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As Eden tottered down the hill she thought about Lottie’s reaction to her going out with Teddy and smiled to herself.  It appeared that she was interested in him, the way she came rushing into the room, her cheeks flushed and then her heart must have sank when she learned that he was Eden’s.  She idly wondered what Teddy thought about her now that they had met, but knew how strong his feelings were for her and even if it meant him getting further than usual with Eden, it would definitely take his mind of the innocent little girl he had just encountered.  She pulled out a compact from her purple Marc Jacobs bag and checked her appearance again: hair neatly parted down the middle with just the right amount of corkscrew curls.  Check.  Smooth, creamy skin with a daub of blusher on her cheeks. Check. Tick, black, luscious eyelashes. Check. Bubble gum pink, lacquered lips. Check. And one super hot outfit consisting of very tight pink jeans encasing a round, pert bottom paired with a floaty butterfly printed top trimmed with crystal and pearl buttons, and as it was cold, a thick cream cardigan trimmed in rabbit fur. Yes, she looked irresistible Eden thought as she slipped the compact back in her bag and sauntered down the hill.  Teddy was sitting on the bench with his long legs splayed out and he looked asleep.  She was annoyed he hadn’t witnessed her entrance and nudged his leg to get his attention.  He grunted and sleepily opened one eye and then the next and quickly sat up straight as he spotted her.
“Oh hey, sorry, must have slipped off there.” he took a peek at his chunky silver watch, “you kept me waiting rather a long time!”
“A girl has to get herself ready, doesn’t she?” Eden said with a giggle and reached out for his hand to pull him up.
“So, where are you taking me tonight then?” she asked coyly, looking up at him through her long lashes.  She was pleased to see his eyes running up and down her body, taking in her long legs in the skinny jeans.  She turned slightly so he could see the curve of her bottom and she noticed his eyes widen further.
“Oh, um, well there’s a band playing at The Sect which I thought we could go to, but it doesn’t start for a bit so I thought we could grab something to eat at Presley’s first.  Eden’s heart sank at the thought of the temptation at the local Diner as she had barely eaten anything for two days knowing she had to fit in the jeans.  However, she smiled and wound a curl round her finger and said,
“Sounds perfect, let’s go!”  

At Presley's, Teddy grabbed a free booth and and Eden sat across from him ensconced in the cherry red leather banquette.  Eden picked insistently at the corners of the laminated menu with her mint green painted nails so Teddy placed a large palm over her hand to stop her.  She looked up with a hint of irritation in her eyes, but then smiled and Teddy thought it seemed slightly forced.  He thought back to the stunning girl who had come to fetch her book and her genuine wide smile with plump, pink lips and large, chocolate drop eyes.  He didn’t quite catch her name as the wind had caught it and taken it with her.  It could have been Lottie as Eden often mentioned her room-mate of that name, but she complained about her so much, it couldn’t have been.  He remembered the way her cheeks had stained red when he had said she would do if his date didn’t turn up. She had such an endearing innocence about her.  And now, looking at Eden who was studying the menu and frowning, picking at the corner of the menu with her other hand, he wished that she hadn’t turned up and that he was in the booth with the other girl instead.  The waiter approached the table and said, “What are you having, kids?” and tapped his pen against his order pad.
“Hmm, I’ll just have the chicken burger, but with no cheese, no mayo, no fries and a diet coke,” Eden replied and then Teddy proceeded to order half the menu and she couldn’t help but look at him with disgust.  He seemed to notice her expression and shrugged his wide shoulders,
“What, I’m starving!  I was playing tennis most of the day and haven’t eaten,” he flashed a crooked smile at her.
“Well, that’s OK then,” she replied and shifted on the banquette.  They discussed school and Teddy relayed a story about his friend, Dapper, playing a hilarious prank on someone, but Eden was only half listening and was mostly thinking about Noah and wondering if he would be at the gig later.  And as the waiter arrived with their orders and Eden hungrily stuffed the burger in her mouth, the door opened and just as she had hoped, there was Noah, shortly followed by Dapper Williams and Colton Banks.  Eden quickly swallowed, but the burger decided to go the wrong way so she had a very loud and spluttering coughing fit.  Teddy pushed the diet coke towards her while simultaneously slurping on his peanut butter milkshake and cramming french fries in between his lips.  Noah spotted them and strutted over in his tight, navy skinny jeans with a crisp, dust grey fitted T-shirt with discreet Armani logo and pale green suede loafers.
“Hey Ted, Eden,” he nodded at them. “You OK?” he looked at Eden with his piercing eyes, hair falling onto his wide, tanned forehead which he swept back a second later.  Eden had a palm on her chest as she tried to stop coughing, delicately dabbed at her mouth with the napkin, nodded and smiled coyly.
“Yes, yes, of course.  I’m good!  And you?”
“Great! You guys off to the Sect later?”
“Yeah, mate,” Teddy mumbled around his double burger with extra bacon.  Eden felt suitably composed now,
“We’re going after this.  Are you?  Come with us if you like?”

Noah raised a slim eyebrow beneath his flopping fringe which he pushed back again.
“Ah, thanks, but we were just going to hang out here for a bit and then go to the pub to play pool”  Eden wriggled back into the seat as far as it would allow and crossed her legs, hoping Noah could get a glimpse of her long legs.
Teddy was oblivious as he was so engrossed in the food on his plate, but Noah raised his eyebrow again, in what Eden thought was an appreciative gesture.  He then looked up as could hear his name being called and Dapper and Colton were waving furiously at him from across the room.
“Ok chaps, have fun.  I’ll see you later,” he said, pushed back his hair and walked off.
Eden sighed, her appetite forgotten so she pushed away her plate of food and fiddled with the straw in her drink instead.  She watched Teddy continue to stuff food in his mouth, ketchup smeared around his lips and grimaced in disgust.  She felt so frustrated sitting on a date with this pig when she could be with Noah who was so cool and sophisticated (as long as he got rid of his stupid friends.)  Why didn’t he fancy her?  What else could she do?  She knew leading Teddy on wasn’t the answer and she would have to tell him sooner rather than later.
“Do you know who that girl is?” Teddy asked through a mouthful of fries.  
“What girl?” she snapped suspiciously, but somehow already knew the answer.
“There was a girl just before you came to meet me at the bench.  Kind of coffee coloured skin and long hair,” he said almost dreamily.  Eden surreptitiously undid a button of her top and adjusted her oyster coloured satin bra so her breasts were hoisted up.  She leaned forward to sneak a fry from the rapidly decreasing pile in the bowl and hoped he would look up and see her succulent cleavage.  She cleared her throat while still leaning forward and he finally looked up and straight down her top which caused a chip to lodge in his throat and he spluttered, red in the face.  Eden smiled, pleased at the effect she had on him and knew that Lottie would be forgotten.  If only temporarily.


