Part One - Stinkerbelle Returns
My parents like to think of themselves as the "Artsy Fartsy" type. But thanks to their old age (Mom is 56 and Dad is 60) they're more Fartsy. My parents art makes a lot of money, maybe it's because people feel sorry for them, or maybe it's because through the warped shapes and colours they see something truly beautiful. Personally I always think its the first one. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be nasty, and I really love Mom and Dad, but some of their work is truly, indescribably weird. There was the one time where Mom modelled for one of Dad's pieces. This would have been fine but since my parents see them selves as free and liberal (mad) they do nudes a lot of the time. This also would have been fine if Mom hadn't hung it on the kitchen wall. All I can say is that once you see someone that old that naked, you can never eat prunes again. Added grossness, this women was MY MOM, and when you see a 'rent butt naked doing a dodgy pose you are mentally scared for life.
I hugged Dad and kissed him on the cheek. "Bye bye Stinker" he said, hugging me extra tight.
"Can you just call me by my name? Please?"
"But Haley!" he whined like a two year old, "i gave you that pet name!"
Why oh why did my parents have to pass old people genes onto me? Let's just say that I have a permanent loose valve.
I grabbed my coat off the back of the front door, wheeled my shiny pink suitcase out of the house and walked to the cab parked just by the road. The driver was tall and wore a stained shirt two sizes too small for him. He took my bag and put it in the trunk before walking back and eyeing me up like a piece of meat.I climbed into the back of the yellow cab and buckled my seat belt. "LAX." I said, the car revved and sped down the hill.
There were so many memories in LA that I would never forget and all of them made me home sick, even though I was just leaving. I swear I started to tear up because the next thing I knew they driver had pulled over and stared through the glass separating us, making sure I was okay.
"You okay doll face?" He said in a deep gravely voice. It surprised me that he actually looked genuinely concerned.
"Yeah" I said, "Staring through the window just makes me miss home. Just preflight nerves playing with my emotions."
"You tell me if you need anything." He said, turning back around and starting the engine up again. His genuine care touched me. I completely misjudged him. Just like Tibbles I suppose. Tibbles had been the next door neighbour cat. I had always let him jump through my window and I'd stroked him every morning. I had never liked candy and supposed I never would but I kept a stash like any other 10 year old girl, mainly for when friends came round. We didn't have any pets and our house was brand new so knew we'd not got rats or anything so we thought it okay to keep stuff out of the packets instead of in draws and Tupperware. The next time I had a friend round and I looked inside the bucket there was Tibble poo,well smudges of it. Dana being Dana had thought it was melted chocolate or something so she ate it. The next day Dana had been rushed off to hospital with some bug and her parents wouldn't let me visit. Way to go Fart face. I haven't seen Tibbles since but If he ever comes back I have a pair of scissors waiting for him.
We reached LAX half an hour later. I departed to Toronto at 3:20am and reached Heathrow 13 hours later. I couldn't find the bus anywhere. It wasn't in its usual stop and I begin to panic. I felt a tremor in the pit of my belly. From experience I knew what was coming. The station blanked out and in front of me was a stage where a little six year old did up her ballet slipper. 'Great!' I thought, 'A flash back!' I gussed I would just have to sit through it. A woman with a high bun leaned down towards the little girl who I knew was me. "We are on!" She cooed, as if talking to a baby. I projectile vomited right in her face. That is habit of mine whenever I get scared. The woman shrieked and ran past the stage where 5 five little girls (and my best friend Jack) where doing a sad excuse for swan lake. Believe me, I never did ot on purpose and I hate it, but... it happens. I woke up from the flash back and ran toward a bathroom. I felt a tug on my arm. Jack, already dressed in his blazer, was tugging my arm, trying to tug me to the bus. "COME ON!" He yelled at me, "we're late!" I turned round to tell him to run but as soon as I opened my mouth to tell him to run I threw up, right in his face.
Jack and I took our regular seats and the front of the bus after he'd cleaned up in the mens room. We'd both had a long flight from LA and were to tired to catch up. we just tried to stay away from his twin brother, Oliver, and the popular crowd. Jack and I had been tight since Kindergarten and had been best friends ever since. He'd always been picked on by his brother even though they were both exactly the same and just as strong as each other, and though I don't like admitting it, they were both just as cute. The only reason Jack was picked on by Oliver was because he was gay. I thought this only made him extra cute but all they guys said we had a thing going on, which because he liked guys, was completely stupid. Why can't a guy and a girl just be friends?!
