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Saturday

FIRST KISS

Lottie shivered in her strapless dress as the wind whipped around her. She was cold and yet her armpits felt slick with sweat and her hands clammy. Her heart was beating out of time to the relentless thump thump thump of the music which could be heard in the distance. She slid her phone out of her clutch bag, but there were no new messages. The girls were giggling and swirling around the dance floor the last time she had seen them. She doubted they would miss her. She shivered again. Where was he? And then, as she looked up, she saw a glowing orange light which was moving towards her. She squinted into the night and couldn't see anything else, just the orange dot which got closer and closer and then disappeared altogether.
"Lottie!" A male voice called out and her heart beat even faster. Before she knew it, he was standing in front of her. His bow tie was undone and his white shirt unbuttoned so the top of his chest gleamed in the moonlight. His hair was rumpled and she could smell a crisp, lemony aftershave which made her senses reel.  There was a rustling and then a click and the orange light appeared again. “I didn’t know you smoked,” Lottie said. 
“Yeah, I know, bad habit, but it calms me down in certain situations,” he slid the lighted back into his pocked and took a deep pull on the cigarette exhaling a long plume of smoke.  He reached for her hand and she felt the butterflies rise and fall in her stomach.  He led her towards the bench and they sat down. Lottie pressed her knees together to keep her legs from shaking. She shivered and in the next breath he was putting out his cigarette and taking off his jacket to place around her shoulders. The warmth from his body burned against her skin. She went to say thank you, her mouth dry, but suddenly she felt a hand gently stroking her cheek and as she turned to face him he moved his hand to her chin and firmly, but softly pulled her towards him.  “There’s no need to be nervous,” he whispered and before she knew it, his lips were pressing on hers. He parted her lips with his tongue and they kissed deeply. “I’m actually doing it!” Lottie thought estactically and then every other thought left her brain as her body became a tingling whirlpool of desire. The scent of his lemony perfume mingled with the faint smell of shampoo enveloped her and she could taste cigarette smoke and tang of alcohol.  His mouth was as moreish as chocolate and she drank him in as she pressed her body up against his and clung on to his back with her hands.  It felt like hours before they broke away and as their lips moved apart she felt she couldn’t breathe.  Could never breathe again without his kisses providing her with oxygen, with life.
"I've been wanting to do that for such a long time," she said.
"Me too. You're so beautiful," he whispered and pulled her towards him again.
They were so engrossed in each other, neither of them heard a twig snap and the sound of someone running up the hill towards the school.

MEANWHILE...

