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Cecil gave the piano one final vicious thump before slamming the lid down. She was not musical. She could sing averagely, and she could play the piano very averagely but that was the extent of her talents. Piano practice was not one of her prefered pastimes.

There was a light knock on the door. Guiltily, she started picking up the sheet music which was scattered carelessly about her feet.

"Cecil." Daphne's voice was little louder than a whisper, as she stood timidly by the door.

"Yes?" asked Cecil sighing inwardly.

"Are you finished practising? People are starting to come to the door."

"Yes, yes. I'm finished," she grinned, "It's not like i'm ever going to improve. Are you alright Daph? You look pale."

"I'm okay." said Daphne in her quiet way.

"Well there's no need to be so shy anyway. I can hardly hear you." said Cecil bluntly.

Daphne's face fell. "I'm so sorry" she cried, "But there is so many of you, and you are all so loud, and you know each other so well, and i'm all alone."

Cecil looked at her cousin blankly unsure what to say. "I've been so worried about saying the wrong thing, and yet there I went, just saying the first thing that came into my head. Sorry Daphne I didn't mean to make you cry. I'm just not very good at this sort of thing.." she trailed off.

Daphne didn't say anything, and Cecil suddenly realised how unexpected that little outburst had been. "Well" she said bravely, "I expect we should go along and meet the crowds. It will be alright Daph" then after a slight hesitation, "you just stick with me."

Daphne edged closer, and her face was worryingly pale.

Cecil gritted her teeth, and tried to keep her temper as best as she could. She really had no idea how to handle Daphne.

"Come on." she said as cheerfully as she could at last, "There's not so many of us really. There's the van Aldins, Elise and Meg. They are staying with Aunt Grizel, so you probably met them briefly. Elise is friends with Fliss so she wont really bother us, and when it's not term time she's alright. Just don't try anything funny with her in School. She is Head girl after all. Meg's one of us and she's in my form at school, she's a good egg. They'll probably bring Nigel, John and Heather. But you've met them already too. I won't deny it- those three are loud, but even Nigel's only thirteen and the rest of us are vaguely sensible or," she conceded "We can be when we like. Then theres the Rosomons- they are sort of our cousins you know- Tony is the same age as us two more or less. He's a bit of a lark, he likes playing practical jokes and stuff but don't worry he won't pick on you or anything and he worships the ground Felix walks on. I never have understood why though, I must admit. Peter is the same age as Pip and Geoff but he's awfully quiet, you probably won't really notice him, except that he's frightfully sensible. Mary is the last and she's a year or so younger than Claire but her and Pip are awful good friends out of school. Now i've been yabbing long enough. Theres also the Peters, and the Courvouisors and the Graves's and that is all. Oh except, Jen McLaren and the Helston's might come too but they live a bit farther afield so you never know."

Then not waiting to see the effects of her speech on her cousin, Cecil simply grabbed Daphne's arm and wheeled her towards the door. They had just left the room when there was a wild shriek of "CECEY" which could have rivalled even one of Cecil's patent yells.

"Guita!" shrieked Cecil in reply at the full pitch of her lungs. Forgetting her promise of a mere moment before to her cousin she made a bee-line for her partner in crime.

Elise van Aldin momentarily forgot that it wasn't term-time and automatically started towards the pair to seperate them. They were afterall sworn enemies of the prefects, and major thorns in the head girls side.

Guita turned a pair of extremely cheeky brown eyes on her headgirl. "Elise you can't seperate us" she laughed, "It's not school!"

Elise grinned, "Perhaps not, but you can't blame a girl for worrying. You two reunited after the best part of two weeks apart, its enough to turn my hair grey thinking what you might get up to!"

Cecil looked indignant. "We're seniors. We behave... well mostly... that you know about..." she trailed off.

Elise chuckled "Wait until you are prees. You'll even get the dubious joys of Phil and Marienne von Ahlen being in the fourth. I tell you it's karma." and she slid away leaving the two of them looking at each other in horror.

"I wonder" she said to Felicity, "If they look so horrified at the idea of being prefects some day or the idea that Phil and Marienne may get even more wild when they reach the fourth?"

Felicity laughed, "I can't say i'm not glad that we will be leaving before that monumentous occasion. Although I shouldn't admit it I've always been rather glad that Pippa and Marienne hate each other. I don't even want to think about the ideas they might come up with if they actually condescended to talk to each other."

"Don't worry, that's my guilty secret too." grinned Elise.

At that moment their attention was diverted by what appeared to be rapidly turning into a shouting match between Roddy and the infamous Phil.

Elise sighed, and mimed putting a hat onto her head. Felicity looked at her in confusion.

"It's my prefect hat, you had better put yours on too."

With that she started to walk towards the rabble, every inch the head girl and dripping icy disdain.

Without a word the chalet school girls melted away. Cecil and Guita took one look and left Phil to her fate. Cecil had also just realised that she had abandoned Daphne and grabbed Guita, and Elise's sister Meg to help track her down.

"Well...." drawled Elise, arriving just in time to see Phil hurl a book at Roddy.

Phil turned bright red and looked meaningfully at her shoes. Roddy turned to tell her to mind her own business and realised three things simultaneously. One: he had made a mistake asking Lise van Schweib to the dance. Two: this girl was bloody terrifying and Three: if she wanted him to play santa claus he was going to have to play santa claus.

Seth appeared at Felicty's side. He had spent the last ten minutes thoroughly enjoying himself as he took Phil's side in the argument and tried to convince an increasingly angry Roddy that he would be a perfect Santa Claus. Now he decided to retreat as quickly as possible and finding Felicity standing by herself he decided, somewhat nervously, to kill two birds with one stone.

"Lets get out of here before Roddy explodes." he said. "I know he'll give in eventually, but you know what he's like he'll need to have a temper tantrum first."




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