Valburton School for Girls

Phoenix Cotton is a kind of awkward teenage girl, who struggles with battles with herself a lot of the time. She hangs around with her mates, who try to do what they can for her happiness, even through their own problems. She goes to the local school, doesn't always do her homework, argues with teachers, despises judgemental people. But one day a letter comes through the post that changes everything, she is going to Valburton School for Girls.


(Yellow rating content given due to moderate swearing, smoking and alcohol consumption)

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3. A so-called 'Prosperous Future'

~'Authors' Note~

If you're reading this and are the minority of people who read this the first time it was published (which was around July 2013) and you have miraculously decided, in the somewhat vain hope that you remember the story so far, to carry on from where you left off, I seriously recommend you don't. I have made some changes to the chapter and have added more, (changes were made round about October 2013) and the story is pretty much, completely different. So yeah, I recommend you go back and read the first two chapters (one of which is actually a preface), besides according to Movellas the first two chapters only take about 7 minutes to read. For me, 7 minutes isn't long, but then, you and I probably have completely different ideas of how precious time is, and my assumptions of how precious it really is are awful.

I'm so sorry I haven't written for such a long time. I completely forgot about the whole thing and then once I had remembered it existed I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write, you'll know if you've ever written anything, ever, that some days, frankly, you'll have pure gold reading material and inspiration coming out of your ass, and other days you write absent-mindedly, read it back, and delete it all, disgusted with yourself. Long story short, I had a lot of these bad writing days. Anyway for the long space of time in which there hasn't been an update, I apologise dearly to the minute number of people who bother to read this, there have been a lot of awful drafts which would have indefinitely made the minute number of people who read this even minute-er.

 

Extra 'author''s Note:

I do not smoke, neither do I drink excessively. I am sorry if I offend you with my language, and I am really sorry if any of the sensitive subjects written about, if any, offend you, or are difficult for you to read.

 

***

 

I was stood in my kitchen, looking from the brochure to my mum blank faced, but with a thousand thoughts buzzing round my head.'Valburton School for Girls' was written in swirly writing underneath the picture of that huge building with the dreaded door, I could have said a thousand things then, but as I turned to my mother and they all fell out of my head and I could only find one word to sum up my now obvious confusion.

"What?" I said sounding like an idiot. "Why are you showing me that?" 

"This," my mum replied stroking the brochure, which totally creeped me out, "is where you're going. It's a fantastic school" 

Air caught at the back of my throat and a strangled noise came out. "But I already have a good school" I told her, which wasn't a lie, my school was good, the students there got good grades, the teachers could handle the students,but I knew what she was talking about.

 

All through junior school I had been a good student, one of the best, I had consistent good grades, I never got into trouble, I had a tight-knit group of friends, I wasn't exactly popular, but I wasn't one of the kids everyone looked at and thought weirdo. Then, when I came to senior school this carried on for the first year or so, but then I began to care less, and though my grades are still good, I just don't put in the effort I used to. When we were in junior school Cara, Kate, Sam and I always said we would never get drunk at parties until we were 17-18 and we would never, ever smoke. I look back at this and laugh because here I am, at 16 having done all of that. I don't do it to look cool, I don't do it to follow a crowd, I didn't start smoking because I thought it was a cool thing to do, I didn't go out and drink because everyone else was. I did it because I've needed an escape from feeling crappy (which I feel a lot nowadays), because I wanted to feel different to how I felt most of the time, because believe it or not, I don't want to dislike myself. It just happens. To be quite honest apart from when I'm actually smoking or drinking, I'm disgusted with myself, because I'm doing something I told myself I never would. My younger self would be disappointed. My present self is disappointed

 

"I don't want to go." I told my mother, flatly. "I like the school I'm at, I'm okay at the school I'm at, I have friends at my school." My stomach flipped. What would the girls say when I told them? I don't mean to sound arrogant, but they would be so upset. I couldn't do that to them not after the last time I told them about something big.

"You can't carry on at the school you're at, you need a fresh start!" My mother said her voice shrill.

"But I don't want to go to this different school! I've been through infant school, junior school and most of secondary school with the girls, you cant expect me to just ditch them because you want me to go to some pathetic posh school." I said, trying my hardest to keep my voice steady and not shout.

"Phoenix, I love you very much you know that-"

"Oh please, the only reason you want me to go to this school is because I'm not the perfect daughter you want!" I said shouting now, anger coursing through every word.

"If you carry on like this by the time you're twenty you'll be a depressed alcoholic chain-smoker, and look at you now, you're depressed enough as it is!"

