Verity Sings For Lesley from Santa
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#1: Verity Sings For Lesley from Santa Author: Secret SantaLocation: The North Pole PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:22 am
Massive apologies for glaring mistakes, stilted language and wandering plot (Santa is currently grubbing about for plot). Many characters and foundation stones of the Chalet world have been melted down and reformed to suit the limits of my brain. Please note, current title may bear no relation to the story!

However - May the festive season bring you much joy. I very heartily wish you a merry beginning to December. Here goes:

Verity-Anne Carey sat on the edge of her bed. As she stared rather glazedly at the silver fair, childlike figure in the dressing-table mirror, playing with a tail of her shining hair, she listened to the scampering sounds of the busy, happy family in whose Chalet she was staying this Christmas.

Gifts were being wrapped, garlands hung, carols practised to the accompaniment of the piano. In the kitchen, Anna and her body of helpers were creating a gingerbread house of sweetmeats, and sharp voices chiding and spirited laughter issued intertwining from her domain. Shrieks and giggles and clarion calls from one to another rang throughout the house and even the not infrequent spates of bickering between the Maynard children had a good-humoured, hearty ring.

“Girls? Have you seen Verity-Anne?”

A musical voice broke in upon a cheerful squabble over where a garland should begin and end, and to Verity the house fell silent. She jumped to her feet and sat on the stool before the dressing table mirror, picking up the hair brush and dragging it hastily and rather clumsily through her long fine hair. Her translucent skin was scarlet. She could feel the hotness on her neck and chest. But she knew, as she looked at her bright eyes fixedly, that it would pass. Stiffly she brushed on. She had dilly-dallied this afternoon, dozing and dreaming behind the closed door while the Maynard family danced around her. Sometimes she needed time by herself. But she knew that Joey Maynard had different ideas about this sort of thing. Verity liked her, in fact admired her hugely and at times even wanted to be the kind of person a Joey Maynard might like, rather than tolerate. Only it was all so busy down there, and they were all so quick to see how she was and pass comment.

“Why didn't you call for her?” the voice asked, a little crossly. “I did ask you to. I'm surprised at you all. Verity is our guest, and the nearest thing to a sister to Mary-Lou.”

"I'm sorry, Mamma." Len Maynard looked straight at her mother, her cheeks hot and her face a picture of dismay. "We were having such a jolly time. I forgot."

There was silence as Joey nodded at her eldest daughter, and regarded the other two, and then:

“Oh, tell the truth, Len! We didn't call her because she doesn't want to be with us."

Len shot her youngest sister a shocked look. "Margot that's not true. Mamma asked us and I meant to, certainly, but we were having such fun and I forgot all about her because she hasn't made a peep all afternoon. You might have reminded me if you thought of her."

Margot shrugged. She avoided her mother's quarrying eyes and grim smile. Con stood poker straight, biting her lip. Like Len, she had forgotten all about Verity-Anne's existence that afternoon, so busy had she been, her hands tying bows and fixing branches and placing the family's Christmas ornaments, her mind singing along to the songs of the season and replaying the many rich Christmas histories she had read about or been told of by her mother, authoress and family storyteller.

Margot shifted impatiently in the silence. "She's so mousey and so - cold – Mamma,” she said plaintively but cautiously, her eyes darting up towards her mother's crossed brows. “We're all having such fun and she's just a bit of – well of, you know, a wet blanket. It's Christmas! She just moons about and stares at things.”

“Margot! It isn't like that, Mamma,” intercepted Len. “Or not quite like that,” she adjusted, taking in the sharp look from Margot and the supportive look from the gentler Con. “It's just that she doesn't want to join in. Or she doesn't know how to,” the eldest Maynard child said perceptively. “I knocked on the door just after lunch and she said she wanted to sleep. I think she's pining for Mary-Lou.”

“She certainly needs something to get her jump-started! A small fire might do it!” muttered Margot, glaring at her sisters in turn as Con jabbed her sharply with her elbow and Len looked at her reproachfully.

“Margot Maynard, that's quite enough!” said Joey Maynard warningly. She eyed the youngest triplet, brows raised. She could sympthise with her daughter, but age had won her a measure of wisdom and she would not relent. "And Con, keep your arms to yourself."

