Felicity jumped down the last three steps and landed with a thud and squeal. She had her meglet hugged to her chest, pen still in hand. "I'm so, so, so excited!"
Enid rolled her eyes. "We can see that."
Felicity had just written the article about Miss Pentangle's visit that day and sent it out before anyone else had the chance to tell the gossip.
Mildred agreed with Felicity. "I can't wait to learn that silent alarm spell. Maybe i'll have better luck with my timing in potions."
"You'll never have luck in potions." Ethel chimed in. She had been walking by with Drucilla and Gertrude, but of course, couldn't help herself.
"Don't listen to her Mil." Maud said. "Really, i'm just glad we won't have to go to potions and P.E."
"I just can't wait to see Miss Pentangle, she always looks gorgeous. She's so pretty."
Ethel glared lightly. "You should be focusing on the academics. Honestly, Felicity, your so gay. "
"Fag." Gertrude said loudly under her breath.
"Wh- what?" Felicity eyes went widely sad in surprise.
"Gertrude." Drucilla hissed. But she didn't heed the warning.
"Fag.” She repeated as if everyone had not heard. “It's a much better word for you. My aunt taught me it." Gertrude's face slipped into a really nasty smirk with the words. "It makes sure that everyone knows you are a gross mistake, Felicity.”
"She is not!" Mildred said, stepping forwards.
Gertrude just gestured everyone. "They should stay away from you. Everyone else would if they knew."
Felicity sight contorted as tears welled up in her eyes. She ran, before anyone could say anything to her, she was gone.
"You Bitch!" To everyone's surprise it was ethel who spoke, glaring sharply at Gertrude. She was about to turn and run after Felicity but Miss Hardbroom materialized in her way.
"What was that, Miss hallow?
A wide eyed ethel wasn't able to respond. Mildred managed to jump to her rescue. "You beach, she said beach. You know- um, wavy and, and so sandy it's really annoying and gets everywhere."
"Don't lie to me Mildred Hubble." She scanned the group with narrow eyes. "Where is Felicity, did I not see her with you moments ago?" The girls just looked between each other. "Well?" HB shapely prompted.
Mildred stepped forwards and took a deep breath, and started at a million miles an hour. "FelicityWasTalkingAboutMissPentangelesVisitLaterAndSaidHowSheAlwaysLooksRellyPrettyAndEthelCalledHerGayButItWasn'tMeantToBeMean."
"For once." Enid mutered.
"But them Gertrude called her, AReallyMeanWordAndSheStartedCryingAndRanAwayAndEthelCalledGertrudeA..."
"Bitch." Ehtle finished for her. But continued rather begrudgingly under her breath "And Felicity's not really gay. she's pan."
Miss Hardbrooms face was unnervingly neutral. "Where is Miss foxglove now?"
"We don't know, miss." Maud said.
"And what was it, exactly, she was called?" HB's eyebrows raised.
"A fag." Enid said angrily.
"I said she was a gross mistake and everyone should stay away from her." Gertrude had said calmly, as if discussing the weather. "Because it's wrong. As someone so traditional you probably feel the same, Miss Hardbroom."
"Your really that thick, aren't you?" Mildred said to Gertrude.
"What do you-"
Miss Hardbroom came out of her head in time. "Stop this at once." Her voice loud, angry, and dangerously low. She pointed a sharp finger at Gertrude. "You are to sit and wait outside Miss Cackle's office." Gertrude looked surprised and was about to argue. "NOW." With that she was gone. "Mildred,"The low tone had gone. "You are not to say such things about a teacher again."
"But I didn-"
"Ethel, don't call people such derogatory terms, no matter how much they deserve it. It makes you appear as if you have nothing more intelligent to say. Do I make myself clear?" She waited for the 'yes, Miss Hardbroom'.
With a swift movement of her hand, Felicity appeared before them. Tears still streaming down her face.
"No." Felicity whined, pleading to everything and anything. If she had a list of people she wanted to see, Miss Hardbroom wouldn't even have been last. She just couldn't do it. Her legs gave way and she plummeted to the floor. But before she could hit the ground, Miss Hardbroom caught her and gently lowered them to the tile. Sinking to her knees, angled so she could hold Felicity's shoulder.
"Felicity," Miss Hardbroom's voice was softer than any of the students could say they had ever heard it. Face equally so. "Please calm down. Such foul things should have never been said."