It was late afternoon and the air was getting cooler and the sky darker when Lottie realised she had left her book on the bench. She walked along the narrow pathway that led down the hill towards the sports field and paused to take in the now familiar scene of the school grounds.  A green blanket was laid out beneath her, the grass catching the last few rays of sunlight so it looked almost like glass.  To her left was the front lawn and a long building which contained most of the classrooms on the ground and first floor and younger year dorms at the top.  Further along, stood the red bricked square gymnasium that had only been erected a few years before and beyond that, the swimming pool.  Looking down, trees dotted the edge of the vast playing field, but the land stretched on and on until it met the darkening sky.  The woods on the right of the field looked harmless when bathed with light, but there were rumours of a mental hospital only a few miles away and girls often scared each other with talks of escaped patients who would go up the hill and tap on the windows of their house.  At the edge of the woods was a bench hidden in the shadows of a large oak tree where pupils went to smoke or just sit and gossip and the older girls in the years above went further in to the woods to avoid being seen by teachers from the school. Fliss had shown Lottie the bench on one of her first few days at Meridien so she tried to sit there as much as possible; to gather her thoughts, be alone and mostly to get away from the Blique who had been picking at her constantly since she had stood up to Eden the previous weekend. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t notice someone was standing by the bench reading her book until she stumbled at the bottom of the hill and bumped into him.  He was very tall with golden hair which he wore long at the front and which flopped over his forehead.  His eyes were squinting from the last rays of the sun, but Lottie could see they were a clear moss green.  He wore light coloured chinos and a pale blue shirt which was slightly crumpled and rolled up at the sleeves to show off lightly bronzed arms with a smattering of hair.  He wore a silver chain round his neck from which a charm dangled.  Lottie was transfixed and drank him in.  She didn’t think she had ever seen such a handsome boy, not even that pop star who went solo recently could look this good in the flesh.  The boy was staring at her too and it felt like minutes before either of them spoke and when they did, it was at the same time. “I’m ss sorry...” Lottie stuttered, “I didn’t see you there.”  The boy smiled to show large, slightly uneven teeth, but the imperfection made him seem even more attractive in her eyes.  “No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you.” Lottie was slightly unnerved by his blatant stare, but she realised she was in a girls school and he was most definitely not a pupil or a teacher. “Er, what are you doing here?” she asked

“Oh yes, I realise that probably does look strange!  Actually I am just waiting for someone, but if she doesn’t turn up, you’ll do!” Lottie blushed from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes and didn’t know how to reply until she noticed her book in his hands.  She looked pointedly at it and he held it out towards her, “Is this yours?  It looks interesting and I would have nicked it if you hadn’t turned up!”
“Um, well, you can borrow it if you like.  It’s no problem.”
“You sure?” he raised an eyebrow and smiled again.
“Yes of course!  Look, I better go, my friends are waiting for me” she gestured up to the top of the hill where her house was.
“Oh, OK.  Well, nice to meet you and thanks for the book,” he held out a hand which was warm and dry.  They stared at each other again and Lottie felt waves of shyness so turned around and stumbled again before walking quickly up the hill.  She was half way up when she heard him call out, “Hey, I don’t even know your name to return your book!”
She turned around and shouted, “It’s Lottie,” before walking again and when she got to the top she realised how rude and abrupt she had been not even saying goodbye properly and especially not even asking his name.  She ran to the dorm feeling flushed and breathless, her heart racing.  When she opened the door, Jenny was siting on her bed looking impatient. “There you are Lottie, the movie is about to start, I’ve been waiting for you especially!  Hey, where’s your book?”  Lottie paused in the doorway watching Eden who was standing in front of the mirror fluffing up her hair and smoothing her eyebrows.  She looked at Lottie watching her, “What?”
“Oh nothing.  I’ve just seen a boy!”
“A boy?” Jenny wanted clarification.
“Yes, a boy, at the bench.  He was reading my book!  Strange really, but he said he was waiting for someone.  He was so....”
“Oh that would be Teddy,” Eden said through layers of lip gloss.
“Teddy?” Jenny and Lottie asked at the same time.
“Yes Teddy”, she replied impatiently, wiping a smudge of gloss away that had gone over her lip line.  “We’re going out on a date tonight, he’s meeting me there.”  Lottie’s heart sank as everything clicked into place.  Eden had mentioned earlier she was going out Teddy, but she thought they were meeting in the high street.
“Anyway, I must have kept him waiting long enough so must dash.  Ciao ladies,” she said as she grabbed her bag and walked out in a cloud of hair spray and perfume that was so sweet it made Lottie want to sneeze.



@Fashgoddess:Did anyone notice Eden was the only one in detention the other day?  Her and Mr Peg were like totally snogging in the bio lab...

@bcool: You are kidding?  I knew she was into teachers, but Mr Peg?????

@Fashgoddess:Totally serious...i saw them with my OWN EYES

@GGirl: Well I hear Eden and Teddy have totally broken up cos he's gay

@Fashgoddess:No WAY? More likely cos she's with Mr Peg?

@bcool: Whatever. What are you guys wearing to the ball anyway?



