“Hey, Belle, I saved you a seat!"
Belle groaned with frustration as she stumped into the room. Adam, busy doing his homework on the bed, looked up in surprise as she slumped down beside him. “Hey, what’s up?”
“Oh, it’s those guys!” Belle waved a hand, airily, in the direction of her own room.
“Why? What’s happened?”
“They just won’t give Lottie a chance!” Belle burst out. “They kept saying that she’s a boyfriend stealer and an air-head and all other manner of other things and they don’t even know her yet, and I couldn’t help it, I just snapped!” She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “I think I might ave just ruined our friendship!”
“Come here,” zei Adam, knowingly, pulling her into a hug. Belle snuggled up to him, glad that he was so understanding. “I’m sure u haven’t ruined anything, Belle, and you’re right. They should at least meet her before they make their minds up.”
She smiled, glad he was on her side. “You’d like her. I asked her to sit with us at dinner.”
“Which should be in about five minutes,” Adam replied, looking at the clock on the wall. “Come on.”
Hand in hand they went into the dining room where Lottie was already sitting at a tafel, tabel door herself. Her face brightened when she saw Belle and she waved. “Hey, Belle, I saved u a seat! And u must be Adam, am I right?”
“You are indeed,” Adam replied, with a grin, shaking her proffered hand. “Very pleased to meet you, Lottie.”
“And you,” Lottie beamed back. “Well, I hope there’s something good for dinner, I’m starving! I was so nervous coming here I barely touched my breakfast!”
“Well, it’s Tuesday, so that means fajitas, I think,” zei Belle.
“Oh, my God, I love fajitas! Our cook at home pagina does amazing ones with...” Lottie chattered happily away and Belle lost herself for a second, thinking to herself “If only Meg could hear this right now, she’d change her tune about Lottie completely.”
“Oh, my God, I love your hair!” Lottie exclaimed suddenly to Rapunzel as she came past.
Rapunzel fingered her plait. “Really?”
“Yeah! It looks really pretty! Oh, you’re so lucky having it so long! With my Daddy, the seconde mine gets past my shoulders, it’s “Lottie, time to get a haircut!” Mind you, this one time I really needed one badly because I tried to dye my hair black and it went this weird sludgy greeny-blue colour! I was so glad to get rid of it then, I can tell you!”
Belle and Adam laughed. Rapunzel smiled, prettily and sank into a zitplaats, stoel beside her. “I’m Rapunzel, door the way.”
“I’m Charlotte, but u can just call me Lottie. My Daddy only calls me charlotte when I’m in trouble.”
“Like when u dyed your hair?” Adam grinned.
“Oh, yeah, only that was meer like CHARLOTTE!” Lottie laughed.
“I once painted my hair brown when I was little,” zei Rapunzel. “My mother went nuts! She grounded me for a week and wouldn’t let me anywhere near my paintbox!”
“Oh, yeah, I thought u liked artistic,” Lottie smiled. “I love painting. I mean, I’m no artist, but I do love just putting brush to paper.”
“Well,” zei Rapunzel, clearly taken aback that this heiress was nothing like she had imagined, “you know, I’ve been asked to help paint the set for the Summer Concert, but maybe u could help me. I could always use an extra set of hands.”
“Really? That’d be so great!” Lottie gushed.
Adam reached for Belle’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “I think she’s just made a friend besides you,” he whispered to her.
“I know,” Belle whispered back. “Uh-oh,” she added, glancing over her shoulder as her vrienden came into the room, “the guys are here.”
To her surprise, however, jasmijn walked up to her and said, as if nothing had happened, “Is it ok if we sit with u guys?”
Belle was surprised, too surprised to speak. Adam answered for her. “Of course.”
“So,” zei Meg, sliding into a chair opposite Belle and propping her elbows on the table, chin in her hands, “what are we all talking about?”
Lottie turned to her and smiled. “Hi, I think I met u this morning, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, sorry about the rude welcome,” zei Meg, and Belle could sense that she genuinely meant it. “I’m never my best first thing in the morning.”
“I think we all kinda got out on the wrong side of bed,” zei Snow White and jasmijn nodded.
“Oh, that’s ok. I’m not really a morning person much either,” Lottie said.
