hafl: (Girls' literature)
[personal profile] hafl
Title: Mary-Lou's Torrid Love Life, Chapter Two
Original Work: Malory Towers
Pairing: one-sided Mary-Lou/Daphne
Rating: PG

As happy and jolly as those days in San were, Mary-Lou was anxious about the future. Daphne would have to face judgement for what she had done and even though Mary-Lou wished that the other girls would be merciful, there was no guarantee that they would be. Especially Gwen, who had become Mary-Lou’s sworn enemy as much as her cowardice would allow her, ever since they had separated on such bitter terms. Now that even Daphne had a chance to slip from her grasp, Gwen would surely be furious.
 
However, even that anxiety was insufficient to cloud the bright cheery sky of the scant few days they spent together in jolly companionship. As they had few better things to do, they chatted amicably, as if they returned to the old days of childhood when even shy Mary-Lou able to make friends with children she had met only minutes before. They had invented dozens of shared jokes in only few days, jokes they would never be able share with anyone else, who did not share those golden days with them.
 
The friendship forged in San proved to be an enduring one and Daphne soon became a much dearer friend to Mary-Lou than Darrell ever was. With Daphne as her special friend, the rest of the second and third years just flew by, with little to disturb Mary-Lou’s peace of mind. She even found it in herself to smile when she saw Darrell smitten a little by Bill’s boyish charms.
 
Mary-Lou wished that time would stop ticking forever. Her life was perfect as it was now and there was nothing else that she wanted. However, she should have known that such bliss was unlikely to last for much longer. The end though, came from a completely unlikely quarter. She had expected that if anyone, a new girl would be to blame, but it was Daphne who had shattered the seemingly unshakeable happiness.
 
It was another perfectly sunny day at Malory Towers and even Daphne could be coaxed to go on a walk on such a fine day. The bounds allowed to fourth formers were much more generous than those for lower forms and Mary-Lou was quite keen to explore the new places, especially when together with Daphne, who took care to take her finest hat to the outing.
 
While Mary-Lou was intent on looking around the new places they were allowed to visit, Daphne did not treat it much differently than any other walk, walking at the slowest possible pace, careful to keep her clothes scrupulously clean, as if she never went outside the castle in the first place.
 
They didn’t make it very far before Daphne stated that she wanted to rest, asking Mary-Lou to stop for a little while. Not wishing to start even the smallest row, Mary-Lou assented and they found themselves a nice flat rock to sit on. Unaware of what time it was, Mary-Lou glanced at her wristwatch. It seemed that they barely had time to rest for fifteen minutes, before they would have to start on their way back, if they wanted to avoid trouble.
 
She sighed, disappointed that because of Daphne, they hadn’t gotten very far from Malory Towers. “What’s wrong?” asked Daphne.
 
Not wanting to disappoint her friend, Mary-Lou shook her head and tried to smile. “It’s getting late,” she said, “We’d better start back soon.”
 
“Is that so?” said Daphne, “Sorry for slowing you down.”
 
“Don’t be,” said Mary-Lou, “I invited you. I wanted you here.”
 
“Thank you,” said Daphne, taking hold of Mary-Lou’s hand.
 
Something in Daphne’s expression told Mary-Lou that her friend wanted to say more, but she did not expect what came next. Quite suddenly, Daphne leaned towards Mary-Lou, kissing her, their lips meeting for a split second before Mary-Lou realised what was going on and jerked her head backwards. More aware of Daphne holding her hand than ever, Mary-Lou stared at Daphne in confusion. Why?
 
Mary-Lou searched for some words to say, but it was Daphne who spoke first. “Mary-Lou, I…” she began, before pausing for a short moment, “I wanted to say I’m sorry, but I’m not.”
 
It was still hard for Mary-Lou to hold a coherent thought. One thought was constantly returning and hammering at her brain. Why would Daphne do that? Why would she ruin everything? Why would Daphne do that? She knew why would Daphne kiss her, but she couldn’t admit it to herself. Daphne was her special friend, the one person in the entire world that Mary-Lou trusted completely and without question with her innermost thoughts and feelings. She felt almost betrayed in that trust, but that was just a silly thought. Just one look at Daphne as she was now, tears showing themselves in corners of her eyes, was enough to let anyone know that betraying or hurting Mary-Lou was the last thing on Daphne’s mind.
 
