Marjorie Preston rolled her eyes. "Oh, Lucy, do hurry! I want to get out of the rain! We shouldn't have gone out at all!"
A small grey kitten was huddled up near one of the school grey walls. He was completely wet, and every part of his tiny body was shivering. Marjorie finally came over to look.
"Oh, the poor thing," she gasped. "How could anybody leave it out on a day like this?"
"I don't think anybody left it out. It's probably a street kitten. And…" Lucy took a deep breath. "I'm going to take it inside."
"Lucy, no!" Marjorie gasped. "We're not allowed to bring pets in."
"I know we're not. But look at it! I can't possibly leave it out here."
"Maybe you could place it under a tree. Perhaps, its' mother will come for it."
"No mother would leave her kitten alone in the rain. He's motherless and alone and I am taking him inside."
Marjorie bit her lip. She grew up without a mother and knew very well what it felt like to be motherless and alone. So, she made no further protest as Lucy picked up the kitten. He tried to wriggle out of her grasp but she held him tight. Carefully, Lucy put the kitten inside her coat and headed for the main entrance.
"Wait! Shouldn't we go around where no one will see us?"
"This way is closer."
"But the headmistress is standing right there. She'll catch you and we'll both be punished! Lucy, don't."
"I am not afraid of the headmistress," Lucy said with a toss of her blonde ponytail.
Marjorie and Lucy neared the entrance. Anne Featherstone stood there talking to the headmistress.
"My father said that this was one of the best schools in all of England," she was saying.
Then she saw Marjorie.
"Marjorie, darling, how are you? That's such a darling coat. I wore one like it when I was your age."
Marjorie's face flushed pink. "Thanks, Anne," she mumbled.
"How can you stand her?" Lucy whispered, as they hurried to Lucy's room.
"Why shouldn't I? She's kind to me, when none of the other older girls are. Well, except Susan."
"She puts on airs and acts like she's the Queen of England herself." Lucy flung the door to her room open.
Susan was inside trying on a red dress. The moment she saw the dripping girls, she went into her motherly state. "Lucy! Oh, dear, you got caught in the rain, didn't you? Here let me get you a towel. You too, Marjorie. Take off those coats at once, before you get pneumonia. And the shoes. And…Lucy what is that?"
Lucy caught the towel that Susan had dropped in shock, and wrapped it around the dripping kitten. "My cat. And you needn't scold me. You'd have picked it up too if you had seen it, all cold and small and wet."
"I suppose so," Susan said with a sigh and went off to get another towel. Lucy stared after her curiously. She had expected a scolding but it was clear that Susan was preoccupied with something else. "Is something wrong, Su?"
"On the contrary," Susan said, coming back and handing Marjorie a pale blue towel to dry her hair with. "You two have just been invited to a party. A Christmas Party in Agatha Samuels' room."
There was an ecstatic squeal from under the blue towel.
Susan continued with a smile. "You will be the only two first-year girls there."
Lucy realized immediately that the only reason they were invited was because Susan had insisted. She'd rather not be invited at all, than be invited because of her sister. She'd rather not be invited at all, for that matter. She didn't like the girls that Susan spent time with. She didn't like their pretentious parties. But then she took a look at Marjorie, who emerged from the blue towel, eyes shining, and mouth wide open. She couldn't possibly disappoint her friend by saying that she wouldn't go. She met Susan's eyes and realized that this was part of Susan's scheme all along. Susan had been trying to get her to go to one of those parties since September. What Lucy really wanted was to stomp her foot, cross her arms and refuse to go. However, that would not be proper conduct for a Queen of Narnia. So she sighed, held her head high and vowed to get back at Susan somehow in the near future.