Scholarship

by Ian John Copeland

Chapter 15

Summer Term 1968

The first week since Pip had been told to have no contact with Sacha had been particularly awkward for both boys. In The Rocks it was almost impossible for their paths not to cross several times a day. These moments passed with sudden distractions, steps to the side and chance conversations with anyone who happened to be around. Sacha was sad that things had led to a parting of the ways with Pip. Every time he saw Pip, Sacha averted his eyes or even took another route to avoid him. Every so often Sacha would spy Pip at a distance, rarely with anyone these days other than Clancy and Owen. There was that longing look in his eyes, but if Pip noticed Sacha, Sacha instantly turned away, scared by the warnings from his brother and Captain Porter.

Just once the two boys paths crossed when no one else was immediately around, Sacha, late to Chapel Cove, as he had played Mr Wallace at tennis, and Pip returning early. They eyed each other warily as their routes coincided. Someone might be watching. They could not risk anything; both knew that. Pip paused as they passed on the narrow track.

"Sacha, I'm sorry."

"Don't. Please. I've got to go," whispered Sacha. Not even pausing for a second as he skirted around Pip on the path. The boy was scared, uncomfortable. Would Pip do anything rash? The moment passed. Sacha was determined to make a complete break. It would be easier that way. It was just awkward, especially since he missed Pip more than he thought he would. There had been something special in their friendship, something Sacha could not quite explain to himself. What he did decide was that Pip had a soft spot for him, which he had for no other boy. Sacha realised that something like that must have happened many times at the school.

But apart from Pip, Sacha realised he had few close friends. There was his brother. He knew that was a special relationship, one he would have for the rest of his life. He was also a good friend with Jonathan, but not in a way that he could share confidences like he had with Pip. Sacha knew that he was unlikely to share such confidences with another boy ever again, the risks, the price too high.

Sacha now spent most of his time with Jonathan, but rarely alone with him. Apart from Jonathan, Sacha kept with his fellow Fifth Formers and avoided the Sixth Formers other than Clancy and Peter who he now spoke to a couple of times a day. Sacha was conscious that Peter was now keeping very close tabs on him. Sacha arrived down at Chapel Cove to be met by Peter.

"What have you been up too? Cox has only just gone up."

"Playing tennis with Mr Wallace. He's jolly good."

"He is. You shouldn't come down alone."

"But there was no one else. Mr Wallace had to go into town."

"Keep in sight. We can go out by Wicca Cove later. Okay?"

For Sacha, having Peter as his brother meant that some Fifth Formers were in awe of him, but Sacha had never played his big brother to his advantage. Jonathan was sure that Sacha was independent of his brother, but he took great care to avoid any sort of trouble after a heavy warning from Peter.

"I don't want Sacha in any kind of trouble again. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Morgan."

"I mean it. Just think what you do. You can enjoy yourself with him without getting into trouble. What I am saying is that I trust you, strange as it may seem. So don't let me down and above all, don't let Sacha down."

Normally Jonathan would have risen to such a comment. Jonathan sometimes felt that everyone was always singling him out as the school's bad boy, but with Peter he decided to keep his peace and just nodded in agreement. Anyway, Sacha was generally good fun so long as he was not in one of his black moods. Of their shower encounter nothing more was said by either Jonathan or Sacha. It was conveniently forgotten for now.

For Pip, from never wanting to leave The Rocks, he now found himself crossing off each day to the end of term. At the end of the week Captain Porter came into the Sixth Form carrying a sheaf of papers with him, the results of the Common Entrance exams.

"I will start at the top with the best news."

Captain Porter turned to Clancy.

"Well done, Clancy. You have got the top scholarship for your new school. We all knew you had it in you."

Pip joined in the celebrations, mainly because Clancy so clearly deserved to do well, but partly to hide his own sense of failure for not having done the scholarship himself.

"For the rest of you, I am pleased to say that all of you have got into your new schools, even if I did have to pull a few strings in one or two places."

