When Susie woke the next morning, it took her a few moments to work out where she was. Once she had done she smiled. She always felt safe in Sadie’s house, no matter what she had done to end up there. She rolled over and went to find her sleepover kit. She picked it and went to have a shower. She passed a clock and then turned back for a closer look. It was only six in the morning! She smiled and then went in the bathroom. She could afford to have a bath at six. She found a little strawberry bath oil from her kit and began to run the bath. While the bath ran she went to find her French book. She had a test on Monday and as it was Friday she needed to practise. If she asked she might be able to do it today instead and get it over with. She hoped Sadie hadn’t woken up. She was a light sleeper as well and often hated waking up as early as Susie. She relaxed in the strawberry scented bubbles and read over her French work.
“ La mode pour ou contre? J’adore la mode et c’est très important d’être á la mode. La mode, ça veut dire que tout le monde porte le meme chose.” She recited to the bubbles in the bath. When she was sure that she had managed to recite it word perfectly she put it to one side and found her Italian book. At the moment she was learning animals and had a test on Tuesday. Why not recite in the bath?
“elefante means elephant, nottola means bat, orso means bear,
usignolo means nightingale and farfalla means butterfly.” She sighed. What was the point in practising? She knew these words off by heart even without looking at the book. She was after all, half Italian. Her mother was Italian and so was her grandmother, who was so excited her grandchild was carrying on learning her culture. It didn’t matter what her teacher asked her, she would be able to answer it. Being fluent in Italian had some advantages. Shame she had ‘forgotten’ to tell her teacher of that fact. Maybe after next week’s test. She didn’t want him to set her anything harder now did she?
When Sadie woke she heard the alarm clock from the other room ring out until it clicked back off again. The girl scrambled around and Susie heard a slam.
“I’m okay!” called a voice. She smiled. Susie suspected that Sadie had hit the small bed she had been sleeping on, or maybe even one of her bags. Susie smiled to herself and got up from the bath. She found her uniform on the floor and quickly put it on, unlocking the door with one hand as she did up her belt. Sadie looked through the open door. Susie smiled back.
“Hey. How are you this morning?” asked Sadie.
“Better. You?” Susie replied gently.
“Tired! We better be having pancakes this morning.” Susie smiled as she saw Sadie compete with a duvet cover. She finally managed to defeat it, rising gracefully from her bed and tripping over Susie’s bag. It was hard not to laugh as she growled on the floor.
“Come on. It is funny.” Said Susie as Sadie glared at her. “I am right.”
Susie arrived at the breakfast table. She was lucky. They were having pancakes that morning. Serena would cook them the night before or even a few days ago and heat them up that morning for breakfast. Susie had tried to do the same at her house once, but they hadn’t come out quite the same. Hers had seemed tacky and sort of crunchy, while Serena’s remained as always, perfection. Even Zach was up that morning, willing to brave the light of day for the pancakes his mother made. Sadie followed down the stairs just as Susie was finishing. She had on her uniform and somehow managed to make even that look stunning. Her hair was in some complicated top knot and her makeup was perfectly applied. It just reminded Susie however, that she hadn’t put any on yet.
She ran upstairs and picked out her sleepover kit. She rubbed on a little moisturiser and then some peppermint foot lotion for her feet and then a peach lotion. A little strawberry moisturiser went on her hands and then a concealer wand covered the small spot on her face. Then the foundation was carefully applied. On went an eye pencil, coating her eyelids in a pale pink glow. Then she added her lip gloss and a little mascara. Finally she added a roll on perfume (in vanilla as they hadn’t had any in strawberry as a roll on) to her wrists and neck. Finally she was finished. A quick brush went through her hair and she stepped back and smiled. It wasn’t as perfect as sometimes it had been, but this was only using the materials in her sleepover kit which wasn’t quite everything she might need. She heard Sadie call up the stairs to her.
“Time to go Suzie!” called Sadie. Susie smiled and went to collect her bags from the other room.
