Cherringham - Episode 13 - 15
Cherringham - Episode 13 - 15
1. Sink or Swim
Sophie White raced up the back stairs of Florence House, her footsteps on the worn stone echoing in the cold space as she climbed the three floors.
Damn, damn, double damn, I'm going to be late, she thought. Prep's never supposed to over-run on a Saturday, this is so unfair ...
At the top of the stairs she pulled open the heavy fire door that led to the Sixth Form dorms, ran past the crowded common room, and the kitchen where she glimpsed the usual weekend breakfast crowd.
Oh, cheese on toast, if only I could join in ...
But even if she had time, she wasn't sure she'd be welcome. Freya and her crowd would be in there.
And since the new term started they'd been blanking her.
She reached the end of the corridor, pushed hard on the door to her own room, and in one move flung her laptop bag onto her bed.
"Walk, don't run," came a voice from the other bed.
Sophie looked over: her roommate Hannah was lying back against the pillows watching something on her iPad, her hand hovering over the shared biscuit tin.
"Walking's for Year Sevens," said Sophie digging into her wardrobe, clothes flying. "Can I borrow your tracksuit? Mine's covered in mud."
"Gross," said Hannah with a shrug, munching on a biscuit.
Sophie didn't need a yes - after six years of school together it was unspoken.
What's yours is mine, mine yours. Live fast, die together. Friends till the end. No lies, no secrets.
Each time they moved up a year at Cherringham Hall School for Girls, she and Hannah had bound themselves tighter to each other with a new motto. And now they were in their last year, full-on Sixth Formers, just three terms to go before ...
Sophie stopped herself thinking about that. About leaving. It made a pit in her stomach. Way too scary.
"So what's the rush? Seeing someone?" said Hannah. "Secret admirer?"
"As if ..." said Sophie. "I'm running the Minnows club for Ms. Braithwaite."
"Tough," said Hannah. "Duty calls."
"Hey - did you know you're late?"
She grabbed her swimming costume, Hannah's tracksuit and a pair of trainers, then reached over, and pulled out a handful of biscuits from the tin.
"Seventy calories each," said Hannah.
"Doesn't count," said Sophie heading for the door. "It's breakfast."
"That make a difference?"
"Duh, yes. Latest research."
"Gotta love science."
Sophie raced out. "Laters ..." she said, over her shoulder.
"Still on for Oxford this afternoon?" she heard Hannah say, as she turned into the corridor.
"Can't wait!" she shouted back, then she was off heading for the stairs again.
She checked her watch. Three minutes - she might just make it.
Being late - for anything - was a cardinal sin at Cherringham Hall. Sophie knew the ethos back to front and upside down, it was drilled into all the girls from their first term:
'Cherringham girls will be bright, independent, free-thinking, creative, confident, resourceful, tolerant - and above all, reliable.'
And the teachers made it clear that while most of those qualities might take a while to develop, the bit about 'reliable' - being on time - was one that had to be acquired immediately .
She wheeled off the main school corridor and took a short cut through the Dining Hall.
As she slalomed past the formal tables, she glanced up at the portraits of Cherringham alumni on the walls - explorers, poets, politicians, novelists, Nobel-prize winning scientists, businesswomen, International sportswomen.
Sophie and Hannah used to joke that the reason they'd all succeeded was that they were never late .
And generally, now that she was a laid-back Sixth Former, Sophie wasn't that