A/N: Well here's the second chapter, fortunately longer than the first one. And to those who asked about A-levels and gap years and stuff I'll just give a quick definition: A-levels are the exams that get taken in the last year of school in England. Most people take three subjects for them. A gap year is basically just a year that some people take off before they start university so that they can travel or get a job or improve their marks if they didn't do so well. And I'll just tell you what AS-levels and GCSEs are because Blair's in the AS-levels year and I might end up mentioning GCSEs at some point. AS-levels, taken year before last in school. The score gets combined with you're A-level scores. GCSEs taken the year before AS-levels, have to take nine subjects, and are basically just there to be evil. Anyway, long paragraph that no one probably bothered to read, if there's anything else people want me to explain, just ask. And a big thanks to all the people that reviewed.

Livia De Angeliis: Thank you for being my first reviewer, and I hope you continue to read.

BleedingOnyx: Thanks, here's the update. Hope you're still reading.

Dreamer's Hope: Hope you'll like this chapter too, and here's the update.

S Beth: I've explained the stuff about the gap year and A-levels and anything else I could think of in the author's note, so hopefully you understand it now. Anyway, thanks for liking my characters. Brought in a couple of new ones in this chapter, which I hope you like as well. And thanks for reading.

Great Start!: Aw, thank you for being so nice about my writing. Hope the start wasn't the only good part. And I've explained the gap year in my author's note, so any confusion about it should be cleared up.

nyrocks: thanks for saying it was a great start, and I hope you're still reading.

Jolly B: Glad you're liking it already, thanks. And here's the update.

Isabelle8888: as you've asked, I have written more and here it is. Hope you continue you to read, and I'll check out your stuff as soon as I can.

And now onto chapter 2

Chapter 2

I drummed my fingers on the armrest and pretended to be carefree as I sat in the headmistress's office and waited for her and my father to enter. I knew I hadn't done anything wrong, well nothing new anyway, but my nerves were still getting to me.

They both entered at the same time, talking animatedly about my older sister and what a good student she had been, and how she was doing at Bristol University. I started to flick a spot above my ear with the index finger of my right hand until Mrs Runnel looked over at me. I gave her a huge fake smile and wriggled in my chair.

"Please, Mr Duncaster, sit," she said to my dad, and sent a pointed look at my already seated form. "Do you know why you're here, Blair?"

I wasn't even sure what she meant. Was she talking about the school in general or just her office right then? I shrugged and decided on an answer that would incorporate both. "I thought we went over everything last night at the parents' evening."

"Yes. Your teachers did manage to cover a lot of ground with you and your father last night. I am aware that many of them mentioned you getting a tutor," she told me. I wasn't sure whether or not I was supposed to attempt a reply to this, but fortunately she went on before I had to try and think of a point. "Your father telephoned me this morning to tell me that he had been able to find a tutor he thought would be suitable."

I prayed that at some point he had found someone that wasn't Matt. This morning when I'd asked about it he'd said that Matt had told Tom that he would think about it and call my dad at some point that day.

"Yes, Matthew Wennick. He's a good friend of my son's." And with that hope was lost.

I realised I had less than a non-existent chance, but I thought I should at least try to plead with Mrs Runnel. "Look," I started, leaning forward in my chair, "Mrs Runnel, do you really think I need a tutor?"

There wasn't even a hesitation before the answer, "Yes."

"But Mrs Runnel, I'm getting decent grades on tests, am I not?"

"Decent grades," she repeated, "But you and I both know that you could be doing better."

I made a face and shook my head at her. "Personally, I think you should spend less time worrying about my already okay grades, and more time worrying about the hygiene of the year sevens." The smell of the eleven and twelve-year-olds in our school was quite unpleasant, especially when you had to experience lessons in their classrooms three times a week.

Mrs Runnel ignored my comment and that's when my father started to put his own completely wrong point-of-view about my studying problems in. "I think that Blair is scared that if she ever tried that she might not do any better." This was so wrong that I couldn't begin to object to it. The reason I didn't bother to do the work was merely that I had better things to spend my time doing.

Who wanted to spend their afternoons and weekends doing work? There were parties to go to, shops to buy things from, people to talk to, magazines and books to read. There were just too many things to do that seemed far more important than schoolwork.