Con nodded, her hand curved in the crook of her younger sister's arm. The sisters knew and accepted that she had meant to warn Margot, not hurt her. But with regard to her mother, Margot had lowered her red face to hide behind her curls – a warning sign – and dipped her eyes. Her lips were set.

"I'll go and see if she's ready now, Mamma,” offered Con, her cheeks as rosy as her sister's in sympathy. She loved her triplet dearly, but why must she be so hurtful? Verity-Anne was difficult to have at home, in turn recalcitrant and superior; but Con was rather interested at this point by the older girl, who was as beautiful and ethereal as any fairy queen, so slow and dreamy that it seemed nothing quite mattered; her head, it seemed, truly in the clouds, unless Mary-Lou were there to drag her from her self. She made Con, who saw herself otherwise as quite poetic, taking after her mother as far as writing went, feel rather study and prosaic. Con saw Verity as the silent queen in one of her stories. Except not quite. Con Maynard furrowed her brow; Verity-Anne had a knack of saying things quite appropriately in the oddest of circumstances. She certainly had points to make, only she made them rather quietly, these days, since the Plato affair, which had been quite a talked about matter in the school's history. She had said a few things over the past couple of days which Con had thought were spot on, though she had been silent for the rest of it, which didn't suit gregarious Margot at all, and even fazed Len, who though understanding, liked people who talked.

#2:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:16 am
Ooooohhhh! Have I got a continuing story? Thank you Santa - this looks really good! Laughing

#3:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:20 am
Oooh lucky Lesley! Very Happy

#4:  Author: ChairLocation: Rochester, Kent PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:42 am
Thanks, Secret Santa. I am feeling sorry for Verity-Anne.

#5:  Author: VikkiLocation: Sitting on an iceberg, freezing to death!!! PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:39 pm
Oooh! Lucky Lesley!

And this is a fine drabble Santa!

#6:  Author: JoSLocation: South Africa PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:00 pm
Lucky you Lesley! This looks great Secret Santa.

#7:  Author: Secret SantaLocation: The North Pole PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:47 pm
Ho ho ho! I'm sorry, Lesley, that this is taking so long, but it's very much off the cuff and I've been terribly busy in the grotto. Thus far it's all a bit melancholy, but I promise I'll put some cheer into it, and it's all meant in the best spirit (ooh, gin).

"That's very kind of you, Con. I know it's difficult , girls, but it isn't for long, and it's Christmas. And Christmas is about many more things than fun. You are a generous girl, Margot, when you like. This is the time for showing your generosity. It can be fun for us all, you know, and will be all the more fun if we don't have playing in the back of our minds that we have been mean-spirited. I only have 'fun' when I know no-one is unhappy, whether it's Christmas or summer or any time of year," she directed lightly to Margot, who nodded. "Otherwise I find it all spoiled, and I don't quite like myself when I go to bed at night. I don't want that for you, cherub." She kissed her wayward daughter's thick red-golden curls, and was returned by a small face nuzzling into her neck.

"I'll try, Mamma. I want to have good fun, without the horrid bits," Margot whispered.

"I wish Mary-Lou were here," said Len decidedly. "Verity misses her badly. She really is the – the – what links us to Verity. And she keeps Verity on the spot. Without Mary-Lou she just sort of flumps."

Although Joey Maynard could not help but agree with much of what her first born child decreed, she eyed Len and the others earnestly and said, "Verity-Anne is her own person. She might not be like Mary-Lou – and no-one is quite like Mary-Lou, she's a strong character and has an inner strength and vivid personality it's very hard for anyone to measure up against, let alone someone as quiet as Verity-Anne – but she has her own personality, girls. For one thing, you can rest assured that Mary-Lou would have something to say if she didn't. She might be Mary-Lou's sister-by-marriage, but she's also her friend. Don't you think that someone Mary-Lou chose to be so close to must have some merit to her? I think there is a lot in Verity, I really do," she sais thoughtfully. "It just remains to be seen whether she will let us see it. And to enable that, we must make her feel comfortable and at home. Yes, I'll be delighted to see Mary-Lou back here with us, for our sake as well as Verity's; but for now Verity is our guest, and we must do our best by her. Con, you go and fetch her."

