A/N: Hey! Long time no see! How has everyone been doing? First off, I wanna say that I've missed you all a lot in the time it's been I've been quiet!
Now, I've missed you, but I've also been busy! You will all know by now that Emz and I are collaborating on a story that is called Never an Absolution and although I'm having a lot of fun writing it, it's also a tedious piece of work. We have to be extra careful before we start posting properly, so that's why that's been taking quite a bit of time. In the meantime though, I figured I might as well go ahead and present you my brand new story!
I'm really excited about this because it's like nothing I've ever written! It's light and funny and a general mood lifter to write! Also, I've had the immense pleasure of having none other than the hilarious MoaningMyrtle as my Beta for this! She's been a fantastic "funny coach" as well as a never ending British reference! She's even the one who came up with the title, which you should know is a reference to a very British movie called Educating Rita.
That being said, I hope you'll enjoy this story as much as I'm enjoying writing it! I plan on updating weekly which shouldn't be too tough even while I continue to work on the collab! I've got a few chps head start to help me out ;) The story is loosely based on the movie Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore, but even if you've seen it, it shouldn't spoil the story for you!
So this is it, I hope you'll all enjoy the very first installment!
Summary: When 27 year-old journalist Naomi Campbell is sent on an undercover assignment at Roundview College as a student, she doesn't know what to expect. What she sure as hell couldn't have predicted though was that she'd fall for her English teacher. Loosely based on the movie Never Been Kissed. A Naomily comedy with loads of Gina and a few others.
Disclaimer: I do not own Skins or the movie Never Been Kissed. (Well I do own a copy, but not the rights)
Naomi Campbell had it all figured out, or so she thought. If you had asked her how her life was, she would have replied grand. Naomi was a 27 year old journalist working at the Bristol Evening Post, she was averagely tall and in good shape. By all means, if you'd have seen her you would have thought her to be beautiful with her peroxide blonde hair, frosty blue eyes and fair skin. Naomi was an early riser, a vegetarian, an activist and oozed with confidence. She lived in a nice flat with modern furniture and drove a nice eco-friendly car.
Yes, Naomi Campbell surely seemed like she had it all. She felt secure with her life and it was just as she liked it. So therefore, when she heard the news she was more than a little shocked.
That morning, Naomi had woken up at half passed five like usual. She had taken a quick shower before putting on her regular black high waist pants, a nice and expensive blood red crisp shirt, black heels and a large silver necklace. She had curled her hair, applied her make-up and ate breakfast just as she did every morning. She had read the Politics column of the competitor's paper and had scoffed at half the sentences, mentally correcting numerous facts. Then she had driven to work, had parked in her usual spot and walked to her work station, just like every single day. As repetitive as her routine seemed to be, Naomi liked it. She liked to keep her life ordered and simple. She had never liked nor approved of spontaneous mindless acts stating that they often lead to accidents or regrettable experiences.
She had been working on a small piece on the political situation of Senegal, hoping to show it off to her boss later when one of her co-worker had told her the man in question, Kieran the chief editor of the Post, was expecting all of them in the big room for a staff meeting. Naomi was surprised because there hadn't been any meetings on the schedule. Nevertheless, she prepared her Ipad and folders and walked to the room. Naomi was nothing if not professional and efficient. She always kept herself ready for anything to be thrown her way. At least that was what she thought.
She placed her stuff on the table, aligning her notebooks and pencils and sat at her chair her back perfectly straight and her legs crossed. She intertwined her fingers on the table in front of her and waited in silence as the rest of the staff settled. A few minutes later, Kieran walked in the room and closed the door behind him.
Kieran was a big Irish man with a usually unkempt beard, old crumpled clothes and a loud attitude. Today though, he was wearing a striped navy suit that was surprisingly fitting and a soft yellow dressed shirt that looked like it had been ironed. His beard was actually trimmed and he looked like he had showered on that very morning.
Okay so maybe his trousers were most definitely from a different suit than his jacket- I mean those pants just had to be brown and if she wasn't mistaken, the jacket was most definitely black- and maybe Naomi could tell he had only ironed the left side of his shirt and maybe there were a few pieces of toilet paper stuck to some cuts on his chin, but there was no doubt he had tried to make an effort with his appearance. The question was, what for? Naomi had absolutely no idea. She checked her Iphone and her Ipad briefly to see if there was something she had forgotten going on today, but didn't find anything. This was peculiar. Kieran had never been one to care much about his looks and never really called last minute meetings.
