It was the beginning of Melonie's second year at her school, St Peter's Girls'. There was a slight change this year though. The school had moved from its original campus to a castle, and Saint's Boys', their brother school had another castle not far away. The school was now a boarding school, and boarding was compulsory from year seven up. The school managers thought that boarding was better because you did not have to leave the school to study and you had the teachers at your disposal.
Melonie's younger sister Daniella was in year five this year, and so was still at the old campus which was where the day school was. Today however, she and her mother would be driving Melonie to the station to catch the train to school.
It was a Sunday and both of their classes would start the next day; however the boarders were required at school a day early to settle in.
"MUM!" Melonie yelled from her room. "Where's my sweater?"
"It should be in your cupboard," replied her mother from the kitchen.
Melonie yanked open the doors of her cupboard, and sure enough on the shelf, at eye level, was her favourite pink and pale gray sweater. She decided not to acknowledge that her mother had been right and yanked the sweater over her head.
Turning back to her bed, she double checked that she had everything in her trunk. Uniform, check. Casuals, check, Socks and undies, check. School books, check. Toiletries and PJ's, check. That seemed to be everything, now all she had to do was get to school.
There was a knock at her open door and she spun around to see Daniella standing there.
"What do you want?" she growled, turning away to pack her three favourite books and pencil case into the small amount of room left in her trunk.
"Mum says you have to be downstairs in two minutes or you don't go to school," she said from the doorway.
"Get lost," Melonie muttered, but she still very quickly clipped her trunk shut and hauled it downstairs to where her mother was waiting.
"So you found your sweater then?" her mother asked. "Where was it?"
"In my cupboard," muttered Melonie under her breath.
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you please say it again," her mother asked.
"It was in my cupboard!" Melonie said a whole lot louder.
Her mother didn't say anything to this, but she turned around and rummaged through her handbag for her keys.
She unlocked the car and said, "Go and put your trunk in the boot and help your sister in."
Melonie grumbled under her breath. She was thirteen turning fourteen in June and her sister was turning ten in a few weeks. Daniella did not need any help getting in the car; her mother just wanted them both out of the way for a few minutes.
Nevertheless, Melonie loaded her trunk into the boot and climbed into the front seat of the car.
"Melonie," her sister called. "Mum said you were supposed to help me get in."
"Oh, grow up Daniella," she replied. "Your turning ten in a few weeks aren't you? Well ten year olds can get in the car by themselves and they don't need their sister's to help them." She hoped that this would do the trick and that Daniella would get in the car but instead she went tearing back into the house yelling at their mother that 'Melonie won't help me into the car!'
"Melonie, help your sister into the car please," said her mother. "And don't make me repeat myself."
Melonie swung herself out of the car, swearing at her mother under her breath and pushed her sister into the car.
"Ow!" her sister cried rubbing her arm and giving Melonie a menacing stare. Melonie took no notice though and climbed back into the front seat.
Their mother emerged from the house moments later and the three of them set off for the station.
"Now, Melonie dear, while your away at school, please try to behave yourself," her mother said. "Remember you can always write to me and your father if you need to and there are also the prefects and teacher's there to help you."
"Yes mum," said Melonie impatiently. She hated it when her mother gave these lectures; all she wanted to do was get to the station.
Her mother continued with things like 'don't forget to do your homework' and 'don't get into fights with the other students' all the way until they reached the station parking lot.
Her mother swung into a park and Melonie spotted her best friend Georgina and her younger sister Katherine getting out the car close by. Georgina and she had grown close over the past year when Saint's had still been a day school, they had another friend as well, named Courtney but she was in a different house. Melonie thought it was strange that Courtney wasn't with Georgina, after all, the two of them lived really close to each other.
"Hey Georgina," she called as she climbed out the car. Her friend spun around and a huge smile lit up her face when she saw Melonie.
"Hi Melonie," she called back. "Are you excited?"
"About the 'getting away from my parents' part, yes. About the school part, no." replied Melonie and they both laughed.
"I can see I'm not needed here, so I'm going to take your sister grocery shopping," said her mother as she placed a kiss on Melonie's cheek. "Remember, the train leaves from platform twelve at half past eleven."
"Yes mum," replied Melonie as she and Georgina headed towards the platforms.
"Bye Georgina, bye Katherine. Have a good year," called their mother as she climbed back in the car.