Eden flicked a piece of lint off her knee as she wriggled back into the low, plush, baby blue leather seat in the middle of the Blue Bar at the Berkeley Hotel.  She glimpsed at her watch, pleased to see everything was running on time.  The very slim, very beautiful waitress dressed entirely in black except for a slick of pillar-box red lipstick leaned over Eden and asked if she would like another glass of champagne.  She nodded and after the waitress left, wafting Chanel No 5, Eden surreptitiously pulled a compact from her studded clutch and examined her appearance.  Her hairdresser had done a fabulous job and her newly highlighted hair had been teased and whipped into an intricate, glamorous up-do.  Her make up, courtesy of Paolo Michaela, who did all the shows at Fashion Week, was very natural.  Creamy skin with a hint of blush and thick, glossy false eyelashes teamed with pale pink lip gloss.  Diamonds gleamed at her throat and dangled from her ears.  The champagne flute was poured in front of her and she slid the compact back into her clutch.  Just as she took a sip from the ice cold flute she heard a scream and looked with irritation towards the door.  It was the rest of the Blique.
"Surprise!" Bambi screeched startling two immaculately dressed business men who were sipping whisky and in the middle of a business deal.  She tripped up the stairs towards Eden in her metal spiked shoes and the rest of the group followed, their freshly done hairstyles bobbing behind her.  It seemed everyone else had also decided to have an up-do and Eden tried to hide her anger with a delicate sip of Laurent Perrier.  That calmed her down and she stood up and plastered on a fake 'I'm so thrilled to see you' smile and kissed the girls in turn gesturing for them to sit down.
"So.  I know the tradition is for us to arrive separately, but I have booked us a suite to get ready in and organised for Derek to take us in a limo.  I thought it might be fun to all have champagne in it together, don't you?"
They all nodded in agreement and Bambi squeaked with excitement.
"I just can't wait to show you the dress Daddy has sent me.  Usually we discuss what we're going to wear, but it's been so secretive this year!" she exclaimed, her eyes darting towards Eden who had insisted it be this way.  The stunning waitress placed flutes in front of all the girls and poured champagne in each of them.  Sky was about to pick hers up, but Sabrina placed a hand on hers to stop her and gestured towards Eden who was about to make her annual pre-ball speech.  She stood up, her black skinny jeans elongating her long legs and her Chanel boucle jacket and teased hair made her look glamorous, but at least ten years older.  She cleared her throat.
"I just wanted to say thank you to all my girls for being such wonderful friends. I look forward to these events with you every year and they wouldn't be the same without you by my side.  To us."  Eden raised her glass and took a sip and the rest of the girls cheered and did the same.  The waitress came over again to refill the now empty glasses, but Eden stopped her.
"Thank you Celine, but I think that's it for now as we need to get ready.  Charge it to my room will you?" and standing up she gestured for the others to do the same.  The two business men stared at them as they all trotted past and everyone ignored them except for Bambi who was the last to leave.  She gave them a wink and giggled.


