Fall Before Me

Miranda Smith, All Rights Reserved

The first thing I noticed was a blinding white ceiling. The second thing was a raging pain in my skull. Jeez, it felt as if somebody had taken a pneumatic drill to my brain. I groaned and blinked as I felt a cold hand on my face. Where was I? The last thing I remembered, I had been tearing around the gym, dodging balls thrown at me by that bitch Calypso-whatever-her-name-was.

With great difficulty, I turned my head to the side, wincing at the shooting pains in my neck and my eyes struggled to focus on a middle-aged woman with warm brown eyes and grey hair, drawn up into a tight bun. I could just make out a blue blur. She must have been a nurse.

I groaned. What on Earth had I done now?

"Hello, there, dear. You've taken quite the tumble haven't you?"

The woman's voice was soft and kind and despite my promise not to get to know anybody, I found myself instantly liking her. I groaned and tried to sit up. I instantly regretted it as my head spun and my stomach lurched violently. I took a deep breath to prevent the vomit that was clawing its way up my throat.

"Where am I?" I whispered, throat dry.

"You're in the Medical Room, dear. You hit your head." She said softly.

I groaned for the third time in minutes and let my head sink further into the pillows. Only I could get a concussion on my first day at school. If I had wanted to make a good impression, I would have cared more than I did.

"How did I get in here?" I asked, confused. The last thing I could remember (and vaguely) was laying on the floor with the room spinning. I didn't remember getting up and walking to the Medical Room – wherever the hell that was.

"A young man by the name of Damien Riley carried you here." The nurse replied.

I froze; horrified and felt a blush creep its way up my neck and stain my cheeks. Oh crap, the guy I hated had to be the one to carry me here. I was surprised that he didn't dump me in a rubbish bin or something. A scowl found itself on my face. Just typical. Now this idiot would have something to lord over me.

"When can I leave?" I asked moodily, staring up at the ceiling and wincing as another wave of pain took hold. I gritted my teeth.

"You'll have to stay in over night I'm afraid. You've got a concussion so I need to make sure all is well."

I scowled and sighed loudly. I felt rather than saw the nurse smile at me but couldn't be bothered to return it. I turned my head to the wall and closed my eyes. My head was killing me. She tutted sympathetically but didn't leave my side. Good lord, what would it take to get this woman to leave my side?

"Can I have some painkillers?" I asked, trying for politeness.

Once again, I felt that smile, heard a whispered "sure" and then the sound of the nurse bustling around, doing something I couldn't see. She helped to sit me up, holding her hand behind my head and tipping it back so that I could swallow back the bitter pills. I winced at the taste and then lay back, staring up at the impossibly white ceiling.

I closed my eyes; sleepy and ready for a long nap. To my chagrin however, this infernal woman didn't seem to get the message. She tutted in a matronly way and shook my shoulder.

"Before you go, I will warn you that I have to wake you every three hours so you don't fall into too deep of a sleep. Head injuries can be unpredictable so you need to be monitored overnight."

I groaned loudly and rubbed my hand over my face. Perfect, not only had my head and the gym floor made an acquaintance but now I was going to be woken up every three hours so I didn't go into a bloody coma! Lovely, just lovely.

"M'kay then." I said sleepily as the painkillers took hold, I closed my eyes and was asleep within minutes.

The next time I woke up, the room was empty and dark. The only light came from a door, from which I could make out the vague shape of a person, in a crouched shape. I blinked and the room came into view. It looked like your typical hospital room, in fact – were it not for the fact that I knew I were in boarding school, I would have thought I was in a hospital room.

The pain in my head had lessened to a dull throb now, the room wasn't spinning as much, allowing me to sit up and lean against the pillows. Jeez, this bed was uncomfortable. I groaned and tried to make myself more comfortable, laying on my side, in the hopes that it would be more comfortable.

I gave up on sleeping and instead stared at the ceiling, watching the dust swirl in cyclonic patterns. I just could not believe that Damien Riley of all people had carried me to the Medical Room. The guy hated me so why was he helping me? It just didn't make sense. I blushed when I remembered that I had snuggled into his chest.

I was never going to live this down! If this school was anything like other schools, I would be the talk of the town, come my release tomorrow. Or shall I say school? I sighed loudly and bit my lip. The door to my left opened and the nurse stepped in, body framed by the light that poured from what I assumed to be an office.

"Ah, you're awake!" she smiled and headed towards me. "I was about to come and wake you."

I shrugged but said nothing. I couldn't be bothered to talk! I was too busy smarting about my embarrassing ordeal. The thought of being carried in the arms of the school hottie – the very one that I hated left a bitter taste in my mouth. No, it wasn't the tablets!

"Yes," I glared at a spot over her shoulder.

She chuckled and shook her head fondly, grabbing my wrist, obviously feeling for a pulse.

"Ah, you're a feisty one. My favourite kind!" she chuckled, letting my hand fall back to the bed with a soft thump upon the soft covers.

I snorted and rolled my eyes. Feisty indeed. The smile dropped from her face and she suddenly looked quite serious. From what I could make out of her face in the dark, anyway. I gulped despite myself. What was going on here.

"Janie, I couldn't help but notice the ah, scars on your legs!"

I immediately clammed up. It was an unspoken rule, don't mention my scars, don't even look in their direction. I felt scandalised that this woman before me had been looking at my legs and judging me. I frowned and swallowed my anger.

"What about them?" I said defensively.

The nurse looked taken aback and nervous all in equal measure. She straightened her starched white collar and sat down on my bed. I shifted away from her.