Captain Porter looked at Owen meaningfully at this point.

"Cox, Morgan, you both did especially well. That is a particularly good result for Cox given the amount of time you lost in hospital and recuperating. Jolly well done all the rest of you."

There was a round of congratulations and Pip felt some of the ice was breaking with his fellow Sixth Formers. It was an improvement on recent days. Clancy came over to Pip.

"Oh, well done, that must be a relief for you. A bit worrying with all that time in hospital."

"Thanks and you too. Not that I am surprised at all."

"Well, I never count my chickens, but yes, I am really pleased of course."

Owen was on the periphery. Clancy spoke first. "Well done, Owen. You got the right result."

"Thanks, thanks, both of you. It was a bit touch and go, but Captain Porter put in a good word. I am going to a different school, though, one they say that is 'more suited' to boys like me."

"Well better to be somewhere comfortable, eh?"

"Yes, I guess you are right."

Mr Barnes realised that much was amiss with Pip. Along with the other senior teachers he had been warned to keep an eye on him. Mr Barnes did more than that. Sports Day was coming up and there were things to arrange. Mr Barnes set to involving Pip, as he was not going to be able to participate on the sports side of things. Clancy was already in charge of scoring and keeping a check on any school records that might be broken. So Pip, with Owen as his assistant, was put in charge of parking, a task that meant marking out the front lawn of the school as a car park for parents.

"Pip, last year parking was an absolute disaster. It took over half an hour to disentangle everyone."

"I know, sir. We were in one those cars tangled up, as you put it."

"Well, what do you think? Have you any ideas?"

"Well, I suppose that if we had guides that might help, but really the parking lanes were narrow and people were having trouble reversing and not knowing whether to go left or right to exit."

"Hmm, well, you have a day or so to get your ideas together otherwise, for bad or worse, it is the same system as last year."

"Okay, sir."

Pip was not keen at first, but then he applied his mind to it, remembering the chaos from previous years. He went to Mr Barnes two days later having looked at a number of ideas with Owen tagging along, glad to be recognised once more.

"What we need, sir, is a one-way system all around the car park, like a chicane, and then we need to move from parking at right angles to parking at 45 degrees, like this."

Pip produced a large piece of paper and showed the parking spaces arranged in a herringbone pattern – mostly drawn by Owen. Mr Barnes could see the logic, but knew he had better check. So he spoke with Captain Porter, Pip's drawing in his hand.

"Headmaster, this is what Cox and Owen are proposing for the car park, an attempt to improve on the traffic jams we experienced last year."

Captain Porter looked over the plan and made a few suggestions.

"That turn at the end of the cul-de-sac is too tight, but if we removed a couple of spaces it should work as would making the lanes a bit wider. It's a jolly good first attempt. I suggest you tell Cox and Owen to draw up a scale plan and then let's mark out a few spaces and see if it makes sense on the ground."

Mr Barnes reported the good news to Pip and then set Pip to work drawing up a scaled plan with some help from Mr Wallace and Owen. At least Pip was gainfully occupied with this task. He also found himself helping Mrs Prince label all the art works for the art exhibition that would be put on display on sports day.

For a while Sacha was noticeably more subdued than normal. Sam had picked up on her brother's change of mood in the letter he dutifully sent her once a fortnight. She telephoned the school and got to speak to him. Parents and relatives rarely telephoned. It was not encouraged as it 'unsettled the boys'. However, Sam was persuasive enough to convince Matron to fetch Sacha.

"I am sorry, Matron. I really need to speak to my brother."

"Well, if you think it is that important, I will go and fetch him from his reading break. I hope there isn't any bad news, is there?"

"Oh no, just tell him it is a social call, that I am checking up on him."

Matron was gone for a good two minutes. Eventually the telephone was picked up.

"Hello, Sam?"

"So how's my kid brother?"

"Okay."