Eventually Mrs Runnel turned back to me. "Do you know what your sister was doing when she was sixteen?" she asked.

I had to push my lips together to restrain myself from saying, 'Getting high.' I would have said it to any other teacher in the school, but the headmistress was going a bit far. And then there was the fact that it wasn't true.

After she realised that I had no intention of replying, Mrs Runnel, once again, went on. "She was working hard. She was joining clubs. She was getting work experience." Yes, wasn't she just perfect? "Maybe you should take a page out of her book."

I didn't mention that Leah was nowhere near interesting enough to have her own book. "Maybe," I said and began to study my fingernails. I was in serious need of a manicure.

Mrs Runnel nearly rolled her eyes. Teachers try not to roll their eyes at students in front of their parents. They're not paying good money to send their children to a private school where the teachers are undermining them.

She asked me if I would like to wait outside her office while she and my father discussed the details of Matthew Wennick's tutoring. What she really meant was that she was sick of me contaminating her office.

And Matthew Wennick? Before today I had never heard anyone refer to Matt by his full name. Until today I wasn't even sure if Matt was just a nickname. It was possible. I knew someone who was called Bertie, and that's what it said on his birth certificate. But his parents were a bit funny in the head.

I came out of her office to sit on the bench outside just as the bell for the end of the day rang. I'd had my last period free so that's how I'd ended up in her office during it.

Classes began to file out, including the year sevens bringing their own rather foul smell with them. I said 'hey' to the people I knew but did not answer their questions of why I was there. And after a while Alicia walked past. She wouldn't have noticed me if it were not for the fact that I grabbed her wrist and pulled her onto the bench next to me.

"Hey, what are you doing out here?" she asked.

I shrugged. "Runnel's talking to my dad about some tutoring shit."

"Like you can't get the next one to do the work for you?"

"Ah, Licia, Licia, Licia," I sighed, "Runnel still thinks my sister and I might share some of genes. She refuses to accept the fact that since she was the first child she got a completely different set to me."

Licia frowned, confused. "But you and Tom are kind of alike," she said finally.

"Yeah, but he's the middle child. He's got some of Leah's qualities," such as putting me in a crappy situation with Matt as my tutor, "and some of mine."

"He got any of his own in there?"

I thought for a moment. "Bad taste in friends?" I suggested. Licia smiled slightly before I went on to ask, "What are you doing now?"

She pursed her lips guiltily before saying, "I'm going to hang out with Leslie." Ugh, Leslie. Just about everyone in the school knew of my dislike for Leslie, and just about everyone knew why. And that's how they were kept in line.

Leslie and I had originally been very good friends, but when she'd started taking drugs two years before I'd allowed her to drop off the list with a bang. And since I had an open argument going on with her, many other people stopped being her friend as well. Alicia was one of the few that had stayed friends with her though. She was the only one I was close enough too that I couldn't just let her go as a friend.

"Be careful with her. You don't know what she's going to try and get you to do," I warned her.

She shook her head and sighed. "It's not like that." I didn't know exactly what drugs Leslie was on, and I didn't care to. As long as she was still on anything, we weren't friends.


We both saw Leslie coming down the stairs at the same time. Licia quickly hugged me and said goodbye before she ran off to meet Leslie before Leslie met her. I could get pretty confrontational when put in a situation with her, and I was sure Licia didn't want me causing a scene when I was right outside the headmistress's office.

I tapped my fingers on the arm of the wooden bench while I waited for my dad to come out. By the time he did practically everyone had left the school grounds. The only people that hadn't were the ones that did the lame clubs that the school set up.

"It's all settled then," he said, as though this was the key sentence to understanding the world.

Apparently I did not understand the world. "What's all settled?" I asked as I stood up and we began to walk to the school exit.

And he gave me a look like I was stupid for having to bother asking. "Your tutoring is," he told me. I thought about saying a sarcastic 'whoopee' but decided against it. He might make me waste even more of my time with Matt if I did.


"Matt's going to come over later and sort out the times with you. And please don't make it difficult for him."

"Me be difficult for Matt?" I asked. "I wouldn't dream of it." No, I wouldn't dream of it. I had better things to dream about. I could put this into practice.

"Well, good." It was clear my dad had no idea what to think of my reply. "Leah said she might come down to visit in a couple of weeks."

