The Parting Of The Ways

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The End?

Anthony was helping Athene wrap up her glass photograph frames in her quilt. They were just finishing off the last of her packing.

“It’s strange to think isn’t it,” said Anthony, “that we’re never going to come back here ever again.”

“Seven years is a flipping long time,” sighed Athene looking at the photograph of her Dad.

When she had started at St Christopher’s seven years ago, her Dad had still been alive.

“You never know we might come back someday though,” shrugged Anthony.

“Oh no,” said Athene shaking her head, “you know my rule. We are not sending our kids to boarding school.”

“I didn’t mean for our kids,” said Anthony, “I meant for teaching.”

“Are you two bloody finished?” asked Mark coming into the dorm.

“Nearly,” muttered Anthony doing up Athene’s trunk.

“Come on you slow coaches,” said Harry passing them their swimming costumes, “one last swim.”

“It’s nine o’clock, it’s nearly curfew,” said Athene.

“Yeah, and as of your speech tomorrow afternoon you two won’t be Head Girl and Boy anymore,” said Julie.

“So come on,” said Charlie one last swim for old times sake.”

“Oh, alright then,” chuckled Athene taking her swimming costume and going to go and get changed.

Harry and Charlie had enough towels for everyone, and Mark and Julie had brought their torches.

They crept out of the building and checked that no staff were watching before Mark and Julie turned on their torches and they ran across the lawn before they could get caught.

But they were completely fine, there were no staff on duty making sure the students were in their dorms.

“They’re probably too busy having their own end of term party,” smirked Mark as he got in the swimming pool.

“Probably getting drunk,” agreed Charlie.

“They’ve got Speech Day in the morning,” said Athene astounded.

“How else do you think they’re going to cope with that?” laughed Harry.

After swimming for a few hours, they all headed inside to get warm, which is when Mark pulled out a bottle of champagne out of nowhere.

“Where the hell did you get that?” exclaimed Anthony.

“The landlord from the pub,” he shrugged.

“Oh come on Mr Perfect,” laughed Harry as he poured out champagne into mugs, “we’re all of age.”

“And we’re at school,” pointed out Athene.

“We’re meant to set an example,” agreed Anthony.

“We are setting an example,” said Julie.

“Of how not to get caught,” smirked Mark.

“I give up,” sighed Anthony taking his mug.

“I’m only having one drink though, got to keep my wits about me, got to give that ruddy speech tomorrow.”

“The last one mate,” said Harry.

“Thank God for that,” muttered Anthony.

The next morning, Mark and Harry both had killer headaches. They had not only polished over a mug of champagne each, but half a dozen bottles of beer.

“Hey Charlie,” said Harry giving her a feeble smile, “give me a nudge when my name gets called out will you?”

“I might,” she shrugged, “and I might not.”

Harry groaned as they went to go and take their seats.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Students, Parents, Teachers, Staff and School Governors,” muttered Anthony under his breath as Athene straightened his tie.

“Is that everyone?” he asked.

“Tony,” said Athene kissing him, “stop panicking, you’ll be fine.”

Anthony laughed nervously and nodded at her.

“One last time?” asked Anthony.

“Let’s do this,” nodded Athene.

They went through to the school hall and sat in the front row. Mr Grainger gave his opening speech, and then they had to give their speech before all the trophies were handed out.

“And now, your Head Girl and Boy, Athene Richards and Anthony Pennington.”

Athene and Anthony walked up to the stage together.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” said Anthony into the microphone, “Students, Parents, Teachers, Staff and School Governors. Welcome, and thank you for coming.”

“I think it’s safe to say,” chuckled Athene, “that St. Christopher’s isn’t a normal school. This is a place where girls can play rugby and join the military cadets. The staff aren’t just our teachers, they’re our friends.”

“In this relaxed and stimulating atmosphere, students thrive and are encouraged to pursue our dreams. This can’t be more true for our own year. This year, out of our graduating students, one of them has a Hollywood film contract and will soon be taking the world by storm, and we have made a new record this year, eight of the students from our year will be going to Oxford or Cambridge Athene and I among them.”

“Not to mention,” said Athene, “that this year, we will be having our first female student not only to join the cadets but to join the army. Charlie Makenzie, along with several other graduating students will be signing up for the army within the next few weeks.”

“But of course, even though we have to leave,” said Anthony, “we’ll forget St Christopher’s.”

“From Fred and Ginger's tap-dancing through the halls to Charlie giving her patriotic speeches on School Challenge cup day,” continued Athene.

“To Mr Grainger reading Macbeth to us in a Scottish accent, and Mr Davies teaching us how to shout properly,” agreed Anthony.

“So, to conclude, if we have to relive these seven years we would,” said Athene.

“And to everyone, current students, and graduating students,” said Anthony.

“Good luck!” they called.

Athene and Anthony sat back down, as they started to give out the prizes. Anthony had to get up so many times, he felt like a Jack in a Box.

He wasn’t able to sit down, as soon as he collected each trophy or cup, he’d have to pass it to his Dad on his way down the aisle, before running out of the hall and back in through the back door to join the back of the line for his next prize. Athene had a similar experience, and there were soon two boxes full to bursting with prizes.

The others all got prizes as well, Mark got the music award, and Charlie and Harry got the sports cups, Julie had even gotten the cup for deportment.

Then, it was time for the time for the Speech Day entertainment, and Mark and Julie gave their final swan song, dancing together one last time before going their separate ways.

Then everyone was loading their bags and trunks into the cars, and they were all saying their last goodbyes. Athene was going to see Mark, and Julie over the next month, and she was going to be seeing Anthony every day for the next three years. But Harry and Charlie were going away.

“You two be careful,” said Athene trying not to cry as she hugged Harry and Charlie goodbye. She knew she couldn’t stop them from signing up for the army, it was their dream but she was still worried about them.

“You two are going to write every day?” asked Anthony.

“Maybe not every day,” laughed Harry, “but we promise to write often.”

“We can send you postcards from all the exciting places,” beamed Charlie.

“And Mark,” said Harry, “if you run into Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe.”

“Get them a signed photo I know,” chuckled Mark.

“Clothes on or off, that’s up to them,” shrugged Harry.

Charlie gave him a sharp jab in the ribs.

“Be careful, I could go off you, you know.”

“Forgive me Charlie!” said Harry pleadingly grovelling and kneeling on the driveway.

“Don’t be a prat,” laughed Charlie as Harry got back off the drive and giving him a quick kiss.

“Good luck at Oxford,” said Harry.

“Yeah, don’t forget us when you’re mincing around with academics in your huge library’s,” said Charlie.

“How could we ever forget you?” said Athene hugging Charlie.

Harry and Charlie headed home, and Julie went home with her parents.

“We should get a move on Tony,” said Mark.

“A new niece and nephew are waiting for you,” agreed Mr Pennington.

“Oh right,” muttered Anthony.

“I’ll see you in a few days alright?” said Anthony putting his hands-on Athene’s shoulders.

Athene leant off her tiptoes to kiss Anthony.

“I’m going to see you in a few days,” she chuckled.

“You don’t have to make such a drama about it.”

Anthony smirked slightly as he gave her one last quick kiss and got in the car.

As the car drove away from St. Christopher’s, Anthony looked out the window. He’d gone to school to learn, and study, but he’d done more than that.

He’d made friends for life, but more than that, he had met Athene who he had loved since the moment he had met her, even if he hadn’t realised it at the time. Anthony wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, who knows, he might even marry her someday.

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