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Nessa was very close to her brother, Mike. He was like a mother to her, while her real mother and father argued and argued like hell.

 

They'd argue about anything, even the weather was once argued about.

 

Often they'd argue about who should do this piece of housework. Mike had taught her to help him do it, while they argued. When they argued about something in front of them he took her hand and walked her away.

 

When the siblings were younger, their parents argued on who should take them home. They often had to wait 3 hours for someone to pick them up, until Mike was the right age to walk by himself, and then he'd take Nessa with him.

 

When he had to go to High School, she was lonely, because in the playground she had no-one to talk to or play with. She would just play or read by herself. She'd read about families who were tight-knit, loving and happy, and would just dream of living like them.

 

But at school, when they had to do partner-work, she never found anyone, and often was put into a three, and the pair often left her out, put all the work to her, and discuss the things Nessa was never interested in. And then they'd take most of the credit, trying to block Nessa out.

 

Nessa was hard-working, and way above the average of the year, but that was only because she worked - or so she thought. She liked doing a bit of cookery, but she knew she'd never meet professional standard.

 

She liked to write scripts of people with horrible family situations, then they find a magical ring, or necklace, bangle, and once, even a nose-ring. With this they make magic, and make people act different.

 

But then the reality kicked in, and she then had to go somewhere, and they never finished.

 

She was never sorry to leave her old school. But on her first day of High School, her knees were knocking, but went in with Mike, while the parents argued about something else.

 

But at least at this High School not many people from her old school were there, the ones that did were in other classes and they stuck together, almost like glue. They never were mixers.

 

But on that day she met Vanna, who as soon as she was 14, Vanna was going to go to the Swiss branch of the Chalet School, and a whole load of other friendly girls.

 

But still she stuck to Mike for quite a bit into school.

 

***

 

Most of the people at this High already had started to go off in clans, they came from the feeder schools, and so already knew their friends. Two people in Nessas class didn't go around in clans, Herself and who she called "The other Vanessa".

 

They started to bond. In a science experiment that had to be done in pairs, Vanna had shyly asked Nessa to be her partner. Nessa introduced Vanna to Mike. They were quickly known as The Two Vanessas.

 

Vanna had come from somewhere else in the country. Her grandmother was the famous poet Amy Stevens.

 

At break and lunch the two and Mike chatted merrily and Mike gave the pair short lessons in year 7 work.

 

Vanna was a brilliant musician, and missed part of Science each week to have her Violin lesson, with the very patient Mr. Griffin, and was already Grade 6, with practice.

 

They made part of the way home together with Mike, but had to split at a bus stop, where Vanna waited for her bus, and Nessa and Mike went on up the hill.

 

The walking home was fun for Nessa, but home was still more of a headache than a home.

 

Nessa had started to tell Vanna of her home life, and Vanna took it seriously. Vanna was in a broken up family herself, and was living with her father, while her mother visited occasionally.

 

But the class started to turn against the pair, but the pair didn't know why.

 

***

 

"Kirsty Raynor, what are you doing? Get back to your seat. Now, if you please,"

 

Kirsty scowled, and went back to her seat. She was about to slosh her water-bottle behind the two Vanessas, and drench them, hoping it would look like an accident, but Miss Moore was firmer than all the metals of the world put together, or so Kirsty thought.

 

Miss Moore was good with 4 things: English (Well, she was an English teacher), Teaching, Names (by the end of the second lesson she knew every pupil by name and sight) and noticing relationships. She could tell who was in each friendship clan, who was always alone, and who went about in pairs or threes.

 

Nessa and Vanna had spent some of their free time hunting down the cause. It had passed from person to person, the last being Kirsty, who had revealed that the person who had told her was Hetty Lilley.

 

That finally led them to the cause, even having to tickle Barry Deardrow for simply ages, even though he was very ticklish.

 

The search had led them to a boy from Nessas old school, who loved gossip, even if it was considered very female by the other boys.

 

But now they at least knew the cause, even if they didn't know what everyone was talking about, or saying about them.

 

***

 

Nessa was snappy. The weather was awful and walking to school in the rain she hated, she had a nagging headache from last nights row, because of the same row she had not slept, and Mike was quite ill.

 

To cap it all, the morning lessons were Maths, PE and Geography.

 

Maths was a complete fiasco. Their teacher often gave homework on Wednesday due for Thursday. It could have been more bearable, but on Wednesday they had Maths last thing, and on Thursday it was first, so it had to be done at home, unless you were early to school.

 

Because of the said row, Nessa couldn't concentrate on any homework so she had not done it, which was a shame, since Nessa liked Maths. Often when the Wednesday/Thursday arrangement took place she hadn't been able to concentrate at home, and Miss Wilkins had let her tongue loose until Nessa was blazing. Someone had giggled at that point and Miss Wilkins had loosened her tongue to her as well. Nessa was given detention, which Nessa actually never minded. It was a very good excuse to not have to go home where last nights row would be continued.

 

Worse came just in maths, for Nessa couldn't concentrate, and had to spend her time concentrating on not falling to sleep. She was yawning and dreamy, so much so that she was shoved out of the classroom. Fortunately no-one spotted her, and she had a little doze until the bell rang. Collecting her bag, she scurried off to PE, which she disliked, always being forced into a group with people she hated.

 

She also hated Geography, and that didn't go well either, because the teacher had taken a real grudge against Nessa, just because her brother hated Geography as much as she did, and it was a nightmare of a lesson for her before Lunch, where she hid herself away in a bush.

 

But unfortunately Kirsty had found her there. Kirsty blamed her Maths Detention on Nessa entirely, even though it was mainly Kirstys fault, who had not even tried to do the work bidden to them. She actually just slapped Nessa around the face, kick her leg and run away quickly, before Nessa had a chance to react.

 

So when Nessa finally got out of School, she head towards home with a high speed.




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