"Shall I go too, Mamma?" asked Len, looking rather penitent.

"No, Len, only one of you is needed, and Con did offer. Help her if she isn't ready, Con. Len and Margot, why don't you come with me and help sort out the Saal for Kaffee? Then we can invite her down to something jolly. Just remember all of you, there's plenty of personality in Verity. Just because you can't see something straight away doesn't mean it isn't there. Whether or not she feels comfortable in showing us her personality is another matter. And that's down to us."

Joey, rosy cheeked in her efforts to present Verity's case to her girls, nodded to Con and guided the others to the stairs. "Let's gather all the troups. Anna's baking smells delicious and I don't know about you girls, but I'm just famished after all this hard work."

Con raced up the stairs, determined to do her best. At the door she tucked her harem-scarem ends of hair behind her ears and knocked softly on the door. There was no response, though a frowning Con had thought she heard some movement. She stood there uncertainly and then knocked again, a little louder. "Verity?" she called gently. "Are you ready now? We were wondering if you wanted to come down and join us. Anna's been baking all morning and there are piles of scrummy cakes for Kaffee. They smell golumptious!" There was no sound, now, and she wondered if she had imagined it before. Perhaps Verity had gone down by the other stairs and was somewhere else in the Chalet. She was just about to open the door and have a peek to make sure, when she heard a sob. Con's face fell. Verity-Anne was in there, and she was crying.

#8:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:59 am
Oh poor Verity.

So nice to see that Joey does actually think more of Verity - though I'm sure that the Triplets' view of Verity is down, at least in part, to Joey herself referring to Verity as a broken reed. Perhaps Joey has finally come to realise she was wrong to do that.

Thank you Santa. Laughing

Last edited by Lesley on Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

#9:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:54 am
Poor Verity Sad

Thanks, Lesley's Santa

#10:  Author: Secret SantaLocation: The North Pole PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:04 am
Tables from around the Chalet had been dragged into the Saal and placed by the various sofas and chairs drawn together in hotch-potch fashion to let the family and its visitors sit together in comfort. Some of the furnishings were new, some valuable inheritances, most old and well-used and loved. Joey Maynard loved her home with its beautiful things, but most of all she relished the enjoyment of the people within it, be they family or friends. Now she stood aside, her hands on her hips like a girl of fifteen, her dark eyes alight as she watched her growing family organise this small festive party under the firm gaze of Anna and a pink-cheeked and much belaboured helper, Luise.

The room was warm and cheerful with its open fire, and Joey found herself walking towards it, taking the closest seat, and gazing into the flames as she thought. Her family bustled around her, sure of themselves, bristling with energy. She had been blessed with wonderful children, a wonderful life. She looked forward to Christmas, was as excited as a child. She wanted them all to feel the joy of Christmas; the delight to be had in giving as well as receiving.

At the back of her mind something nagged and, like Len, she felt penitent. Joey Maynard had won round many children. But none quite like Verity-Anne. She was, as she rubbed her hands together in front of the fire, and smiled, a completely different kettle of fish.

Sorry this is so short! Santa isn't used to this. Merry Christmas and much love, Santa.

ETA: I wrote my name by mistake as I'm a twerp. Sorry!

#11:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:35 am
Thank you Santa. Laughing

#12:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:16 pm
I'm really enjoying this - thanks Lesley's Santa Very Happy

#13:  Author: AliceLocation: London, England PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:47 pm
Thank you Lesley's Santa. This is an interesting story.

#14:  Author: Secret SantaLocation: The North Pole PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:16 am
Hallo, Lesley, I'm sorry this is taking so long. This is an interlude while Santa noses for the story. I hope you enjoyed your snowflake.

Joey stared into the fire, a vague smile on her lips to hear the happy hubbub of her family around her, and a slight crease to her brow as she considered Verity, and Mary-Lou, who still lay in the San, all but mended after a nasty accident at the end of the last term which might easily have been fatal. During the summer holidays Joey had tackled Hilda Annersley on the matter of Mary-Lou and the constant burden of looking after Verity; she had also been thinking of Verity's development as a girl of fifteen, but her judgement there had not been made on quite such a personal basis. She had known Mary-Lou for a long time. And there was, undoubtedly, a lot to Mary-Lou and, she was certain, a lot to come - it was clear that she had changed only these past weeks, mentally and physically. The girl was already older by years in mind than many of her comrades, and this last experience had, it seemed, set her apart all the more, showing a strength of spirit and real understanding of and empathy with her peers, such as that young sinner, Emerence Hope, and setting a seal on the issue as to whether the young woman would one day take the position of Head of her school.