Upstairs in the suite it was a hive of activity with clothes flung everywhere, jewellery spilling out of boxes and last minute dashes to the well lit bathroom mirror to touch up make up.  Eden was by herself in the bedroom, calmly removing her dress from the protective bag it had been hung up in and smoothing the fabric.  Her sky high crystal encrusted Louboutin shoes had been removed from the box and stood proudly below where the dress had been hanging.  Her new La Perla underwear felt like cool air against her skin and she admired herself in the full length mirror imagining what Noah, I mean Teddy, would think when he saw her in her outfit.  She was bound to out-stun all the other girls.  She briefly wondered what that Lottie would be wearing.  Something cheap from the high-street no doubt.  And probably second hand.  However, for a moment she felt a flutter of something.  Fear?  Jealousy?  She knew deep down that Lottie would scrub up well despite all the weight she had lost, thanks to Eden herself.  She pushed Lottie out of her mind and slipped the dress over her body, zipped it up at the side, slid her feet into the Louboutins and practically floated over to the mirror.  The long Vivienne Westwood crepe gown was from the special Red Carpet Capsule Collection.  It was covered in the palest silver matt sequins and was exquisitely sculpted with an internal corset and ruched finish.  Eden twisted, turned and preened in front of the mirror adoring the way it completely flattered her figure and gave her curves she didn't have and her non existent breasts a much needed boost.  Vivienne was an expert at giving women that Jessica Rabbit image.  After a slick of lip gloss and sliding it into her matching clutch she felt ready to open the door and let the rest of the Blique see her in all her glory.  She felt a rush of sexual excitement as she reached for the gold plated door handle.  However, the other girls were not ready and the room was an absolute tip with Madonna playing loudly on the ipod.  Eden's calm demeanor immediately vanished and she suddenly longed for the quiet haven of her room, almost turning around and retreating back into it, but Sky shouted out her name and the others quickly appeared.  Madonna, who was in the middle of singing about being like a virgin, was suddenly turned off.  Eden ran her eyes along her friends standing in a line in front of her, taking in their outfits: 
Bethany was wearing a long bright blue asymmetric, one-shoulder gown from Roksanda Ilincic.  Sabrina a short, flirty dark purple Matthew Williamson cocktail dress in chiffon and lace.  Bethany wore a gold sequined knee length 20s style flapper dress and Sky a short, twisted cut-out black and cream Herve Leger bandage dress.  Once her gaze fell on Bambi, however, Eden's sexual excitement vanished and was replaced with pure rage.  Bambi was wearing an almost identical dress to her own; same length, same colour (except for the sequins) and almost the same corsetry and ruching except hers had thin ribbons for straps and she wore a ribboned belt featuring her father's renowned logo in adorned in crystals.  There was silence as everyone looked from Eden to Bambi and back to Eden.  Then Sabrina quickly gushed, "Oh Ede, you look absolutely stunning.  I just adore your shoes, your bag and your dress.  Beautiful." and they all gathered around her spewing out various compliments simultaneously.  Bambi stood in the same spot, her bright pink lips turned down in a sad pout.  The phone rang and she went over to pick it up.
"The limo is downstairs," she said and the others shrieked, abandoned Eden and gathered their evening bags and their contents together in a panic.  Eden walked over to Bambi, took her elbow and guided her into her bedroom.
"Take that dress off," she spat.
"Eden, I can't, Daddy sent it to me!"
"I don't care if Daddy did, get it off!" she hissed.  
"I haven't got anything else to wear though?"  Bambi was almost in tears.
"You take that dress off now otherwise I'll tell Phil Bailey you're the one who gave him crabs." Eden walked into her bathroom and came out with a bottle of red nail varnish.  Bambi watched in horror, helpless, as she opened it slowly, took out the brush and flicked it towards Bambi's dress, tiny drops of red polish splattering over the bust.  
"Bethany, can you come in here for a minute?" Eden called in a sing-song voice.
Bethany appeared a few seconds later, flushed.
"Can you see if there are any spare outfits for Bambi to wear.  She seems to have had an accident with the polish she just asked to borrow from me."  Bethany's eyes widened as she took in Bambi's distraught expression and noticed the polish on her beautiful dress.
"Oh yes, of course," she said and rushed back into the other room.  Within minutes Bambi had changed into one of the cast offs (thank God Sabrina couldn't make up her mind and had brought a selection of dresses), a gunmetal Halston Heritage mini-dress which was gorgeous, but was elasticated at the waist and did nothing for Bambi's hips and large breasts.  She hadn't said a word since the polish incident and stood by the door shaking and trying to fight back the tears.  Sky placed a warm hand on her arm and gently squeezed it.  They all knew what had happened, but couldn't say anything or defend her.
"Come on, let's go.  Derek is waiting," Eden said and she pushed past the others so she was the first to vacate the suite.  The train of her silver dress swishing out of the door like a mermaid's tail.