"Lads and lasses" he began with his deep voice. "We have a problem."
Naomi frowned and looked around herself at her coworkers' similar frowns. As far as she knew, the newspaper had been doing well.
"Hum, Kieran…" The blonde said in a confident voice. "Aren't the sales really good lately?"
"Yes but only for the wrong reasons" he said picking up a copy of the day's paper and waving it in front of his staff.
"The public is full of eejits and they haven't yet realized that our paper is utter shite!" The man growled, throwing the paper carelessly in the middle of the long table.
An eerie silence fell in the room as every staff member contemplated their boss' words. Kieran was notorious for being grumpy and negative, but it was the first time any of them had actually heard him insult the newspaper directly and they knew it wasn't a good sign.
"But the good news is, since we're aware of the crap we've been printing, we can improve our game before the sales start going down the drain" Kieran continued.
For some reason, Naomi felt a shiver run down her spine at the end of the man's sentence. She wasn't sure why that was and if it meant something, but she didn't like it one bit.
"What this paper needs is feelings" Kieran expressed to the room with a triumphal grin on his face.
When he was met with the silence of his staff, the older man continued.
"We've got to make our readers feel something when they read this paper. We've got to do something. I want our readers to weep into their cornflakes, I want them to scream at their tea cups and I want them to flay all over their peanut butter jelly toasts. And to do that people, to have that kind of impact, we must grab them by… by… well by their bloody bollocks!"
Again, everyone was silent. It's not that they thought the Irish man was crazy. By all means they knew he was some kind of publishing genius and that his ideas were always successful. No, the collective silence had more to do with the fact that none of them could really tell where he was going. And if there was one thing they had never thought they'd witness in their lives, it was to hear Kieran MacFoeinaiugh talk about instead of making fools out of themselves and comment, they opted for letting Kieran reveal his master plan. As the older man looked at them all though, it became clear that he was waiting for some kind of participation from them. Probably to announce his idea in a much more outlandish and theatrical way.
"Typical" Naomi thought as she rolled her eyes.
"And how do you suggest we do that Kieran?" She asked in a bored voice deciding to play along.
"Funny you should ask Naomi" The man said pointing at her.
The blonde couldn't suppress another eye roll. Kieran could be such a fucking cliché sometimes that it made her want to puke.
"This paper needs to include a column about more approachable stuff, the field news type. This paper needs a section about project journalism, articles based on field investigation by professionals, by journalists. Are you fuckwits following me?"
There was another silence before Kieran sighed loudly throwing his hands in the air.
"I swear you lot are just foostering about and I'm the only one knowing what's what here." He grumbled before continuing. "I called up this meeting now to announce a new project the paper will be undertaking. I'll go about it slowly so as not to disturb the jiggling wee little things in your minds too much, okay?"
Naomi scoffed at the sarcasm. If there was one thing she had to admit to liking about her grumpy boss, it surely was his dry humour.
"Okay so what thing makes the public react and the goss rags thrive?" Kieran asked.
When he was confronted by another wall of silence, he pointed to a wiry looking man.
"Bradburry, what are you thinking?"
Naomi sneered at the man's look of sheer panic. She had always though he was an utter cock anyway.
"Hum… celebrities?" he said unsure.
"No you big gobdaw, what thing not fecking people! Howell" Kieran barked turning to an attractive blonde woman. "Can you do better?"
"Well hum, drugs? Sex?" the woman replied shyly.
"Yes and yes! Now we're talking, Clare, got anything for us?" Kieran said turning to another woman.
"Love triangles, cheating, suicide… drama."
"Yes! Okay people, now… what reunites all these on a very frequent basis? And Bradburry if you tell me celebrities again I promise you'll be out of here arse before head. We're not fucking Heat. Think people, what combines those juicy things and is relatable?"
No one dared answer after Kieran's charmingly asked question. Naomi wasn't sure if it was because they didn't know or because they were too afraid to talk. Either way, they were idiots. The blonde scoffed.
"Naomi?" The Irish man said. "Got anything for us or are you too busy acting like a snobby brat?"
The blonde felt her cheeks blush a little at that. She heard Bradburry snigger and shot him a death glare.
"Fucking self-righteous wanker" she thought.