I opened my mouth to reply but shut it quickly in shock, as her sharp words cut into me like flying debris from an explosion. The feeling was no stranger; a pang of hurt spread like fire through my stomach. Another familiar feeling - that my mother was fed up of how I was, set in once again. I turned and stalked down the hallway. Bitterness and anger rose up through my body. I couldn't lose it like last time. It rose up through my fingers, clenching them into fists, digging my finger nails into my palms, I tried in vain hope to repress it. I knew that if it got up to my mouth and my head then it would spill out, twisting my words into angry, hot sentences, flung together quickly, rugged and harsh. I could not let that happen. My mum would suffer through my shouts and hear things I wouldn't tell her if I wasn't severely angry, and then she would know too much, and I would be vulnerable. The anger rising like lava from a volcano, now in my lungs, restricting my breathing, I came to my senses. I turned on my heel and walked away. Just like that. At least I was getting better at controlling myself. But I still had the problem of all the anger inside me, making me feel like I couldn't breathe.

"Phoenix, I'm sorry,  didn't, mean..." my mother said, but I wasn't listening. I stomped up the stairs got to my room and slammed to door, hard. I kicked off my boots angrily, ignoring the hot angry tears welling up, blurring my vision. I blinked hard, but they were already streaming down my cheeks. I threw my bag down onto my bed and then slumped down after it. I sat on the very edge of my bed, my body rigid, blood pulsing in my head. I tried to regulate my breaths. In, out, in out. It wasn't working. I thought about what my mum had said and my breaths hastened, hands trembling as they reached up to run through my hair, a habit I have when I'm stressed. It felt as though my lungs were filled with tar, and I had the smallest gap possible left for them to be lungs and let me breathe. I brought my knees up to my chest and hugged them close to myself. 

A few minutes passed, and I realised that I had calmed down enough to function. I went onto the group message on my phone with Cara, Sam and Kate, where we could all talk together and see each others messages, and typed in 'meet me at the field as soon as you can, bring everything you have." Cara, Kate and Sam would understand what I meant by this, things like this had happened before. Within minutes I was out of my uniform and into black jeans and my baggy grey Nirvana t-shirt and pulling my Doc Martens back on. Sweeping my hair out of my face, I looked into the mirror, the lilac semi-circles that were a result of nights with barely any sleep and bad dreams, were now tinged with red. It was obvious that I had been crying. I rubbed my face furiously trying to work up the blood circulation in my cheeks to make the redness less obvious. In the end I gave up. I grabbed my black leather bag that I kept my necessities in; a bic lighter, three quarters of a pack of cigarettes, and a bottle of fresh orange juice, which I had not yet finished. The orange juice thing sounds gross, like when I buy bottles of fresh juice I don't usually keep the bottle if I don't finish it, but Sam had given me the bottle as a gift a few days ago.

She had been in a bad way, the day she gave me the bottle, she had had a huge argument with her step-dad about how its her body and he should let her get whatever piercings and tattoos she wanted. So we went to the field and bitched about how she should be allowed because it was her body and she should be allowed to do whatever the hell she wanted to it. Anyway that day I didn't want to go to the field because I was still tired from the night before, where I had stayed up till 4am watching downloaded movies on my computer, but I'm a fucking sucker for bribery if you know what to bribe me with, so she brought me a big bottle of fresh orange juice, with a couple of inches poured away and replaced with vodka, very carefully, so that you could barely tell it was there.

 

Pulling on my old black leather jacket I grabbed my keys and earphones from my school bag, and my phone from my bed and stashed them all away, safe in my bag. I took a deep breath and left my room. I knew my mum would notice that I had shoes on from the heavy clomp of each of my steps down the stairs. She did, and came out of the kitchen and I looked at her for a split second and saw her worried expression,

"Where are you going?" she asked, as I pulled the door open.

"Out." I replied monotonously, and shut the door behind myself as I left.

 

***

 

I had left a mere 5 minutes after telling the girls to meet me at the field, so I would be there by myself for a while, but that was okay. I would have some time, however brief to compose my thoughts and think about how I was possibly going to explain the situation to them. Would I even bother telling them about the school? I mean, there was no way I was actually going. I got bored of my thoughts booming around in my head demanding to be internally heard, so I plugged in my earphones and pressed play on my phone, not caring what song came on. It was Can You Feel My Heart by Bring Me the Horizon. 

 

Once I got to the field I went over to the bench, where we always sat whenever we met there, and pulled out the 'pure' orange juice from my bag and took a long drink from it. I didn't care that if I carried on and drank the rest of the bottle I would most probably go back to my house and scream something stupid at my mother, blaming her for the way I am, but I knew I didn't really blame my mother for how crappy I felt most of the time, I had no-one to blame but myself, I knew that I chose to think about my life and see myself the way I do, and that no-one but myself could salvage me from this mess. I stopped drinking. There was still about quarter of a bottle left. Maybe I wouldn't go back and scream something stupid at my mother, and tomorrow morning I would wake up full of regret and apology. 