We reached Nottingham by 6pm my .Claire's booked all the flights cheap for it's worldwide students, which meant we all arrived at ungodly hours of night, or 2am like that particular trip. Jack and I exchanged a quick hug before heading off to our dorms.
There were four wings of dorms at St. Claire's. The King Richard and King Henry dorms were in the south of the school and connected the recently refurbished and rather swanky dorms with and air bridge. The year 7's, 8's and 9's were in King Richard and the year 10's and 11's were in King Henry. The girls were housed in the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria dorms. The year 7-10's were in the new glass Queen Elizabeth building and the year 11's get the Queen Victoria Dorms, or "the chapel" because before it was turned into the Queen Victoria Dorms that's what it was. I personally hated how cheap and crummy it was, but on the upside it was separated from all the other years by a garden and it made me feel superior to the other girls that this year I would be there. I only knew how bad it was because of a visit to a friend who was in the year above me. It had only just been finished before the girls had arrived and so it looked half finished.
I walked through the courtyard between the math department and the library. I walked into the chapel through the glass doors and into the main stairwell and was shocked by what I saw. The empty bottom floor had been turned into a common room, a fire was blazing in a glass column surrounded by couches. There were bookshelves and study tables, the area had really transformed. I walked up the original wooden staircase to the corridor that lead to my dorm and separated the rooms from each other. The corridor had always been complete so there were no surprises there. I found the room with my name on it and looked at who I was sharing with.
Lady Freema Parks"
I didn't know Hayley to well but I knew she was nice and she liked me. Then there was Freema. Her farther was an actor, Leon Parks. Last Christmas he was knighted by the queen, and because his daughter had snapped her fingers and asked daddy in her baby voice, it was only natural that she stared in the movie and got knighted too. Freema lived with her mum in Southwold in the biggest most glamorous pre-Georgian mansion they could find. She didn't have to travel over an ocean to get to school, oh no, but she acted like she'd been traveling for years.
I walked into my room, three double beds were in sight when a blast of heat hit me. They'd installed heat pumps in every room. I was happy about this because usually in September the dorms were freezing. I some how doubted I'd be feeling that for the rest of the year.
I could here some of daddy's plastic girls giggling outside, and in the room walked Freema Parks. I lay on the bed next to the window as if I hadn't hadn't seen her. She coughed as if rolling my defiance off her shoulder. This was the best bed. .MINE!
"Wow!" She said, "Did someone die in here?" She looked down at me. I knew my place, under her heel. I still didn't budge.
"Oh no wait," She said flicking her wavy, silky, amazing hair (which I could never hope for) over her shoulder, "it's just stinky!" She giggled to herself and walked over to the side of the bed.
"Can I see this darling?" She said, gently picking up the edge of the duvet.
'No you can't you devil spawn!' I thought pretty loudly to myself. "Yeah whatever." I said quietly, 'Go throttle yourself with it!' I thought.
"Thanks darling." She said. She grabbed it and pulled it as hard as she could. I rolled off the bed, still clutching my now torn copy of: Hello!
"You're welcome!" I croaked. Obviously the bed now belonged to Freema.
I looked in the mirror. "You are a confident young woman." I said aloud, "a tiger." There was no one else to hear my pep talk because I was all alone. Jessica and Freema had gone off to breakfast arm in arm. I still had a sore had and a paper cut from last night but I let it slide. I looked down at my red uniform. As a girl I was required to wear I red blazer, a red and white pleated skirt, a red and gold tie, a red jumper and my white shirt. I had to wear white knee socks and black leather shoes. The boys wore the same except the wore trousers. Apart from that we were almost clones of each other. I brushed my blonde hair behind my ears and put on my red head band.
"The Red Tiger." I said. It had a ring to it. "Le Tigre Rouge" I said, translating to French. "There we go! Got it!"
I walked across the school to the dinner hall which is on the west hand side of King Henry. Jack had it easy because he only had to walk across the patch to get there. I had to walk in the snow to it. I slipped on ice several times. There were boys throwing snow at each other in there scarves and gloves, who I'm guessing had already finished breakfast.