"Well? We're waiting?" Kieran pushed clearly challenging her.
Naomi raised her eyebrow and rolled her eyes at the man. She didn't care that he was her boss, if Kieran wanted to play that game with her and be an arsehole, he'd fucking lose and they both knew it.
"Teenagers" she stated confidently.
"Yes! Fecking hell I thought you lot would never get there. Right, so teenagers! Teenagers are the key! Or at least they will be for the next few months" Kieran announced. "Teenagers are real, they're us! Everyone was a teenager once and most of our readers have teenagers. They-are-relatable. So in a few months, we will be presenting a special big piece in the paper about kids of today! What do they get up to, what they're like, how they think, all of it!"
There was a silence and Naomi felt herself frown.
"How will this be any different than the pieces we already do?" She asked intrigued.
When Kieran turned to look at her with a wolfish grin, the woman shivered for the second time of the meeting. She definitely didn't like that grin at all. After a few years working for the paper, Naomi knew Kieran and she knew that there was a reason behind that grin, a reason she would, most likely, despise.
"It will be different because, like I said, it'll be a field investigation. We are getting one of you fuckers out there, to infiltrate the teens" the bearded man said proudly.
This time, Kieran's announcement wasn't met with silence but excited mutters. This was the first time anything of the likes was happening at the Post. Naomi felt her eyebrows raise in surprise and thought the same thing all her colleagues were probably thinking: who would be doing the piece?
Kieran smirked at the bemused expressions of his staff, taking the time to look at each and every one of them before setting his gaze on Naomi again.
"Naomi, you will be relieved of your regular duties for the next few months. Starting next Monday you are going to be a second year A-level student at Roundview"
"What!?" the blonde exclaimed as everyone turned to look at her.
"You heard me Campbell" Kieran said and Naomi did not miss that he had returned to addressing her by her last name. "You've got the rest of the week and the weekend to prepare, meet me in my office in 10 for more details. The rest of you fuckwits can go back to work, not that you actually do any of it. This meeting is over."
The man left the room promptly as everyone started moving again. Naomi, on the other hand, was rooted to her seat. She could feel her face lose all colour and she gripped the edge of the table in front of her to keep herself grounded. This was not happening. She had not just been assigned to do an undercover piece as a college student, had she? Oh god, this was bad, very bad. As if she had been shocked into action again, Naomi sprung to her feet and gathered her belongings quickly with shaky hands. Maybe there was still time to convince Kieran not to send her and use someone else instead? Yeah, she had to try.
She marched into her boss's office confidently, dropping her stuff on his desk. The man, who had his back turned to her, was too busy lighting a disgustingly big cigar to acknowledge her.
"You're not allowed to smoke inside" the blonde said out of habit.
"No shit Sherlock. I said meet me in 10, you can always walk out and come back later if you don't fancy the smell" Kieran mumbled grumpily before turning to face her.
When he noticed Naomi hadn't moved an inch, he smirked at her and continued.
"Alright Blondie, get that pad thingy out will ya? You'll need to take a few notes to prepare accordingly for this assignment."
"Kieran!" Naomi said her voice shaking. "Have you gone mad? I'm not doing this."
"Course you are" the man said automatically.
"No, no I'm not. I can't do this. This is not what I was hired for!"
"You were hired to write for the paper and this is your next assignment. If you're not happy with it little lassy, the door is right behind you" Kieran growled angrily.
"There's no but Naomi, you were chosen and you will do it. Either that or you get the sack."
"But why me?"
"Have you looked at yourself? Put on a bit of bolder make-up, toss up your hair a little, put on some dirty old converse I know you still own and you'll fit right in. You're the youngest looking person in the office."
"What about Nigel?"
"Nigel? His hairline is receding faster than Brangelina adopts a new kid"
"Well how about Sheila then?"
"Sheila's 103, and walks with the aid of a zimmer-frame"
"She's not that old! And anyway, it's a walking stick, not a zimmer-frame!"
"Naomi! Stop trying to shy away from this! It will be you, end of the discussion!"
Naomi was silent for a second. As much as she knew that Kieran's statement was true, she had a feeling there was more to it. This didn't make sense, choosing her for this didn't make sense. Maybe her examples hadn't been the best ones, but she felt sure there were other people in the office that actually were younger than her.
"That's not all of it Kieran…" she said.