During Biology, Eden was reading a glossy fashion magazine which she had hidden underneath her A4 notepad.  She nudged Sabrina sitting next to her who was doodling and not paying attention to the class either.
"Pssst, what do you think about this dress for the ball?" Eden whispered and pointed to a short, tight, electric blue Herve Leger dress.
"Nice!  You should definitely get it," Sabrina replied and went back to her doodling.  "God, this is boring, I wish we could go shopping right now," she sighed into the palm of her hand which she was leaning on.
"I know, " Eden said and turned a page of her magazine.
"Ladies," a deep voice boomed behind them causing them to jump.  Eden's magazine slipped out completely from under her notebook and Sabrina's elbow slid off the table.
"Are you paying any attention, whatsoever?" the biology teacher, Mr Peg stood behind them with his hands on his hips.  Eden turned to look at him.  He was very tall and towered over her.  He had a weather-beaten, craggy face with a mop of bushy dark hair which was peppered with grey above each ear and he wore heavy tortoise shell glasses which often slipped down his long nose.  He wasn't actually that bad looking for a teacher and couldn't have been more than mid thirties, but his supercilious tone always irritated her, plus the fact his trousers were always about two inches too short premiering bright red socks.  Eden hitched her school skirt up and crossed her legs as she batted her eyelashes at him.  His eyes flicked very briefly to her legs, but unfortunately the magazine slid off the countertop and he reached out to catch it before it fell to the floor.  He thumbed through it slowly and looked back at Eden.  "Interesting reading material, Miss Wallis.  I see this really has a lot to do with Photosynthesis."  He snapped the magazine shut and folded it in half, "I'm confiscating this and I will see you back here in detention after school."  Eden gasped in disbelief and turned back to her desk.

Reluctantly she walked to the Biology lab after her last class for the day.  Mr Peg was sitting there waiting for her and he motioned for her to sit down.  "Right, you can write 1000 words on exactly what you should have been paying attention to in class earlier.  I have left some books out for you to get some research, but I'll know if you plagiarise." Eden glanced at four huge hardbook books piled on top of each other in front of her.  "And if you do a good job, then you can have your magazine back." Mr Peg leaned back in his seat smugly.  "You have two hours."
About an hour into the paper, Eden heard laughing and looked up to see Lottie through the window walking past the lab.  She was with one of her new pals and laughing happily.  Eden dug her pen hard into the paper as she thought about her roommate.  Things had not worked out as she had expected.  All the other girls in school fawned over Eden, copied her, wanted to be like her, but not Lottie.  She practically ignored her and spent all her time with that drip Fliss and those other two girls whose names she couldn't even bother to remember.  She also couldn't believe how Lottie had confronted her like that the other night, no one had ever done that.  She had been drinking most of the day in the pub and carried on when she got back to the dorm after they got Teddy to buy some vodka for them.  Her and the girls had been having such a good bitch about everyone and then Lottie waltzed in all cheerful and Eden couldn't stand it.  If she wasn't going to look up to her, then she wanted her out of her dorm.  Either that or to make her life as miserable as possible.  And surely that could be fun, couldn't it?  She had heard Lottie say numerous times how much she hated spiders, the old school buildings were full of them.  So Eden was thrilled to find a large dead one by the front door and she got Sky to pick it up (she had to pay her to do so) and put it under Lottie's pillow.  Eden chuckled to herself as she remembered the shock on her face when she found it.  Mr Peg coughed and peered over his glasses at Eden so she frowned and went back to her paper.  Her plan would have to wait for the time being.



