“Thank you girls” she said, with a smile as she sat back down at her desk. “How’re you feeling now Lucy?”
“A little better, thanks Miss. Talking to Becky has helped a bit.” In truth Lucy still felt pretty awful, but her friends reassurance had helped her to regain her composure, and she felt that she may be able to tackle the afternoon of challenges which lay ahead of her, if reluctantly.
Becky squeezed her friends hand in a gesture of solidarity, causing Dorothy to blink back her emotions once more. Here was true friendship playing out before her eyes, and she was proud of the two girls she had seen growing up since the started at the school.
“Come on Luce, let’s go and get some lunch, before it’s too late. The girls will be wondering where we are. And I don’t know about you, but I’m starving!”
Now she thought about it, Lucy was starting to feel a little hungry herself. She still felt sick, but knew that was just the upset and her nerves, and a sandwich would probably help everything to settle down. She wasn’t so sure about seeing anybody else just yet though.
“I could maybe go for a sandwich or something, but can we just stay inside for a bit rather than going out with everybody else? I’m not sure I’m quite up to that yet…and this will take some explaining.” She gestured to her dress, reddening again as she did so.
“Ah don’t worry about it Luce, as I said there will be plenty of friendly ribbing I’m sure, but it’s really not the end of the world you know. Come on, let’s go.”
As both girls stood, Lucy again making exaggerated efforts to stretch the hem of her dress downwards, she had a sudden thought and turned to Mrs Johnson “What about my…you know, things, miss?”
“Pop back down to see me at the end of the day Lucy, and you can pick everything up then. Saves you having to carry it around with you.” She gave another of her warm, reassuring smiles and was pleasantly surprised to receive one back, understanding that Lucy must have been worried about carrying the bag of wet clothes around all day and having to explain it away. “Have a good afternoon girls.”
“Thanks Miss.” they chorused as they made their way out into the corridor and headed towards the school canteen.
Walking down the corridor, Lucy became obsessed with pulling at her dress, as well as trying to hide what she was wearing with her backpack, to the point that Becky had to intervene.
“You do realise you’re just drawing more attention to yourself, don’t you? Just walk normally, you are still wearing school uniform after all, lots of the younger girls have dresses just like that on, so you’re not going to stand out unless you make it obvious.”
Ever image conscious, she realised that her friend was right and hooked her bag back up onto her shoulders. Drawing even more attention to herself was the last thing she wanted to do.
When they reached the canteen, both girls grabbed sandwiches and drinks, before finding a quiet table tucked away in the corner where they could carry on chatting without too may prying ears.
“So, what’s the plan with Moss then? Are you just going to tell her you’ve not done the work, and let her call your Mum?”
“Think I’m going to have to.” Replied a crestfallen Lucy “I’m certainly not going to try and pull any more daft stunts, as that’s not exactly worked out well for me so far! And I don’t have many other options. I really can’t believe that I’ve put myself through all of this for nothing! Hopefully Mum will be a bit more sympathetic after what happened earlier, although I doubt it. ”
Lucy was sat with her back to the room, facing out of a window onto the gardens at the front of the school, with Becky opposite her looking towards the serving area. After a few minutes, Becky began to notice that other kids were looking and pointing in their direction, whispering and giggling amongst themselves. She even caught one or two comments about ‘babies’ and ‘bet she wets the bed too’, causing her heart to sink. She was so glad Lucy hadn’t picked up on all of this, but it certainly sounded like the story of her friends unfortunate accident had spread through the school. Oh dear, she really hoped it blew over soon.5
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