Now was the time for it. "Whoopee."

"Can't you two just get along?" he asked, sighing.

"No," I told him simply.

"She's working so hard at her course in Bristol. Give her a break."

I rolled my eyes and pushed open the door that led off the school grounds. "Oh I'm sure she finds chemistry just delightful," I continued with the sarcasm.

"Just… try to be nice. It would be really good to be able to have a quiet house even when both of you are in it," he said, unlocking the doors to his car.

I climbed in on the passenger side. "I will if she will," I told him.

He rolled his eyes and slammed his door closed. "You will," he said sternly.

I ran my hands over the leather interior of the car as the engine started. "Hey, daddy," I said bouncily and about to change the subject.


"You know how my birthday's coming up?"

"In two months," he said.

"Yes, in two months," I repeated. "Well, I'm going to be seventeen," I informed him.

"I'm aware of the fact."

"So I was thinking," I started, trying to sound casual, "Maybe I could have a car."

He glanced at me. "No."

"But Daddy!" I had to have tutoring and I couldn't even get a car. This was completely unfair!

"At least not until you're getting in all your homework."

I made a face. Leah had got a car when she had turned seventeen. The exact right car too. Even if I got a car I knew it would probably be some beat up old one. But then again, those were just as cool.

"And being nice to your sister," he added as an afterthought. I should have resigned myself right then and there. Under those types of conditions my chances of getting a car were less than minimal.

I probably wasn't going to pass my driving test anyway.

The rest of the drive home was pretty much silent, apart from a goodbye when we got back before he had to speed off back to work.

Upon walking through the door to my house, I was faced with an apple being thrown at me by Tom. I managed to catch it as he went back to shuffling through the fruit bowl.

"Eat that," he instructed me.

"What for?" I asked, walking through to the kitchen and placing it on the counter.

"It's healthy," he said, coming back from the fruit bowl holding what was probably the only ripened peach in it.

I pulled myself up on the counter next to the apple, and picked it up. I took a large bite out of it and asked, "Satisfied?" in what was an almost understandable voice considering the amount of apple I had in my mouth.


I chewed for a moment, swallowed, and repeated, "Satisfied?"

"With what?" Unless it was his own subject, Tom had the attention span of a fish, and in the few moments that I had taken to crush the apple in my mouth he had lost interest.

I rolled my eyes. "Nothing."

He turned around after finishing slicing his peach. "Do you think I'd look good with a beard?"

"No," I told him truthfully. Tom would look like an idiot with a beard.

Apparently I'd been too quick to answer for Tom. "No, seriously."

"Do you think Noah looked good?"

Tom was lost, again. "Who's Noah?"

"Like of Noah's ark."

"What does that have to do with me having a beard?" he questioned.

"Well if you think he looked good, then you'll probably consider yourself to look good with it. But I personally don't think that Noah looked very good." And with that I jumped off the counter again and went up to my room.

Ah, my room. My sanctuary: the bed was comfy, the books were good, and, most importantly, it had every wired device I could possibly need in it. But for a printer for my laptop, but I didn't really count that as a something I needed, or wanted. There was one downstairs, which if I ever did schoolwork I would probably have ended up using.

I fell onto the bed with no sound, curled up amongst my favourite teddy bears and picked up a magazine from my bedside table. No one really knew about my love for teddy bears. If someone were to meet me they just wouldn't think of me as that type of person. Well, it had happened quite a few times actually.

I flicked through the pages of marie claire in the hope of finding something that was both interesting and not a perfume ad. Eventually I managed to find something and settled down comfortably to read the article. I'm not sure how much later it was when the doorbell rang downstairs. I hadn't heard Tom come up the stairs so I figured he could get it.

Not much later I heard a light tapping at my door. I got up and opened it to find Matt on the other side holding a plastic stick. "I didn't want to come too near it," he told me. "I didn't want to get infected with, well, you."

"It is kind of considerate," I said.

"How so?" he asked, surprised. And so he should have been, this was the only remotely nice thing I had ever said to him.

"'Cause I'm pretty sure my room didn't want to come too near to you either."

He sighed and ran a hand through the little hair still left on his head. "Your dad told you I was coming 'round to sort out times with you, right?" he asked.


