Fall Before Me

Miranda Smith, All Rights Reserved

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This is my own original works. No part of this may be reproduced, saved, stored in a retrieval system or sold without the express written consent of the author. Plagiarism will be dealt with promptly so don't even try.

The school was massive. Ten times the size of my last school and fifteen times grander. It was a huge stone building with a stately feel to it. A long, sweeping drive led to two big oak front doors and stone steps. Where I stood, I counted at least fifty two windows and four stories. Either side of the building had two towers which looked to be extensions and I could just make out two at the back.

I sneered at it with distaste. The girls shimmying in and out of it had Trust Fund written all over them. One thing I knew for sure, I would not fit in here at all. With my hand-me-down uniform and Charity Shop clothes. I took a tentative step forwards and followed Mum, who had her nose in the air as if she was trying to prove something.

I rolled my eyes and followed her up the stairs, sending dirty looks to the staring school girls as I did so. They offered small smirks and whispered behind their hands. Snobs. I clutched my shabby bag and followed Mum up the stone steps, pausing outside the front doors as they swung open, revealing a short, dumpy woman with an air of superiority about her.

"Ah, you must be Miss James," she said snootily, looking down at me over her gold-rimmed glasses.

I smirked to myself and nodded when nudged me in the ribs. The woman sniffed disapprovingly and waved a beckoning hand, indicating we should follow her. We followed her through the marble halls and past the snooty-pops girls towards a room that was marked 'Office'. She waved us to a circle of chairs and entered the office without another word.

"I want you to behave, Janie. No messing round, no getting into trouble with the police and absolutely no boys!" Mum nagged, pursing her lips.

"Whatever," I slumped in my seat and rested my feet atop the table, shabby trainers shaking a bit of mud off onto the neatly stacked magazines.

Mum tutted and slapped my feet, sending them crashing to the floor. I scowled at her and crossed my arms, staring at the ceiling, which was painted with a stupid replica of the Sistine chapel. How corny. I thought, scoffing. I started to jig my leg in boredom, ignoring the glares Mum sent my way. Well I was bored!

After about a million years, the door opened and the same snooty looking woman stepped out, smoothing her skirt suit as she did so. Honestly, she had more rolls than a bakery, she shouldn't be wearing things like that. I smirked at the mental image of actual rolls replacing her fat.

"Ms James, Mr Thornton is ready for you now." she sniffed, looking down her nose at me.

I threw her a sarcastic smile and rose gracefully from my seat, knowing Mum would follow. Sure enough, she jumped to her feet and grabbed my elbow, steering me forcefully into the plush room. I forced down the desire to scoff with derision at the extravagant room. Huge ceiling to floor windows overlooked the lush countryside in which this hell-hole was situated. They were accompanied by heavy velvet curtains which were currently tied back and allowing a good deal of light to stream into the room.

It was all dark wood and velvet cushions, two brown leather armchairs sat in front of a mahogany claw footed desk and a leather wing-back chair. Behind the desk in the stupid wing-back chair, sat a man that was impeccably dressed. Not a hair was out of place and his suit was perfectly pressed. He was handsome in an old codger sort of way. I smirked when I felt Mum become tense behind me. She was so predictable. Stupid woman.

"Hello, you must be Mrs James?" the man asked, addressing my mother as opposed to me, who would be the one attending the bloody school in the first place.

"Yes, this is my daughter Janie. I assume you know the circumstances that lead us here?" Mum asked, straightening her trouser suit out and looking longingly at the seat.

"Please, take a seat." The man said reluctantly. It was very clear to see that he didn't want us here in his posh school with the posh people. We stunk of council estate and didn't fit into this comfortable little school.

I dropped bonelessly into a seat and wrapped my legs around the legs, staring disinterestedly at the ceiling. I could feel Mum's glare burning into my head as she sat nimbly in the chair beside me. I could feel the cool atmosphere but it didn't bother me in the slightest, he could be a snob all he wanted, there was no way I was going to learn to play Lacrosse and eat Caviar.

"Yes, I reviewed Ms James' files prior to this visit," he said the last word slowly as if it were causing him great pain. "I have learnt a great deal of her, er, past escapades."

I snorted and rolled my eyes. Mum shot me a glare and I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from grinning. I'd been referred to this school by the courts after I'd been expelled from my last school and gotten into trouble with the police simultaneously.

"Yes, well that is in the past now and this school will be a fresh start. Won't it, Jane?" Mum said, nudging me hard in the ribs.

"OW!" I scowled at her and rubbed my ribs before quickly fixing my face into a neutral expression and nodding to the man who was staring at me with a mixture of curiosity and disapproval. Mostly disapproval. "Yes, and it's Janie."