Lottie sat up in bed and wrote in the pink leather hardback diary her mother had given her as a going away present.  She sighed happily as she wrote, satisfied that she had survived her first week at boarding school and enjoyed a fun weekend.  She glanced around the empty dorm, appreciating the silence which would no doubt no last much longer.  The others were gossiping in Bambi and Sky's dorm, further down the hall, but it was lights out soon so she knew they would be back.  She tried to write when they were out as they made fun of her 'babyish' diary as well as pretty much everything else about her.  She didn't particularly care what they thought.  She knew these years would be defining ones in her life and she wanted to jot down every experience, every memory as she knew she would look back on them fondly one day.  She told herself again she didn't care what they thought, but still preferred to write when they weren't there.
Lottie glanced at Bethany's bed next to hers which was strewn with clothes, handbags and the contents of her make up bag.  That's all they seemed to care about and talk about: fashion, beauty and boys.  It was all rather boring to Lottie who liked to talk about, well, pretty much anything else.  And they were all so competitive with each other and mean about everyone else.  She thought back to her first day when Jenny had called them the Blique and had heard the term ever since.  She wondered if they knew what their classmates, who weren't in the Blique, actually thought about them.  No, she knew they thought they were so wonderful and special so surely everyone else must too.  Of course there were those that followed their every move as if they were celebrities, but there were some that were intimidated by them and saw them for what they really were.  Anyway, the Blique were the only dark spot on Lottie's otherwise unblemished experience at Merdien Academy so far.  She was enjoying her classes, apart from maths and science, but nothing could save those. And she really liked the friends she had made in the past week.  Fliss was ever so quiet, but so kind and Lottie knew she could talk to her about anything.  And Jenny and Bette bounced off each other with endless enthusiasm and made her laugh.  They had such a fun day yesterday; after chapel and homework were done around lunch time, they had the rest of the afternoon to do what they liked.  So they went to the cinema to see a romcom starring that blonde actress with the square jaw who seems to only ever be in romcoms.  It was really stupid so they giggled all the way through acting like people Lottie usually couldn't stand, but the cinema was fairly empty and no one told them to be quiet so she didn't feel too guilty and went along with the flow.  Afterwards they  shared a booth at Presley's, the 50's style diner, sharing baskets of fries and drinking vanilla milkshakes.
Jenny smoothed her dark bob and tucked a lock of it behind her ear.
"OK, Lottie, we've known you for nearly a week now and you're pretty quiet.  There must be some goss on the Blique if you've been living with them.  Please, please tell us what they are really like, up close."
"Geez, Jen, you make it sound like you are too scared to ever talk to them yourself," Bette said.
"Huh, more like they would never want to talk to me," Jenny bristled.
"And what is the obsession with them anyway?  You talk about them, like, the whole time," Bette asked.
"No I don't!" Jenny retorted, "Anyway, you want to know too, it's not like I am the only one who ever mentions them."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," Jenny said.  "I guess it's like all those Queen Bees in school, there is something fascinating about them."
"From a distance.  You wouldn't want to get too close and get stung," Fliss finally spoke and observed them all with solemn eyes as she stirred her milkshake with a stripy straw.  Lottie realised they were all looking at her, waiting for her to say something.
"What can I say?  I try not to spend much time in the room, I'm mostly with you guys!"  She realised they were waiting for something more tangible.
"Ok," she twisted a piece of hair around her finger, which she often did when she was thinking. "Honestly there is not that much to say, all they ever seem to talk about is clothes, make up and boys." She didn't like to repeat some of the bitchy things she had heard them whisper about other girls in the class.
"Which boys?" Bette asked.
"Well, Eden talks about Teddy, her boyfriend, but then she also mentions someone called Noah a lot."  Jenny shared a knowing look with Bette.
"Who else?" Jenny asked.
"Umm, they are always joking about someone called Dapper Williams.  Bambi comes in all the time and bugs Beth about her brother, Mike, which is kind of funny actually.  Who else....they tease Eden about Mr Morris, but she gets very touchy with them about it.  What happened there?
Jenny wriggled in the leather banquette which Lottie noticed she did when she was in full gossip mode, "Well.  Apparently Eden and Mr Morris snogged at the Christmas party!  Ria had thrown up all over her dress, which was the highlight of my night personally.  If you had seen Eden's face!  Anyway, she was crying outside so he went out to check she was ok and then someone thought they saw them at it through the window!  Anyway, what were you saying?"
"Yeah, well, Sabrina and Beth seem to like Teddy's friends, but I can't remember their names.  They were all going to the pub this afternoon to hang out with them." Lottie said.
"Maybe we should have gone to the pub," Jenny said suddenly forlorn and looked disdainfully around the booth.
"Why on earth would you want to hang out with them?" Bette asked her and narrowed her eyes.  "Haven't you had a good enough day with us?" she sniffed.    Fliss noticed the conversation taking a down turn so smoothly changed the subject and the atmosphere brightened up after a while.  By the time they walked back to school it was time for dinner, even though none of them were hungry after Presley's.  On Saturday nights they got to choose a DVD to from a list and everyone argued over that for a while, but they ended up agreeing on a horror film.  So a few hours later, Lottie found herself being fought over to share the sofa with Jenny and Bette.  They huddled under Bette's rose printed duvet cover and giggled, jumped and screamed at the scary bits of the film.  As Jenny grabbed her arm for the umpteenth time, Lottie realised she had never felt more part of anything in her life.
After the film, Lottie went back to the dorm, but she heard laughing and talking coming from inside and felt a twinge in her stomach as she opened the door.
Eden was sitting up in her bed and Sabrina and Bethany were lounging on top of her duvet wearing matching outfits of T-shirts and little shorts.  They stopped talking and looked up when Lottie walked in and she was hit with the smell of stale alcohol and cigarettes.
"Hi," she said shyly, "did you have a fun day?"
"Yeah, you could say that," Eden replied and took a swig from a clear glass bottle then handed it to Sabrina.  Bethany snorted and they all looked at each other and started giggling.
"What about you then, missy, how was your day?" Eden asked, "tame as usual I bet...."
"What?" Lottie didn't quite catch what she said.
Eden nudged the two girls so they shifted and she lifted her duvet and swung her long legs out of the bed.  She was wearing a similar outfit to the others, but it was pink silk with black lace trim instead of cotton and patterned. She walked towards Lottie on not quite steady legs until she was just a few inches away.  Her eyes were bloodshot and mascara was smudged underneath them.  Her hair, parted down the middle hung flat and lifeless around her face and her usually glowing skin had a greyish tinge and was blotchy.  She parted her lips which had white gunge in the corners and she smelled of stale sweat and fresh vodka.  She jabbed her finger in the middle of Lottie's chest and spoke softly, but slowly so Lottie could understand every word.
"I said.  How. Was . Your. Day. Missy?"
"It was fine. Good," she replied and tried to move away from the jabbing finger.
"You know what?  You come in here with your pretty face and you think you're better than us, don't you? You hardly spend time with us, we kindly ask you to join us today and, no, you have better things to do, don't you?  Hanging around with those losers," Eden spat the word.
Lottie had had enough of the finger which was starting to hurt so before she realised what she was doing, she grabbed it in her fist,
"Eden.  I think you have the wrong idea here.  I don't think I am better than anyone, but the others have shown me friendliness since I joined here whereas you haven't.  You have your own little gang, I get it, and you haven't had any time for me so I've made my own friends.  And for your reference, you didn't ask me to join you today. I overheard you saying to Sabrina what your plans were, but you never asked me.  I'm sorry if I have offended you in some way, but I would prefer us all to get on if we're going to be sharing a room."
Eden stared at her for what felt like hours and Lottie realised she was still clasping her finger so let it go.
"Huh," Eden said and turned around to sit with her friends who were also staring, open mouthed at them both.  She huddled under the duvet once more and grabbed the bottle out of Bethany's hand, taking a long swig.
"Bitch," she muttered and they all giggled again.
Lottie somehow managed to ignore them as she got ready for bed, shoved her ipod plugs deep into her ears and lay down, turning her back to them.  She could tell they carried on drinking, even after Mrs Bell came round to turn the lights off, and didn't hide the fact they were bitching about her.  Before she knew it, she was asleep.

On Sunday, Lottie enjoyed a lie in until 9am and then there was an extended Chapel service after breakfast.  Lottie managed to avoid the Blique for most of the day and late afternoon she went back to the dorm which was when she settled down to write her diary.  She had almost finished writing about the horrible incident the previous night when the door swung open and Eden strutted in, closely followed by the rest of the Blique.  They ignored Lottie and sat on the bed nearest the wardrobe where Eden proceeded to go through all her clothes.  Lottie calmly shut her diary and locked it then tried to slide it under the pillow without the others noticing.  Instead of feeling her pyjamas which should have been there, her fingers found something hard and crispy under the smooth material of the pillow.  She jumped off the bed and whipped off the pillow.  There, against the dusky rose coloured fitted sheet, lay a huge brown spider.  It was dead, it's long legs bent in half underneath its body. 
Lottie stood there in shock and then screamed as she realised she had been sitting there for the best part of an hour with that thing underneath her and had even touched it with her hands.  "I hate spiders," she cried and made her trembling hands into fists against her chest, her body shaking.
"I know" Eden said.  And she laughed.