Sacha was very quiet, not his normal habit with his sister. Sam could tell that Sacha was not going to be very forthcoming. That much was obvious.

"You don't sound okay and in your letter you sounded a bit blue."

"It's nothing." Sacha's voice tailed off. His guard was down and he desperately wanted to speak to his sister.

"Oh Sacha, what's wrong? Do tell me."

There was a pause.

"Some boys have been beastly to me. That's all."

"Really? I am not totally convinced, Sacha. Come on now. Tell me what it is, please."

"Oh, it's nothing, honest."

"It didn't sound like nothing in your letter. What's up?"

Sacha really didn't want to say any more. His arm was still bruised from where Peter had gripped him in an effort to extract the full story from him. He did not want to go through it all again.

"Is it Peter?"

"No! No, it isn't. It doesn't involve Peter. It was just – just the Johnson twins. They've been teasing me about my swimming," Sacha lied. He didn't want to involve Pip or Peter and the Johnson twins had come up once before, after their involvement in putting Sacha under the shower when he first joined The Rocks. Sam was not totally convinced, but knew she was unlikely to hear any more unless Sacha actually wanted to tell her, which he clearly didn't at the moment.

"Well, I am here if you need me and I will come down this weekend if you want me to. Is that clear?"

Sacha brightened up at the idea of possibly seeing his sister, but stopped himself.

"No, it's okay. I mean you are down soon. I mean for our sports day, aren't you?"

"Yes, of course, but in the meantime, if you need me."

"Yes, I know. Thanks."

Their conversation over, Sam wrote to Peter and told him to spend some time with Sacha that weekend enclosing a small bribe.

"Sacha needs to get out of school, I think, a bit of a break. Why don't you take him into Penzance? You both need some clothes for the summer."

Peter knew better than to ignore his sister and so that Saturday Sacha went out with Peter. It was only their third time out together in two terms Sacha realised sourly, but he did not say anything about that to Peter, glad of his brother's recognition for once.

"I've got some money from Mum and Dad to celebrate my passing the Common Entrance. I am going to buy some clothes before going back to Hong Kong this summer. I was going to go shopping in Penzance. Coming? I've got some money for you too."

"Oh okay, that's a good idea."

For Peter and Sacha it was a bit of a novelty being allowed to buy their own clothes as normally their clothes were chosen for them by either their mother or sister Sam. The two brothers caught the bus and spent an hour or so buying shirts and other summer wear before Peter declared the task complete. Peter looked at the money left over. There was still a note available.

"I've still got some change. Fancy some fish and chips?"

"Oh great. Where will we go?"

"Oh, there is a great takeaway in Newlyn. It's where they land the fish so it is always really fresh."

The two brothers walked along the front to Newlyn, collected two portions of fish and chips and then ate them on the harbour wall, taking care not to let the seagulls eat their lunch for them.

"I've got a surprise for you."

Sacha looked up from his chips. "What's that?"

"We are going camping in France again with the cousins."

"Oh, will Emma be there?"

"Yes, and Natalie."

"Hmmm."

Both brothers agreed that their forthcoming holiday sounded like it should be enjoyable. The subject of Pip never came up. Peter kept clear of it. He was satisfied that Pip was staying clear of Sacha and Sacha likewise staying clear of Pip.

Sports day was the biggest day for The Rocks. It marked the end of term as the boys left at the end of the afternoon to disperse to their homes for eight weeks of the summer holidays. From all over the country, parents would gather to watch the boys in their athletic endeavours, say hello to the Headmaster and take their sons home. In the remaining two weeks leading up to Sports Day, the pace of activities was picking up.

As the end of term approached, more and more attention turned to athletics. The main sports field was marked out as a running track and the long and high jump pits were dug over to create safe landing zones. Each day the boys practised their athletic skills as cricket was increasingly put to one side. Every afternoon, the boys were dressed in their PE kit and practised athletics both during games and instead of prep in the evening. Only the evening visit to Chapel Cove was left untouched. That was a sacred summer ritual at The Rocks.