"But she's right…" Felicity broke down into full fledged sobs and lurched forward, wrapping her arms around HB, who stiffened for a moment before pulling Felicity more protectively to her chest.
"I should hardly think so." Miss Hardbroom said firmly, but still delicate.
"HB's right, Felicity." Mildred said really softly as she came a little closer.
"But I am gay!" She pulled away, tensing. But her body relaxed as she continued quietly. "Well, at least partly." Felicity sank back into Hardbroom, who moved her hand to rub a thumb over her neck.
"That does not make the rest of it true."
"No," She lent down a bit and whispered something in Felicity's ear.
"No one." She answered then she sat up with a gasp. " Really ?"
"Partly." HB nodded. "But don't tell anyone. She might not want you to."
"I won't!" She leaned forward and gave HB a tight hug. "Thank you, Miss Hardbroom!"
HB stood, pulling Felicity up with her. "Of course, now be on your way," Her sharpness returned full force. "I have a troublesome pupil to deal with."
Time thingy jump thing
"How many people do you know who think Miss Pentangle is a gross mistake?"
She should not have said that. The implication of the words. The effect. It had been so stupid. How could she betray Pippa like that? And to the worst gossip in the whole school. Merlin, she was so stupid.
Hecate Hardbroom paced back and forth in her quarters with her arms crossed, a hand across her face. She had been doing almost exactly that for the last twenty minutes and her feet were starting to get sore from the repetitiveness. Pippa was due any minute and she still hadn't decided what to do. No. of course she had, she would have to tell her. Her own conscience forbade her from swaying to any other option. Oh, but how she didn't want to.
A knock came at her door.
"Come in." She had stopped moving and turned towards the door as it opened.
"Oh, Hecate, I am so glad I have the chance to rest before I -" She passed, narrowing her eyes. "What's happened?" Pippa put down her things not moving her eyes from Hecate, and made her way to dearest friend.
"I'm sorry." Hecate said. It sounded spiteful and bitter. But those were all turned inwards, Pippa knew better, Hecate was one the verge of tears. Despite the overwhelming urge to comfort the woman, she stayed still, just feet apart.
"Why? What happened?"
"I may have, well i- sit." She gestured to the elegant brown sofa by the unlit fire. Pippa did. Hecate remained standing and once again, started pacing.
"There was an incident today, and one of the girls was made upset by some remarks regarding her sexuaity."
"Yes?" Pippa prompted with a raised eyebrow.
Hecate stopped pacing to face her, but her eyes just wouldn't find Pippa's. "Imighthavetoldheryou'rnotheterosexual." Hecate might have laughed as she realized she had done the same thing Mildred had not to long before, but now was really not the time.
"Okay, well i'm not exactly pleased. But I am sure the situation called for it."
"I really shouldn't have though." Hecate shook her head and started pacing once more. "She was frightened and scared and crying, told she was a mistake, that no one should like her and I couldn't exactly reassure her by telling her i'm a lesbian, not many people like me to begin with and-" She had turned and glanced to Pippa whose mouth was an O. "What?"
"You've never said that." Pippa's voice was barely above a whisper. She hadn't even dared hope, even after hearing the rumors.
Hecate's eyes widened and she turned a lovely shade of red. "I…"
"You could have told me." But that just made Hecate bite her tongue and turn even more red. "Why couldn't you?" She said cautiously. Hecate couldn't possibly feel the same way about her. She leaned as far forward as she could while still sat on the sofa. "Hecate?"
"Because..." Hecate took a few deep breaths. She couldn't. she raised her hand, preparing to transfer.
"No!" Pippa had caught her, had leapt up and grabbed her hand. "Hiccup, please, not again." Hecate couldn't stand the plead and betrayal in her voice. Pippa finally giving in, pulling herself into a hug in Hecate's neck, Hecate hugged back. "You don't have to tell me that but please, tell me why you left." They had not gone back to it since the spelling bee. "I need to know."
"I told you." It came out choked.
Pippa just sighed deeply and nestled into Hecate's shoulder. "The truth?"
"No." With Hecate's shuttering exhale Pippa felt a cold tear fall onto the back of her neck. "Pipsqueak, it's, it's because it got to close."
"What got to close?"
"What I couldn't have." She held Pippa firmly as the admission came out. "I'm so sorry, Pippa. I was starting to fall in love with you. I tried not to." A moment. "And then I did." She sobbed softly into Pippa's shoulder. "And I still am." Barely heard, but there it was. And Pippa couldn't believe it.