"Okay then, let's sort it. I don't want to be near you too long."

"Thank you," I said sarcastically, "and why did you take the job again?"

Matt shrugged. "Paid well," he replied, and made a move to enter my room. I blocked the doorway. There was no way he coming in here. "What?" he asked. "We have to sort this out."

"We'll sort it downstairs," I told him, grabbing my nail file from on top of a pile of books and heading down the staircase.

"Why?" he asked while I tumbled down and into the drawing room.

I gave him a look. "You're dirty," I replied.

"Not towards you," he said and scratched along his jaw line with his thumb.

I rolled my eyes. "I meant your clothes," I told him. We sat down on different couches and I began to file my nails.

"Your dad and I spoke earlier about how much we're going to do everyday, but he wanted us to sort out what time it should be at together," he said, getting right down to business.

"Mm-hmm," I said as I pretended to be listening.

"We agreed on an hour and a half on weekdays, and two hours on Saturday and Sunday."

I looked up from my nails. It had sounded like he'd said something important. "I'm sorry, what?"

"An hour and a half on weekdays, two hours Saturday and Sunday."

"Sorry, I can't do that."

He was beginning to look annoyed now. "What do you mean you can't?"

"Can't," I repeated, "as in, unable to." And this was the guy tutoring me.

"I know what can't means," he said, still looking pretty annoyed.

"Well now you do." I probably shouldn't have continued to provoke him, but he was seriously boring me. Couldn't he just get this over with and sort the times?

"Look, you have to."

I decided to make it clear for him. "It won't fit into my schedule," I told him. "On weekdays I just don't have the time between reading, phoning people and washing my hair. And on weekends, you can't really expect me to work. Like this Saturday, when I wake up I'm going bra shopping with Licia. And then we're going to buy some tops that look cute with the bras, and then we're going to her house to get ready for the party that we will then be going to, and then I'm going to stay the night at her house."

"You're going to have to make the time." I pulled a face. Wouldn't I just get the one eighteen-year-old guy that did not have a life as my tutor? "Your dad will make you if you don't, and he won't let you have a choice about the times." I wished he wasn't right about that.

"Fine," I sighed. I tried to move around my schedule as much as possible, having to cut out my magazine reading time, and shorten my time on the phone and bathing. "How about five until six thirty on weekdays?" I asked him. Who knew, maybe if I got better my dad would shorten the length of the tutoring sessions, or completely erase some.

"Okay," Matt said slowly, contemplating it. He jotted it down in a small notebook I hadn't noticed him holding before. "What about weekends?"

I groaned. I just didn't know how I was going to get it to fit in. I needed the new bras, but I could probably cut out my new tops shopping time. My cupboard was already stuffed full of any kind of top I wanted. But that still didn't allow me enough time. "How about if we like halve the weekend sessions?" I asked him.

He glared at me. "It's not negotiable, Peach." Just how long was he going to be calling me that? He'd started that even before he'd started pinching my cheeks, and to this day I still don't know why he did it.

"It's Blair," I told him. "I would've thought you would be able to get it after this long."

"I would've thought you would know what a nickname was by this age," he commented.

I pulled yet another face and went back to filing my nails and ignoring him.

"Okay," he said. I knew it was almost painfully hard for him not to send a rude comment my way before he suggested, "How about twelve until two?"

"Whatever," I said, not really paying attention. "When are you going to join the army?"

He sighed. "As soon as you do your homework." I was almost entirely certain that this was supposed to be an implication that he was never going to join the army, and also, therefore, a crack about my working skills.

"We're done here, right?" I asked him, not really caring what the answer was since I wasn't going to be sticking around long enough to hear it. "I need to take a really long bath. I'm feeling seriously unclean."

"Yeah, I was going to say something about that." He stood up and pinched my cheek, hard, before he waved a hand in front of his nose to signify that I smelled bad.

I wanted to ignore the comment and the pinch. I really did. But somehow my hands got hold of a thick paperback book on the table and threw at his head. It didn't have enough effect as to actually harm him, but it made me slightly happier, as did the bath I was about to run upstairs.

A/n: and another chapter over. As always, please review. Tell me your thoughts about it. If you liked it say something nice, if not so much then say something constructive, you know, how I should improve and whatnot.