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Story Notes:

This is the second Jacynta story.

Jacynta, or Jack as she was now known, Fielding sat on her bed and stared round her room. She had arrived back from her final term at the Chalet School in Switzerland, where she had been an exchange student for twelve months, only a couple of hours ago. She had had a brilliant year and couldn’t believe that she was now home and wouldn’t be going back.  After Switzerland it was going to be hard to go back to her normal high school but she knew that she was lucky to have had the experience at all.

A person who had read all the books by Elinor Brent-Dyer as they were growing up had founded the Chalet School. The name of the school’s benefactor was a mystery it was run by a corporation. It had been located near Lucerne on the banks of the lake. The school had also had camp locations in Tyrol, Hereford, Wales and Guernsey but Jack hadn’t been to any of these much to her disappointment. The school was run along lines set down in the books but was naturally more modern. One of the main focuses of the school had been languages and after only one year Jack had greatly improved in French and German and she could also speak a bit in various other languages, as the school was so international.

Jack had also read all of the books and had often wished that she could go to the Chalet School, so she had been completely delighted when she had been awarded a scholarship to the school for one year. There had been a complete set of the books in the library and the girls had often talked about how they wished they could have gone to the original school. Jack had found these discussions highly amusing as she had a secret that she could not tell anyone, as they would have thought her totally crazy. At times she thought it was all a dream but the scar on her leg, a legacy of being washed down a swollen stream had convinced her that it had to be true.

At the start of her first term in Switzerland Jack had found herself at the Chalet School of the books in 1950’s Switzerland. She had been so terrified and no one had understood her if she didn’t behave in the way that was expected of a Chalet girl, except on one strange occasion. She still didn’t understand how or why it had happened but Joey Maynard, or someone who appeared to be her,  seemed to have been behind it all. She had just started to get used to her life there and had been enjoying herself a little when it had all been over. Jack had only been there just over two weeks before it had all been over. She had enjoyed her year at the other Chalet School immensely but still had moments of wishing she could have gone back even though it had not been at all like she had expected.

“Cyn, dinner's ready,” came her mother’s voice. Jack started. It was strange being called Cyn again now she was so used to Jack.  It was funny really considering how much she had protested when first given the name by Joey. She headed downstairs and began to set the table.

“Oh Mum, you’ve cooked my favourite,” she said. “Food at school was good but it’s so nice to be home and have your cooking.”

“It’s good to have you home again. Your dad and I have missed you round the house. It has been so quiet.” Mrs Fielding looked at her daughter fondly. The year had done a lot for Jacynta and she had grown up a lot in her year away.

After a dinner in which Jack didn’t stop talking about the Chalet School and her friends her parent’s looked at each other and then her dad said, “ I suppose we should tell her now and then maybe we will get some quiet.”

“Tell me what?” said Jack. Are we going away or something?”

“Cyn darling, how would you like to go back to the Chalet School?” said her mum.

“Go back. You know I’d love it but how? We can’t afford it. I know that,” said Jack hope starting to rise in her.

“Now we can’t but we had a letter from the Chalet School Corporation last week and they said that they are so pleased with the way you have worked in the last year that they want to offer you a scholarship until you have finished school,” said her dad.

“Really!” Jack squealed in delight. “I can go can’t I?” she then asked worriedly looking first at her mum and then at her dad.

“I don’t know,” said her dad. “I think we would miss you too much. It’s been a hard year without you.”

Not sure if her dad was joking or not Jack looked at her mum but her face was serious too.  Then both faces split into a grin and her dad said, “Yes you can go.”

Jack hugged both of her parents and then dashed upstairs saying that she had to message her friends to tell them she would be back.

The rest of the holidays seemed to go so slowly. Jack caught up with some of her old friends but she spent much of her time messaging and chatting on Skype, msn or facebook to her Chalet friends. Her mum told her one morning that she would have an opportunity that year to go to one of the camps, which made her day. Jack hoped she would be able to go to the Tyrol one as to her that was where the Chalet School had begun, even if it wasn’t true in real life.