Verity-Anne, however, was a completely different matter. That small-voiced young woman wasn't even prefect material. There was no authority in Verity-Anne, and yet, for some reason, when she chose to pipe up, heads turned to listen in interest, if not to obey. There was something interesting in Verity, above and beyond her connection with Mary-Lou, that made her fellow pupils so curious as to what she might say and do. Joey smiled to herself: but she could not quite imagine the featherweight Verity taking the head of a table, and telling a girl to stop talking, or finish her meal. And yet the child - as child she clearly was, still, in comparison to Mary-Lou - had a voice of her own, and a viewpoint, and could dig in her heels when she felt the need be. Joey sighed, and was thankful that none of her crowd were so inward and impenetrable. Con was the closest to that, so far, with her artistic temperament, but for all she disappeared into her own little world of words and fairy gardens, she came back to her family and spoke her heart with little prompting.

Best wishes until tomorrow, Santa.

#15:  Author: Kathy_SLocation: midwestern US PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:32 am
Interesting characterization there.

Thank you, Lesley's-Santa!

#16:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:28 am
Very interesting - thank you Santa.

#17:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:45 am
I like Jo's insights - Thanks, Lesley's Santa Very Happy

#18:  Author: MaryRLocation: Cheshire PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:12 pm
Keep going, Santa, this is extremely interesting - and a counterpoint to those who would do Verity down.

#19:  Author: TaraLocation: Malvern, Worcestershire PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:09 pm
Some lovely insights there. Thank you, Santa.

#20:  Author: Secret SantaLocation: The North Pole PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:44 am
'Interesting'? Santa is quite happy. And pootles on, for a little:

Constance the Steadfast stood outside the domain of Princess Verity the Trueheart. The heart of Queen Constance beat fast with anxiety and concern and, pressing her ear to the palace door, she strained to hear the desolate sobs, and discovered within herself a violent wish to break down the barrier and comfort the sad maiden.

"Verity? Can I come in ?" Young Con stood uncertainly, trying to think what her mother would do, what Len would do. She stood, staring at the door in indecision. She knocked again, and again the response was silence. But she couldn't stay there forever, and she had said to Mamma that she would see to Verity. "I'm going to come in, now, Verity. I'm sorry if I'm barging in or it sounds as if I'm bossing you - "

Con jumped as the door opened, and a perfectly dry-eyed Verity-Anne faced her with an inscrutable smile and neat outfit.

"Oh. You're ready. I thought I heard – I'm sorry I thumped on your door," finished Con lamely, in confusion. "Mamma asked me to fetch you," she said politely, utterly floored by the dainty, rather bemused-looking figure before her. "We're to have Kaffee in the Saal. All the kids, I mean, and Mamma. It's ever so pretty. We've been pinning up garlands and baubles for Christmas. We're not quite finished yet so maybe you can help us later. It was such good fun. I'm sure you'd like it."

"I'm sure I would," answered Verity properly, her hands folded in front of her, luminous eyes taking in the dark-haired little girl trying so hard, her cheeks and neck were poppy-red.

Con Maynard stood awkwardly. "Are you quite ready?" she asked politely. She had pushed herself forward to help, something she rarely did, and was disconcerted by the composed figure before her, all trim and bright as an angel.

Verity held out her arms and looked down at herself placidly. "I think so. Don't you? I know I'm slow, Con – I have always been slow. But I have had some hours, you know. Thank-you."

Con couldn't have blushed any harder.

#21:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:15 am
Hmmmm, seems that Verity has tired somewhat of everyone looking upon her as the broken reed - good for her.

Thanks Santa - this is excellent. Laughing

#22:  Author: MaryRLocation: Cheshire PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:21 pm
So what were the sobs? Shocked Mystery, forsooth....

