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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.

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