Something did crop up, as Jessica put it, and it did so the very next day.

"Class, it's time we chose the class representative for the school council this half-term," the teacher, Mrs Kennelworth, announced that morning. "You can either keep it as Rachel," here she beamed at Rachel Birch, "or you can give someone else a chance. The election is this afternoon, but first I want nominations to take to the headteacher for looking over. Put your hand up if you want to nominate someone, and not just because they are your friend."

She smiled at Carla, whose hand had shot up, and who was looking almost jubilantly at a girl called Alice Mandalay, who happened to be her second cousin Vienna's chief ally, and who also happened to have her hand up.

"Carla," invited the teacher.

"I nominate Rosetta Denison," she said complacently.

"I second that!" called Jessica from the back of the room.

Rosetta opened her mouth to protest, but the matter was already concluded. Her own pet trap had been used against her.

Mrs Kennelworth wrote 'Rosetta Denison' on the board. "Alice?"

"I want to nominate Vienna because she's a really good friend and she's always on hand to help," Alice said in a quiet voice.

Carla bit her lip to stop herself from laughing, and nudged the girl next to her, who, funnily enough, did not appreciate it, and nudged back harder. Carla nodded in Vienna's direction.

Vienna had her head down, but by the colour of her ears peeking from beneath her smooth hair she was very embarrassed.

Three other children were nominated and seconded, but they consisted of the afore-mentioned Rachel Birch and two boys.

The lesson steered onto Science and the cycle of how ice melted, evaporated, condensed and froze again. Carla, who hated Science, could hardly contain her anticpation regarding the elections. She felt certain that Rosetta, her friend, would be the class representative. She felt equally certain that Vienna, her enemy and virtually a new girl, would not be. In fact, she was sure that Vienna would be rejected for the position by the headteacher himself.

At breaktime Mrs Kennelworth went to see Mr Mackenzie, the Scottish headmaster of the junior section of the school.

Mr Mackenzie's eyes skimmed down the list of five names and approved of them. He smiled as he pictured the pupils.

Rachel Birch was a very capable girl who had lived her school life as class representative at least three half-terms in every year. Rosetta Denison also belonged to the sensible type, but she had a little more in her than Rachel. Rosetta had been in the school almost six years, and the headmaster knew her well enough to see that though she had never been representative before, she had the potential to be the best rep the class had ever had. Mr Mackenzie passed over the two boys' names. They would do if elected, but at this stage girls were more apt for the councillors' jobs.

Then his eyes, passing down the names, rested on that of a relatively new girl, Vienna, who had only been in his school since the half-term of the previous term. Vienna, from what he had seen, was an unusual girl. Sensitive to others as well as herself, she was a lively and enthusiastic member of society with the potential to have a phenomenal number of friends in relation to her acquaintances. SHe was kind and tactful, with the right attitude to appeal to most people. He suddenly remembered something about Vienna. Her mother, who he had met at the school prize-giving last term where Vienna had won a certificate for excellent effort, had said that Vienna was the kind to have unfortunate obsessions which she would do anything to resolve or even dissolve entirely. Vienna's mother had said something else. Mr Mackenzie, who always had a lot on his mind, struggled to remember it. He succeeded.

Vienna's mother, so like Vienna herself, had flushed. "I used to get infatuations like that. They're just wild roaming dreams that you cling onto and they won't go away. I had dreams of a particular part in a school play, or a wish that I might meet my cousins - you know Carla Carter's mother? - who were scarcely aware of my existence until a few years ago. I even had a dream in my twenties of friendship with a particularly nice woman who was one of my best friends all the time she lived near me. Not least my husband who I met on holiday when I was sixteen. A passion is like a phobia. You can only admit to it when you are resigned to it. You can't get away from it. You may laugh it off, tease yourself, scold yourself, even drive yourself mad, but it doesn't go away. It stays in your mind, nagging you, and you have to do something about it. You are loath to give in to the nagging dream, but often you must if you cannot destroy it, and that giving in sometimes does lessen the pain. I'm sorry for anyone with a phobia or a disposition for wild dreams."

Vienna seemed to have settled in well, despite these dreams. She had obviously made plenty of friends, though surprisingly not her second cousin. Mr Mackenzie could see the likeness in their characters, and wondered where the clash lay. Vienna seemed to be happy, at any rate. Mr Mackenzie did not know her well enough to know whether she would make a good representative or not. He would wait and see, She would not necessarily be chosen in any case.

The End

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