Like I said before I don't drink to follow the crowd of mindless idiots at my school, who drink themselves into oblivion because it's 'fun', I don't even drink because I particularly like it, I don't really know why I do it. A pang of self-hatred shot through me as I thought that. In some ways I drink because I'd rather do it and feel different than wallow in my misery. It was like a kind of solace, really, a miserable condolence that left my body tingling and blurred my senses and better judgement.

I thought back to what my mother had said, how sharp her words had been. I sighed to myself.Though they might be harsh, they were true. I would, if I carried on the way I was, end up in a bad state, pouring my life down the drain by the time I was twenty, and though I didn't particularly like myself at times, I didn't want to end up like that. I did need to do something about it. But moving to a whole new school? It just seemed a bit over the top. It's not like my school was the problem. The problem was the things I had gotten into because of the way I felt, and I didn't even understand that myself, so it's no wonder my mother didn't either. Bless her, she must have though I was getting bullied or something. Trust me, I wasn't, I could be hurt by what people said to me at times, but I'm not weak enough to let it get to me. It wasn't like I even got picked on. I would tell her that when I got home, and I would persuade her to call the whole thing off, call this Valburty School for Girls, or whatever it was, and tell them that after much deliberation, Phoenix Cotton would not be moving to their school, there had been a mistake.

 

After a while, I don't know how long, for I had spent the time in a reverie, Cara arrived. She was walking fast and as she looked at me her eyebrows were knitted together, raised up, eyes wide in concern,

"Are you okay? You know what skip that you're clearly not, what's happened?" I shrugged in return. 

"I'll tell you when the other two get here. What did you bring?" I said, changing the subject quickly.

"Just some cigarettes." She replied, delving into her bag to pull one out. I fished one out of my bag, too. I lit both of us up, the only sound being the click of the lighter as I lit each one. We sat in silence, and I noticed how long each drag of Cara's was. It's kind of my fault that she ever took up smoking in the first place, after all, I had suggested it when we were at a party about 6 months back. I felt sort of guilty about it, really, but then, it wasn't like I was forcing her to smoke every time she did, part of it was her choice too, and as long as it remains that way, I won't blame myself too much for her habit.

 

At some point, Sam had arrived, followed by Kate, who didn't smoke, until that day. Up until then, though she thought no-body noticed, I saw that she had stopped staring with disgust every time any of us smoked now, as she had for the first few months. I also saw that she breathed deeply in through her nose every time anyone near her had a cigarette, maybe she got a kick from smelling the smoke, but now actually smoking it, like a guilt free way of smoking. Maybe she kid herself that if she wasn't smoking it herself it could do her no harm, and that breathing in all the second hand smoke she could was completely okay. One of these days, I had known for a while, she would also begin to smoke, I could practically see her falling closer and closer to it every time. Then I thought, I could blame myself without any kind of condolence that it wasn't entirely my fault that her health was jeopardized, because maybe, if she had never smelt the second hand smoke from my disgusting, selfish, habit, she never would have asked for a smoke as frankly as she did that day.

 

They had arrived, and I swear I had to give my head little shake from being subjected to deja vu, for both Sam and Kate arrived wearing the exact same expression Cara had on her face when she came to meet me: concern. I immediately felt pressure as they all looked at me silently, expectantly. I suddenly didn't want to tell them, I wanted to lock the fact that my mother was trying to force me to go to a new school away inside myself, away from prying eyes and ears. I imagined the worst possible scenario, they could think I was actually going to go to this new school and turn their backs on me, echo my mother, tell me it was for my own good. I fumbled in my bag for the orange juice vodka concoction and took a long swig from it; it was now down to about a tenth of a bottle left, and as I drank Sam let out a small sigh, she knew I was on the path to destruction, the main road that led to that path was me drinking. Oh well. I took a deep breath,

"My mum wants to send me to this bullshit new school." There. I had told them. I couldn't look at any of them as I let my words sink in. Kate breathed in audibly. Sam shuffled uncomfortably. I had to break this silence that was screaming in my ears.

"She said," I continued, pausing and shutting my eyes, ensuring they didn't give away how terrified I was, "that if I carried on the way I was going then I would end up depressed and alcoholic by the time I'm 20. And- and-" I couldn't finish what I wanted to say, it was unimportant, my vision was blurring and I tried desperately not to cry, but the first sob threw itself exasperatedly out of my mouth and I broke down, sobbing over and over again, my spine contracting, refusing to hold me up any longer and I bent over where I sat. I felt hands on my shoulders, pulling me back up and holding me there. Sam pulled me quickly into her arms and stroked my hair.

"We know." She sighed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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