Pip and Owen painstakingly marked out the front lawn for parents to park on. For good measure they made signposts marking the entrance and exit routes for cars and posted them both north and south of the school on the main coast road. Flags in the green and purple harlequin colours of the school were tied to the posts at the front of the school. Five days before a large marquee arrived and was set up in the quad for afternoon tea on the day itself. To ensure that parents left with the best impressions of the school, a period of frantic activity took place. All the buildings were cleaned, the flowerbeds weeded and the lawns mown. Pip then spent three days solid working as Mrs Prince's assistant assembling the pictures and other exhibits for her art display. Uncomfortably Pip noticed that the entrance display was given over to his model and some of his more organic drawings he had done earlier that year.

"How do you choose which ones to put up?"

"Oh, a good spread. I try and get most of the junior boys displayed, older boys, well less so."

"How about mine? I mean there are a number of them."

"Oh, in your case I look for the distinctive ones, the ones that show your own style. You have really developed into quite an artist over the last couple of years. You use a very natural palette all the time, the greys, the blues, the golds, all influenced by what you see around you."

"That won't help me get into university, though."

"There is more to school than academic achievement and sport, Pip."

Together they pinned up some of the junior boys' work.

"I hope so. I mean, I can't do sport now and academia. Well, I didn't do the scholarship exams, did I?"

"No use crying over spilt milk, Pip. You are still just as capable as you were before, with or without the scholarship exam – just remember that."

Meanwhile Mrs Porter set to with the kitchen staff and caterers to ensure that a large welcoming spread of sandwiches was laid on for tea.

"No margarine, only butter," was her specific instruction, but she oversaw the choice of sandwiches, quiches and strawberries and cream and with Matron made floral displays for the marquee.

For Pip and his fellow sixth formers Sports Day was to be the last day at The Rocks before they moved onto public school. In a quiet, low-key ceremony the day before all the sixth formers were given their old boys' tie. The tie in the school colours had the school crest, a variant on the Cornish flag and underneath a motto allegedly saying 'Stand up and be counted' in Cornish; but no one could verify this.

"I hope you will all wear these ties with pride on future occasions and of course, we would love to see you return to The Rocks in future years, preferably with your own sons as pupils."

Sports day itself started early, all the boys in their PE whites. Pip was very conscious of the scar on his stomach; it still twinged. He found himself pulling down on his tee shirt, which was slightly too small for him in an effort to keep the scar hidden. Pip would not be taking part in any races this year as a result. However, like every other boy, he was still in his freshly laundered PE whites.

The parents arrived in their droves, cars polished, as this was the one day when all parents would be together with their offspring. Pip and Owen met the parents as they arrived and directed them to their parking spaces. Pip was inordinately proud that his parking system seemed to be working. It amused him to try and work out which parents belonged to which boy at the school. That Owen had glamorous parents was always a bit of a surprise. They turned up in an E-type, the dream car to most of the boys at the school. Apparently Owen senior had invented some industrial process that was enormously successful. Somehow this knowledge pushed Owen up in Pip's estimation. Pip's own parents dutifully turned up in a middle of the road Rover, not the Triumph TR5 that Pip had pleaded for last year. Pip's parents were normally quite good at these events, quite sociable although they did always insist on asking about their son's progress each year, which Pip thought very bad form. He hoped they would avoid the subject this year, as it would be embarrassing all round.

Unbeknown to Pip, there had been some discussions between his parents and Captain Porter after they were told about him not doing the scholarship. His mother was deeply disappointed. However, she brightened up when told that Pip could do the Scholarship exams in the autumn. So this term the usual discussion between Pip's parents and Captain Porter had been limited to his parents thanking him for his help in smoothing Pip's path into the public school of their choice.

Eventually a BMW turned up. It was the only one to drive into the school that day. Pip recognised Mrs Morgan and Sam. The driver of the car was unknown to Pip, but must be Mr Morgan. Mr Morgan held himself in a way that suggested he was very much at ease with himself.