Finally the day came to go back to school. Jack put on uniform. Most of her luggage had been sent in advance. She travelled with her parent to London and happily met a group of her friends. They chatted nonstop for much of the journey and it was a happy but tired Jack who went to sleep in her small room she shared with one other girl that night. She woke up the next morning and got out of bed and started to shuffle off to the bathroom. Suddenly she was wide-awake as she looked around at her unfamiliar surroundings.

“Oh hell. Where am I now?” she said out loud.

Jack looked round frantically but other than being in a dormitory she was not sure where she was. She didn’t think she was in Switzerland though as the room looked completely different to the ones she had seen there. Tyrol she hoped. But then she had another thought. What if this time she wasn’t in the Chalet School? What if she had ended up in a different series like Malory Towers or the Naughtiest Girl ones? She couldn’t remember that school’s name but she hoped she wasn’t at either of them.  The pool at Malory Towers had sounded nice though.

“What do you mean where are you?” came a voice from behind her making her jump. “You’ve been back a few days already so surely you should remember that you are not on holidays any more and are back at school.”

Jack looked at the speaker but didn’t recognise her at all. The girl looked to be a little younger than her and had corn coloured curls, that had been cut short over her head, and blue eyes.

“Come on Jacynta, get moving,” said the girl. “You’re next in the bath and you haven’t even started tidying your cubey and Gill will be back soon.”

The girl obviously knew her and it seemed like she wasn’t a new girl this time. Jack started to stress. This was going to make life a bit more difficult as she would be expected to know what she was doing. And she didn’t even know where or when she was.

The next thing she knew another girl came back and said that she had finished and that it was Jack’s turn. She grabbed her dressing gown and then found the first girl shoving a pile of things in her hand and pushing her out the door.

“Hurry up, I’m after you and I don’t want to get in trouble this early in the term even if you do.”

Jack headed out the door and was able to find a bathroom quickly. Hoping it was the right one she slipped in and found a bath running for her. She quickly turned of the taps and dipped her finger in the water and found it to be stone cold. That at least solved one question for her. She knew that she was at the Chalet School. Now if she could just work out when she was. She quickly washed and was towelling off when there came banging at the door. Jack quickly pulled the plug out of the bath dragged her dressing gown on again and then set the bath running again. She murmured sorry to the girl at the door and began to head back to her dormitory.

Jack quickly ran into trouble. Once out of the bathroom she realised that because she had left the dormitory so fast so had no real idea of where it was. She started to stick her head into different rooms. One room seemed to have mainly little girls in there and when she stuck her head into another they told her that Matey was on the prowl and she should stop mucking around before she was caught. It was too late though.

“Jacynta Fielding,” came a voice that she actually knew. “What are you doing?”

Jack found herself face to face with Matron. She looked a little younger than she remembered from last year but otherwise she was still the same Matron.

“Umm,” was all that Jack managed to get out.

“Hurry and go back to your dormitory and get dressed. We have enough trouble at the moment without you playing silly games.”

“Sorry Matron,” said Jack. Then as she was looking round she spotted the girl from earlier heading back from her bath and quickly moved to walk with her. The girl gave her a surprised look but said nothing. Jacynta found her cubicle again and quickly began to get dressed. She pulled on a brown uniform and looked down at herself.

“Not Switzerland then,” she thought. Jack then proceeded to strip her bed quickly and tidy her cubicle. She was the last to join the line of girls waiting at the door and everyone was giving her irritated looks as she joined them.

“Now we are all ready let’s go,” said another very pretty girl. “Let’s just hope Miss Bubb isn’t there yet.”

Jack thought furiously as the girls made their way down to breakfast silently. She couldn’t believe that of all the terms that she had ended up in the one with Miss Bubb as head. She also thought that the girl who had helped her out had to be Gay Lambert but she thought she would be careful until she was sure. Unlike last time she wasn’t as terrified by what had happened. She actually felt quite thrilled. She knew the storyline of this book well as it was a particular favourite of hers, although she knew that it would be different to live in this time rather than just reading about it. Jack was also pretty sure she wouldn’t be stuck here forever and this time she decided that she would try to have as much fun as possible.

The atmosphere at breakfast was very interesting. Many of the girls seemed to be either subdued or talking angrily about something. At the staff table the mistresses were quiet and had worried expressions on their faces. They kept looking over the girls anxiously and then having quiet conversations with each other. One young mistress, in particular looked upset.