Eden hogged the large mirror in the dorm while Sabrina and Bethany perched on her bed, peering at little compact mirrors as they waited patiently for her to finish.  "Eyelash curler," Eden barked and Bethany handed it to her as if she were a surgeon asking for a scalpel during an operation.
"Dior mascara," she requested next and Sabrina fumbled in the overflowing satin Lanvin make up bag trying to locate the correct mascara.  
"Is this one any good?" she asked reading the print on the gold tube.
"Of course it is, it's the best," Eden replied, "Gimme that," she grabbed it out of Sabrina's hand and proceeded to paint her lashes with the thick brush which she pulled from the tube with a satisfying pop.  After a dusting of shimmery bronzer all over her face, a creamy layer of pale pink lip gloss and a slick of serum over her long, tonged, caramel curls, she stepped back to observe the finished article.
"What do you think?" Eden asked the girls which was ridiculous in itself as she already knew the answer.  
"Amazing," they replied in unison although Sabrina was really thinking that Eden's face didn't match her pale neck and Bethany thought she had used a touch too much serum and her roots looked a bit greasy.
Eden admired her outfit of a pair of indigo skinny jeans with a floaty, vintagey cream blouse which had a black ribbon bow around the neck.  She teamed it with a fitted black blazer on which she fastened a pearl Chanel brooch and slid matching pearl drop Chanel earrings through her lobes.  On her feet she wore pale green snakeskin ballet pumps with the ubiquitous Ferragamo buckle bow.    She had been wearing the black version for school all week and already three other girls had ordered them online.  Sometimes Eden found it flattering and sometimes it irritated her, depending what mood she was in.  She sometimes incorporated really horrible accessories into her outfits just to see the reaction, but they would still become the latest trend at Meridien.
"Get ready, we need to leave in a minute!" Eden snapped and the girls leapt to their feet and jostled each other for space in front of the mirror, both of them looking like Eden clones ten minutes later.

The pub was noisy and packed with half the girls from the senior year, and various ages boys from Graystone.  There were a smattering of locals whose faces looked pinched every time the door opened and a group of giggling girls would come in bringing with them a rush of cold air and the smell of cigarette smoke mingled with perfume.  Eden pushed slightly in front of Sabrina and Bethany, her head held high seeking out Teddy, and of course Noah.  She spotted Teddy immediately, leaning against the bar and laughing with the barman.  He wore crisp chinos with an emerald green thick ribbed Ralph Lauren sweater.  He noticed the barman glance towards the open door and saw Eden.  Grinning, he rushed towards her, putting his arms around her in a bear hug.
"Careful," Eden snapped and her body stiffened as the bottle of beer he held in his right hand knocked against her back.  She realised people were looking at them so relaxed and wrapped her hands around his neck pulling him towards her in a passionate kiss, knowing everyone was thinking how glamorous they looked together.  She opened one eye and tried to search for a certain dark haired boy above Teddy's frantically moving jaw, but couldn't see him.  Placing her hands on Teddy's chest she gently pushed him away.  His handsome, yet bland face looked stunned and was covered in pink gloss and Eden swallowed some nausea.  She plastered on a smile, whipped out her lip gloss from her pocket and tittered prettily for her audience, 
"I'll have a drink now darling.  A G&T would be good."
A few hours later Eden was bored as there was still no sign of Noah and she was trying to fend off Teddy who groped her at every opportunity.  Sabrina and Bethany were in their element being chatted up by some of Teddy's friend. 
And at least two girls from the year above were frantically trying to order Ferragamo pumps on their Smartphones, only to be informed they were out of stock.



So, the first week of term is finally over and what a drag.  Lottie seems to be settling in with her new friends who are not members of the Blique....strange with her gorgeous looks.  Maybe Eden is too jealous to let her in or maybe she's just not that interested.  We hope Lottie is managing being in the same dorm, but I hear she's only ever there to sleep.

It's the weekend so what kind of mischief is everyone going to get up to?  Eden has a date with Teddy, but is that really who she wants to be with?  And Bambi is still texting Mike after their Christmas fling.  Rumour has it he's not exactly ignoring her.  Let's hope his girlfriend doesn't see those messages!

Sabrina and Bethany seem to be glued to Eden more than ever these days.  Will they also be joining her on her date as I doubt they can bear to be apart, even for a few hours.  And as for me, I will be in the library all weekend doing my homework.  Yeah right, see you where the party's happening!
Until next time....



