made enough mistakes. Time to start making things right.
No new - Black.
Belle sighed in irritation as the screen went blank. The lights in the room shut off at the same moment and screams from the dorm implied power had gone down everywhere. That just left the question of whether it was an outside invasion force or internal saboteurs. Should only take a moment before -
"Belle?" Anoushka tapped at the open doorway.
"Who is it this time?" the Head Girl rose from her desk. It was still late afternoon, no need for her torch like last time.
"Ecos. They've been monitoring the electric meter and decided the Chav's karaoke machine was using too much." the Russian managed to sound irritated and apologetic at the same time.
The last blackout had been when the First Years engaged in a balloon war in the science lab. The time before was the Emos because they wanted a more appropriate ambience for their séance. Since then Annabelle had the Geeks put locks and surge protectors on all the electrical mains. Figures the Ecos would manage to work out a way around the security.
Belle strode into the dorm and scowled at the shrieking chaos. Just her presence was enough to silence the arguments. No one dared get on her bad side these days. She strode over to Celia, the original Trustafarian guiltily dropping the circuit interrupter.
"Belle, they were sucking energy down! You know they've already used up 2 kilowatt hours with all that gear? That's more than a refrigerator!" Celia didn't even wait to be accused, just folded her arms defensively.
"Oh, it's all us is it? Don't suppose you've bothered to measure the drain of all those curlers and hot wax tubs the Totties are using!" Bianca immediately defended her tribe.
"What? We don't use half as many plugs as the Emos and their stupid tattoo guns!" Chelsea jumped from her bed, the dignified protest losing some cachet when her hair stayed tangled in the curling iron she'd been using and almost pulled her back down.
"We compensate by working only by candlelight. Too much energy blocks us from the underworld." Zoe answered without even opening her eyes.
Belle held up a hand to restore silence. The tribe leaders all hesitated, mouths open with their arguments paused.
"I understand your concern, Celia. There is a lot of consumption going on. Didn't you present an alternative energy source for your science project last term?" she sheer kindness of her tone was enough to make all the girls take a step back. Something bad was coming.
"Yes. We did. It's a sort of generator." the leader of the Ecos admitted.
"That's obviously the perfect compromise then isn't it? You want the girls to use less energy, just provide them an alternative source. Lucy, your girls can wire this floor into the Eco generator, right?"
"Course." Lucy nodded. Only the Geek technology had been unaffected by the blackout since they maintained a massive backup battery for all their systems.
"But, Belle!" Celia started to argue, wincing when the Head Girl's eyes immediately snapped back to her.
"Problem with that solution?" Annabelle arched her eyebrow that fraction of an inch that dared anyone to challenge her right now.
"It's just a big hamster wheel." the Eco mumbled.
"Then you'd better find some hamsters. Unless you care to turn the power back on?" Belle's bright smile was even more unnerving than the threat in her eyes. Celia's mouth opened and closed a few times. The argument in her head was obvious: sacrifice principles or pride?
"Come on, girls. We'll do shifts." the Eco leader summoned her tribe. A cheer went up around the dorm and most of the students followed the Ecos down to the science room where they'd constructed the massive exercise wheel. Lucy and the Geeks quickly wired the fuse box into the primitive generator. Celia, with the spirit of a true leader, was the first to climb into the wheel and begin running. Shouts from above them announced power had come back online upstairs.
Belle nodded in satisfaction. She took no personal pleasure in these victories anymore but did feel relief when the petty crises could be easily resolved. She left orders with the Sopranos to supply the Ecos with a crew of First Years to help out and TnT immediately handed over a dozen girls slated for discipline. Power for the evening wouldn't be in short supply.
Walking back up the main corridor Belle paused in the entry hall, falling behind the rest of the students. At the base of the stairs she felt the familiar sensation of emotional vertigo. It always happened here. She braced herself against the wall as the thoughts and memories battered at her mind. Right here. It had been right here. She wrapped her arms protectively around herself, squeezing as tight as she could, trying to push the feelings away.
This was where she first met Kelly. This was where they'd kissed after the party. For months neither of them could walk past this spot without smiling. When they were together Kelly would always pause right here to kiss her again. The sob that echoed off the walls shocked her before she even realized it had come from her own throat.