From the conversations going on around her Jack quickly figured out that the girls had just found out about new team edict of Miss Bubb’s and the new restrictions put in place about their free time. Jack didn’t participate in the conversations as she spent most of her time trying to put names to the faces of the girls around her. As she obviously wasn’t new here it was going to look at bit strange if she didn’t know anyone. She quickly discovered that she was right about it being Gay and by the end of the meal, which was nowhere near as good as the ones she had eaten in Switzerland the previous year, she had also worked out who Daisy, Gwensi, Beth, Jacynth, Gillian and Frances were. It looked as though she was in the fifth form here. She looked at Jacynth out of the corner of her eyes not wanting to be caught staring. It was going to be so hard to be around her and not be able to say anything about what she knew was going to happen.

Jack was lost deep in thought thinking about how she was going to have to try and see Joey when Gay pulled her to her feet. “What’s got into you this morning Jack?” Gay asked. “What’s so important that you’ve decided to ignore us all breakfast? Thought you would have been discussing the games thing and the free time thing with us all again. You were mad enough about it all yesterday.”

“Oh those things,” said Jack.

Gay’s eyebrows rose at this but luckily for her they were running late for prayers so Gay didn’t say more and the pair hurried in with the others to take their places. But once prayers were finished she turned to Jack and asked her again what was up this morning.

“I didn’t sleep very well last night and guess I just feel a bit tired,” Jack replied hoping Gay would put her mood down to grumpiness.

“Not surprised you didn’t sleep well. You were so angry. And then you got your detention when Monica heard you holding forth in the most unparliamentarily language about it all,” said Gay looking at her sympathetically. “I was just lucky that she didn’t hear me.”

“I don't know who was worse, you or Jack,” said Gill. “You both looked like you were going to explode Miss Bubb’s study last night. As for Monica, I guess she was annoyed about the whole thing herself considering she is games pree.” At this point Gill Culver gave a squawk. “Do you lot realise that we are all going to be late for class if we don’t get a move on?”

Jack stuck close to the pair and they headed off for their form room, which she discovered, was lower fifth. She had been in lower fifth last year too when she had ended up in Switzerland. They had just managed to sit down when Miss Bubb herself walked in. She eyed the class and on spotting Jack’s desk asked her in an icy tone why she wasn’t ready for lessons yet. As half the class didn’t have their books out yet Jack felt it was a bit unfair to pick on only her.

“I’m waiting for your answer Jacynta. Why are you not ready for class,” said Miss Bubb in a metallic voice.

Jack looked at the women. She was quite tall and broad shouldered and had grey hair and blue eyes. The eyes were gazing at Jack in a way that made her uneasy.

“Jacynta Fielding. When I ask you a question I expect an answer,” Miss Bubb said her voice becoming even colder.

“I’m sorry. I was running late,” said Jack.

“That is no real explanation. Next time make sure you are ready in plenty of time. Now hurry up sit down and take out your books quickly and quietly. And I hope you can show me better work than your abysmal effort yesterday.”

Jack sat down with her cheeks red. She opened up her desk and looked through it. She had no idea what books she needed. Her temper started to rise. She found her timetable pinned to the underside of the desk, discovered it was time for Latin and was still hunting round for the appropriate books when she heard Miss Bubb’s voice again.

“We are still waiting. I think we will have to make up this time after class.”

Jack finally found the appropriate books and shut the lid of her desk with a small bang. “You old bat,” she said. “At least I know you aren’t going to be here long.”

Gasps, quickly smothered, told Jack that she had been overheard. She kept her eyes down and hoped that Miss Bubb had not heard as well. But then the heads voice rang out.

“Jacynta Fielding. You’ will leave the room this instant. You can stand in the corridor until the end of this lesson and then you will come with me to my study.”

Jack stood up and made her way out of the room. She stood out in the corridor and thought about sitting down but thought that might be pushing it a bit far. It seemed to be different this time, unless it was like that strange time with Mary-Lou. She listened to the lesson progressing inside the room. Miss Bubb’s voice rang out angrily time after time and no one seemed to be faring very well at all. Jack miserably wished that she were back at her Chalet School. She had been her less than a day and it already looked like she was going to be in serious trouble.

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