I knew I'd hit a nerve when Mum took a sharp intake of breath. I knew that she longed to clip me around the ear but she couldn't for fear of looking like a bad mother. Well, she was but hey! It was a win win situation. I smirked at my victory.

"Very well," the man cleared his throat, it was clear it was causing him great pain to be polite to people like us. "I am Herman Jackwood-White and I am the principle of Everglades Boarding School. Ms James will be the first pupil to be a part of the new programme we have in effect which allows people from more, ah, unpleasant walks of life to have a decent education."

I longed to draw my fist back and plunge it into his stupid snooty face. Turning to look at my mum, I could tell she longed to as well. He talked with an air of superiority and it was plain to see that he thought he was better than us. From his plummy voice to his expensive clothes, he had money written all over him.

I shrugged but said nothing. I knew this would infuriate the man and sure enough, his eyes narrowed into a deep frown. I smirked to myself again 1: Nil to me.

"Ms James, I must stress the seriousness of the situation. You are here on probation. One wrong move and you will be expelled. There will be no violence or raucous behaviour. Drugs and alcohol are expressly prohibited and you are not to visit the male members of the schools, dorm rooms. Is that clear?"

I narrowed my eyes and tried to stare him down but he kept his resolve, staring right back. Damn, the old git was no pushover.

"Crystal," I said icily, after an age of staring him down.

Mum let out a sigh of relief and I felt a spark of annoyance. She was only relieved because she could palm me off on him. Not because she actually cared about my education or welfare. She had made it quite clear that she had washed her hands of me.

"Very well, Mrs James. You may leave, I will be more than sufficient to cope from here." Mr Jackwood-White said.

Mum looked stunned and slightly offended at his abrupt dismissal. Nonetheless, she rose from her seat and left the room with a hissed "Be good!" to me. I sunk into my seat. Great, now I was trapped here.

"Now Ms James. Allow me to tell you of Everglades' rich history. It was founded in 1867 by one Michael Lambert. The dream was to educate young men and women from more, ahem, well off families. He built this school from scratch and was the head until his demise in 1900. The school became a boarding school in 1965."

I suppressed a yawn as he continued to bore me with the school's history. Honestly, I really didn't care. I leant sulkily back in my chair. It was going to be a long day.

"Now while you are here, Ms James. You will be on your best behaviour, no fighting, no sexual contact, no stealing. If I hear but a whisper of you, you will be out of this school before you can even blink. Is that clear?" he said in icy tones which brooked no arguments.

Reluctantly. I nodded. The judges words ringing in my ears. Mr Jackwood-White offered me a satisfied smile and leant forwards on his desk, steepling his fingers and glaring at me over his hands.

"Very well, I shall find a prefect to show you around and to help you to locate your dorm room. She will go through the rules and such with you. Here is your timetable and a map." he pushed a thick brown envelope at me, which I took gingerly, trying not to snort with derision. Honestly.

Herman, as I'd taken to calling him in my head, reached over and pressed a small button on his head. Straight away, an intercom buzzed into life and he spoke into it, throwing me a quick glance as he did so.

"Mrs Green, could you send in Eleanor Ridgeway to my office please?"

The person on the other end, who could only be her secretary responded with an affirmative and we were pulled into an awkward silence for several long seconds before there was a gentle knock on the door and a girl of about my age stepped in.

"Ah, Ms Ridgeway. Take a seat."

The girl was beautiful. No doubt it. Her uniform of bottle green blazer, white shirt with a green and yellow tie and knee length pleated skirt in that horrible grey only schools have and knee length socks in a horrid green colour. My eyes trailed down her legs and came to rest on her shoes. Oh Christ Almighty, I would actually have to wear that?

Her long brown hair fell easily down her back and curious blue eyes moved to me, her forehead narrowing in confusion. She seemed friendly enough but I instantly disliked her.

"You asked to see me, Sir?" Eleanor asked, sinking into Mum's recently vacated armchair.

"Yes, Ms Ridgeway this is Janie James, she is the new student I told you about."

I glared at this Eleanor girl, as if daring her to laugh at my name. Her mouth didn't even lift into a smirk as she looked at me with a degree of confusion. It was written all over her face, how could I afford to get into a school like this? I obviously wasn't enough to get one of those much coveted scholarships they seemed to harp on about here.

"She was referred here as part of the Better Education programme."

Eleanor's eyes widened in understanding and she offered me a weak smile. One which I did not return. The Better Education Programme was a new piece of legislation that had been released last year. It was basically a stop-gap for putting problem kids like me into Young Offenders units and offered them a chance at a decent education. I'd been pissed off majorly when I discovered I had been referred to it. How dare they?