GETTING READY FOR THE BALL

"Ouch!" Lottie said as Bette's curling wand touched the back of her neck.
"Sorry!" Bette concentrated on the thick mane of hair, her tongue poking out from between her teeth as she focused.  She sighed and flexed her wrist again, "Are you sure you don't want it up?" she asked.
"No, I like it down otherwise I'll feel really exposed with a strapless dress," Lottie said.
"Maybe that's not a bad thing," Jenny piped up from in front of the mirror where she was applying her false eyelashes.  Lottie lifted her hair up and turned from side to side, "What do you think?"
"Definitely up," all her friends replied in unison.
"Ok, up it is!" she grinned at Bette.  "Do you mind then?"  Bette gratefully switched off the wand, put it down and reached for a hairbrush and a pack of hairpins.
"So, do you have any idea what the Blique are wearing?" she said as she twisted Lottie's hair into a knot.
"Oh come on, you know I don't really know much about designer labels, it's all Dolce this and de la something that.  Bambi's Dad sent a big package which arrived yesterday and Eden completely freaked out as she wouldn't show anyone what was in it.  I think it's been in Mrs Bell's room under lock and key in case Eden goes snooping!" Lottie giggled.
"I don't really like her dad's clothes much, but wouldn't say no to a free outfit!  Hey, what do you think of this colour?" Jenny stuck her arm out to show off a fuchsia pink lipstick.
"I don't think it will look right with your dress.  Try something paler," Fliss advised and she winced as she plucked her eyebrows in a tiny mirror, sitting cross legged on her bed.  
Bette sighed again as she tried to pin Lottie's hair, but tendrils of it kept falling down, "I wish we could bloody afford hair appointments and professional eyebrow plucking," she said in frustration.  "I'm getting all sweaty here, I'll need to have another shower in a minute!"
"Well I wouldn't mind having my eyelashes professionally applied to," Jenny said from in front of the mirror where she was still struggling with the fake lashes on her left eye.  "But, don't you think this is much more fun?  And at least we're all together!"
"And we're all getting on.  Can you imagine the competition between the Blique right now?"  
"I know, the tradition is they all meet for drinks somewhere fancy after their beauty appointments, then they get changed into their outfits and all arrive separately.  I am just waiting for the day two of them show up in the same dress!" Bette cackled.
"You're evil, Bette.  That would be amazing though," Fliss chuckled.
"And, we're done!" Bette said and did jazz hands in the mirror at Lottie.  There was a pause in conversation as they all stared at her.
"Wow, it looks great!  Stand up and do a twirl," Fliss said.
Lottie stood up and shyly did a twirl, embarrassed of the attention.  She caught her reflection out of the corner of her eye and stood in front of the mirror so she could examine herself properly.  The intricate hair-do showed off her long neck and the sweetheart neckline.  The crystal necklace picked up the blush pink of the dress and sparkled like rows of stars.  Bette had applied more make up than she usually wore, but it was still very natural.  A sweep of blusher over her high cheekbones, a dusting of gold glittery eye shadow, a flick of black liquid eyeliner and a dab of pale pink lip gloss intensified her beauty and her skin glowed with excitement.  The silence said it all as her friends stared at her.  Then Jenny started to clap and they all joined in, giggling.  Fliss jumped off her bed and rushed over to Lottie, throwing her arms around her.  "Lots, you look so unbelievably stunning!" she cried.
"Careful, watch the hair!" Bette swatted Fliss's arms away.
"Oh stop it," Lottie said softly, smiling.  "It's all down to Bette's amazing hair and make up!"  She glanced at the clock on the wall, "You better get ready, guys, we haven't got too long, you know."  There were cries of panic as the others fluttered around the room trying to get themselves together.  Not long after, there was a knock on the door from Mrs Bell saying they had another half an hour before they all had to gather in the common room and depart together.  Girls from other dorms then started popping in to borrow eye lash curlers and various make up (and to assess the competition....) so that delayed them even further.  Finally, they were all ready and had a group hug before leaving the dorm.  With her hand on the door knob Fliss paused.  
"Wait, we have to take a photo of us all!"  She snapped various individual photos of the girls and then balanced her camera on the window sill and put it on a timer.  They all stood together as far away from the window as possible and grinned madly until it clicked.
"Come on, let's go.  Let the ball commence!"

MERIDIEN.TWEETS.MERIDIEN.TWEETS.MERIDIEN.TWEETS


@pinkpolish:Spotted: Eden in Daniel Hersheson at Harvey Nichols getting her hair done in an intricate up-do.


@GGirl: I also saw her earlier getting her lashes done at Blink




@LoveTeen:I wonder what she'll be wearing?  What are YOU all wearing?

@bcool:Spotted: Gorgeous Graystone boys getting treatments at Gentlemen's Tonic in Selfridges.

@BB_MA:Spotted: The Blique drinking champagne at the Blue Bar in the Berkeley Hotel - all looking AMAZING


@Sassychick: Is anyone at school today?!


MERIDIEN.MAGBLOG.MERIDIEN.MAGBLOG.MERIDIEN.MAGBLOG...