Sam was looking very glamorous in a very short skirt. Pip caught her mother telling her to pull it down. "Otherwise you will be the object of fantasy for about fifty adolescent boys throughout the afternoon."

Pip, thinking Sam might know who he was and some of the story, was not keen to go near the Morgan family. Instead he sent Owen over to park them.

"Owen, your one chance to practise your wooing skills."

Owen duly parked them inch perfect and then led them, unnecessarily, back past Pip who was standing behind a table with programmes laid out on them.

"Oh you must be Jonathan. It's the hair."

Sam inspected him, perhaps with some admiration?

"Oh, ermm no, close though. Jonathan has absolutely white hair."

She looked at his hair again.

"More than just 'just fair'. It must be the sun down here."

She turned around, scanning the crowds. She really was quite dishy.

"We are looking for my two brothers, Peter and Sacha Morgan. Do you know where they are hiding?"

She craned her head a bit more, then turned back to Pip and smiled. "It's all right, I can see Peter. He's under starter's orders on the track now. Must go and cheer him on." Sam turned back to Pip and smiled brightly. "Well thanks anyway."

Pip was puzzled. He found Sam to be very attractive. He was not drawn at all to girls his own age, but like most boys could definitely see the attractions of the older teenage girl.

As the Morgan family headed to the racetrack for the 100 yards sprint, the start was fired. Pip should have been there. He was generally acknowledged as the school's fastest sprinter, but was now absent. In his place, moved up a year to fill the gap was Jonathan.

From the start the race was really between Peter and Jonathan, the fastest in the year below. The Johnson twins were also in with a shout, but they were really suited to longer distances.

The seniors' sprint was over very quickly. Jonathan led from the start and no amount of pent up determination could capture Peter his hoped for gold. He had to be content with silver instead. The bronze had to be shared between the Johnson twins. Mr Barnes did not have the heart to say who really won between the two of them.

Peter went up to Sam and his parents after the race with Jonathan, who was congratulated with handshakes all round. Jonathan was making overtures to Sam straight away and then Sam pointed in Pip's direction. Jonathan reached up on tiptoes and whispered into her ear, identifying Pip. Pip, feeling singled out, blushed. What had Jonathan said to her?

At that point Sacha appeared, unsuccessful for the long jump. Although a good all rounder, Sacha was never absolutely top in any athletics event, as that was a clean sweep for Jonathan in his year. However, Sacha had a clutch of silvers and one gold to his name for the Fifth Form sprint, largely due to Jonathan's promotion to the seniors' race. His freckles were glowing and his hair appeared even darker red than normal, as it was damp with sweat. In an effort to dry himself, Sacha pulled up his slightly over-sized tee shirt and rubbed his face. Sam, ever observant, promptly removed some strands of hair that had plastered themselves to his forehead and then knelt to retie the cord on his shorts, which were beginning to slip down more than they should.

"Honestly, Sacha, you're not a scarecrow.

"It's all right, Sam. I can do it."

"Too late." She pulled up his shorts firmly to a more suitable position and tied up the drawstrings in a neat bow.

"Any lower and everyone would know what religion you are." Satisfied with her adjustments, she smiled at him. "There, all done."

Sacha pulled away from Sam initially, but then allowing himself to be pulled closer to her as she pulled down his tee shirt, ran her fingers through his hair so it stood on end with the sweat and then planted the briefest of kisses on his forehead. A moment later Sacha's mother appeared. Sacha instinctively leaned into her and allowed her to hold his right hand across his chest for a couple of minutes. His mother stroked his hair and forehead as she whispered something intimate and amusing into his left ear before kissing the top of his head.

Meanwhile Pip's parents had walked around the main lawn, meeting up with old acquaintances, other parents and the teachers.

