Page last updated: January 1, 2005

Chapter 1

"EEEEENOOOOUUUUGH!" came the shrill voice of Mrs. Garret.

The two combating teens immediately snapped their heads around to look at the older woman in surprise, but a moment later, they were back to glaring at each other.

"This constant bickering has got to stop," Mrs. Garret continued in a more normal tone of voice, though it was just as emphatic.

"Well, if her highness here would just..." Jo began.

"That's right, peasant..." Blair sneered.

"Why you...!" the brunette started to lunge for the blonde, but Natalie and Tootie each grabbed an arm and managed to hold her back.

"Stop it this instant!" Mrs. Garret cried out in frustration.

Jo shook off the restraining hands and stomped over to the redheaded woman.

"Mrs. G, I hate her! I can't stand her. I just wanna kill 'er!" Jo practically yelled.

Mrs. Garret could see the hint of tears forming in the tomboy's eyes, and she reached out a comforting arm around the girl's shoulders.

"Now, I know you didn't mean that, Jo. You're just upset."

She turned to Blair and held out her other arm. The young girl hesitantly stepped into the embrace, obviously wary of coming so close to her angry nemesis.

"I think I know exactly what the two of you need," Mrs. Garret declared, as she led them out of the dining area and up the stairs to their dorm room.

But instead of stopping at their assigned room, Mrs. Garret continued down the hall to an old storage/bathroom. She gently nudged them ahead of her into the room and stood in the doorway, as they looked around the dirty place. Boxes were stacked haphazardly around the room, and in one corner, a freestanding sink and toilet sat exposed. The two young women looked back at Mrs. Garret fearfully.

"You two need to work things out. So, for the next month, you will spend every waking moment with each other until you learn to work together and respect each other."

As understanding sunk in, both girls began to protest.

"Mrs. Garret!" Blair exclaimed. "You can't possibly expect me to stay in this filthy room with this... this... with her!"

"Nothin' doin', Mrs. G. No way am I gonna be cooped up in here with her highness for a whole month," Jo glared daggers at the rich debutante. "I won't be responsible for what I'm gonna do to her if I have to be alone with her for that long," she continued menacingly, staring hard at Blair.

"You girls will live together, work together, eat together, and sleep together. Or I'll have to talk to the Headmaster about your recent behavior. May I remind you that you're both still on probation for the stunt you pulled with the van," Mrs. Garret trumped Jo's threat. "Now, I expect you to have this place cleaned up and ready for your belongings in an hour." She picked up a couple of brooms leaning against the wall by the door and handed one to each of them. "I suggest you girls get to work."

Mrs. Garret turned around and pulled the door closed behind her as she left. Even Jo was shocked when she heard the click of the lock being engaged. They were trapped.

"Well, I hope you're happy with yourself. Look what you got us into," Blair immediately started in.

"Me?! You're the one who couldn't keep your mouth shut. Now I gotta put up with your ugly face for the next month," Jo said miserably.

The young brunette abruptly turned away and started harshly sweeping the floor. Blair looked at the broom in her own hand distastefully. After a minute had passed and Jo hadn't heard Blair start cleaning, she stopped sweeping and looked up.

"I'm not doin' the whole room by myself. Either start usin' that thing or I'll beat you with it," Jo threatened.

Blair snorted, but Jo took a step toward her with her own broom, and Blair quickly backed away and started awkwardly dabbing at the floor with the clumsy instrument.

"All right, all right. I'm sweeping. See?" Blair exaggerated her movements with the broom.

Jo watched her in disgust for a few moments and then went back to cleaning up her immediate area.

By the time Mrs. Garret returned, they'd managed to sweep up the whole room, and the many boxes had been stacked up around the 'bathroom,' creating a semblance of privacy. There was just enough room for the girls' beds to be brought in, along with a single dresser for them to share. Once the furniture was in the room, there was barely a foot of walking space from the door to the nearest bed, and the beds had been forced together, basically making one almost queen-sized bed.

"Please, Mrs. Garret. I can't live like this," Blair whined, as she tried to wheedle her way out of this insane punishment.

"It's only for a month, Blair. You'll survive just fine," Mrs. Garret promised, as she patted her on the shoulder in what was supposed to be a comforting gesture.

"If I accident'ly kill her in my sleep, I can't be held responsible, can I?" Jo questioned hopefully.

"You both get some sleep," Mrs. Garret ignored the obnoxious comment. "Goodnight, girls," she trilled and then locked the door behind her.

"I hate you," Blair told the other girl angrily.

"Ask me if I care," Jo threw back at her.

Jo turned to the dresser and opened the top drawer where she'd put her pajamas. She pulled out a light blue pair and tossed them onto her half of the bed. Then she climbed onto the bed herself and started undressing.

"Hey. What do you think you're doing?!" Blair yelled.

Jo turned to look at her with a frown.

"Getting ready for bed. What's it look like I'm doin'?"

"You can't just do that right here!" Blair informed her.

"Well, where else am I gonna do it?! We're locked in, remember?"

"Go into the bathroom," Blair pointed at the wall of boxes they'd set up around the area.

"Why don't you? Then I can change out here in peace," Jo said resentfully.

"Have you seen what's on that toilet seat?" Blair replied. She turned away. "This is intolerable. She can't do this to me," Blair huffed.

"Yeah, well, she did it, so let's just try to get through it, okay?" Jo teetered between ordering and pleading.

"I know you're used to slumming, but I..." Blair began haughtily.

"You don't know anything about me, ya stuck up, rich, conceited...!" Jo stopped in exasperation as she ran out of insults. "Just shut up before I shove my fist down your throat!"

"Is that the only way you know of solving your problems? With violence?"

"You wanna find out?" Jo asked ominously.

Blair rolled her eyes and sighed, as she made her way to the dresser to pull out her own nighttime clothing from the third drawer. She looked over at Jo who was waiting to see what she was going to do.

"Just turn and face that way, and I'll face this way," Blair offered as a compromise.

"Fine," Jo said, as she scooted herself to turn away from the blonde.

"And no peeking," Blair added.

"Like you have anything I wanna see," Jo threw over her shoulder, as she changed into her pajamas.

There was no reply, as Blair carefully removed her clothing and pulled on her nightgown. Jo crawled under the covers of her half of the bed and faced the wall.

"Get the lights, wouldja?" Jo requested.

Blair harrumphed, but she took the two steps to the light switch and flicked it off before returning to the bed and climbing under her half of the covers.

With the stress of the day, the two teens were quickly asleep.

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