"The burn marks. Miss James, if you're harming yourself then I really need to know."

I clenched my teeth and looked away from her. I was not going to tell her that, it was none of her business. How dare she insinuate that I self-harmed! How dare she assume that my scars were from my own hands. I shook my head vehemently and glared at her.

"No, they're not self-harm." I said as calmly as I could.

She looked doubtful but the look I sent her clearly made its impact. A look that said Just Leave it! The nurse sighed but to my great relief, she didn't pursue it, she handed me some more painkillers and after a quick smile, left the room as I drifted off to sleep.

When I awoke again, it was fully light again, the sun streamed through the window by my bed, warming my face pleasantly. I groaned and turned my head away from the light. I was still sleepy.

A low chuckle came from beside me and I snapped my eyes open again, staring into Eleanor's blue eyes, which were swimming with amusement. I threw her a scathing glare and sat up, rubbing my still sore head.

"Do you have to keep waking me up?" I grumbled, glaring at the girl who looked quite amused.

She smiled and shook her head at me, blonde ponytail bobbing merrily. I resisted the urge to yank her ponytail, hard. An unbidden image of the resulting shriek crept into my mind and I smirked.

"Sorry," she shrugged apologetically. "I just stopped by to see how you were before lessons. You hit your head pretty hard."

"Yeah, well that Cat Poo or whatever her name is will pay for that one!"

To my great surprise, Eleanor's hands flew to her face and she let out a most inhuman sound, almost the cross between a snort and a giggle.

"You mean Calypso Montague, she's all right once you get to know her. What she did, she was testing you."

I raised my eyebrows at Eleanor, completely dumbfounded. Posh girl say what?

"She was testing you, call it an initiation." Eleanor explained.

I rolled my eyes. Seriously, what did that girl think this was? A cheesy high school movie? I think not. I snorted and crossed my arms.

"Well if she suddenly decides to be nice to me, don't expect me to return the favour."

To my great surprise, Eleanor's expression and she shook her head. She looked almost sorry for me.

"Oh there's no fear there, Calypso Montague doesn't know how to be nice." Eleanor said, with a strange expression on her face. How very interesting.

"But you just said, and I quote 'she's all right once you get to know her.'" I challenged.

A small smile tugged her lips and she shook her head at me. "You're smarter than I thought. What I meant was, you're all right if you kiss her feet. And you didn't – so..." Eleanor trailed off.

I seethed at the subtle insult and bit my tongue at the retort I was itching to throw at her. I never would have thought the girl before me could be a bitch. A pushover, yes but a bitch...

"Yes, well I won't be joining the Calypso Montague fan club. I might just take up voodoo, though." I said, more to myself than anything.

Eleanor smiled and stood up, brushing her impeccable uniform down. She smiled and left without another word. I stared at her, slightly confused at her abrupt departure but then just shrugged it off, I didn't really care all that much.

It was then that I realised the pain in my head had all but gone. I still felt a little light-headed and my mouth was dry from all the tablets but other than that I was all healed. Hooray, back to boring lessons I go! It was then that the nurse from the previous night chose to bustle in, smiling brightly.

In the light of day, I could tell she looked younger than she actually was. Her skin was relatively smooth, impeded by the occasional wrinkle. Her hair was drawn into a bun as usual and her eyes were warm and kind.

"Can I go?" I asked before she could even open her mouth to chuckle.

She chuckled at me and whipped out a small torch, shining it in my eyes, much to my annoyance. What was this infernal woman doing now? I jerked my head away and she pursed her lips, a small flicker of annoyance showing on her face.

"Now now, Ms James. If you allow me to do this, I can give you a clean bill of health and you can be off on your merry way."

I huffed and crossed my arms, allowing her to shine the torch into my eyes and mutter to herself. She finished and smiled at me, shoving her torch in her breast pocket.

"You seem to be your chirpy self. You can go but take it easy, don't overexert yourself. If you start vomiting or passing out, come straight to me." she said sternly.

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever." I grumbled, crossing my arms.

She smiled. "Just ask the lady at the desk for Nurse Perry."

Before she could utter anymore nonsense, I had snatched up my school bag, which was hanging at the foot of my bed and rushed from the room, intent on taking a nice, long shower and perhaps getting some more sleep.

No such luck.

Eleanor was waiting outside for me in yet another reception area, school bag slung carelessly over her shoulder as she leant over the desk and talked to the lady behind it. She felt my presence and straightened up, offering me a quick smile.

"Oh you're out! Come on, I'll walk you to your dorms so you can get dressed and then we've got Geography."

I sighed and resigned myself for the worst. I ignored the lady behind the desk as she bid be goodbye, rather sarcastically and followed Eleanor back to our own dorms. I entered my own room without a backwards glance and after the quickest shower ever, I was back in that ghastly uniform and following Eleanor to pure hell. AKA Double Geography.

I found a seat at the back of the classroom, ignoring the stares and held my bag in front of my face. I knew what they were thinking. Oh, there's that stupid girl that got knocked out on her first day here! Moron. I shrugged it off, like I actually cared.

The lesson was boring. We spent the first hour discussing rock formations and landmarks before being set the tedious task of going through the impossibly thick textbooks and identifying which rock formation was which. Yeah, like I said. Boring.

The rest of the day was pretty much the same. After Double Geography, it was English Literature, where we were reading Romeo and Juliet. I wanted to find the star-crossed-lovers and shake them. Hard. After that was lunch and then another double period of Maths.

So all in all, my first day at Everglades' was pure hell! I was so not looking forward to the rest of my days here!