With all the car parking spaces taken, Pip went over and joined them. Pip's relationship with his parents was much more formal. He shook hands with his father and briefly kissed his mother.

"Hello, dear, better?"

"Yes, thanks. Oh, look, here's Mrs Prince."

Mrs Prince bustled over in her smart navy dress, much smarter than her usual artist's smock.

"Lovely to see you. I do hope you have seen Pip's work. He has been so busy in the art room this year. Look, let me show you."

Mrs Prince took Pip's parents off to see some of his work that year. At that point Sacha appeared with Sam. She had his hand firmly in hers. Sacha did not pull away. He was proud of his sister and the way she turned the heads of many of the older boys. The two of them came in at the other end of the art exhibition as Pip's parents left. Pip, not wanting to meet them, still took a risk to be close to them by moving around to the other side of the picture displays and following them from the other side fully hidden from view, eavesdropping as Sam and Sacha moved from one set of pictures to another. They paused in front of Pip's model.

"Oh this looks like a lot of work. Very intricate. Who did this?" Sam enquired.

They both looked at the label.

"Oh, that's Pip's. He did it when he was in hospital. We don't do much model work normally. Art, it's not really my thing."

"No, it's more Peter than you. Pip's work shows a lot of talent as a sculptor. Very organic in form. All the rage. I like it. "

"Those are his as well. Look they all relate to each other."

"Since when have you been an appreciator of art, Sacha?"

"Oh, it's Mrs Prince. She's really good at making you look at things, even if you are not much good at it yourself, like me."

"And me. Art is a complete mystery to me. All that side of mother went to Peter." There was a pause. "Pip? He's the one you told me had appendicitis? I think I saw him in car park. How is he?"

"Oh, he's okay, I think. I haven't talked to him much since."

"Oh, yes, I heard from Peter. Peter told me that there had been a falling out between you and Pip."

"Really? Peter should never have told you, I mean, it was nothing, really. Nothing to worry about"

Pip felt uncomfortable at being dismissed so easily, but then he would have made light of it too if asked.

"Don't worry. I can guess. Peter did not tell me himself. I forbade him to tell Mum and Dad. You caused an awful lot of worry as it is with being away from home and then that bump on the Isle of Skye. I guess it was just being away from home. Boarding schools can be a bit intense, you know, relationship wise. It was for me too when I started, crushes that sort of thing. It does happen."

"Crushes?"

"You get a bit too involved with someone and then you both end up getting bruised."

"Oh." Sacha started to shift uneasily. He didn't want to discuss the events of this term, even with his big sister.

"After your accident in Skye, Mum was all for having you back at school in Hong Kong so she could keep a closer eye on you. She still doesn't really trust her little baby bunny to look after himself."

Sacha was clearly embarrassed to be having this conversation in public.

"Not here, please, Sam! Listen, it was just an accident. There was no seat belt in the car." Sacha was trying to pull his sister away. "Look can we go now? Let's go outside. It's cooler there."

Sam continued. "Okay, you're right, but listen. Next year, if you want to stay or go back to Honkers, let me know. I promise to put it to Mum and Dad, whichever you prefer."

"You'll still be in Bristol next year, won't you?"

"Oh, yes, don't worry. Dad is buying me a car. I think it is so I can come down and see you more often to keep Mum happy."

"I want to stay here. I want you to know that. Next year, well, it will be different and I don't want to change school again."

"I will make sure the parents know. Don't worry."

Sacha wanted to change the subject. "Now, come on let's go and see the races. It's the senior 220 yards now, I think. Peter is in it."

"Okay, but I will be down to check on you next year much more than this year. You realise that, don't you?"

"I know. That's okay. In fact I would like you to come down more often next year. It's not going to be the same without Peter here."

"Good, then that helps get me the car and keeps Mum happy into the bargain."

Sacha and his sister went outside back to the sports field. At a distance Pip followed, close enough to observe, but far enough away not to be too obvious that he was following them. They were now all together as a family, chatting away. Twice their paths almost crossed. Pip moved out of their way and tried to look as though he was seeking his parents in the crowd.