Kelly and Polly had easily climbed in a window to one of the side rooms while a parade of whooping girls stomped past. Whatever had just happened provided the ideal cover for their covert entrance. They lingered behind the cover of the doorway as the girls all laughed and raced back up the stairs. Only one figure remained behind.
"Belle." the name breathed out of Kelly like grace. She started to step forward but stopped when she saw someone else still lingering in the main hall. She and Polly had taken great pains to be sure she could talk to Annabelle privately before anyone else saw them. Kelly didn't want any distractions. The sound of Belle's sob made an echo in Kelly's chest.
"Go." Polly mouthed, trying to push Jones into the corridor. The spy just shook her head, jerking a thumb at the approaching third party.
"Belle?" Chelsea approached and gently rested a hand on the Head Girl's shoulder. Annabelle looked up at the tall blonde, trying to hold the emotion back from her eyes and failing miserably. Seeing Parker's look of complete understanding was the final straw. Chelsea knew the exact nature of the hell in Fritton's head and was offering refuge.
"It's been too long, Chels. She's not coming back." Belle whispered before collapsing against the Posh Totty, burying her face in the blonde curls to muffle the sound of her weeping. Kelly felt the prodding in her ribs finally stop. Even Polly knew this may not be the best time to sweep out of the shadows like some jubilant phoenix from the ashes. It killed her to stay still, to watch Chels comfort Belle when it should be her holding the broken brunette.
"Belle, Belle, shhh," Chelsea murmured, trying to soothe the sobs, "Don't be ridiculous. She is coming home. She's Kelly Jones. Nothing could keep her from St. Trinian's. Except maybe you and you're here."
"Th-that's what I, I thought. I want," Belle choked on her tears, "Wanted to believe it. I can't! I just can't anymore. She's gone, Chelsea. She's gone off with someone else or she's dead or, or, I don't know!"
"Dead? Kelly? Not a chance. It'd take a small nuclear device to kill her. Even then I think she might climb out of her own grave just to come back for you. If Kelly was dead, she'd already be channeling through Zoe to get in your pants." Chelsea laughed, bringing the tiniest answering chuckle from Belle.
Kelly felt a wash of gratitude warm her cheeks. She'd always known Chels would have her back no matter what. At this moment she was willing to forgive every ounce of stress and brain damage the Posh had caused her for the better part of a decade.
"What if-? Chels," Belle leaned back slightly against the wall, terrified even to contemplate the coming words, "What if I waited too long to tell her? What if she met someone else? It's not like I was her first or only or . . .anything."
"Oh my god, Annabelle! You really think that's even possible?" Chelsea laughed even louder now, "Right, time I let you in on a little secret."
Oh Christ. What're you going to do, Parker? Kelly leaned closer, straining to hear Chelsea's thoughts before they became words.
"Do you know the only reason you weren't Kelly's first? At the beginning of Sixth Form we were all in town on a field trip. On the way back she spots this car she absolutely has to have. The bloke didn't even have his pants up before she swipes his keys and is off with it."
Thank you so much, Chels. I really wanted to remember that! Kelly groaned to herself. It had been a first rate car though. Broke her heart when she eventually had to flog it.
"Are you serious?" Belle's voice wasn't wavering as much now. She sounded like she might actually laugh.
"I couldn't make that up! It was some vintage convertible. She could probably still tell you all the specs. She brought it back here and announced her virginity was worth £90,000," Parker shook her head at the memory, "She was a lot more cynical back then, Belle. No way could she have imagined someone like you in her future. I'll bet the minute you came on the scene she wished she could trade the car back."
"Thanks, Chelsea." Annabelle smiled, letting out the last of her tension with a long sigh, resting her head back against the taller girl's shoulder. The blonde just wrapped her arms tight around her friend, pouring reassurance into the hug.
"She's coming home, Belle." she repeated quietly into the soft brown hair. Kelly smiled at the sweet scene, loathe to break it up but relieved to finally have an opening.
"What the hell is going on?" the angry voice boomed around the entryway, jerking all eyes to the top of the stairs. Roxie was storming down the steps, fists clenched angrily. There went the perfect opening! Kelly growled in the back of her throat, eyes instinctively narrowing to watch the approaching girl.