In the queue for dinner, Lottie noticed a tall, slim girl with long wavy hair in front of her who was not talking to anyone so she went up to her and tapped her lightly on the shoulder.  The girl turned around startled, her eyes wide.  They were the colour of the clear Caribbean sea.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you jump,” Lottie said softly, “I just wanted to say hello.  I’m Lottie. I'm new”
“Oh that’s ok,” the girl replied in a quiet, dreamy voice.  “I was lost in my thoughts so anything would have surprised me!  My name is Fliss.  Fliss Prince,” she held out her hand. It felt cool.  
"How are you finding it so far?  Are you in a nice dorm?”
“Uh, the one at the end of the hall with the balcony.”
“No, I meant, are you with nice people?  Do you know their names?”
“Oh, sorry, yes, there is a girl called Eden and um, oh, I can’t remember the other one’s name.  I haven’t really spoken to her yet.  Serena or something like that? And Beth”
“Oh you mean Sabrina.  Sabrina Lawrence.”
“Yes, Sabrina.  That’s it!”
“So, Eden huh?” Fliss grimaced.
“What?  She seems really nice and has been friendly so far.”
“Well it’s the ‘so far’ that should concern you.  Look, you seem like a nice girl so just be careful ok?”
Finally they reached the front and an older looking girl sat at a desk and ticked off their names on a list.  
“It must be hard to be anorexic in this school if you have to have your name checked off at every meal!” Lottie commented.
“Oh, that list doesn’t stop them, believe me,” Fliss said.
And then they were in the hall and Lottie was hit with the pungent smell of frying.  With their trays full, Lottie followed Fliss to the table that contained the girls from their year and they managed to get seats opposite each other.  
After dinner some girls planned to retire to their dorms and others hung out in the common room.  Lottie was unsure what to do as she did want to get to know other people better and this was a good opportunity, but she also felt tired and like curling up in bed with a book, shutting out this strange and unfamiliar world.  On the way back to the house, Fliss invited her to her room to hang out so Lottie agreed.  She was at the other end of the corridor and her room overlooked the woods that were bathed in the fading light of the day. There was a huge pile of clothes on her bed and Fliss started to organise them into smaller piles to put away.  Lottie perched on the bed and observed the framed photos on the bedside table; Fliss and a dog, Fliss and a middle-aged couple who must be her parents, Fliss in the middle of three other girls, making faces at the camera.  They were all happy photos and the frames were decorated with colourful stickers.  “I know, did you see them...” The door opened and two girls walked in giggling.  Lottie only caught the tail end of their conversation before they noticed her on the bed and stopped talking.  
“What’s uuuup Fliss?” one of them said in a singsong voice.
“Hey! Jenny, Bette, this is Lottie.  She’s new this term.”  Lottie waved from the bed.
“Hi Lottie, nice to meet you!” the first girl said and the other one standing behind her returned the wave.  Jenny, the first girl, had very pale skin, a short dark bob with chunky blonde highlights was dressed in black.  She went over to the bed opposite Fliss’s by the window and Bette next to hers.
“So, what were you two giggling about just now?” Fliss asked while folding some tops.
“Oh, just the Blique looking particularly spray-tanned with their new noses and lips at dinner and listening to all the fantaastic holidays they have had and romaantic flings,” Jenny replied scrunching up her face and making air quotes at the emphasised words.
“I know, they are so full of shit,” Bette said.  Lottie looked confused,
“What’s the blique?” she asked.  Jenny looked at Fliss with surprise.
“What, you haven't told Lottie about them, Fliss?  The cardinal rule of Meridien is to know about the Blique and therefore avoid them!”  She stood in front of Lottie and struck a pose with a hand on her jutting hip and batted her eyelashes.  “The Blique are the most goooorgeous, popular group in the year, didn’t you know?” she said putting on a posh voice and sashaying around the room. “They are all incredibly rich and wear the most fabulous clothes, daaaarling, and date the hottest men and holiday on yachts and with famous people and Royalty, yah!  Oh, and they are complete bitches hence the term Blique which stands for bitch clique!”  All the girls were in hysterics at Jenny’s exaggerated gestures and poses acting as if she were being photographed.  Bette laughed so hard she got hiccups and clutched her chest, “Stop Jen, I can hardly breathe!”  Jenny plopped down onto Fliss’s bed causing a heap of clothes to wobble precariously.  
“And the leader and biggest bitch of them all is Eden Wallis with her designer clothes and stupid tonged hair.  Everyone in the blique wants to be like her for some reason, but don’t ask me why.”
Lottie looked up and caught Fliss’s pale, worried eyes and creased forehead.
“I’m sorry, Lottie, I didn’t want to put it quite like that when you said you were in a dorm with her, but you do have to be careful.  She is awful; a complete bitch like Jenny said.”  Jenny gasped,
“No, no, no, you’re not in a dorm with Eden?”
“And Sabrina and Bethany,” Fliss added.  Jenny shook her head, her bob swinging from side to side,
“Oh Lottie, I’m sorry.  It’s weird as Eden is always in a dorm with her friends; she always seems to get special treatment.  Although we were lucky getting each other this term, weren’t we girls?”  Bette hiccupped in response and nodded frantically.
“Have you actually met her yet?” Jenny asked Lottie.
“Yep, she was there when I came with my mum and she seemed friendly enough.  She said she would show me round the school, but never did.  When Sabrina turned up she went off with her.”  
“Hmm, she was probably plotting to have you and the other girl moved into another room,” Jenny mused.
“So, what’s she done that’s so awful?” Lottie asked.
“It’s just the way she is,” Bette squeaked from the other side of the room, hiccups having subsided. “The way she looks at you and says something nice and then slags you off to someone else, knowing you can hear her.  And a girl left last year.  We’re not quite sure what happened, no one is really, but Karen was not in the Blique originally, she was just like us.  And then Eden got friendly with her out of the blue and they became as thick as thieves.  Then Karen just left in the middle of the term with no warning, nothing.  We think it definitely has something to do with Eden, but it’s like Karen never existed.  No one in the Blique is allowed to mention her name apparently.”
Lottie felt an unpleasant feeling in her stomach, as if a snake was sitting in there uncoiling its long body and pushing itself up towards her throat.  Her mouth felt dry and it was a struggle to swallow. She looked around the room at the three close friends in their happy, cosy room and really wished she were staying with them instead.   


@violetsmith: The new girl is in a drm with Eden!  

@BB_MA: Yeah, heard that.  Apparently she's really pretty

@Fashgoddess:Does anyone know where Eden got her studded boots? I wanna pair

@Luvme_12:Thnk they're Gucci.Doubt you can afford them @Fashgoddess!

@Fashgoddess:Ha ha.....slut.

@E_Wallis: Luvme_12 is right, they are Gucci.  And she is a slut...