The afternoon tea was served. Pip's parents chatted happily with Clancy's parents and Owen's very glamorous mother, Owen's father just happy to share his wife's presence. Eventually there was a calling to order by Mr Barnes who played master of ceremonies to Captain Porter.

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, if you don't mind, Captain Porter has a few things to say and then we will hand out the school prizes."

"Well, at this part of the proceedings I would very much like to welcome you all. I hope you have enjoyed the sports, the various displays and of course the fabulous tea laid on by my good wife and her team of assistants led by our Cook and her staff."

A smattering of applause went around the quad before Captain Porter decided he could safely continue.

"We have had another eventful year at The Rocks and as you can see from the sun tans on display, the boys have very much enjoyed this term in particular." The crowd, anxious to please, laughed on cue. "And in particular, this year we have had one stand out achievement, which is Timothy Clancy's scholarship to his new school, the highest marked papers for the school this year. So it is no surprise that the first prize for outstanding academic achievement is awarded to Timothy."

Clancy went to collect his award as the ceremony recommenced. There were a number of subject awards and to Pip's surprise he picked up two for Art and for English. Mrs Prince and Mr Barnes smiled with satisfaction when he took to the stage."

"Well done, boy, you earned it."

"Do keep up your artwork. I really do think you have a special talent for it."

With Clancy taking the outstanding academic achievement award, the subject prizes were handed out amongst the Sixth Formers including Peter who picked up two for science and mathematics.

"And as a final announcement, I would like to thank our current Head Boy, Peter Morgan, and tell you that from next term we will continue that particular family tradition with his brother, Sacha Morgan, taking over as Head Boy for next year." Another round of applause.

Really there could only be one choice since Jonathan had ruled himself out and the other Fifth Formers were judged too immature for the role. Sacha bounded up on to the stage to pick up his new badge as Head Boy, face blushing with embarrassment, bowing as the crowd applauded.

With the formal ceremonies complete parents and boys started to make a move towards the exits, making their final goodbyes as they went. Pip's parents always took ages. They were speaking to Mr Barnes and Mrs Prince and looked deep in conversation. Pip hoped that it was not about him.

Pip said goodbye to Owen and Clancy and then looked around for Sacha. Perhaps he might just catch him alone for one second to say goodbye. No matter how awkward, he wanted to say goodbye. Surely no harm in that? He was leaving the school anyway, but amidst all the boys dressed in white, Sacha was not to be seen. Peter was there, but Sacha was not with him. Then Pip saw Sam's large hat. Perhaps he was with her. She was the other side of the quad. Pip went the long way round in order to avoid his parents. By the time he got there, Sam had moved on from her original spot. Pip looked frantically around. Peter was the other side of the quad near his parents. Pip craned his neck. No sign of Sacha with him. Pip went to the car park. The BMW was there but no sign of any member of the Morgan family. There was a tap on his shoulder. It was Mr Barnes with his pipe; Mrs Prince accompanied him.

"Aren't you going to say goodbye, Pip?"

"Oh, sorry, goodbye, and thanks for everything."

Pip shook hands with both his teachers.

"Good luck at your new school."

"And don't forget to keep your ideas coming."

"Yes, I will certainly."

Pip's parents were approaching. They had been speaking to Captain Porter and his wife. Pip looked around ever more frantically. Then, there they were, the Morgan family, all together car doors open. Mr and Mrs Morgan were getting in the front and Peter and Sam getting in the back. Sacha was already in the back of the car, just a shadow. This was possibly the last fleeting glance Pip would have of Sacha. He felt sick in his stomach, his life draining away, no goodbyes, just a glimpse of a silhouette in the back of the car as the BMW roared off up the drive in a scrunch of gravel. Pip turned away from the rest of the school and started to run towards his parents' car, not wanting anyone to see his face.

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