She walked alongside Sadie gossiping about if Jessica’s new hairstyle was made with her own hair or if she had bought her new ‘best friend’ Daisy. When they entered the school Susie went to drop off her bag of work in the textiles cupboard. Sadie went to see Luke who was waiting for her. Susie sighed. How long would it be until those two were going out? He fancied her, that was plain to see and she liked him back. Then again, she had gone out with boys she didn’t like so maybe that was just a plus point. Either way, it wouldn’t be long until those two were finally dating. She placed the bag into the cupboard and closed the door. She could see the two of them in the window. That meant there was no one to talk with at the bench. She dropped her bag down on the bench and sat down. A while later Sadie joined her, followed by Luke and then James. Obviously Benjamin hadn’t arrived yet, filling the role of leader of the most popular boys in the school. She sighed. She didn’t want to talk to them, the boys who wouldn’t even speak to her unless they were forced to or Sadie was around, when they were anxious to impress. Only Ben himself and James were impervious to her charms. Hannah’s boyfriend Daniel was now not in love with Sadie (luckily for him as he was dating one of her best friends) although on the first day of term, she remembered him not even being able to talk to her, stuttering and stammering as he tried to. Sadie sat down beside Susie and the boys followed suit. Susie sighed inwardly. It was going to be a long morning.
The first lesson that morning was her textiles lesson. Everyone had to get changed into their clothes that they had made and they were having a mock fashion show before the class to show them off. Susie went with Megan and Hannah as she went to get changed. Hannah had made a pair of combats and a delicate top detailed with a butterfly. Megan had made a simple skirt and top detailed with simple ribbons and a pretty pattern. They got changed and took turns doing each others hair as the models were prepared. Susie slipped on a pair of strappy gold shoes and they walked back to their classroom.
“Alright class, first up is Hannah with the style casual chic.” Hannah gasped and stepped onto the steps up to the tables arranged as a catwalk. For the pieces, you had to have made it in one of the styles given. Someone turned on a piece of music and she began to strut down the catwalk. Everyone clapped as she winked and laughed. She struck a pose and then walked back. She ran off the catwalk and joined the other two, giggling as much as she could.
“Was I alright?” she whispered to Susie.
“You looked fine.” She replied and waited to see the next person up.
“Next up is Jack.” Said the teacher, dripping importance (sort of). Jack jumped on the tables and walked up and down, bobbing to the music. Susie managed to suppress laughter and they smiled together as he stuck a foolish pose at the end of the catwalk.
“Next is Megan with cosmopolitan girl.” Megan smiled and strode up to the catwalk. Megan had always wanted to be a model since she was a little girl. It was obvious as she walked down the catwalk that she would be a good one as well. She had long legs that went on forever and from dancing they were perfectly thin and shaped. She had the perfect figure to be a model, model looks and model posture. When she stepped out on the catwalk, no one laughed. No one smiled. She looked as though she was just another model for Calvin Klein. She had been watching Project Catwalk a lot lately and had perfected the poses that they did either end of the catwalk, knowing who to look at. Susie sighed. Megan was tragically beautiful. Susie was just tragic. She knew who would be called up next and when Susie’s name was announced, she was the only one without a gasp of wonder. At least people would be looking at the gown and not the model.
“Susie is modelling Prom Princess.” Said the teacher annoyingly. Susie nodded and waited for the music to begin. She looked at the sea of people watching her and sighed. It was time. As she began to strut, the music level increased again, not needing the teacher to shout over it now. She posed at the end, deadly seriously. When she walked back, she reached the end and had an idea. She posed again and blew her friends a kiss. As they began to laugh she left the catwalk, hearing people clap in her ringing ears.
Everyone then departed to school bathrooms to change before the next lesson. Susie slipped back on her clothes and then took off her sandals a little regretfully. The golden heels made her feel a little taller against her friends such as Megan and Caitlin, who were taller than her. Oh well. It was nice to be in a bathroom, comparing shoes and hairstyles with her friends, rather than being in a classroom. It was early summer and time for a rest. They had been working solidly for weeks now and they all felt as though they needed a rest. However, if Susie had the choice of staying in school or going home to her parents, at the moment the choice was not lying at her house.
The three of them went back to the classroom to hand over the outfits and then hand over the dolls with the clothing and the heads full (or not) of hair styled perfectly to show as their project on clothing design on a style. It was the strangest piece of coursework any of them had ever done but no one was complaining. It had been quite satisfying to parade up and down the room in their designs, knowing that they had made them with their own fair hands. Of course, after this Susie had to go to jewellery and show her designs for the jewellery and see what he thought of her pieces. That could wait. She had Mr Crabtree.
Mr Crabtree was one of the scariest teachers in the whole school. He was often considered one of the meanest as well, but not for any reasons that people could put their finger on. People just knew that if he was angry to stay out of his way, even the teachers. He may be a good teacher and you always learnt a lot, but did they outweigh his flaws? No one seemed very sure. Susie knew that she wasn’t. Oh well. She waved goodbye to Megan and Hannah and joined the line inside for Jewellery after moving across the school to the right block. Sadie was already there near the front of the queue. She waved a quick hello to her before standing almost stock still again. Sir was standing right before her. Even though Mr Crabtree, like almost every teacher liked Sadie, it didn’t pay to be too careful.