"I'm here bitches!"
Sabrina pushed the door open to the Bluebell dorm and lugged her many bags in behind her.  Her driver was taking too long to park the car and she just couldn't wait so told him to just leave.  She regretted it as soon as she noticed her manicure, done fresh that morning, had chipped, but patience was never her strong point.
Eden was standing by the window with a pretty girl Sabrina had never seen before, but she completely ignored her, dropped her bags with a thud and ran over with her arms wide.
"I missed you, girlfriend."
"Me too, girlfriend."
Sabrina let go of her friend's bony frame and nodded her head towards the girl who was still standing there, looking awkward.
"Who's this?"
Eden paused and then put on the fake nice voice she used when talking to adults, teachers or people she thought were beneath her.  
"This is Lottie.  She's new." 
Eden draped her arm loosely round the girl's shoulders in a proprietary fashion.  Sabrina stared at them.  They could almost be sisters as they were both tall and slim with long, similar coloured, wavy hair, but although Eden was striking, she wore far too much make up and had a conceited look about her.  Lottie had a heart shaped face and skin the colour of cafe latte, hazel eyes with flecks of green in them fringed with long, mascaraless eyelashes and plump, rosebud pink lips. Sabrina looked at Eden's rictus smile and knew she wasn't happy about this. New girls were supposed to be dull, ugly and quiet so they could blend in like wallpaper and be bullied and patronised, but a girl with these kinds of looks posed a problem. She obviously didn't have a clue about fashion or style as she wore bootcut jeans which were so 2003, a grey shapeless jumper and, gasp, brand new, unblemished pink converse sneakers which she obviously thought were still on trend. God knows where you could even buy them these days. Sabrina looked down to her own Miu Miu sneakers with gold glitter and silver studs on the toe. She had been on a waiting list for a month, but it was so worth it.
"Hi," she barely acknowledged Lottie, "Ugh, I can't believe I have to unpack my bags myself," Sabrina dragged her luggage over to the bed Eden had saved next to her.
"I know, what are we going to do without our staff all term?" Eden complained.
They started gossiping about their recent holiday as Eden sat on her bed and Sabrina unpacked and they didn't even notice that Lottie had left the room.

"So who else is here with us, Bethany?" Sabrina asked.
"Yep although I don't know how she is going to be separated from those two cling on's after spending all Christmas with them. Did you hear about Bambi and Beth's brother, Mike? She's been hankering after him for years although I don't think she realises he has a girlfriend at Uni."
"She's such a slut," Sabrina muttered.
"OMG, I love this," Eden pulled out a shocking pink evening dress from the bowels of Sabrina's suitcase. "Who is it, de la Renta?"
"Of course," Sabrina said smugly and quickly put it in a plastic suit bag to hang up. She didn't want Eden looking at it too closely and realising it wasn't Oscar de la Renta, but from a website which was renowned for copying designers, but at high street prices. Eden had, of course, already seen the label, but she liked to make her friends feel uncomfortable whenever the opportunity presented itself. She observed her mint green coloured nails and looked around the room realising Lottie wasn't in it. She thought about her stunning looks and felt a strange twinge in her chest. She hoped Lottie wouldn’t make life difficult for her.  She was known as the prettiest looking girl in school, the most fashionable, the most lusted after.  Ever since she was a little girl she had been able to manipulate people and the older she got she had learned how to use her ever increasing beauty to her advantage.  She wasn’t stupid.  She didn’t just read trashy books and fashion magazines, but newspapers and serious novels so she would be able to converse with adults so they would realise she was cultured and intelligent.  It was also another way of putting down her peers and making herself stand out from the crowd.  She could tell immediately that Lottie didn’t have any experience of life, that she was immature, innocent and naive and most definitely a virgin.  Ideas swirled around her head like an evil vortex and she smiled to herself.
"So, what do you think of the new girl?" Sabrina seemed to know what Eden was thinking.
"Completely tragic," she said.
"I agree, completely tragic," Sabrina said. And they both laughed.


Lottie knew most people her age would think it rather strange wanting to go to boarding school. And the fact it was all girls, even harder to comprehend.  Her friends at Green Lanes prep school didn’t understand as they were going to local co-eds whilst still living at home.  She thought back to the open day when she first saw Meridien Academy and knew that was where she could see herself.  It had a really homely feel and everyone was so friendly; teachers and students.  The girls she saw around the school looked so cool, even in the unflattering, but subtly customised uniforms they wore.  It reminded Lottie of the countless books she had read and loved about boarding school and it filled her with hope and excitement.  And now Lottie and her mother, Bea, were driving there and Lottie started to recognise some of the landmarks through the window and realised they were getting closer.  The flies in her stomach buzzed around frantically as if she were a week old corpse.  She felt waves of nausea and squeezed her eyes shut, swallowed a few times while taking deep breaths.  She could feel her mother looking at her out of the corner and felt a cold hand take her right one and gently squeeze it.  “You’ll be fine darling,” Bea said softly.  After a while Lottie opened her eyes, peeked out the window and realised they were in the high street already.  She recognised the train station, newsagent, bakery, supermarket, flower shop, a sweet looking tea house and old fashioned, but quaint looking pub. She could see herself in the high street with a group of girls, giggling and gossiping and excitement mingled with the fear.  And then they turned off the high street into another narrow lane and joined a queue of Range Rovers and a red Ferrari a few cars in front.  She nudged her mother, “Look!”  A black Porsche pulled in behind them and Lottie could see a young girl in the passenger seat fiddling with her hair and inspecting her make up in her mirror.  The Ferrari hummed to life and the cars moved slowly along the driveway and through the gates.  They passed a subtle blue sign that said Meridien Academy in gold letters and a fancy font.  “You have reached your destination,” the satnav woman said in her posh, snooty voice.  Bea nudged the car into a space that had just been vacated by a gleaming Maserati.  As Lottie got out of the car and stretched her long legs she paused and absorbed the busy scene and looked at the three buildings curved around the forecourt.  Meridien Academy was built in 1867 and some of the original buildings still remained.  The main building which contained the reception and Headmistress's office was grey and quite gothic looking with a slightly dilapidated roof and long windows.  Interspersed with the older buildings were more contemporary, sturdy red-bricked ones.  There were signs informing new students to register inside the main building so they left the trunk in the car and walked inside the dimly lit entrance.  The reception was buzzing with students and their parents and they glanced up as Lottie entered and then looked away again.  A slightly plump, but very pretty smiling girl with dark, glossy hair came over to them and asked Lottie to sign in, be given directions to her dormitory and where to put her trunk.  The girl was so friendly she put Lottie completely at ease.  She said her name was Violet Smith and she was in the year below.  As she lead them to the desk where Lottie could sign in, Violet reached over to search for her name on a thick wodge of paper held together by a clipboard.
“Ooh, you’re so lucky, you’re in Bluebell dorm.  It’s one of the nicest rooms in the house!  And I see here you’re in Thatcher house with me; everyone is really nice.” Lottie noticed a tall girl hovering nearby who had a face sprinkled with freckles, shoulder length red hair and watery blue eyes.  If Lottie was shy then this girl was even worse and spoke in such a quiet voice although she did catch her name was Maud and that she was also new to Meridien.  Her parents on the other hand were raucous and over confident; the father had a booming voice and the mother was trying to talk over him.  They both had ruddy complexions and adorned similar outfits consisting of tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows.  The father wore mustard corduroys and the mother, bottle green.  In contrast to her outfit, her blonde hair was whipped, teased and beaten into a crispy hair-sprayed nest on top of her head.  Lottie's mother whispered in her ear,
“I think they must own one of the range rovers outside.  They’re from London, but they look and are acting like they live in the country!” she giggled before the father placed a a large, meaty hand on her shoulder and steered her towards the building where the sixth form were housed.  It was perched on top of a hill with a freshly mown lawn on one side and woods on the other.  At the top of the stairs, Maud was directed to another dormitory so they said their goodbyes and Lottie and Bea were sent to the end of the corridor by a girl with a serious expression and perky ponytail who also had a clipboard and appeared to relish bossing everyone about.

