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Back at the Chalet School, a buzz of excitement was making its way from pupil to pupil. Everyone was to assemble in Hall immediately after the last lesson of the day.

The exchange students tried to find out what was so special about an assembly, but it did no good because the only response anyone gave them was that they shouldn’t be talking in the corridor. Usually, they’d be talking to each other on their mobile phones even though they were scant metres from each other. There’d be banter and flirting, not to mention the odd fight. Here, everyone walked sedately, in silence except for illicit whispers that were instantly shushed.

There was only one point where there was anything close to the kind of everyday trouble that happened at McKinley. Santana was summoned out of class by a stern-looking woman in a crisp white uniform and berated for the shortness of her uniform. Perfectly normal when it had been given to her, somehow it had lost several inches and the hemline now hovered perilously close to an area no Chalet School girl had ever displayed, and it also seemed suspiciously tight around the bust.

“You’ve only been here for a couple of days. I can’t believe you’ve grown already!” was Matron’s opinion as she ordered her to change.

“Listen, you old bat, if I have to wear this piece of...” Santana’s next word made everyone who overheard it gasp, and she continued, “then I’m going to improve it. Not that...”

Matron cut her off. “While you’re at this school, miss, you’ll follow the rules and dress decently. If I see you again in a frock that wouldn’t fit a toddler, there’ll be trouble, mark my words!”

Santana initially stood firm, but found the girls in her class were not on her side.

“Go and change!” everyone hissed at her.

“We’ll all be in trouble if you don’t.”

“You don’t want to cross Matey. Believe me.”

“Do you want to be put out of the Play, and lose all the fun?”

“Oh, like I care,” Santana retorted.

“Well, we do!” was the response she got, and she found that the girls were ready to force her to do Matron’s bidding if she held out.

“It’s only a damn dress,” was all the help she got from an eye-rolling Mercedes.

Eventually they all made it to Hall, Santana now skirted and sulking. She sat with her arms folded and her lower lip protruding as Miss Annersley welcomed them.

“You will all be pleased to know that we have received the Play this morning, and it has once again been written by Mrs Maynard,” she told them, holding up a sheaf of papers.

The School went mad with cheers – except for the bemused exchange students.



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