So this time next week we will be in our tiniest, tightest Dolce dresses dancing (and hopefully smooching) with the Graystone boys.  The great hall will be lit to show off our subtle make up beautifully applied at Mac or Shu Uemura, our hair perfectly styled at Richard Ward or Daniel Galvin.  Daddy's chauffeur will certainly be busy going back and forth from Meridien to London for those last minute fittings at Harvey Nics and maybe a sneaky pre-ball cocktail at Bar Boulud.  Non alcoholic of course!


The question we all want to know, apart from who will be wearing what, is who will be dancing with whom?  Obviously Eden and Teddy are inseparable these days.  Apparently Smithy and Bambi have been texting lately (but he's not the only boy on her speedial and, by the way, what happened to Bethany's brother Mike??) Rumour has it Noah has broken up with his girlfriend from the rival girls' school we do not mention so he's back on the market.  And so is another hotty, Jamie Dunn.  But lets face it, Graystone is full of eligible men and I for one will be like a kid in a sweet shop.  See you at the salon ladies!

SHOPPING

Lottie stared at herself in the mirror of the changing room and didn't like what she saw.  All the clothes she had tried on so far were hanging off her already small frame.  She glanced at the size 10 labels and realised she had gone down to a size 8, if not smaller.  She pinched the skin on her cheeks to give her face some colour; even with her olive skin she looked pale and there were dark circles under her eyes.  She was about to remove the black dress she was trying on when the curtain was whipped open and Bette stood there in a tight blue Lycra dress with her hand on her hip, chewing gum.
"So?" she asked, smacking her lips loudly.  Lottie shrugged.
"Not you, me?  What do you think?" Bette struck a pose again.
"Hmmm, not too sure Bette, think you can do better," Lottie replied honestly.  There was a pause,
"Yeah, fair enough I suppose.  Let's look at you then?  Are you alright?"
"I dunno," Lottie shrugged again.  "Everything looks awful on me!"
"Come on, let's have a proper look.  Turn around," Bette barked.
"These dresses are too big for you, Lots, you need to go down a size.  Come on, let's get changed and go to another shop.  There's nothing in here anyway."  She turned around and went back to her changing room.  Lottie got changed into her jeans and handed the dresses back to the sales assistant who was gossiping with a colleague and barely looked at Lottie as she walked past.  Jenny and Fliss were sitting in leather chairs next to the changing rooms and flicking through fashion magazines commenting on various outfits worn by celebrities.
"Any luck?" Fliss looked up through a curtain of long, wavy hair.
"Nope, "Bette said pushing her way past the gossiping sales assistants.
"Let's go somewhere else, there's not much in here."
The shopping mall was very bright and bustling with people.  Lottie felt overwhelmed with the glaring lights and colours, the latest Rihanna track blaring through surround speakers. 
"Are you OK, Lots?" Fliss came up behind Lottie and took the crook of her arm, looking concerned.
"Yeah, of course! Why?"
"You just look a bit tired and withdrawn today.  I'm worried about you.  When did you last eat something?"
Lottie had to think.  She'd had one of Eden's smoothies instead of breakfast, and for dinner last night and lunch and breakfast before that come to think of it.  Oh, and the Pringles, but only a few of them and they hardly counted as a meal.  She looked at Fliss's face, her pale eyebrows drawn together in a frown.  She looked so worried.
"Actually, you know what, I am starving.  Shall we all get some lunch, guys?"
Jenny and Bette had stopped to look in a shop window, but they both turned around at the word lunch.
"I should be trying to lose weight before next week, but hell yes, I'm famished!" Jenny said.
A few minutes later and they were sitting around a table in an Italian restaurant ordering cokes.  Their handbags at their feet.  
"So, what's the plan of action, girls?" Bette looked at her watch, "It's 2pm and we have a few hours before we have to get back to school.  I personally have not found anything suitable for the ball and neither has Lottie.  Shall we narrow it down to just a few select shops?  What do you need to get?" she nodded towards Fliss and Jenny.
"Just some shoes," Fliss said.  
"And I wouldn't mind going to Mac to get some false eyelashes," Jenny added, dunking a hunk of ciabatta into some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
"Ooh, good idea," Bette said.
They talked about fashion and make up until the food arrived.  Lottie had a heaping bowl of steaming spaghetti and meatballs placed in front of her and she noticed Fliss looked approving when she agreed to have parmesan dusted on top of it.  Jenny and Bette had huge pizzas dripping with mozzarella and Fliss a bowl of penne arrabiata.  They dug into their food with relish and the hunger that comes with hours of shopping and trying on clothes.  Lottie felt better than she had in weeks and, after lunch, Bette and her split up from the others who were purely accessory shopping and planned to meet at Mac in an hour and a half.  They walked through the more expensive section of the mall to get to the mid-range priced shops when Lottie felt Bette clutch her arm.