I got my chewy school toast, honey and coffee from the counter and sat down next to Jack, who seemed content eating his Weet-a-Bix. I couldn't see what the English saw in that poor excuse for a breakfast cereal, nor could I see why Jack loved it when he was so into fruit loops.
I sat down next to him silently and tried to chew on my rubbery toast. It was alright until you tried to swallow it. Then it just kinda slid back up your throat a couple of times before it actually went down. It felt like eating cud. Not that I knew what that was like but that's what I imagined it would be like. Maybe Weet-a-Bix wasn't such a bad idea any more.
"So..." I said trying to break the silence.
"So..." Said Jack, stating at the brown sludge in the Bottom of his bowl.
"Ever eaten cud before?" I asked. Immediately I bent over and banged my head on the table. Jack was laughing hysterically and I tried not to laugh. It's not great actually, blurting. Even though people think you are trying to be funny you're really not so its just embarrassing.
Jack and I had English first. We headed over to the English block, which to my dismay, was on the other side of school. The heaters were on overdrive as soon as we walked in and the whole class was boiling. I was tempted to open a window but there was what looked like what a blizzard on its way.
Mr. Kaze walked in covered in snow and visibly shaking from head to toe. He was used to the hot Japanese summers and Fall in England really through him outta whack. I don't even know why he was allowed to teach English. He could barely speak it let alone teach it. After English every lesson seemed to drag on forever. I swear I fell asleep at least twice. Luckily Jack was there to wake me up for each lesson.
What I needed was a nice hot bath. As soon as dinner was over I went straight back to my dorm and went into the en suite and looked at the incredibly small bath. It looked like you had to kneel in it or something? I had no Idea why they'd made it so small, or why they'd made a superset bath and shower, but I was willing to let it slide if I could just have one bath. The problem was, I couldn't find the tap. There was knobs but no tap just a plug and I was scared. Jessica was lying on her bed reading a Latin version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Freema was reading Top of the Pops.
"Hey, Jessie..." I said in my most pleading and sweet voice, "How do you use the bath?"
"We don't have a-" she started but Freema cut her off.
"Oh the Bidet darling!" She enthused,
"The trotter?" I said, automatically translating to French.
"Oh yes! Best bath ever! It will help you get lovely and clean! Here I'll stand outside the door and give you some step by step instructions." I was glad that Freema was finally being nice to me, I had been scared she would be horrible but she seemed to be being kind for once.
I walked into the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I stripped off and just stood there for a second facing the Bidet.
"Have no fear," I said "Le Tigre Rouge is in town. Wait that doesn't rhyme! Is here! Le Tigre Rouge is here!" I breathed deeply before saying, "Ready!"
"Right darling!" Called Freema, "First you need to squat in the Bidet."
I did as she said and waited. "Are you facing the knobs dear? You can do it either way but its best if you don't."
I turned away from the knobs and yelled, "What now?"
"Now there are three knobs correct?" She yelled. I slid back round to my original position and checked.
"Okay, now the middle one..." She giggled for a second but quickly composed herself. What was so funny? Just because aid never used a fancy bath before! "Turn the middle knob on full." I twisted it as far as it would go. Nothing happened.
"What now?" I yelled again, I was starting to feel quite stupid by this point. I mean I didn't even know how to use a bath?! I must seem really filthy.
"Turn the knob on the left. " As soon as I did a jet of hot water shot up from the plug. It scolded me as I jumped off. I had no idea what to do! As soon as I jumped off the high pressure jet blasted the ceiling. I had hot water in my eyes and I couldn't see, I slipped on one of the tiles and tried to grab something. I felt the hot water knob and started turning it. I pulled in a final attempt to turn it off and it came off instead. I was soaked by now and had now idea how to turn the Bidet off. I felt around for something to block it with and I found my school uniform. I shoved it down the hole in desperation. The jet changed direction and hit me in the face.I moved my head and it changed course again hitting another part of the ceiling.. I heard a smash and felt a sharp pain in my foot. I didn't realise I'd open my eyes because it was pitch black. I felt the knob in the middle and suddenly felt stupid. The jet stopped. I walked the door and found my fluffy white dressing gown. I walked into the bedroom to see Jessica and Freema. Jessica stopped laughing s soon as she looked at me. I saw why when I looked down, I had half a light bulb sticking out of my foot.