"Roxie, I was just -" Chelsea started to explain.
"I've got eyes, right? I can see what you were 'just!'" the rocker grabbed Parker's wrist and pulled her away, breaking the innocent embrace.
"Roxie, listen -," the Posh Totty tried to make herself heard but was being totally ignored. The angry blonde slammed her fist into the wall not an inch from Belle's face. The Head Girl didn't even flinch. Kelly did. Actually, it was more of a lunge than a flinch. Right now the only thing keeping her pistol in its holster was Polly's restraining arm.
"Look, Annabelle, I don't care if you are Head Girl, I don't care if Jones has taken off on you! If you want to shag your way out of this funk go ahead, just don't use my girlfriend!"
Belle didn't answer. She was used to Roxie's scenes and too emotionally spent to even care about her friend's ridiculous fit of jealousy. She just wanted to be left alone so she could go back to her room and wait for Kelly. Forever.
"Do you hear me?" Roxie's fist hit the wall again.
"Get a grip, Roxie. The whole school hears you!" Belle rolled her eyes. These accusations weren't even worth a denial. Infuriated by the disdain in Fritton's eyes the fist reared back again, this time aiming for more than the wall. She would've connected directly with Belle's eye. Except another hand had shot forward and caught her fist.
"I'm very patient with new girls but you've been unusually slow to learn," Kelly hissed, squeezing tighter on the fingers in her grip, "So let me explain three things. First: if you ever again raise your hand against Annabelle, even the government I work for won't be able to find all your pieces. Second: nothing is ever going to happen between Chelsea and Belle because she's my girlfriend and doesn't need your seconds."
"Third?" Roxie demanded through her clenched teeth after a drawn out silence.
"You'd better get your temper under control or Chelsea will do it for you." Kelly shoved the musician backwards. She staggered a few steps and collided with Parker.
"Are you ok? Roxie?" the Posh Totty patted her over for injuries, face contorted with worry.
"Fine. I'm fine." the punk girl nodded, flexing her bruised fingers.
"Good, now what the hell is wrong with you?" Chelsea grabbed hold of Roxie's ear and dragged her out of the hall, furious scolding pouring out of her mouth and echoing behind her clicking heels. Kelly just smiled. She knew Chels wouldn't put up with that jealous bullshit forever. She turned to face Belle, relief and happiness flooding her just at the sight of the beautiful girl staring at her wide-eyed.
"'Girlfriend?'" Belle asked in surprise. Kelly blushed a little. How had they never used that label before? Had she actually been scared of a word that simple?
"It's a bit obvious isn't it?" Jones pointed out, feeling more confident than she had in ages. She knew exactly what she was doing. Finally. That might be why she was so caught off guard by the response. The resounding slap ricocheted off the walls and turned her whole cheek into a hot, red throb.
"What bollocks is that? What kind of girlfriend disappears without a word for two months?" Belle shouted, face red with justified fury. She looked ready to underscore the question with another hit, closed fist this time. Kelly immediately grabbed her shoulders, pinning her to the wall to prevent any further assault. Her jaw was still stinging but she forced it to open so she could speak.
"I was in the bloody Himalayas! We were freezing our arses off for two months watching a bunch of extremists make their crazy plans to destroy the world. Do you know what satellite reception is like up there? We were completely off the grid, Belle! Not even contact with the home base! What could I do? Ask some passing Sherpa to jog down to the post box for me?" Kelly could hear herself getting louder but couldn't calm down. Belle had to hear her, had to understand,
"I've spent the last 36 hours in transit trying to get back here! Do you know how many laws I broke getting back to you? The only reason I'm not handcuffed to bars right now is cause of my government plate!"
"Why didn't you call?" Annabelle demanded, eyes furious despite tears welling up in the corners. She was listening. Kelly hesitated only a moment. This was what she'd come to do, right?
"Because I needed to see you, Belle. What I want to say can't be done over a phone. I had to see you in person to tell you-,"
A faint snickering sound distracted her. Looking up Kelly saw the entire first floor banister lined with students. All of St. Trinian's seemed to have turned out to watch this private moment. Even Headmistress Fritton was standing at the top of the stairs. All of them were holding their breath expectantly.
