“God, when is school going to be over?” she demanded of her fellow Lower VIA-ites as they sat unsupervised in prep.
“Shut *up*, Kerry!” objected Lucy Davenport, who was struggling with her Latin. “This bloody Tacitus is bad enough without you distracting me!”
“Serves you right for taking Latin,” replied Ceridwen. “But that’s what I mean! When can we stop all this relentless studying?”
“Four weeks,” said Emma Houghton, the form prefect, briefly. “Be quiet, please, Ceridwen.”
Ceridwen sighed, and moved restlessly in her seat. Emma decided that this wasn’t going to end well for anyone like this.
“Oh, go on! Go and have a walk or something! I’ll square it with Miss Wright if she asks.” Ceridwen didn’t need telling twice; she jumped up, leaving her books on her desk, and fled the room.
“You’re an angel, Emma!” she called back over her shoulder. Emma grinned.
“Yeah, that’s what everyone says. OK, everyone, let’s have a bit of quiet.”
Ceridwen trusted to Emma to clear her absence over dinner, as well, and she went for a long tramp along the lake up to Maurach, where she sat and bought something tea-like at the Spar. She was just sitting on a bench, mentally resolving to stop being such a five-star idiot and move on, when she became aware of a familiar voice nearby. She looked around, and then saw him: Peter whatshisname, the guy who had been running after Carey. He was talking to a woman, and for a moment Ceridwen hoped she’d caught him with his wife or girlfriend or something, but as she sidled closer, she saw that the woman was much older – more likely to be his mother than anything else. They turned a corner, and Ceridwen threw upbringing and education to the wind, and eavesdropped determinedly.
“Mother, I really don’t see that you need to worry about all this. She doesn’t have a clue…”
“How do you know? How do you know she doesn’t have a clue. Deceptive little bitch, just like her mother, I can tell!”
“Mother, I think…”
“And what will you think when the end comes and you’re left with nothing! What then, Peter? Do you think it’s fair, me cut off without a penny? After everything I’ve done for your father over the years?”
“No, of course not! I just think you might be overreacting a bit.”
“Overreacting! Overreacting, am I? I’ll tell you this, Peter, if it wasn’t for me, you would have been the bastard, not *Caroline*!” Her voice was full of venom, and Ceridwen paled. What on earth was all this about? One thing was for certain: Peter was not who he said he was.