"No, but ya don't need to know all the tiny details do ya? Fecking hell Naomi you should be happy about this! This is a great opportunity"
"What if I can't do it Kieran? What if I won't?"
The man took a long drag on his cigar before putting it down in an ashtray on his desk. He scratched his chin with his hand, making a few toilet paper bits fall, before sighing loudly.
"Listen Naomi… We both know you're the smartest in this office okay… But… well, to put it bluntly, you're a right posh snob."
The blonde felt herself tense and frown at her boss's words. Okay so maybe she hadn't made any friends at the office and maybe she wasn't the most approachable person, but that hardly made her a posh snob, did it? She could feel her face grow red in embarrassment.
"Don't gimme that look missy, you know it's true. You look at everyone here like they're beneath you and the executives, they don't like that now do they? To be frank, they want to pull you."
"What?!" Naomi exclaimed. "How can they even think to do such a-"
"Will you calm the fuck down and let me finish?!" Kieran thundered.
The blonde shut up automatically and gave the man a court nod.
"Right, so you're not a person person. I know it, you know it and the execs know it as well. Thing is, you're also a bloody brilliant piece of a journalist and a spectacular writer and I'm not letting you go that easily. I'd rather fuck Camilla than let the competition have you. For that matter, I'd fuck Prince Charles, too. I'd fuck the pair of them. Do you hear me? I'd rather have a three way with the Prince of Wales and his horse of a wife, in the middle of a garden party, with all the corgis looking on as well, than let the competition have you!"
Naomi felt herself smile gratefully then. It was nice to know that, at least, Kieran believed in her.
"But if you don't start showing more humanity, you'll be out Naomi or at the very least retrograded to mindless fecking fluff pieces that nobody gives a damn about. I decided to put you on this assignment because it will expressly make you use those little things us lower beings like to call feelings. If you can't manage that Naomi, I'm afraid there won't be much more I'll manage to do for you. It's pretty much the last chance you've got."
Kieran stopped speaking then to give Naomi time to assimilate his words. She knew she was supposed to speak, she knew she was expected to express some kind of reaction, but, truth be told, she just didn't know what to say. What was she supposed to say anyway? She was truly and utterly stuck. On the one hand, she didn't want to lose her job and very much didn't want to do useless journalism for the rest of her life. But on the other hand, the idea of this assignment had her shaking in fear. It's not that Naomi was afraid she wouldn't live up to this assignment, she knew she could, but College hadn't been her best time and she didn't fancy going back, didn't fancy it at all.
To her complete horror, as the silence wore on, Naomi felt her eyes start to water. Fucking hell! She sniffled sharply and batted her eyelids to get rid of the ridiculous moisture. She was not about to fucking cry in front of her boss.
"Naomi…" Kieran started in an incredibly out of character soft voice.
"Don't" She snapped. She didn't like to be pitied.
A few seconds later, when she felt a bit more solid, she brought her gaze back to Kieran.
"Okay then, what do I need to know about this assignment?" She asked trying to convey all the confidence she didn't really have.
When Naomi walked back to her cubicle a few moments later, she was so disheartened that she collapsed into her chair and let her head fall on her desk. She had just spent the last 20 minutes or so being told by Kieran in excruciating detail what was expected of her for this assignment and she hadn't liked it one bit. She was meant to "blend in" and "play nice" and make friends and get all juicy details about the lives of teenagers nowadays. She was supposed to worm her way into a group of popular kids, if she was lucky enough, and then dish out their secrets for the public to know. All throughout the process, she'd have to keep a careful set of notes to keep Kieran and the executives updated. So not only would it be exactly what Naomi was completely shite at, but it would be tedious as well. She groaned in despair and actually considered for a second quitting her job. The idea didn't even seem half bad anymore. Alas, her mental complaining was cut short.
"Hello darling!" Said the unmistakably familiar voice of her mother Gina. "Thought I heard you groan!" She continued walking into the cubicle and perched herself on top of Naomi's desk.
"And of course, hearing that you figured it be jolly lovely to march right in" Naomi whined.
"Well of course sweetheart!" The older woman replied not even sounding a little bit bothered.
Naomi lifted herself then and sent a glare in her mother's direction. Her gesture was returned by a truly unbothered smile and twinkling eyes. God, Naomi thought. Her mother was so irritating at times.