"Tell me what, Kelly?" Belle urged, pulling Jones' attention back to her. Kelly took a deep, calming breath. She hadn't been planning on so large an audience. Just as well, they all deserved to hear this. She licked her lips, steadying herself by locking onto Belle's hopeful eyes. All this time and the girl still hadn't lost her faith that Kelly would come through. Time to prove she wasn't a coward and done being daft.
"All I could think about was getting back here so I could tell you how much I love you, Annabelle. I should've told you so long ago. I could've been saying it every day and I'm sorry I haven't. I'm going to make up for that mistake from now on. I promise."
". . . ." Belle stared, then blinked rapidly in shock. Her lips moved, trying to answer but unable to form words.
"Annabelle?" Kelly had never seen the brunette completely speechless. It was worrying. Particularly right after she'd just spilled her heart out. A lesser woman would've been shaken.
"Kiss her!" the cry went out from somewhere above. A second voice repeated the command and soon it was echoing from all sides, a chant demanding action.
"Best give them what they want." Kelly shrugged but couldn't stop her lips curling into a smirk just before brushing against Belle's. She would've kept it light but when she started to pull away Annabelle's hands caught hold of her cheek and hair, keeping her firmly in place as the kiss deepened.
It was only when the cheering applause and whistles overhead threatened to bring down the rafters that the girls broke apart. It had been ages since either of them had blushed over being caught in a snog. This time was different somehow because they were both flushing pink.
"So, do you," Kelly had to clear her throat, a knot of nerves and lust having lodged somewhere in her chest, "Do you have anything to say, Fritton?"
Fritton. She only became Fritton when Kelly was nervous. Belle smiled mischievously, running her fingers over Kelly's delicate features.
"Yes, I do. I actually have three words for you," she paused, pleased that Kelly seemed to be holding her breath, "'Bout bloody time, Jones."
"Low blow!" the former Head Girl objected but couldn't help smiling as Annabelle laughed. Nothing could ever be wrong so long as Belle was laughing.
"I love when you're angry, Kel. When you're happy too. When you're asleep, waking up, screaming, tired, laughing and probably when you're dead: I'll never stop being madly in love with you, Kelly Jones."
The second kiss brought even louder cheers than the first. The Twins had been planning for this day and received a tip off SMS from Polly (same as Camilla) to be prepared. They pried the lids off wooden crates of their most top secret project: Trinski Champagne. Corks exploded and flew in every direction, the effervescent liquid spraying up in fountains as the student body flooded downstairs. Camilla slid amongst them, expertly maneuvering towards a familiar redhead.
"Took them long enough." Polly commented, watching as Kelly and Belle were actually torn apart by the rush of students praising them. The celebration swarmed over the girls, lifting them in the air like the heroines they'd proven to be. Congratulations were shouted, screamed, sang and etched onto the walls. Kelly and Belle laughed, stunned by the reception.
"Yes. Well done. I'll be certain to have the scotch brought round for you," Camilla smiled as the two girls fought to keep hold of each other while riding the human tidal wave, "How'd you finally manage?"
"Wasn't me. Kelly just finally got her head right on her own." Polly shrugged, having to yell to be heard.
"The more credit to her."
"Perhaps we should just split the difference and share the bottle?" the Geek suggested.
"Capital idea!" the Headmistress grinned as they allowed themselves to be swept along with the tide of the revelry.
The girls of St. Trinian's deposited their beloved lovers in the party hall, music warming the speakers as the strobe lights kicked to life. Belle wrapped both arms around Kelly before they could be separated again. Only the two of them could be completely alone in a room full of watchers.
"So!" she leaned close enough to be heard without yelling, "What kind of car was it?"
Jones laughed, feeling a familiar blush at the memory. It was worth the mortification though; just to have Annabelle back in her arms, her words still happily ringing in Kelly's ears.
"1961 Jaguar E-type series I. Why?"
"I told you I wanted to trade in the Bentley for something more fun!"
I had intended to finish this story out with an epilogue but think I may end up spinning that into a 4th story. Reviews will determine what you get!