The Girls 2

Estal Academy is back! A new year, new students, new friendships.

With all the problems in their lives, can the three girls stick together?

*Contains triggers and emotional subjects people may find distressing/upsetting

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8. 8

8

Laine

Amber and I were walking down the hallway. Everyone was gathered around the TVs. "What's going on?" Asked Amber.

"I have no idea. I doubt we will get any information from this TV. Let's go down near the offices, the TV there will probably be emptier." I replied. We started heading down the hallway. I spotted Suki on the floor, crying into Lewis arms. I tugged Amber's sleeve. "It's Suki!"

We raced over and collapsed to the ground by her side. "What's happened?" I asked Lewis.

Lewis shook his head. "I don't know."

"Is it anything to do with the TVs?" Amber asked.

Suki nodded and continued to cry into Lewis' shoulder. None of us had seen what was on TV, but the list of possibilities was endless. I stood up and walked to the TV down the hallway. Over shoulders and through heads, I could see blue flashing sirens and crying people. That's when I saw it. I saw Kaito's face linked to the word 'terrorist', and I realised that Suki's brother had made a really bad decision. I walked back to them and curled up on the floor and hugged Suki. "Come on baby, me and Ambs will look after you. Amber, why don't you take her up? I'll be there in a few."

Amber looked confused, but I moved my eyes towards Lewis so she knew I wanted to talk to him. Amber led Suki up, holding her tightly as they started to walk down the corridor. "So what happened?" Lewis asked.

I spun around and drew my attention to him. "Kaito set off a bomb in central London. He's labelled a terrorist, and it's all over the news."

Lewis' jaw dropped. "She mentioned that he was doing some crazy shit, but that is so much worse than I thought."

I nodded. "I need to go support my friend. Thanks for your help Lewis." I squeezed his hand. He smiled at me.

Back up in the room, Suki was having a shower. Amber was scrolling the news pages on her phone. "I've read all about Kaito," she said, still flicking through her phone. She switched it off and put it down.

"I know. I was telling Lewis all about it. Poor Suki," I said, flopping down on my bed.

A note slipped under the door. Amber and I looked at each other and then back to the lined piece of paper on the floor. Notes never come through the door. Never. The announcements are always made through the speakers or on the TVs. "What is that?" Amber asked. She started getting up form her bed and she walked to the door. She picked up the piece of paper. "Oh my..."

"What?" I asked as I jumped up and looked at the paper. My jaw dropped in horror.

The piece of paper had the word 'terrorist' scribbled across it. We knew it was aimed at Suki. We both looked at each other as we heard the shower turn off. "We need to get rid of this," I hissed, "Suki can't see it."

Amber folded the paper and shoved it in her pocket. We both jumped onto our beds. Amber picked up her phone and pretended that she was still scrolling Facebook or something, and I fished my phone out of my bag and pretended to check through my bag. The next thing, we see Suki coming out of the bathroom. "I guess everyone knows, huh?" Suki asked, pulling her jumper over her head and flicking back her dripping wet hair.

I grabbed the hair dryer and gestured her over. She sat on my bed, so I dried her hair for her. Amber got a nail file and filed her nails. "It's okay darling, we've got you. Me, Amber, and Lewis. We've all got you."

Suki nodded and sniffed. "Thank you.”

***

The next day, I headed down to practice. Ashley, Diaz and Pippa were already there, practising their lines. “Hey Laine,” Ashley called.

I went over to the girls. “Since we’re all here, we might as well sing Hard Knock Life, and then we can help Ash run through Little Girls?”

They all nodded at me. “From the top!” laughed Diaz.

After we did Hard Knock Life, Ashley came over and started singing Little Girls. We were all joining in to help her with her confidence, but as soon as she was singing alone, she was amazing. She had confidence, she had a powerful voice. Ashley is amazing. We let her sing alone for a bit, and then we decided to join in again. Our singing was interrupted when the receptionist came waltzing in. “Is Laine Chapman in here?” I heard her call.

We all went silent. The whole theatre did, too. Nobody ever got call-outs from the receptionist, and when they did, they were usually in trouble. Kerrie Jordans got a call-out last year, and we never saw her again. We all assumed she’d been booted for beating up Susan Waters, but nobody ever questioned it. “I’m here,” I said as I stood up and left the girls.

“The head wants a word,” she smiled. The receptionist is really lovely, everyone loves her. She just delivers the worst news.

I followed her out of the theatre, around the fountain and to the office block. The office block has all of the teachers’ offices in, including the Head’s. We went past the reception desk and up the staff staircase. I’ve never been through this corridor before, but it is just white walls and cheap blue floors, with a smell of vanilla candles and paperwork. Nothing interesting. The receptionist knocked on the door and lead me into the office. I’ve only seen the Head a few times, as she doesn’t tend to walk around school that much. “Mrs Abbott, I have Laine Chapman for you.”

“Thank you Kirsty,” replied Mrs Abbott. Hah! Now we all know the receptionists name. Kirsty. I looked over Kirsty’s shoulders at Mrs Abbott. She wears glasses, has short brown hair to her shoulders, and is as thin as a stick. She smells like rose gardens and spearmint. As Kirsty left the room, Mrs Abbott spoke, “Please, sit down Laine.”

I dodged past a chest of files, and sat down in one of the wooden seats in front of her desk. She sat at her desk, smiling at me the whole time. She had a folder in front of her with my name scribbled across it. She opened the folder and took out a few pieces of paper. “So Laine, I heard you got the lead role in the school musical? Well done you!” she said as she took out a pen from the top drawer.

“Thanks,” I replied, “I was so excited to get the lead role! I’m so passionate about performing!”

“That’s lovely to hear,” Mrs Abbott said, and I slowly watched her smile fade into a serious look. “I didn’t really want to have this conversation with you Laine, but your mother has left me no choice. Grace won’t pick up the phone anymore.”

“My mum has been struggling for a few months…” I said, biting my lip. Suddenly, it dawned over me why I had been called up to Mrs Abbott’s office.

“I know she has, but unfortunately we have made enough exceptions for her, for you. Your scholarship this year was paid for by the board, not by your mother. But the board refuse to pay for any more years for you here, Laine. I know you only have two years after this, but if your mother can pay, we just can’t keep you here.”

I felt a sharp stab in my heart. My mum had lied to me. She told me she paid for this year’s scholarship, that it was so easy to pay and she wouldn’t even feel it. But the truth is she’s too broke to keep me here, and the only reason I’m here is because she begged the board. I’m angry. Who did she screw to manage that?

“I’m so sorry Laine. That’s just how it works. If your mother was answering, she might be able to reach an arrangement with the board. But Grace really isn’t helping us at this point. You’ll have to check out other options. Cheaper options.”

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