"Look, the Blique."
"Who?  Where?" Lottie asked, looking around.
"All of them.  Going into Miu Miu," Bette replied.
"I didn't know they were coming here today.  I thought they were going to Harvey Nichols and Harrods," Lottie said quietly, her heart sinking.  She was enjoying an afternoon out with her friends and didn't want it tainted by bumping into Eden et al.  They walked very quickly past Miu Miu, but couldn't resist turning around.  Through the window they could see Eden trying on a pair of glittery heeled shoes.  The rest of the Blique surrounding her and no doubt cooing their appreciation.
"Another pair of shoes?" Lottie said thinking of the rows and rows of hardly worn high heels in the wardrobe back in their dorm.  When they had got far enough they relaxed and walked more slowly, taking care to look in the shop windows to see if they were worth going into.
"Don't worry, they won't come down this far.  It's not designer enough for them," Bette said.  Lottie noticed a small shop with a sparsely decorated window; just a few mannequins wearing dresses, shoes and jewellery, but the name, 'Belle Vintage' caught her eye and she said to Bette she would like to go in.  Inside the shop it was a treasure trove of vintage clothes and accessories taking up every surface of the tiny space.  Lottie flicked through a rack of dresses all beautifully labelled with the year they were designed, the size and the prices which seemed very reasonable indeed. Bette was looking at another rail of dresses, caught Lottie's eye and squealed as she picked up dress after dress that would be perfect for her.  Lottie found a blush pink strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline.  It was very fitted and then flared out at the waist and stopped just above the knee.  It seemed smaller than something she would usually wear, but thinking back to earlier and all the baggy dresses and her jutting shoulder blades and slender arms, she thought it would be worth trying on.  There didn't even seem a need to look for anything else.  Bette was giving numerous dresses to the sales assistant who was taking them to the dressing room.  She looked at Lottie and smiled, "Would you like to try this one on?"
"Yes please," Lottie smiled shyly and filled with excitement and hope, followed her to the cubicle.  As she removed her clothes and slid the cool dress over her skin, she knew before she had even zipped it up that it was going to be perfect.  And it was.  The much needed lunch had given a glow to her cheeks and the colour of the dress flattered her skin and gave it warmth.  The sweetheart neckline was just right with her small bust, and if anything gave her some cleavage.  She knew it would be further enhanced by a pretty necklace.  Maybe pearls or something sparkly.  The dress flared out at the waist due to the taffeta and showed off her long legs.  Some silver shoes would be perfect, she thought.
"Lottie?" Bette shouted from outside so she drew the thick velvet curtain aside.
"OMG," Bette said, "that dress is perfect for you!  How much is it?"
"Only thirty pounds, can you believe it?" Lottie said grinning from ear to ear.  "How lucky were we with this place, everything is amazing!  Are you going to try your things on?" she nodded towards the changing room opposite where the sales assistant was trying to find space for all the dresses.
"Yes of course!  I just wanted to see yours first.  Right, I better make a start," she said and slid into the cubicle as the assistant was coming out.  She noticed Lottie standing there,
"You look really beautiful.  That dress looks like it was made for you!" she said.
"Would you like me to help you with anything else?" she asked.
"Actually, I do need some shoes, I was thinking silver?  And maybe a necklace to go with as well?"
"I have just the thing!" the sales assistant said excitedly and went back into the shop.
Exactly an hour later Lottie and Bette exited Belle Vintage in a glow of happiness.  The assistant had found a perfect pair of metallic high heeled dancing shoes for Lottie as well as a stunning double row crystal necklace which glittered just above the neckline of her dress and picked up the pink.  Bette had decided on a block colour mini dress from the 1960s with some large neon yellow earrings and the sales assistant suggested she wear her hair in a beehive to show them off and some false eyelashes and thick eyeliner to enhance the whole 60s theme.  They giggled and chattered as they went to meet the others outside Mac.  Lottie felt happier than she had in a long time.  Now she had her dress she positively brimmed with excitement and was looking forward to picking out some make up to go with it.  She realised in the last hour or so she hadn't thought about Teddy or the Blique once.