Thanks, Santa

#23:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:24 pm
Constance the Steadfast - fab Very Happy

Thanks, Santa

#24:  Author: Secret SantaLocation: The North Pole PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:36 am
As you may have guessed, Lesley, this may not be complete for Christmas. But I'll try, and it may be done by the New Year! Best wishes, Santa.

As much as the imaginative Con Maynard was perceptive, she was also young, still, and she knew little really about the inner workings of the outwardly decided young lady who followed her, chin lifted, down the stairs and towards the Saal where the majority of the Maynard clan had now settled themselves. It hadn't taken Verity a moment to splash her face with icy water and give her mirror-self a quashing look that would have rivalled any of Mary-Lou's; much as she might feel desperately alone and a-jangle with nerves, the last thing she wanted to do was have any of the school crowd see her crying. Luckily little Con seemed to have been convinced, so it would be unlikely to reach Joey or, perish the thought, Mary-Lou. What Mary-Lou would have to say about an exhibition like that! It didn't bear thinking about.

As they walked down the hall, they caught the sulky tones of five-year-old Michael who had been angling for one of Karen's delicious star-shaped frosted biscuits, and who was not quite happy to wait for his guest to appear.

"But I'm hungry now, Mamma. I'm not jus' bein' greedy." He shot a furious look at the upright Stephen, his eldest brother aged all of eight years, who had suggested just this. "When's she goin' to come?"

"Michael Maynard, you cannot possibly be so hungry that you must eat right now regardless of good manners. You had lunch less than three hours ago. If you don't stop complaining, and sit still like a gentleman to wait for our guest, then off to bed you'll go, without a sniff of any of Karen's biscuits for the rest of the day."

Joey Maynard was finding herself tense as the hostess of her large young family. Margot, despite her earlier warmth, was proving rather fratchety, and was being a bit difficult with Len and Stephen, the two natural leaders of the Maynard children. Currently she was hugging herself tightly on a chair by the window, her feet tucked up under her, her eyes fixed outwards upon the alpine scene. Joey looked tenderly at the lovely golden-red hair and the charming face it crowned, and saw that her third triplet's teeth dug down on her lower lip, in an attempt to rein in her emotions. As if she sensed eyes upon her, Margot shifted suddenly and turned her head so that only an ear could be seen, and her mother gave up, turning away to catch her young imp, Mike, pulling a vicious face at seven-year-old Charles. Before Joey could even open her mouth, delicate Charles had removed his peaceful eyes from his younger brother's contorted face and silently started making his way over to Margot, who he touched gently on the shoulder, and who welcomed him with a start and a smile, the clouds all gone, and reached out an arm to draw him beside her.

Joey smiled involuntarily, but was jerked awake by the whump of Mike's slippered foot kicking the table where the bisuits were, and her sharp frown and ready-formed rebuke were silenced as the little boy's face reddened and crumpled in pain, and from his 'o' of a mouth came a prolonged and no-doubt slightly exaggerated, but certainly partially heartfelt howl.

"Well, of all the silliness, Michael Maynard." Joey jumped to her feet."Right, can you stand? Stop yowling if you can, please. It was your own fault. You kicked the table on purpose out of your own crossness and lack of patience. But we'll say no more of that, now. Come with me. Are you able to hop?"

"We're here, Mamma. Verity-Anne was ready all by herself." Con appeared in the doorway, with the diminutive Verity behind her.

Joey glanced up distractedly. "Good for you, Verity. Len, you're in charge as the eldest. I'll send Karen along in a moment so that I can deal with this – imp. Come in and have a seat and some eats, Verity. They won't bite. The kiddiwinks, I mean," she giggled, before deciding that a hopping, howling Mike wasn't getting either of them anywhere, and stooping to gather up her naughty boy in her arms, before edging out of the door in a rather ungainly fashion for a mother of many and the lady of the house.

#25:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:34 am
Aw thank you Santa - this is lovely - poor little Mike! Laughing

#26:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:49 am
I love these Maynard family scenes!

#27:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:30 am
They are lovely Very Happy

Thanks, Lesley's Santa

#28:  Author: JoSLocation: South Africa PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:07 pm
Great Santa. I can totally understand Joey's frustration at coping with such a large family.

#29:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:42 pm
Thanks, Santa.

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