Growing up, Naomi hadn't had a choice but to get accustomed to her mother's hippy and slightly nutty ways. She had been raised alone by her mother after her father had fucked off and had then had to suffer through her mum's stage of communal living. Although there had been a few perks of living in those arrangements (her mother had never been very strict and communal living had made her an even softer anarchist), Naomi had been more than eager to move out when she finished Uni. She just liked her life a bit more ordered and living with her mother had resembled chaos a lot more than any type of structure.
Naomi had thought she'd get to have a bit of a break from her mother when she moved out, but she had soon discovered it wouldn't be so. She had been completely shocked when her mum had landed a job as a proof-reader in the same Newspaper Naomi had been hired at.
Even though Gina had finally abandoned the life of communal living and settled for a quieter one, she was still every bit as much of a hippy as she had always been. It had taken about two days for Gina to befriend the entire staff, something Naomi had never actually managed in the few months she'd been there. It's not like the blonde was jealous or anything, she didn't even like her co-workers, but she had still been amazed by how many nights out they had, now that her mother was with them all the time.
No, it hadn't bothered her that her mother was being invited to stupid and mindless nights out while people barely knew her name. What had really gotten on her nerves was that, for the first month Gina started working with Naomi, she'd bring her daughter a new home-made god awful blend of tea every single day. It was only after Naomi had snapped at the older woman that she stopped. If she had felt guilty for a second for being so rude to her mother, it didn't match the relief she felt from being treated as an adult. She knew she was already being judged enough as it was by the rest of the staff for being hired so young, she didn't need her mother making her look even more like a kid.
Several years later though, Naomi had sort of gotten used to working with her mum and they rarely ever got into a tiff anymore. Of course, when the old hag dropped by like this when Naomi didn't fucking need it, it didn't help.
"Mum, can you just piss off please… I'm not in the mood" The younger blonde pleaded.
"You're never in the mood love."
Naomi closed her eyes and grunted. Fucking hell. She really didn't want to have a conversation and especially not with her batty mother.
"So I've heard about the assignment!" Gina continued completely dismissing her grumpy daughter's attitude. "Isn't it fantastic!?" she exclaimed.
"It bloody well isn't" Naomi growled.
"No?" Gina inquired. "Why not honey? I thought this was what you wanted? A real shot at real journalism?"
"It was… but not like this… mum you know I hated College…" Naomi croaked, her voice suddenly sounding a lot younger and a lot more vulnerable than it had before.
Gina's eyes seemed to soften then and her whole demeanour changed. She sent a shy apologetic smile to her daughter before placing a careful hand on her shoulder and rubbing it a little.
"Naomi love… I know it wasn't your best time… But this is different right? This is just an assignment. And, well, you're older now, you've… changed. It ought to be different" she said sounding hopeful.
"You don't really believe that" Naomi stated.
She hadn't changed and her mother knew it as well. Her suspicion was confirmed when Gina gave her another apologetic look. Naomi sighted heavily feeling her eyes fill with tears again. She couldn't believe her life had gone from perfectly fine to a nightmare in just over an hour.
Gina hopped off her daughter's desk and placed both her hands on her shoulders.
"Listen to me Naomi" she said staring her right in the eyes. "You are a smart and lovely woman. I believe you can do this, nail it in fact. And once you have, you'll be able to move on to the more serious stuff like Politics, like you've always wanted. You just need to tough this one out"
Naomi took a big breath and let it out slowly.
"You're right" she conceded. "Just this one and then I can move on."
Naomi smiled at her mother and the older woman was immediately relieved.
"Thanks mum" she whispered quietly moving forward to give her a swift hug. She had never liked displays of affection, but she could make an exception once in a while.
"Anytime" Gina replied casually not making a big deal out of it before announcing she had to get back to work and leaving Naomi on her own.
Naomi smiled at the departing back and sniffled. So, yeah, her mum was a bit loony and a bit extravagant, but she actually loved her that way anyway. Truth be told, Naomi was still dreading this assignment like it would be the end of her. She still very much didn't want to do it and part of her still considered to just drop it and hope for the best. But her mother's words had also encouraged her and now at least she thought she had the strength to at least try. Who could tell how it would go? Maybe she'd actually manage alright.
So that is that! Emily will be in the next chapter folks, it's a promise! (I should know, it's already written after all!). Liked it? Didn't like it? Please let me know what you think! Starting something is always nerve racking and I'm forever curious to see the reception this gets :) Thanks