Friday

WHAT TO WEAR?

"What the hell am I going to wear to the ball next week?" Bette asked as she went through her wardrobe and turned all her drawers inside out with a frantic scrabbling.  Lottie sat on her bed and watched her while eating her way through a packet of Pringles.
"We're so going to have to go shopping tomorrow," Bette mused as she went from the drawers back to the wardrobe and continued to flick through the clothes hanging up, the scraping of the wire hangers on the rail beginning to grate on Lottie's nerves.  She shook the Pringles at Bette to distract her.  
"So, what's the deal with this ball thing?  Do you have to get really dressed up?"
"Well, it's up to you, but everyone tends to go all out.  The Blique get to showcase all their new designer wear, of course."
"Yeah, Eden gets frustrated that the ball always falls before fashion week as she would like to be wearing next season's stuff if possible," Jenny said while flicking through a fashion magazine.
"And there is always competition between them because Bambi gets sent loads of clothes from her Dad and Eden has to upstage everyone," Fliss added.
Bette sighed and flopped on the bed next to Lottie, "Go on then, " she gestured towards the Pringles and stuck her hand in the tube.  "What are you going to wear?" she asked Lottie with a mouthful of crisps.  Lottie thought of her own pathetic, unexciting wardrobe and shrugged.  
"No idea.  I haven't really got anything appropriate so hopefully I can find something if we go shopping.  I want to look my best."
"Who are we all trying to impress then?" Jenny mused while still engrossed in her magazine.
"What do you mean?" Lottie asked.
"Boys, Lottie, boys!  Who do we all fancy?" Bette asked and reached for the Pringles again.
"Well I quite like Jamie Dunn," Fliss said quietly.
"WHAT?" Bette shrieked, crumbs spraying from her mouth.  She leapt up and jumped on Fliss's bed.  "You never said! When did this start?"  
Fliss blushed furiously, "I don't know, I've just bumped into him a few times."
"Bumped into him a few times, where?  How?" Bette jumped up and down.  Lottie giggled and Jenny was smiling into her magazine.
"Jamie and Fliss, sitting in a tree..." Bette chanted while knocking into her.
"Oh stop it, you're so immature,"Fliss shrugged her off, but started giggling.
"What about you Jen?  Or is it still Smithy, even though it's obvious he fancies Bambi?"
"Yeah well, she might have the boobs, but I have the brains," Jenny looked up and grinned."  And a killer outfit of course," she stood up and went over to her wardrobe removing a long zip up bag.  She placed it on the bed and unzipped it tantalisingly.  Inside was a deep blue mid length dress which flared out at the waist and had a low neckline that was trimmed in diamante.  It was simple, but would look stunning on Jenny and, as she often dressed a bit like a tomboy, it was deliciously feminine.
"Wow, Jen, that will be gorgeous on you!" Fliss exclaimed and the girls all nodded in agreement.  Jenny put the dress back in the bag, zipped it up and placed it back in the wardrobe.  She sat back on her bed and continued to read her magazine with a pleased smile on her face.
"Well, obviously I still have a major crush on Charlie so that just leaves you, Lots."  The girls all looked over to Lottie expectantly.  She shrugged again and blushed.  
"I don't know, I haven't really met anyone yet, have I?"  
"Well this is the perfect opportunity," Fliss said reassuringly.
"What about Teddy?" Jenny blurted out.
"Teddy?"
"Yeah, we have been hearing all these rumours about you guys.  That you were seen at the bench with him exchanging numbers."  Fliss glared at Jenny,
"We were waiting for you to say something about it, Lots.  We thought they might just be rumours cos it's obvious him and Eden are serious since last weekend." Fliss said kindly.
"It's nothing." Lottie replied.  "Honestly, I've bumped into him a few times and he's really nice, but obviously she's his girlfriend.  Anyway, I want to hear all about this Jamie bloke!" 
The other girls looked at each other, but then Fliss decided to go along with the change of subject,
"Well.  It all started when....."