"Ms James, this is Eleanor Ridgeway. She will be your buddy for the next two weeks until you are well acquainted with the school. She is the prefect and you will go to her with any queries or concerns, she will be assessing your behaviour and assuring that you behave. Is that clear?"

I hated how he talked to me. Like I was stupid, in that stupid condescending tone of his. Just because I came from a bad walk of life, didn't mean I was stupid. Bloody posh git! Nonetheless, I rolled my eyes and nodded reluctantly.

"Yes, sir." I feigned politeness, Eleanor beamed and tossed her hair behind her ears.

"Jolly Good, Eleanor will show you around. Good day."

Taking this as a dismissal, I rose to my feet and followed an eagerly waiting Eleanor back out into the over extravagant waiting room. She said nothing as she lead me down a marble white corridor, lined with big oak doors, with big brass numbers above them.

"So what year are you in?" Eleanor said conversationally in an attempt to break the awkward silence that had no doubt fallen.

"Ten," I grunted, shrugging nonchalantly.

Eleanor nodded and offered me a small smile. God, she was way too friendly.

"Ah, so you're here for another three years, then?"

My head shot up in horror and I fixed Eleanor with my best glare. To my great satisfaction, she squirmed uncomfortably and looked a little scared. I thought we finished school at sixteen, when I was in year eleven. So why was this Eleanor girl telling me that I was here for another three years?

"Er, no," I said forcefully, coming to an abrupt halt so Eleanor nearly walked into me. "I'm in year ten, so that's one year!"

Eleanor looked uncomfortable and a little nervous. I could see her throat bob as she swallowed.

"Well, here at Everglades, we do things a bit differently. Year ten, is a preparatory year with no exams or coursework, it's pretty much just learning everything you need to know for the next year. Then the next year, year eleven. Will be the mock exams and coursework year, followed by year twelve which is the actual exams. It's always been like that."

I glared at Eleanor as if it were personally her fault. We stood five feet apart in the impossibly clean corridor with the big bay windows overlooking the impeccable, lush green grounds. Despite the sunlight streaming through the windows, the atmosphere felt cold and frigid.

I said nothing and continued to walk, Eleanor hurrying to catch up with me. She proceeded to show me around the whole school. Yes, the whole school and the hundreds of acres of ground. The school was split into two parts, the boys part and the girls part. The huge towers either side, housed the dorms, boys one side, girls the other and the sprawling maze of corridors, lead to the many classrooms and the humongous gymnasium. It was plain to see from the stately looking rooms that I would not fit in here.

"You've got your own room. It's opposite mine, so if you need anything. Just give me a bell." said Eleanor casually as we approached the towers that housed the girls dorms. Inside, the towers were much more modern than the rest of building, only furthering my suspicion that these had been added on as an extension. They were white and clinical like a hospital with wooden doors, that had been customised by the countless students that lived here.

We reached a set of stairs with a thick, purple carpet and intricately carved bannister. Eleanor looked back to check I was still following her and carried on up the stairs, suddenly deciding to not talk to me. I shrugged, I liked it better this way.

She came to another wooden door and stood before it, offering me a tight smile. A small, whiteboard was stuck to the door with Janie James written hastily on it. It was obvious that they'd prepared the room in a rush.

"This is your room. If you need anything, I'll be in here! Laundry days are Thursdays, make sure your clothes are labelled and in the laundry basket and outside of your door by that day. Well, that's it." Eleanor stepped back awkwardly and offering me another smile, hurried into her room, slamming the door shut behind her.

I rolled my eyes and pushed the door open, stepping into a large, airy room. It was decorated tastefully in tones of light blue and beech wood. Two large windows overlooked the lush grounds surrounded by a dense forest, beneath the windows was a larger than normal single bed with a thick blue quilt and pillows atop it. Apart from a wardrobe and dresser, the room was pretty bare. I'd have to make this room my own if I was going to be staying in it for three years. I sighed and plopped heavily upon the bed. For the first time, I regretted what I'd done at my last school. If I hadn't let my temper get the better of me, I would be messing around at the cinema with my friends right now instead of being stuck in this hellhole with a bunch of snobs.

I felt no guilt whatsoever. That bitch deserved everything she got. Anybody would have done the same in my situation. If they said they wouldn't, they would be lying. I leant back and stared up at the white ceiling, as I did, a slow smirk spread over my face.

They might be forcing me to come to this school but I was damned if I was going to go down without a fight. Oh yes, they would regret the day they sent Janie James to boarding school.

-xxx-

Well, another story for you. This one will doubtless be better written and better planned than Losing Hope. Please leave any feedback, I always welcome Constructive Criticism. Thank you.

~ Searchy