Mary-Lou was unable to look Daphne in the face anymore. She turned her eyes down to the ground. “Sorry,” was all she said before starting to walk quickly back to the castle, ashamed of herself for being so cowardly and for hurting her friend. Yet, she didn’t turn her head to see Daphne’s reaction.
 
That day, Daphne missed dinner, only returning to the dormitory just before lights out and not speaking to anyone. Mary-Lou couldn’t help but look at Daphne, worried about the girl, despite the fact that she was the source of her troubles. Outwardly, not much seemed to have changed about Daphne, even if she was a little bit paler than usual. However, she was even more reticent with others than usual. Beside Mary-Lou, Daphne did not have any close friends at Malory Towers, but she was at least on speaking terms with everyone except Gwen. Mary-Lou’s heart hurt at seeing Daphne like this, but there was little she could have done that evening.
 
That night, Mary-Lou had trouble falling asleep, as she simply couldn’t stop thinking about poor Daphne. She simply had to talk with her and clear matters up. She did not want to lose her best friend because of something so silly. When the sleep finally arrived, it was uneasy and Mary-Lou woke up many times during the night, although she did not remember if she had any dreams.
 
She was tired in the morning, but she forced herself to get up. There was much to be done that day. Not only schoolwork, though Mary-Lou knew she wouldn’t do much of that, if her brain continued to feel as woolly as it did in the morning, but she had to talk with Daphne. Compared to losing her friendship with Gwen, losing Daphne’s friendship was something Mary-Lou couldn’t even imagine.
 
The lessons were a blur and Mary-Lou’s notes were a disorganised jumble of words written in handwriting so horrible, that Mary-Lou herself couldn’t decipher a single one of them. The end of the last lesson was the start of freedom, but Mary-Lou still dreaded it, since she could not put off talking to Daphne any longer. Before she could lose her courage, Mary-Lou took hold of Daphne’s hand and, for lack of better words, dragged to a little frequented corridor.
 
“Daphne,” she said, “We have to talk.”
 
Daphne was silent for a moment. “I suppose so,” she said finally.
 
“Can we forget about what happened yesterday?” said Mary-Lou, “Please?”
 
“I…” said Daphne, “I’ll try.”
 
“Thank you,” said Mary-Lou, “Thank you so much.”
 
“Before we do that,” said Daphne, “Could you tell me why? It’s fine if you don’t want to, but…”
 
Mary-Lou gulped. However, Daphne deserved to know. If anyone did, it was Daphne. She took a deep breath before speaking. “I-I just can’t. I’m afraid and we’re friends and if something happened and there was a row and we wouldn’t speak to each other, I wouldn’t be able to bear it. I’m sorry.”
 
Tears were already in her eyes when she said that, making her vision blurry and therefore, Mary-Lou was taken by surprise when Daphne hugged her. She knew that the girl didn’t intend to do anything else than just try to comfort her, but she still shrank away, afraid for Daphne’s friendship. Daphne apparently noticed, since she immediately drew back, mumbling an apology. Mary-Lou wiped the tears out of her eyes and tried to smile a little to reassure Daphne. Seeing that, Daphne smiled back and everything seemed to return back to ordinary. Still smiling, Mary-Lou took Daphne’s hand and despite her fears, it wasn’t any different than usual.
 
Mary-Lou was still a little but teary, but also happy that nothing had happened after all. Yet, there was that small nasty thought in the back of her head, saying that she had hurt Daphne and that everything was somehow her fault. And it was true. It had to be. Even if Daphne didn’t say a single word of blame to Mary-Lou, nor did she reveal what was going through her head, it was plain to see that she was hurt terribly. If it were Gwen, she would be already hurling insults at Mary-Lou, but Daphne, Daphne only seemed a little sadder.
 
Yet, there was nothing Mary-Lou could have done. Daphne was far too precious to her than to put her friendship in any kind of danger, even if whenever Mary-Lou saw the hint of sadness that sometimes came into Daphne’s eyes, she was tormented with guilt.
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