Julie was perfect. She was smart, popular and pretty. Her naturally blonde hair was professionally styled at least once a week and her size eight figure was always gloved in designer labels heard of only in magazines, brought for her on Daddy’s credit card. She was involved within the school teams and clubs, including gymnastics and dance, as well as all of the social clubs and school politics.
Jen was far from this. She was what would be referred to as “bad”. Her dyed black hair that was worn so that half of her face could not be seen and she always wore uniform black. She was the kind of person that rarely made an appearance at school, let alone at anything extra curricular. She spent her entire life drinking, smoking and getting “high”.
Dom would have called himself one of the cool guys but everyone else would have called him a jock. He was captain of the football team and head of his gang. They were all members of the football team and spent their free time taunting or punching one another mindlessly. When he was away from his gang, he spent his time acting too cool for anyone else.
Brian was one of the cleaver ones. He was a straight A student who enjoyed extra curricular activities like science and chess club. The only thing that he was not good at was sport. Whatever he tried, he looked gawky and awkward. Everyone saw him as a “geek” or a “nerd” and I suppose the fact that he wore trousers that were slightly too short for him and glasses didn’t help.
These four people had nothing in common apart from the fact that they had to share a chalet on a skiing holiday organised by the school. There had been a mix up with numbers meaning that none of them could share with their friends. There was no television or radio and no one was to leave their chalet after eight in the evening unless there was an activity.
After the first day of skiing, neither Julie, Dom nor Brian wanted to leave their friends. Jen, who had no friends that had come on the holiday, was busy having a smoke out of the window with her Walkman turned up. She didn’t hear Mr Bowdon, their incredibly strict PE teacher come in to the chalet.
“What do you think your doing, Ms. Parker?” Mr. Bowdon shrieked red with fury.
Jen turned off her Walkman and spoke. “What does it look like I’m doing?” She said sarcastically.
“It looks like your trying to get yourself banned from the slopes,” Mr. Bowdon remarked snidely
“What do I care? Skiing is mind-numbingly boring; I only came to pick up some cheap smokes and booze!” Jen laughed, “Besides, where are the princess, the jock and the geek that I have to share this place with? I bet there with their friends and its after eight! So, instead of wasting your time with no-hopers like me, why don’t you guide them into doing the right thing, isn’t that what you say your job is?”
Her words oozed with contempt. Mr. Bowdon looked at her but she stared him out. Eventually he turned and went in search for the others.
For the rest of the week, Mr. Bowdon kept an eye on all four of them and caught them out many times. By the second to last evening, he had had enough. He called them all in to his chalet and banned them from spending their last day on the slopes. There was an array of moans and groans but it was clear that Mr. Bowdon’s word was final. They were to be supervised by Mr. Bowdon’s wife who was not a skier and would have to spend the day with only each other for company. Everyone knew that tomorrow would be hard.
They were woken at six in the morning for breakfast, which was to be eaten on a solitary table laid just for the four of them. Jen was the only one to speak through breakfast. She spent the whole time complaining about being stuck with a bunch of losers for the whole day.
When they had finished breakfast, they were instructed to go back to their chalet and to stay there until they were told otherwise.
“This is so unfair, all I wanted to do was to spend my holiday with my friends, and now I’m stuck in here for the day,” Julie whined
“Oh shut up princess, just because you can’t go running to Daddy!” taunted Jen.
“Leave her alone, arguing’s a waste of time because you can’t walk away, your stuck in here all day whether you like it or not,” Said Brian shyly.
“This is none of your business, Geek”, jeered Jen and, with that, she lit up a cigarette and began to inhale deeply.
Just as Jen had thrown the cigarette butt out the window, a hard faced woman came into their chalet without so much as a knock. She informed them that she was Mrs. Bowdon and that she would be surprising them with visits throughout the day and, as swiftly as she entered, she left.
“God, no wonder Mr. Bowdon’s so bitter with that witch as a wife”, sniggered Jen.
For the first time, Julie and Jen made eye contact and smiled.
“So, why do you waste so much of your free time in clubs then?” asked Jen.
“Leave her alone,” warned Dom.
“No I’m being serious, why?”
“I don’t know, it’s just what me and my friends have always done. Besides, it’s not so bad” Julie answered unconvincingly.
There was an awkward silence. Julie began to study her French manicure and the others started to fidget. After a while, Dom crossed the room to talk to Julie.
“Hey!” Dom said with ease.
“Hi” Julie said, surprised.
“Aww, the Jock and the Princess, what a prefect match” Jen jeered.
“Shut up!” They all said in unison.
“It’s a free country!” She retaliated.
“Why are you always so sarcastic, Jen?” Julie asked, “I think it’s just a front. I think that you are so scared about letting anyone see your feelings, that you cover them up with jokes and sarcasm.”
“Shut up Julie. Yeah, so I don’t show emotions, so what? Besides you can hardly talk. Everything about you is fake. Your so fake that you probably don’t even know who you are anymore. So maybe I do hide emotions but I’d rather do that then have everyone know my personal business.” Jen shouted and, with that, she went into their room and slammed the door.
“You know, she’s right.” Brian said timidly, “Every single one of us puts on a front.”
“And what front do you put on then?” Dom mocked
“You know, I’m not as good as you think I am,” Brian said, a little braver than last time.
As if on cue, Jen entered the room again. Her gothic make up was freshly applied to red, blotchy eyes and her infamous army boots had been removed, as had a little bit of her front.
“So, what have you done that’s so bad?” Jen asked with a friendly smile on her face for the first time.
“Well, I’ve smoked a cigarette and I got a little bit drunk at my cousions wedding,” Brian said nervously.
“Hey, I know what’ll make the day pass quicker!” Jen said with a glint in her eye.
With that, Jen ran to her room to fetch something. The others looked at each other nervously. She returned with a tightly wrapped package.
“Is that drugs?” Brian asked nervously.
“It’s only pot, it’s not gonna kill ya,” Jen said
“Well, ok then,” Brian said reluctantly.
“Are you guys in?” Pushed Jen.
Julie and Dom looked at each other. After a few minutes they agreed. They all sat around in a circle and watched Jen expertly roll it. After it was lit, they passed it around. Everyone accept for Jen coughed violently on their first drag, and, after it had been passed around a few times, they were too relaxed to care!
They spent hours talking mindlessly and becoming relaxed in each others company until it wore off. When it did wear off, the fronts that they had been putting on for so many years also wore off.
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