Waterloo Road. Waterloo Road was not a school the average mother would be proud to send their children to. But in many cases, there was never much of a choice. It wasn't a school for the particularly wealthy or intelligent, but it was a school none the less, and a school which took on the more difficult teenagers that other schools would almost certainly reject.
So it came as a surprise to both the students and the staff when a wealthy local business man and his wife decided to enrol their 15 year old daughter. It was no secret that they were happy about it, a child with her academic background could only do the school good, though they couldn't understand why they had chosen to enrol her there.
But when the new term in September rolled around and the doors were open once again she arrived along with the rest of the students, much to the surprise of the staff, who had half expected her to be another no show. They'd had plenty of parents considering enrolling their children, then changing their minds once they had taken the tour of the school and seen its diverse array of students and staff.
She was driven to the school by her parents, who wanted to make sure she arrived in one piece.
'See, it doesn't look that bad' Her mother said, smiling from the front passenger seat and turning around to look at the teen, sat slouching in the back of the car, listening to her iPod so loud that both of her parents could hear the music almost perfectly.
'What?' she asked, pulling her headphones out and stuffing the iPod into her bag as they turned into the car park. Around them students were making their way inside with their friends, laughing and joking. Some of them couples, other groups of friends and some individuals. Some of the older boys were playing football on the field and one girl was holding up a mirror for her friend, who was pulling curlers out of her hair.
'I said' her mother repeated, sounding less cheery than she had a moment before 'It doesn't look that bad'
'Oh' she replied, glancing out of the window at the number of pupils watching her parents' car driving in. It hadn't been hard to tell that from the surrounding area that this wasn't a place of considerable wealth, and from the glances of the passing students, she could tell the expensive car her father drove was impressive 'yeah I guess' she mumbled, uninterested.
Her mother sighed and rolled her eyes, turning her attentions to the front of the car where they had finally parked by the front doors and the head was waiting to meet them, making her way down the steps towards them, smiling.
Her parents stepped out of the car and greeted the women, then looked around, expecting to find their daughter behind them. Her father frowned and opened the door of the car.
She looked up at him 'Out' he said firmly, pointing outside of the car 'Now'
She rolled her eyes and stepped out of the car, kicking the door shut behind her and lazily hitching her back up onto her shoulder. Her mother shot her an impatient look.
'So this is Weslie then' the brunette woman said holding her hand out. Weslie took the hand and shook it quickly.
'This is she' her mother said, her hand on her daughters shoulder 'I'm afraid she isn't overly enthusiastic about moving to a new school' she said, squeezing her shoulder a little harder than perhaps necessary.
'Not to worry' the woman said, still smiling 'it's not easy being new I know, I was the new face in the staff room just last year, I know how difficult it can be' she smiled 'My name's Rachel Mason, I'm the head here and I'm going to take you for a quick tour around the school and then to your first class, how does that sound?' she asked.
'Sure, why not' she mumbled, running her fingers through almost waist length black hair and pulling it forward over her right shoulder, letting it rest there and folding her arms over her chest.
'Great' she said, clapping her hands together and looking from Weslie to her parents 'well, thank you for bringing her down and I'll take it from here okay?'
Weslie's mother smiled and hugged her daughter briefly, wishing her good luck on her first day. Her father handed her two twenty pound notes and told her to behave before the two of them got back into the car and drove away as Weslie watched, her expression impassive.
'Well then' Miss Mason said 'let's get off then shall we'
Weslie looked up at her still smiling, and nodded once.
'And this is our canteen. You can eat in here if you'll be eating school meals or if you're bringing your own lunch with you' the head said as they walked past the double doors and looked in through the windows. It was the same as any canteen, full of plain tables and chairs, a few vending machines, racks for used dishes and a serving counter. Same old.
Weslie nodded and said nothing as they kept walking, past classroom after classroom, all filled with quietly working students. Every once in a while they'd pass an empty room, or one noisy with scenes being acted out from Shakespeare books or musical instruments being played.
'Any questions?' she asked as they walked.
Weslie shook her head 'No, thank you' she said with a small smile.
'Right, well in that case lets go to my office and get your timetable and we'll get you to your first class' she said, with yet another smile. She was a nice woman, kind, and patient. But Weslie didn't want to be here, and no amount of niceties would change that. All she wanted to do now was get to her first class and hopefully get the day over with quickly.
It was only the second period of the morning and she had decided she didn't like the place much. She'd spent the entire first period with Miss Mason, touring the school and had met a few other members of staff. When the bell had rung for the end of first period the corridors of the school had come alive with hurried bustling students and she had to virtually fight to keep herself from being swept into the current of chattering teenagers.
But for now the corridors were empty and she was desperate to get to her first lesson and stop being the shiny new attraction.
Once they were in her office she was talked through the timing of the school days and was given her timetable, then walked to her first lesson of the day, English. But when they got to the door of her classroom, the head was called away by one of the other members of staff and had to leave before she could take Weslie inside, though she had already had a quiet word with the teacher, an older man by the name of Mr Budgen, about his new student 'I'm sorry Weslie, I'm going to have to go sort something out, I'm sure you can manage by yourself now' she said with a smile. Weslie nodded and Miss Mason smiled, before hurrying up.
She knocked on the door quietly 'Yes, yes come in' a voice from inside droned miserably. She pushed the door open and stepped inside.
Inside were about 30 students of her own age, sitting behind desks with work books open in front of them. All eyes turned to her and she glared back.
'Aaah, fresh meat' Budgen said with a strange smile, ushering her to stand in front of the class 'This is your new classmate' he said, addressing the room 'For some reason her wealthy parents have seen fit to send her here instead of private school, hopefully you lot will scare her into a life of decent living' he droned, sounding utterly miserable 'Her name is Leslie so –'
'Weslie' she said, speaking up for the first time in ten minutes.
'Excuse me?' Mr Budgen asked, turning his attention to her.
'Weslie, it's my name' she explain, the class sniggered 'With a W, not an L. Weslie'
His face reddened and he stared her hard in the eye. She took an involuntary step backwards. He pointed to the empty seat at the back of the room behind two boys 'Sit' he growled 'now'
She suppressed a grin and scuttled off to the back of the classroom, taking a seat at the empty desk and taking the new workbook he handed to her, writing her name neatly on the front. If he was anything to go by, Waterloo Road was going to be eventful.