The first thing Lottie saw of Eden Wallis was her leopard print legging clad bottom as she was lying on her bed on her front bending over to put something in the drawer.  She cleared her throat and the girl sat up suddenly and stared at them.
“Oh, hiiiii!” she smiled sweetly as she quickly recovered her composure, swung her long legs off the bed and sashayed towards them.  Lottie tried not to appear rude by openly looking her up and down as she hated it when people did that to her (and Eden was doing that very thing to her right now) but she couldn't help it.  Eden was tall with very long, honey coloured hair worn in a centre parting and curled into ringlets towards the end.  Over her leggings she wore a soft cotton black T-shirt with a low V-neck through which she could see a hint of cleavage encased in a black lacy bra.  On top of this was a very fitted short black leather jacket with slightly pointed shoulders.  She wore several gold chains of different lengths from which various charms dangled.  Lottie knew she was called Eden because of the shorter necklace spelling out her name in diamonds.  Her feet were clad in black leather peep toe shoe boots covered in gold studs.  Lottie stared at them and was sure she recognised them from a recent Gucci ad campaign.  Swinging her eyes back to Eden’s face she took in the pale blue eyes with thick, impossibly black lashes, pencil thin, perfectly shaped eyebrows and large, full lips coated in pink gloss which curled up at the ends and appeared to be mocking her.  The glossy lips parted and spoke, “and you are?”


"That bitch!"
Eden Wallis scrolled furiously through her BlackBerry as she read the Meridien Magblog on the bright screen.  How dare this person bring up the mortifying Christmas ball when it had already been gossiped about before school broke up and no doubt throughout the holidays too.  And implying she had put on weight!  Where was this photo that had been mentioned?  Those jeans were Cavalli for God's sake.

Eden was glad she had had the foresight to get to school early, find out which dorm she was in and choose the best spot in the corner. After unpacking a few things from her Louis Vuitton travel bag, she lay back on her freshly pressed Cath Kidston duvet cover and looked at her gold Cartier watch. It was fake of course, but the girls didn’t need to know that and would no doubt be salivating over it as well her Gucci shoe boots she thought, lifting her legs up and rotating her ankles to admire them from every angle.  She had bought them from a second hand designer shop in Knightsbridge, but at least they were real and only last season.

She took out a packet of Blue Vogue cigarettes from her handbag, went to the window and opened it as wide as it would go, shivering in the frigid air. She lit a cigarette with a crystal encrusted lighter and inhaled deeply.  Her phone beeped, indicating she had a text message.  There were actually two texts, one from Sabrina saying how excited she was to be in the same dorm and that she would be there soon.  The other was from Teddy Jacobs, a boy in the same year at Graystone School, the nearby boarding school for boys.

Hey E, hope you had a great Christmas.
Another term....ugh, not in the mood for classes.
Hope to see you soon, maybe on the wkend?
T x

Eden smiled as she slid the phone shut without replying.  She liked Teddy.  He was gorgeous and came from a rich family who owned a large property portfolio which spanned London and the South of France.  He sported a lean, muscular body as he played tennis often, had great dress sense, even it was a bit Ralph Lauren preppy for Eden’s liking.  And to top it off he had glorious, thick, golden hair unlike a few of his classmates who were already losing theirs.  The only problem was that he wasn’t Noah Hall, Teddy's friend. Noah was always perfectly friendly with Eden, but there was a coolness about him and he had a way of looking at her as if he didn’t believe a word she said.  This made him even more irresistible as she usually had the male species in the palm of her hand with one flutter of her Dior mascaraed lashes. Noah had the bone structure of a statue with cheekbones so sharp you could cut paper with them.  His hair was cut short at the back and sides, but he had a mop of tumbling black curls which fell over his forehead and he had a habit of sweeping them back off his face with long pale fingers.  Eden imagined those fingers stroking her face and pulling her towards him as he kissed her deeply and she savoured the image. She felt a burning sensation on her finger and when her eyes flew open, she realised the cigarette had burned right down to the filter so she dropped it as it it were a spider. She flicked the stub out of the window and slammed it shut, looking at her Cartier again. She was bored and couldn't function by herself for long, but had got to school so early she knew no one else had arrived yet. Her stomach grumbled, reminding her she hadn't eaten anything except half a grapefruit that morning, and even that she had thrown up. She had some chocolate in her bag, but ignored it thinking back to the comment about her white jeans.
She poked her head around the door, still not hearing any noise from the hall or any of the dorms so reluctantly unpacked the rest of her bags. Where the hell was Sabrina?