HALF TERM PART 2

You might remember a few weeks ago Lottie had gone home for half term and appeared to have changed from the sweet, innocent, home loving girl who started boarding school to a slightly withdrawn, moody, thinner, make up wearing girl who acted like she didn't really want to be home at all (typical teenager if you ask me.)  So, I thought we should revisit that and see what happened.  Surely you want to know....


Unbeknownst to Lottie, her mother was sobbing into a chocolate fudge cake in the kitchen because her daughter seemed to have changed drastically in a matter of weeks.  Lottie used to be more observant and boarding school might have made her smarter academically, but she was spending too much time with people who were far too self obsessed for their own good.  And this was rubbing off on her.  She looked down at her slender arms and picked at some dry skin.  She walked over to her dressing table to find some moisturiser, but all she could see was some very old, very fragrant strawberry lotion from the Body Shop and she curled her lip at it.  That wouldn't do at all.  Eden certainly wouldn't put up with that and went through bottles of Bliss lemon and sage body butter like they were going out of fashion.  She had lent some to Lottie once when she had caught her staring as she slathered it on and ever since then Lottie had been hooked.  Eden had generously given her the dregs of an old bottle which she had eked out until there was nothing left.  She must ask her mum if they could buy some this week, but then they probably wouldn't sell it in some small, old fashioned, country chemist she thought disapprovingly.  Still standing at her dressing table she picked up a Hello Kitty lip balm in a chipped plastic tube and a cheap bright blue eyeshadow which had come out of a cracker and which she had never worn.  Thank god.  Everything looked so old and so babyish.  She really needed to get some new stuff.  It's not like she had her friends and the Blique to borrow from now she was home.  Talking of which, she dug her phone out of her bag to check if anyone had texted her.


Hey Lots,
Hope you're having fun already.  Must be really nice to be home.
Jenny says Hi.  Catch up soon.
Fliss x


Jenny was spending the week with Fliss at her parents townhouse in Kensington as her own parents were in the States for the week on business.  Lottie would have done anything to spend the week with them too; shopping and eating in cool restaurants, but she had to go home.  She wanted to ask her mum if she could go up to London for the day next week and see them, possibly stay the night, but she thought she'd leave it for a bit.  Maybe they could discuss it over dinner.  She tapped out a reply:


Ah, I miss you guys.  It's a bit boring being home to be honest.
Say hi to Jen and maybe see you next week?
L x


She scrolled through her texts until she came across one that she had read a million times:


Sorry.
Teddy x


Her fingers hovered over the keypad to reply, as she had also done a million times, but instead she went back to the main screen.  Lottie went back to her bed and lay on top of the duvet, her eyes flickering over the faded glow-in-the dark star and planet stickers that had been on her ceiling since she was a child.  A tear wormed its way out of the corner of one eye and slithered down her cheek.  One word bounced around her brain like a ball in an empty squash court: Teddy.  Teddy.  Teddy.  


If only he hadn't kissed her at the ball last weekend.
Not when he was with Eden.
And not when Lottie had fallen in love with him.