Meg smiled. “Well, I’m Megara, call me Meg, and this is jasmijn and Snow White.”
“But u can call us Jaz and Snow,” put in Jasmine.
“Well, Snow, I love your dress. Is it vintage?”
“Yeah, how did u guess?”
“When you’ve spent as much time in and out of vintage clothes shops as I have, u pick up these things.”
“Hey,” zei Aladdin as he and Flynn came up. “What’s happening?”
“Have u guys just finished training?” Adam asked.
“Yeah, and let me tell you, Merrida’s like a jack rabbit on the track!” zei Flynn, sitting down beside Rapunzel, much to her delight. “She covered me and Al in her dust!”
Meg laughed. “Well, I think that overhemd, shirt was due a wash anyway, Flynn!”
“Lottie knows some of the guys from Dreamworks High, don’t you?” Belle said, finally finding her voice.
“Oh, yeah!” Lottie shook her head. “They’re a bad crowd, so watch out.”
“Aurora zei she thinks one of them’s on drugs of something,” zei Snow White.
“Joseph? Yeah, of at least, he used to be. I was at this house party at Moses’ house once and I saw the two of them smoking a joint. Moses just spat it out and zei it was disgusting, but Joseph kept on doing it. Then he kept on having these weird hallucinations about being higher up than his brothers; like he was gonna be a king one dag and they’d all bow to him. Got really bad one time when he had a vision that caused him to almost strangle his little brother in his sleep!”
“Jeez!” exclaimed Meg.
“Yeah, so then his dad got him rehabilitated, according to Moses’ dad,” Lottie finished. “But he’s never been right since.”
“What’s this?” Aurora had just come up to them.
“Your theory about Joseph Dream being on drugs was right,” Aladdin told her. “Lottie here knows him, sort of.”
“Well, he used to be,” Lottie added.
“I think he still is,” zei Aurora. “Last jaar I saw some in his kit bag, unless he was just holding onto them for a friend.”
“No way!” Lottie stared at her. “Well, then, u guys be careful when running against him. If he starts acting funny, for God’s sake get off the track!”
“Thanks for the warning,” zei Flynn.
avondeten, diner was served and everyone enjoyed it. Belle noticed that everyone was genuinely warming up to Lottie; she was so bubbly and feisty that she touched all their hearts.
“You should kom bij the Book Club,” Ariel told her. “We’re doing The Three Musketeers this Friday.”
“Oh my God, I read that when I was a kid! I loved it!” Lottie gushed.
“Oh, and get this,” zei Merrida, who had finally joined them. “I was passing door the Headmaster’s office earlier and I heard him talking to Professor Porter, and the Prof (that was Merrida’s term for Professor Porter) wants to take us on a field trip to the beach!”
“Seriously?” cried Snow White.
“Oh, I love the beach!” cried Lottie.
“Well, he says we’re meant to be looking for samples of things like algae and things in rock pools, but we and he both know we’ll all just end up having a good time!” Merrida smiled.
“Lucky I brought my swimsuit!” Lottie beamed.
“Yeah, bet u look good in your swimsuit,” Flynn flirted, and for that Rapunzel nudged him hard. “Ow! Kidding, Blondie!”
Lottie blushed. “Well, it’s kind of covered up, so, sorry.”
“Ah, ignore him, he’s just a moron,” Merrida told her.
“Hey!” Flynn exclaimed.
“Besides, I’m saving my best one for when I get a boyfriend,” Lottie added.
“Good for you,” jasmijn told her.
Belle and Adam had long since finished their dinner. “Fancy taking a walk?” Adam asked her.
“Yes, please,” Belle replied, getting to her feet. “Think she’ll be ok?”
“I think she’ll be just fine. She’s charmed her way into everyone’s hearts.”
“I know.” Belle leaned against him and he put an arm around her. “I just wonder what made Meg and the others decide to give her a chance all of a sudden.”
“I’ll give u one guess,” Adam replied. “She’s beautiful, feisty and her name begins with a B.”
“Me? u think my little outburst made them change their minds?”
Belle smiled in relief. She and her vrienden were alright after all.
“I think she’ll be just fine. She’s charmed her way into everyone’s hearts.”