"Bye mum," they both replied and the three of them turned away.
Soon, Katherine saw some of her fellow year sevens who Melonie knew to be called Amelia and Jaida and she went over to join them, leaving Melonie and Georgina on their own.
"So, where's Courtney?" asked Melonie as they headed for the platform.
"Her mum didn't like the idea of a boarding school so she transferred her to another school," replied Georgina. "She only found out last week. She thought she was coming here before that. I'd hate to be split from my friends."
"Yeah," agreed Melonie. "Do you know where she went?"
"I think it was Pembroke. You know, where Julie and Ellie are going," said Georgina after a moment's thought.
"Oh yeah," replied Melonie and they walked in silence until they reached the platform.
It would have been impossible for them to even have a conversation on the platform, it was swarming with girls and it seemed like every one of them had something to say.
Melonie and Georgina found themselves a compartment about halfway down the train and were soon joined by Sophie, Zoey, Shantelle, Sarah and Abigail. All of them were in Kennion house and year eight so they would be sharing a dorm together and they would all be in the same class.
Soon all the girls were on the train and it was speeding towards their school.
"So, did everyone have a good holidays?" asked Sarah as she passed around a packet of lollies.
"Not bad," replied Shantelle. "I got a new puppy for Christmas and that's about all the exciting news I have."
"I got a new pet too," said Georgina. "My step-dad brought my sister, brothers and I chickens. I named mine Borris."
"If that chicken knew that it was female and the Borris was a boy's name it think it would be very confused," Melonie said and they all laughed.
They exchange stories about their holidays for most of the journey until a prefect stuck her head around the door and told them they had to get changed into their uniforms.
This proved to be a difficulty as there were seven of them in the compartment and they all needed to get changed. Eventually Shantelle, Sarah and Zoey left to go and see their friends Julia and Victoria while the other's got changed. Then when they returned, they swapped and waited for them to get changed. Soon all seven of them were wearing the dark blue uniform with their Kennion tie.
The train pulled into the station and the girls were put on busses according to their year level. This meant that Melonie and her friends were joined by all of the other year eights for the ride up to the castle.
Melonie sat next to Georgina and they played hangman in the back of one of her notepads. Melonie was good at this game as English was one of her strong subjects. She only got to think of two words though 'Aardvark' and 'Gingerbread' before the bus pulled up at the castle. It had take Georgina almost all of her guesses to get them.
They climbed out of the bus and headed into the dining hall. There were four great, long tables, one for each house. Each table had coloured glasses. Blue, red, yellow and green. Melonie headed over to the blue table and sat down with the rest of her house.
The principal Mrs Godfrey stood up to speak. And then the cooks carried out great big platters of food to the students.
"Wow! Do you reckon we get this every night?" asked Zoey as she helped herself to some chicken drumsticks.
"I dunno, but I hope we do," replied Sophie and they all settled down to eat.
When every student had eaten her fill, Mrs Godfrey dismissed them and they all headed off to bed. Melonie followed the crowd of students up to a tower with four doors. Each door had the name of a house on it. She went through the door marked 'Kennion' and got the first glimpse of her common room.
It was a large round room with a fire place near the entrance. There were blue sofa's and rugs adorning the room along with book cases filled to the brim with books. There was also a notice board where the girls could post notices about lost items, homework help needed or special events.
"Alright girls," came the voice of one of the prefects. Melonie turned to see that it was Isobel, more commonly known as Bel. "Your dormitories are upstairs to your left. You are only permitted to enter your own dorm. If you are caught in another year levels dorm without teacher permission then it is an instant detention."
Then the talking started up again as the girls made their way up to the dorms in groups or by themselves.
Georgina had disappeared to make sure that Katherine was alright and Sophie, Shantelle and Zoey had already gone up to bed. So Melonie was left alone with Sarah, Abigail and Alena who was also in year eight.
"I think we may as well head off to bed," said Abigail, stifling a yawn. The other's agreed and the four of them climbed the stairs to the dorms.
Pushing open a door marked with an '8' they were greeted with a room that contained thirteen beds.
Melonie found that her bed was between Alena and Shantelle and across from Rose who was a tall girl with brown hair.
She quickly changed into her pajamas and climbed into her bed. She had been expecting it to be hard but instead it was very soft. She snuggled into her blankets and fell asleep, eagerly anticipating the next day.