Flash Fiction · How to be British

Public school

Thursday, November 23, 2017. Daily Brit Wit.

Public school: 

Noun

In the U.K., a private for-fee secondary school.

“Rumours are nasty business. Nearly ended up causing me quite the scandal.

Last week, three months in to the new semester at public school and the odious, ordinary pedestrians are still as foul as ever. You have to understand, I’ve known the mass majority of them since at least primary; others longer than that, unfortunately. I’m a bit of an outsider since I floated between schools for a while; I’m still technically one of them, but some posh gits like to point out because my dad’s military and we moved frequently means I’m not “one hundred percent old money.” Wankers.

Anyways, last week I’m minding my own business. Nothing new here; I do it daily. I have three close friends; Angela, Jamie, and Jasper. When lunch comes round, I’m already at our table with Jasper when Jamie comes running up to us, out of breath.

‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me!’ She says in lieu of a proper greeting. ‘I thought we were friends.’

Jasper and I exchange startled looks.

‘What the hell is going on?’ I cry out. ‘Of course we’re friends! Sit down.’ I lean over the table and yank on her wrist to guide her.

Jamie easily obeys. ‘Well?’

‘Well, what?’ I parrot back.

‘You’re being obnoxiously vague, Jamie.’ Jasper rasps next to me, fiddling with his plastic spoon. ‘How’s Kate to know what you’re getting at?’

I make a hand motion that says “fair point” and “get to the point.” Happily, Jamie must get the translation because she leans her torso against the tabletop and glares hotly at me.

‘When were you going to tell me you were pregnant?’

If I had been taking a drink at the time, it would have been one of those comical moments of spewing the beverage every-bloody-where. ‘What did you just say to me?’ I hiss, scandalised and indignant.

Jamie continues to look pissed off and Jasper sputters inarticulately next to me. That’s how Angela finds us.

‘What did I miss?’ She asks, standing with her hands on her hips.

My jaw snaps shut and I turn to address her. ‘Apparently the same bloody thing I did.’

Her blonde brows raise for me to continue.

‘Did you hear I’m supposedly pregnant?’ It totally comes out as a sneer, sarcastic. But does my friend hear it? Of course not!

‘Wait– you are?!’ Angela’s shocked, cheeks flushed white and she sits down heavily beside Jamie.

‘I hate you,’ I direct this at the culprit.

‘Where’d you even hear this horrid rumour at, Jay?’ Jasper inquires when the three females of the group clearly won’t further the conversation.

‘I heard it from Clair F. who got it from Haley S., whose mum is a doctor, you know.’ Jamie proclaims matter of fact.

‘Why would you listen to them?’ I wonder befuddled.

Jamie pauses, mouth partially open.

‘You mean you’re not–?’

I cut Angela’s question off before I can hear the dreaded proclamation again. I growl and groan and generally make an annoying nuisance of myself while my mates continue their blether.

‘If my dad hears of this, I’m gonna die.’ My words come out muffled through the nest of arms I made to bury my humiliation in the public eye.

‘Your mum, too.’ Jasper pipes up cheerfully.

I poke his side and get the satisfaction of feeling him jump.

‘Why would you believe anyone in this school but what the four of us has to say? For a rumour?’ Angela directs at Jamie.

‘I– I mean,’ she trips over her words and I wonder if I was looking at her if Jamie’s cheeks would blush.

‘That’s low, Jay.’ Jasper adds.

I don’t jump, but it’s a near thing, when I feel his hand land on my elbow and give it a reassuring squeeze. Stupidly, I feel tears pop up.

‘How many people?’ I ask.

‘Hmm?’ Jasper hums, hand staying in place and leaning closer to me. ‘What was that, Katie?’

I poke my head out of my hidey-hole enough to see Jasper. ‘How many people know?’

His brown eyes widen and peer over quickly at the opposite side of the table. I refuse to follow. I may as well give in now and accept my impending demise.

‘My whole maths class knows, so….’ Jamie’s voice trials off. She doesn’t sound sorry so much as sheepish.

I kind of hate her right now.

‘We’ll…figure something out, Kate, don’t worry.’ Angela is quick to reassure, no matter how trite it sounds.

Jasper murmurs his agreement.

‘It’ll go away eventually.’ Jamie says blasé. ‘A new rumour will pop up and once you don’t start showing– what, what am I saying wrong?’

My eyes clench shut as Angela and Jasper correct Jamie on her terrible friendship skills. I’m not invested in the conversation; too hung up on the scandal a dumb rumour could ignite at my posh school.”

 

© The Loyal Brit Wit, 2017

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5 thoughts on “Public school

  1. My lovely K… it’s your poetic friend. I’m sorry I never said goodbye, I had so much to deal with. I’m here again, different this time…quieter and let’s say ‘incognito’ but my poetry was crying to escape. Missed you. Hope you’re well 🔥🦋

    Liked by 1 person

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