“Come in class!” he called, striding inside. The girls were thankful. He had decided not to call them idiots or something worse that morning. She smiled. It must be a good day.
She showed him her pieces when her name was called and he looked them over. His mouth did this thing where it half smiled, half frowned. That meant her pieces were alright. If they had completely frowned she had done badly. Only one person had made him smile completely. Apparently anyway. No one else had since then and they probably never would again. Then again, it was always possible. Stranger things have happened. She smiled at sir as she picked up the pieces. He looked back at her.
“Thank you…” he looked down at the register. “Cathy.” She sighed. He would never remember her name. It was just one of those things, such as always running out of paint just before the end of a painting. It was just life. Sometimes, Life sucked. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
“It’s Susie sir.” She said politely.
“What?” he said, looking up at her.
“My name. It’s not Cathy, its Susie. Cathy is my middle name.” the man looked down at the sheet again.
“So it is. Thank you Cathy.” Susie breathed in and smiled politely. She picked up her jewellery and walked away, trying to count to ten.
“Ten. That doesn’t work Sadie, I’m still pissed off with him.” She said as she reached their table.
“Then you are obviously not doing it right.” Sadie smiled. “What do you think?” Susie looked down at her jewellery. Her theme had been the sky. She had made beautiful pieces themed on the sky, the sun and the stars. They outshone hers in skill and emphasised Sadie’s perfection to anyone looking. She sighed again.
“Beautiful.” She said vaguely. “Perfect.” she wondered why Sadie was asking her now, seeing as she had gone before her. Sadie’s surname was Phillips and hers was Reynolds after all. Even Susie knew that P came before R. there was a Q inbetween but that was all. Hang on, she hadn’t gone before her.
“Next is Sadie Phillips.” Boomed the voice of Mr Crabtree across the classroom, shattering the almost silence of the room. The whispers that had shared a few minutes ago could only be spoken as someone had lit a blowtorch on their table and that had drowned out the sound. Now she was finished they couldn’t talk any more. Susie was shocked. She had only just noticed that he was going along the register backwards. Was she really that unobservant? Apparently so.
After their break it was time for her Italian lesson. Susie was deliberating whether to tell her teacher that she was fluent in Italian or not, seeing as the test was next Monday and not today. Eventually her conscience broke through. She put up her hand while they were working and her teacher came over to her. She began to speak.
“Signora, ho pensato appena per dirvi prima che la prova che potessi completarla con 100%, come ho in ogni prova prima di ora là fosse un motivo semplice per questa e la mia coscienza colpevole stia forzandolo ora dirvi, prima della prova. Sono a metà italiano e sono stato fluente in italiano da quando ero tre. la mia madre introdotta una nota quando ho cominciato imparare l'italiano ed io ha pensato che dovrte sapere ecco perchè ho potuto sempre rispondere perfettamente alle vostre domande. Ho conosciuto sempre che cosa state dicendo. in italiano o inglese.”
(Madam, I just thought to tell you before the test that I will be able to complete it with 100% as I have in every test before now. There is a simple reason for this and my guilty conscience is forcing me to tell you now, before the test. I'm half Italian and I have been fluent in Italian since I was three. My mother sent in a note when I started learning Italian and I thought you should know that's why I have always been able to answer your questions perfectly. I've always known what you have been saying. In Italian or English. )
Her teacher reacted in an unexpected way.
“Get out!” she said firmly, standing up so she was towering over Susie.
“Get out!” She repeated. Susie stood up and left the room. Everyone began to whisper to one another. Susie was such a good girl in this class, always answering the questions correctly. The teacher looked over the class and it fell silent again. No one else wanted to fall under the scrutiny of their teacher.
Outside Susie leant up against a wall and bit her lip. She felt tears welling up in her eyes but she blinked them away. This wasn’t the time to be crying. She breathed in and out, counting a shaky one to ten as Sadie had instructed before. This wasn’t fair! She had been doing the right thing for once and she was still getting punished for it! She smiled and looked over at a poster on the wall. Written across the bottom was a small note, handwritten, in Italian.
Se la vita vi dà i limoni, faccia la limonata.
“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Susie repeated, smiling just a little. It was just the right thing to say. It was time to make some lemonade.